Diablo III is set to receive its first expansion pack, Reaper of Souls, as Blizzard Entertainment revealed in a Gamescom 2013 press conference. The add-on pack brings new story content to the game, an additional character class (the Crusader), and an assortment of tweaks and enhancements.
The story of the expansion works as a fifth act for the original game, pitting players against Malthael, the fallen Archangel of Wisdom. He’s been absent from the world since the end of Diablo II: Lord of Destruction, but he’s back now, with a fresh, new title: Angel of Death. Malthael takes possession of the Black Soulstone, a magical artifact that contains the essence of the Prime Evil. In other words: he’s not exactly a cheerful fellow.
The Crusader is described in the press release as righteous warrior that has been “hardened through relentless, brutal combat with the foul evils plaguing eastern Sanctuary.” This class wears heavy armor and makes use of “cruel and punishing weapons” as well as battle magic “to strengthen allies and weaken foes.” In more succinct terms, the Crusader is fundamentally a tank class that also offers some team and combat support capabilities.
There’s more as well. Reaper of Souls doesn’t just add new story content, and the monsters, quests, and loot to go with it; the expansion also makes changes to some of Diablo III‘s underlying systems. Loot experience allows players to further customize Legendary items, especially with additional item-crafting options available at the Blacksmith and Jeweler.
There’s also an update to the game’s Paragon system incoming, creating new opportunities for end-game play. New modes “Loot Run” and “Nephalem Trials” also aim to give players more to do once they’ve plowed through all the story content. Blizzard’s feature-filled patch updates for Diablo III set a terrifying precedent for proper expansion content, but Reaper of Souls looks like it could deliver. We’ll find out more from hands-on impressions at Gamescom 2013, and from Blizzard’s future updates on the expansion at November’s BlizzCon gathering.