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Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls
Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls

PC | PlayStation 4 | Xbox One
Genre: Action
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment Classification: TBC
Release Date:
2014
Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls Review
Review By @ 04:01pm 28/03/14
PC
For a game where item stats make all the difference, an increased level cap is initially a mixed blessing. A few little numbers in the right spot and your character goes from zero to hero, with the transformation being almost instantaneous. From being only good for smashing open a few clay pots and collecting a few pieces of gold, the right item with the right numbers means your character can now actually make a dent into the health bar of an elite monster with each and every hit. The right numbers can also have your character stand right in the middle of a poisonous or molten pool for more than a split second without melting into a makeshift gravesite. For an action RPG this is the stuff that keeps people coming back hour after hour, and was a big part of the longevity with Diablo III. And perhaps, the only part.

An expansion at its most basic level means more of the same, and for the most part Reaper of Souls fits this bill quite nicely. New and more powerful items, increased crafting options, new skills and abilities, and much better numbers. A typical Diablo III player would have a chest full of the best and rarest items they’ve found or most likely purchased via the Auction House over the past couple of years, and an expansion like Reaper of Souls makes a lot of that stuff now seem, well, tame. Once you start progressing even just a little bit into the new content and progress a few levels past the previous cap of 60, pretty soon those precious numbers in the right spots won’t mean all that much anymore, and your character will now go from hero to zero in no time at all. Also, all your gems become pretty much worthless.



This means that you’ll need a whole new set of gear, especially if you plan on playing on the harder difficulties like Torment. This is of course expected, but it’s always sad to see a sword that was previously a beast amongst other lesser swords, now joining their ranks. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Which is why just before the release of Reaper of Souls, Diablo III was given a fresh start. It was very much this same out with the old and in with the new approach, and it changed the overall game for the better. In what was dubbed Patch 2.0, it not only overhauled the entire loot system in the game, but it also changed how it was fundamentally played too.

These changes, and the closure of the misguided Auction House, were all welcome with open arms. Too many it felt like a new game, and with the new loot system players were startled with the fact that they were now actually being rewarded for their skills and efforts with great items that previously they would have never seen outside of the Auction House. But these changes brought only half of the story that is the new and improved Diablo III, with the rest coming with Reaper of Souls.

You know that new difficulty system that allows you to adjust the challenge and consequently the level of reward? Well with Reaper of Souls it makes perfect sense only once you unlock the new Adventure Mode that comes after you finish the main campaign, including the new Act. Adventure Mode essentially opens the game world allowing you to complete missions for reward as well as tackle randomly generated dungeons. It’s a simple setup, and description alone doesn’t do it justice, but once experienced you can immediately see why Patch 2.0 cut out the previous setup that had people playing through the campaign, over and over, in a linear Groundhog-day like fashion.



One of the biggest drawbacks that came from completing Diablo III and reaching Level 60 was a general sense of, well, now what? Were you simply going to keep playing the same campaign Acts over and over to get gold to buy new items from the Auction House? The answer was yes, and that was the expectation set by Blizzard. Reaper of Souls is different, and even feels like an apology tour, as once you complete the new Act the end game content is now designed to reward players whilst also providing incentives and incremental goals to reach.

This means that you will actually find plans for legendary items, set items, each requiring ingredients that will take quite a bit of play to discover. And with regular item rewards players can also make use of enchanting to better tailor a weapon to their current build. As you get more powerful increasing the difficulty slider on Torment will also increase the reward, and this is all whilst playing through Adventure Mode and the randomised action of the Nephalem Rifts.

The new level cap of 70 is also a bit of a misnomer too, as all that means is that once you reach 70 you’ll no longer be unlocking new skills or abilities. After this point you begin unlocking Paragon Levels (or points) which are based in that high level stuff serious action-RPG players love, numbers. With points rewarded in a number of categories players can add points to basic things like Intelligence or Dexterity but also more strategic ones like Attack Speed, Critical Hit Chance, and Life On Hit. And as an added incentive to have players reroll and try out a new character class, Paragon Levels are account-wide and adjustable for each of your characters. Brilliant stuff.



Now this is a polar opposite approach to endgame content than the almost non-existent one seen in the original release, and quite possibly well overdue too. Diablo III came out in 2012 and for some Reaper of Souls may look like a case of too little too late. So with that in mind when you look strictly at the new content, the stuff you can see in the promo screenshots and videos, like the new character class of the Crusader and the new Act, Reaper of Souls is still a success.

