Diablo 3 will be receiving an expansion pack called Reaper of Souls, Blizzard announced today at Gamescom. This expansion will introduce a new class called the Crusader and make many needed changes to the action RPG.
The Crusader is a holy warrior loosely based on the Paladin from Diablo 2. He or she is a melee character with Strength as their primary stat. Their abilities include shield bashing and lightning summoning. The heavy armor and emphasis on shield-wearing suggests they'll be great tanks. You can see a Crusader in action in this gameplay video, and a few screenshots in the gallery at the end of the article.
Reaper of Souls will add a new Act to the game's story. Malthael, the angel of death, has acquired the Black Soulstone. If you recall, this is the relic that currently contains Diablo's soul. Adventurers must travel to Westmarch in order to defeat Malthael and his forces. Our heroes will face a range of new enemies, such as fallen angels and citizens that have been turned into Malthael's minions. For a more thrilling introduction to the expansion's story, check out the cinematic trailer below.
Players will grow considerably through this expansion. The level cap has been raised to 70. What's more, the Paragon system has been reworked. Paragon Levels are now account-wide and can be allocated as stat bonuses to your characters. Blizzard said over Twitter that these bonuses are retroactive, so as to reward folks who have been playing D3 religiously over the past year. If you've got 100 Paragon Level on two characters, you'll now have 200 Paragon Points to distribute across your account.
A big part of improving your D3 character is acquiring better equipment. Reaper of Souls won't change that but it will make the process more pleasant. To save players from having to replay bits of the campaign over and over to get superior gear, Blizzard is introducing Loot Runs. These are short dungeons that should take between 15-20 minutes to complete. Their layout, enemies and bosses are randomized to prevent you from getting bored.
Blizzard is also reworking loot in general. Players should expect fewer common items and more rares and legendaries. The legendaries will be more powerful as well; these are items that you'll actually want and will alter your playstyle.
You'll now have a new way to enhance your equipment thanks to the Mystic. This new NPC, axed from the initial release of the game, allows players to re-roll one of the bonuses on a legendary or rare item. They can also "transmogrify" an item so that it looks like a more fashionable item that you own, just like World of Warcraft players can do.
Blizzard hasn't announced when Reaper of Souls will be released. It would be great if they had finished the expansion in time to ship it with the imminent console versions of D3 but that seems unlikely.