Diablo III: Reaper of Souls: Better, Faster, More Fun

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In about six weeks, Blizzard will launch Reaper of Souls, the first expansion pack for Diablo 3. I've spent the last few weeks playing in the beta for RoS, and while I normally hold an article this extensive for a launch, there's enough locked-in differences to be worth discussing at this stage.

This new expansion comes with the usual slew of goodies -- a new Act for the game, new quests, a new enchanting ability, and a new skill for each existing class, as well as a new Crusader class to experiment with.

The ancient city of Westmarch: Location of Act V

All of this falls into the "expected" category. What's more important about Reaper of Souls is that it makes core changes to the way Diablo III feels and plays, changes that, in aggregate, have made the game a great deal more fun.

Fixing Diablo III's Core Problems
Diablo 3 has had something of a mixed run. The game sold extremely well, but it didn't enjoy the staying power of its predecessors. It copied Diablo 2's difficulty structure -- beat the game once, and the only thing to do afterwards was to start over again at a higher difficulty level. The game's design suffered from several significant problems, including:

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls showcases Blizzard's dedication to realistic female armor

Static endgame: The only thing to do after killing Diablo was... to kill Diablo again. While this might have worked in 2000, players wanted more to do. World of Warcraft offers a huge variety of content, both in terms of PvP and PvE. Starcraft 2 has a huge modding scene. Diablo 3 had neither.

Weak itemization: In Diablo 3's Normal difficulty, only two stats seriously mattered: your primary attribute (either Strength, Intelligence, or Dexterity) and Vitality. By Nightmare difficulty, players had to start concerning themselves with various types of magical damage resistance. Because Diablo 3's skill tree is static and all damage is scaled to weapon damage, the only thing that matters is pushing your total damage level higher. Your critical hit chance and critical hit damage were still important, especially for Demon Hunters, but too much of the game was directly linked to a bare handful of stats.

Good equipment, generally speaking, was equipment that had your primary stat on it. Bad equipment was everything else.

The Auction House
: Diablo 3's much-discussed Auction House (AH) was meant to give players more flexibility and freedom by alleviating the stress of item hunting. It backfired. Because item drop rates were relatively low, players had little choice but to use the AH for equipping themselves, particularly at higher difficulties. The best way to advance your character wasn't to kill Belial, Azmodan, or Diablo himself, but to sit in the AH interface watching for just the right item to pop at just the right moment.

Real money only made it worse. I bought 25 million gold at one point and had a great time outfitting my Barbarian, followed immediately by the depressing knowledge that the best thing I could do to improve his gear further would be to buy everything I wanted on the AH. It was Diablo: Ferengi Edition. That's when I quit playing.

To Blizzard's credit, it has tried to address these problems already. The company introduced alternate level advancement via the Paragon system, it buffed legendary items to make them more competitive with top-end rare drops, and it introduced new recipes and events since 2012. Reaper of Souls, however, is easily the largest full-scale overhaul to date. 

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PengTuckKwok 10 months ago

Also you'll notice the skill changes:

You can basically pick up skills and talents for your class to make up or supplant your gear or play style (like lack of healing or regen) and the talents work pretty well. Plus no penalty to skill swapping.

Joel H 10 months ago

Yes. Nuking the skill-swap timer was a very good move.

AlbertoGarcaAlcolea 9 months ago

great job, I could try expanding on a friend's computer, since mine is broken and the work has been spectacular.

An act with great content, length, and with new mechanics, enemies, abilities, items.

At last they have given us a Diablo 3 honoring the saga.

I hope to get a team soon to continue playing it.

shadowphaxe 4 months ago

If I see a deal for Diablo III, I might actually try and pick it up now. The AH was a huge turn off for me and if they increased loot rates as well, it might actually be fun.

StaticFX 4 months ago

[quote user="shadowphaxe"]

If I see a deal for Diablo III, I might actually try and pick it up now. The AH was a huge turn off for me and if they increased loot rates as well, it might actually be fun.


RoS has been out for months now, and a new patch (2.1) is currently in testing on the PTR.. if you like Diablo, RoS is what should have been released originally. Its much more fun, its a bit harder to get what you want (instead of just buying it)... and replay is quite good. Then with the new changes coming it will be even better.


only downfall is the trading, only way to trade is if the person is in the game with you when the legendary item drops... otherwise, account bound. But still fun. Ladders (seasons) are coming along with legendary gems... its worth the money now

shadowphaxe 4 months ago

Yeah. After seeing this, they pretty much fixed everything I hated about it to start. Just need to find a good deal for it because paying $40 a piece just isn't worth it to me.

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