Elation, excitement, anticipation, all words to describe how I felt when I saw the Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls beta invite in my inbox yesterday night. The download was big but my will to play Hardcore was stronger. So far I have nothing but good things to report which is surprising considering how quickly I managed to kill of my former paragon 100 Witch Doctor.

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    I also killed this barb because…it’s a barb

    I jumped into the beta while it was still downloading and knew that my play may be hampered by the download in the background but I couldn’t wait any longer! The first thing I did was look at my new paragon level(141) I can only assume dead hardcore characters add to it as most of my other paragon levels are miniscule by comparison to my living 100. After hitting that mark my play had dropped a bit so I’m not surprised to hear Flux has a higher level than I do since he was still chasing that dragon.

    I quickly set out to try the crusader, everything else would have to wait. I jumped in to campaign just to test how things were by comparison to starting fresh in vanilla. However after saving Cain I grew hungry for the new and fresh content and jumped into adventure mode, quickly finding myself in act 5. I took the closet bounty and got to work. Unfortunately it was bugged and I couldn’t complete my objective, so I went on to the next. This one worked and I was quickly plowing through enemies and completing my objectives. I loved how each mission was clear cut and to the point, and I never felt like I was wasting time. After finding my first riftstone I held off and kept on doing bounties.

    After trying out a few bounties I decided to hop into a DiabloWikiNephalem Rift and see what it was all about; I never went back. Each rift was giving me at least one DiabloWikiRift Keystone and I found myself just going in for more. What I noticed right away was how deadly these could be later on in the game. You have no idea what is in store for you and as you zone in you can easily be swarmed with fallen maniacs or worse and poof there goes your character. However, with risk comes reward and I found my time leveling there was a hundred times more exciting than the linear path D3V had set out for us. You knew in D3 what level to be and where you could go, and how tedious 1-50 could be. I didn’t feel any of that as went through since each pack was challenging, each area unique.

    That ease in leveling may come in handy since as I mentioned in my break line I died on my well geared Witch Doctor on his first rift. After playing around with my crusader to level 20 I decided it was time to play with the big guns and give my WD a try. As I was doing Mp5 with ease back in D3V, I figured I would give Reaper of Souls a go on Master just to see how it would roll.

    I was curious to see just how far I could push my character, and since he wouldn’t really die (due to the RoS beta being on a sort of DiabloWikiPTR for testing) I was okay if it happened. I did a quick bounty for a rift key and jumped in. I was zoned into an act 5 area and was quickly overwhelmed. Skeletons were spawning left and right as monsters were hammering me and my zombie bears could barely (get it?) keep up. It was noticeable how much life steal’s absence will affect the hardcore way in Reaper of Souls. Even putting up big numbers wasn’t enough and I was greeted by a familiar deeds notice. However this time there was something else added on. There is a placeholder saying that it needs to be replaced with game data on the deeds screen. I can only wonder what data they may toss our way but hopefully it isn’t salt in the wound. It may sound weird but I love that I died. I love that there was a challenge tossed my way, and that facerolling through the same things doesn’t seem like an option. We’re going to be surprised by what’s tossed in front of us, and forced to make decisions on our gear and points of how best to stay alive. That feels very D2 to me.

    Overall everything is amazing, I haven’t done enough testing yet to report on quality drops, or hitting a loot ceiling, but what I can say is that Diablo has me back to wanting to log in more than do anything else. It just feels right and for me that’s all I need. Stay tuned for more hands on hardcore reports as I continue to test and sound off in the comments on what you’d like to hear about.

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