So much to my surprise, Blizzard announced the new expansion for Diablo III last week at Gamescom. Its called Reaper of Souls.
New Class - The Crusader
Blizzard showed off the Crusader, another strength based class, with a bigger focus on the use of shields and some mid ranged skills, along with some auras. Looks pretty cool, as with anything Blizzard produces. I will wait to see the final damage numbers to really give a final verdict on the class itself. I also think (or hope) that there is another class to be introduced in the near future that is included in the expansion.
Loot 2.0, and Paragon 2.0
We also got a sneak peak into loot 2.0, but with them only showing a few items, its hard to say how well the changes they've made will actually work out. Also, with the new increased level cap and introduction of new skills and runes, we can't really tell how it will all work together. Along with loot 2.0, there was also the announcement that paragon levels are now going to be consolidated into a single paragon level that is account wide. With each paragon level, you will get points to assign into categories for each character, so you can add main stats, or buff other character stats with these points.
It sounds like a nice step, but I feel that its not enough. I think they should have went further and allowed points to be assigned to the skills themselves to augment them further. Either a base damage increase, cooldown reduction.. or cost reduction (will vary depending on the skill being augmented). But by opening up this system, it will allow for way more flexibility when it comes to itemization and build diversity. Plus it would have allowed them to get away from their current system which is quite limiting, and allow for damage to no longer rely completely on what weapon you are wielding. This would have opened up a much deeper system with greater flexibility for them as developers to really make something interesting.
More "end game" content
A whole new act to play in is great, but doesn't really provide a long term game for players to enjoy. So they've also added in "loot runs", where players enter a dungeon that lasts 15-20 minutes and is randomized for the type of environment as well as the mobs within the environment. This has potential, only IF there is enough variation so that it will take a while for most players to actually experience all the combinations. If there's only a handful of "runs" to do, it will get boring fast.
There is also random events within the game called nephalim trials, which are random portals that players can enter to be challenged. An example was provided in an interview, where the player would face waves of enemy and they would be rewarded based on efficiency. Again, cool idea, but there needs to be a LOT of these trials to randomize these enough so that players have a reason to keep trying to find these portals. Especially for higher end players that can max out efficiency quite quickly, there needs to be enough variety to these trials so that they don't burn through them in a single night/week.
I do assume that with this system, it allows the developers to add in more trials and loot runs later down the road via patch. I also hope they add in some leaderboard system for these trials so at least players can measure themselves against others in-game without having to hop into a message board to view their competition. Also, I feel that instead of making it random, if there were enough, that they could have re-worked the existing infernal machines to work with this system and kind of give players a reason to play more of the game. But this will depend on how you can currently access the new end game content. So we will have to wait for more details...
All of this is positive news in my opinion, sure they could have gone further and actually solved the core problem of the game, but if there's enough end game content for me to play my OP characters in, then I can look it over for now.