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About the product
- Diablo III: Reaper of Souls is an expansion pack for the action role-playing video game Diablo III
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No One Can Stop Death
The Prime Evil rages within the Black Soulstone, its essence screaming for vengeance and release. Before the artifact can be sealed away forever, Malthael–Angel of Death–manifests in the mortal realms with a deadly new purpose: to steal the Black Soulstone and bend its infernal power to his will. So begins the end of all things...
Charge Forth as the Crusader
Impenetrable armor, gleaming weapons, and heavy, heavy damage–wield the power of the Crusader, unbreakable new hero of the mortal realms.
Conquer New Gameplay Modes
The new Adventure Mode opens up all of Sanctuary - you can travel to any waypoint in any Act. It also introduces Bounties and Nephalem Rifts, two new game features with boundless replay value.
Take Act V by Storm
From the sprawling streets of Westmarch to the ancient walls of the Pandemonium Fortress, battle with a host of deadly new enemies throughout the all-new Act V of the Diablo III storyline.
Discover Powerful New Treasures
A redesigned loot system improves your Diablo III experience with targeted "smart drops," new and improved Legendary items, and the item-augmenting powers of the Mystic.
Rise to New Heights of Power
Advance your hero of choice through additional levels of supremacy, mastering bold new powers of raw, demon-slaying potential along the way.
No One Can Stop Death
The Prime Evil rages within the Black Soulstone, its essence screaming for vengeance and release. Before the artifact can be sealed away forever, Malthael -- the Angel of Death -- manifests in the mortal realms with a deadly new purpose: to steal the Black Soulstone and bend its infernal power to his will. So begins the end of all things…
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Today, well, that auction house is extinct and the game has been redone entirely. It's still about finding that elusive piece of armor/weapon with the perfect rolls, but it's not impossible. I've now got three characters each with over 100 hours logged and I'm still finding the game enjoyable! :D If you don't mind grinding and battling your way to better gear, then you'll really enjoy this game. Blizzard is constantly improving it and the dynamics of the "deal build" change every few months. With that said, if you're going to purchase Diablo III for the first tome, get RoS with it. It's really worthwhile to have the added content and I'd go so far as to say that the "most helpful review" that states that it's not $40 good is probably incorrect at this point in time. With that said, I've seen it drop between $20-30 fairly frequently, so you can always wishlist it and wait for one of those opportunities. It's well worth it.
But do not buy this game unless you own Diablo 3! You need it to play this.
If you don't own Diablo 3, then go and buy it quickly, you don't know what you are missing!
Let's start with the changes (as of patch 2.3):
- No more rift shards for normal rifts
- No more realm of trials for greater rifts
- Kanai's Cube added to the game
- Additional area added to the game
- New legendary gem (bane of the stricken) added
- Bounty rewards completely changed
- Legendary crafting revamped
These are some pretty big quality of life improvements for people who haven't played RoS in a while, and for people who haven't played the expansion at all...it's a completely different game than the original was. Adventure mode was already the primary means of leveling/progression, and now it's even more friendly for people just starting out. The addition of Kanai's Cube makes gearing even easier initially but still makes it a challenge to obtain BiS pieces with ideal affixes and perfect rolls.
Rifts - Previously you needed to complete bounties in order to obtain rift shards to run normal rifts, then you needed to complete the trial and level up your keystone. If you wanted to run in a group you had to all have the same level keystone, it was a pretty annoying system design. That's all gone. You no longer need rift shards, meaning you can run rifts from level 1 without being forced to do bounties (although there are actual rewards for bounties now!).
You also no longer complete a trial but instead get to choose what level to complete based on what you've completed previously and keystones no longer level. Since you no longer level them that means playing with a group is as simple as choosing a level and everyone accepting (you each need a key). It means you will need to farm greater rift keys more often but they drop very frequently in higher torment levels and it's very easy to get geared to that level. Rifts are significantly more enjoyable now with the extra torment levels (7-10) and legendary drop rate feels good, on higher torments you will frequently get at least several drops per run and greater rifts above 40 (pretty easy to get to) drop many.
Bounties - The removal of rift shards means that they had to revamp the rewards for running bounties, they also added additional missions and changed how bonus acts work. Bonus acts are no longer random, they rotate and each run for an hour, so if act 1 is the bonus it will remain the bonus every new game until the hour is up. However, when you complete a bonus act a *NEW* act becomes the bonus act. That means you can complete all 5 acts and receive a bonus for EACH one in a single game without remaking. Since the rewards are actually worthwhile now it makes running a full set more meaningful.
In addition, you get two caches when you complete a bonus act. The first has a chance to drop an act specific legendary, along with the new act specific crafting mat and some random crafting mats. The bonus cache includes more act crafting mats, gold and some blood shards. I'm not sure which cache drops them, but you also get the crafting plans (gems/blacksmith) from the bounty rewards. The act specific crafting mats are *VERY* important now because they are used for the new crafting system and also for Kanai's cube which I'll talk about shortly because it's one of the biggest changes in the game. You will want to learn to effectively split farm bounties, where a group of people each complete a mission on their own, it makes it possible to complete a full set of bounties in roughly 15 min when it could take an hour or more solo.
Crafting - There are no more legendary crafting mats in the game, so no more farming purple mobs over and over hoping to get the rare drop needed to craft something. Since the patterns are no longer world drop (as I mentioned above they are bounty cache rewards), that makes getting a set of crafted gear much more reasonable. You run bounties as you level or split farm them when you reach 70 and that will allow you to make a starter set of legendary gear to help you jump into torment and start farming the class sets.
