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PAX East 2014 feature: 'Diablo III - Ultimate Evil Edition'

Logo for "Diablo III - Ultimate Evil Edition"
Logo for "Diablo III - Ultimate Evil Edition"
Blizzard Entertainment

When the console version of Diablo III was announced, it created quite the stir. There was a mixed reaction of fans being upset and others being extremely happy. For some, the change to the console was a surprisingly smooth transition. In some rare cases, the switch from PC to console was actually better.

Now that the game has been out on the console for a while, the time has come for it to join the PC version with its own copy of the latest expansion "Reaper of Souls."

Dubbed the "Ultimate Evil Edition," Boston Games Examiner got together with part of the Diablo III team to talk about (and play) the expansion that was finally hitting the console as well as all of the updates that come along with it. On hand to talk about the game were Julia Humphreys, Senior Producer for Blizzard Entertainment, and Matthew Berger, Senior Level Designer for Blizzard Entertainment.

Those who pick up the game will have all of the content from Diablo III as well as the new content from "Reaper of Souls."

The first thing that was touched upon was how the development team could expand upon how players could share their adventures with each other. According to Humphreys,

We think that playing with your friends is the best way to play Diablo III, whether you're playing together in the same room or playing remotely, but you can't always get your schedules to line up. So we wanted to see what we could do to bring some A-synchronous multiplayer features into Diablo III."

One of the first things they did was add a mail system to the game. Players will now find a mailbox in town. They'll be able to send items and gold. From the mail system, devs built upon it and created "players gifts." So now whenever a legendary items drops, another item may drop along with it that will say it's a gift for a person on your friend list. When your friend goes to open the item, it will roll for whatever character your friend plays as.

Another A-synchronous multiplayer feature that has been added is called "nemesis kills." How it works is if you are killed by a monster in the game, there is a chance that the monster will level up and become a unique monster. It will then jump out of your game and into the game of one of your friends on your friends list who also plays Diablo III. So, the next time a person logs on, they may get a notification that tells them that they are being hunted.

The monster will be tagged saying that this is one of your friends' monsters. This is the monster that killed your friend, and now you have a chance to get revenge on it for defeating your friend. Once you kill the monster, not only will you get considerable loot, but something will be given to the character the monster killed before tell them that you defeated the monster for them. However, if the monster claims another victim, it will gain strength and move onto another friend. Don't worry though, it will not get out of hand as there is a level cap for this kind of event.

When asked where the original idea of "nemesis kills" came from, Berger replied,

It was this notion we wanted players to feel like even though they were playing on their own, maybe at that one moment, they were part of a larger group of heroes adventuring through Sanctuary...It's like footsteps in sand. We want you to feel like someone has been there before you, and you're connected in some way. So, this was one of those ways to connect you in a really cool, meaningful manner."

During the demo we also got look at the new automated loot sorting system which is a build off of the existing targeted loot system. Now when players go to pick up loot from the ground, they will automatically go to the player who the systems thinks it is best suited for. Therefore, Monk items will go to Monks, and Barbarian items will go to the Barbarians. Essentially a person could pick up everything and things could be sorted out later, but this way players can continue to adventuring without the worrying of having to sort out loot.

Another change in the game are built off of the destruction and massacre bonuses. Once players reach the threshold for the bonuses they can continue to add on top of them for as long as they can.

Apprentice mode is a new feature in the game that address the problems players come across when one of them is a higher level than the other . They wanted a way for the players to remain on an even playing field. In this new mode, the player with the lower level will receive a temporary buff for the duration of the play session. They will do more damage and be tougher so that they can contribute. However, the loot will be target according to level so players will not be getting high level loot that they can't use. There will be a slight experience buff to the lower level player to assist them in catching them up with the rest of the group. Don't expect a crazy power leveling sessions repeats Humphreys.

For those of you who are totally unfamiliar with the "Reaper of Souls" expansion on PC will be happy to know that there is a new class available: the Crusader. There are some similarities to the Paladin class from Diablo II, but aside from the sword and shield, that seems to be it. The class can use abilities such as a steed charge where they get on a horse and run their opponents over, and they can even throw their shield similar to Captain America.

"Reaper of Souls" introduces a new game mode known as "Adventure Mode." This is made available once you've played through the story mode and killed Malthael. In Adventure Mode, there will be bounties that players will need to accomplish. These are similar to quests where players will be tasked to kill a specific monster or complete a specific event. Players are then rewarded for those bounties in experience, gold, or items. You may even get rift key stones which will open Nephalim rifts. These are completely randomized dungeons with a new boss at the end.

Fans of the crafting in Diablo III will be happy to know that there is a new person to join the team. This person is the Artisan. They have the ability to enchant your gear and replace one magical property for another in exchange for a small fee. The Artisan also has access to "transmodification" which lets players change the look of an item. This would be great for those who like to brawl. You can go into the brawl with lesser looking gear when in fact its gear that is much higher quality.

The paragon system has even had some tweaks done to it. It is now account wide. You no longer have it on individual characters. You also get to distribute bonuses for each level in paragon.

Players who have saved games on their PS3's can also import their games onto the PS4 without any kind of trouble. Some additional logistics include being able to run on 60fps at 1080p native and a raised level cap of 70.

Finally, as of right now, the "Ultimate Evil Edition" will only be available on PS4. There are no other platform announcements. There is also no set date as to when it will be released but stay tuned for more details.

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