Screens of thsoe legendaries are below, along with a follow up on Enchanting and its pros, cons, and bugs. Also there’s quite a bit on the grim potential for twinking and trading, and full coverage of many new Boss and Elite changes, including 5 new Elite Affixes, big upgrades to some of the Quest bosses, changes and improvements to minions, and much more.
So, right to it. Click through for the article.
Twinking and Trading
As we know, trading is meant to be a pretty minimal affair in RoS. The game is damn near Ironborn by design, with all legendaries, anything you enchant, all the higher level gems, etc, Bind on Account. There is one exception; you can trade the otherwise BoA gear with players who were in the game with you when you found the item (during the game or for up to two hours afterwards). I’m not going to praise or condemn that design in this piece. I’m just stating the current state of affairs in case new readers aren’t up on the details.
Rares are tradeable, though. Fully tradeable, unless/until you enchant them. Would you want to trade them, though? Maybe, but only to another character of your class, or your other mainstat sharing kin. All my end game play so far has been with a Monk (I’ve played some Crusader, but only low level) and of the decent rares I’ve found or gambled, probably 70% have a huge bonus to dex and 25% are just +Vit, without any mainstat at all. No more than 5%, and the number is probably lower than that, have a bonus to INT or STR.
That does not include class-specific items; wands I find almost always have INT, and never have STR or DEX. Bows all have DEX and never INT or STR. It seems like class items drop according to your class also; my Monk sees occasional wands or ceremonial knives or pistol xbows, but I can hardly remember finding a single flail or Crusader class shield, and Barbarian mighty weapons seem very uncommon (when playing a Monk) also. Yet I played an hour of Crusader yesterday evening, from level 1 to 20ish, and it seemed like every trip back to town I had 3 or 4 new Crusader class shields and a flail or three. And pretty much all my armor had +strength.
Also, if you find a set item for a specific class with a mainstat not your own, the inherent stats will still spawn. Your Barb won’t find an Inna’s Helm with a STR roll.This isn’t a bad thing, but it will really cut down on trading, at least cross class trading. It’s quite possible that people who play Crusaders will find tons of armor that’s great for Barbs, and vice versa, and the same will hold true for Wizards and WDs and Monks and DHs… but if you’re playing a Wizard and hoping to find gear to twink out your new Crusader, or to give to a friend… not so much. And since there’s no Auction House in RoS you can’t just hop on and buy the gear you need without any wasted time or haggling. Happily, you don’t really need to since upgrades and quality gear flow quite quickly, even at a low level. Plus the NPCs sell lots of rare items now. They’re not equal to the quality of good item finds, but you can much more easily kit out your own character in RoS. There’s nothing very hard about going Ironborn anymore.
One last note on twinking; reduced requirement gear is quite rare. I’ve only found 2 or 3 decent rares so far with a -level requirement, but the ones I did were hugely reduced. I found and saved a belt and a chest armor today, both level 70, both with more than -20 level requirement. Neither is very good for end game use, but slipping into an armor with 400 Vit and other stats at level 48, in Hardcore, is not at all a bad short term solution. (And an enchant could greatly improve such an item. Or turn any other great item into a twink by potentially adding a 2-23 level req reduction.)
I mentioned Enchanting with some criticism yesterday, and now that I’ve experimented with it a lot more I wanted to add some words. I’ve done more enchanting, including some on legendaries, and the repetitious rolling of the same mod or two again and again remains an issue. But I got some good rolls too. And noticed something nifty in the interface.
That little question mark at the far right of each mod shows you the possible affixes that can roll to replace each one. It’s buggy, especially on D3V legendaries, as you can see in some of the screens below. You are not supposed to be able to replace the inherent mods that don’t appear on that item type, such as IAS or Crit Damage on a Witching Hour, or IAS, ChC, or Movement Speed on Inna’s Pants. And yet all of those mods show up in the Enchanting window, with some odd possible replacements listed. Check out the 1-2% ChC possible on Inna’s?
I don’t know if these would actually roll; there seems to be selection issues since I’ve done many items 6-8 times in a row and gotten just the same 3 or 4 affixes every time, when 9 or 10 mods are showing as possibles.
Sometimes the special mods do not show, I think correctly. I stuck a Stone of Jordan in the Enchanting window and it showed the +% Holy Damage, Spirit Regen, and Sweeping Wind damage… but it did not show the +28% damage to Elites as a potential mod to swap out. I rerolled that SoJ and changed the +%Holy Damage to 387 Dexterity, which I felt was an upgrade. Though I’d rather have gotten ChC or ChD or IAS, all of which were listed as potential replacements.Though the “display potential affixes” seems to work, I still think there are bugs with the *random* selection of them. Too many times I’ve rolled an item 8 or 10 times in a row and seen the same 3-4 affixes every single time. Even when the display of possible options shows 8 or 10 or 12 options. I know it sounds like RNG, but I’ve seen it happen on many different items, including junky ones that I tested out just since it was cheap to roll and reroll them. (Prices are weird too. As you see in the pics above, rare jewelry is like 10x the price of anything else, and more than 100x the price of other rares like boots, shields, bracers, etc. Those will start off at 14k or 18k, while your first hit on a good amulet might run 1.4m, and increase to well over 2m by the 3rd reroll.)
