Check Out Some Awesome New Diablo 3 Items Coming in Patch 2.3

Blizzard has unveiled several of the new set items and legendaries coming in Diablo III‘s next big patch, as well as some of the revised sets that are also on the way.

In total, patch 2.3.0 brings with it three new sets and updates two existing ones. Each of these is featured in the video below–the Crusader, Monk, and Witch Doctor each get a new one, plus there are improved versions of sets for the Witch Doctor and Wizard.

Click for a full-size view of either gallery.

The new Spirit of Arachyr looks particularly interesting, as equipping two pieces summons a permanent Spider Queen, while equipping more offers some nice healing and damage buffs.

You can see all of the pieces and bonuses in the image gallery above alongside images of some of the new legendary items. Three of those pictured (Bane of the Stricken, Fazula’s Improbably Chain, and Henri’s Perquisition) are all seasonal legendaries, meaning that during the upcoming season 4, only seasonal characters can find them. Once the season ends, they’ll be added to the regular rotation of items that can be found in the standard game.

Patch 2.3.0 does much more than add new items: There’s a new zone, higher difficulty settings, improved crafting, and a special new item that allows you to re-roll legendaries or extract their powers. Blizzard has not yet announced a specific release date for the update, but you can check out some of the new content now on the public test realm.

GameSpot

Diablo Dev Hiring for “Unannounced Project”

With more than 30 million copies sold, Blizzard Entertainment’s Diablo III is a big success. Now, it looks like the developer is planning something new for the game, according to a recently spotted job listing.

SegmentNext that the Blizzard careers website has been updated with a job posting seeking an art director for an “unannounced project” in the Diablo universe.

An ideal candidate would have a minimum of 10 years’ experience in an art-related position and a “deep understanding” of the Diablo series.

You can see all the responsibilities and requirements for the art director position here.

Last week at Gamescom, Blizzard had news to share regarding all of its tentpole franchise except for Diablo. We learned about World of Warcraft’s Legion expansion, more Heroes of the Storm characters, and saw new footage of Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void’s Allied Commander co-op mode. Blizzard also shared new details about Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft’s next expansion and announced more Overwatch characters.

If Blizzard is planning to announce the new Diablo game this year, one possible venue might be the developer’s own Blizzcon in November. Considering that World of Warcraft’s Legion expansion is already announced, there would appear to be some space to make another big reveal.

It’s possible Blizzard’s unannounced Diablo project is an expansion pack for Diablo III, though this has not been confirmed. The game’s first expansion, Reaper of Souls, was released back in March 2014.

What kind of Diablo announcement would you like to see? Share yours thoughts in the comments below.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com


eddienoteddy

Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Diablo III

GameSpot

Diablo 3 PS4/Xbox One Patch Now Available, Adds New Areas, Items, and More

Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition players on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 will find the game’s first major content update has gone live today, introducing many of the same features PC players saw in August.

The 2.1.0 patch adds The Vault, an area that can be accessed through a portal sometimes left behind by treasure goblins defeated in Adventure Mode. Inside, you’ll be able to find especially good drops and a new boss, the Baroness Greed.

A special, timed version of Nephalem Rifts known as Greater Rifts are also new. There is no limit on the number of these you can tackle, but they’ll become increasingly difficult as you make your way through them. At the end of each, you can choose to move on to the next level, or you can take a chance on upgrading your Legendary gems. Legendary gems are themselves new in this patch, and are dropped in both Greater Rifts and The Vault.

Other new content includes the Cesspools, an area that you’ll come across while playing through Nephalem Rifts and Greater Rifts; a Legendary item that lets you add sockets to a weapon that doesn’t already have any; and a What’s New screen, where you’ll be able to see what the latest update has brought with it.

Full patch notes are available on the official Battle.net forums. Blizzard says the update is already available on both Xbox One and PS4; you’ll simply need to be signed into Xbox Live or PSN in order to download it.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Ultimate Evil Edition Dev. Q&A

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Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls: How Blizzard is attempting to fix its most controversial game

May 15, 2012. Diablo III, a game millions had been waiting to play for over a decade, launches into immediate turmoil: overloaded login servers sour the experience into little more than waiting outside of the coolest party in town, only players had already spent $ 60 to get in. The problems took days to rectify, but the real damage came weeks later: with an economy that had to factor in a controversial auction house, people were bored of playing a game designed to never get boring.

