Wot I Think – Diablo 3: Reaper Of Souls

The most interesting thing about Reaper of Souls, the first expansion for Diablo 3, is that it’s an admission of guilt. Blizzard are one of the best developers in the world not only because it makes great games, but because it prods and tweaks and adds to them after release until they positively hum with glory. But Reaper of Souls isn’t a nip here and a tuck there. This expansion is Blizzard dealing with the reality that, in many people’s eyes, Diablo 3 just wasn’t very good. But can it be fixed?

First thing to establish is that Reaper of Souls and a patch introducing ‘Loot 2.0’ are separate things, the latter of which is available to all Diablo 3 players, but for the sake of convenience we’re going to look at them together – and after all, both are something of an experiment in fan feedback. Of course companies like Blizzard listen to their playerbases, and respond, but rarely do you see a top-down redesign of a game that seems designed to answer almost every problem that a large and vocal playerbase has raised.

List-me-up! The real-money auction house is gone, and lo the nerds did rejoice. This was only ever something that made your own drops feel worthless, so good riddance. Loot 2.0 kind of ties into this, being an attempt to make loot feel more valuable by tailoring it towards your characters; dropping more legendaries, adding ‘playstyle-altering’ characteristics to certain items, a new NPC that lets you re-roll certain stats, and of course an absolute tonne of new loot.

Reaper of Souls adds an Act V to the campaign, which sits alongside the new Crusader player class (very influenced by Diablo 2’s Paladin), and an increase in the level cap of all characters from 60-70. Finally the randomly-generated Adventure mode is joined by a new ‘Torment’ difficulty level. Read between the lines here and you can see the problem with vanilla Diablo 3: it didn’t have long-term pull, an ‘endgame.’

We’ll come back to that idea, but first the new campaign. The locations are gorgeous; a city being torn apart from within, with corpses littering the streets, leading onto the war-scarred terrain of Pandemonium and below. But Diablo 3’s issues were never really in the art department, and what makes Act V the best Diablo campaign act yet is the wealth of incidental content – enter almost any door or cavern opening and you’ll find an event or special monster to take down.

The main campaign objectives are as fetch-questy as ever, though what else can you do with Diablo, but the sheer quantity of ‘bonus’ material crammed into every cranny makes it feel like a long and true adventure. My only major issue is that if the campaign has a narrative theme it’s – wait for it – monarchy is great! Kings are generally bang-up dudes, and peasants who plot to overthrow them are scummers. Not even joking.

At no point sadly does Malthael, the bad angel who’s caused all this, say “I WILL REAP YOUR SOUL!” The dude’s got double hand-scythes, is more goth than Bauhaus, and racks up an on-screen death toll in the hundreds – and even puts up a good fight (thanks entirely to constant AOE) but it’s hard to find anything especially memorable about him as a videogame boss. The transformation of Belial, for example, from little dude into screen-filling bloater is pretty awesome, even after you’ve seen it many times, but outside of cutscenes Malthael has none of that panache.

So that’s the campaign – but Reaper of Souls is all about Adventure mode. This lets you play through every environment from the main game in random configurations, with random quests and spawns, as well as enter ‘Nephalim Rifts’ which are special dungeons with hot loot.

This is the best thing in Reaper of Souls by a million miles, and it’s easy to get in a group of four and simply barrel through quest after quest after quest, totting up the XP and endless new items. This is what Diablo is all about, for me at least, and Adventure mode does a great job of varying what’s on offer.

Whatever its other problems Diablo 3 always felt amazing to play, in short bursts, and Adventure mode is like a playpark that continually throws new configurations of enemies and environments up. The first time you run into an elite sand wasp that walls in your Demon Hunter, before dropping mortars from above and plague pools underfoot, your eyes pop alongside your poor character’s corpse.

It only took a few hours of Adventure mode before I had an armful of sweet sweet Legendary items, all of which can – if you’re especially attached – be ‘transmogrified,’ a concept carried over from WoW. The new Mystic NPC (levelled up like the Artisan and Blacksmith) does this, and it’s simple enough – she lets you make one piece of gear look like another, for aesthetic purposes, as well as allowing one attribute on an item to be re-rolled. All very nice. For me this isn’t a big thing in Reaper of Souls, because it’s the kind of feature I’d care about in a long-term game. And this is the nub of the problem.

