Hands-On Blizzcon Reaper of Souls Demo: New Monster Abilities

Reaper of Souls at BlizzCon with IncGamersHere are some details about new monster abilities, modified monster behaviors, larger champion packs, and the two new Elite Affixes I saw in my play time on the DiabloWikiReaper of Souls demo at Blizzcon this weekend. This article does not include behaviors and info on the new Act Five enemies. I’ll put those in a separate article about Act 5, coming soon™.

Lots of familiar monsters have subtle new behaviors or powers or properties. Grotesques, the spiky fat guys who explode upon death, had three that I noticed.

The first was a new type of creamy filling. Some of them I saw in Nephalem Rift games blew up to release three spiders, rather than Eels or Imps. They were the long-legged, fast-moving Act 2 cave type of spiders, and they were spread out maybe 20y apart at first, before quickly activating to come attack you in melee range.

The second DiabloWikiGrotesque change is a functional one; their belly babies are now immune to the explosions of other Grotesques. The big guys are not, and you can still trigger those awesome domino chains where you kill one, his explosion kills the next, his explosion kills two more, etc. What’s new is that that chain of events no longer obliterates all of their belly babies.

Besties forevers!
Besties forevers!

I got a five-pack of Champions in the DiabloWikiWeeping Hollow while hunting DiabloWikiMira Eamon on a DiabloWikiBounty and all five did the glorious falling domino row of mutual destruction, but then out of their splattered ashes came all 15 Eels, wriggling up to attack. (I’d have expected 3 Eels at most had that occurred on DiabloWikiD3V.)

This isn’t exactly a terrifying change, since the Eels are pretty much a wriggling Massacre Bonus to any AoE attack, but it’s an obvious difference from what you see now in-game.

The third new Grotesque thing I saw in a DiabloWikiNephalem Rift game. It was a yellow-named random boss Grotesque with DiabloWikiHorde and DiabloWikiMolten… and his minions were vomiting female zombies, rather than other Grotesques. They promptly set to puking and all grouped together they were pretty easy for my Crusader to deal with (the Crusader had two very overpowered AoE attacks: DiabloWikiFist of Heavens and DiabloWikiHeaven’s Fury — full Crusader mega report coming soon), but it was interesting to see a new and mixed type of boss and minions

Click through for some more new monster abilities, full details of the two new DiabloWikiElite Affixes, anecdotes about larger Champion packs, and more.

Bigger Champion Packs

I’d long thought this a good feature for some end game dungeons, but I wasn’t expecting it at level 32 in my first DiabloWikiAdventure Mode game on the RoS demo. Yet there they were, five DiabloWikiChampion Grotesques in the DiabloWikiWeeping Hollow, all bloated and filthy. They weren’t especially hard, since even at that mid-level the Crusader has several skills really well suited for larger groups of enemies, but more is MOAR.

In later games I got several other Champion packs of 5 (I also saw champs of 3 and 4, so it varies), and they were challenging. The worst was a Nephalem Rift game with a Demon Hunter where I got DiabloWikiWortham for the first level. It extended from the docks through town, over the bridge and all the way down to the Spider Cavern entrance. (Which was the way to level 2 of that Nephalem Rift.) All of it full of monsters. The worst part was right outside the gate leaving the town and the burning church area, where I found 5 Champion Mallet Lords with Extra Fast and Molten.

Thankfully, they were too large to get through the gateway all at once, so I got close enough to attract one around the corner, and then scampered back through town and along the pathway towards the docks, dropping DiabloWikiCaltrops to slow them, DiabloWikiVaulting to get space, and using DiabloWikiRapid Fire to kill them. I almost burned my resources empty on each of the massive enemies, and since I’m used to D3V I kept killing one, going back through the gate, and cursing in surprise when another one was sitting there, ready to repeat the chase again. If they’d been out in the open on some large level, or had DiabloWikiVortex or DiabloWikiTeleport or some movement mod, I’d probably have gotten slaughtered.

