Friday, 31 July 2015

Monks: Season 4 Leveling Guide




Monk Leveling Guide for Season 4

Please feel free to critique or suggest ways to improve! I've run three L1-70 characters using this method and a couple using older approaches (HoA/Bounties). I think this is the best approach for minimizing the time involved in getting a fresh season character going.

Introduction


Patch 2.3 introduces a few mechanics that influence how to efficiently make a new character for Season 4. The first major change is that regular Nephalem Rifts are available for “free” (i.e. no fragment requirements) and immediately at Level 1. Nephalem Rifts can have nice mob density and have an inherent boost to legendary drops, on all difficulty levels and at all levels. This opens up a potentially new L1-70 pathway, one that has been explored by myself and others repeatedly on the PTR. The second major change is the introduction of Kanai’s Cube, which has broad implications for gameplay, builds, and strategy in Diablo 3. What is relevant to a freshly started Season 4 character is the mechanic allowing Legendary drops to be absorbed by the cube and their passive effects used by the character. Specifically, there is now value to legendaries that are below L70 in that they can be consumed by the cube.

Strategy

We will utilize the following L1-70 zone flow in order to be efficient with leveling and gearing our Monk:

L1-11 Adventure Mode: Startup and Halls of Agony runs

L11-20 Adventure Mode: Nephalim Rifts

L20-22ish Story Mode Act 1: Run Story Up to Skeleton King and Leoric’s Crown

L22-70 Adventure Mode: Nephalim Rifts

In contrast to other Seasons and other guides, I recommend sticking with Nephalim Rifts over a Halls of Agony or Cursed Bounties strategy. Methods using these have been measured faster, but not appreciably so. The upsides to the Rift-centric approach, which does not have the same density (reliably) as a HoA-only strategy, are that the legendary drops that you will get in Rifts can dramatically increase your power and these drops will be available to your Kanai’s cube when you are beginning the post-70 phase of character development. Additionally, several testers have noticed that the average gear level of a “fresh 70” from Rifts is appreciably more powerful than that of a HoA-levelled character.

Finally, this method involves exiting the game only a couple of times. This makes it suitable for use by groups with less headache and certainly more viable should servers be crowded and cause a game creation queue.
It is important to not Salvage any legendaries you may want to absorb into your cube. If you are following my approach, I recommend paying close attention to what you may want to cube and putting those items in your stash as you outgrow them. Alternatively, just throwing old legendaries in the stash and sorting them out at a later date may be safest.



Difficulty Level

We will start the game in Master mode, and generally remain there unless a string of poor drops forces us to drop down to Hard mode. Expert mode should generally be avoided, as the math around HP and XP for mobs is goofy and it is not as efficient. Generally speaking, if you die, you probably need to drop down to Hard from Master mode. In my 3 runs from 1-70 using the Rift approach, I’ve found that I can do Rifts in Master mode up until the 45-60 range, and then occasionally a lack of good gear drops will force me back into Hard. The Story Mode segment in Act 1 to get Leoric’s Crown is recommended to be run on Hard, for the sake of speed. You can drop the Skeleton King down as low as you want for a fast kill, which is guaranteed to drop a socketed Leoric’s crown at L18+.

Crafting/Gems

I don’t recommend bothering with any crafting other than upgrading weapons (if needed). I have included key levels for yellow 2H axes/swords in the guide in case you have had a lull in legendary weapons and want to consider crafting an upgrade. You should salvage any gear you do not wear, with the exceptions of legendaries (see above).

For Gems, you should have a red gem early in your weapon if it has a socket, and a red gem in your Leoric’s crown at all times. I did not bother combining red gems as I have recommended in the past, because the new gem levels generally provided me with a fresh supply of high level gems as I was speeding through rifts. Use your Gem station to un-gem old versions of red gems from your Leoric’s crown and simply Salvage outdated weapons to recover the gems you place in them. Red gems in weapons taper in the effectiveness the closer you get to L70, so feel free to switch to Greens in your last hour or two. They are fantastic below L50, however.



Equipment

For weapons, you will generally use only slow 2H weapons. In three trials, I had a useful supply of Legendary drops that kept me well equipped and able to pump out the damage. You’ll rely on Exploding Palm and other skills that care about damage range and not attack speed, so the slower the better. For armor, +XP gain per kill is king, and you should prioritize that in your gearing choices. Next, you should look at damage increasing stats to decide whether to replace an item. Movement speed on boots is helpful and competitive with +XP.

