We were hooked on Diablo when it first arrived back in 1996 and even more addicted to the sequel that launched four years later. Almost 12 years passed before Diablo III arrived but Diablo II managed to keep us entertained while we waited. We loved Diablo III when it finally launched a couple of years ago but sadly it only managed to entertain us for a few weeks before becoming a grind.
True to form Blizzard have been constantly tweaking and patching the game. Since the PC launch Diablo III also found its way onto Xbox 360 and PS3. Right before Reaper of Souls launched Blizzard released the Loot 2.0 patch. This contained a massive list of changes to the way the game worked.
The controversial real-money auction house was removed. Rare and legendary drops were now more frequent and more likely to benefit your class. Paragon levels were made account-wide and uncapped. The difficulty system was also revamped with ten different settings to choose from. These scale to your character levels which allows you to tailor the game more to your gear and skill.
Even if you don’t buy the Reaper of Souls expansion you’ll find you have full access to all of these new changes. They totally change the game for the better and make it feel a lot more like Diablo II. However Reaper of Souls packs plenty of reasons for you to pick it up.
Reaper of Souls brings a completely new fifth act to the campaign. This continues the story and puts players up against the Angel of Death, Malthael. It’s set in Westmarch and much darker in tone than the rest of the game. We thoroughly enjoyed playing through the five hours or so of content and loved the new environments and enemies.
Also new for Reaper of Souls is a new class to play – the Crusader. It plays like a Paladin and works best with an enormous shield in one hand and two-handed weapon in the other. The Crusader is capable of both taking and dealing huge amounts of damage. It plays really well solo but is also an excellent choice to support a group in co-op.
All classes have been tweaked with new skills to boot. There is also a new level cap of 70 giving you reason to continue the characters you already have. After cap the modified Paragon system lets you level up forever. Having Paragon levels account-wide lets you level up new characters quicker and removes the need to play through the lower difficulties.
To further enhance your character there is now a third Artisan, the Mystic, who brings transmogrification and enchanting to the game. The clever thing with enchanting is that you never quite know what stat improvements you’ll get but you can always choose one of two options. Transmogrification allows you to make items look like other items. So if you like the look of a cool weapon or piece of armour you can keep the look when you upgrade.
A new Adventure mode mixes things up and removes the need to constantly play through the campaign. Unlocking it requires that you finish act five but once this is done you can ignore the campaign if you wish.
Adventure mode makes the game feel fresh each time you play. When you create a game each act is assigned five bounties for you to complete. Doing so earns you bonus XP and more loot. Of course there is no need to just visit the bounties you can go to any location from the game whenever you choose.
Completing bounties also rewards you with keystone fragments. These can be used at Nephalem Obelisks to open Nephalem Rifts. These are completely randomised dungeons that can usually be completed in around 15-20mins. Once inside a Rift you must fill a progress bar by killing enemies. Once the bar is filled a random Rift Guardian boss spawns. Killing the boss rewards you with piles of sweet loot.
Reaper of Souls along with the Loot 2.0 patch has effectively fixed Diablo III. If you stopped playing Diablo III then you should definitely give it a second chance. The game now feels a lot closer to what fans wanted and each session feels new. Rewards also come a lot quicker and this has brought the addictiveness back to the game. We get the feeling we’re going to be playing Diablo III for a very long time.