First Impressions from the D3 Reaper of Souls PTR build

Hey guys,

Went onto battle net and saw that my account had access to the Diablo 3 PTR so downloaded the client and was able to start playing all of the Reaper of Souls build except for the new crusader class and the new "act 5 chapter". Thought i post some first impressions of things i noticed were different from the current D3 build.

First off, the game really puts off the vibe they're trying to bring back in D2 player who weren't impressed with D3. To that effect, some interesting changes have been made.

  • As Blizzard said, loot is doled out in a much more generous manner. Even as someone who tried to start a new character with their Monster Power system in the current build cranked all the way up to 10 to try to maximize my magic find, i still have never seen as much useful loot out of D3. i played up to level 10, and i was already getting regular yellow loot in act 1 before the Skeleton King.
  • Even better, most of this loot pretained to my current class or was better than what i was currently using.
  • White loot is now useful for crafting material
  • Other crafting materials drop as loot items now. (essences, tears, etc)
  • Health potions now heal a percentage of a player's health rather than a set number of HP. Default potion heals 60% and has a 30 second cool down.
  • Area maps are contiguous with other areas, even ones separated by loadscreens. Helps with continuity of the world i think.
  • There's an overworld map that appears at the fast travel points now. Looks nice, i'm a map nerd.
  • in your inventory/character panel, there are now values for Damage, Toughness (an aggregate score of dodge, health, and armor/resist factors) , as well as a healing score rather than just the current Damage and Armor numbers.
  • UI font looks less Arial like and more fitting of the game.
  • Gamma and color pallete look adjusted to fit a more gloomy tone a la Diablo 2.
  • There is an Item icon feature that you can enable that will place a colored circle with the class of item that has dropped (ax, sword, chest, gloves, pants, etc)
  • The game seems much more inclined toward throwing larger numbers of enemies and faster moving ones at you this time.
  • New random events - one i encountered was a kill as many waves of enemies that spawn near a chest as you can before time runs out with a tiered reward given depending on how well you do.
  • Found a lore item that discussed the new Crusader Class
  • The new paragon system (which i assume is still endgame only) has 4 classes (core, offense, defense, utitlity) each of which have 4 abilities for you to assign points into. These points can range from simple movement speed to health regen, to critical hit damage or chance, etc. I'll play more and learn more about this later hopefully.
  • Still server based as far as gameplay is concerned. Hit a lag spike during gameplay and my character attacks suddently were delayed by a second or two. it resolved quickly but that's still going to be a thing even with the RMAA gone.

Edited 12/14

played some more this morning, it looks like Blizzard is stress testing the PTR that i've been playing which will go live for Reaper of Souls and closed beta for reaper of souls this weekend. Some server queues logging into PTR but i did notice more stuff that i forgot to mention above.

  • In addition to health orbs, there are now player buffing orbs which activate for 2 minutes at a time which act as damage flourishes for normal attacks, I.E. my wizard's magic missle has a chance to take on a chain lightning effect. Health orbs collected while this buff is active has the chance to stack and increase the effectiveness. Not world changing but cool.
  • Normal difficulty elite mobs now stack attributes like they used to do in higher difficulty playthroughs.
  • I imported my existing characters into PTR. my level 10 wizard i started a few weeks ago within about 10 minutes of playing had already gotten several item drops that were better than anything craftable with my existing fully leveled blacksmith. New loot system appears to be doing a good job.
  • Load times seem much quicker
  • Was able to play with the paragon system using my level 60 monk paragon 11. Was able to assign 11 stat points to all my characters paragon skills as soon as i started. The additional points are tied to you continuing to level you highest level character up the paragon ranks. Buffs are not earth shattering but are welcome. Reminds me of the Borderlands 2 badass rank system a bit.
  • I liked Diablo 3 already but was frustrated by the frugal loot drops, and a little bored with the similarities of dungeons on subsequent playthroughs. A lot of what i see here does a good job to help this and makes the game more fun.
  • The pacing of the combat as far as numbers of the mob and speed of enemies now feels more in line with something like Torchlight 2 than the initial build of diablo 3.
  • As @ares42 mentioned below, they did restructure some skills and change the order in which runes unlock and outright change the way some passive skill function.

