Earlier this year, Blizzard Entertainment, developer of the "Diablo" series, hired John Mosqueira as the new game director for "Diablo 3." After his appointment, Mosqueira wrote an introductory letter to "Diablo 3" fans in which he talked about his past experiences with "Diablo" as well as his plans for the future of the "Diablo" franchise.

Mosqueira's letter was full of promising statements, like this one:

"While the game's dark, gothic setting hooked me, it was the intense, fast-paced action gameplay and the thrill of finding awesome loot that kept me coming back for years after," Mosqueira said.

Some of the key words there include "dark, gothic setting." When you watch the first gameplay trailer of "Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls," the first expansion for "Diablo 3," its easy what Mosqueira's meant. Check out some of the screenshots from the "Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls" gameplay trailer below to see what we mean.


What do you see in the above "Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls" screenshots? Corpses piled atop one another, demented-looking monsters, eerie environments and foggy graveyards. If that's not a sign that "Diablo 3" could be going down a dark path again, we don't know what is.

That's not to say that "Diablo 3" didn't have such environments. It certainly did, but that darkness was also mixed in with a lot of relatively timid-looking environments like Act 2, most of which was a desert. When you consider that imagery like what you see above dominated the "Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls" gameplay teaser trailer, it's as good a sign as any that "Diablo 3" could finally be going back to its macabre roots. If so, it's about time, and it would give tens of thousands of "Diablo" fans what they've been clamoring for for years, if this petition is any indication.

One of the reasons why "Diablo 2" and "Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction" had such long lifespans and consistently large player bases was due to the fact that item hunting was both highly addictive and fun as hell. Mosqueira also addressed this in his letter to "Diablo" fans when he cited "the thrill of finding awesome loot" as a reason why he loved "Diablo" so much.

With this in mind, we were very happy to see that "Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls" is seemingly making a substantial attempt to steer "Diablo 3" back to an item-hunting direction in part by introducing a brand new game mode called "Loot Runs." The press release for "Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls" even mentions that the game will feature "substantial updates to the loot experience." While details on "Loot Runs" have yet to be released, the name of the game mode sounds pretty straightforward.

So, dark and gothic environments? Check. Item-hunting a big part of the experience? Check. For the first time in a long time, we have concrete reasons to hope that "Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls" will return the "Diablo" franchise to its roots as a spooky, eerie, hyper-addictive item farming fest.

If this does indeed happen, the next big petition "Diablo" fans put together may be an effort to crowdfund the construction of a statue in honor of John Mosqueira.

Maybe an in-game item will do.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments below.