I really enjoyed the campaign and story the first couple times. But as the new expansion will increase the length of the already lengthy campaign further it begins to make creating new characters to play through somewhat tedious as the campaign is quite linear.
It would be great if there was an open world / adventure mode akin to Diablo 3 where you can start in any city, in any act and play through the games content in any order once you’ve completed the full story/campaign. I wouldn’t mind having to unlock all the way points but I’d like to explore the world and level up more freely.
It’d make leveling new characters more interesting rather than being forced to play through the story and all 6 Acts every time.
Short answer is no. The new Merit tokens will allow you to skip up to another difficulty so you could jump between Normal, Elite and Ultimate if you want to, but that’s it. You still start in DC once you change the difficulty setting in the main character menu. Skipping up to Ultimate will mean that all riftgates and shrines will be enabled on lower difficulties.
And skipping difficulties with a low level character will bring it’s own hazards. From the 7th December stream:
"anathema2741 : how is the level scaling on ultimate at level 2?
Well, let’s take a look. Now I will warn you that anyone who’s going to play like this? It’s going to be hard. I would describe this as almost playing on players 8 in Diablo 2 back in the old days, but you’ll notice these enemies are actually scaled to my level. We’ve gone ahead and through Elite and Ultimate difficulties and updated these guys so they scale from one all the way up to max level. And yes, they hurt. They give a lot more XP, but they hurt. You’re going to get all the attribute and skill points like I said and you’re going to need them because this stuff is way harder than what you’re used to. I will point out, if you look at my resistances, they are in fact altered by the difficulty scaling."
This late in development and with the hint that this might be the last expansion, that’s the best you can get. The merit tokens were the most elegant solution for the difficulties thing because it was the easiest to balance.
Adventure mode or whatever would be ridiculous to balance and far too much work than just let players skip difficulties.
Nope, you still need to do specific things to unlock certain things. Example being AoM, where you need to bring Ulgrim to the Malmouth Sewers to start the entire Malmouth story questline. This means having to do the quest with Ulgrim in Deadman’s Gulch all the way to the Loghorrean.
Atm there are more shrines available in Normal difficulty (33) than in Elite (20) and Ultimate (20). Those shrines in the higher difficulties that are currently not available will be plus additional shrines are being added across all difficulties.