Blizzard wants to make sticky games. It wants to create things that you play for hundreds of hours, if not every day, and return to again and again. The core of Diablo should be that feeling of permanence when examining your inventory, a sense that this is stuff you’ll always value. Because if Diablo is ‘about’ anything it is about loot, and so we come to the major adjustment of ‘Loot 2.0.’

Loot 2.0 is a reworked system that drops stuff your character is more likely to use as well as adding (allegedly) playstyle-altering properties to certain kit. I acquired a set of bracers, for example, that spawn a yellow enemy champion at any buff shrine, and a pair of pants that make gold “rain from the sky” when I got a Massacre bonus – though what actually seems to happen is that a small pile of Gold apologetically farts out of the character model.

Loot 2.0, however, doesn’t and in some ways could never fix the real problem with Loot 1.0. The fact is that the equipment in this game just doesn’t matter very much to me. Yes you can add poison modifiers, increase your pickup distance, acquire passive buffs and enhance certain skills with the right kind of equipment. But you could play Diablo 3 with the starting loadout and your character would be doing exactly the same moves with the same animations, and simply be getting less damage out of them.

This is why Diablo 3 is not a long-term game – that bedrock concept of what loot is, and why it’s valuable to players, is flawed. Look: I love loot. You’re reading about Diablo 3, so I bet you love loot too. But this is Excel loot, stat loot, loot where the only difference you’ll ever see is visual and the feel never changes. Scrooge McDuck doesn’t sit there looking at his gold, does he? That old duck dives right in. You need to feel treasure for it to be real, and it’s bizarre that creating a sense of virtual weight is one of Blizzard’s specialities – yet Loot 2.0, despite the claims of ‘playstyle-altering’ properties, doesn’t deliver.

The new Crusader class in one particular way feels designed to address this, inasmuch as any character built on a bad foundation can. The whole idea with the Crusader is that it plays differently depending on whether or not you choose to go with a shield – which among a lot of pointless loot, used to be some of the most pointless loot. This is nice and taking the Crusader up to level 30 felt good – like a Barbarian with more options, and a snazzy horse. But here we come to what the feel of a game actually is, and whether it directly correlates to quality design.

Diablo 3 feels great, like it’s always felt great, and teaming up with three buddies to careen through mobs is a good old time. But it doesn’t feel like a permanent game; the kind of thing that becomes a fixture. This is why Diablo 3 was, for me, a big disappointment. I found it shallow and, despite the fun of playing with friends, grew sick of it after a week or so and moved on to other things.

Perhaps if you’re more invested in the original Diablo 3, you’ll be more impressed by Reaper of Souls. I was instantly impressed, but have grown more bored the more I’ve played – with the changes to loot, in particular, seeming profound but in practice altering little. I’ve been playing on and off now for four days; last night I actually fell asleep at my monitor. Now I was tired but I’m often tired, and can’t think of the last game I fell asleep while playing. There might not even be one.

The same old story, then? Diablo 3; the game to play when your brain is toast! I had hoped Reaper of Souls would renew Diablo 3, give me a reason to pick it up over the competition and – especially – start running random dungeons again and again with friends. From moment-to-moment your moves and skills feel great, but that was true of the vanilla version too; and for all this expansion adds to and changes and tinkers with Diablo 3, the core feels the same.

Despite Loot 2.0 and Adventure mode and the Crusader, Reaper of Souls doesn’t quite reinvent Diablo 3 and the reason is simple. The core concept underpinning this experience, fun as it is in passing, makes for a game that plateaus quickly. Diablo 3’s central problem is that it lacks long-term appeal and, despite Reaper of Souls having the best of intentions, it seems some things just can’t be fixed.


  1. Captain Joyless says:

    “Blizzard are one of the best developers in the world…”

    No. Maybe they used to be, but they certainly aren’t any longer.

    • Everlast says:

      Their pocket linings beg to differ…

      • lordcooper says:

        Best != most profitable

      • subedii says:

        Not to agree or disagree with the OP’s post, but man, the Transformers films must be master works of art.

    • Wisq says:

      I would say they’re one of the most polished game devs in the world. But WoW taught them that there are better ways to make money than just making highly polished offline/LAN/online games and selling said games, and now they mostly sell commerce platforms with a bit of repetitive gameplay mixed in.

    • ben_reck says:

      How many developers are Blizzard anyhow?

    • GuybrushThreepwood says:

      In the genres that they work in, they ARE arguably the best developer in the world. They’re not infallible, but they are the best by objective measures (read: unit sales/CCU/ARPU).

