Yesterday, Mentum died. Who’s Mentum? Well, Mentum is…uhm, was, my hardcore Crusader in Diablo 3. He was strong, willful, proud. Most of all, however, he was stubborn. Raised to fight evil in every corner of Sanctuary, Mentum would not retreat from the hordes of demons standing between him and the Prime Evil that must be put to rest. No matter how large the pack, Mentum would leap right into the fray, smack his shield into an ugly visage and strike with his blade, calling upon a wrath fueled by divine purpose. No one could stop him from smiting evil. No one…but death.
Let me be honest with you: I think some of the best features of Reaper of Souls were already implemented before the expansion was released. Yes, having a new Act to plow through is great, and I’m sure the Adventure mode will be fun once I get to it, but the re-worked loot system and tweaked skills that came with the pre-patch really made the game interesting to me. You might make the assumption then that today’s release of Diablo 3‘s expansion didn’t thrill me much. Well, up until a few hours ago, I would have said “yes”, but then a Crusader came along and dragged me into a play mode I hadn’t explored yet.
The Crusader, Reaper of Soul‘s new class in shining armor, instantly fascinated me. Being a fan of the Paladin class in Diablo 2, seeing the Crusader brandishing shield and one-handed weapon, smiting foes with his righteous fury intrigued me, and so I was sure to roll one once the expansion hit. Well, as soon as I would have finished Act V on my Demon Hunter. And as soon as I got tired of playing the Adventure mode. Oh, and after I decked aforementioned Demon Hunter in all-new Legendaries, and…you see, the Crusader was pretty far down on my to-do list. Was.
Enter Hardcore mode. Since quite some of my friends have returned to Diablo 3, Hardcore mode is what they are all about. And who can blame them? Knowing you can just return from the dead makes Diablo 3 a harmless game of hacking trash monsters for loot to partake in some hamster-wheel progression (much as C.T. Murphy describes over here), but once you add the fear of dying permanently, losing your entire character, the game changes. Every pull becomes exciting, every engagement with an elite monster a blood-pumping thrill. Suddenly, you take more time to plan your skill loadout, to stock up on potions and to maybe, just maybe, don’t go all Leeroy Jenkins and pull a room full of monsters farting lava and burping laser beams. In short, blind genocide turns into strategic murder.
Wow, that came out wrong.
Anyway, what has the Crusader to do with Hardcore mode and vice-versa? Well, after getting bored progressing through the fifth Act alone (I don’t want to speed through it with groups yet), I decided to dive into Hardcore mode, a mode I had played fifteen minutes during the launch week of Diablo 3, picking the Crusader as my class. And boy, is it awesome! Sure, I’ve only cranked up the difficulty to Hard so far, but the Crusader is a fun class to play (wielding two-handed weapons in one hand? Sign me up!), and having the danger of seeing him truly die gives the game a whole new twist.
So, do I enjoy Reaper of Souls so far? Mwah, it’s okay. Do I have fun playing an already available mode with a class that is just damn fun to play? Oh yeah! I’m reaping souls, hardcore style, and I bet Malthael can learn a thing or two from my Crusader when it comes to mass murder.