Yesterday at 9PM, Blizzard released the latest and first expansion to Diablo 3, Reaper of Souls which continues the original Diablo 3 story left off at Act IV and promises a throughly redesigned loot system and a considerably darker setting. The story begins in Westmarch where new evil has emerged which has possessed the bodies of it's citizens turning them in to a variety of challenging monsters. Overall it has been a huge improvement on the previous offering much more challenging battles that require more strategy and caution. Additionally, Blizzard introduces the new Crusader character class which fills the void between Monk and Barbarian. The Crusader class is a shield dependent character with skills such as shield bash, blessed shield and a number of other skills including the summoning of a battle stallion that charges you into battle.
Even before the release of the expansion, many of us were already enjoying the loot 2.0 updates in the original Diablo as we began grinding to reach higher paragon levels before the launch of the new game. However right off the bat, in the new expansion, although challenging we were already reaping the rewards of the new loot system with consistent drops of Marquise and Imperial gems.
After about the first of the expansion we were already seeing our stats double with the new gear yet the game. The game thankfully remains challenging even with the high stats and we found ourselves dying more often than usual thanks to huge waves empowered by wall conjuring, ice crowd control abilities, teleportation, and worst of all purple lasers. Unlike before where we could just gather a mod of monsters to engage all at once, we had to play more strategically, pulling in small groups and avoiding accidentally pulling in more than we could handle.
Blizzard also added two new features to the game which include Transmogrify and Enchantment. Transmogrify allows players to use gold to change the look of their armor and weapons. Players can make epic gear looks as if it's just cloth or turn something ordinary into something that looks extraordinary like a complete armor set. Enchantment allows players to upgraded the abilities and stats on their existing weapons which adds new levels of customization to weapons and armor making the game not entirely loot dependent anymore. Players can individually customize their builds with enchantments to enhance and better compliment their roles in addition to the use of paragon points.
Overall it's been a great experience, the graphics are great, a really dark contrast to what we experienced previously and honestly we didn't think it could get darker but Blizzard has absolutely succeeded. The gameplay is progressively more challenging which should make it more fun and interesting for those looking to play at higher Torment levels and the new class offers interesting team compositions and a entire new opportunity to play from the beginning from Act 1 all the way to Act V. Check out our Day 1 gameplay video below. Unfortunately we had some streaming difficulties but hopefully you'll enjoy the improvements in part 2 of our series.