The fact is, Blizzard are still one of the most talented developers of PC games in the business, and the level of polish and overall quality seen in each of their games is commendable. Reaper of Souls is no different, the new act which takes place in the burning and gothic setting of Westmarch is a visual feast, with fantastically realised locations and some brilliant production values in the form of atmospheric lighting and a great musical score. The story, although traditionally clichéd, is a great addition to the Diablo III universe and the new threat and menace of fighting Death himself, Malthael, is a great choice for the expansion.

It’s no surprise that Diablo III was a troubled release for Blizzard, and even though it was critically acclaimed it did leave a lot of fans of the series a little cold. There’s no denying that it was a great game, but the simplification of the skills and levelling system meant that there was little incentive there to keep players coming back for any considerable amount of time. To their credit Blizzard listened to feedback and kept making changes to the overall experience with each new patch being released, but these changes were pretty small and few and far between.



The best way to sum up Reaper of Souls is to unfortunately badmouth the original release, as this is the definitive version of Diablo III, which makes the version we all played two years ago seem like a work-in-progress. Everything has been changed for the better, and when you factor in all the new content and the fantastic new Crusader class, you have what is arguably the best entry in the series. Or at the very least a worthy sequel to Diablo II, which after all, is what a lot fans wanted the first time around.

A note about Aussie servers, as an aside

Just before the release of Reaper of Souls, Blizzard announced local servers for Australian Diablo III players. In a calculated move the local servers only carried instances of Australian-made games, with players still logging into American servers when loading the game, so they can keep their characters and chests full of cherished loot. In hardcore gaming terms this meant that player pings went from sitting in the 200 plus region to now sitting well below 50. In terms of the game this means very little to no delay at all between casting spells or using skills or even timing when to use a potion. It’s more than a welcome change of pace, it’s a fantastic one, and all but eliminates cases where you die and then let your party know that it was due to “!@#@! lagggggggggggggg!!!!”. The only downside to this new low ping Diablo III is that you can no longer blame lag when you die amongst a large group of elite enemies throwing all manner of mortar and poison in your direction. To survive that you’ll need to build up your resistances, so get to it. Because the days of lag, are seemingly over.



Kosta Andreadis remembers a time when in order to get the best out of a console game you had to blow gently into it and whisper sweet nothings like "please work, I’m up to World 8-3, for fudgcicles sake". Situated in Melbourne, Kosta is a freelancer who enjoys playing RPGs, strategy, adventure, and action games. Apart from investing well over 200 hours into The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim he’s also an electronic musician with an album releasing very soon.

Recent articles by Kosta:Find him or follow him on Twitter - @toadovsky, Steam - toadovsky and Xbox Live - Toadovsky.


What we liked
  • New loot system means legendary items for all
  • Adventure Mode is simple but a lot of fun, and addictive
  • The new Act brings a darker and more sinister tone
  • Low ping local servers
What we didn't like
  • That it took two years to get to this point
  • Certain crafting items don’t seem to drop regularly enough. Give us more Deaths Breath!
  • Playing with Wizards that won’t shut up about the amount of damage they deal
  • Seriously, we get it Alex, you’re the most powerful Diablo player in the world
  • Also, Wizards are overpowered and Alex needs to learn humility
More
We gave it:
9.5
OUT OF 10
Latest Comments
Hogfather
Posted 04:46pm 28/3/14
Good review, and on the money imo. Why oh why couldn't we get Adventure Mode instead of a couple years of the lame Auction House?! At least they eventually fixed the game I guess :(

Also, Alex seems like a jerk. Come play with us instead Kosta, we only laugh at you when you die :)
paveway
Posted 04:54pm 28/3/14
For an action RPG this is the stuff that keeps people coming back hour after hour, and was a big part of the longevity with Diablo III.


was he referring to the longevity of diablo II ?
WirlWind
Posted 05:27pm 28/3/14
I'd hope so, because I wouldn't call what D3 had "longevity", but rather "lingering until it was fixed and worth playing again".
Eorl
Posted 05:35pm 28/3/14
Nah I believe its Diablo 3. I think his point is that number gaming was the only reason people kept playing original D3, as that was the only fun thing to do in seeing your character spew forth stupid amounts of damage.
tvcars
Posted 05:36pm 28/3/14
Every improvement that has taken this game back to its roots has been hooray'd. Every 'improvement that has been hooray'd has come after 'f*** that loser' left the group. And every improvement that has come after 'f*** that loser' left has been a huge effort to undo every stupid idea like the real money auction house and more. It's pretty obvious now in retrospect why D3 was so hated - FTL!
paveway
Posted 06:11pm 28/3/14
Diablo 3 the original version had no longevity it lost player numbers pretty heavily pretty quickly i think

