Diablo III 2014-02-25 21-27-08-89

The big overhaul for Diablo III is out. Patch 2.0.1 is a literal version 2.0 for the hack n’ slash, leaving nothing untouched in what may as well be considered a re-release. You can read the complete patch notes here, but be warned. It’s a long list. If you don’t like long lists, or just have an unnatural attraction to small ones, we’ve got some of the best reasons we think you’ll fall in love with Diablo III all over again. Or for the first time. Whatevs, we don’t judge.

1. EVERY SINGLE CLASS HAS BEEN OVERHAULED

No skill left untouched, some changed entirely. How each class plays and feels has been tweaked, adjusted and retooled to improve the experience. You can see the full Class change notes here. Warning, it’s a huge list. Overall, all classes are more powerful and more functional, with greater build diversity.

2. THIS RING

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Admit it. You want it.

3. LOOT 2.0 & SMART DROP

Perhaps learning lessons from the console version of Diablo III, the PC version now has a completely reworked loot drop system. Now, when weapons and armour drop they’re more likely to be better for the class you’re playing. “Smart Drops”, as Blizzard calls them. Items also have completely reworked stats (they’ll be more powerful in general), Legendaries can contain playstyle-altering mechanics, and while rares (yellows) drop less, they’re more likely to be worthwhile. Also, Legendaries drop like one every 30 minutes, and Sets have been given a huge boost. Just look at the full-set bonus on Blackthorne’s:

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4. POOLS OF REFLECTION

These don’t seem like much, but they’re surprisingly beefy. You’ll find Pools of Reflection out in the world, that give you a 25% experience bonus for a set amount of experience. But if you die before cashing out all the experience, you lose the bonus pool you had left. You can stack up to ten of these, and they persist after logging out. These pools speed up levelling to a huge degree, which combined with the difficulty settings that boost experience gain, lets you go from 1 to 60 in just a few days.

Diablo III 2014-02-26 21-21-22-76

5. IMPROVED CRAFTING

Before, there were several tiers of crafting materials. They’ve been condensed into just two tiers, 1-60 and 60-70 (these only appear in Reaper of Souls). All your crafting materials get converted accordingly, which saves a huge amount of stash space. All crafted items also use the new Loot 2.0 system for determining how their stats are rolled, so when you craft things using your Wizard, they’re more likely to have Wizardy stats. Jewelcrafting also no longer uses any kind of resource to combine gems, other than gold.

6. BETTER PERFORMANCE

This may be anecdotal, but multiple people (including myself) are experiencing far less to almost no frame spikes. Before the patch, Diablo III would shudder, judder, skip and spike all over the place, and it nothing to do with lag. Assets like sounds and models weren’t being precached properly, so the first time you used a skill or a monster did, the game would ‘freeze’ to load the files needed. No more! The patch included a datafile restructure that has, it seems, improved performance to the point where the game runs 60fps locked solid. The input latency also feels improved, but no confirmation if that’s a placebo effect or not.

7. PAVING THE WAY FOR REAPER OF SOULS

Even though the upcoming expansion pack is still a month away, the 2.0.1 patch has started to introduce a few new things to get the ball rolling. Crafting recipies and materials for 60+ items already drop, usable once you upgrade to the expansion. New “Cursed Objects” have started to appear, which will start an event when interacted with. These may start challenging scenarios like endless monster waves and other timed events.

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HONOURABLE MENTIONS

* The tiered and gated difficulties of Hell, Nightmare and Inferno are gone. Replacing them, is a new “dynamic” difficulty setup where monsters level with you, but you can boost things further if you want the challenge, or dial things back if you’re getting rotflstomped. No more needing to go through the campaign four times before you get to the good stuff.

* There’s only one type of health potion now, it heals 60% of your HP. You also pick them up automatically by running over/near them.

* If you die, you can resurrect at your body (except at a boss), up to three times, before you’ll need to resurrect in town or at the last checkpoint you hit.