I know I have blasted Diablo 3 in the past – as it indeed was a horrible game to put it nicely. I myself didn’t have any intention to purchase the expansion pack when it came out; my brother did, as he had over 40 bucks tied into his Bnet account. And I jumped right in to the flow as he did. Here is my small review – I’m writing this review after completing Malthael run with my Crusader at Torment 6 difficulty. 1. First and foremost, the game play is much smoother. It’s been fine-tuned very well. To put it bluntly, this is what it feels like: Diablo 3: Return to the Original Diablo. [And it failed to even bring the feel for it.] Diablo 3 expansion: Return to Diablo 2. 2. So what’s so great about this expansion pack that wasn’t there before? a. First and foremost, you do not need to beat the same scenario four different times at different difficulty level any more. One run and you unlock everything. What a welcome change. b. So… how does that translate into the actual game play experience? It actually translates very well. The game provides you with 5 different difficulty level. [Normal, hard, expert, master and torment, with torment level again separated into Torment 1 through Torment 6.] Now, even with your fully geared and leveled 70 level champ, act 1 won’t quite be the pushover that it was before. The HP of the mobs scale with respect to the HP and respective level of the champ you are playing. This means that, you can try difficult end-of-the-chapter bosses at low level and come away with a victory, if you play with some savvy and strategy. c. How about itemization? It improved big time as well. First of all, they separated the stats into two levels: primary stat and secondary stat. Here is a list of primary stats: - Vitality - One important stat for any given champ [Str for Barbs, etc] - Damage modifiers a. Attack speed b. Crit chance c. Crit damage d. Elemental Damage modifiers. - Defensive stats a. Prismatic resistance. [All res] b. Armor - Sockets - Movement speed Everything else is secondary – the most important of which [at least while leveling] is the reduced level requirement tag. And with this, the kinds of unreasonable stat distribution [str and int on DH cloak, for instance] does not happen anymore. If you are rolling with a barbarian, unless the item is intended for some different class, you will not see useless stat on your gear. Better yet, however, if you find one stat missing or you prefer that one particular stat missing in other gears, you can modify that stat. D3 expac allows you to modify one stat of your choosing and change it to the stats available in exchange for the stat you are giving up. [You may not modify more than one stat on any item – that’s the tradeoff.] So is that all there is to it, with itemization? Actually, no. The best part is that, no item is wasted in this expansion – that includes the trash white items. Now you want to collect them on sight. You may need it either to craft a new gear, or you’d need the part you can get by salvaging the gears. Nothing is wasted here – that’s another welcome change. Last, but not the least, in-game gold is in very, VERY high demand. Now everything works very compactly, and like a well-oiled machine. d. So where is all the fun? If someone else gives you all the overpowered gears at start, you’d be smashing your way into the end in no time, no? Actually, no. First, all the items after expansion are account bound. They are not tradable. You MAY trade an item – but it comes with conditions. You must have played with that said friend, and you must trade the item within 2 hours from when you got it. If you modify the stats, it’s all off. The item is bound to your account; i.e. you cannot get a gear, modify it, then give it to your friend. e. So, if single run is all there is to it, what’s there afterwards? They added this ‘Adventure’ mode. It’s more like a small run you played in D3 proper – just, now the interface supports it, and gives you rewards for doing that. The game client will pick any 5 short-sized missions out of the entire chapter [and there are five chapters now] and you just need to pick the mission, and complete the run and get it over with. It also gives you sizable Exp and gold bonus, so it helps when you are leveling up your alts after you are done with your primary champ. f. Last, but not the least; transmogrification! You can change the look of your gears with any item you once owned. So, with this, I mogged my crusader as an all-black plate villain you find in these movies, with burning flail and big tower shield with skull engraved on it. That he’s wearing stag helm gave me such a kick out of it. During my Malthael run, it looked more or less like the villain was killing the angel. [Ha! That’s fun.] This is not all of the topics that I have embarked to touch on – but what else was there, escapes my mind. I will add more as I find them later on. 3. So… this brings us to the review of the class Crusader. It is a very fun champ to play with – and that’s an understatement. In a span of a week, I and my brother both leveled a crusader to 70 each, but we play in vastly different playing style. As for me, I’m more or less a melee person. I also believe that, when you are geared in full plate mail and big tower shield, you must use it. So I play like a typical tank in those MMOGs, i.e. Warrior or Tankadin; consequently, my choice of main attack was Slash. My brother preferred hitting the mobs from afar – and he went with Justice. That’s not all – where I opted for all res passive, my brother opted for ATS/crit dmg spec instead. And while the playing style is vastly different, it was immensely fun in both cases. I’d be taking on a huge amount of crowds all by myself, taking them at a natural bottleneck [like doors or a corner] while my brother would run around in the open field, gather the mobs in tight pack then nuke the hell out of them. Thus, in that regard, this was also a smashing success. Last word: this is a very well-tuned game. They obviously listened. A lot. Not only that, they reflected a lot of valid criticisms into the expansion, and made a fantastic product out of it. I’d give it 5/5.