Consider the value of the legendaries you’re using. Leoric’s is guaranteed with this plan, and you’ll keep your low level version equipped (with a red gem) until L70 regardless of the XP or damage you find on a helm. You may come across a Gungdo Gears that is worth keeping equipped for the flavor text even if it is sub-par in stats. There are legendaries that aren’t so great at end-game that may appeal to you as a speedy leveler. E.g. the Pox Faulds pants are incredibly useful for dashing into a group, EPing one, and then letting the Pox Faulds damage kill the group. Finally, survivability should be boosted should you start having trouble post L40. I’d give up 1-2% sheet damage for 15-20% toughness, but be mindful not to trade off more than that.

Long story short: prioritize XP gains, don’t let your damage suffer, and monitor your legendary affixes for things that are helping your kill efficiently.

The Build

You are going to end up with a build that will look like a very traditional “Starter Monk” build as recommended by a great number of folks, including Quin C and other Twitch/YouTube contributors. There are a few tweaks as you level, however. If you are an experienced Monk, you are going to have a feel for what you like and what will work for you.

Core skills that I absolutely recommend are:

Any Generator/Primary (I like Fists of Thunder, because it gives more Spirit)

Dashing Strike

Exploding Palm

Sweeping Wind

Mantra of Salvation

My build progression uses a few abilities and runes that you may not normally use end-game, but can be incredibly useful leveling. For instance, I utilize Breath of Heaven – Circle of Scorn for a long time in the process, because both the heal and the 500% weapon damage pop can be useful. One EP on a pack and then a BoH activation can be quite effective, for example. I also like Exploding Palm – Strong Spirit, almost never recommended in a L70 build, for leveling due to the spirit recovery.

You should feel free to swap out what works best for you based on your preference, ability to regain Spirit (which is critical pre 70 using questionable gear), and what’s working for you in game. However, be incredibly mindful that you can waste large amounts of time fooling around with rearranging your abilities. I have arranged the level guide in such a way that you can ignore many decisions and focus on killing efficiently.

If you want to make tweaks based on personal preference, take note of when certain skills/runes become available and modify the plan to avoid wasting time. The difference between stopping every level, tweaking your build with runes that may have opened up and sticking to a predefined plan can be an hour or more.

Execution – L1-11 Adventure Mode: Startup and Halls of Agony runs

Start Adventure Mode in Master Difficulty

Hire the SCOUNDREL (You’ll ditch him later)

Take the Templar’s Spear and equip it in your main hand

Take the Enchantress’ Dagger and equip it in your off hand

Run Halls of Agony 3 until Level 7. Certain new abilities (Lashing Tail Kick, Blinding Flash) will auto-equip on your bar.

Return to town at L7 and buy +Damage Rings from vendors, reset game until finding one.

7 Lashing Tail Kick: Vulture Claw Kick

8 Breath of Heaven (replace Blinding Flash)

9 Dashing Strike

10 Passive: Fleet Footed

11 Return to town and buy +Damage Amulet

12 Wave of Light (available to replace Breath of Heaven, if you want)

13 Exploding Palm

13 Passive: Exalted Soul

14 Cyclone Strike (automatic equip)

14 Breath of Heaven: Circle of Scorn

14 Fists of Thunder: Wind Blast

15 Dashing Strike: Way of the Falling Star

15 Craft Available: 2H Sword

18 Exploding Palm: The Flesh is Weak

19 Mantra of Salvation (automatic equip)

19 Craft Available: 2H Sword

20 Passive: Chant of Resonance

20 Return to Town, Hire Templar, Equip him with any 1H+Shield weapons you may have found so far

20 Train Templar with Inspire + Other skills (All Left-most skills works well)

Exit game and switch to Act 1 Story Mode, Hard mode difficulty.

Execution: L20-22ish Story Mode Act 1: Run Story Up to Skeleton King and Leoric’s Crown

Run the story as fast as possible, kill the Skeleton King. There is a L21 Craft available for a 2H Axe should you desperately need it. Equip the socketed Leoric’s crown and gem it with your best red gem now and throughout the rest of the journey to L70. Switch back to Adventure mode, Master difficulty after the kill.

Execution: L22-70 Adventure Mode: Nephalim Rifts

24 Mantra of Salvation: Hard Target

25 Exploding Palm: Strong Spirit

27 Sweeping Wind: Master of Wind

27 Craft Available: 2H Sword

29 Craft Available: 2H Axe

30 Passive: Guardian’s Path

32 Dashing Strike: Quicksilver

33 Sweeping Wind: Blade Storm

38 Sweeping Wind: Fire Storm

39 Mystic Ally: Air Ally (replace Breath of Heaven with this for more spirit regen)

45 Passive: Harmony (available, but I do not take it unless I am having survivability issues)

50 Mantra of Salvation: Perserverence

50 Craft Available: 2H Axe/Sword, Might want to check on armor pieces that could be 20+ level upgrades

57 Wave of Light: Pillar of the Ancients (depending on your spirit regen, you may be able to go Generator-less here, Rift Guardians might become tedious depending on gear, however)