Blizzard Entertainment is one of the industry’s most cherished developers. It does not–or did not, depending on how you see it–make bad games. As of February 2014, Diablo III has sold 15 million copies. But the general mood towards the game felt like one of bitterness, disappointment, and frustration.

How do you solve a problem like Diablo III?

“That’s been a strange phenomenon,” says Alex Mayberry on the morning before the launch of the game’s transformative expansion, Reaper of Souls. I ask him what it’s like to have Diablo 3 become so closely linked with such a feeling of dissatisfaction. “I don’t know if it gets overemphasised. Who’s our vocal minority, and what is that number? Even if it’s only one percent, or two percent, that’s a lot of people.”

Two percent of disappointed Diablo 3 owners is 280,000 people. That’s a lot of angry commenters. “It’s been hard to distinguish all the voices in that loud cacophony,” Mayberry adds.

Reaper of Souls launches tomorrow with new loot-dropping systems, a new Crusader class, a new level 70 cap, an Adventure Mode, and the removal of the controversial Auction House. Many of its mechanical changes have been folded back into the vanilla game as part of patch 2.0.1, but the general gist is that players will get more varied loot more often. The response, generally, has been optimistic. “It’s nice to now see people reacting to the changes,” Mayberry says, “and I think the changes are great.”

“We know we’re in a good place with it because we ourselves are wanting to play it all the time,” he added. “There’s a lot of excitement, and we’re waiting to see what people are going to say.”

Alex Mayberry

Leading the charge on Reaper of Souls is Josh Mosqueira, who took over as game director in June 2013. Mayberry explained the effect that some of his decisions have had on the game. “Josh came in and really pushed for Adventure Mode and the dynamic difficulty system. Opening up the game. Jay [Wilson, former game director] was really focused on getting that Diablo experience down, and Josh’s focus has been: how do we expand on it? We had to make some pretty major changes to do what Josh wanted to do, and it was kind of one of those things that, well, once we do this there’s no going back. So there was some nervousness early on when we were first starting to develop it, but it came together really well.”

And what about Wilson, who was flooded with thousands upon thousands of furious comments following the release of Diablo III. “Josh worked very closely with Jay,” says Mayberry. “I’ve known Jay for, well, I helped bring Jay to Blizzard, I’ve known him for 20 years. I think the fans like to create a rivalry somehow between those two. There’s none whatsoever at all.”

Nobody at Blizzard will use words like mistake, error, or regret when it comes to Diablo III, but the message seems clear to me: the team has been quick to extol the virtues of what’s changed, and has not really been seen to mourn for what has gone.

“I know some of you feel we fell short of our promise to release the game ‘when it’s ready,'” wrote Wilson on Blizzard’s forums when he announced he was stepping away from Diablo III at the start of 2013. “While we’re not perfect, we try to make the best decisions we can with the information and knowledge we have at the time. That doesn’t mean we always make the right decisions, but if we made a mistake then I feel we’ve made an exceptional effort to correct it.”

Only time will tell if Reaper of Souls will be accepted by those 280,000 vocal fans in a way that the original Diablo 3 was not. “It’s hard to know where ideas originated and where they didn’t,” continues Mayberry. “I think Jay had the harder challenge of just getting Diablo 3 out, and that took a lot out of Jay, and I think for Josh, he’s come in now and helped put that next layer on. I think together they’ve done a really great job.”

Reaper of Souls, with its procedurally generated adventure modes, intends to be that next layer. Mayberry says that the expansion makes the game feel more like a sandbox, and less like a directed experience that more closely apes the original games.

“If you look at traditional Diablo–Diablo 1, Diablo II, the first incarnation of Diablo III, you’re playing through that story narrative. That was the paradigm they created back then, and one of the challenges for making Diablo III was, ‘What do we hold on to from previous games and what do we change?'” That focus on just the story campaign “made the game feel smaller than it should have,” says Mayberry. “Because you’re always being driven–go there, and now go there.”

Those who have been avoiding Diablo III because of its less-than-stellar loot variety might also find enough new loot to warrant another look. Items are now designed to synergise with one another, Mayberry explains, and there are way more combinations for interesting character builds. “I had something drop that, when I got a Massacre bonus, it caused gold to rain down. Then I found something else that boosted my gold drop by 35 percent or something, so that made even more gold. And then I got something that, when I picked up gold, depending on how much I picked up, would temporarily increase my toughness. So gold became a powerup for me! With my Wizard I would squeeze as many guys together as I could, burn them down, they’ll all spit out gold and then I’d pick up the gold and my toughness, temporarily, would spike by hundreds of percent.”

