Diablo 3 :Reaper of Souls
Ya know, I keep telling myself I will keep this blog up to somewhat date, and try to add something new weekly. Well, I keep messing that up. Two reasons for that, 1. I do a lot of work on my bi-weekly podcasts called The Three Guys that keeps me busy. If you like movie podcasts, check it out, I’ll start posting them here more frequently than once in a while. The second thing is I’m a rather finicky writer. Without assignments, I tend to only write when inspiration hits. I have a ton of half finished ideas, and I should definitely get those down at some point, as I think there are some interesting ideas in there, but it’s hard for me to sit down and write. Also, gaming happens, because outside of stuff I want to review, there are just games I want to play. And I can’t think of a bigger time waster that caught my attention recently than Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls.
Truth be told, I was never HUGE into Diablo. By that I mean I was never wrapped up into it as big as some people get. I had a friend who gave me his copy of Diablo 2 because he was losing sleep over playing this game, he was addicted to it. He later went on to play WOW when it was released. That was my revenge though, as I had gotten him into it. But when Diablo 3 was announced, I thought to check it out. And that was when I first learned, not even the mighty Blizzard is immune to day one PC issues.
Still, that was eventually worked out, and I think my opinion on it was the same as many others, meh. It’s a game that tries too hard to be WOW and Diablo at the same time, and not really succeeding in either. It’s passable, but it was never going to be the game changer that Diablo 2 was, by far. To be fair though, it was never gonna live up to that hype, but it wasn’t much more than passable. I eventually put the game away after completing it, I never even bothered to level up one guy to max level, and let it sit on my shelf. Then it’s expansion was announced, and like every other time Blizzard does it, the intro cinematic/trailer got me hyped. Eventually, I got the game. And let me tell you, it succeeds in bring Diablo 3 back to form. So lets talk quickly about it, and give you my impressions.
By the time the expansion came out, the real money auction house was gone. I never had a problem with this in theory, because players were already buying and selling gear black market style in Diablo 2. I can’t blame Blizzard for trying to get in on that action, but when it effected drop rates is what bothered me. In order to get the best gear for your class, instead of playing the game it often turned into a shopping trip. Drop rates have such been reworked with the auction house removed, so now in order to get that rare drop, you can actually just play the game. A novel concept. To prevent the black market from returning though, Blizzard implemented a tool they used in WOW, binding it to an account as you pick it up, with only the other players who were there when it dropped being able to access it. Everyone still gets their own loot still to prevent ninja thievery, another lesson they learned with WOW.
Speaking of gear, stats have been reworked dramatically. Gear now has a tendency to drop only stats that you need, rather than some seemingly global pool. If your like me, and have a old character from way back when, you probably noticed all your gear has some stats you need, and many you don’t. Gear drops have been reworked so more often then not you get stuff that is actually useful to you, with only the stats you use, like Intelligence for Wizards and Dexterity for Monks. Sure you still get gear for alts you have at times, but it makes it easier to build an alt at the same time while gearing your main. This gear fix was a godsend, exactly what the game needed, to keep the player playing for loot.
But Reaper of Souls is not solely a loot pinata. I mean, that’s why many people play it, and Diablo 3 in general, but there is a great deal more to it. The story is actually rather good, and a solid follow up the original game, and is in a lot of ways, better. In Reaper of Souls, the former Archangel of Wisdom Malthael, who vanished after the corruption of the world stone in Diablo 2, has returned and stolen the Black Soulstone with the essence of all the Prime Evils, and intends to use it for… well, not to spoil anything, but he calls himself the Angel of Death now, I bet you can guess what he plans to do with it.
(if you guessed he’s here to sell you girl scout cookies, your sadly mistaken)
Admittedly, this is a much more direct plot than the original game.. but, two things really help carry it. First, the character of Malthael is lore related, tied to something series long players have actually done in the past, and is a well known name, a Diablo series celebrity if you will. You would be surprised how much facing a boss that is more than a random bad guy can have an affect on the story. The second point is Diablo 3’s story.. wasn’t all that good. It tried to create a sympathetic character with Leah, a girl with a dark history that would fall to evil, and it was all destined from her birth, she could not prevent it. The framework is OK.. but Leah herself is not all that interesting, and is usually a damsel in distress more than anything else. It just felt really hollow to me, and was by the numbers rather predictable. This expansion however is a little more natural feeling, and hopefully with expansions in the future(should we get any) The story of Diablo will continue in this nature of established ideas.
The two other big things to talk about are Crusaders and the adventure mode. I can’t say much about the Crusader, as I haven’t played one, but from what I can tell they appear to be very much like the paladin from Diablo 2, or like a cross between a barbarian and a monk, so while I can’t talk too much about that, I can say it seems fun. Adventure mode however kicks ass. You do have to beat the campaign (Reaper of Souls included) to access it, but once you do, it’s game time.. No fussing about with specific chapters or plot, your able to jump in and go to any location in any of the 5 acts and complete bounties, which are quests, and generally run around causing mayhem as only you can. Each act has 5 bounties which range from killing certain mobs and bosses to clearing out a floor or a random event. Do all 5 bounties in a act and you are given a Horadric Cache, which is a fancy term for a box of loot. It’s a great way to just run around and just randomly kill mobs with friends, much like Diablo 2 did, only without the fussing of which act you were in or what part of the plot you were on. You can even preset the game to any difficulty you want, and even raise it or lower it once while playing. It’s also the fastest way to level an alt, as once you unlock it, its usable by all your characters. This might be the best part of the expansion, hands down. It’s a truly does make the series feel like Diablo again.
I do highly recommend the expansion, even for folks that were bored of the vanilla version of the game. Once you unlock adventure mode, the game feels just like it should, but the actual campaign segment of the game is no let down. If you are not a diablo fan of course, nothing here will change your mind, it’s just solid Diablo fun. For anyone who still plays, feel free to add me on Battle.net (TGnerd#1689) and me and my monk can help stomp the forces of diablo, and whack loot pinatas.