      • australopithecus says:

        Those objective measures you mention do not measure who is the best games developer, only who makes the most money. A pretty narrow definition of “best”, and one which would make McDonalds the best chefs.

        • GuybrushThreepwood says:

          So what’s the alternative criteria? Awards? That would be saying that the BAFTA/Oscars are the arbiters of what good cinema is, ignoring the box office.

          • Frank says:

            Yeah, sorry, some people don’t believe in the existence of “objective measures” of art quality.

  2. Utsunomiya says:

    I don’t know, I actually did find some game-changing legendaries in my playtime. Legendary thingie that made my mediocre attack actually enjoyable to use. Which is nice I guess.
    But yeah, I can’t get my Wizard to transform into a bear and Whirlwind away. I don’t know, maybe when they add runewords the game will get better…
    Still enjoying it, though, for now.

    • Tiberius says:

      I did too. In my first 15 hours of Loot 2.0 I’d gotten ~20 legendaries that gave me major unique effects. I find the changes to Loot 2.0 fantastic.

      I’m someone who never really liked D2 (sacrilegious I know) so a big confusion for me is what everyone is so pissed off about. D2’s loot felt even more bland than the new incarnation. Maybe you had to farm the game for eons to get anything remotely interesting, but in my 100 hours of D2 I never once found anything unlike the “Excel Loot” mentioned. D3 certainly took the game in a slightly more focused direction, but IMO many comments of D3 are too heavily nostalgia biased.

      • Utsunomiya says:

        I’d say I liked the implementation of skills in D2 better. Even a crappy little skill like Charged Bolt would get AMAZING if you worked on it. Some of that magic’s lost now. :(

        • RedWurm says:

          It’s a problem with giving you all the skills to tinker around with as much as you want. The skill effects on the new loot take advantage of that much more, giving you a reason to change your spec to fit your gear, but it’s still only a +x% modifier. It may be a tad more powerful, but it looks and functions identically.

          That said, it may be a positive thing for players who don’t spend huge amounts of time building their perfect character – and for all I know that may be a major slice of the audience.

          • Evil Pancakes says:

            It’s not just +x% for specific attacks, though those are the most frequent.
            There are also stats that drastically alter how a skill works which may make you play completely differently.
            For example, i run a Demon Hunter, though before loot 2.0 I hadn’t played in over a year.
            Within 2 hours of playing I found a legendary cloak with a stat that changed how the companion skill works, the wolf companion suddenly summoned 3 wolves instead of just the one. Before that, i never used the companion skill. Now I don’t need the templar to tank for me, my trusty wolves do that for me.
            That’s just one I’ve found. I’ve also seen gear that turns a skill from costing resources to actually generating resources.
            Since I started playing with loot 2.0, I’ve had way more fun than I did the previous last 50 or so hours before I quit.

        • Tiberius says:

          Ha, it’s funny because that customization is pretty much the exact reason I didn’t like D2. It gives a ton of depth for people that have played countless times, know how every stat effects each attack differently, and spend a ton of hours online theory crafting builds. For me though, it made it fall into that negative ‘hardcore’ feel where from the very outset I KNEW that inevitably whatever I did would be incredibly sub optimal.

          It’s really intimidating, in that it only rewards those who invest, while actively punishing people like me that don’t want to make that time investment. D3 lets my tinker with my max level characters, not forcing me to reroll another Level 1 toon of the same class just to see if dumping 30 points into AN ability is worth it.

          • King Eternity says:

            This is exactly the problem with D3 though. They have made it more accessible and forgiving but that has reduced the longevity and intensity of the game. I’m not saying it is a bad thing, but it is the reason that I will dabble in D3 for a few months but will be playing Path of Exile for years to come.

      • DantronLesotho says:

        The main issue with D3 in my opinion loot-wise, is that the loot doesn’t feel like it gives you options. For example: in D2, your character would attack differently depending on which weapon you were using. You could set up different combinations of magic and attacks to have a varied playstyle. With D3, it doesn’t matter which weapon you use. Your attack is exactly the same no matter what. As soon as you pick up your first “weapon”, all of your attacks are basically magic spells. It removes the “weapon” part completely out. It’s like playing Magicka. Not to say that that’s a bad thing inherently, but it’s not how D2 used to be. It gave the game a lot more mileage because you could be playing with a sword, then find a kickass axe, and then you try that out and see how it goes, etc etc. With this, you’re just raising stats for your magic attack and it never changes.