Mayberry says that he feels like he’s missing “half a game” if he now goes back to vanilla Diablo 3, but does that mean that players will have to shell out extra money to get the experience they deserve? “You don’t have to. We made it so that you don’t. Patch 2.0.1 is perfectly viable for anyone that doesn’t want to buy it. But it would be a shame to not buy it, because we’ve added so much more to the game. And I feel like, you know, Reaper of Souls really pushes Diablo down the path it needs to go.”

And what is that path? What comes next for Diablo 3? Is it ladders and tournaments, a real PvP arena, or bringing these updates more regularly to the console versions of the game? “These are all things we’re talking about now. We’re not making definite plans yet. We have our first content plan figured out. First update. But after that, Josh really wants to wait and see what the community says. What the reaction is. There’s a million different things we could start doing. We really want to see what, based on the players’ reaction to Reaper of Souls, what should we do next. That’s the approach we’re taking right now.”

Gamespot’s Site Mashup

Diablo III for PS4, Warlords of Draenor, Hearthstone for mobile and more from Blizzard at PAX East

Blizzard will show off more of Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition for PlayStation 4, the mobile version of Hearthstone, and new Heroes of the Storm characters at PAX East, the company has announced on its blog.

Blizzard developers will be present at the company’s booth (BOOTH #848) in the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center to talk to fans from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday, April 11 through Sunday, April 13. Attendees will be able to get hands-on time with the in-development Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition on PS4, the iPad version of Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, and the “intro experience” for the upcoming World of Warcraft expansion Warlords of Draenor, featuring updated character models. The company will also show off a new demo for Heroes of the Storm featuring new playable Heroes.

Blizzard developers will also give a presentation at the Albatross Theatre on Friday, April 11, at 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time. The presentation, titled Heroes of the Storm: The Ultimate Blizzard Mashup, will be streamed live on one of the official PAX Twitch channels for those who can’t make the show.

For more on Blizzard’s games, check out our recent review of Hearthstone’s PC version, and our story on what Heroes of the Storm characters will cost you.

Gamespot’s Site Mashup

Diablo 3 for PS4 has exclusive features, runs at 1080p

Diablo III on PlayStation 4 will have exclusive features and runs in 1080p at 60fps, Blizzard Entertainment confirmed at BlizzCon this weekend. Senior level designer Matthew Berger sat down with GameSpot to discuss the features next-generation gamers on Sony’s system will find in the game.

First, Diablo III on PS4 will be known as the Ultimate Evil Edition. In addition to the original game, it will include the Reaper of Souls expansion and DualShock 4 touchpad integration. The game will employ the touchpad “when it makes sense,” Berger said.

Players can use the touchpad for inventory management and to access the Skills user interface. In addition, users will be able to swipe left or swipe right on the pad to move up or down a category, Berger said.

What’s more, new social features not found on PC will be included on PS4 version.

The most prominent of which is a new Adventure Kills system, which Berger described as “by far the most fun.” Through this new system, when a player is killed by a monster, there is chance that the monster will level up and jump into a friend’s game.

The first player’s friend will be prompted with a message saying “Matthew’s bane is stalking you,” at which time the monster–described as elite and with special abilities–will appear on his screen. If the second player defeats the monster, the first player will receive a message saying their death has been avenged and the second player will receive loot.

If the second player is killed, the monster will grow even stronger and will stalk one of his friends, continuing the cycle, though it is not clear just how powerful the enemy can become.

“Sometimes we don’t give enough love to the monsters and we want to give love to the monsters as well,” Berger said. “It’s another way to make it so we feel connected as part of a greater community of players even when we’re not playing together.”

The other two new social systems are Player Mail (players can mail items to other players), and Player Gifts. Here, when a Legendary item drops, a second item will also drop with a friend’s name on it. This item, of appropriate rarity and tailored made for any character the friend wants, will be delivered to the friend.

“So once again, we’re not questing together, but we’re still part of a greater world,” Berger said.

It was also confirmed at BlizzCon this weekend (via IGN) that characters created on the PlayStation 3 version of Diablo III will be transferable to the PS4 version.

Lastly, Berger addressed the possibility of Diablo III coming to the Xbox One. He said, “For the moment, we’re only talking about the PS4 for the Ultimate Evil Edition.”

