So I’ll admit it, I gave up on Blizzards latest Diablo game just over 4 months after it came out, I had hit the level cap, and wasn’t able to grind for the gear I needed in order to advance to higher difficulties. At the time the difficulties and drop rates were tuned in an attempt to force players to use the Auction House to get the proper gear for their level, or grind for endless hours. Level 60+ content was poorly organized there was no adventure mode, and I simply could not get past act with my monk. Since literally rage quitting during Act 2 (the freaking bees that shoot little bees) I haven’t opened the game at all. I’d say it’s probably been a year or more. Since then both the real money, and gold auction houses have bene removed (march 2014) and there has been a full expansion with a new character type (Reaper of Souls, and Crusader). The game has been patched quite a few times and holy crap this feels like a whole new game!
Jumping back in I was quite surprised to find that patch 2.3 was basically a totally different game. With the auction house gone, loot tables have been adjusted, and I found that I no longer went more than a few minutes without finding something new and exciting to do. My monk was already level 60, so I didn’t have much to make up, but I did have an entire new act to play through. I stared in earnet playing through Act IV
Act IV takes place in Westmarch, and contains quite a few new things to do. The story itself is less important that the fact that after finishing there was end game content! Though paragon levels had been in the game since before i quit, they now seemed to have a definitive purpose. That and the tweaks to the difficulty system seemed to balance out the frustrating end game curve that I had felt when playing before. I found my monk, whom I had now pushed up to level 70(the new level cap for RoS) able to handle much more than he had been able to in my prior experience. Perhaps best of all, I started getting amazing legendary and set piece drops right away.
Diablo is a loot based game, and unfortunately before loot 2.0 the game simply wasn’t delivering on that promise. Items dropped yes, but higher rarity items, set pieces and legendries specifically, were so rare that I often went entire play trough’s of the story mode without a single legendary loot drop. Thankfully those times are gone. They have been replaced by a much much kinder loot table. Gone are the years of farming the end of act bosses, or mid-act mini-bosses on endless repeat. In its place is adventure mode. Once you complete the campaign you are tasked with a series of mini-quests to go back in each act and do something in one of the acts many locations. The reward for these mini-quests is crafting materials needed for higher level crafting recipes.
In addition to this there are the Nephalem Rifts, added in patch 2.0 which are essentially dedicated loot runs. These quick to run, self-contained dungeons set the player out to kill a large number of mobs in a pre-set randomly generated dungeon and then fight an end boss. Prior to patch 2.3 these were self-perpetuating, requiring players to finish the rift, and then unlock the next level. They are now separated in to three categories instead. A progressively leveling Greater Rift, a standard Nephalem Rift, and an Empowered greater rift (added in patch 2.4). Each serves its own purpose, the Nephalem rift is un-timed and is scaled to the torment difficulty that the player is currently playing on. The Greater rift is a more difficult timed challenge, players have just 15 minutes to clear the Rift of minions and defeat its guardian. These greater rifts require a key to access and players will need to play through the standard Nephalem rift in order to get those keys. The final type of rift The empowered greater rift, offers up a choice, spend a large amount of gold, and in exchange receive a larger reward and the end of the greater rift. This is a much needed gold sink for players who may have been sitting on 5 or 6 billion of the games essentially worthless in game currency.
There is also a ton of new loot to find; new sets and new items for all of the classes keep each interesting and fun. An active community oneline means that players (like me) who just want to look up a build and follow it can, and players who would rather forge their own builds and experience with damage and numbers can as well. A robust set of online support websites nurtures a healthy community of people who play the game and keep its meta up to date as Blizzard patches the game.
Let’s talk about those patches, the most recent was patch 2.4(http://us.battle.net/d3/en/blog/19998542/patch-240-now-live-1-12-2016) and it introduced a number of new items, features, and set bonuses. It was also the pre-season patch that went up before the start of Diablo 3’s fifth season. Each Diablo 3s seasons brings with it new leaderboards, and challenges for players to tackle. This patch even brought with it a new area, Greyhallow Island and additional set based dungeons. These two additions are just the start of what Blizzard did in this patch. Though 2.4 has new areas and content, it also bring with it a host of new features, like being able to carry non-seas on characters in too seasons, and a guaranteed armor set of the green (set) rarity. There are also numerous tweaks to abilities, legendary items, and set bonuses aimed at making the game more fun for casusal and hardcore players alike.
So what does all of that mean? Well it means im sinking endless hours in to my new season 5 barbarian. Whom you have been watching run one of those Nephalem rifts in the background. The game is fun again, and while it’s more fun to play with a few friends, I have recently found myself jumping on to run a few rifts solo just when I have a spare 10 or 15 minutes. The amazing feeling of completing a greater rift with just a few moments to spare, or finding that one last loot drop that you need to finish your build, simply doesn’t exist in the other games I am currently playing.
As of the writing of this article I am at paragon level 350 on my seasonal character, and yet I still have not completed the season’s goals. I don’t feel rushed to complete them as I know that I have three full moths to complete the season and receive its rewards. The extended length of this season gives players enough time to feel comfortable with their builds, and focus on running ever higher Greater rifts in the pursuit of the top spot on the leader board.
Right now it’s a whole new game for me, and my interest is captured, and held hostage by the magic of diablo 3’s loot. I want to find that last piece of gear, and I want to get that better more damaging weapon, and that’s what keeps me playing. The rifts go on forever, and there’s always a new set of builds to experiment with. If you like loot, chasing the top of leaderboards, and always looking for that that quick fix. This new Diablo patch is exactly what you are looking for.
Check out a little bit of the action for the new patch here