This past week at Gamescom Blizzard announced an upcoming expansion for Diablo 3 titled Reaper of Souls. This long awaited expansion adds additional story and a host of new features to keep players entertained for many more hours. Here is what fans can expect from Blizzard:
Diablo 3 had a couple of plot points left unresolved at the conclusion of the game. This expansion focuses on what happened to the black soul stone that still contained the essence of Diablo, and the reappearance of the angle Malthael. Malthael was formerly the Aspect of Wisdom (a position now held by Tyrael), but disappeared with the destruction of the worldstone in the Lord of Destruction expansion for Diablo 2. While attempting to hide the black soul stone from human and angel alike, Tyrael is found by Malthael (now the Aspect of Death), who then proceeds to steal the stone despite the best efforts of Tyrael. It is once again up to the player to set things right, forming the basis for the fifth act of the game.
New class and level cap
Reaper of Souls introduces one new class to the game, the Crusader. This is a reworking of the Paladin from Diablo 2, and shares some feature with class, such as passive abilities that affect the party. While Blizzard have not yet announced how the class is built, it is likely to be a strength user who focuses on melee attacks. A new level cap of 70 will prevent players who have already attained max level from blasting through the new content. These extra ten levels will be filled with extra goodies, as Blizzard have promised new skills, runes, and passive abilities for each class.
Increasing the level cap made some question what would happen to paragon levels that had already been earned. Blizzard was quick to address this by showing off their new paragon system. For each paragon level achieved, a point is awarded to the player which can be spent improving abilities. These are either core stats (such as intelligence), offensive, defensive or utility. What exactly can be improved in the latter three categories is unknown at this point, but as the core abilities can only be improved so far, players will need to put points somewhere else eventually. Blizzard have also removed the ceiling from the paragon levels, so as long as players continue to play, they will never stop improving their characters. The final improvement to the paragon system is that the feature is now account wide. As long as a player has one character at max level, all their characters will benefit from the bonuses.
Blizzard have tweaked the loot system to give better drops to the player. While less items overall will be found, the likelihood of a legendary dropping has increased. Rare items and better now have smart drops. This gives a chance that the item will have stats that suit the character it dropped for. Legendary items will change the way a player builds their character,an example of this would be a Wizard’s wand that could allow the player to summon extra hydras. Transmogrification, a successful feature from World of Warcraft, has been brought over to Diablo 3 as well. This allows the player change the appearance of their gear, without sacrificing its stats. This task is performed by an new artisan – the Mystic – who also also has the enchanting skill, allowing players to change an affix on a piece of gear.
Loot runs are being introduced that will give the player short dungeons that last fifteen to twenty minutes. These multi-tiered dungeons can be set in almost any of the environments in the game, and make full use the random room generation. The enemies will also be randomly chosen, as will a boss at the end of the dungeon that the player will need to defeat should they want to escape with all their new loot.
Not only have blizzard given players more content to experience, they have gone some ways to addressing the problems that come with the addition of the auction house. Smart drops will not stop players from posting gear, but hopefully most will choose to wear it especially if they get good rolls from the Mystic. Transmogrification has proved to be a successful feature in World of Warcraft and should continue to be so here. My favourite feature is that the paragon system is now account wide, so when I start a new crusader it will be easier to play though the game with him. We do not yet know when the expansion will launch, but hopefully we will know more at Blizzcon. Who knows, maybe they will even offer it for free to Warcraft subscribers like they did with Diablo 3 two years ago?
Do you own Diablo 3? Would the expansion make you buy the game? What is you favourite feature? Let me know in the comments!