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Diablo III: Reaper of Souls review: Finally, the Diablo III we've been waiting for

Hayden Dingman | April 15, 2014
The new Reaper of Souls expansion doesn't make Diablo III the perfect game--far from it--but between it and the revamped Loot 2.0 system, Blizzard have salvaged a pretty entertaining core experience from the flaming Diablo III wreckage.

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls

I don't know how Blizzard did it. Diablo III was the pariah. It was broken forever. It was the poster child for everything you shouldn't do when updating a beloved game for the modern era. (Well, before SimCity came out.)

The new Reaper of Souls expansion doesn't make Diablo III the perfect game--far from it--but between it and the revamped Loot 2.0 system, Blizzard have salvaged a pretty entertaining core experience from the flaming Diablo III wreckage. And they've done it by going back to what made Diablo II such a hit in the first place: loot.

This is my loot

Diablo is a franchise defined by loot. It's certainly not defined by its incredibly-engaging control scheme, which consists of frantically clicking on just about everything on-screen like some sort of virtual piñata. It's funny how a peripheral system can become the centerpiece of a game, but without loot Diablo is a terrible game--something we learned with vanilla Diablo III, where the kind of legendary loot drops you'd brag about to friends were few and far between.

The fact that Blizzard implemented its updated Loot 2.0 system into vanilla Diablo III a few weeks ago is an amazing gesture of goodwill, since it removes one of the $40 expansion's greatest selling points. But suffice it to say that loot is fixed, or about as fixed as it ever could be.

Item drops are more often than not tuned to your class now and will typically fall within a narrow band of skills your character might find useful, whether you're playing as an old favorite or the new Crusader class--a heavy tank-type character who can summon a horse at will or call down the power of the heavens to smite enemies. On one hand that removes some aspect of character customization, since there are only a few builds you'll ever find equipment for. On the other hand, those "other builds" were by-and-large useless; a barbarian with high intelligence isn't a viable class as far as Diablo III's rules are concerned.

Legendary loot items are rare, but not so rare you give up and stop playing, which is a good thing since you can't just turn to the Auction House anymore. Blizzard has removed the built-in shortcut of the Auction Houses--both gold and real-money versions--making it actually worthwhile to hunt for those legendaries instead of buying your way into powerful items. It's interesting that such a small feature was enough to psychologically derail an entire game, but it goes back to the fact that players always try to be "most efficient" at a game even if they have less fun in the process.

 

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