As I said yesterday morning I took a break from Final Fantasy XIV and the trial that has a good number of us completely high center on finishing the game. For those unaware Diablo 3 released its first in what I hope is a series of smaller addon packs that infuse the game with a little new blood… or skeletons in this case. While not really an expansion pack, Rise of the Necromancer adds the much wanted class to Diablo 3 and it is implemented in a way so that it blends seamlessly with the rest of the game. I will talk a bit more about that later, but here is functionally what you get for your $14.99… which is amusingly easily within the bounds of converting a single WoW Token to Blizzard Balance.
- Non-Combat Pet – disgusting half baked flesh golem thing
- A Pair of Cosmetic Wings – you can see me rocking them in the above screenshot
- Necromancer Themed Banner Shape, Sigil and Accent
- Necromancer Portrait Frame
- Pennant – looks similarly Necromancery
- Two additional character slots – which I was apparently close to being out of
- Two additional bank stash tabs
Lets be honest… I probably would have paid $15 for two more bank tabs but as far as I am concerned that is plenty of goodness for the price. The Necromancer itself is insanely fun and most of last night I went around being followed by an army of undead minions. I cheated a bit in that I crafted a full set of Cain set gear and hung on to my Leoric’s Crown which had a 95% multiplier on it… for the Flawless Royal Ruby that I slotted in it… giving me 130% bonus experience and 112 bonus experience per kill. Now in my travels I have never leveled a Gem of Ease, which was the route that my friend Grace took to leveling significantly faster than me. Regardless the experience is flying and last night I managed to make it to level 56.
The key difference this time as compared to my normal seasonal characters is that I opted to play through the original game story as is to try and catch any changes that were put in place for the necromancer. I have been pleasantly surprised at just how well this new class blends with the original experience because they have shimmed in Necromancer specific responses from NPCs and Companions alike. This is the first time I have actually run the game with the scoundrel as my companion and he regularly makes comments about not needing any more empty skulls following us around. There was an event in Act II where I encountered a Necromancer out in the desert… which I greeted as a long lost friend rather than a strange traveler. Sure it feels a little weird to have the Paladin accept you as a friend… when you functionally defile the dead and bind them into your service… but whatever if you can manage a minor bit of hand waving what is left is a really enjoyable experience. The other thing that was awesome… is that it has been years since I last saw these cinematic and I was impressed with just how well they still hold up. I have so much love for Diablo 3 and it is the game that I am always rooting for good things to happen to… and small content packs like this one definitely seem like a viable way to continue growing the game. I am more than willing to keep plunking down this $15 price point to get new classes and assorted stuff to go with it.
I am really hoping this means we might see the Druid or Amazon as a result. Even more than rehashing characters from Diablo’s past… I would love to see them branch out and start giving us brand new concepts for characters. What about giving us a redeemed demon, or a fallen angel to control for ourselves. I just feel like there is a lot of life left in this game and I want to see them keep moving forward with expanding it. What I think is cool is that functionally this expansion pack was split into two halves… the first being the content listed above… and the rest being simply patch 2.6.0 which adds three new areas to the game for everyone regardless if they purchase the pack or not. Something called Challenge Rifts also went into the game as well as the usual number of tweaks and balances preparing us for the next season. I like this idea of expanding both the free content at the same time as giving us an additional way to keep spending money with the game and supporting its development. This is a weird balancing act that all of these “buy once, play forever” type of games seems to struggle with… as in what is content that should just be free because you bought the game, and what is content that is reasonable to charge an extra fee for. I feel like this balance with Diablo 3 seems about right and I think at this stage in the game it probably works far better than releasing a full expansion with a complete new act and 10 more levels to grind through each time you start a new character. I would love to hear my readers thoughts on this one. I for one am a happy camper, but I would be curious to hear some dissenting opinions.