Blizzard has officially announced that the first Diablo 3 expansion pack, entitled Reaper of Souls, is in development.
Reaper of Souls will feature an entirely new act for players to hack and slash their way through, as well as a new character class, new gear, new endgame content designed to keep people playing after the main adventure is over, and a new main bad guy.
The new character class being introduced is the Crusader, a new tanking class that sounds very similar to Diablo 2’s Paladin. Like the Paladin, the heavily armored Crusader can bash enemies with his shield, and while most of his skills seem focused on defense, he does have a number of very powerful (and cool looking) offensive special abilities as well.
Reaper of Souls’ main act is set in the gigantic city of Westmarch, where the fallen angel Malthael has seized control of The Blackstone, the relic that contains Diablo’s soul. Players are tasked with defeating Malthael and putting a stop to his plan to harvest the souls of every human and demon in the realm.
A large percentage of Diablo 3 players stopped playing the game once they completed the main story, a problem that Blizzard is hoping to fix with Reaper of Souls’ endgame “Loot Run” missions, which feature randomized dungeons and enemies and are designed to be completed within fifteen to twenty minutes. As the name suggests, “Loot Run” quests are designed to let players grind for loot, and use a new drop system that Blizzard is calling “Loot 2.0,” which Blizzard says will give players “smarter” loot drops: less gear will drop from enemies overall, but that gear is more likely to be useful for the player collecting it.
Blizzard declined to announce a release date for Reaper of Souls. Given Blizzard’s habit of taking their time when creating games, there might be a bit of a wait before we get to play RoS. As of this time, the expansion has only been confirmed for the PC version of the game, and no details about adding the expansion to the upcoming console ports were announced.