Diablo 3 was my first game of the franchise and although I didn’t know much about the series at first, I found out from other fans what the staples of a good Diablo game were supposed to be. From what I saw and what I experienced playing Diablo 3, originally the biggest draws the series itself had were the supposed dark and creepy atmosphere with the demons, the endless search for better loot to improve your character, and the randomly generating dungeons, all of which were big points for why Diablo fans had kept on playing number 2 even 13 years after the games release.
Diablo 3 took several steps in the wrong direction that kept many fans on edge. One of these steps was one that took the game away from its own roots by requiring online play for a series that was infamously single player. Another step was how they made the questing for loot literally obsolete by attaching an auction house where you could buy all the perfect loot that you would normally have had to randomly drop. For some fans, it also just didn’t have the same setting of horror and dark fantasy that kept the first two games so interesting and fun.
Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls seeks to fix all the problems with the original launch of Diablo 3 and while it took two years to do it, the game finally feels like the sequel that we should have had those two long years ago. RoS starts by getting rid of that easy to abuse auction house, therefore making the loot you do find off of monsters and bosses actually worth something again since its the only thing that you can use to upgrade your characters armor and weapons. RoS even improves the loot drop system by making it so that your loot only has stats that your class can use, so things like two-handed swords with intelligence dropping for a Barbarian can’t happen anymore. This makes all the loot you pick up possibly an upgrade to your already existing gear and nothing will be purely useless or end up in a scenario where you find a legendary weapon that won’t automatically give you a huge power boost.
RoS also adds another chapter to the Campaign in which it finally brings Diablo back to its creepy and horror based roots. Since you defeated Diablo and sealed him in the Black Soulstone at the end of the regular game, all the demons have been defeated. Malthael, who was the Archangel of Wisdom before he disappeared, comes and steals the Soulstone calling himself the Angel of Death and attacks all human cities on Sanctuary. When the trailer was first shown for this expansion I was enthralled by the whole Angel of Death theme because it brought something different to the Diablo story as it wasn’t just more demons to slay. Instead of having infernal demons to fight the enemies become creepy and soul based, which helps to change up the atmosphere and make more unique enemies to fight while also getting away from the demons that you had been fighting for 4 acts already.
RoS also has an additional Adventure mode in which you have the ability to go to any of the games acts and do small missions called Bounties. These missions can be anything from killing a certain randomly generated Boss enemy to killing an actual boss, clearing out a dungeon floor of enemies, or doing cursed area events that just have you killing waves of baddies. The bounties have a nice variety to them and if you do all 5 bounties in one Act you will receive a chest that basically spills forth more loot that you can grab. The mode also has added another new way to play, which are the Nephilim Rifts. The Nephilim Rifts are basically big enemy gauntlets where you have to run through a certain number of enemies before the Rift Guardian shows up to act as a final boss. The Rifts are way harder than normal dungeons as they are crawling with Blue Elites with various abilities and they can even put two elite groups together, which is usually massively challenging.
You can only open the Rifts however with keys that you can get from bounties so it basically all comes full circle. You do Bounties to receive Keys, then use the Keys to open Rifts and then rinse and repeat for massive replay-ability as the bounties and rifts are randomized so you rarely end up doing the same exact bounty twice. This again adds massive replay-ability to game when you are done with the campaign and allows for a way better alternative than to just play the campaign again on higher difficulty like when the game originally came out. My only gripe is that if you leave your game in the middle of some complete Bounties that bounty progress doesn’t save and it just resets them all, which kind of makes it frustrating especially if you play the game in quick spurts rather than full marathons. It is also a problem if you end up getting disconnected anytime while doing bounties especially if you are close to completing one.
The Crusader is another awesome addition to the game and while most people may feel like he is just another version of a Paladin, his abilities and gameplay is a nice refreshing change to how the other classes are normally played. The Crusader was a bulky, healing, damage dealing force of light that can charge straight into the fray and who had the abilities to buff allies and get them out of it if they really needed to. The Barbarian and Monk were both tanky damage dealers as well but they both played extremely different so adding another bulky class helped smooth out the games classes to a 50-50 ratio. They are a fitting addition to the roster and help add more to the lore of the game explaining more about Sanctuaries demon slayers and their history.
There is also a new vendor added into the game: the Mystic. She functions as kind of a re-roller for item stats with random results. You basically can place any item you want into the enchanting window and then by clicking next to any of the specific weapon properties it will give you a list of what properties it can be replaced with. None of the properties you can get reduce the damage the weapon does but if you didn’t want a weapon to do poison damage and your character gets boosted off of Fire damage, you could try to randomly re-roll that specific property to try to get Fire damage. It gets more expensive the higher quality items you tweak, with Legendaries of course costing the most to re-roll properties on but I think it holds a lot of value because it allows the player to tweak almost anything they want and to get rid of random properties they don’t use with possibly one they can.
The Mystic also functions as a Transmogrification center, so basically anything you unlock by picking up loot you can pay to have your armor to look like. Legendary weapons are included in this but you have to unlock them by finding them before you can use them as transmogs but it allows you to really make your character look like you want them to, especially when you get into dyes that were already in the game. It adds more customization and really lets you personalize them so they don’t look like every other generic class, as it adds the ability to try and tweak your gear to make it just right for what you are going for. I think the Mystic adds some interesting things to game without making anything too broken or easy.
Reaper of Souls did everything it could have possibly needed to for Diablo 3; it fixed all the problems with the original game, added new content that is just awesome and interesting to play and explore, and added almost infinite replay ability to a game that is all about getting loot to gather more loot. I think that it’s a fantastic expansion for Diablo 3 although I kind of wish that these problems hadn’t been a part of the original game launch. Blizzard though has learned from their mistakes, really taking customer feedback into consideration and based their expansion around adding what the fans wanted and getting rid of the things that they didn’t. Now if we could just play the game offline if we wanted to.