I got to play a couple of hours of Reaper of Souls beta with the new patch last night, and found plenty of new stuff worth sharing with you guys. In addition to testing out the changes to bounties and Cursed Chests and Nephalem Rifts and gambling, I teamed up with Wolfpaq to run some quick KeyWardens, and together we got enough keys to make one each of the four new Infernal Machines, did the four Ubers (one new one), and each got one of the new +45% exp Hellfire Rings.

    In the interests of length and organization I’m going to post the new Infernal Machine stuff in a separate article, but there’s plenty of other stuff to weigh in on, good and bad, so read on for that.

    New Bounty Graphics

    I’ll start off with one I think is bad, though it’s open to debate. The new Bounty pop up notification graphic:

    New bounty graphic.

    New bounty graphic.

    I think it’s silly. Not so much ugly as inappropriate. Is that background… wallpaper? I mean literal wallpaper, like something ripped off the wall of a library in an olde English country estate? I didn’t think the previous Bounty notification was perfect in every visual way or anything, but this new one just looks out of place in a Diablo game. Or perhaps it’s just me? I debated it earlier with Elly and she wasn’t a big fan, but thought it a lot less fugly than I did. You guys have a vote?

    Like the graphic/style or not, it’s really screen-obscuring. The old one was also, so that’s not a new thing, but I think it needs to be changed. You get a nice graphic and visual and explosion and such when you level up, but it’s just text without a big vision-blocking background. Every time this one pops up I have to scramble to hit Esc or some other key to remove it, since I’m usually in the middle of a fight when I ding the 40 or 50 monster kills in the area that I needed to finis the Bounty.

    Click through for details on changes to Nephalem Rift Guardian drops, Torment difficulty display issues, color changes to Legendary Materials, and more.

    Legendary Material Color Change

    There are two graphical changes to legendary materials in the patch. The undocumented one is obvious as soon as you look in your Inventory and wonder who puked pink everywhere. All the leg mat inventory graphics have been removed, and every single one of them has the same glaring, hot-pink, “No Icon” graphic now. Even the few that previously had appropriate graphics. (About one third had appropriate graphics before this patch, while all the others shared the same blood splat graphic. Faced with the ugly wall of pink, I take back my complaints/jokes about the blood splat one.)

    I need an icon!

    I need an icon!

    That’s just a temporary art thing, though. The bigger change, which I think is the single worst change in the beta, is that all legendary mats now display with yellow/Rare color when they drop. Yes, exactly like all the Rare items, 99% of which I no longer bother to pick up.

    I’ve long wondered why Demonic Essences, an essential and scarce crafting material, displays in yellow text in Diablo 3. All the other stackables and crafting mats in that game display in light blue which makes them very easy to notice when they drop. Crafting plans are in Rare/yellow, but they tend to have long names so they’re easy to notice. Easier, anyway.

    Demonic Essences have a name that’s exactly the same length as a lot of Rares, and that’s far more true in RoS now that Rare items drop already identified, with only their names (not their item type) showing on the ground. You hardly ever seen DEs in RoS (which is fine since they’re required in very few recipes), but now Legendary Materials are yellow text when they drop, losing their formerly orange color and legendary clang sound effect, and they’ve got weird two or three word names just like most of the rare items.

    Honestly, it’s like Blizzard decided, “people are finding way too many of these leg mats. But if we nerf the drop rates the forums will light up. So we’ll just make them really hard to see. Progress!”

    I guess some players were complaining that only legendary items should clang and orange when they drop, and I can understand that even though I don’t agree. But why pick Yellow, of all colors, when Rares are completely useless to any decently-equipped character? Light blue, orange, or how about Purple like Blood Shards which you hardly ever see on the ground anyway?

    Unidentify Rares, Please

    On that topic, I really want Rares to go back to be unidentified. All the time, or via a check box in Options. Why? Since the game is designed for Legs/Sets to be the end game gear, after you’re 70 for a bit you’ll realize that no Rare you find is a real upgrade, and since they drop so often and only salvage into one type of material, you’ll soon have 1000 stack of it and never need anymore.

    In Diablo 3, well-geared characters had almost no use for any Rares other than Rings, Amulets, and one-handed weapons, and all those were mostly hoping for something worth AH selling. In Reaper of Souls, well-geared characters have no use for *any* rares. At most/best, you’d pick up rings/amulets, and maybe Follower special items, but nothing else since Legs are always better.

