Its finally here, the expansion to the stupidly addictive clickiness that Blizzard gave to us nearly two years ago! I won’t ignore the fact that some of you likely had your issues with the game, whether it be of the error 37 kind or just simply a hatred for something it did or didn’t do to meet your expectations. You may be wondering why in hell you should now consider paying the price of a full game for an expansion. The simple answer is this: Reaper of Souls takes what you hated about Diablo III, fixes them, then throws in a whole lot of extra content to keep you busy for many, many hours.
I have no doubt that most Diablo III fans are already playing the expansion, but what about the rest of the naysayers? After much research, I have identified the 5 stages of grief a sceptic will more than likely go through and post to their social media feeds:
Denial – It’s too late Blizzard! You can’t fix the pain we have endured! #NeverForgetError37
Anger – Holy secret cow level! this expansion costs R400? REALLY BLIZZARD? YOU WANT ME TO SPEND HOW MUCH JUST SO WE CAN BE FRIENDS AGAIN? #LOLSellingMyKidneyBro
Bargaining – Maybe if I skimp on a few meals this month, I can lose weight AND quest for loot once more? #TwoBirdsOneStone
Depression – I have no friends left. They wasted their money and left me behind. #ForeverAlone
Acceptance - OH FINE SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY! #CardSwiping101
Right, now that you have undergone that process, what can you actually expect from this expansion?
You get access to Act V which is set a few months after the original game. See that badass on the header image? That’s Malthael, the Angel of Death. I’m really not one to pay too much attention to character design, but I honestly loved Malthael and I feared him more than the Prime Evil himself. The story takes you through many new locations and enemies, which I am confident that most players will enjoy. It will only take the average player around 2-4 hours to finish the act (depending on difficulty) but it’s a nice change from all the others.
Then there’s the Crusader, the shiny new class that is designed to be the spiritual successor to the Paladin. The Crusader is meant to be a hybrid of a tank and support, but still possesses the ability to deal out all sorts of pain to the thousands of minions standing in your way. There are the usual abilities intended for offense and defence, as well as some passives which will keep you and your party pushing through all kinds of danger. The crusader has quite the variety, from hammer throwing to simple bashing to leaping into the air and crashing down into your foes. This may sound silly, but the reason the Crusader is now one of my favourite classes rests purely on the feeling you get when you dismiss the enemies around you. For lack of a better word, there is a certain “chunkiness” when you smack an enemy into oblivion, and it is ridiculously satisfying!
I often criticise expansions for only including one extra class because, you know, everybody wants to play with the new toy and you will likely end up with a party of Crusaders at some point. Oddly enough, I have yet to encounter such a party. Many people opted to hop straight into the adventure mode which is unlocked only after finishing Act V. I honestly think that this mode makes the expansion entirely worth it. I’ve moaned several times about how I got over Diablo III purely because I got tired of playing the same game over and over again. In my opinion, adventure mode completely fixes that.
In a nutshell, you get access to the world map. Populating this world map are various bounties to complete. These bounties can be anything from performing some minor side quest to defeating a big boss. After performing five bounties, there is a reward of gold, experience, as well as a Horadric cache. Essentially, it’s an item that gets placed in your inventory and right-clicking it yields results similar to opening a big chest. Loot loot loot! The player will also be rewarded with a new currency called blood shards which can be used to buy even more loot.
The expansion also raises the level cap up to 70, bringing in new passives and spells for your existing heroes. What really makes adventure mode awesome though is that you can play through it with your level 70, or even your newly created level 1. Monsters scale to your level, but there is a selection of difficulties which can be used to determine just how much you want to cry. Upping the difficulty has its benefits , as doing so will yield better experience, gold, bounty rewards, and eventually, new legendary items.
Throughout these bounties you will also pick up rift keystone fragments, five of which can be used to open up a Nephalem Rift. These are pretty much loot runs, where a randomly generated dungeon with multiple levels and random enemies are created. Killing a certain amount of enemies will set loose the Rift Guardian, a big boss taken from somewhere in the game. Defeating it rewards you with MORE LOOT! That’s not such a bad thing though is it?
Ever feel like your loot just doesn’t look right or could use a new stat re-roll? Visit the new artisan who will transmogrify your stuff for you (for a small fee of course). This can come in handy when you want to modify your loot just to be that teeny bit better or just look cooler.
The new clans and communities feature is not exclusive to the expansion but something that needs a mention because I think it’s freaking useful. Upon joining a clan, a player gets a tab in their friends list showing all the clan members that are online. No longer will a player have to solo to find the best loot, as this opens up countless other games to hop into, and we all know fuller parties means better chances at better loot. Another nice touch is that the text bar will show activity from other clan members, inciting mass jealousy when somebody picks up a rather juicy legendary item. This opened my eyes to the sort of items that I had yet to find, pushing me to keep playing to find better stuff to equip my player with.
My only minor gripe boils down to the persistent online requirement. I realise that this game is best enjoyed when played with friends, but single player should be left to be an offline affair if the player chooses to do so. That being said, I only experienced one evening where myself and players dropped once in a while due to some Battle.net issues.