        I know it seems trivial because it’s all click-click-click-click anyway, but I believe that, combined with the fact that there are far more game options now compared to D2 days, is why people aren’t as hot on this one long-term.

        • monomer says:

          I have to disagree with this here; having spent a couple weeks now getting up to cap with Loot 2.0 in and enjoying RoS, once you get to level cap (which takes not very much time at all now) it becomes ENTIRELY a question of how you want to play, and finding the equipment to support it. (NOTICE: The following sentence dives into game jargon, apologies for those who aren’t familiar with the game): I’ve seen my friends gradually work towards finding specific loot and stat modifiers that change their Witch Doctor build from a crit damage based AoE Zombie Bears/Spirit Barrage build with no pets, to a high attack speed focused Firebat/Fetish Warrior build, the latter of which only works because of the presence of items that summon Fetish Warriors on hit and prevent Fetish Warriors from unsummoning after their timer runs out. (END GAME JARGON). Point being that there ARE gameplay-style-altering effects on loot that has a tangible, noticeable effect on how your character feels. If there’s a criticism I have so far, it’s that these things really don’t come in to play until level cap when you’re trying to improve your build.

          • nrvsNRG says:

            I’m very much enjoying it too, but by level cap (with all builds) its still a matter of : core stat, vitality, resist all, crit chance, crit damage no matter what character you choose.

        • Tiberius says:

          My first D3 toon was a Barbarian and I was really sad when furry attacking animations were identical for both dual wield and greatswords. 2 handed weapons certainly don’t feel as meaty as they could.

        • djbriandamage says:

          I find the D3 legendaries address your point. They often have a proc, like a heal or extra attack or crowd control mechanic, that forces you to rebalance your skills and strategy. I love this.

          My witch doctor started out as a pet master with ranged spells but a late game legendary 2h axe that pulled enemies to me forced me to try a close range AOE build that turned out to be loads of fun.

      • RedWurm says:

        I still play modded D2 from time to time, and the shinier D2 items had a laundry list of effects on them. Loot 2.0 has gone a very long way in making loot more interesting, but there are still relatively few effects per item. And then you have set bonuses, runewords, charms and so on.

        However, with the items, skills and stats as they are, I think the loot is about as good as we could reasonably expect – and I imagine a lot of the dissatisfaction is from launch, when the loot was just terrible.

    • dE says:

      Me too, I find so much gamechanging stuff that I find myself pressed for options. Not just the boring “+14% lightning damage” but things like having to decide between an amulet that summons shadow clones on a stun (do I have a stun on my skillbar? Maybe now I do!) or an amulet that has overall better stats and deals +300% weapon damage to anyone within range…
      And I don’t know, I’ve heard things like that a lot from folks I play with too. This is actually the first time I’ve read that the new loot doesn’t change the way one plays.

  3. Untas7 says:

    I mean, you’re right that, yeah, loot primarily plays around with stats and shudd ( with the exception of certain artifacts that actually have big noticable effects ) rather than changing the way the game plays, but that’s the way it is in the genre. It’s no different in any of the competing games.

    • aliksy says:

      You are reactionary and unimaginative, and you should feel bad.

    • johnnyan says:

      What are you talking about, have you played Torchlight 2 for example? You can make crazy or at least weird builds with the loot you find. I wont even start talking about PoE.

      • dE says:

        Curious. I’d have said Torchlight 1 instead. Mainly because Torchlight 2 killed so many things with it’s attribute system that even the loot either fits into that or is pointless.

  4. jealouspirate says:

    Personally I have found Reaper of Souls extremely enjoyable. With Loot 2.0 and Adventure Mode it really feels like a completely different, far more fun, game. This is the game that should have launched two years ago.

    • RedViv says:

      Very much so.

      Stalgard’s Decimator, or as I like to call it now, The Sword of Billions of Axes, hits statements of loot still not being game-altering in the face. And then summons an axe into it.

  5. aliksy says:

    Sounds like adventure mode was what they should have had at launch. I’m a little bitter about this whole thing, really.

  6. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    It seems that Blizzard have let slip the grimdark reins a touch and allowed it to return to “entertainingly overwrought” from its previous setting of “earnestly overwrought”. Nothing that contains an Axe of Axing You And Then Summoning Flying Axes To Axe You Too (The delicious weapon favoured by RedViv’s Lady Smash) can be totally bad.

    • Memphis-Ahn says:

      The Axe of Axing a Trillion Axes is not only incredibly entertaining but also very broken with a Frenzy Barbarian.