In addition, they have consolidated the crafting mats and there are no longer pre-60 and post-60 mats. That means that a level 40 legendary will turn into the same crafting mat as a level 70 legendary, so while you're leveling you will want to salvage everything and save those mats for when you're 70 since they can be used to craft gear and in the cube as well. Just make sure you hold onto any Puzzle Ring's or Bovine Bardiches, don't salvage those!
Kanai's Cube - The single biggest change to the game since the expansion itself. Kanai's cube allows you to use various materials to perform different actions with items to your benefit. It allows you to change one stack of basic crafting mats or gems into another, you can "re-forge" a legendary which will re-roll it as if it had just dropped, you can extract legendary powers (affixes) to equip them to your character, you can convert a set piece into another piece of the same set, and most importantly: you can upgrade rares into legendary gear.
Each "recipe" requires different mats, many of which include the basic crafting and act specific mats. Upgrading a rare costs 25 Death's Breaths, and 50 each of the basic crafting mats (yellow, blue, white) and will turn a specific 70 rare item into a legendary or set piece of the same type. That is incredibly important, it allows you to target farm weapons and armor. For example, a Barbarian currently wants to be running the Bul Kathos 1H mighty weapon set for Whirlwind builds and since there aren't many 1H mighty weapons you can typically upgrade anywhere from 5-10 rares (250 DB) and get both. That's a single evening of play-time, when farming the set traditionally could take dozens of hours or even weeks of play time.
Reforging is also a big deal because it allows you to take an exceedingly rare item that dropped with really bad stats and re-roll it until you get what you want. Get Hexing Pants on your Barb but it rolled with Int? Instead of enchanting Int to Str you can re-forge it and then are still able to enchant another stat. The one caveat is that if you re-roll an ancient item (the rare upgraded variant, 1:10) it is NOT guaranteed to be an ancient, you have the same 1:10 chance. It does also work the other way, if you roll a normal item it CAN become an ancient so that is a good method of getting a very good item if you farm up the expensive mats to do so.
Kanai's cube also has a couple special recipes, entering a puzzle ring by itself will destroy it and open a portal to the goblin vault. The goblin vault on higher difficulties can drop anywhere from 30-100 million gold, a bunch of items, gems and legendary gear. Getting someone to carry you through a T7+ vault is a GREAT way to get a jump start on a new character so that you don't have to worry about gold in a new season and also gives you the boon of the hoarder legendary gem. The bovine bardiche opens a portal to the not a cow level that will always include a couple pool of radiances and is a great way to get shrines before pushing higher greater rifts with a group.
Finally, you can enter a piece of gear and a level 25 gem of ease (legendary gem) to remove the level requirement from a single piece of gear (level requirement 1). This allows you with a bit of patience and OCD to create an entire level 70 gear set with level 1 requirement for powerleveling alts. I have personally greated a set of crafted gear (cains, borns, etc) with exp boost and it takes under 30 minutes to solo level to 70 in torment 6, although if you are playing HC you will want to drop that a couple levels and play a bit more careful since losing all that gear would be DEVESTATING since it requires leveling at least 9-10 gems for a full set.
Overall Impressions: Reaper of Souls is a significant improvement over Vanilla Diablo 3. The addition of seasons, adventure mode and the change to paragon levels and the switch from a trade-based AH to smart-loot has made the game significantly more fun. Seasons introduce new gear sets, legendary gems and keep things fresh by resetting things every few months while consistently rolling your progress into your non-seasonal progress.
Act V was pretty fun but the real star is adventure mode. Bounties are far less tedious now than they originally were and both normal and greater rifts are fun without becoming a burden for people who only play an hour or two a couple nights a week. It takes a relatively short period of time to reach max level if you are familiar with the game and gearing with the new options (blood shards, cube upgrades) in addition to the crafting revamp is easier than ever. I have estimated that within 20 hours you can easily be speed running the newer torment levels (7-10) and be above GR 40 solo on most classes.
From a balance perspective they have done an admirable job of presenting different sets/builds as viable for even high-level play. I have seen at least 2-3 different builds for each class I play become popular for progression over the course of the past few months, something that was unheard of in previous seasons. Class balance is still a bit hit or miss but that is to be expected and shifts from patch to patch, each class is able to attain GR60+ for the seasonal conquest with EASE in the duration of the season.
The graphics and atmosphere are still good, although the graphics have never been the emphasis of the game. The game engine has some slight issues with performance in group play with certain builds (rend barbarian, helltooth witch doctor) but the issues are relatively minor unless you're running on a toaster and have been acknowledged and are being worked on for a future patch. The only actual criticism I have for the appearance of the game is the lack of UI functions like cooldown timers, DPS information, buff icons, and the basic things that other Blizzard games (like World of Warcraft) have either integrated or in add-ons that they have not added to Diablo. They can be obtained through a third party overlay, but its use is most likely (read: almost certainly) against the ToS and while no one has yet been banned it is definitely use at your own risk.
I think RoS is definitely worth the money, although having been out 1.5 years I think at this point a $25-30 base price point and $20 or less on sale would be more appropriate. If you had the original Diablo 3 and never got the expansion I would HIGHLY recommend it, virtually all of the negatives that were present have been addressed at this point and they are continuously working with the community to move forward. I don't always agree with their decisions but they are one of the most proactive developers in the industry and they take their community feedback seriously.