For me, my trip into Sanctuary last night was more of the stop and smell the roses variety. I really wanted to soak in the new content, leaving no corpse un-looted, no vase unbroken, no barrel un-smashed, no corner of the map unexplored, and no bad guys left alive.
Although he’s the less sturdy of my 2 “mains”, I decided to give Act V a go with my Demon Hunter. After about 4.5 hours of solo play and level 67, I called it a night, and what a night it was!
Anyway, here are my first impressions after playing one night in the expansion…
I like it…a lot.
So far, Reaper of Souls feels like what Diablo III was meant to be like all along. It has a much grander and more ominous feeling than vanilla D3.
It is dark.
I think Blizzard nailed it with Westmarch. The place is dark and doomy, with an abundance of indoor instances.
Although Diablo II was a tremendous game with some vast gameplay improvements over the original, I always thought that Diablo I really captured the soul of the franchise and provided the most immersive experience. In short, it was suspenseful, eerie and unsettling. Bad guys leapt out at you from the dark, there was always a fear of not knowing what and how many would be waiting at the end of your light radius, and escape routes were much more scarce.
I felt more “up against it” when playing in Act V, which is great. Part of the appeal with a Diablo game is the fear and the suspense. My first impression is that Act V took a few notes from the original game. The Act I Cathedral is still fun for me, but I was immediately struck by the foreboding feel of the sprawling alleyways and dark corridors of Westmarch.
The Plague Tunnels are awesome.
Upon entering this place, I was thinking…”folks, I think we have ourselves a Di-ablo game here”. They did a great job on this mini-dungeon. The cremation furnaces actually hit pretty hard and provided a nice element of gameplay, and the furnace event at the end was great! That was actually the first fight I’d ever found to be truly engaging in D3. Not to say I don’t enjoy many of the other ones, but this fight was far more tactical than anything I’d experienced up until this point.
The Mystic is FTW!
Having the ability to further customize our characters by re-rolling stats on our gear is a huge win, and the Transmogrify feature is a nice novelty for those – like me – who are into character aesthetics. I didn’t do much enchanting last night, but I did tamper with a ranged weapon and a ring – both times resulting in a decent upgrade. I’m looking forward to utilizing this feature to explore some new and interesting builds. I see the Mystic becoming even more of a boon to the game once Blizzard decides to implement a real PvP system.
The soundtrack is EPIC!
Like I said, Blizzard did an amazing job with Westmarch. I’ve not fully explored the Blood Marsh, but I’m really liking it as well. The scripting and the lore all flows nicely, but THE MUSIC…OMG! The music in ACT V is incredible. It adds immeasurably to the overall experience and in fact, I’m listening to some of it on YouTube as I write this. 😉
Vengeance feels really good.
I am having a lot of fun with this ability. It not only makes my character feel extremely powerful, but it looks incredibly badass. I’m anxious to see what the other level 61 class abilities feel like, but I think any of them will be hard pressed to out-awesome Vengeance.
Act V is tough.
But not in a bad way. I found it to be challenging, with my only complaint being, FFS Blizz…can you please change the waller affix to at least be a destroyable object. I mean, really…c’mon!
I began my campaign in Torment I with sub-optimal gear (around 90K DPS unbuffed), but I hung in there fine for about 2 levels. Once I hit around level 63 or so, I started becoming a little bit more frustrated, especially when I’d get one-shotted after obtaining a Pool of Reflection boost or two. :\ I kept pushing on, dealing with the occasional death, then finally around level 65 I’d had enough and dialed it down to Master. This was a much more pleasant experience.
Note: If you haven’t yet started in RoS, I would recommend taking your difficulty setting down 1-2 notches from where you normally play in Act IV.
The mobs in Act V have proportionately more HPs than what we’ve been used to dealing with at level 60, and the Treasure Goblins can be a pain on higher levels if you’re lacking in DPS. I was unable to drop any TG’s in Torment I, but Master was fine.
Decent loot drops happened, but it wasn’t a showering of upgrades.
Granted I started in Reaper of Souls with pretty mediocre stuff, I am still wearing more than half of my level 60 stuff; however, I did manage to snag 3 Legendary items last night – the best of which was my level 65 Manticore, which provided a much needed DPS boost. In addition, I grabbed a legendary belt and some legendary trousers – both of which were upgrades. I also replaced my ring and helm with Act V rares.
All in all, the upgrade pace felt pretty balanced to me. I anticipate probably having a completely different set of gear by the time I reach 70 – maybe apart from my cloak because that thing just flat out rocks. 😉 Nothing like having 4 tanks to roll with when playing solo.
I had fun!
I really enjoyed my first few hours in the expansion! Although not being in the beta this time around had something to do with the build up, I definitely see this iteration of Diablo 3 as a game that will provide lasting engagement for me. The original game was lacking in terms of replay value, but with the advent of Patch 2.0 and all of the RoS goodness, we’ve got the foundation for a Diablo III that will prove to be the game that players had wanted all along.
Now if only they’d bring back a revamped playable Necro class! 😉
So, what was your launch-night impression of Reaper of Souls?