Got two characters to 60 since the new patch. Monk and Wizard (hardcore). The biggest difference is the 50% extra XP buff that allows for very fast leveling and the difficulty sliders. These are welcome changes but do they really make for compelling gameplay?? Well its less boring as you dont have to run the game so many times. The new loot is great. My Monk and Wizard are death dealers from Planet Destruction of Demons. Compelling gameplay? Better then before, I will concede that but how much better??
Right now they took what was a co-op or single player game with tacked on MMO elements and an auction house, and turned it into....A co-op Single player game with no MMO elements and no auction house.
Clans? Great idea. But what's their use? Really? What is the difference between a clan and a friends list??
Public games are mostly empty. A few days ago I spent half an hour trying to join a public game to kill Asmodan on Master difficulty. Couldnt. Hmmmm. Most of the time I opened my games to the public and exactly 0 people joined in all the time i did so. Yay for Bnet 2.0!
Now to the final trick upon which the whole balance of the game hangs. Loot 2.0. I mentioned its great. Now I will mention why its not so great. The best items are once again legendaries and sets which is as it should be. They are bound on account though so forget about trading them with your friends. Yay. You get a stupid timer for trading them within your party (if you are inclined to play with friends). Forget about finding a super rare item and trading your way up to riches.
The classes all play basically the same as before Loot 2.0. The loot should basically work to augment your character skills and in a way it does, but it doesnt fundamentaly change the way the game played from before. Some of the legendary 'specials' are fun, but Ive yet to see a gamechanger or indeed an item that would allow me to build a character around a skill that was completely useless.
Yes friends, most of your skills are still completely useless before. The builds that work are the same ones that worked prior to Loot 2.0. The uninspired skill trees are well still uninspired and hardly trees.
To conclude, yes D3 is better now than it was at launch. But its still not a worthy D2 sequel. I doubt that the expansion will make it one either. (ONE NEW SKILL PER CLASS YAY!!) If you like finding 'shiny' cool loot then yeah, D3 is for you. If you enjoyed the metagame of D2 and liked building strange and fun builds for PvP or just for kicks then sadly there is nothing in D3 for you.