#Diablo3 – Progress Report – Level 70 Crusader

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.

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