  7. Faldrath says:

    Enjoying RoS so far, but I’m still a bit wary because it feels so much like a loot/sugar rush, and we all know what happens after such rushes expire.

    I still find it sad that RPS hasn’t done a WIT for Path of Exile, though. It’s the deepest ARPG by far out there (I do admit that it has much less instant gratification than D3, though arguably more “long-term” like Rich is saying here).

  8. PopeRatzo says:

    Blizzard wants to make sticky games. It wants to create things that you play for hundreds of hours, if not every day, and return to again and again.

    This is a worthy goal, in an age of 6-hour AAA games. The best, most memorable games I’ve ever played are ones that engaged me over a protracted period of time.

    I know that’s not the current thinking, here in indie-land, where we’re supposed to say a 2-hour game with a wonderful concept is every bit as good as a the massive triple-A extravaganzas, but I’d much rather spend $60 (or more) on a game that will provide me with a hundred hours of entertainment than spend $20 on something that’s going to engage me for a couple of hours. But then, I’ve always preferred novels to short stories and short stories to poems.

    • Skiddywinks says:

      What 2 hour Indies are you playing?

      • Matt_W says:

        Gone Home is a 2 hour indie. Worth the price of admission, but still only 2 hours. I tend to not make either/or judgements: I like the occasional 100 hour big studio game (Dark Souls 2 has my number right now) and I also really like the opportunity to play the occasional single-play-sesssion indie game. I like indie games, like Minecraft and DF and KSP, that you can dump 100’s of hours into, and the small puzzle game, like 2048, that you can play in short bursts while you wait for your code to compile. Thankfully, we have a video game industry that supports all of these different niches, so none of us has to be bored ever again.

    • bill says:

      It’s interesting. I read that line about “things that you play for hundreds of hours, if not every day, and return to again and again.” and I actually shuddered. Sounds terrible to me.

      But I guess back when I was in high school or uni I would have been all for such games. These days, barring a few very specific exceptions, I can’t imagine wanting to play a game every day for 100s of hours. Different strokes I guess.

      I also prefer novels. But then novels tend to take a few days to read, not 100s of hours over weeks or months. That kind of novel I would not like.

  9. Keyrock says:

    This still doesn’t fix the problem that’s keeping me from ever playing this game, the always-online requirement.

  10. neonshadow says:

    Just because *you* didn’t get any of the build changing legendaries doesn’t mean they don’t exist. They definitely do. Also, D3 definitely has long term potential. I had 400+ hours in the original, and now that RoS is out I don’t see myself slowing down anytime soon. And in a couple months they are adding in ladders and competitive rift trials.

  11. X_kot says:

    So I take it that single player is still online after this expansion? It’s strange to see how Maxis and Blizzard have responded to the heavy criticism they received after SimCity and D3 launched, respectively. The former has acknowledged the pointlessness of being online for playing alone, but many of the dysfunctional systems remain. The latter made a strong effort to adapt the structure and rewards, but they remain adamant about maintaining “always online” even after removing the AH. And only on the PC! Maybe the CEOs have a bet over which part matters more to consumers?

    • djbriandamage says:

      From my experience playing the base game these past few weeks I observed that solo play never had lag, whereas co-op LAN play occasionally had lag (when it shouldn’t have). Since the expansion was released my co-op lag spikes have gotten much worse, especially because we’re trying Expert difficulty level. I haven’t yet tried solo in the expansion.

      • realityflaw says:

        I played for a few days during the XP bonus, and I can attest that your experiences (no solo lag) are not universal.

        I died unfairly several times due to lag spikes when playing alone.

  12. monomer says:

    Nice write-up here on the new features in the game; it really does feel drastically different from launch D3. One thing I have to disagree on though; “But this is Excel loot, stat loot, loot where the only difference you’ll ever see is visual and the feel never changes.”

    While this is true up until the level cap, my experience so far with the end game is that it’s entirely based on making choices on how your character plays, rather than finding “better” loot, and these changes do frequently change the feel of things. Finding a Legendary that turns a Hatred Spender on my DH into a Hatred Generator has a profound impact on my build, allowing me to do things I couldn’t do without the item and ultimately changing how the character feels by way of opening new skill config possibilities.

    It is unfortunate, though, that this really doesn’t come in to play until your at level cap and focused on min/maxing; I can see plenty of people not getting to experience it because making it all the way through Torment 6 just isn’t their goal.

    • Arathain says:

      Oo, I want that one! That says to me Cluster Arrow would suddenly become a viable part of a build.

