The Other Side of the Coin
While there is a strong community that is loudly critical of Diablo 3, there is a flip side community, often much quieter as these things usually go, that thinks the game is fine the way it is. They believe that Diablo 3 may perhaps have some issues but they can live with them and work with them to continue to enjoy a series that has been on the gaming radar for nearly two decades.
One forum poster on the US Battle.Net site summed up the “flip side opinion” quite well:
Yes, I am used to the excuses. "It is good, just not for a Blizzard game" is usually their retort. Or, "I kept playing because I have hope for change". BS. If that were the case, you could have just as easily played something else while hoping for it to change. The fact remains, there is a double-standard of sorts - people who out of one side of their mouth say that Diablo III is good, but out of the other side readily admit that it's garbage because it's "a Blizzard game". I don't know what else to say.
Reaper of Souls: It Really IS About the Fans
Despite what many choose to believe, Blizzard does listen to its fan base and its players. There is a reason that the company continues to stay on top of the proverbial heap, much of which can be attributed to its willingness to own up to mistakes and to make things right. Some of that has come through a series of smaller patches that have addressed a few of the more minor concerns, though admittedly, not nearly enough has been done to ease the minds and the complaints of those who so passionately continue to point out D3’s flaws.
Enter Reaper of Souls
As with the proverbial Grim Reaper, wielder of a scythe to winnow the crop of the living, so has Blizzard taken to thinning out the biggest issues so resoundingly heard from its community. Many of the things most discussed are improved or removed.
- The Auction House in both flavors is gone.
- The Loot 2.0 system will significantly improve drop rates to give players the feeling that the hunt for epic loot is back, one of the original two games’ biggest selling points.
- The Paragon System is now account wide and offers players a significant way to allocate stat points, albeit in a different way than before. Change is good sometimes.
- Social features are returning including a bigger variety of chat rooms and a robust system for guilds and clans.
- Gambling is making a comeback, a terrific gold sink. Though little is known about the statistical chances for epic loot, one has to assume that it will be similar to the Diablo 2 gambling system.
- The map is now wide open and players can share a game with others in different locations throughout the game world. This will make partying up with friends much better.
- A new mid-range class has been added with the Crusader that, for all intents and purposes, brings the Paladin back into the game.
- Adventure Mode gives players the ability to level up new characters without having to play through the story again, yet another widely publicized criticism of the game.
- Nephalim Rifts and Bounties give players even more chances for epic loot and experience.
- The level cap has been increased to 70.
- A new act has been added, along with new lore and story elements, quests and more.
- Players can now transmogrify their armor to suit their personal style and desire for an epic look.
- Items can be “reforged”, enchanted by utilizing the new NPC. The Mystic offers a chance for new and better affixes to even the best gear in the game.
In short, Blizzard has heard. It has listened and it has responded.
Of course, Reaper of Souls cannot and will not be an answer to all of the complaints levied against it in the last eighteen months. There is, for instance, still that pesky (to some) online component for PC players, something not required of PlayStation 3 players.
Clearly, there are still issues that bother even the most adoring fan.
PvP doesn’t seem to have been attended to at all in the expansion, something that some hope will make a return though, in many minds, PvP in Diablo and Diablo 2 was merely a frustrating gank fest, not true PvP.
The Horadric Cube and Runewords don’t seem to be on the radar.
Still, even the most ardent critic of Diablo 3 must admit that the team is sincerely trying to address the issues many in the community have had. The list of the “missing and overlooked and poorly-implemented” issues is much, much shorter with Reaper of Souls and the team has done a stellar job with implementing new features that certainly were unexpected from the fan base.
So When It’s All Said and Done
When it’s all said and done, Blizzard will make many, many players very happy with the Reaper of Souls expansion. Will it please all? Certainly and absolutely not. Sometimes haters do have to hate. But by and large, most in the community will be content with and excited about what has been done to Diablo 3, the third in a beloved series of games, none of which, for the record, was perfect at launch.
The bottom line is that Diablo 3 will be undergoing a massive rebirth, in a way, when Reaper of Souls goes live in early 2014. While some will hesitate to purchase the expansion forthright, RoS will speak for itself in time.
Suzie Ford is the Associate Editor and News Manager at MMORPG.com. You can follow her on Twitter @MMORPGMom.