Diablo 3 was a great game, but with a seriously flawed end-game.
Once you reached it, the game could get boring pretty quickly.
Not only would you have to play through the same areas again and again, with little variety, but you’d also have a tough time finding any decent items.
This was due to the game’s item system being heavily built around the idea of their Auction House for players to buy and sell items to each other.
The expansion, Reaper of Souls, takes an excellent swing at these problems with some great new additions and other solutions. Firstly, the auction house is gone and replaced with the Loot 2.0 system. Basically this results in good, more frequent loot drops and is usually better suited to the character you are playing.
It also adds Act 5, which continues the story of where things left off after the main game - even tying up some loose ends and introducing new enemies.
The narrative for this new act is unfortunately weak, especially the main villain who is great from a design perspective, but doesn’t interact with the player character much at all. It’s a shame that they weren’t developed or used in any interesting way as it felt like a missed opportunity.
Story aside, the positive aspects of this new act are the new environments and enemies.
There are some very cool looking places and lighting effects.
Anyone who felt Diablo 3 was missing the darker tone of the original games should be pleased with the settings of this new act. There’s also a larger emphasis on regularly giving the player new random events to discover as they journey through a map. This keeps things interesting and gives you regular rewards, which helps drive that “just another 10 minutes” thought process that players often find themselves in.
There’s also a new Artisan called the Mystic, who basically plays the role of an Enchanter.
With her you can change one primary magic stat of an item, which could turn an average item into a potentially great one.
There is some randomness to this, so luck plays a part, but it’s another use for gold and crafting items, which is a good thing. The other cool thing she can do is change the appearance of items. For example, if you find better gloves, but you really like the way your current ones look, you can use her to make your new gloves look like your old ones, while keeping their stats. Sure, this is only useful for the fashion concerned, but whatever, my monk looks fabulous now!
The level cap has also been increased to 70, with each class getting one new skill and three new passives to choose from.
There is also a new class that’s been added with the expansion; the Crusader.
These guys are meant to just be a wall of metal, ideally rocking the biggest shield you can find.
Their damage output is not as great as other classes, but a lot of what they dish out is area damage, and being able to hit multiple enemies at once is always a good thing.
They also bring a decent amount of crowd control to the table. I haven’t been able to get one to the level cap yet, but so far I’ve found this class fun and look forward to seeing how they are at the higher levels, especially with a team of heavier damage dealers to tank for.
Now, this new stuff is nice and all, but the real meat of Reaper of Soul’s is the Adventure Mode.
This is Blizzard’s big shot at adding a late game to keep people playing for years to come.
It opens up the full map for all acts at once and gives “Bounty Missions”, which are usually “kill this random boss” or “kill all enemies in this particular dungeon”.
There are two rewards for doing these; the first are Blood Shards which you can use to gamble by buying mystery items from a special vendor.
The other rewards, once you have five of them, allows you to open a Nephalem Rift - a portal to a random dungeon that mixes different game environments, with random enemies from all over the game’s five acts. It’s a great way to mix things up, so the content doesn’t feel as boring. It also helps that you will almost always come across at least one Legendary item in these rifts.
For anyone familiar with Diablo 2, I would say this reminded me of doing Cow Level runs (which must sound like a ridiculous thing for anyone not familiar with Diablo 2), only with more variety and randomness.
My only issue is that I felt the Nephalem Rift dungeons took too long to get through and there is a major difficulty spike for the final bosses of the dungeon that felt unbalanced.
With that said, hopefully once I get some better gear and play with a group of friends who can coordinate, those bosses will start to feel more challenging, instead of unfair.
I’ve really enjoyed coming back to Diablo 3 with this expansion, Reaper of Souls.
I had grown bored of playing through the same stuff, so having some fresh content to dive into has been great.
It’s still the same, fun game it always has been, but now with more stuff to do after you finish the story, and extra randomness that can hopefully stop its end game from becoming stale as quickly as the main game did.
Whether or not this new Adventure Mode will be enough to keep away the boredom of repetition is something that is too early to tell.
But after putting a good chunk of hours into it, I am hopeful it will.
Diablo III: Reaper of Souls