      • MentalEngineer says:

        The bow I found (Kridershot, IIRC) did it with Elemental Arrow. I threw the ice rune on it so that it slowed (and did passive AoE), the passive that does an extra 20% to slowed enemies, and the spider companion, and went to TOWN. Way better damage output and AoE than Entangling Shot and I could stay at a nice distance.

        I wish it had dropped in endgame and not while I was levelling during the XP boost, because that was hands down my favorite DH build and I miss it a lot.

  13. ScubaMonster says:

    One of my main annoyances in this game is that some of the classes don’t even really use the weapons you pick up that much. Look at the Monk for instance, a lot of their moves are just fists and kicks, or spell effects, which is fine, but I’d like to see them actually use their weapons more. Take Tempest Rush for instance, regardless of what weapon you’re holding they spin an ethereal staff around while plowing through enemies. Why not make them actually use the weapon they’re carrying?

    Same for spellcasters. I realize a Witch Doctor stabbing with his dagger would be pretty pointless, but it’s not even an option even if you wanted to. Pretty much whatever weapons they get are just baubles for you to carry around. The only character I felt satisfied with weapon usage was the Barbarian.

    This also brings up the whole other can of worms of not being able to customize your character’s stats for crazy builds and using weapons you might not normally use in other circumstances.

    • xao says:

      As you say, there’s not much point to it, but you can stab things as a witch doctor if you so choose.

  14. djbriandamage says:

    I made a new witch doctor and smashed through the original campaign with my wife in the weeks preceding this expansion. Had a wonderful time thanks to Loot 2.0 and the 50% XP bonus – I was constantly retooling and tweaking and adjusting and I was far past level 60 by the end of one Hard difficulty playthrough.

    Now we’re plodding through the expansion and I’m bored to tears. The writing sucks and my (extremely) beloved companions have nothing interesting to say anymore. Scores of NPCs spouting inane blather. This is the first Blizzard game where I gave up on reading/hearing the story before having played through once.

    This expansion sucks so far IMO. We’ve played 3 days and I couldn’t take more than about 45 minutes per session, whereas we pretty well mainlined the base game a couple weeks ago. I’m most disappointed and can’t believe they charge $40 for the thing.

    And for those wondering, my wife and I play on our LAN yet we experience occasional lag thanks to the DRM. This is the result of the popularity of the new expansion – we had no such hindrance 2 weeks ago.

    • stampy says:

      id suggest turning the difficulty way down and zoom through the campaign, and then see if adventure mode floats your boat. it sounds like it might.

  15. FriendlyPsicopath says:

    Regarding the loot issue, check Dark Souls for example, the loot CHANGES your play style, you get new moves from the “loot” you are using therefore the choice of “loot” really matters, and every time you get a weapon you want to check how that works, like someone else said, in d2 kinda of that happened also, your loot should not be a number, if you get an axe that is good it should be because that axe is badass you like axes not because it increases your dmg 1% >

    The problem with excel loot is that the based is the concept of mmos which d3 copied and used, that they force you to progress by numbers reusing art assets and animations because those things are expensive to produce and they want to cut costs.

    • frightlever says:

      I think he MIGHT be aware of Dark Souls.

      Oh, and I entirely agree with you.

      Didn’t affect my play style so much, but I have a ring that completely abrogates arcane damage. It’s only level 40 something but I am never taking it off… until I get some more Resistance to All.

  16. seriousHam says:

    About the longevity of the game and the general meaning of drops and loot:
    I feel alot of this changes when you play hardcore. Don’t mistake me as one of these forum spamming Elitist jerks who want everyone else to regard the game as they do, but for me changing to hardcore simply changed the entire game, even in vanilla D3, but i simply didnt bother farming to gather enough money to buy stuff.

    Now, there is the D3 i really enjoy, the game, the character, the loot he wears acutally means something, if i die,m the loot, the items, everything is gone. You level up easy enough (and i honestly enjoy leveling with all the crafting and set items that you can craft if you find some recipes it is a breeze anyway), and i had so many exciting and nerv wrecking situations in RoS playing Hardcore and especially fighting Malthael (ok this was due to me playing sometime late at night despite having to work next day but i felt i was so close to finishing. And that bugger almost finished me quite a few times).
    Now i simply would like to see a ladder which they already promised, in one way or another, and i might see me picking D3 up again and again for every other ladder season with one of the characters and hoping to reach some arbitrary rank or whatever and trying not to die once in the process ;)
    Just try hardcore once, the most people i know stuck with it. Just dont regard a dead character as “10 hours of gaming lost” but as “10 hours of excitement gained”.