I think they should also fix it so you don’t get the same new affix in both slots at once, since that’s just annoying. So many times I’ve gotten both mods as something like, +91 exp per kill and +96 exp per kill. Or both plus varying amounts of dexterity, etc.
I can see why they allow it, since technically the choices are different, and if you got both of them the mod you wanted it would be fun to pick the higher value. It’s annoying when you get mods that are just on/off, though. Like you see in the shot to the right, since only 1 socket can spawn on a weapon, it feels lame to see it in both options. (Sockets in chest armor, which can be 1, 2, or 3, wouldn’t be so bad.)
Not a lot to say about them, but here are some pics of two I found today. The Band of Hollow Whispers would be great if I needed more defense, but without any trifecta stats, or mainstat, or even +damage, it’s kind of lacking there. And my Monk has nearly 5000 LoH from other gear and is over 700 to all resistances… I might save it for use in a higher difficulty game, or against Ubers? I am playing Hardcore, after all.
Interesting point about the Sun Keeper… where’s the Magic Find? That’s the most distinguishing affix on it in D3V, and it’s just gone in RoS. I had another interesting find, but apparently I failed to get a screenshot, so you’ll have to take my word for it. It was an Inna’s Radiance, the Monk class helm. I was excited to see it since I’m still wearing a Mempo, and wondered if an upgraded Inna’s might be an improvement.
It was not, and weirdly, it had no Critical hit Chance. That stat, from 5-6%, is inherent on the item in D3V, but was nowhere to be seen on the RoS version. It had a big roll of dex (500+), a socket, increased spirit regen, and res all, which was a random mod I assume. But no ChC. I don’t know if the missing MF on Sun Keeper and/or missing ChC on Inna’s were bugs or if they’ve been removed entirely… it’s hard to see why, with legs supposed to be so good in this game?
Monsters and Elite AffixesThere are a lot of upgrades to the enemies. Random Elites are tougher, many of the Elite Affixes are much more deadly, and most of the Bosses have been upgraded, from quest bosses to act bosses. The Butcher and Diablo seemed exactly the same when I did them in Adventure Mode, but Belial and Azmodan now spawn lots of little enemies all during the battle. These are actually kind of helpful to most players, since they give you something easy to kill quickly that might drop a health orb.
The quest Bosses saw more upgrades and changes, and some are much nastier. Siegebreaker gets help from those weird centipede troop carriers, as four of them appear on the sides of his set and vomit out demons to join the battle. They hardly even get in the way, though.
The biggest change and difficulty upgrade goes to Maghda, who was perhaps sick and tired of all the Butterfly Queen jokes. Formerly she fought solo until she lost a quarter of her health, at which point she shielded and summoned up a few of the Cultist Berserkers. Once the hero killed them Magdha would turn off the shield, fight for another quarter of her hit points, and repeat. No longer.
Now she starts off the same, but when she gets to 75% hps and cloaks, she summons a bunch of Cultists, the type who transform into the huge demons. They’re all over the place, completely surrounding the battle, and they transform QUICKLY. I only managed to kill two or three of them before they transformed, and as soon as they did Maghda returned to the fight. She could take damage again, and on her next quarter loss she summoned more Cultists, plus Berserkers. The neat, clean, easy, punctuated nature of the fight is gone; it’s much more flowing and kinetic, and much harder. My Monk could very easily have died there when I first tried it at about level 65.
So imagine it; she repeatedly summons guys on all sides of you (not just around her, as in D3V). They deal huge damage and upon death they explode in huger-damage Molten balls, and she’s got Frozen. If you mess up and get caught by the mobs, or don’t avoid the Frozen, you will be stuck motonless while surrounded by exploding Moltens and those Berserkers who can practically one-shot a lot of lower hit point characters. It’s a *very* dangerous scenario and if your character doesn’t have a good panic button skill to pass through enemies and/or become completely invulnerable for a few seconds, you could very well die to Maghda. The humiliation would be the worst part.
One of the most visually-pretty of the Elite Affixes, this one is new in Ros. Monsters with this power, Bosses, minions, and Champions all get it, cast large orbs of electricity which hover in place like Tesla cannons. Each one acts like the sun in a small solar system, with half a dozen sparks slowly “orbiting” around it.
They circle in concentric rings, like planets around a sun (rather than spiraling out like Hammerdin projectiles), but they cover a lot of screen, pass through solid walls or over the edge of areas so the circle is never interrupted, and are generally very hard to avoid. They’re not hugely damaging, but it’s a constant hit point grinding away, and if you get in the midst of a lot of them they can hurt quite badly.
