The first major content patch for Diablo III: Reaper of Souls is almost upon us; it’s pretty much knocking at the door. It’s appropriately chunky for a major content patch, chucking in new achievements, special rifts, challenge seasons, combat tweaks and a new addition to Adventure Mode: the Cesspools. It’s all a bit exciting, and all we ever wanted from our Reaper of Souls review.
Seasons, which Blizzard compares to Diablo II’s ladders, let players start a brand spanking new character or artisan from scratch. From there, new achievements can be completed and new gear can be unlocked by earning Conquests – challenging tasks like “killing Malthael at level 70 on Torment VI to finishing Acts I-V in an hour or less” – or facing the new Greater Rifts.
These Greater Rifts, or the Rifts formerly known as Tiered Rifts, are a new type of Nephalem Rift with a few key differences:
- You’ll race against a clock to fill a progress bar by accruing monster kills.
- Most monsters do not drop loot; rewards have been completely shifted to the Rift Guardian.
- This removes conflicting pressure from attaining a better time versus picking up all your loot.
- Monsters grant differing amounts of progress for your progress bar; the tougher the monster, the more they fill up your progress bar.
- You cannot resurrect at your corpse or in town while in a Greater Rift—only at the last checkpoint.
- Note that if you die in a Greater Rift on a Hardcore character, that death will be permanent.
- You cannot use player banners or the Teleport option if the target player is in a Greater Rift.
- Higher Greater Rifts levels are progressively more difficult.
- This difficulty is separate from the standard difficulty settings (Master, Torment I-VI, etc.)
Leaderboards are also getting thrown into the mix. They’ll track and measure progress, keeping an eye on Greater Rift progress, Seasonal achievement points and Conquests, split between different game modes like Hardcore.
Combat tweaks see dexterity and survivability fiddled with, mainly benefiting Demon Hunters and Monks, while healing is being changed so that, in Greater Rifts, Health Orbs give less healing, but gear has been buffed so that Life on Hit and Life Regeneration can compensate. “ During internal testing, we discovered that as you reached higher Greater Rift levels, you really wanted more of your healing to come from your gear in order to survive,” says Blizzard/
Finally, Blizzard’s putting their Cesspools to good use. This area was originally designed as the sewers of Westmarch, but didn’t make the final cut. Now they are making their debut as Adventure Mode content.
The update is about to hit the Public Test Region soon, and more treats are being teased.
What do you make of this first big update?