Another game I got 5 of the fatboy goat shamans you see in Act Three; the ones who always shield other enemies (and each other) with that glowing barbed wire spell effect. Those are annoying when there are just 3 of them, always shielding each other, scattering in all directions, hurling projectiles, etc. You most often see them in the winding stairway levels going down into Arreat Crater, where they can’t scatter too far on those narrow pathways.

I got them in the Nephalem Rift version of the DiabloWikiFields of Misery (which had an eerie reddish tint and a lot of fog effects), and there were 5 of them, and the damn things spread out like grease on a hot skillet. The benefit was that they weren’t really shielding each other since they were out of casting range. The annoying part was that they went in every direction, kept moving around rapidly throwing shields on all the other random dudes coming at me on that level, and there were 5 of them.

The most fun Elite Affix on 5 champions? DiabloWikiFire Chains. It looks like a crazy jumble or glowing ropes when you first see them in close proximity, and it’s possible… just possible… that you could get them arranged into a pentagram of glowing fire chains. (Since each Fire Chained monster joins to the others by at most two chains.) Bonus points to the first person in RoS who pulls off that feat. Do it on a large circle area and extra bonus points.

New Elite Affixes

Reaper of Souls new difficulty settings.
Reaper of Souls new difficulty settings.

Note that all the bosses found in Adventure Mode had two modifiers. This was with lvl 33-35 characters, and it’s not on Nightmare since Adventure Mode doesn’t have the 4 “difficulty levels,” Normal/Nightmare/Hell/Inferno that you see in Campaign Mode or in D3V today. As I covered in the Adventure Mode article, it’s a flat difficulty (across all five acts) and it scales to the level of your character.

Theoretically there are some character level thresholds (30, 50, 60?) at which the bosses gain a 2nd, 3rd, 4th (and 5th?) Elite Affix. Don’t know for sure. All I can say is that the Adventure mode demo characters started off at level 33, and all the random bosses in Adventure Mode and the Nephalem Rifts had two Elite Affixes.

There were two new Elite Affixes I saw in action in the show demo; Frozen Pulse and Poison Enchanted. Full details on those below. Back in August from Gamescom when Reaper of Souls debuted, one of the devs in an interview casually mentioned some new Elite Affixes in the demo, one of them some kind of ground fire property. We never got more details on that from Gamescom, and if it’s still in the game, I never saw it in my dozens of games from this show.

What I did see, each of them several times each:

Poison Enchanted

DiabloWikiPoison Enchanted: This was a boss ability in Diablo 2, but the name is the only thing it has in common. The function is a bit like DiabloWikiFrozen or DiabloWikiArcane Enchanted in function, in that the boss shoots out glowing things that you need to get away from before they explode in painful fashion.

What happens with this affix is that each Champion, or the Boss and his minions, will occasionally stop moving and squat down for an instant, before shooting out two (per creature) glowing yellow spots. They go out from the monster with a sort of electrical squiggle graphic, and then sit there looking a bit like glowing green/yellow manhole covers. After about a second these explode, shooting out greenish jets of gas in an X pattern. Each “arm” of the X goes maybe 15 yards, giving the whole thing a range of about 35 yards, and it persists for several seconds.

One isn’t that hard to avoid, but if you’re in a melee fight and you get two or more around you, it’s really tough not to get hit by at least one of the jets, and they are dangerous when multiples of them are stacked overlapping and you’re right on top.

The casting range for the initial blobs is pretty far; they scatter them around you in a melee fight, but when I got this Affix while playing a Demon Hunter in a later game the boss was at least 50 yards away when he cast it, and yet the little yellow circles that were going to explode into the X shape appeared near me. You can basically think of it like Arcane Enchanted, except instead of little pink balls that turn into rotating needles, these are yellow-green circles that blow up into Xs. They’re harder to avoid than Arcane Enchanted, but not nearly as damaging.

They do not debuff or slow you, just hit for big poison damage which you want to avoid standing in. It’s a very effective “Denial of Area” attack, as the devs term things that make you move from one location to another.

Frozen Pulse

DiabloWikiFrozen Pulse — I only saw this one twice, and I’m not entirely sure what it does. Basically it’s freezing debuff/damage from a little blue orb that floats around the boss and homes in on your character when you are nearby. Its movement was a bit reminiscent of the Druid’s Sages from D2, or perhaps the Wizard’s Familiar in D3, though it doesn’t move that quickly or stay that close.