This is another “everything near me gets hurt” property. When Elites have this you take steady damage when you’re anywhere near them, and if there’s a way to avoid it I haven’t figured it out yet. (Possibly it’s got a radius of effect around the enemy, but I’ve mostly played Monk so far in the Reaper of Souls beta test, so I’m always in melee range.) The damage isn’t high, and playing today with more LoH gear on my Monk I hardly even noticed it. But it’s definitely there as a sort of constant hit point drain that must be offset or hurried through.
Thunderstorm does not have any visual that I’ve noticed. It’s possible that it does a visual, lightning coming down from above would be appropriate, but if so I’ve never noticed it during the battles. YOu onl notice the name on the monster tooltips, and then figure you need to hurry since you’ll be getting drained all along. Which isn’t surprising given how much visual noise my Monk creates with constant Sweeping Wind cyclones and Wave of Light bells.
And note that this is not a new name for Electrified, as I saw someone suggest. The boss in the pics below has both properties, and you can see the sparks from Electrified when you hit the enemy. There’s no such visual indication with Thunderstorm, as far as I can tell.
Another new Elite Affix, Wormhole enemies will periodically teleport your character to a random location. It’s not Vortex, pulling you to the boss, it’s like Phasing targeted on you. You never know where you’ll appear, and as far as I can tell you can’t resist or block it as you can Vortex, by standing next to a wall or out of line of sight to the enemy. With this you get bamfed from somewhere to somewhere, and there’s nothing you can do about it until it happens.
This isn’t necessarily dangerous, and the Wormhole might even put you in a safer location. But I’ve had this one pop me right into the thick of enemies on several occasions, so I wouldn’t count on it being non-violent when you encounter it.
There’s no visual for it other than the word in the Elite’s tooltip overhead, so you need to scan those words and be ready.
This one was covered in one of our reports on the demo from Blizzcon, and it works just the same in the full game. (Curiously, Frozen Pulse, the other new one from Blizzcon demo, doesn’t seem to be in the RoS beta. I haven’t seen it, anyway.)
The boss, his minions, or the Champions cast a greenish-yellow circle that looks a bit like Desecrator pit, and after a second it explodes, shooting out gas in an X shape. It’s amusing when there’s one, but quite dangerous when there are several intersecting, and you do not want to linger in the middle of the X zone when several of these things go off.
Perhaps inspired by the Despicable Me films, the minions are generally a lot more impactful in Reaper of Souls. They seem to have much higher hit points, and maybe their AI is improved since they are tenacious. Whatever the changes, I end most battles with a random Yellow boss quickly, and find 2 or 3 of the minion still alive and pestering me. More than pestering, sometimes. This virtually never happens in D3V, where the minions are hardly stronger than normal monsters and almost always all die with, or often well before, their boss.
At first it was just odd in RoS and I kept wondering how I’d missed some of the minions. They seem to scatter out widely during the battle, then all rush back in together, which helps them avoid all soaking up the same AoE damage that’s usually being targeted on the boss.
After playing more games though, I’ve come to realize that the minions are just kick ass now. More hps, more speed, better AI, and more damaging. They’re not far below Champions in ability, and more than once I’ve gotten a horde that was actually quite challenging, when their abilities were added to the boss. And remember that a lot of the nastier elemental Elite Affixes can be cast by minions as well. Thus when they live longer you see a lot more Arcane needles, Orbiters, Poison Enchanted gas X bombs, etc.
Different Types of Boss & Minions
This is something else I wrote about monsters from the Blizzcon demo, and it’s more obvious in the RoS beta. It’s not a common thing, but sometimes a boss has minions of a different species. In normal games they’re some other enemy that would be found in that area, so you’ll see zombie mothers as minions to a Grotesque in the Weeping Hollow, or Dust Imps as minions to a Desert Dervish in the Act Two desert. This is not the case in Nephalem Rifts where as usual, all rules are off. As far as I can tell, any two monster types in those areas can be teamed up as boss and minions, no matter how improbable the mixture might be. And it’s quite possible that 5 or 6 or 8 of the minions can be much more dangerous than the boss they appear with.
Two screenshots of that below. One from Act Three shows Flyers as minions for one of those weird things with the long underground tickling poison arm. The other is from Act One and shows Zombie Mother who got scavengers for minions.
Once again, no conclusion. This is just some new info on what the bosses and monsters are up to in Reaper of Souls. I like the changes; even when they greatly increase the danger they also add fun, and it’s nice to feel that I have to be on my toes to survive. I’m playing Hardcore for just that sort of reaction, after all.
As with yesterday’s First Impressions article, feel free to put questions into the replies. I’m going to post an article tonight that answers a bunch of reader questions I took from part one’s comments, and I’ll be happy to add some from this to it. I’ve got tons more to write about for tomorrow, including Crusader testing, changes they’ve made to Adventure Mode and Nephalem Riftss, the amazingly awesome design and visuals of Act Five, and much more.