There is no question that Diablo 3 has undergone a metamorphosis since launching in December of 2012. Not long after launch, Game Director Jay Wilson left the project to go work on other Blizzard titles. The Reaper of Souls expansion brought big changes from a lore and story perspective and more, smaller changes have gone into place over the intervening three years to make D3 nearly unrecognizable from what it was when released.
Fast forward to today, and we have the recent deployment of the v2.3.0 patch that is the largest to date and one that is packed with a new location, a new season tracker and Kanai’s Cube, a modernized version of Diablo 2’s Horadric Cube. What it all comes down to is that this is the meatiest, game altering patches in D3’s history, short of the RoS expansion itself.
There are several key features in the update that fans will find particularly compelling. Let’s take a look.
Sescheron Ruins & Kanai’s Cube
During Adventure Mode, players will run into their old pal Zultan Kulle who gleefully lets them know that he’s “still here”. While interaction with Kulle is pretty limited in a conversational way, he does let players know that they should go to the destroyed Barbarian capital of Sescheron to look for the fabled Kanai’s Cube. Sescheron was obliterated along with all of its inhabitants during the events that took place during Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction. While there, players will run into the souls of the slain Barbarians who mournfully proclaim their lack of rest due to the destruction of Mount Arreat.
The ruins are filled with new tough monsters that are recolors of other enemies throughout D3 but with a few notable new ones that can, for instance, hurl gigantic snowballs that will one shot an unwary adventurer. In addition, some pretty rough traps can take out unwitting players as well. It’s worth taking one’s time to venture through the city to avoid the insta-gib.
After a series of chapters in the overall quest, players will pick up Kanai’s Cube, arguably the most interesting part of 2.3.0, and will drag it home to Kulle who pretty much says nothing of any import, though the cube has a series of “recipes” that players can work through to utilize it to its fullest.
After experimenting around with it for awhile, I managed to create a pair of items from the new Witch Doctor set that looks like it will be a great one to try out. The best part is that it took three different (low level) crafting reagents and a normal ‘rare’ (yellow) item. Hit transmute and, BOOM! If you’re lucky, a new legendary or set item will appear. It sure beats the grind, though it could reasonably be said that “cubing” is its own grind. The only drawback to the cube is the necessity of hauling the materials in inventory to place them inside and, of course, the cube is nowhere near one’s stash….a minor inconvenience but a noticeable one.
Kanai’s has a metric ton of other features from extracting legendary affixes; converting set items from one to another from the same set; reforging of legendaries; converting gems or other crafting materials and the removal of level requirements.
Blizzard has never explicitly said that these are the only recipes that Kanai’s is good for and I certainly hope not. Over time, it’s a given that rabid fans will utilize trial and error to at least attempt to find new ways or things to create.
Other Points of Interest
There are a lot of seemingly small things that collectively add up to something big in terms of major improvements to a player’s quality of life. Here are just a few of the most noticeable:
- rift keys, whether normal or greater, are unified into a single key without the necessity of the Realm of Trials
- bounties are much more lucrative and can drop recipes, legendary or set items, rare crafting materials, blood shards and more. In addition, bonus bounties will reward two caches, though there is only one bonus per game
- crafting legendary or set items will require act-specific materials rather than the general ‘forgotten soul’ and low level crafting materials have been removed completely
- rare mobs and bosses now deal reduced damage
- a seasonal character tracker has been added
- new sets have been added for Witch Doctor, Crusader and Monk classes
- three new difficulty modes have been added: Torment VII-X, each with a Paragon level requirement to participate
Of course, there are a number of smaller, yet also important fixes, enhancements, updates and class balance improvements, each of which contributes to the real sense of this patch’s significance to the longevity of Diablo 3. To say that v2.3.0 is a game changer is certainly no overstatement.
What it all comes down to is that this patch breathes new life into the game and even more interest in finding that piece of gear that will perfect a character. It's a given that this is precisely what Diablo 3 is: a gear grind with the ever-present carrot on a stick of something that is that much better, that much stronger, that much more powerful. The new area and the promise of cube creations that will fulfill this hope with enough patience is guaranteed to keep fans coming back for more for a long, long while.
Have you tried out 2.3? If so, what do you think? Leave us your thoughts in the comments!