Prior to the gates of Westmarch opening, streams of stalwart Crusaders, enraged Barbarians and pompous Wizards were chomping at the bit to ruin Malthael’s homecoming party. And now that they’ve finally gotten their chance, I’ve received a slew of questions regarding how to most efficiently traverse the significantly altered world of Sanctuary.
Reaper of Souls expands upon many of the core mechanics first unveiled in the vanilla version of the game. As such, playing the expansion is equal parts familiar and revelatory. Here are a few tidbits of information I’ve gathered from my encounter with the new xpac:
- You should expect the 60-70 leveling process to take anywhere from four to eight hours, depending on you starting gear and difficulty, and your luck finding stellar upgrades.
- Speaking of upgrades, unless your character was super-pimped out going in, expect to give him/her a nearly full-makeover by the time you reach level 62-63.
- While the first few missions are rather simple, the difficulty ramps up significantly around the time you reach the Battlefields of Eternity.
- The frequency of Events and Purple mobs are far higher than in the original D3. In addition, Event objectives are more varied and provide greater rewards.
- The Cursed Chest bonus missions, which require you to defeat five increasingly bigger waves of enemies, is borderline impossible – at least on Torment difficulty. Of course, with better gear, they will become more manageable.
- Overall, Act V boss mechanics resemble those found in other acts, except somewhat more diversified. I’ve heard on more than one occasion that boss battles function similarly to how they do in WoW – that’s a fair comparison.
- Don’t die! Pools of Reflection are plentiful, and will allow you to level at a highly accelerated pace. In my estimation, it’s better to play on a lower difficulty level and not die, then to potentially risk losing the experience pools.
- The Mystic is a welcome addition, but Enchanting is not quite as powerful as some originally thought.
- Bounties are quite possibly the best way to gain Paragon Levels, but some bounties are more efficient than others.
- Legendary items drop at a far accelerated rate. It’s not uncommon to find two or three within a 30 minutes span.
- Aesthetically, Act V most closely resembles Act I. Moody, gloomy and more representative of what players have come to expect from the Diablo franchise, from a visual stance Westmarch and its surrounding areas did not disappoint.
- Without giving anything away, the story was fairly by the numbers, but worth experiencing once.
- Because all gear is self-found and can be altered slightly, it enticed me to examine the stats of every rare drop. My advice, hold on to gear that’s one attribute away from being awesome and try your luck at the Mystic.
Mild Spoiler Alert: Malthael
The last battle against Malthael is fought in two phases, and in many ways resembles the fight versus Diablo, right down to the battlefield. As such, it felt slightly retread – but still quite epic nonetheless.
But, given the wealth of new challenges, improved gameplay mechanics and enhanced loot drops there’s really no reason why Diablo aficionados won’t eat Reaper of Souls up. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some Reapers to slay.