BLOG: Playing Diablo III and Reaper of Souls

Many would think that it isn’t much to be excited about since the base game was such a disappointment. Path of Exile had since taken the throne as the king of Action Role-playing Games (ARPG) as far as the hardcore crowd is concerned, but Diablo III is still the better-looking game (since PoE is all about dreariness and suffering in its dark visuals).

Despite all the hate that Diablo III has garnered since its disastrous launch and subsequent . With Reaper of Souls here, I look back at the time when Diablo III was still young and hyped, and then when it became the Lindsay Lohan of ARPGs.

My History with Diablo

I first played Diablo at around 1998, when I got my first computer. As my first CRPG experience, it meant that I didn’t get into the more narrative-heavy stuff at this time. The gameplay was good, but I didn’t know anything about playing RPGs at that time, or most video games for that matter. So whenever I leveled up, I distributed stats evenly, which is not a very good idea. It wasn’t until years later when I finally beat the game after learning about how to allocate stats properly.

I did play better when I chose Rogue, even though Warrior fit my personality more. I tend to become too aggressive due to my temperamental nature, so I would have an affinity for meaty melee characters, but I would also turn them into glass cannons, which is definitely an ill-advised combination.

When Diablo II came out, I remember playing it in a computer shop with a friend for the first time. I picked Amazon as my first character class since it was the closest to the Rogue, but I ended up playing aggro Paladin later on. Unfortunately, I may have ruined the game for myself since those were also my “cheating” days, wherein I would cheat and use trainers on most games I played back then. I gave up that foolishness just before I went to college, and I kept playing Diablo II on and off.

It was quite a fun experience, right up to Lord of Destruction. The most fun character classes I ever played were definitely the Assassin and the Sorceress, but it was the aggressive Paladin that I played with the most as it fit my play style and disposition during that time. I’ve tried Hammerdin and Avenger builds, although I wasn’t able to test them in online play due to high latency and wonky connection.

Playing Diablo III in 2012

It was a bad year for me overall, but I did game quite a lot in this year. I had been playing StarCraft II 1v1 ladder for over a year, so I had been satisfied with Blizzard’s quality as of early 2012. I bought a digital copy of Diablo III on Battle.net since I didn’t want the box for it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get in right away due to Error 37, so I had to wait until I could play it consistently.

For around two to three weeks after launch, I was able to play co-op games with friends. I chose to play barbarian as I thought it would be best in PvE combat with splash and multiple hit damage skills. My barbarian did have some shining moments, like this one when my friends and I killed Azmodan for the first time.

Playing it did get me into trouble at that time, which I won’t talk about beyond that but I did totally deserve. Perhaps it wasn’t worth it though since the game turned out to be insufficient compared to its predecessors. The writing of the story was quite hokey and the game soon got flooded with cheap items that made the game less fun in the long run. It wasn’t meant to be an MMO like World of Warcraft, which was why the Auction House grew to be reviled.

Soon enough, people just stopped playing it. Even now, my friends list is full of those who have never logged in their Battle.net account for over a year or two. That was how badly Blizzard had fucked up the successor to the pioneering action role-playing game franchise.

Sporadic Visits and Pre-release Hype

For the rest of 2012 and 2013, I would play Diablo III in short irregular spurts. At this point, no one else in my friends list was playing the game, so I had to go at it alone. I would realize like when I played the first Diablo that since melee characters tend to get hurt more, they need more expensive gear and are not good as first characters (I’m not very good in ARPGs).

This led me to pick a ranged character as my secondary, which then became my primary later on. My wizard took less time to level up and delivered a lot more DPS while being able to survive more situations. I also created a demon hunter, which was also pretty good since she had good evasion and crowd control options.

I also got some freelance writing work for some third party website on Diablo III and Path of Exile, so I was somehow able to stay up to date. I saw the coming of various gimmicks to keep the game from growing stale, from the first version of the Paragon system, to Brawling and Monster Power. Despite these additions, the game was still fundamentally flawed and something had to be done.

Just when it seemed like Diablo III was doomed to be a dead game, the announcement for the expansion came up, as well as the eventual removal of the Auction House. This was when a glimmer of hope was seen in breathing new life in the now-dusty game. When Patch 2.0.1 finally came, it felt almost like a new game (almost).

It was nice to start getting items that actually made my character stronger courtesy of the Loot 2.0 system, and the new Paragon system makes for some more interesting theorycrafting.

Playing Reaper of Souls

During the weekend before the release, there was a +100% XP community bonus, which I took advantage of in getting my wizard to level 60 and my other two characters as high as they could go. I wasn’t able to rack up more Paragon levels due to time constraints since I had to work. It was during this time though when I got to see the effects of Patch 2.0.1 for myself, and it got me hooked on the game again.

I pre-purchased the expansion around 4 hours before its release, so I was able to procure the Wings of Valor pre-order bonus. It does look snazzy on my characters (especially my wizard), although it does nothing else but be pretty. As soon as release got underway, I jumped into Act V with my wizard. I liked the setting and the enemy variety, as well as various minor additions they’ve made to the act.

While I was able to play throughout the week, my internet connection was being quite wonky due to the whole problem with undersea cables. I also may need to replace my router and modem; the former is almost 6 years old now and the latter may be past its prime now.

Conclusion

It has been fun so far, although I’m not sure how long it will last. I’ve finished the campaign with my wizard, so all that’s left is to make the rounds in Adventure mode and perhaps play a crusader. I will have a Reaper of Souls review up shortly once I play through all of that, although I’m not sure if I’ll make a video out of it.

One thing is for certain though, which is that I do like most of what I’m seeing from this expansion. While there are doubts about its longevity, I’m still getting my fill of the fun to be had.



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