Pretty much all welcome changes. Game plays at a much faster pace than before, you feel like badass mowing down hordes of enemies and are being great loot for your "trouble". Can't wait for reaper of souls to be here. It's a must buy for next year for me.

If you have any questions that i didn't mention or if you want me to check something out, ask below. I'll update this as i notice stuff or get a better grasp on the new content.

7 Comments Refresh
Edited by ShadowConqueror

Sounds good. I think I might actually get back into D3 with this.

Edited by Ares42

Just tried it out a bit myself. The new difficulty system seemed confusing, but might just be a factor of getting dumped into it (much like getting dumped into a ton of skill changes confuses the hell out of me). I do not like that the new comparison numbers only show percentages though. Sure, you can always go by green and red, but there's something decieving about it, especially at low levels where everything is like 100+% increase/drops. Guess it might normalize out as gear get more incremental.

I did enjoy the new events though, and the paragon system seems great. Getting a 4th passive is also gonna be good for build diversity. It also seemed (from my minor probing) that they've done a pass over skills etc and normalized it abit (generally making weaker classes hit harder), which I like since I tend to play the weaker hitting ones.

On a somewhat seperate note though. I've just recently picked it up again for a week or so, and as much as I didn't enjoy the AH back at launch I have to say that I'm gonna miss it when it's gone. It was never really the AH that was the problem per se, all they needed to do was remove the loot normalization they did to "balance" it.

Posted by ajamafalous

First off, the game really puts off the vibe they're trying to bring back in D2 player who weren't impressed with D3. To that effect, some interesting changes have been made.

This is really all people need to know. I've been excited for it ever since I read the datamined patchnotes by diablofans back when it first hit the closed PTR. I honestly can't wait for RoS to hit. Even with the several hundred hours I put into (and the several hundred dollars I made off of) Diabo 3, it's still a deeply flawed game (even after all the patching). RoS at least looks to alleviate a lot of the issues that veterans had with the core game design.

Posted by alanm26v5

I've been messing around with it for about a day. I've already gotten several upgrades over stuff I bought in the auction house to beat inferno on live servers. Feels so much better to be "earning" that loot. Loot is so much more useful and while you're still hoping for good rolls on stat ranges, a "bad" roll doesn't make the item complete junk. Also I've seen lots of legendary items linked with interesting unique properties and procs.

The biggest change that took me by surprise was the reworking of the difficulty system. Everything just scales to your level, but you can bump it up for XP (including paragon XP at max level) and gold find boosts. It was really confusing to go in with a copied over character and try to figure out which difficulty I should be playing on. Normal is too easy but the next highest just felt like everything was taking too many hits, and it would have been more efficient to play on normal. I don't know if the drop percentages are better on higher difficulties, as nothing in game seemed to say that. That would probably be enough to get me to play a harder difficulty though.

Paragon is indeed a max level thing, BUT it's an account wide level. So if you have a level 60 that has earned 10 paragon levels, you can use those 10 points on each of your characters, whether max level or not.

Also I was curious about the clan and community functions so I made giant bomb groups and advertised them in the vanilla D3 forum. DIdn't get any response but also I don't think clans were working server side today anyway so it's kind of moot. It looks to be pretty basic: A roster where you can see and inspect members and invite them to groups, a chat channel leader/officer/member ranks with permissions you can set, and some news/message of the day style postings. Also you can belong to 1 clan but several communities, and each have thier own chat and roster.

Next time I play, I might just make a new character to get a feel for how progressing from scratch works. Overall though, I'm now super excited for this to go live as well as for the expansion.

Edited by Seppli

Thanks for the write-up. I'm having quite the appetite for something something Blizzard. Your words remind me that such a thing is just around the corner. Looking forward to doing it all again and then some playing the Crusader class in the PS4 version of the game. Especially the prospect that it's not balanced around an auctionhouse anymore is exciting to me. Give me them drops!