The Pulse looks like a spiky blue ball, a bit like a Frozen just before it explodes, (or a dog chew toy) and it floats around the boss, then comes towards you if you get within some proximity (30y or so?) of the boss. When it’s near you it hits you with a chilling debuff that deals slight damage. I couldn’t tell if it actually “pulsed” and upped the damage now and then, but it was mildly annoying when nearby.

It could be avoided; if you ran away it would move after you, but slower than you moved and if you got far enough form the boss it would snap back to him, and then come back to you once you were nearby again.

I only saw this one twice (I saw Poison Enchanted at least 10x) so I didn’t get as much sense of what it does and how it works.

Other Elite Affix Changes

There weren’t any, at least not real obvious. Note that the highest level Affixes, the ones you only find in Hell and Inferno now, were not seen in this demo, so there might be changes to those.

The single hardest boss I got in the entire demo was a random Elite with DiabloWikiMolten and DiabloWikiElectrified. That’s not a combo that I’d worry much about in D3V, but for some reason it was dealing huge damage to my Crusader in the RoS demo. I had to retreat twice, running back several rooms to get space or to find a Health Orb, and this was in a demo where the Crusader was able to wipe out most random bosses in 3-5 seconds without even considering a retreat.


  1. The Molten was stacking on the Electrified so each time I hit him it really hurt myself.
  2. Molten extends further out in front of the boss with that property, so you get cooked just fighting in melee range (I didn’t notice that with other Moltens, though.)
  3. Electrified (and possibly Molten) are buffed to deal more reflected damage.
  4. My Crusader’s low resistances really became obvious at this one spot.


If you’ve got additional monster questions throw them into comments and I’ll reply if I have a chance. Stay tuned for more hands-on reports from the RoS demo.

Keep an eye on the BlizzCon Coverage Section for the full transcripts (not bullet point lists) of the Diablo 3 Panels, videos, hands-on reports, photos, screenshots and more.

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36 thoughts on “Hands-On Blizzcon Reaper of Souls Demo: New Monster Abilities

  1. I saw talk that Jailor is now a 1 second cast time ground AoE that roots you if it hits.


    (thank god if true)

    • I saw a few with Jailor and got caged now and then, but it didn’t feel any different than before. Of course lvl 33 chars weren’t exactly overflowing with root breaking powers, so I didn’t actually notice any difference. Doesn’t mean it’s not been upgraded, though.

  2. This all sounds cool, I am really looking forward to all the changes in RoS… specially the guild system, be good to get a guild from here going so I can actually play with some people and create some friendships of people who play d3, all my friends have failed in that respect ;D

    • First people make giant assumptions about changes that they haven’t tried yet and are still being worked on anyway and then….

      • He’s being a little dramatic, but I think he has a point. Most affixes (both in-game and in development) seem especially crushing to melee characters in particular. Forcing a character to stand in AoE just to deal damage is poor design in my opinion. I’ll reserve judgment until I see the final iteration, but I’d like to see more avoidable affixes that reward intelligent gameplay.

        • Nobody is forcing anyone to stand in AoE. Most can be avoided easily, although with Champion groups of 5 things could get a little hairy. I’m looking forward to it though. Molten is another thing, but defensive and ranged skills must have their place in the game as well, even for melee oriented characters. Also, melee classes get an extra 30% damage reduction for free.

          If we want to talk about poor design let’s talk instead about how the most optimal way to play is to focus on PBAoE and facetanking, even with ranged classes.

        • So let me get this straight, you and other melee players want affixes that create more intelligent gameplay and avoidable affixes, but you are against anything that takes you out of combat for a moment because it’s poor design?

          • “2. Molten extends further out in front of the boss with that property, so you get cooked just fighting in melee range (I didn’t notice that with other Moltens, though.)”

            If this is the case, yes, I think it’s poor design. If molten extends and encompasses the ground completely around an enemy, how can melee damage it while avoiding the AoE damage?