Gamespot’s Site Mashup

VIDEO: ‘Diablo 3: Reaper Of Souls’ Is Coming To PS4, Blizzcon

So far, the PS3/360 version of Diablo 3 is proving to be one of the best PC-to-console ports I’ve seen in recent memory, and is one of my favorite games of the year. In fact, I’d even go so far to say that I prefer the game on my PlayStation, from loot changes to the control scheme. As such, when the D3 expansion, Reaper of Souls, was announced, my immediate thought was “damn, I hope I can get it for PS3 instead of PC.”

Read more… “VIDEO: ‘Diablo 3: Reaper Of Souls’ Is Coming To PS4, Blizzcon”

Xbox 360 | Diablo III Review

After causing calluses on clicking fingers far and wide on PC, Diablo III has come to consoles and swapped the mice and keyboards for gamepads. The result is an experience that feels somewhat different; clicking the screen to guide your heroes around isn’t the same as having direct control of their movements with a thumbstick, though whether you think one control method or the other is better is purely a matter of personal preference; both are equal to the task. The console versions of Diablo III also don’t look as sharp as the PC original, but the impact of the atmospheric art design is undiminished. Most importantly, Diablo III on consoles still makes slaughtering thousands of monsters good fun, especially if you’re doing so with a few friends.

The biggest mystery in Diablo III: Where does the witch doctor store all those spider-filled jars?

You begin your quest just after what appears to be a flaming star falls from the heavens and crashes into the cathedral in Tristram, the doomed town where the events of Diablo took place. This cosmic occurrence has the unfortunate side effect of reanimating the dead, and the people of New Tristram find themselves besieged by corpses long ago put to rest. Diablo III’s story is unremarkable, but it weaves in plenty of references to and appearances by characters from earlier games and enriches the established lore of the series. Fans of Diablo and Diablo II will immediately feel drawn into this world.

You certainly don’t need any familiarity with the series to jump right into Diablo III, however. If you’ve played earlier games, you’ll likely get even more out of Diablo III–the music that plays in the New Tristram area may send nostalgic shivers down your spine–but the gameplay is welcoming and easy to grasp for vets and newcomers alike. You choose one of five character classes, and though they become quite distinct at later levels, they all start with nothing but basic offensive skills.

That may sound dull, but in fact the rate at which you acquire new skills is part of what makes Diablo III so hard to pull yourself away from. You very quickly open up slots for new types of abilities; if you’re playing as a demon hunter, for instance, you begin with a basic archery attack, but you can soon supplement this with resource-draining skills like a rapid fire ability, enemy-slowing caltrops, acrobatic somersaults that can get you away from enemies, and other techniques.

These skills are divided into distinct categories–primary, secondary, defensive, and so on–and by default, you can have only one skill from each category equipped at a time. This is a sensible restriction if you’re a novice player, because it helps ensure that your character is well rounded, with a complementary assortment of abilities. However, if you prefer a greater level of character customization, you can turn on what’s called elective mode. With this on, you can opt to equip whichever skills you want in your available slots, rather than being limited to choosing one from each category. But if you do this, be mindful of your character’s resource pool. If you select two monk skills that cost spirit (the monk’s resource) and no skills that generate spirit, you’re going to have some trouble slaughtering the legions of hell spawn you encounter.

Choosing one skill always means not choosing another, since the number of buttons you can assign skills to is always equal to the number of active skill categories you’ve unlocked. (Once you’ve unlocked all six skill categories for your class, for instance, you have just six buttons to which you can link skills.) But you can change your selected skills at any time, giving you free rein to tinker with your abilities until you find a combination you’re happy with.

You never sink points into skills to make them more effective, so you never have to worry that you’re not making the best choices. Rather, as you level up, you unlock both new skills and new runes you can apply to existing skills. From level 13 on, for instance, witch doctors can apply the numbing dart rune to their poison dart attack, which adds a slowing effect to this offensive ability. You can eventually unlock a total of six runes for each active ability, though you can have only one rune at a time activated on any ability. This system prevents you from squandering your character’s growth by sinking points into skills that leave you ill-equipped for challenges to come, and lets you customize your abilities on the fly to better tackle the challenges you’re currently facing.

It’s not all about unlocking skills, however. It’s about employing those skills to slaughter the monsters you encounter as you travel the world, and collecting the loot the fiends drop. This is where Diablo III’s habit-forming pleasures lie. The randomly generated environments encourage exploration; you never know what treasure (or what powerful foe) you might find down each cathedral hallway or desert trail. Enticing art design draws you into these realms. In and around New Tristram, a foreboding mist hangs in the air, and ancient ruins crumble as you visit places long undisturbed. In the lands around the elegant city of Caldeum, you traverse stark landscapes of cracked earth and bone.