i'm surprised as many people came back as they have, if it were any other game developer i don't think a second chance would have been granted (ie. sim city)

but geez did they do a good job of repaying that faith
Enska
Posted 06:22pm 28/3/14
It always had pretty decent numbers playing it, it's just on the flipside there were so many people that hated what it was and weren't playing were quite vocal about it.
I enjoyed vanilla for the most part, but there's no denying this is where the game should have been all along.
Python
Posted 06:24pm 28/3/14
Dunno if i want to touch this after what happened with D3 :I
KostaAndreadis
Posted 11:11pm 28/3/14
Thanks Hog, yeah unfortunately he's my brother so I have no choice. :)

But feel free to add me, toadovsky#1791
Hogfather
Posted 02:34am 29/3/14
Sent you a req.

Oh and as an AU review I reckon the inclusion of local servers for RoS (first for any Bliz game) shoulda maybe got a mention? :)
Ice9ine
Posted 07:48pm 29/3/14
Absolutely phenomenal expac. It is a double edged sword for me listening to people now. Before the ROS the amount of hate towards Blizzard was astounding. Now, so many crawling back. Awesome to have people return no denying that, its a shame people didn't have a bit more faith in the best developer of this genre in the first place.

Trying to get some DS2 in with ROS now out is proving extremely hard for me!
Viper119
Posted 07:50pm 29/3/14
I'm giving it another chance coz I really loved D1 and D2, I was never a big farmer/numbers type player so it looks like it'll be much more fun for me now.

I started a new Crusader character last night, loving it so far.

Who's the dude that tvcars is referring to?
Eorl
Posted 08:37pm 29/3/14
He's referring to Jay Wilson, who posted on Facebook "f*** that loser" in regards to David Brevik calling out Diablo 3's quality. Brevik was one of the co-creators of Diablo 1 and 2, and the rather out there comment caused Wilson to step down from Diablo 3 development.

I'm really liking this expansion even though I have yet to actually touch Act V. The changes to skills, items and just the general feel of things really makes the game play like it should have been on launch. Glad to have the "old" Blizzard back again.
dais
Posted 11:07pm 29/3/14
I haven't bought RoS yet but I started a new character today.

As someone who hasn't played for about a year it is very refreshing to see all the changes they've made. The game world all seems randomly generated now and the mobs are much more interesting, with magical and elite enemies in surprising places. I'm playing on hard and I really like the way the difficulty changes suddenly as the game progresses, it keeps me on my toes.
With much better item drops and no auction house it actually feels like I'm working for something while playing, instead of just killing everything and picking up gold.

Artistically the game always did it for me, so it's great that the gameplay is up to scratch now and we have a finished product.
Kraw
Posted 04:51pm 30/3/14
I think perhaps that those celebrating the return to the glory days of D2 are remembering the final product rather than the initial release that was D2. Can anyone recall what D2 was like before patch 1.10? Or the expansion?

I would argue that history is repeating itself in this regard. Loot 2.0 much like patch 1.10 fixed their respective games.

Enjoying loot 2.0 and RoS, and I thank you for the review as it covers almost everything that could bring some folk back to Diablo 3.
Zapo
Posted 05:06pm 30/3/14
The game is fantastic, the big patch before ROS, and ROS have changed the game drastically and its' actually fun! It's a game I'll probably jump into for a bit here and there.

I'm at the stage though where the game is basically an item grind now, and well, yeah, I kinda got over D2 for the same reason. It certainly is the best item grind around though! Single player / co-op 'friendly' games just don't have the longevity (for me) that competitive games do, and the whole "I'm doing more damage thing isn't really doing it for me".
Dodgymon
Posted 01:30am 31/3/14
I would argue that history is repeating itself in this regard. Loot 2.0 much like patch 1.10 fixed their respective games.

1.10 didn't take 2 years to come out.
Hogfather
Posted 10:59am 31/3/14
1.10 didn't take 2 years to come out.

Diablo II is an action role-playing hack and slash video game developed by Blizzard North and published by Blizzard Entertainment in [June 29] 2000 for Windows and Mac OS computers.
Wikipedia

Patch 1.10, released October 28, 2003
Diablo Wiki
Khel
Posted 11:21am 31/3/14
Diablo 2 still had the fundamentals of what made the game great though, even before 1.10, which just polished off the rough bits. The fundamental core of a diablo game is smashing through randomised dungeons on a hunt for epic loot, and that thrill of seeing an awesome new piece drop. Diablo 3 failed in that regard about as hard as its possible to fail imo. Seeing crap drop after crap drop and buying all my upgrades from the AH was just not a fun Diablo experience.

