April 2, 2014 by Ryan Ward
With Loot 2.0 in full swing and Malthael vanquished from Pandemonium, most Diablo 3 players are now settling into legendary farming. So what exactly has changed in this latest expansion pack to bring Diablo 3 out from the shadows and back into the spotlight?
Well, my friend, allow me to tell you about the new mode, new customization, new class, and more that you’ll get with Reaper of Souls.
In vanilla Diablo 3, legendary items felt less “legendary” and more like slightly better rare items. That’s all changed with what Blizzard is calling Loot 2.0. While Loot 2.0 isn’t brand new with Reaper of Souls, it helps greatly alter both the drop rate of legendary items and what stats appear on items in the expansion.
All items now have a much greater chance to match the stats that are important to your class. That means no more hours of dungeon crawling just to get an amazing healing staff that your sword-wielding Barbarian can’t use.
Also, many legendary items now have unique affixes that greatly alter gameplay. Whether it’s an alteration to a specific skill or an immunity to a certain damage type, these affixes change the way the game is played. Every time a legendary drops and you see that orange affix text, it’s a sign that you might be changing up your character build soon. This is the legendary loot that old-school Diablo players have wanted all along and thankfully, it’s finally back.
For people looking for a mix-up from the classic Diablo 3 experience, Adventure Mode is a refreshing and unique new mode for exploring Sanctuary and destroying the demon masses. This mode unlocks after your first completion of Act 5 on any difficulty and is essentially a series of mini-quests called bounties.
There are five bounties per act, and each usually consists of killing a named monster or boss or clearing a dungeon area. On top of your normal drops, when you clear an entire zone of its bounties, you are rewarded with a Horadric Cache capable of dropping its own high-end loot.
Nephalem Rifts are another great legendary farming mechanic with much higher rare monster populations and a Rift Boss at the end of the run. If you can get three friends with you and crank up the Torment difficulty setting, expect to be rewarded with some pretty serious legendary drops.
Of course, one of the worst feelings in Diablo is finally getting the legendary drop you wanted, but realizing that it is missing a character stat you need or it rolled the wrong primary stat for your class. Enter the Mystic. Take your almost perfect loot to her, and for a price she will reforge or re-roll one stat. You no longer have to worry about the “junk drop” because even if a two-hander dropped with intelligence on your Barb, you can just take it to the Mystic for a reforge!
In addition to reforging items, the Mystic can also transmogrify your armor and weapons into any of the standard skins or the skin of any legendary you have found on your account. Paired with armor dyes, you can achieve some great looks and keep them as long as you like.
If you still aren’t convinced that Reaper of Souls has brought Diablo’s groove back, then you should check out the new Crusader class. Like the Paladins of Diablo 2, the Crusader is a hulking mass of metal and muscle ready to jump into the fray. The Crusader’s unique item is a giant Crusader Shield that typically has much higher armor and block amount than your standard D3 shield and which he can throw at enemies, Captain America style.
Crusader gameplay is that of a beefy melee bruiser. Like the Barbarian, the Crusader likes to take his fights up-close and personal, but he also has some great mid-range skills. If you are the person who always plays a tank class in MMOs, then you will fall in love with the Crusader.
As a series, much of Diablo’s story was just added in later and told through accompanying books (See the Book of Cain). While vanilla D3 tried to be more expository in its story-telling, many gamers thought it fell short with a fairly predictable storyline. This time around Blizzard has stepped their game up with a more engrossing storyline, and as a result, Malthael as the Angel of Death feels like a truly menacing villain.
Beyond just story, the setting of Act 5 harkens back to that old dark, damp-feeling Tristram had in the original Diablo. No more sunny deserts and lush jungles; this is a setting for a true Diablo game that hardcore fans wanted all along.
Although you shouldn’t fear the Reaper’s legendary comeback, the expansion could still have used a tiny bit more cowbell… something that hopefully the PlayStation 4 version will be able to help it achieve. Still, Reaper of Souls with Loot 2.0 has overhauled the Diablo experience to where it needed to be. The game is a blast, and farming legendaries feels rewarding and fun. If you were having doubts about where Blizzard was taking the Diablo franchise, set them aside and play the expansion right away. You’ll be glad you did. Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls gets 4.5 out of 5 stars (Amazing).
- Legendaries, so many legendaries
- Adventure Mode keeps gameplay fresh
- Reforging and transmogrifying add a new level of customization
- New Crusader class is a welcome addition
- Art and story direction feel more like the original game’s
- Expansion is more fixing problems rather than offering new content