Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls players will journey through a dangerous swamp called the Blood Marsh. This weekend Blizzard published new screenshots and details from this zone.
The Blood Marsh is in the western region of Khanduras, the same country where Tristram is located. The massive swamp is home to many monsters now but long ago was the site of a great civilization.
"In ancient days, when the world was still teeming with the children of Inarius and Lilith, Corvus became one of the first cities ever founded on Sanctuary," Blizzard explains. "A community entirely composed of nephalem was certainly a site to behold, and for many years, it thrived. After the events of the Purge (as covered in The Book of Cain), Inarius attuned the Worldstone to diminish the power of the nephalem. As this power waned and the years passed, the nephalem grew mortal and ignorant of their past. So did the glory of Corvus come to pass, and through the years, it, too, was lost to history."
King Rakkis, ruler of Westmarch, scoured the swamp in search of nephalem artifacts. He was unsuccessful, however, and he was entombed somewhere within the City of Corvus. Players will presumably find this tomb as they explore the ruins themselves.
Players will encounter new monsters as they travel through the marsh. The local wildlife has been transformed by the appearance of Malthael, the main villain of the expansion. For example, the tribal creatures known as the bogans have become very violent and have set up traps throughout the swamp.
The players will have some unexpected help in battle, though. The ancient city will help them because of their nephalem heritage.
"As you explore the Blood Marsh and surrounding areas, distant remnants of the past will reach forward in time, resonating and responding to your very presence. In fact, don't be too surprised if you find the ancient relics and defenses that lie within coming to your aid."
The search for the Ruins of Corvus will be one of the major challenges confronting players. Players will have to scour the swamp for the correct entrance. Blizzard says that this quest was inspired by the hunt for Tal Rasha's tomb in Act 2 of Diablo 2.
The Blood Marsh is one of several new regions players will explore in Reaper of Souls. Their quest to defeat Malthael will begin in the kingdom of Westmarch. The expansion will end at the Pandemonium Fortress with a battle against Mathael himself.
Screenshots and concept art from the Blood Marsh can be seen below. You can find a sample of the zone's soundtrack and an interview with music director Derek Duke at Diablo 3's website.