Posted by OldManLight

stuff i noticed recently

  • Contrary to what i previously believed about there potentially being higher level potions, it appears either all my stash items for my higher level potions are now all the same health potion, not tiers unless they reset them all and there will be bigger potions later in the game
  • have collected 2 legendary items on the 4-5 hours i've played the 2.0.1 PTR build almost the same amount i've collected from a year and half of playing the current live build. Thanks AH?
  • Crafting items have been simplified and don't appear to be specific to difficulty level on playthroughs. All the items in my stash were converted to 4 types of crafting materials and pages of blacksmithing and jewel crafting appear to just now be "tomes of secrets" that work with either jeweler or blacksmith
  • Demonic essence plus gold is the crafting material required for higher level gems, drops regularly on normal difficulty with a first playthrough character.
  • some previously rare AH purchased items from older characters were are still in my stash are now just regular white loot. Weird but with all the new loot drops, i'm ok with it.
  • It's entirely possible to temporarily "break the game" by socketing a high level gem into a weapon to buff damage and make the majority of enemies 1 hit kills. Fun but they're slowly starting to become stronger after a while which is good for keeping things interesting.

That's about it for now.

Edited by alanm26v5

@oldmanlight: Potions now restore a percentage of your total health, so there's no need to have tiers. Another nice touch is that you automatically pick them up like you do with gold.

Here's some impressions of my impressions from this weekend.

  • I played through the 4 acts on normal with my level 60. It was probably about equivalent to playing on Hell difficulty on Live but drops were scaled up to what you'd see in act 4 Hell or Act 1 Inferno. By the time I had gone through it, I had gotten 3 legendaries: a weapon I'm still using that was a big upgrade but no interesting proc, a weapon that wasn't quite as good but procs an angelic guardian that fights with you for a few seconds so I gave it to my follower, and a pair of good bracers, but they're strength based and I'm playing a Wizard so I stashed them for an alt.
  • It's worth mentioning that 90% of the drops are tailored to your class in three ways. If you see a primary damage stat (str, dex, int) on an item it'll most likely be the one your class uses. If you have a class specific item category (for me, wizard hats and offhands) you'll see a lot of those compared to ones you can't use (like barbarian belts and demon hunter cloaks.) If an item has a skill boosting or altering affix, it will be for your class. You still will see exceptions to this so that you're not "missing out" on loot for other characters completely, but you'll want to play the class you want gear for instead of making an all powerful farming character. Shared paragon levels and points go perfectly with this idea.
  • After finishing normal I skipped the next difficulty and went into expert. I unless I'm just imagining it or lucky, it already seems like I'm getting more frequent rare and legendary drops. People in general chat are lamenting on how they don't have nearly as much magic find due to how paragon levels changed, but really who cares when drops are actually good, and still frequent enough. I don't know if it's just not there because max level is now 70, but I'm not getting stacks of Nephalem Valor either. Again, that's fine by me when taken into account with the other loot changes.
  • Rare items no longer need to be identified.While this a welcome change, it has the unintended side effect of making it so I had no idea what slot an item was that I was picking up, as they display their randomly generated names instead of just saying something like "belt" or "ring" on the ground. Playing with the icons for items on the ground on took about 5 minutes to get used to, and now it feels like the game has always had that option.
  • Finally the answers to the most frequently asked questions from general chat:
    1. How do I copy my character to the PTR? - Make a new level 1 character and start a new game. Exit out and launch the game again. You should see a PTR copy option in the top right corner. Note that this will copy all of your characters from the selected region, but overwrite your existing PTR characters in case you were playing from scratch.
    2. My xp bar says 0/0, why aren't I earning paragon levels? - It's just a display bug and a known issue that requires a patch. You are still earning paragon xp and can level up.
    3. How do I make a Crusader, or play Adventure Mode, or get to Act 5? - You can't unless you received a RoS Beta invite. Beta players and PTR-only players are all on the same server, just like how it'll be on Live when RoS launches and some people only own vanilla Diablo 3.
    4. Why are there queues? - Blizzard is load testing their servers this weekend, meaning they're simulating maximum load by artificially limiting their servers to a much lower capacity. I've never had to wait longer than 10 seconds, but some people in chat were complaining about 20 minute waits. I have no idea what's going on there, unless it's geographically influenced or part of the load test.

If you're on the PTR or in Beta be sure to send a clan invite request to Giant Bomb. We have a cool tabard! This is a lie. I want to see more people's achievement and legendary item spam in that news feed.