Game Preview: Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls


Last week, Blizzard Entertainment released the beta for Diablo 3 (D3) titled “Reaper of Souls” (RoS).  Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised to be invited to partake in the limited beta.  Naturally, I had to play it.Here’s what I discerned from my experience, a little under one week later:

STORYLINE
Thought most people do not play Diablo for the storyline, I do.  I’ve been an avid follower since the original Diablo.  Reaper of Souls takes place after some “moments of peace” following the end of the original D3.  Former Archangel Mathael has went from being the Angel of Wisdom to becoming an aspect of death.  Malthael steals the Black Soulstone from Tyrael and the Horadrim before they are able to seal it away for good.  It is up to the “nephalem” (your character) to come save the day (again).

I will not spoil the rest.  However, interestingly enough, they included side stories for all the other extra characters (i.e. Lyndon, Eirena, Kormac, and more).  The campaign also has many opportunities for in-game events as well.  The boss fights I find to be exceptionally more fun compared to some of the boss fights in D3. Overall, not bad.

GAMEPLAY
Pandemonium_Fortress_LH_008-1024x575There are some “subtle” changes to the game, but overall, it works almost identical to D3.  RoS (and the game updates to launch before the expansion pack itself), aims at fixing what a lot of players complained about in D3.  The Auction House will be gone in March.  The looting system will be changed to have more drops for the character class you choose to play.  The mechanics behind healing were changed to reflect it being a potential skill/ability to be improved upon.

The two features many have taken to in the beta is the new end game players can take advantage of: bounties and Nephalem Rifts.  When a player enters the new “Adventure Mode,” they can do this.  Bounties allows the player to use the waypoint to access any part of the act to complete various “quests” known as bounties.  These bounties can be from killing a number of monsters and then killing a unique monster, completing an in-game event, killing a boss, or more.  Nephalem Rifts is a randomized dungeon with randomized monsters from all acts.  After the player kills enough monsters, a unique monster will appear to be defeated.  Both the bounties and Nephalem Rifts offer opportunities to farm items.

EVERYTHING ELSE
The graphics remained the same from D3, although the 3D environment feel is seen better in RoS, with great depth perception.  They also added the Crusader class but I haven’t been able to play much of that class.  As it stands in beta, the talk of the town is the Crusader is the class to be for a real easy time in torment (a new difficulty they added).  I also can’t say much about the difficulty levels in comparison to D3 as my account has been bugged and frozen to Expert, even after changing the difficulties up or down.

CONCLUSION
D3:RoS looks to be a real redeeming game for the franchise after the negative attention brought D3 and the Diablo series down a few notches.  To be honest, none of that bothered me.  I played D3 all summer of 2012 and a third of my summer in 2013, plus sporadically between classes.  I did not mind one bit.  Others did, however.  We will see.  Many have their gripes even in beta, but I feel this is a great redemption for the series and franchise.  Can’t wait for the official release, currently slated for some time in 2014.

Mappquest, a.k.a. DJ Mappquest or Josue “Josh” Alvarez Mapp, hosts Sports Madness, every Friday from 8-9 PM, and the Late Night Show, every Friday 9-11 PM, on KSSU.com.

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