The much anticipated patch 2.1 went live today in Europe. Blizzard continues to deliver on promises made after the launch of Diablo III in 2012 was met with much criticism. Below we've detailed some highlighted features and changes coming to Diablo III as well as discuss some of theses features tested in the Public Test Realm (PTR).
The Diablo franchise, one of Blizzard's greats, was the bug that bit many gamers a long time ago giving them their start to gaming. With the disappointing release of Diablo III in 2012 it was only until the launch of the latest expansion, Reaper of Souls, that die hard fans started seeing a glimpse of light at the end of the Diablo tunnel. However, the expansion slipped back into similar repetitive grinds after a few months and fans needed more. Blizzard have delivered and the small amount of testing I did on the PTR and I can promise it's almost exactly what we wanted.
Seasons are an optional, recurring game mode that offers players the opportunity to periodically start fresh, leveling Normal or Hardcore characters from scratch without gold, resources, items, or previously earned Paragon experience. Similar to the separation between Normal and Hardcore game modes, Seasonal characters will have their own shared stash and artisan progression as well. Any items, gold, artisan progression, or Paragon experience earned during a Season will be rolled over to a player's non-Seasonal characters once the Season concludes.
Seasons offer unique rewards and new challenges for players, including new Legendaries, an exclusive Transmogrification set only available to those who compete in each Season, and new achievements called Conquests. Progress within a given Season will be tracked in our new Leaderboard system.
Read the Seasons Review here
Formerly referred to as Tiered Rifts, Greater Rifts are a special type of timed Nephalem Rift. There are an infinite number of Greater Rift levels, and each Greater Rift level will be progressively more difficult than the last.
Completing a Greater Rift within its allotted time will allow players to progress to the next level (and if your time is exceptionally good, you may even skip multiple levels at once). Players can continue progressing through Greater Rift levels so along as they complete the Rift before its timer expires. Once a timer expires, players will reach the end of their current Greater Rift journey and their best results will be tracked in our new Leaderboard system.
This I felt added a more competitive streak to Diablo III. Being able to set your party up of your best geared friends and completing the rifts as fast as possible. Entering these Greater Rifts is really simple, all you need is a Greater Rift Key (obtained from any ordinary Rift Guardian) and you're good to go.
Place this key into the Greater Rift and get cracking. Don't forget, as mentioned above, your times are tracked and added to the leaderboard system.
Read the Greater Rift Review here
With the addition of Seasons and Greater Rifts, we want to provide players with a way to measure their progress within each of those environments. To do so, we've created Leaderboards.
Leaderboards will track a variety of competitive player data including Greater Rifts clear times, Seasonal achievement point totals, and Seasonal Conquest completion ranking across several different game styles. Designed to be informative and detailed, Leaderboards will also allow you to compare your progress to that of players within your gameplay region, on your friends list, and in your clan roster.
In patch 2.1.0 and moving forward, players will now have a chance to spawn a new level environment while in a Nephalem Rift or Greater Rift: The Cesspools.
Originally designed as the sewers of Westmarch, we weren't quite able to include the Cesspools in the list of playable environments in Reaper of Souls by the time the expansion launched. Still, we loved the look and feel of this festering, dank underworld and have spent some time polishing it up for use in Nephalem Rifts and Greater Rifts. We hope you enjoy this new randomized landscape!
There's entire short novel of updates being carried out on Classes, Items, Achievements, etc. and you can read about that on the Diablo III blog. I will, however, highlight a much needed class buff to Monks. Monks always felt extremely weak to me. Some streamers even classified them as follower classes. Below are two important summaries of the changes made to Monks.
- The mechanics of Exploding Palm caused the skill to be underpowered in some situations while simultaneously being overpowered in other situations. We have redesigned Exploding Palm to perform more consistently in a broad number of situations, which also gives us the flexibility to buff other skills on the class.
- We've done a broad revision of how Spirit functions on the Monk overall. We looked at the rate of spending spirit versus generating spirit and have made changes to all the spirit generators as well as a number of spirit spenders such as Tempest Rush and Lashing Tail Kick.
- The changes to Spirit synergize well with changes we have made to the Sunwuko Set which gives you benefit for spending spirit.
- Patch 2.1.0 brings changes to how the heroes of Sanctuary recover Life. Health globes are being de-emphasized while item and skill choices will be more prominent. Numerous healing related skills on the Monk have been increased.
- Dexterity no longer grants Dodge chance
- Dexterity now grants 1 Armor per point
- Maximum Spirit increased from 150 to 250
Monks also had some pretty useless class specific sets which got a nifty rework to incorporate these changes. As far as I can tell original weapons and sets are not retroactive and the grind begins for the new Thunderfury.
Source: Blizzard Diablo III Blog
This is all fantastic, Blizzard, but where is PVP? The ladders are here, the leaderboards have arrived but we still can't destroy our friends in balanced PVP. There are battlegrounds but let's not sugar coat that mess. That is my only negative view at this point. I hope to get playing 2.1 as soon as work permits it and give it a proper review in the weeks to come.
Are you still playing Diablo? If so, what's your take on patch 2.1.0?
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