    • realityflaw says:

      I really enjoyed Hardcore mode in D2, kept me playing for months when I was otherwise totally bored with the title.
      But I’m not willing to gamble dozens of hours of effort on my ISP and Blizzard’s server stability. Let me play offline SP, or via LAN and I’d be super excited, but their DRM kills it for me.

  17. derbefrier says:

    omg rps turn off the word filter you just ate my longwinded QQ. I feel cheated….

  18. Chaoslord AJ says:

    The game is not so bad. It’s not the stroke of genius everyone will play for years. PoE has the more intelligent design and the story presentation is childish in the bad sense. But gameplay and looting is entertaining for some time. Also they are more stable now and I could even play directly after launch of the expansion.
    While the immature presentation is worst, the forums are the “best”. Whenever I want to see a verbal massacre I’ll visit the unmoderated forums of D3 and watch the flame wars. :)

  19. Vinraith says:

    Sounds like they’ve fixed everything but the online-only aspect. Might be worth a look if it ever comes down in price (knowing Blizzard that’ll take quite awhile).

    • malkav11 says:

      This is less true than it was. The base game was marked down to $20 right before the expansion released and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the expansion drop inside the next year, at least temporarily. I don’t see it ever cropping up in the latest super-discount bundle or dropping under $5, but even Blizzard’s being swayed a bit by today’s sale culture.

  20. Freud says:

    It’s a great expansion, fixing pretty much every problem with D3. The gameplay is miles ahead of every competitor. I was a bit disappointed in the crusader, which didn’t feel as well designed as the other classes. Wizard and Barbarian, however, plays amazingly well and you can find a dozen viable builds for each.

    In D3, getting loot in the game wasn’t very satisfying since the odds of finding something that was an upgrade while playing was very unlikely. It was a game about farming gold to buy items on the AH. RoS is the complete opposite. It’s all about finding loot yourself and improving it. You get excited when you find a legendary or set items. Just as it should be. It’s now a very rewarding game to play and the combat is as kinetic and responsive as ever.

  21. Moraven says:

    “You need to feel treasure for it to be real, and it’s bizarre that creating a sense of virtual weight is one of Blizzard’s specialities – yet Loot 2.0, despite the claims of ‘playstyle-altering’ properties, doesn’t deliver.”

    I and many will adjust our skill set and builds dependent on what loot we received. Got a lot of +fire? You start to try various combination of fire based runes.

    And the late end game and people from D2 work toward a playstyle that they want to play. And that playstyle is dependent on what gear they use. Runewords did give a little more customization but you still need the item first.

    Also another Scrooge reference, means another link to why diving into gold may not just work:

  22. Moraven says:

    If you do not have D3 and were wanting to try it, get the base game first only. Crusader class is the only thing you have access from the expansion to with a new account until you hit Act V.

    What you get out of the Expansion:
    Crusader class
    lv 70 level cap, 70 equipment, lv 61 ability, 4th passive slot unlock
    Adventure Mode
    Mystic (Reskin items to look like other items in same slot and reroll 1 stat on your items into something else)
    Act V

    Otherwise everyone with base game 2.0 has:
    Paragon updates (account wide paragon levels, new Stat distribution gained via Paragon levels)
    loot 2.0
    New affixes on elite/champs
    Revamped Difficulty options (Normal, Hard, Expert, Master, Torment 1-6)
    2.0 balance updates and changes
    Clans, Community channels

    Grab the base game first if you are looking to try it. If you like it by Act 4 and want more content, buy the expansion. Else play time to time and be happy at 60.

    Also skip Normal. I would think most here would do fine on Expert while leveling. You can always downgrade within your current session.

    • realityflaw says:

      I’d pay $5 for adventure mode alone, but $40 seems a bit much.

  23. Geebs says:

    I really wish they would do that twin-stick shooter option they keep saying they’re not going to do. My wrist hurts.