          • That was pure speculation on Flux’s part and he even mentioned that he didn’t notice such a huge amount of incoming damage against other Elites. If you ask me that’s a really unlikely explanation for what he experienced. It’s much more likely that not all monsters are properly balanced for all affixes yet (remember, we are talking about an expansion that’s not even in beta) or that the way Molten and Electrified increases monster damage was simply more apparent with the given Elite. Don’t panic without good reason.

  3. Awesome work Flux. You’ve been keeping me on edge with all these reports!

    However there is one more affix witnessed within the videos that were released with blizzcon. I havent read any articles with first hand experiences though. Its called Orbiter, from what we can see its similar to Blessed Hammer but doesn’t expand, small balls of lightning continually circle the individual minions or champions! Looks like chaos as they spin relatively fast! i cant remember which video it was (could be the PS4 video).

    • I saw that on a couple of Rift Guardians, but they just have the purple name, not the names of their properties, so I can’t say what its called. It functions a lot like you say, though. Basically like Blessed Hammer on crack; dozens of little blue orbiting things that do fairly minor damage. More visually pretty than effective, in my demo experience.

  4. I really do enjoy all the updates you guys are doing. But I don’t think I have been more underwhelmed about a Blizzcon.

    • I think as commonly said, if we hadn’t looked at all the data-mined info we would all be surprised. But I do agree, I personally was hoping to see what devils hand was all about as well as more info on ladders and groups/clans. Not to mention the few strings found in regards to Gheeds Machine!! Makes me think that maybe they aren’t as far in development as we were all optimistically thinking. =(

    • Almost everything they said about legendary itemization fixes/changes in the Saturday morning panel sounded great to me. Even the examples were fairly build-changing, for a change. I’m very encouraged for the RoS changes, and Adventure mode is awesome. I palyed like 10 more games of it Saturday evening, and really enjoy it. So fast to farm for exp and items that way.

      No one will play campaign mode come RoS, at this rate.

      • Yea i think its looking that way. The new info on items were great, especially the primary and secondary stat breakdown! Im curious if there is any restrictions on levels with adventure mode, especially in parties. if i get an invite to a players game who is level 70, can i join as a level 30 and get mega power leveled? Or possibly be restricted to level brackets eg 10-30, 60-70 etc

      • Do the bosses talk in an adventure mode (Like Ghom for example)? Or you just go there and kill it like every other monster without making him say a word?

        • There’s no info about level restrictions in Amode. I immediately wondered about how the difficulty would scale if there were multiple chars in the same game; by the game creator?

          Bosses do not talk at all, and the cut scenes are gone. I did Magda and Diablo on bounties and neither of them said a word or delayed for nonsense.

  5. Explains why there’s not many content patches for this game considering how little we get for an expansion.

  6. QUOTE

    So let me get this straight, you and other melee players want affixes that create more intelligent gameplay and avoidable affixes, but you are against anything that takes you out of combat for a moment because it's poor design?

    I strongly want more intelligent gameplay and avoidable affixes but man, the whole “here’s a bunch of death on the floor” thing can get pretty excessive at times. A 5-pack of Molten, Arcane, Plagued blues in a small space very quickly stops being intelligent and avoidable.

    • Throw Diablo in there for good measure (Nephalem Rifts FTW) and you have yourself a party. To be honest, I’m all for this. I’ve heard a rumor that there are defensive skills in this game as well. It’s time we find out. 🙂

      • True. Maybe now we will have some use for skills like Ignore Pain. Considering there also won’t be overpowered life steal which destroyed any reasons to use these skills in the first place.

  7. hey flux I’d like to point out that in d3v you can find packs of 5 in certain monsters flavors, such as the imps in act 1 (and the imps in act 2) the burrowing leapers (or whatever they are called, tiny monster) and even the bat creatures. but all of the larger packs are found in smaller monsters (another 5 pack I’ve seen was the bile crawler things in act 4)

    • I have played a great deal of D3V and never noticed 4 champs at once or any monster type. I’m curious if anyone else feels they’ve seen this. Admittedly, most of them in D3V I detonate in about 3 seconds, so it’s possible to miss, and you can’t really count against Illusionists, but still….

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