After the highly anticipated and crazy launch of Diablo 3 in 2012 and the disappointment of the itemization system, auction house debates and lack of end-game content, the beta for Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls is finally upon us. Reaper of Souls is the first expansion to Diablo III that is set to add tons of new content and fix the current game’s main issues.
Loot 2.0 strongly improves upon the original loot system of Diablo III. This is the way the itemization should have been in the first place since the beginning of Diablo III. After playing numerous characters from scratch in the beta I was actually having a-lot more fun than I did in the original version of Diablo III. The system is much more rewarding, fair and it’s well balanced.When you kill mobs and item drops, chances are that that it has the appropriate stats for your class as opposed to something completely opposite. The loot drops less often, but the point is that when it does drop it’s actually useful and most likely an upgrade, especially during the early levels in the game.
"At the end of every act the final boss guarantees to drop a legendary, although it is still possible to get multiple legendaries throughout the act depending on how lucky you get."
The loot system also applies to the crafting system. Crafting is now actually useful and gathering materials are worth your time. You can easily craft items and get good stats/rolls within the first 5 or even less crafts. However, sometimes you can get a bit unlucky and not get what you want until 10 crafts later, but that’s usually not the case and it’s not really an issue. Another nice thing is that items of white and gray quality are not useless anymore because they can be salvaged for a new crafting material called “common debris” which are required for crafting items.
Loot 2.0 has also added many new secondary stats that never existed in the original game. The biggest update in the loot system is the fact that legendary items are now actually deserved to be called ‘Legendary’ due to their massive upgrade and truly unique stats. It’s quite exciting now to see legendaries drop items because they can totally turn the game around for you, especially when you are playing Hardcore mode and trying to stay alive and have as much advantage as possible early on.
At the end of every act the final boss guarantees to drop a legendary, although it is still possible to get multiple legendaries throughout the act depending on how lucky you get. One of the legendary that I have received during my playthrough was a mace that had good stats for my Crusader and an awesome proc that had a chance to cast chain lighting across multiple enemies on a hit. It did a decent amount of damage, looked cool and it made me feel more powerful as a low level despise the fact that I was only level 20 or so when I have received the legendary. Stuff like this is what makes the game fun and exciting. Blizzard has finally delivered the fun factor to their itemization system for Diablo III.
The paragon system has also received a major overhaul/update due to the majority of the players asking for state allocations. Blizzard has finally implemented a true stat allocation in their ever-popular Paragon system. The paragon levels are now infinite rather than 100 cap at per character. What’s even better is that all of your toons will be at the same paragon level because the system is now account-wide. However, Hardcore and Soft-core characters will have different Paragon levels depending on your toons on each of the two different servers. If your character is level 75 paragon on Hardcore then the rest of the characters on Hardcore will also be 75, but, if your software characters are 50 then they will also be 50 on soft-core. Long story short, the Paragon levels don’t share experience points across hardcore/soft-core servers.
"Your core stats can be raised infinitely, but the offensive, defensive and bonus stats each can only be raised by 50 times each."
Stat locations are divided into 4 different groups; Core, Offense, Defense and Bonus. Your core stats can be raised infinitely, but the offensive, defensive and bonus stats each can only be raised by 50 times each. Your core stats include Strength, Intelligence, Dexterity and Vitality, those can go up infintely. However, stats like Attack Speed, Crit Damage, Crit Chance can only go up by 50 levels each and get capped. It’s very difficult to judge on how this system actually works out in the long run due to the simple fact that this something that needs to be tested worldwide once the game gets released on March 25th. However, from my personal beta experience, it’s safe to say that this the step in the right direction and it makes the game feel a lot more progressive and interesting for those who enjoy the true end-game progression.
The Crusader is a brand new strength based class which are pretty much the Paladin from Diablo 2 with a couple of new tricks and unique gameplay mechanics. Playing the Crusader from start to finish multiple times was a complete blast. It was refreshing to try out something and exciting at the same time.The best way to describe this class is by saying that he/she is simply a walking tank that is able to pull off a decent amount of damage up-close and personal or even mid-range. One of my favorite Crusader abilities is the Shield Bash which allows you to charge an enemy and beat the living crap out of the demons. The shield bash does a lot of damage on its own and feels very powerful thanks to the fantastic particle effects/graphics.
Another one of my favorite skills is called Shield. The Crusader can throw it at the enemy and it bounces off from one to the next and then back to you causing tremendous damage and creates satisfying sound effects. The best part about this skill is that you can put a rune on it which stuns enemies every time it bounces off them making it one of the most useful skills for tough fights and its fun to use.
