Posted Sun, Mar 23, 2014 by Messiah
With the first Diablo III expansion coming out this week, it’s time to look at all of the changes that Patch 2.0.1 has brought to the game. You need to understand the changes so that you are ready for the expansion going live.
So many things have changed in the game that it is almost impossible to cover each an every little detail in one article, therefore this will focus on the biggest and most dramatic changes.
Diablo III Patch 2.0.1 - Loot 2.0
The new patch brings with it a huge change to the loot system in Diablo III, so big that Blizzard is calling it loot 2.0 as it is almost all new. This is combined with the fact that the auction house has disappeared makes gearing up your character almost completely different.
Loot now has its bonuses divided into two areas, Primary and secondary stats.
Loot has also changed to that every time an item drops it has a chance to be a smart drop. Smart drops take into account your character class and focuses its bonuses on you. This means you will not get strength on a smart drop piece if you are playing a Witch Doctor.
Loot stat ranges have been compresses to smaller, but higher ranges. This means that instead of an item adding 1-200 bonus strength before, it might now add 140-200. This will make items on average far better than they were before.
There are also several new item affixes to items that will add several new abilities. These include splash damage, resource cost reduction, cooldown reduction, extra physical damage, and more.
Legendary and set drops are bind on account. The only exception is that if you are in a game with someone when the item drops you have a few hours to trade that item to anyone that was in that game. This means you can still help out friends with gear, but only if you were playing with them.
In addition to the major loot changes, there are also some pretty big changes to the Paragon level system. The changes put in place should make most players pretty happy since they make the system more of an account improvement system rather than a single character improvement.
First up, the paragon level cap has been removed, which means in theory you could go on to infinite levels. However the experience required goes up with each level making it progressively harder to advance.
Next up, your Paragon level is shared across all characters of that mode (normal or hardmode). Which means you no longer need to advance each character in the Paragon level system. Better yet, the Paragon levels apply to all characters regardless of their level, meaning a newly created level 1 has access to all the perks.
Talking of perks, the new Paragon levels provided bonuses to your character in 4 different categories. You get one point to spend in one of those 4 categories on a rotating basis every Paragon level. The categories are Core, Offense, Defense, and Utility.
With the new patch there is no more tiered progression system for the difficulty levels of the game. This means you do not have to move through the game in a linear format finishing each difficulty before the next.
Tied in with this new free flow difficulty system is the new dynamic monster levels. This means that the monsters essentially level up as you do to match the difficulty to your current level. So you could in theory fight the same act over and over again from level 1 to 60 and it would remain roughly the same difficulty level for you.
To replace the old difficulty levels are 10 new difficulty levels, that you can set for any game or act. These new levels are: normal, hard, expert, master, and Torment (1-6). Normal, Hard, and Expert are available right away, while you need to complete act IV to open up Master, and reach level 60 to open up the Torment difficulties. As you play the game in harder difficulties you gain more rewards.
Two new social features have been added to the game called Clans and Communities.
Clans are almost like Guilds in World of Warcraft and are invite only and meant for small social groups.
Communities are places for large numbers of players and can have huge numbers of players involved in them.
These are in theory to help you find groups to play with so that you can trade items back and forth that you find in multi-player games, since you will no longer have access to the Auction House.
These are the more minor new features that have been added to the game with the new patch.
In addition to all the major changes outlined above there are many more changes to the game. All of the classes have been revisited and re-tuned to ensure they are balanced and playing correctly, monster density has been tuned, crafting has changed slightly, and much more.
The complete patch notes for Diablo Patch 2.0.1 can be found here: Patch 2.0.1 Notes.
Overall, I really like the direction that Blizzard has taken with the game through the changes implemented in this patch. They change enough of game to make it fresh and interesting again, right in front of an expansion, while keeping the basic core the same. I have played quite a bit of it since the patch has come out and have been very impresses so far. Now to wait for the expansion!
Have you played the new patch yet? What are your thoughts on it? With this and the expansion bring you back to Diablo III? Make your thoughts known below.