Playing in the Buff

There’s a pleasant breeze blowing and it’s blowing in all the right places right now.

Like many Diablo III fans I was celebrating the second anniversary of this title with some serious slaughter and looting. Initially I was just levelling my Crusader and wondering about the various builds I could work with at end game as I have most of my basic Lvl 70 gear sorted- thanks to the two Barbarians- so it was full steam ahead. But after she finished Act V and was sitting comfortably I felt like playing either or both of my Barbarians, which soon progressed to levelling my Wizard to Lvl 70, and spending time and gold building even better gems.

The buff to legendary drop rates has remained even after the anniversary and while some feel the decision is making the game “too easy”- I’m all for it.

Itemisation has long been the curse that has plagued Diablo III. While, yes, there was more gear and more affixes- most of them were junk. At Lvl 60 in Inferno you really don’t want to see a number of junk affixes constantly rolling on your gear. For instance, a two-handed mighty weapon rolling with main statistic Intelligence. Why was that even possible? While there is the argument that you can’t get perfect rolls on every piece (and I agree) this was more a case that there were perfect drops on 0.1% of the gear available. This is why the auction house came under fire so much as it wasn’t so much a case that you couldn’t progress without it- as you could- you’d just die of old age before you did. While legendary items were considered laughable compared to some of the rare items you could roll.

Considering then that everything was tied to your gear as your skills could always do x% of your weapon damage it kind of made of the game less and less satisfactory the deeper you went through the difficulty curve. Equally, a number of the skills you had were only viable until late-Hell and then you needed to switch them all around in Inferno.

So angry. So flashy. So dead.

So angry. So flashy. So dead.

So dash forward to Reaper of Souls and there’s so much that has been improved. Skills have become a lot more useful, there’s a lower chance of rolling junk affixes, combat is no longer spiky, and the difficulty settings allow you to easily play through Master for a challenge or ramp up to Torment I-VI for pure carnage. If you’re more casual and don’t enjoy the constant tweaking of statistics then you’re able to experience good level content without needing to ever step into Torment I or higher. There are also Nephalem Rifts, Bounties, and Blood Shards which allow you to gamble for gear.

The legendary buff was just the icing on the cake as legendary items are quite rare (as you’d expect) but they are powerful. Quite powerful. So once you have one you’re not going to get much joy from a rare in the same socket unless it was an exceptionally poor legendary roll or an exceptionally good rare roll. This buff, for me, so far, has allowed me to piece together a few legendary items for levelling my second Crusader. Not to mention it has allowed me to take a Wizard from 140k DPS to 650k DPS in about eight hours. But it doesn’t mean that every item is perfect and all is well. The first Reaper’s Wraps I made was a main statistic Vitality with a level reduction secondary statistic. I found a rather cool staff the other night that again was main statistic Vitality. I also seem to find an endless amount of main statistic Vitality shoulders.

But it is a push in the right direction where self-found play is viable and where you can progress through the difficulty settings at your own pace given your luck with the drops. I think my Wizard is the closest I’ve come to filling all of their slots with legendary items and I’m still missing a pair of shoulders and a Forgotten Soul to roll a socket for her legendary weapon. The progress was quick but it was nice. It’s also going to even out soon as I won’t be able to progress pre-Torment legendary items soon.

Maybe in the long run I might feel that it is too easy but I think it also comes down to the characters themselves. Barbarians seem to progress quickly through the offensive statistics but besides armour they aren’t progressing as quick through the defensive ones. While Wizards inherently get +to all resistances as a standard with their Intelligence main statistic.

But right now? It’s pretty cool and it’s definitely more like Diablo than Diablo III has ever been.

Have a good weekend, all!

Moggie.

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