"Blizzard has created new graphical additions to their Diablo 3 engine that makes Act V feel more immersive than the previous acts."
The Crusader is also able to get on his mighty ghostly steed that runs super fast and can be used as escape mechanism to get out of difficult situations. This ability is called Steed Charge and it can also be used to damage enemies or even heal yourself and your party depending on the rune you decide to choose. It’s a super flashy skill that is fun to look at and it makes the Crusader truly stand out on his/her own. The Crusader has many more abilities that I can talk about all day, but that’s something that will have to be saved for our final review of the expansion. Overall, I was satisfied with this class and I am looking forward to playing him/her in the retail version of Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls later this year.
Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls adds a new Act to the main storyline/campaign of Diablo 3. The new Act takes place in Westmarch, which is a gothic-like city that has been taken over by Malthael. He is the next baddie that you will have to take care of in the expansion. Malthael has risen ghosts, undead and all kinds of evil things from the dark to wreak havoc upon Westmarch to destroy humanity and it’s the Nephaelms (the players in Diablo 3 lore) job to stop him from killing innocent life and protect the Soulstone from evil.
Blizzard has created new graphical additions to their Diablo 3 engine that makes Act V feel more immersive than the previous acts. First and foremost, the act is much more randomized both in exterior/interior areas, the lighting system is improved. My favorite part about this Act is the story and the setting/mood that it has to offer. It’s much more dark, gritty and evil than previous Acts and that’s how a Diablo game should feel like the majority of the time.
Blizzard has also over-hauled the core gameplay mechanics by adding a new difficulty system, scaled leveling and of course the addition of Adventure mode. Leveling is less tedious and much more enjoyable due to the fact that monsters now scale up with your character as he/she levels up. So for example, you can replay your favorite part of an Act and get yourself all the way to 70 without killing a single boss if you really wanted to.
"In Adventure mode, players are able to travel to any waypoint that exists in the game and jump across Acts whenever they want to at any during their adventure."
Levels are also not seperated by difficulties like they used to. You can play the entire campaign from 1-70 on any difficulty you want. Previously, you were forced to play through the entire campaign 4 times to get to 60. First you played on normal to get to level 32, then Nightmare to get to 50 and Hell to get to 60 and then finally you unlocked Inferno which was the end-game difficulty for Diablo 3. This will not exist anymore as soon as patch 2.0 hits live servers which will be available sometime before Reaper of Souls and will be playable for original Diablo 3 owners without the purchase of the expansion.
The new difficulty system now has Normal, Hard, Expert, Master and Torment which has a difficulty slider adjustment on top of it. Torment can only be unlocked by reaching level 70. The difficulty will also have higher drop rates for legendaires, it will also drop items that are exclusive to that difficulty and will be mostly played by players who want to experience the ultimate challenge and the best rewards possible in the game.
Exclusive to Diablo III: Reaper of Souls is the Adventure mode. Adventure mode is a completely new gameplay mode that can be unlocked after finishing all of the 5 Acts. In Adventure mode, players are able to travel to any waypoint that exists in the game and jump across Acts whenever they want to at any during their adventure. However, the main mechanic of Adventure Mode is the bounty missions and nephalem rifts.
When you start playing Adventure Mode you are randomly given 25 different bounties to complete, 5 in each Act. Bounties can range from killing a specific/certain amount of mobs in a particular zone, completing specific events and so on. Once you complete all 5 bounties in an Act you will be given a item that will grant you access to Nephalem Rift. Nephalem Rifts are randomized dungeons that have random environments, bosses and monsters. Once you complete a Nephalem Rift you will be given a special bag that you can click on in your inventory to see the rewards you have received.
This is a completely new way to play Diablo III and farm for items and this mode is where most end-game players will spend their time in for the ultimate loot hunt. Although, the Adventure mode was a tad buggy and had missing bounties in the beta on Act 5, but that’s because everything is still in work-in-progress and hopefully will be fixed in the final release. Despite the current technical issues in Adventure mode, it’s probably one of my favorite additions in the expansion besides the new Act and the new Crusader class.
The beta for Diablo III: Reaper of Souls has left a positive impression on me. Thanks to the new loot system, Act 5, Crusader class, difficulty system overhaul and Adventure Mode there is a lot to look forward to talk about and experience. Look for our final verdict of Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls in the coming months as we get closer to the release of the expansion.