    This 1) makes it really hard to spot yellow-text legendary mats, and 2) makes already ID’ed rares annoying, since you can’t tell their item type by the random 2-3 word name. You can sometimes see the item graphic clearly enough to tell that it’s chest armor or pants or a weapon or something else never worth picking up, but often the graphics are obscured by monster corpses, other items, etc. I’d love if it items were again just “ring” and “amulet” visible on the ground. And so would you, once you’ve played RoS for a few weeks and moved yoru main beyond having any interest in anything with yellow text. (Well, anything that *should* have yellow text.)

    (No screenshot of yellow legendary mats on the ground because THEY CAN NOT BE SEEN.)

    Difficulty Display Tooltip

    Since the new difficulty system went in the lower difficulty levels have displayed their bonus EXP and Gold drop rates just fine, up to Torment 1. Higher levels of Torment had a slider, and said they boosted MOAR to the drops, but no figures were given. The new patch notes said that was being fixed… but it’s not. In fact, it’s entirely broken now, with 0.00% displayed on all difficulty levels.

    Previously it was 0/75/100/200/300% from Normal up to Torment. I assume those are still the values, and they’re just not showing. (It’s possible to check it in-game by viewing the detailed view in your Character window, since the game bonuses are shown there, added to any you have from gear or other sources.)

    Torment Difficulty display bug.

    Torment Difficulty display bug.

    Expert difficulty 0.00%.

    Expert difficulty 0.00%.

    Nephalem Rift Changes

    The patch notes said there were some changes to Nephalem Rift maps. I didn’t notice any new or different ones, but I didn’t play that many. I did notice a change to the progress bar, and it’s one I’m not really a fan of.

    Previously there was a number from 1-100% showing in the bar all the time, giving you a fairly precise progress display at a glance. Now there’s just the yellow-to-red bar visible, and you only see the exact % when you hover on it.

    Nephalem Rift progress bar

    Nephalem Rift progress bar

    This isn’t a terrible change or anything, but I think the bar looks weird without any number or features to it. It’s imprecise; I kept thinking I’d finished and just hadn’t noticed the boss spawn since the bar looked solid red, but it was only at 98% or so when I hovered. And to do that I had to take a moment to move the pointer over there and hover to read the number, instead of just glancing at it. Not a huge change, but I view it as an unimprovement.

    If they don’t want the number showing all the time, maybe some demarcations in the box? Little subtle lines showing each 10% or something. It looks plain and less informative now.

    The bigger documented change to Nephalem Rifts is that you no longer get a goodie bag for completing one. Instead, the Rift Guardian pops a dozen or so items when he dies, right there in the dungeon. I did 3 or 4 Rifts and got about the same variety of stuff each time, which seemed like a few more items than I previously got from the Guardian (almost always just 2 Rares) + the Greater Horadric Cache when I opened it back in town.

    I didn’t get any Legs or legendary plans, though. Just lots of Rares and gems and gold.

    Nephalem Rift Guardian drop.

    Nephalem Rift Guardian drop.

    Other Changes

    Gambling can now yield Legendaries! That’s what the patch notes say, anyway. And a friend said he’d gambled a legendary Crossbow. I did not, despite burning 400ish Blood Shards (5 a piece) gambling one-handed weapons. (I did get a slight Rare upgrade for one of my Monk’s weapons, though.)

    Increased Legendary Drop Rates! Unclear. I found one leg in 2.5 hours of play, though we were mostly farming for fun and then doing Infernal Machines instead of rolling Bounties, where most Legs come from. I can’t comment pro/con on RNG changes from that. I did not find any legendary crafting plans, which would have been mildly unusual pre-patch since those were dropping at a bug-influenced higher rate.

    DiabloWikiElite Affix changes! They’re in the patch notes and blue posts, but I didn’t notice any real difference while playing. That said, I was mostly farming very quickly in a two-player game on a low difficulty, so it wasn’t like the boss fights were stretching on and on in strategic ordeals.

    Legendary Materials are Yellow! Did I mention that this is a horrible change? Just checking.

    Act Five Bounties! More of them work than than previously, but there are still some bugs.

    Act Four Bounties! You only got 4 bounties here, per game, during the F&F beta. The number increased to 5 in the previous beta patch, but you still only needed to complete 4 to earn the goodie bag reward from Tyrael. I assume that was a bug, since you now need to do all 5 in each game to get the Act complete bounty bag. (Which no longer looks like a bag, but a weird multi-colored space-tech box.)

    Skill changes! Way too big a topic to get into now, especially since I only played a Monk during testing, but the changes to Mantra of Retribution are quite visible and surprising, as that’s the class’ most popular Aura. See the patch notes or our pre-patch datamining for more details.

    Any questions or comments from other testers on these issues or other stuff I didn’t get to? Fire away. I’ll try to get in some more testing this weekend to get a sense of drop rate changes and other stuff that can’t be judged from a single rush rush rush game.

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