Diablo III's 2.0.1 update might as well be a sequel to Diablo III

Diablo III

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Let's pretend for a second that Diablo III never came out. It's early May, 2012—a sunny day with just a hint of summer in the air. You're so excited for Diablo III. You don't know yet that the always-online is going to melt the servers into ash for the first few weeks after launch, rendering the game unplayable. And you certainly don't know that the end-game is going to be a tedious grind, with loot doled out at a painfully slow pace.

Yeah, let's pretend none of that ever happened.

As Blizzard preps to release its Diablo III expansion, Reaper of Souls, it's putting out patch 2.0.1 for the original game. With this patch comes the new Loot 2.0 system, a total overhaul of Diablo's loot system that Blizzard claims will fix the endgame grind and bring the game more in line with players' expectations.

That process will be somewhat-complete on March 18, when the auction houses shut down (another factor that diminished player enjoyment of the game by making it easier to buy rare weapons than grind for them), though it still appears the PC version will never get an offline mode.

Loot 2.0 gives Legendary weapons a much-needed boost, making them the all-powerful demon-wreckers they were meant to be from the start. They're also tied to accounts now, with only a two-hour window to trade weapons to other party members.

2.0.1 also makes it more likely you'll find weapons that are actually useful, transforming the old "true random" stat generating system into one tailored on a class-to-class basis—for instance, making it so that the Witch Doctor finds weapons that boost Intelligence instead of something fairly useless, like strength.

The patch also gets rid of the original tiered difficulty system (Nightmare, Hell, and Inferno), replacing it with a dynamic system that adjusts difficulty and scales enemies to your level. There are also five static difficulty levels.

It's a big move for Blizzard, though we'll see whether it can turn around the tide of bad publicity surrounding Diablo III before the expansion launches March 25. You can read the full patch notes here.

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