At first, I didn’t think I’d buy the Diablo III: Reaper of Souls expansion. Forty bucks is a hell of a lot of bread to dish out for an extra Act and a free-roam mode. Or… is it? As I’ve been saying to my dubious Diablo comrades, they’d be paying twenty dollars for the Crusader, the new level cap at seventy, and the content-packed Act V in Westmarch, and then twenty dollars for Adventure Mode. Why would free roam be worth that much? Oh, I’ll tell you. Not ‘til after I’ve explained the former, but I’ll certainly tell you.
The Crusader is the new stalwart character class. Strength is their main stat, tanky-DPS is their role, and holy is their standard damage type. You can’t leave the house without a shield; many of your skills augment block chance and scale their damage off of block magnitude. Hell, one of your first passive skills is wielding two-handers one-handed so you can keep that wall between you and your living lootboxes. Not that you need it, cuz they’ll be dead from all the brutal area skills you call down from the heavens. And here you thought the wizard was the only human artillery cannon in the game.
Act V puts these skills to the test. It’s longer than the other Acts, as to be expected of a Blizzard expansion, and fits well as the new endgame. Malthael, like every other enemy in Diablo III, is impersonal and unyieldingly intent on being a dick. The ex-Angel of Wisdom wants nothing more than to use the Black Soulstone to wipe out the human race and end the Eternal Conflict once and for all. A noble cause, surely, but since the player is human… No can do. The final fight reminds me of Touhou. You’ll find out why once you get there.
Adventure Mode! This is what keeps the game going after you’re sick of and done with all the plot business. When you enter a new Adventure Mode session, each Act and its areas and dungeons are populated with five bounties to complete, consisting of elite enemy elimination, dungeon clearing, completing events, and cleansing cursed chests/shrines. Once you’ve gotten stamped for all five, Tyrael will hand you a Horadoric cache, which is essentially a resplendent chest you open from your inventory. It drops everything a normal chest would, plus keystone fragments and blood shards.
Keystone fragments open up Nephalem Rifts, which are infinite dungeons that end in fights with unique bosses. The loot is always good, and the blood shards you get can be traded with Kadara for random (potentially legendary) items. More often than not, she’ll give you rare grade salvage fodder, but at least you’re not walking away empty-handed.
Which reminds me, Loot 2.0 is reason enough to pick up and play Diablo III all over again, even after complete disillusionment. It’s the difference a ring with a little bonus damage and a ring with a load of bonus damage, four hundred in your main stat, cooldown reduction, and bonus experience. You feel me? The streamlined difficulty system makes leveling up much more efficient due to the fact that enemies always scale to the level of the session’s host. Boosting the difficulty increases enemy health, rewards, drop rate, and provides other loot-oriented perks. The higher the better! Try Torment VI, tough guy. Get you some tier two legendaries.
Chris Garter of Destructoid reminded me of something else! The Auction House is gone. If you play, you already know that. I’ve never touched it since I hate player-driven markets, but if you liked it, then… whatever! The new loot system is better than some boring game-ruining overpriced shop full of scammers and jammers any day of the week! Here’s the review link, leading to a review that may well renew your hope in D3 as mine hopefully did: http://www.destructoid.com/review-diablo-iii-reaper-of-souls-272063.phtml