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v2.4 Review - Fun But Flawed

By Suzie Ford on January 18, 2016 | Previews | Comments

v2.4 Review - Fun But Flawed

The largest patch since the launch of the Diablo 3 expansion, Reaper of Souls, landed on live servers last week and Season 5 began last Friday. The v2.4 patch is a huge one that comes packed with a new zone, expansion to existing areas, a new type of dungeon, new items, a new Kanai’s Cube recipe, and more.

After spending several hours exploring the new update, the question becomes what 2.4 brings to the average Diablo 3 player: A lot of lag for console players from what I understand. I play on PC so I have not experienced this, but there have been wide reports by players on all available consoles that this is a huge problem. Beyond that, there are a lot of things that are pretty fun, but outrageously frustrating at times as well.

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Let’s take a look at the major components:

New Zone & Expanded Zones

Patch 2.4 brings a new location into the game, the second to be added following Ruins of Sescheron. This time, the spooky Greyhollow Island takes center stage as the newest location to explore for those participating in Adventure Mode. The island has some new monsters, ones that are unique to that area and not simply reskins of already-existing monsters. There are new bounties to be found and the tileset is used in both regular and Greater Rifts.

Leoric’s Manor in Act I has been expanded by opening the right hand staircase that leads to the Royal Quarters, again with new bounties and a metric ton of skeletons living within. In addition, it is here that players can find the mysterious book pages that lead to the Set Dungeons (to be discussed later). The Ruins of Sescheron has also been expanded with a small new area, also with bounties, packs of monsters.

All in all, while the additions are welcome, they are rather underwhelming. Completing Greyhollow Island once was enough, though there will, of course, be times I’ll visit when completing bounties or it’ll  be seen in Rift tilesets but, otherwise, there’s really nothing remarkable about the it or the other expanded areas.

Set Dungeons

Set dungeons are the biggest addition to D3 with this patch. Players are challenged to collect all pieces of sets specific to certain class. For instance, a monk who wanted to earn all of the set dungeon rewards (banner sigils and wearable flags) would need to collect Inna’s Mantra, Monkey King’s Garb, Raiment of a Thousand Suns and Uliana’s Strategem sets, complete with its own dungeon based on the bonuses and game play style each represents. It is not enough to go with partial sets, or a set based on the -1 set item ring. A full set, most with 6-pieces, is required to even enter the dungeon.

What is most apparent when running these dungeons is that they are terribly imbalanced in terms of what is required (objectives, etc.). Some dungeons can be completed practically with eyes closed and without any changes other than equipping the required gear. Others are an experiment in frustration as the objectives are very difficult to complete.

As an example: A Barbarian wanting to complete the dungeon associated with the Wrath of the Wastes set based on Whirlwind, is tasked with finishing the location without taking damage, a very difficult task as can be imagined.

It is not to say that the dungeons are bad or not worth completing. They can be fun and challenging for those looking for something completely different to do. The issue is, however, that more balance in the mechanics required to complete the dungeon needs to be applied. Over time, hopefully Blizzard will take feedback under consideration...though the patch was on the PTR for months without significant changes so….

Seasons

Seasons have been given some attention in 2.4 as well. Players who want to immediately jump into Season 5 can do so by converting an existing character to a season character and be sent back to level 1 without achievements or gear (all mailed back to non-season characters) and be on their merry way without any further steps.

Frankly, ‘rebirth’ as it is called and which has been championed by Blizzard devs as something exciting and new, seems to be a big yawn altogether. Really. The only way it’s faster entering through rebirth is by not having to think of a name. That’s it.

Other changes to seasons include:

  • the removal of gear that can only be earned during the allotted time
  • a set time limit on season play (about 3 months)
  • a new reward called “Haedrig’s Gift” that contains all six items of a set specific to a player’s character class
  • new character frames, pets, pennants and wings can be earned for various achievements throughout the season

The changes to season play seems to be resonating well with players and the queue times to start a game in D3 of any type has reappeared, all good for achievement hunters and those racing to the top of the leaderboards.

Miscellaneous

  • a new Kanai’s Cube recipe has been added that allows players to sacrifice a legendary gem to add a new power or stat to ancient gear
  • new legendary weapons and gear
  • updated and overhauled sets: several sets and items have been given new names, 50 new legendary powers and have been made more useful to players
  • Rebalanced Rifts: small groups or solo players will be happy to hear that rift difficulty now scales to the size of the group

For the most part, v2.4 is a big patch that brings some interesting, if flawed, new things to Diablo 3. Fans of action RPGs who like to amass gear, participate in challenging solo content and experiment with different classes will love the new additions.

Have you tried 2.4 yet? What do you think? Tell us in the comments!

Suzie Ford / Suzie is the Associate Editor and News Manager at MMORPG.com. An avid gamer, Suzie lives in the desert Southwestern US with her own personal minion.
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