So, you have worked your way through four acts, gone from zero to hero, finally put a stop to that sneaky Diablo and saved the angels and everyone else. What is a Nephalem to do now?
Well, by picking up the Reaper of Souls expansion, another act is added to the story that will see the player take on the Angel of Death himself, Malthael. It seems that he has a plan to destroy humanity for one warped reason or another, and once again the Nephalem are the only ones who can stop him. It’s a nice new act for players who thought their story was complete, or for those who are starting again from the beginning, even though the ending is not exactly as final as it could have been and suggests there is more to come. However, the extra act for the story is only the tip of the demon-filled iceberg in this expansion. In fact, when combined with the contents of the recent patch, which is available to all Diablo III players, the entire game feels positively new.
Diablo III was pretty damn good to start with, but it had its problems. The new patch addresses many of these and anyone starting again from the beginning may be shocked to discover just how different the game is. When you add the fifth act containing expansion, Diablo III becomes very, very easy to lose many hours in.
And it will be many hours as the level cap for characters has been pushed up to 70, meaning 10 more levels for each of your previously maxed out characters to work through. With the increase in the level cap comes new skills and abilities to learn, and even a new passive skill slot for those that reach 70 with one of their characters.
A new artisan is introduced in the expansion, the Mystic. Myriam can be found during Act V after which she will set up shop initially at the Survivor’s Enclave, the safe area for when the player is working through Westmarch, although once found she will be available in the other safe areas as well for those not playing through the story. As with the other artisans, her work area can be leveled up for a fee to provide a better service.
The services that the Mystic provides are a bit hit and miss, to be honest. The enchanting is the most useful service, in which a player can pay crafting materials and gold to change one property of an item for another. The effects are interesting, as only one property can be changed per item and the changes are not especially significant, but will probably be of importance to those players who really take the game to its extremes.
The other service that the Mystic offers is transmogrification, changing the look of an item. This service is purely cosmetic and allows the player to pay a fee to change the way a particular item looks, and thus match up their equipment a bit better. The player is limited to only appearances that they have already unlocked.
The new character class, the Crusader, is a bit of a powerhouse and great fun to play with. Decked out in heavy armour and carrying a mighty weapon and shield, this character is quite often found in the thick of the action, taking the role of a tank, with some incredibly effective skills that work both at close quarters and from a distance. The Crusader also comes with some nice supporting skills, making him or her a valuable asset to any team.
However, perhaps the most exciting addition in Reaper of Souls, the real game changer, is the Adventure Mode. Complete Act V and Adventure mode will unlock for all of your characters, opening up the entire world map and tempting the player with multiple bounties to carry out. The bounties themselves can be anything from clearing a dungeon to taking out a boss. Completing these bounties will result in a new form of currency, Blood Shards, and tons more loot.
The player will also get Keystone Fragments which can be used to open a Nephalem Rift, a randomised dungeon filled with loot and enemies to dispatch. Destroy enough enemies and a Rift Guardian will come along to be defeated. Good times!
There is nothing in the Reaper of Souls expansion that drastically changes the Diablo III game, and those who didn’t take to the clicky, loot-crazed madness of the original will find nothing here to change their minds.
Diablo III: Reaper of Souls adds more content to a game that has already changed substantially since launch. The new character and the extra chapter for the story are one thing, but the Adventure Mode is the real stand out star of the expansion, allowing players a different sort of game once they finish the story. Reaper of Souls really is an essential purchase for anyone who enjoyed the main game, but also a great addition for those new to the franchise and want to have the best Diablo experience that they possibly can. Nice work, Blizzard.