  24. therighttoarmbears says:

    Man, I just don’t know if I can care. All the stuff you all are saying sounds enticing, especially about the new adventure mode. Something that can be done in 15 minute chunks is about right, and the ability to play randomized without campaign is great (seriously, by the time I hit level 60 with my wizard I thought “thank goodness I’ve seen the end and I don’t have to play any more of this mockery of a repetitive, lame story”). But I tried reinstalling after loot 2.0, remembered nothing about playing, got insta-killed by some high-level mobs, and gave up. I hardly see myself plonking down 40 bones and my increasingly precious free time for it. Maybe if it had been this way on release? It’s like thinking about getting back together with a former flame – maybe they’ve changed? Maybe they’re interesting now? Maybe we actually want the same things?But I’ve grown since I knew her. And there are an awful lot of new things vying for my attention…

    • Slazer says:

      Getting insta-killed means you have the wrong difficulty settings

  25. Lemming says:

    One thing that always puzzled me when I played D3 (and yes i did have fun with it, but then it was the local co-op version on the PS3), was the with all the fancy new graphical capabilities, no one at Blizzard thought to do boss battles that didn’t involve something bit just sitting there spawning mobs, or stomping around an arena.

    It’s remarkable that no one thought “hey we could have a giant thing that you only see parts of and have to kill separately’, or ‘hey lets make this whole boss fight on something moving, like an airship, so that the scenery is just whipping by’.

    There’s just nothing that new with the aspects that could’ve been messed with, without affecting the core gameplay that fans love. They could’ve taken a leaf out of God of War’s book, is all I’m saying.

  26. bmfof says:

    The game absolutely does allow you to shape your playstyle and focus depending on the gear you wear just as much as the next hack&slash game – not recognizing that is indicative of a lack of imagination and willingness to try new things.

    I also find it particularly tasteless to fault any game for not having infinite replayability; it assumes that growing bored of something is an entirely objective sensation, when it’s actually personal. Between running Act V, leveling up one Crusader, and mucking about Adventure Mode for a while, I already feel I got my money’s worth back in terms of entertainment. Playing semi-casually, I feel there’s a lot of things I want to explore when it comes to builds (for which I need gear to help define them), both solo and with friends.

  27. Simbosan says:

    So, at what point, after the removal of many of the primary facets of the game (AH) and the endless readjustments to item drops, the utterly average graphics, the dreary rote story, the utterly nonsensical always online bullshit, will the fanatical apologists finally admit that D3 was shit?

  28. GuybrushThreepwood says:

    “You need to feel treasure for it to be real, and it’s bizarre that creating a sense of virtual weight is one of Blizzard’s specialities – yet Loot 2.0, despite the claims of ‘playstyle-altering’ properties, doesn’t deliver.”

    I disagree with this. The changes brought by Loot 2.0 are substantial, and the effects of the high-end gear do influence playstyle depending on what class/build you roll. ROS delivers what D3 should have been from the beginning.

  29. Seyona says:

    So many times have I wanted to create an account to comment, but was too lazy. But part of this is just factually incorrect, and should be fixed. *spoiler warning*

    “My only major issue is that if the campaign has a narrative theme it’s – wait for it – monarchy is great! Kings are generally bang-up dudes, and peasants who plot to overthrow them are scummers. Not even joking.”

    Did you just completely gloss over the part of the story where you then confront that king about what he’s doing, and just kill him where he stands because of what he’s doing to the peasants? It’s possible to miss it, but it doesn’t make it any less incorrect to completely get a major plot point wrong.

    • frightlever says:

      I DO gloss over the plot, but didn’t you kill the guy who killed the King, not the King himself? I dunno. Dialogue… hammer space… kill more…

      Fuck the monarchy, and the nobility and those do nothing peasants, with their feckless whining. Some buffed up monstrosity that has the wherewithal to find two or three buddies and form an elite fighting group – that I can respect, and harvest accordingly.

  30. frightlever says:

    (a) I am loving the Dark Souls playthrough on Youtube.

    (2) The Crusader pretty much sucks, but I’m sure the class will be fixed.

    (iii) Some gear absolutely allows you to modify your playing style but I agree that absent particular gear (of which there is a huge variety) then top level play style is pretty much just picking the build de jour. If you just want to farm gear on hard or expert there is massively more leeway. I think pre-Loot 2.0 there were definitive builds but that is a lot more flexible now.

    I think Loot 2.0 re-invented the game and the expansion, and adventure mode in particular, is just icing on the cake. If you already own it then play it without buying the expansion. The expansion is a few hours of campaign per character and a bunch of adventure mode after that, but if you don’t enjoy playing Loot 2.0 then you’re probably just burned out on the game entirely.

  31. knowitall011 says:

    rps gave torchlight and grim dawn glowing reviews and hates on D3 :() I don’t get the logic behind the reviews.