When Diablo 3 first came out I, like many others, were of the opinion that it was a good game with a few crippling issues. For one, the inferno difficulty was unbearably frustrating, made even worse so when playing with friends. The auction house also proved to be the most divisive decision in the franchise’s history, with hardcore fans of the first two installments left feeling like their precious franchise had fallen victim to the “pay-to-win” mentality.
There’s little doubt that Diablo 3 launched with some serious problems, and Blizzard’s reputation suffered because of them. The company vowed to make right the mistakes that had made, and over the course of the last several patches, they’ve worked towards that. Now, with the release of Reaper of Souls, Diablo 3 finally feels like the product it was meant to be. Given that, here are five reasons you should totally give the game another shot.
(In no particular order)
5. There is a new class.
The crusader class – new with the expansion – is a strength based warrior of the light, feeling a lot like the paladin archetype from other games. In addition to the simple “new and shiny” factor, the class gives returning players a chance to start the game fresh from level one, re-familiarizing them with the gameplay while still feeling like they’re doing something new.
4. The difficulty curve is better.
At first Diablo 3 had 4 difficulty settings and the hardest was too much even for most of the hardcore players. Then monster power was introduced, giving inferno mode 10 separate steps up in power. Now, the system has been even further streamlined in a way that feels great.
There are 5 difficulties, with the hardest – Torment – having six extra difficulty settings. Players can also set the difficulty before even beating the game, so there is no longer a need to beat the game on normal to access nightmare, etc… Players may start from level one on whatever difficulty they like, and monsters will scale with their level. One caveat though, you must be level 60 to unlock the hardest difficulty.
In addition to the difficulty being easier to manage, the difficulty levels actually feel pretty different. There is challenge to be found at virtually any level, and if you’re max level and geared out, there are still some great challenges to be found. Also gone are certain combinations of abilities on random elites. The days of getting a pack of blues with jailer, frosty balls, lava pools, and poison pools are over. The monsters are still plenty challenging, just not frustratingly so.
3. The auction house is gone!
Yep. You read that right. If you left Diablo 3 because the game started feeling like an endless gold grind then you’re in luck. Your gold is still important, but gone are the days of farming millions of gold just to buy gear. The gear you get now is earned by you as you actually play the game. It’s a brilliant and innovative concept, but so far playing the game to earn gear has been a big success for Blizzard.
2. The loot is waaaaay better.
Diablo is, and has always been, a loot-fest. You kill monsters, you loot their corpses, you get cool stuff. Repeat. Diablo 3 destroyed that in a way, by making loot feel so bland. With 3 different stats there was only a thirty-three (repeating of course) chance that any given loot would be relevant to you. Furthermore, a lot of items had split stats which, unlike Diablo 2, weren’t very good for anyone. Items with strength but also with intelligence felt like a waste, and a perfectly rolled item felt so rare that it seemed to be the Holy Grail. It left players feeling like ninety percent of what they picked up was auction house fodder or total garbage. Enter loot 2.0.
Let me be clear; loot 2.0 is the best and most important change to Diablo 3, period. How it works is incredibly simple (begging the question as to why it wasn’t like this to begin with). You pick your class and you play the game. Loot drops. The game recognizes your class and tailors the loot to be relevant to you the vast majority of the time. So, when I play my barbarian strength gear drops, when I play my wizard intelligence gear drops. It’s not set in stone, so you’ll occasionally get pieces for other classes, but for the most part, everything you pick up is worth at least having a look at. It doesn’t mean that every single piece is an upgrade (that would be boring too) but most gear at least has the potential to be something cool.
To make things even better, the crafting system applies this same principle. If you have the blacksmith forge you a pair of shoulders while playing your barbarian, they’ll have strength on them. Have him craft the same item on your demon hunter and they’ll have dexterity. Not only is that, but the crafted gear is actually quite good. All that gold that you spent leveling up the blacksmith can now be put to use.
This change was pretty necessary given the removal of the auction house. Without the ability to buy your way to the top, the old loot system was far too punishing. The best part of this change is that it makes Diablo 3 feel like a Diablo game again. The game itself was always fun, but the loot was such a mess that it felt unplayable after a while. With the new system, the game feels vibrant again, with the allure of a new weapon just past the next pack of elites.
1. New modes and other changes.
In addition to a new class, and a new act, Reaper of Souls also introduces a couple of new gameplay modes. Adventure mode allows players to play through a chosen area of the game without bothering with the story. Instead of having to progress through a specific quest line, players can now explore areas looking to take part in events, kill specific bosses, etc… Playing the game this way allows players to complete bounties, and earn tokens that they can use to open Nephalem rifts, the other new mode in the game.
Nephalem rifts act as Diablo 3’s apology for not having randomized dungeons. In a rift, players will find a completely randomized assortment of monsters, visual layout, weather, etc… At the end of each rift there will be a boss. After killing said boss, there will be a special chest with the possibility of some unique loot.
These two new modes offer some great endgame gameplay, so it’s good that Blizzard greatly improved paragon levels as well. Upon reaching the maximum level, players now earn paragon levels by continuing to play. Each level entitles the player to one point which can be used to improve a specific part of their character. Life on hit, gold find, critical hit chance, etc… can all be improved using paragon points. Players never stop earning the levels either, and they can be easily reassigned should a player decide that some extra life regeneration would be better than critical hit damage.