Diablo III Patched, Now Greater, More Seasonal

By Ben Barrett on August 29th, 2014 at 6:00 pm.

Replace eyes with spikes for +3 damage.

Because video games, one of the things added in the latest Diablo III patch is “The Cesspools.” They’re the sewers of Westmarch, a city overrun by an angel of death and his hoards of minions, making them only slightly better than a toy store in the run up to Christmas. They’re included in patch 2.1.0 as a new area to explore within the endgame Nephalem Rifts, quick one-shot dungeons with totally random layout and encounters. These have also received an upgrade, now with timed “Greater Rift” versions that provide unique rewards and global leaderboards for speed and difficulty. The most significant introduction is Seasons, similar to the character ladders in ealier Diablo games, which allow a competitive version of levelling and loot hoarding.

While patch 2.1.0 (named in accordance with Blizzard’s unhealthy fascination with unnecessary zeroes) was introduced earlier in the week, Seasons were held back until 8pm UK time this evening. It’s in an effort to ensure exploits are found and hotfixed before they can be used to gain an unfair advantage in what is as close to PvP as Diablo has had so far. They’re also staggering the launch times per region, so check this post for your time if you’re not EU-based.

I’ve been rather heavily playing the patch since Wednesday and having a hell of a time. It’s not quite as significant an upgrade as the expansion itself, but it has the game-changing impact I’ve not felt since MMO patch days. The new greater rifts are awesome, finally managing to make madly dashing between packs of powerful mobs fun as well as effective. Their individual loot is removed, instead dropping orbs to collect that spawn the final boss of the area faster. Once it’s defeated, all that loot you would have gotten spews out of him in a humongous pile of goodies, guaranteed to contain the more powerful legendary items.

The Vault was a personal highlight, a new area that can spawn as a portal when Treasure Goblins are killed. The running loot piñatas were always one of the game’s highlights, but this has redoubled the joy in finding and chasing one. It takes you to their home dimension where you can steal a frankly ridiculous amount of gold and kill their queen. It benefits strongly from the removal of the auction house earlier this year, guaranteed legendaries and riches of this magnitude not being possible when there was a market to crash.

Blizzard’s run down of all the major additions is below, while the exhaustive patch notes are over here. It’s reintroduced Diablo as my favourite second-screen or co-op game, so I’d recommend giving it a shot.

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47 Comments »

  1. Freud says:

    It’s an excellent patch that offers a more variety and a competitive aspect. The ladder seasons will be reasonably short (around two months) which is a smart choice.

  2. abrokenchinadoll says:

    So lets just copy POE now.. really. Everything from a “season” carries over.

  3. Reapy says:

    I’ve been slowly tipping back on trying d3 again since the reaper of souls release, I put it down in a bit of boredom/anger near release, but with all the patches I think it is time to give it another shot.

    I do sort of hate the 40 dollar price of entry for the expansion though.

    • Premium User Badge

      BathroomCitizen says:

      40 dollars? Well, let’s talk about the 40 euros pricing.

      • mvar says:

        It seems gaming has its own currency rates as 1$ == 1E all year long

        • Smoky_the_Bear says:

          Yeah Europeans get properly screwed when it comes to buying games considering $1 = 0.75 Euro. You still overpay in Britain compared to the US but it’s not as bad because at least a $40 game is priced at £30 so your only paying about 0.1 times more rather than 0.25 times more which happens with the Euro pricings.

    • derbefrier says:

      I was pretty disappointed with D3 on release. I thought the leveling system was shallow and boring and the loot itemization( not the frequency of good drops thats not what itemization is) was also boring and shallow.

      RoS did a lot to to fix these things. while the leveling and skill system still leaves a lot to be desired, the new itemization is great with lots of interesting gear to play with, balance is a lot better allowing for more varied skill choices, upgrades drop pretty regularly and the new content is fun and the combat(the best part of the game imo) is still great fun. RoS turned D3 into a pretty solid game. It still has its faults but the joy of combat and finding new and interesting gear overshadows a lot of its shortcomings. I would say its worth it.

    • Moraven says:

      It was on sale for $20, at least in NA. It will likely be on sale again this fall over the holidays.

      • Reapy says:

        Great, thank you all, will pop in on normal and keep my eyes peeled for a sale!

        • cthulhie says:

          At the risk of appearing to be a total shill, I won’t link to any specific examples, but there are sites that sell game codes that pretty regularly have sales. You can find some reputable ones….

          Actually, fuck it. G2A is having a sale this weekend. I’ve been eyeballing Diablo III specifically and debating whether to hold off until the expansion goes on sale as well. I had a recent good experience with them both purchasing *and then getting a refund* on a game code. (!!!)

  4. djbriandamage says:

    “While patch 2.1.0 (named in accordance with Blizzard’s unhealthy fascination with unnecessary zeroes) ”

    But… my mom tells me I’m necessary. :(

  5. JFS says:

    Hordes, no? Or is there messy-dom going on in Westmarch?

  6. mtomto says:

    Loot and levels – Blizzard games in a nutshell. Would be nice if Blizzard would try making an immersive and fun game that doesn’t require you to be a masochist.

