Will $40 Save Diablo 3? A Look At The Upcoming Expansion
Earlier this week Blizzard gave the official release date (March 25th, 2014) for Reaper of Souls, the long-awaited (and needed) expansion to its dying action roleplaying game, Diablo 3. With a starting price of $39.99 for the digital edition, it's a steep ask for an expansion pack, but it might just be the new life that the game has needed since it launched back in May of 2012.
You don't have to look far to find bad reviews for Diablo 3 with the game still holding a user score of 3.8 (with a reviewer score of 88) on the popular Metacritic review aggregate website. The game has gone through a huge number of patches and changes since it originally flopped with long time fans and is definitely a different game in its present form. While it has gained some ground, it is far from the perfect gaming experience that you expect from a game that was released 12 years after the game that preceded it.
So that brings us to the real question that you have to ask yourself:
Is the $40 price tag of the expansion worth it?
Will it make Diablo 3 the jewel of the Diablo franchise that it is meant to be? Let's examine what the new expansion is promising players in its current state.
The New Class and The Fifth Act
Firstly, you'll have a new Crusader class (shown above) to slaughter the beasts of hell with. This class blurs the lines between ranged and melee fighter with a handful of spells that Diablo 2 fans will recognise including the always popular Blessed Hammer. The level cap will also be rising from 60 to 70 which means new skills and new items to replace your current setup along with the the ability to use 4 passives instead of 3.
Secondly, players can expect a wealth of new content in the new act (Act V) which continues the story of Diablo and features Mathael (the Angel of Death) at the centre of this conflict (epic Blizzard cinematic here).
Enchant Your Items With The Mystic and Loot 2.0
Thirdly, the Mystic is finally being integrated into Diablo 3 after originally being left out of the core game on release due to the complexity she added. She is able to alter a single stat of your items at an increasing cost, which helps you re-roll items to make them perfect.
This also ties into the new Loot 2.0 and Paragon 2.0 systems which are intended to give the player more build options through better drops and skill point customisatiom now that the auction house is shutting down. Blizzard has shown interest in releasing this in a free patch before the expansion, but only time will tell.
Adventure Mode - Reshaphing The Entire Diablo 3 Experience
Lastly (and quite possibly the most important), is the huge shift in the core Diablo experience with the introduction of Adventure Mode. With this mode players will be able to jump around the game world to complete bounties for large rewards. Bounties are intended to have enough variety that you'll want to use them as a farming and end game tool (although they can also be used to level up characters rather than running through the story). These bounties also tie into the Nephalem Rifts which are large dungeons with randomised monsters, setting and final boss.
So Is it worth the $40?
On paper, it definitely seems like $40 worth of content is being added to the game, considering it will completely overhaul some elements of the experience. In reality though there are plenty of people who won't get $40 out of the new content, especially those that will play through Act V and only dabble a little in the adventure mode before having their fill of Diablo and moving on.
Personally, I've got high hopes for the upcoming expansion and have already put my pre-order in. Diablo has always been about the item hunt for me and Reaper of Souls is going to offer the item hunt that Diablo 3 should have been from the start. While I wait I'll be engaging with other Diablo 3 style loot hunts but look forward to returning to Sanctuary.
What's your opinion on Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls? Are you planning on spending the $40 for the expansion?