So to my last post relating to the changes in Diablo3 indicated that I had spent some time there. Well I did and in particular I decided to roll a Crusader in the softcore season. I have never been a fan of the hardcore playstyle as an always-online game + 2 kids = you’re going to die. Lag or framerate stutters are enough to snuff out the candle – in particular framerate issues where player optimization conflicts with game optimization (mostly movement speed issues).
A seasonal player acts like a fresh character as you don’t have access to previous paragon levels, crafting items or shared stash. It’s like starting the game with nothing – other than the knowledge of previous plays. Well, that’s not entirely true. Since I had completed Act V with other characters, I had unlocked adventure mode without the need to do a full game run on the new character. That saved ~6 hours or so I guess, given the odd balance sections in the game.
Adventure mode allows me to port all over the place and collect bounties, which award a cache with rift tokens and a chance at a legendary. The legendary ring reward for Act 1, Ring of Royal Grandeur, gives a unique bonus of allowing set benefits with 1 less item (so a bonus of 3 if you only have 2). This allows you to stack multiple benefits with less items. I did 1 through 70, exclusively on Act 1 bounties, and got 1 ring. Each run was 2-5 levels worth of experience, depending on what I encountered.
Item collection is much different than before, at least while leveling. Smart drops means that I had very few super-crap items. Who needs an DEX sword as a crusader? I’d guess that less than 20% of the items where things that I would never consider using. Previously, I would only ever consider 10% of the items that dropped. I remember my Wizard as the first one that leveled. When he hit 60, I was still wearing items from level 20 due to poor drops. When my Crusader hit 70, he has 1 item at 47 and the rest was mid-60s. Big difference.
Bounties also awarded a bunch of blood shards, used for gambling. Since I was accruing a decent stream of items while leveling, I played at Master difficulty after level 20 or so. This gave me a boost to experience (100% I think) and double the blood shards. I didn’t spend any of them until 70. When I did hit 70, I gambled on each slot until I got an “optimal” piece per slot. I think I was around 500 blood shards, so there was plenty of room to gamble and find decent stuff. Each item costs 5 to gamble, so you can imagine the power jump I went through when I hit cap level. My DPS went from ~40K to ~150K in 5 minutes.
Actually, this brings up the expansion power jump discussion. From 1-60, the items are balanced decently enough and gems in particular have a nice scale of power. 61+ the items have a boost in power, significant at that. Say from 250 stat to 500. Gems that drop have 100 main stat boost instead of 40. For example, my monk at 60 had ~200k DPS. Just by upgrading gems and running blood shards, it went up to 500K. That’s an insane power curve – (and likely why PvP will never go live).
So what do I do now at max level? I ran a few rifts at normal, to see if I could get some decent drops. I got a couple, in particular a nice flail that doubled the duration of my Steed skill (immune to movement control and deals damage). With a bunch of cooldown reduction items I can use the steed ~50% of the time and kills most enemies in a single shot. Easy farming for a bit. Upgrades a couple more pieces then moved on to Torment 1. Found some more items as pretty much completed all my crafting recipes. I’m at a point now that there is absolutely nothing I can get that isn’t a set/legendary as an upgrade as I have “optimal” rolls for all my rare gear – you can say that the game is complete at this point.
Now I enter the true end-game, the gear farming space. I know how this worked before RoS. A future post will detail the progress.