2.0 and RoS makes it the game I wanted it to be a few years ago
Hogfather
Posted 11:40am 31/3/14
2.0 and RoS makes it the game I wanted it to be a few years ago

Umm D3 was released in June 2012, loot 2.0 in Feb 2014. "A few years" is a stretch dude, its like 1 year 8 months?

Loot 2.0 was announced in March 2013, not even a year after the game was released. Was a pretty big retooling and took a number of patches to implement (MP etc set the stage for scaling etc).

To me they realised pretty early that the AH and loot system was flawed, and to me its OK to f*** up as long as you own it and move on.
ph33x
Posted 12:02pm 31/3/14
(And don't do it again)
Khel
Posted 12:37pm 31/3/14
Well I only just fired it up again on the weekend and hadn't played since about a month after it came out, so close enough to 2 years for me :p Easier and neater to just round up. Tbh I couldn't remember when it came out, thought it was march 2012. I'm not doing it to bust their balls or anything, I'm the biggest Blizzard fanboy you'll find, just saying this is what I wanted originally. Mad respect for them owning their mistakes though and stepping up to fix it
Jim
Posted 03:48pm 31/3/14
I checked the rules, and it's ok to want a game to be something even before it comes out which means a few years works fine
Hogfather
Posted 04:01pm 31/3/14
I checked the rules, and it's ok to want a game to be something even before it comes out which means a few years works fine

I just checked the rules and this is a lame snarky comment that adds nothing to the discussion.

Classic Jim.
qmass
Posted 04:07pm 31/3/14
So much good stuff but the thing I am most excited about is that once again, there are items that create whole new builds which makes experimenting with all kinds of crazy s*** rewarding.

Crusader seems so bad when you hit 70 but there are some items that make some super crazy builds with very high damage possible.
Jim
Posted 04:33pm 31/3/14
your previous comment added nothing hogfather, in spite of you using extra words around what was nothing more than quabbling over khel's use of 'a few years'
get over yourself
Hogfather
Posted 04:40pm 31/3/14
your previous comment added nothing hogfather, in spite of you using extra words around what was nothing more than quabbling over khel's use of 'a few years'
get over yourself

I correctly interpreted Khel as thinking that the game had been like it for a few years and discussed the dev timeline to loot 2.0. Hardly 'quabbling'. Was not having a go just presenting information and chatting ... I thought it was a perfectly rational and friendly discussion until you stuck ya big beak in white knighting Khel for no good reason.

How 'bout you go f*** yourself?
Jim
Posted 05:12pm 31/3/14
all of your hypocritical tirade aside, this game is definitely now the game I wanted it to be a few years ago

you can hop in for a reasonable frame of time and see regular upgrades without needing to d*** around with the AH, they seem to have hit the sweetspot that d2 had. adventure mode just ices the cake
paveway
Posted 05:19pm 31/3/14
this game was so last decade
ph33x
Posted 05:32pm 31/3/14
Protip: Don't read the D3 General/Tech/AllRounder forums. - You'll notice things you didn't notice before and.. yeah.. don't read. Ever.
Hogfather
Posted 05:47pm 31/3/14
Forums in general can be lame as s***.
paveway
Posted 05:52pm 31/3/14
you're not kidding ph33x i was having a look around it yesterday and they still complain about the game as if it still day 1 release standard

then i came across this thread posted 1 day ago:

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/12330573107

original?v=mpbl-1&px=-1
Enska
Posted 10:25pm 31/3/14
lol, punch on jim & hoggy.
Justaguy
Posted 03:56am 02/4/14
The changes and loot 2.0 system basically put the game at where it should have been upon release. If Blizzard had noted that they screwed up (instead of telling their fan/player base that they were idiots for pointing out WHERE Blizzard screwed up), then we probably wouldn't have abandoned the game in droves in the first place. The game as it stands now is what it SHOULD have looked like on release and so if you do your best to block out he traumatic memories of earlier (Sort of like we do with Highlander 2), then, provided you enjoy the ARPG genre, you should enjoy the game as it now stands. For awhile at least.
ph33x
Posted 10:24am 02/4/14
They need to add more disparity between rare and legendary, especially sets. (Kinda like wow how you won't find a blue item beating an epic item.

It's annoying picking up yellows that are 0.1% worse than your awesome legendary/set item.
Khel
Posted 12:16pm 02/4/14
(Sort of like we do with Highlander 2)


Haha, so true
Phooks
Posted 12:59pm 02/4/14
They would not have removed the auction house if it was more profitable.
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