I’ve mentioned it before, but Diablo II is probably my favorite game of all time. I was incredibly excited when I heard Diablo III was announced. Even though I’ve played over 150 hours, D3 just didn’t quite have that old D2 feel. With the upcoming Reaper of Souls expansion dropping in four weeks, Blizzard has put out patch 2.0.1, implementing a lot of features that have been in the works for months. I played for about four hours last night, starting a new three-man team.
My initial reaction — I think that Reaper of Souls can lift Diablo III up just like Lord of Destruction did for Diablo II.
Patch 2.0.1 for Diablo III comes with a multitude of sweeping changes. The patch notes take about 20 minutes to read through. Most importantly, I think, is the long-awaited “Loot 2.0” re-work of all items. Item drop frequency is through the roof. In my roughly four hours of play, I found three uniques and countless rares. Magic and rare items are identified when they drop, which makes the ground a lot easier to look at. Rather than seeing a bunch of Great Swords and Chest Armors, you’ll see things like Face Ripper and Vile Sting. It’s more fun to think, “What’s a Face Ripper?” than to think, “what’s Chest Armor #2671 going to be?”. The text box for gold piles doesn’t show up on the ground either, reducing clutter.
Stat rolls on items have also undergone a huge change with the implementation of “smart drops”. If an item is deemed a smart drop, it has a higher chance to roll the main stat of your class. A monk has a better chance of rolling dexterity, for example. Also, class-specific items won’t roll stats that don’t make sense. The days of wasting a stat slot of strength on a quiver are over! One thing I really like is the ability to see the min/max for each stat on your item in-game so you know how close to perfect it is.
Unique items are becoming more and more unique. Not only are they better by a huge factor, but many have special abilities that can completely make a build. Whether it’s reducing a resource cost, adding elemental attacks, increasing a stat, or something else funky, it’s really fun to find uniques and think about builds for them.
Speaking of builds, any build you have sitting around might as well be torn down and reworked. Check out the patch notes I linked above — nearly every single skill has been redone in some way, whether it be playing with resource cost, damage percentage, or adding/removing/modifying runes. I only played my monk and a new barbarian, but here are a few of the quick hits I found:
- Mantras never wear off
- Dashing Strike now costs charges, which gather over time, and can FINALLY be used to dash to an area instead of only to a target
- Spirit generators have had their generation increased by 100% or more
- Weapon Throw is now a fury generator, not a fury spender (related: I’m finally making the throwing weapon barbarian I’ve been thinking about)
Super Saiyan ModeWrath of the Berserker no longer costs fury
The new level cap of 70 will bring a few new active and passive skills, along with a new passive skill slot at 70. Creating a weird build around an uncommon skill is something I really loved doing in D2, so I’m hoping the huge skill changes will allow for more diverse builds and take away the unfortunate truth of there only being two or three viable builds per class.
Paragon 2.0 also arrives with this new patch. Instead of a max of 100 Paragon levels per character, your Paragon levels are now shared account-wide. Each level gives each character one point to be allocated in four categories: Core (main stat, vitality), Offense (above), Defense (armor, life percentage), and Utility (movement speed, gold find). Points can be reset at any time and each stat has a cap of 50, except for your main stat which can be leveled up infinitely.
Some other changes introduced in 2.0.1:
- Crafting has been completely redone. All materials have been converted to Exquisite Essences and Iridescent Tears.
- Diamonds have been added to the game. Increased elite damage in weapons, reduced cooldown in helms, and resist all in other pieces.
- Waypoint selection now happens on a real map, rather than a pick-list.
- Difficulties have been changed. There is now normal, hard, expert, master, and torment (1-6). Monsters level up dynamically as you play.
- Some area maps have been changed just enough to make them feel new.
- Items, including uniques, can drop with dyes already on them.
- Nephalem Valor is gone
It may be early and it may be partially due to my unwavering desire for Diablo III to be an all-timer, but damnit all, Patch 2.0.1 is a blast. There are new skills, new items, new monster types, new stats. The pre-expansion patch has done it’s job on me — I’m interested in the game again and will certainly be picking up Reaper of Souls when it drops on March 25.