  7. Sian says:

    Still always online? Still not interested.

    • OscarWilde1854 says:

      It is with much regret that I’m going to put my safety on the line and jump out on a limb to say “The console versions are playable offline..”

      I know. Blasphemy.. Frankly I was much more pleased with the console version anyway.. it ported surprisingly well in my opinion and the offline mode is a bonus.. Normally I put my PC first and it pains me to even suggest it.. but if you’re a fan of Diablo and Offline is the only thing keeping you from playing: you should check out a console version.

      • Geebs says:

        The console version also has the advantage that you can play with a controller, which would be a nice break for my carpal tunnels. Diablo’s basically a twin stick shooter with a really retrograde control scheme, anyway.

        • Smoky_the_Bear says:

          It does however have the disadvantage that you need to pay £300 for a PS4 that’s bugger all use for anything else at this point. That’s an expensive version of D3.

          • Geebs says:

            …which is why I’ve settled for the much cheaper option of playing the PC version and bitching about it on the internet whenever the pain in my fingers subsides 8-D

          • malkav11 says:

            There’s versions of the Ultimate Evil edition for 360 and PS3 also, if you have either of those. They’re cheaper, even. They’re not comparable to the PC version in terms of visual fidelity or framerate, unlike the current gen console releases, but if you want an offline version of the game (that Blizzard can and should implement on the PC version but claims they can’t) or to play with a gamepad (which Blizzard could and probably should implement on the PC version but probably isn’t going to) and have a last gen console, well, you have that option.

          • iainl says:

            Blizzard argue (with some justification) that the whole game’s rebalanced for consoles – the camera moved in tighter which limits how far ranged combat can shoot, and they’ve dropped the number of enemies on screen to both compensate for that as well as deal with the limitations both the GPU on old-gen consoles and the different control scheme allow. So it’s more than just allowing you to plug a pad in at any time.

    • Ben Barrett says:

      Thank you for your comment on the internet.

      • Sleepy Will says:

        Thankyou for completely missing the point, which is that just because your internet is working properly, doesn’t mean that their server is up and lag free and even if it is every time you want to play, the normalisation and acceptance of always online and lies as to the reason why will make every game that tries it less prone to criticism. When you buy the next colonial marines only to find the netcode is a mess in your single player game, remember your dismissal of the issue.

  8. iainl says:

    I picked up the base game a week or two back, and I’m already most of the way through Act II. Loving it, particularly since I bumped up to Hard. Only Level 26 so far, so endgame modes are a way off yet, but do I only get these new things if I buy the expansion (which is currently stupid money, given Blizzard want more for it than the whole game plus expansion on PS3)?

    • Ben Barrett says:

      I don’t know what’s available to who any more, I’d recommend grabbing the expansion when you can. Blizzard have a habit of very rarely dropping the price (until, say, the next expansion or so). Reaper of Souls really was a massive improvement.

    • nrvsNRG says:

      if u pick up RoS you’ll get to 70 in just a few hours playing adventure mode.

      • iainl says:

        Thanks to you both. For the moment I’m having fun working through the story, and even on Hard I’m not exactly finding it enough of a struggle I need to grind my way up levels to stand a better chance – maybe once i can bump the difficulty even higher.

        So far, I’ve not touched multiplayer, either – I can see how getting the expansion stuff would be good there, and the “unlock everything and turn it into an open world that can bite your head off” mode sounds awesome.

        • luckystriker says:

          Friendly tip: difficulty is a very fluid thing in this game. It’s a balance between the synergy of your unlocked spells and runes, how well you’re playing and mostly how lucky you’ve gotten with your recent gear drops. For example, I’m at lvl 41 in the seasonal mode and I started on Hard difficulty, bumped it up to expert around the lvl 18, found it too difficult and dropped back. After my first couple of legendaries in the mid 20s I bumped up to expert again, kept playing that until the mid 30s before going up 1 more to master, which is where I’m currently at. I might be dropping back again soon as my gearing isnt keep up quite so well.

          Anyway, long story short, If you’re killing stuff reasonably fast and are never in any danger of dying, bump up the difficulty lvl to increase XP and Gold gain. You can always drop down at the click of a button.

          • iainl says:

            Thanks for the advice. Hard’s as high as you can go until you’ve had one run through the story (at least as far as the end of the base game, anyway), but I’m beginning to think the answer is just to accept that as enjoy the fantasy nonsense until I can treat it as a proper challenge next time.

    • cthulhie says:

      I’m wondering if anyone has opinions on D3′s enjoyability to someone who quite likes ARPGs but didn’t love D2. To clarify: I picked up D2 years late, having played your Titan’s Quests and your Torcheslights, Sacred, etc. Very polished, less hardcore, and overall pleasant games that of course owe everything to D2 but kind of spoiled it for me.

      Given that Starcraft II was essentially Starcraft in 3D, I’m leery of paying a relative lot for D3 to be as nonplussed as I was by D2. Vs. say, just picking up Van Helsing II (which of course I will also ultimately do). Not looking for criticisms of D3, just opinions on whether I would have some fun as a not-at-all-hardcore single player. Thoughts?

