It is strange to think that is was way back in June 2012 that I reviewed Diablo III, strange as it just goes to show how time flies. It also means that I hadn’t touched the game since the summer of 2012, at least until this past weekend when I started to gear myself up for the upcoming expansion, Reaper of Souls. What brought me back ahead of the expansion? The promise of a limited time only 50% XP boost did the trick.
When I clawed my way back into the game, I found my hardy Demon Hunter with his trusty sidekick, the Templar, up against Isaktu at the start of the battle for the High Heavens in Act IV. I was at level 30, a hideously low level compared to my friends who romp around at level 60. My fight against Isaktu was hellish, I couldn’t get to grips with the swarms of minions he summons and I found myself flying through health potions like there was no tomorrow. When I returned to base camp, I barely had enough money to keep my equipment intact. Somehow, by the skin of my teeth, I was able to defeat the monster and start my climb towards Diablo himself.
Travelling through the High Heavens became easier as I went, probably because of some of the tweaks brought in with the recent massive patch that brings the back-end systems of Diablo III in line with what will be coming in Reaper of Souls. I plundered every crate, explored every nook and cranny and squashed every demon that dared challenge me. Soon enough I had reached the mind 30s, thanks in large part to the 50% XP boost. As an aside, I have to say it is a much more enjoyable game when you are able to make fairly rapid progress through the levels. Having risen through the ranks, and pulled in some all important gold, I was able to make use of the Blacksmith and craft some impressive equipment before I went on to face Diablo himself.
Who I managed to defeat without breaking a sweat.
I’ll be honest, I was kind of disappointed that the last battle had been so easy. But I looked forward, I knew that I didn’t want to enter Reaper of Souls with an underpowered hero and I immediately turned the difficulty up to Hard and started a new game. It was here, when reading through the achievement list, that I noticed how much I had skipped through and missed during my first playthrough. I hadn’t listened to all of Leah of Cain’s journals, there were numerous events I hadn’t completed and the list of unexplored dungeons was embarrassing. As I powered my way through the masses of zombies and skeletons, I started to actually appreciate the importance of loot 2.0. No longer way I regularly picking up nonsense which didn’t provide my Demon Hunter with any buffs at all, with the new loot system I was finding useful items and actually having to compare the different bonuses on offer.
I have now breached level 40 and am still mopping up chunks of Act I that I missed first time around. My ultimate aim is to reach the Paragon levels so I can see what Paragon 2.0 is all about. The scary thing? Paragon levels hadn’t even been introduced when I last played Diablo III. Now I am back though, and I can’t wait to get myself up to speed for Reaper of Souls with a new act, the Crusader class. What is perhaps even more enticing though is the new Adventure mode, Nehpalem Rifts and Bounties. Am I now starting to feel justified in putting the expansion on my list of games to look forward to this year? Most certainly.