I’ve spoken before about my experiences playing Diablo III; one of my earliest videos was a comparison of Blizzard’s AAA action RPG and the indie alternative Torchlight II. In that video I explained how I loved the demo of Diablo III but soon grew bored with the actual game; this was back when the game was first released in 2012.

Over the years I’d heard how patches and expansion packs had changed Diablo for the better. Last month I was listening to Patrick Klepek and Alex Navarro on Bombin’ the AM; Patrick mentioned how he’d been playing Diablo on a higher difficulty and how this made a big difference in his enjoyment of the game.

I decided to give Diablo a second look and try raising the difficulty myself; I used to play on normal but changed it to Expert after finding Hard not that different. Surprisingly, the game itself didn’t feel that much more difficult but I found myself having a lot more fun.

As of this writing I’ve made it to Act IV but I’ve only died twice during my playthrough. Gameplay feels a lot more interesting and involving; rather than just mashing buttons like before I need to move around, be aware of my environment and the enemies’ abilities. My favourite encounters are with groups of elites or rares; these really push my skills and I enjoy the challenge of juggling cooldowns to take them down.

Collecting loot seems a lot more steamlined and enjoyable than before; all the legendaries I found have been suitable upgrades for my character, for instance. I don’t end up with bags full of useless grey or white items. As well, I haven’t experienced any connection issues or network problems in my recent playtime, something that happened quite a bit when I was first playing; either Blizzard have sorted these bugs or there aren’t as many people playing Diablo III these days.

I’ll probably check out the Diablo expansion Reaper of Souls once I finish the main game; I might even try Master or Torment levels of difficulty. I’ve been playing through as a Barbarian but I do want to try the other classes; in particular, Monk seems like a good fit with my preferred melee-heavy playstyle.

I’m glad I’ve given Diablo III a second look. Blizzard have fixed most of my major gripes and raising the difficulty has opened up the game like never before; this is how Diablo is meant to be played and I’m having a helluva good time.