Okay guys, this is what I’ll be doing the week of March 25th: Make sure my calendar is clear from any social events (lol who am I kidding, of course it is), have a backup internet connection (just in case) and stock up on tons of Cheetos and caffeine because there will be no sleeping. At all.
I have played the beta to Diablo 3‘s latest expansion Reaper of Souls on and off for the past few weeks. I just finished the campaign last night (would’ve finished it earlier if my internet connection wasn’t wonky – yes PLDT, I’m looking at you), with a solid eight hours game play on Act V and the all-new Adventure mode. I really had a great time playing and if you’re looking at a recommendation whether to buy it day one, you can stop reading now and have my big fat YES. YES most especially if you’re starting to play Diablo 3 only now because you’re getting to the best version yet.
I am dying to talk to people about the new expansion’s story but I won’t be an asshole and spoil it all for you. Let me say one thing though, it is BAD ASS.
Here’s a rundown on what’s new on Reaper of Souls!
- The Crusader is definitely the most fun to play with, and this is coming from a person who has played all the available job classes in the core game, so you can trust me on this. The crusader is so damn versatile you can pretty much do everything you want – be the tank, be the main damage dealer, do long-range attacks, dish out AOE damage, whatever you need him to do, he can do. Best of all, the crusader can carry a 2H weapon on one hand so he can still carry a shield with him. I can see some barbarian players going green at this awesome passive skill. The hammer skill (Justice) and splash damage skill (Fist of the Heavens) also mimics the witch doctor’s play style while being tough as nails. While the barb and WDs will not be deemed obsolete, the crusader can pretty much give these guys a run for their money.
- The Mystic is an all new NPC who has joined you in your journey in Westmarch (where Act V mostly takes place). The mystic has interesting services such as transmogrify and enchant. Transmogrifying items is a novel idea; you can change the look of your equipment so if you have a favorite look, you can keep it even if the item you’re wearing is of a different style. Also, have you ever picked up a legendary item but found out that the stat bonuses it gives are pretty much worthless for your class? You can now re-roll the stats for any item that you have in exchange for crafting items and a bit of gold so hold on to your trash legendaries and give the enchant service a try.
- Crafting materials are now dropped by monsters. Yep, you don’t have to keep salvaging the blues, yellows and oranges that you get to produce crafting items. Most monsters now drop these things so you can be a pack rat and keep all the legendaries that you nab. There are even legendary crafting materials now. Nifty.
- Special legendary items now drop from bosses. After fighting some of the bosses in Sanctuary, they curiously dropped legendary items specific for my class to use. Some of these legendary items also had special skills that activate during use. One of the items that I got is called Pox Faulds which stinks up from time to time like Ghom’s poison fart attack. I’ve tried standing near a mob and waited for this ability to kick in and it was mad, juvenile fun. Also, dropping special legendaries is a really good idea too as you can get to farm more items when you keep replaying boss fights, and what’s great is that…
- 80-90% of the loot that you get is for the class you are playing! Blizzard has introduced Loot 2.0 which makes most of the stuff that you pick up during your runs usable for the current class that you are playing. This makes the hunt more fun as you’re guaranteed to get items that is for the main class you’re trying to gear. I guess this is also because…
- They are shutting down the auction house. I have mixed feelings about the auction house to be honest. I don’t hate it because I’m able to easily get items that I need from other players that don’t need them, but at the same time I hate it because Blizzard has probably tweaked the drop rate of items to be really crappy for the auction house to be more useful. In the end, the game’s fun factor has dropped since most of the time you’re not able to get the stuff that you need. Which brings me to another point…
- The legendary items are now account bound. You can say goodbye to trading legendaries with friends. All legendary items are now account bound even when they are still unidentified. I guess you better get back the oranges you’ve lent to friends or you might not get them back when March 25th rolls in.
- The side quests for the other characters round up their story nicely. You can get into special quests for Kormac the templar, Eirena the enchantress, Lyndon the scoundrel as well as service NPCs like Haedrig Eamon and Covetous Shen and find out more about them. What happened to Eirena’s sisters? Is Covetous Shen really a god?
- The difficulty levels have changed. You can start up to the third hardest level (Expert) right off the bat so you do not need to replay it two more times (from normal and nightmare) to get to the hardest difficulty. Nightmare has now been changed to Expert and two more difficulty levels called Master and Torment is added to the game. You can only get to these levels by reaching 60 and 70.
- And yes, the level cap is raised to 70 as I have mentioned, which means extra passive and active skills for everyone!
- Paragon levels do not have cap anymore and the experience points are shared within all of your characters. With leveling up your paragon, you can now assign your characters extra stats (instead of it auto-assigning) so it gives you now an option to really build your character. I still don’t know whether I like this or not since I don’t really like thinking of builds (more of gearing characters), but we’ll see.
- You can now form clans in Reaper of Souls. This is great for gaming communities and groups so you can easily see friends’ progress and stuff. I haven’t really tried this feature yet since I’m the only one who has access to the beta from the group and I’m a snob when playing with people I don’t know (huehue) but maybe I’ll try it out sometime.
- The adventure mode adds an extra layer to the game. If you’re up for random challenges, you can give the adventure mode a whirl and complete missions in different dungeons. Completing these bite-sized (well, okay some are not so bite-sized) adventures will reward you with special gold that you can use to buy random equipment from the NPCs. Finishing all adventures in an act also rewards you with a Horadric Cache. Getting a bunch will let you build a treasure chest that has sweet items, I assume. I have to get back to you on this once I actually get to build and open one.
- Cursed chests and fountains can be found in different parts of the map. To open these chests, there will be certain conditions like beating a number of enemies guarding the chest, clear an area and so on.
- Aside from dropping health globes, monsters also drop a white globe called Nephalem Glory. This gives bonuses much like getting Nephalem Valor and fountains and lasts for about two minutes. You can extend the time of the bonuses by picking up health globes so WDs will have a field day on this for sure.
- Possibly one of the best tweaks to the game, you can now revive from corpse. YAY!
Sadly, some parts of Act V is still incomplete and only have placeholders for texts and NPCs and have a bunch of bugs yet to be zapped. I find myself sometimes fighting bosses that get stuck and skills that do not have an actual description yet. This is of course purely understandable and acceptable – even in beta, the level of polish for the latest act is very impressive. The city of Westmarch is very dark which brings me back to the ultra-gothic feel of Diablo 2 and the new tracks they used are hair-raisingly good. Also, the beta stops just as when you’re about to fight the last (?) boss in the act so it really left me hanging so bad that I wish we can fast-forward to March 25th now. Please.
Again, if you’re just jumping to Diablo 3, this is the perfect time for you to do so. A lot of things in the core game have been tweaked in Reaper of Souls which makes the game more challenging with the new difficulty levels, more exciting with the crusader class, and the new additional features makes a more satisfying game experience for the dungeon crawlers and looters like me.
Asiasoft is the exclusive distribution partner of Blizzard in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls will be available in the Philippines on March 25, 2014 at the following suggested retail prices of P1,800 for the standard edition and P3,500 for the collector’s edition which contains the following:
- A full complement of Diablo III helms and weapons, primed for transmogrification
- A Ghost Wolf minion players can summon
- Three additional character slots to accomodate new heroes
- A World of Warcraft in-game companion pet: the Treasure Goblin
- A set of StarCraft II Crusader themed Battle.net portraits and Malthael-themed decals
- A full-color hardcover art book
- A behind-the-scenes Blu-ray/DVD two-disc set
- A limited edition Reaper of Souls mouse pad
See you in Westmarch! The crusade goes on!