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        Diablo 2 is difficult to play now honestly. There is too much quality of life stuff missing that D3 has (hotkey binds for example). Apart from the art style, it plays very similar to Torchlight quite honestly.
        I tried D2 again before D3 came out and honestly couldn’t play it, it seemed too dated (don’t flame me for it, it’s easy to keep playing something you played years ago but picking it up from scratch is much harder). D3 I have spent going on 200 hours in and enjoyed it a lot, even before RoS came out.

      • malkav11 says:

        It’s not particularly similar to D2, which I also was pretty lukewarm on, and I for one enjoy it much more. That said, I tend to prefer Marvel Heroes to either.

  9. BlueTemplar says:

    I’ve been rather heavily playing the patch since Wednesday and having a hell of a time.
    Sorry, I think you meant to say that you have been having an Inferno Torment of a time?

  10. Dobleclick says:

    Sorry to be picky here, but Diablo III has not been patched, or at least not with the features enumerated in this article. What has been patched is the expansion Reaper Of Souls, which for some reason even the press seems to think is an integral part of the main game.

    For those of us who don’t want to spend any more money on D3, the only changes are the class abilities, runes, plus some additional balances. Not that those are needed anyway, as the main game is being kept as restrictive as before: no leaderboards, no PVP, no significant endgame, no seasons. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

    • alphaxion says:

      I still only have the base game and just spent the past hour playing on my new seasonal character, so that is at least possible. Hitting the leaderboards however would be impossible without RoS because of the requirements for rifts and act v bosses.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      It is an issue and one that Blizzard does milk a lot. Unless you have the latest expansion you basically have half a game, it’s the same with WoW (unless you have everything including MoP, endgame content is simply unavailable to you) and Starcraft (multiplayer ladder is entirely based on Heart of the Swarm, Wings of Liberty is really useless on it’s own for anything other than the campain).

      Sadly they’ve become very successful using this model because it does feel gouging. It was the same years ago too, Brood War became the defacto standard for multiplayer Starcraft 1, the base game was not enough. Same thing with Warcraft 3 with The Frozen Throne.

      At the end of the day yeah you are right, Diablo 3 at this point IS Reaper of Souls, if people want to play all the features at the game they must buy it.

    • BlueTemplar says:

      I don’t really consider this an issue.
      Either you like the game and will gladly buy the expansions, or you don’t and won’t care about the new patch changes.
      Maybe Blizzard could pull off equally supporting all versions of their games, but for the majority of developers, that’s not even an option.
      P.S.: Hey, you could say that’s pretty much the difference between an expansion and a mere DLC : after a new DLC the core game will continue getting new patches, while after an expansion it won’t (or really gimped ones).

  11. RegisteredUser says:

    These are still people who think 20$ prices are “sales”, that everything must be tied to an online account first and foremost, and that its fine to pretend that saying “its not that kind of game” to PC consumers about the singleplayer being online-only while giving console owners an offline experience isn’t the behavioral consumer-treatment-equivalent to stepping on their privates repeatedly.

    I am still supremely sad this game garnered record sales and has been repeatedly rewarding bad behavior for the last 2 years. Not for the actual game in and of itself(which is likely rather enjoyable for ARPG fans), but because of everything around it and its sale, management and handling.
    I still refuse Blizzard products because of this behavior and I sincerely wish quite a few more million people would have felt the same about it, so we all in the end would have gotten treated differently(better).

    • malkav11 says:

      I agree with you, but that battle’s been lost at this point. At this point, continuing to refuse Blizzard games is an admirable moral position but it benefits no one, especially if you would otherwise enjoy their games, as I do.

  12. tac194 says:

    “While patch 2.1.0 (named in accordance with Blizzard’s unhealthy fascination with unnecessary zeroes)” That is quite the uneducated statement.

    That is standard naming convention/policy when it comes to software updates. The first digit is major releases, and then patches, and lastly hotfixes come into place.

    • cthulhie says:

      I’m trying to decide whether I find picking fights with the OP more annoying than posts about my co-worker’s aunt and her lucrative business “on the laptop.” I’m leaning toward trolls because they’re harder to ignore and because, secretly, I’m rooting for that poor, unemployed aunt.

  13. Metalhead9806 says:

    Ehh i don’t like that you have access to Adventure mode right away.
    Also focusing on achievements is just weird.

    I was hoping Seasons would be insanely hard, bring back difficulties, drop monster power (torment) for a much more unforgiving difficulty that you can’t choose and be Hardcore only.

    While season is a fresh start its no where near as challenging or as competitive as Path of Exile or Diablo 2 ladder. I get that Blizzard wanted something different but imo if its not broke down fix it.

    This should have been a hardcore leveling race.
    Oh well… at least the Season only legendaries and gems are nice.

    • iainl says:

      I have to disagree about Adventure mode; being able to dive straight into it without having to complete the story for those that don’t want to is a good thing.

      But I do have to agree about Seasons – it really should be the super-hard, permadeath score challenge it initially sounded like.

  14. summerhorton says:

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