You explore ornate, musty manors and spider-infested caves. You make your way through rat-infested sewers and emerge into a dusky, teeming oasis. And though the inspiration it draws from The Lord of the Rings is a bit obvious, a setting in the game’s fourth act effectively makes you feel like part of a desperate, large-scale war between humanity and the forces of hell. Just when you’ve had your fill of one region, it’s time to move on to another, and each location is so different from the one that preceded it that you feel as if your quest to rid the land of evil is taking you across a vast and varied realm.

As diverse as these locations are, they all have one thing in common: they’re crawling with monsters. In the early stages of your quest, on normal difficulty, most monsters fall to your attacks without putting up much of a fight, though if you get swarmed, you might still need to keep an eye on your health. (Unlike in Diablo II, you can’t spam health potions to immediately counter any damage you suffer; potions have a cooldown timer, requiring you to play a bit more cautiously.) Your attacks look mighty and effective, which makes the simple act of unleashing them feel empowering. The demon hunter’s huge chakrams weave through the air, blades spinning; the barbarian’s hard-hitting strikes can send foes flying.

GameSpot’s Reviews

VIDEO: Top 10 Disappointing Video Game Sequels

Some times the second time just sucks. Welcome to http://www.WatchMojo.com and today we’??ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 disappointing video game sequels.

Read more… “VIDEO: Top 10 Disappointing Video Game Sequels”

Blizzard’s Commendable Admission Highlights Diablo III’s Flawed End-Game

Diablo III

Diablo II is a game that many players continued to play for years after its release, long after the point at which the vast majority of games lose their audience. Even leading up to the release of Diablo III in May, there were still those playing the game (and its expansion) after more than a decade. As a result, it seemed fair to expect Diablo III would be developed accordingly, giving players enough to do to keep them busy for a very long time. As it turns out, that is not really the case. Or, at least in the minds of many, the end-game experience in the long-awaited sequel is not anything to write home about. Surprisingly enough, Blizzard agrees.

“We recognize that the item hunt is just not enough for a long-term sustainable end-game,” wrote Blizzard community manager Micah “Bashiok” Whiple on the game’s forums in response to a post requesting information on possible improvements to the end-game. “There are still tons of people playing every day and week, and playing a lot, but eventually they’re going to run out of stuff to do (if they haven’t already). Killing enemies and finding items is a lot of fun, and we think we have a lot of the systems surrounding that right, or at least on the right path with a few corrections and tweaks. But honestly Diablo III is not World of Warcraft. We aren’t going to be able to pump out tons of new systems and content every couple months. There needs to be something else that keeps people engaged, and we know it’s not there right now.”

1UP NEWS RSS feed

OP-ED: Diablo III Unfairly Tests New Players’ Patience With 72-Hour Approval Period

Diablo III

Blizzard has drawn the ire of gamers a number of times with Diablo III, whether it be over its art style, its always-online requirement (resulting in many being unable to play as a result of errors), or the ability to spend real-world money on high-end gear that other players might spend countless hours trying to obtain. With the release of the game’s most recent patch, yet another item can be added to that list of debatable offenses, as those who purchase a digital copy of the game will be forced to wait up to three days to access content beyond what is provided in a glorified demo.

Diablo III’s Starter Edition is a fine way of allowing people to try out the game before purchasing it. It is not, however, what you would expect to be stuck with for any length of time after handing over $ 60. This isn’t a bug or anything of the sort; as laid out on the official forums, this is intentionality functionality implemented as part of the 1.0.3 patch. “As of patch 1.0.3, when purchasing a digital version of Diablo III through the online store or your Battle.net Account, players are restricted to the Starter Edition for the first 72 hours (sometimes less),” reads the post. It goes on to detail what restrictions this puts in place until players can have their accounts approved: Matchmaking only with other Starter Edition players, no auction house access, no global play, and most problematically, a level cap of 13 and access to content only leading up to Act I’s first big boss, the Skeleton King.

