Blizzard have announced that Diablo III: Reaper of Souls is now live and available to purchase in stores.
The expansion to Diablo III went live at 3:00pm AEDST. Reaper of Souls adds a number of new features to Diablo III, such as an additional chapter to the storyline (titled Act V), the Crusader class, increased level cap to 70, Adventure Mode, and a new artisan known as the Mystic. The loot system has also been revised and complemented with new randomised objectives called Bounties and randomised dungeon challenges, known as Nephalem Rifts.
The story in Diablo III: Reaper of Souls focuses on Malthael, the fallen Archangel of Wisdom who vanished after the events in Diablo II: Lord of Destruction. In the cinematic for Reaper of Souls, Malthael returns as the Angel of Death and seizes the Black Soulstone, which contains the essence of the Prime Evil. It is then up to players to find Malthael and stop him before he “unleashes irreversible havoc on the world”.
Australian and New Zealand gamers will also be happy to know that local Diablo III servers based in Sydney went online last week. So far we have noticed significantly faster connection times while playing Reaper of Souls, with an average of 60ms (compared to 200ms previously). Blizzard have provided an FAQ list on local servers below:
Q: What benefits will local servers have for Diablo III players in Australia and New Zealand?
A: By hosting Diablo III game servers in Australia, players located in Australia and New Zealand should benefit from an improved gameplay experience.
Q: Will I still be able to play with my friends who are on servers in the Americas?
A: Absolutely! Because the Australian Diablo III game servers will communicate with the servers in the Americas, you will be able to seamlessly play with friends who have already started their adventures there. Your friends list is powered by Battle.net, not the local game servers, so you’ll still be able to easily group up and chat with friends in the Americas.
Q: If I host a game and invite a friend in the Americas, what server will we play on?
A: When an American player creates a game, it will be hosted in the data centre located in the Americas. Joining this player’s game will connect you with the Americas data centre and you will play the game there. When an Australian or New Zealand player creates a game, it will be hosted in the ANZ data centre. Your American friend can join your game and he or she will then connect to the ANZ data centre and will play the game there.
Q: Will I need to pay any fees, register to transfer characters, or level up from scratch?
A: No! Because the local Diablo III game servers will be linked with the existing Americas region, all characters, gold, and experience will be unaffected. The introduction of Australian servers will be completely invisible to local players (no separate Australian server dropdown menu will be displayed), with the immediate benefit of providing a smoother, more responsive gameplay experience.
Q: Where are the servers physically located?
A: The local Diablo III servers will be hosted within a data centre in Sydney, Australia.
Q: When will local servers be available?
A: Local Diablo III game servers are available now, ahead of the release of upcoming expansion, Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, which will go on sale in Australia and New Zealand on March 25, 2014.
Q: Will the new local servers only be available to players who purchase Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, or will they work for all Diablo III players?
A: All Diablo III players will be able to take advantage of the new local game servers straight away, at no additional cost.
Q: Will local game servers change the way I activate Diablo III: Reaper of Souls at launch, or any other Blizzard Entertainment games?
A: No! Local Diablo III game servers will have no impact on the way players currently register physical copies of Blizzard Entertainment games, or the unlock timing or process for activating digital copies of Diablo III: Reaper of Souls. While local game servers should provide an improved gameplay experience, product activation and initial authentication will continue to be handled by the Battle.net servers in the Americas. Players will be able to begin their quest to slay Malthael in Diablo III: Reaper of Souls from 3 p.m. AEDT on launch day, March 25, 2014.
Q: What about Hardcore characters?
A: We know that playing your Hardcore characters with high latency is frustrating, especially if this causes you to die. To maintain the quality of the experience, Hardcore characters from ANZ will only be allowed to play on the Australian game servers. In the event that the ANZ Diablo game servers are at full capacity, you will be placed in a queue. We are making every effort to provide sufficient server capacity at launch, but we appreciate your patience during the game’s busy launch window.
Q: Does this mean other Blizzard games will also be getting local servers?
A: Blizzard Entertainment is committed to providing our players around the world with the best possible experiences. We will continue to explore optimal server solutions for all of our franchises in each region.
Have you purchased Reaper of Souls? What are your thoughts on the new expansion? Let us know!
Diablo III: Reaper of Souls is now available in stores for $49.95 RRP, with the digital copy at $44.95. More information on Diablo III and Reaper of Souls can be found on the official Diablo blog.