Many die hard fans of the Diablo series eagerly anticipated the release of Diablo 3 and watched it closely for years, from the time it was announced in 2008, to the time it was released in 2012. Though the successor to the legendary Diablo 2 garnered a notable following, it ultimately led to disappointment among the series’ more faithful fans. In addition to a lackluster story line (three guesses who the final boss of Diablo 3 is), it became obvious pretty quickly that the loot system left a lot to be desired. With the addition of an Auction House, legendary items could be sold for either gold or real world currency. Unfortunately, this flooded the market with legendary items, making them nearly worthless, and since the loot wasn’t tailored to your character, you often ended up with items that you couldn’t equip and couldn’t sell. This lead many fans to abandon Diablo 3, and it some situations even go back to playing one of the predecessors.
Enter Reaper of Souls and Patch 2.0.1. With the announcement of Diablo 3’s upcoming expansion Reaper of Souls, eyes again turned to Blizzard in hopes that they would bring back the desired loot system. Not only did Blizzard pull out all the stops to give the fans what they wanted, but they didn’t wait for you to purchase the expansion to do so. Releasing a full month ahead of the expansion, patch 2.0.1 brings tons of improvements to game play, making it feel less like a free patch, and more like an expansion that we should have paid for. Here are just a few things that are new or improved upon since the patch dropped.
- Loot 2.0 – The horrible loot system has been totally revamped. Loot 2.0, as Blizzard calls it, now tailors nearly everything you loot to the character that loots it. Most veterans of Diablo 2 that I’ve spoken with seem to agree that it is once again a joy to log in and farm for hours! Most of your character’s current gear will likely be replaced by more powerful alternatives just minutes into playing. Expect to see new Cursed Chests and Cursed Shrines, which contain glorious loot, IF you can complete the given challenge.
- Paragon 2.0 – Blizzard has decided to combine the Paragon levels obtained over all of the characters on your account. Rather than increasing base stats with each level of Paragon, you now earn points which can be distributed into one of 16 categories, which are class specific. These categories might include Increased Attack Speed or Increased Area of Effect damage. These points can be used by new characters as well, making it more tolerable to level an alternate class.
- Monsters 2.0 – Monsters in Diablo typically come in groups, but with the new patch, these groups are much larger. You can expect your screen to be completely filled with enemies much of the time, which allows for increased experience gain by killing such large groups. Don’t worry about it being too difficult though, as the new Loot and Paragon systems will have you feeling like a god among men in no time.
- New and Improved Skills and Stats – Your characters stats have been revamped, and many of their skills will have either been improved upon, or changed entirely. Blizzard has been listening to the community and has reworked combat skills that seemed too under powered, so be sure to check out the changes before you head out into combat. Also, we have been given a few new stats to focus on. Damage, Toughness and Healing are now the three main stats that your character will focus on, and each item will clearly display what stats you will gain or lose by equipping it.
- New Difficulty Settings – Nightmare, Hell and Inferno have been removed completely. Instead, we now have Normal, Hard, Master, Expert and, unlocked and level 60, Torment I-VI. Each difficulty increased the amount of experience and gold obtained by destroying groups of monsters, and in the expansion, will increase the rewards from Bounties.
These are all improvements that have made Diablo 3 a significantly different game. The only issue that I see currently, is that all the Legendary and set items that people are looting are account bound, meaning they cannot be traded to other players. With the Auction House being shut down in a couple of weeks, I am hoping that making items account bound was just a measure taken to keep it from being flooded with new items. One of the greatest things about Diablo 2 was trading or selling powerful items for something that you really wanted. Actually speaking to other players and working out a deals is one of the things that made that game so addictive and involved, so if Blizzard really wants to keep players around, they should probably open up these items to being trade-able again. Also, there don’t seem to be any current plans to implement this game changing patch to the console versions of the game, which will most likely anger owners of the console versions.
As it stands, Diablo 3 is a completely new experience, and if you are one of the many that abandoned the game early in it’s life, you owe it to yourself to fire it up and give it another chance. Any reviews that the game received when it was released are now null and void, as is any game guide you made have. So grab some snacks, kick back, fire up that PC and lay waste to the hordes of hell!