1UP NEWS RSS feed

Diablo III Sales Bode Well for PC Games, Poorly for Always-Online Haters

Diablo III

Diablo III was expected to do well, but with so many factors to take into account — competition from Torchlight II, an always-online requirement, and complaints about a supposedly dumbed-down skill system and colorful art style — it was hard to say for sure exactly how well it would do. It turns out it did tremendously well; Blizzard has announced the long-awaited sequel has already broken sales records, something the folks over at Activision are pretty accustomed to thanks to Call of Duty. However, Diablo’s success may have more far-reaching effects than simply ensuring Blizzard and company are flush with cash.

More than 3.5 million copies of the game were sold in its first 24 hours of availability, according to Blizzard. This figure does not include the freebie digital versions handed out to those who signed up for the World of Warcraft Annual Pass. Over 1.2 million people took advantage of that offer, bringing the total number of gamers with a copy of the game on launch day up to 4.7 million, good enough to make it the “biggest PC game launch in history.” After the first week, that figure now sits at 6.3 million.

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PC | Diablo III Review

The Video Review

Carolyn Petit revisits Hell in this video review for Diablo III.

Once upon a time, the Diablo series defined the hack-and-slash action role-playing game, setting the standard by which all games in the genre were measured. Now, Diablo III feels more familiar than genre-defining, relying on refining the same hooks that have always made this series so compelling. But what a refinement it is. The controls are responsive and pleasurable; the diversity of character classes and skill customization options is impressive; and the constant stream of gold and treasure you earn is irresistible. Blizzard has the recipe for crafting a habit-forming loot-driven action RPG down to a science, and in Diablo III, the results of that recipe are more exciting and more addictive than they’ve ever been.

Your adventure begins at a nice, leisurely pace, but things ramp up pretty quickly.

You begin your quest just after what appears to be a flaming star falls from the heavens and crashes into the cathedral in Tristram, the doomed town where the events of Diablo took place. This cosmic occurrence has the unfortunate side effect of reanimating the dead, and the people of New Tristram find themselves besieged by corpses long ago put to rest. Diablo III’s story is unremarkable, but it weaves in plenty of references to and appearances by characters from earlier games and enriches the established lore of the series. Fans of Diablo and Diablo II will immediately feel drawn into this world.

You certainly don’t need any familiarity with the series to jump right into Diablo III, however. If you’ve played earlier games, you’ll likely get even more out of Diablo III–the music that plays in the New Tristram area may send nostalgic shivers down your spine–but the gameplay is welcoming and easy to grasp for vets and newcomers alike. You choose one of five character classes, and though they become quite distinct at later levels, they all start with nothing but basic offensive skills that are performed with clicks of the mouse.

That may sound dull, but in fact the rate at which you acquire new skills is part of what makes Diablo III so hard to pull yourself away from. You very quickly open up slots for new types of abilities; if you’re playing as a demon hunter, for instance, you begin with a basic archery attack, but you can soon supplement this with resource-draining skills like a rapid fire ability, enemy-slowing caltrops, acrobatic somersaults that can get you away from enemies, and other techniques.

These skills are divided into distinct categories–primary, secondary, defensive, and so on–and by default, you can have only one skill from each category equipped at a time. This is a sensible restriction if you’re a novice player, because it helps ensure that your character is well rounded, with a complementary assortment of abilities. However, if you prefer a greater level of character customization, you can turn on what’s called elective mode. With this on, you can opt to equip whichever skills you want in your available slots, rather than being limited to choosing one from each category. But if you do this, be mindful of your character’s resource pool. If you select two monk skills that cost spirit (the monk’s resource) and no skills that generate spirit, you’re going to have some trouble slaughtering the legions of hell spawn you encounter.

Choosing one skill always means not choosing another, since your number of available key bindings is always equal to the number of active skill categories you’ve unlocked. (Once you’ve unlocked all six skill categories for your class, for instance, you have just six bindings to which you can link skills.) But you can change your selected skills at any time, giving you free rein to tinker with your abilities until you find a combination you’re happy with.

You never sink points into skills to make them more effective, so you never have to worry that you’re not making the best choices. Rather, as you level up, you unlock both new skills and new runes you can apply to existing skills. From level 13 on, for instance, witch doctors can apply the numbing dart rune to their poison dart attack, which adds a slowing effect to this offensive ability. You can eventually unlock a total of six runes for each active ability, though you can have only one rune at a time activated on any ability. This system prevents you from squandering your character’s growth by sinking points into skills that leave you ill-equipped for challenges to come, and lets you customize your abilities on the fly to better tackle the challenges you’re currently facing.

GameSpot’s Reviews