Reaper of Souls marks a new chapter for Diablo III, advancing the storyline through an additional Act, adding the new Crusader class and bringing with it a plethora of necessary changes, completely revamping the loot system and all of the existing classes.
Releasing leading up to the launch of Reaper of Souls, the Loot 2.0 patch added a ton of changes for the game, improving many parts of the game that were highly criticized by fans. Before the patch dropped, drop rates for Legendary items were universally horrible, especially when you consider that items for your specific class weren’t given priority in the drop tables. This lead to countless hours wasted, running through the campaign for the umpteenth time, only to find a couple of worthy items, that you aren’t even able to use. The auction house was originally thought as a remedy for this problem, allowing casual players to stay on par with those grinding away late at night. The AH developed a stigma as a “pay-to-win” crutch, especially when the real-money auction house was added.
Loot 2.0 has permanently shut down both auction houses, and improved not only the drop rates for Legendary items, but the relevancy for the class being played as well. Instead of struggling to find items, your inventory will be constantly filled with new items, but not too much to where the items lose their special meaning. After reaching the level cap, which has been raised to 70, players will find that they will continue to gain experience in the form of Paragon levels. Each new paragon level acquired provides minuscule stat bonuses. There are a limitless amount of paragon levels to gain, allowing you to gain the max amount of gold finding % for example without having to rely on item stats. They will also carry across your entire account, even across newly created characters.
The new Mystic NPC added to the towns by playing through Act 5, offers multiple services, transmogrifying items visuals and replacing an unwanted stat on an otherwise “epic” drop. The downside to using the Mystic’s rerolling ability is the cost of per each use, especially when it randomly picks the choices. There is no guarantee the choices will be any different or better than what was original there, leading to hundreds of thousands of gold wasted. It may be a good way for players with millions of gold to waste, but for those who haven’t played since launch, you’ll go broke rather quickly.
The addition of the Crusader class should please fans that have been missing the Paladin from Diablo II. The new holy warrior can deal out huge amounts of damage, while taking on numerous monsters at the same time. Instead of power-leveling my way to level 70, which seems to be what all the “cool kids” are doing, I played through the entire story once again, leveling a Crusader from level 1 through traditional methods, getting a feel for every skill instead of copying pre-made online builds. I found my hammer swinging adventures to be thoroughly enjoyable, especially when seeing dozens of demons explode under the power of my almighty hammer.
Act 5, which many in my Clan have quickly played through in order to get to Adventure mode, includes more optional locations and content compared to the previous Acts. The length is similar to the tedious Act two, but far more enjoyable. The new final boss provides a much tougher challenge than the fight against Diablo at the conclusion of Act 4.
Adventure mode may be the most significant addition from Reaper of Souls, opening up once Act 5 has been completed. Instead of relying on new content to keep players happy, you’ll be retracing your steps through all of the Acts, completing quests and bounties. Forget everything about the story, because its non-stop action the moment you boot into Adventure mode. You may be ported to The Skeleton King’s throne room looking for his head, or you may be tasked with clearing out a specific dungeon. Everything has been streamlined, with waypoints warping you relatively close to the objective. Completing all five of the bounties in an Act, you’ll unlock additional loot and items to access the Nephalem Rifts. The rifts are intense, randomly generated dungeons that will throw countless elite demons at you, providing the best chance at new items.
Rifts will be the “end game’ within Diablo III and were meant for groups of players to tackle together, as a solo player will take much longer to complete a run. Once the monster kill meter is full, a boss will spawn providing an even greater challenge
If you have no issues running Bounties and Rifts for the foreseeable future, the inclusion of Rifits and the new difficulty system will keep players busy for quite some time. There has definitely been a large spike in the player base for Diablo III since the release of the Reaper of Souls expansion, but the true test for Blizzard will be if they will stick around after the couple of hours it takes to get through all of the new content.
Note: The Diablo III: Reaper of Souls review was written based on the digital PC version of the game provided for review.