58 Mantra of Salvation: Agility

61 Epiphany (available, or you can stick with Air Ally)

61 Craft Available: 2H Axe

67 Epiphany: Insight (available, and you can probably convert to a “L70 Starter Monk Build” at this point)

Final crafting note: Once you can get Death's Breath material drops, it can be very worthwhile to craft a L70 weapon and hope/enchant for a "Reduced Level Requirement". L70 weapons are a massive increase in damage and this can significantly speed up the final few levels.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Here's a chart that shows a big issue with Paragon XP scaling per level



Spreadsheet

Feel free to verify your own level.

At paragon 1500 you need ~109,074M XP, which, if you farm at 100B/h takes you 1h5m26.7s. The next level requires ~109,197M which at the same rate as before will take you 1h5m31.1s. A whopping 4.4 seconds longer than the previous level took... and this is true for all levels from 750 and up since the increase in XP needed per level is a static 122.4M XP.

The small peaks at the very low end of the scale are from lvl 59 to 72. I expected to see artifacts around 100 since we had a cap at Paragon 100 at some point, but I can't explain the variations from 59 to 72.

From paragon 500 to paragon 750 there is an increase of 20.4M for every 50 levels in steps. These are easily seen on the graph. For some unknown reason that trend stops abruptly at paragon 750 and becomes a steady increase of 122.4M until at least paragon 1900+.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Diablo 3 Necromancer concept/ideas


I love the idea of his proposed Resource so much that I based the whole class around it.

I would really like to see a "dark", morally flexible class in Diablo 3 and I think the Necromancer would be a perfect fit. With a lot of people hoping for a class with a shapeshifting aspect, I also thought up something like this for a Diablo 3 Necromancer and I think it would fit the theme quite well.

Please post some comments on what to add/ change and I will edit this post.




Here is a quick mockup of the Resource:




100 Balance points.

Half black and half white. Some skills lower the balance while others raise it. You can't use certain skills anymore if there is an imbalance.


Main Stat: Vitality

At first I thought that a char with Vitality as main stat would be a bad idea, because the character would probably feel too tanky. After a quick check on d3planner.com it turned out, that even with all ancient items and Vit + Armor + AllRes on almost every piece you're only at ~27mio toughness. You have around ~2mio life, but you're really lacking Armor and AllRes compared to the other classes. This leads to a very low Recovery stat and probably would make the Necro a pretty bad melee character. With the help of some passives that reduce life by a certain percentage but increase your AllRes or Armor, this might be less of a problem though.


Skills:


Skills can either raise the balance or lower it.

Skills that damage an enemy directly raise the balance (you take someones life away), while summoning skills lower the balance (you give life to something).

Bone and Posion Skills


Teeth

Raise balance on hit.

Poison Nova

Bone Prison

Bone Armor

Your armor is increased by 20% for 60 seconds. Your balance is raised by 5 points everytime you are hit.

Curse Skills


I'm not sure how many curse skills there should be and what should be done with runes yet.


Amplify Damage
Increases damage taken of your target. Every cursed enemy raises your balance by 1 point every second.

Runes
  • Iron Maiden (Damage dealt is damage received)
  • Life Tap (Attacking a cursed soul gives you health)

Weaken

Decreases the damage the target can do. Every cursed enemy raises your balance by 1 point every second.

Runes
  • Terror (Cursed enemy runs in fear)
  • Decrepify (Targets Speed is reduced)

Vanish

The cursed enemies no longer hinder your movement. Your movement speed is increased by 15%. Raise balance by 5 points. Cooldown: 6 seconds.

This skill is something like a Spirit Walk curse, I can't think of a better mobility skill yet.

Sacrifice

Curse your self by reducing your own life in order to restore the balance by 30 points.

Summoning Skills


Raise Skeleton

Raise a skeleton at the position of you cursor that fights for you for 10 seconds. Lowers balance by 20 points.

Runes:
  • Skeleton Army (Raise 3 skeletons that fight for 12 seconds)
  • Skeletal Mage (Deal random elemental damage) This should maybe be a skill on its own.
  • Giant Skeleton (Raise one giant skeleton for 30 seconds)
  • Exploding Skeleton (Summon an unstable skeleton that explodes after 1 second)


Raise Golem

Passive: Raise a Golem that fights by your side. Lowers balance by 1 point every second.

Active: The Golem moves to the position of your cursor.

Runes:
  • Clay Golem (More Damage)
  • Blood Golem (Life Leech)
  • Iron Golem (Maybe there is way for this to work with Legendary Affixes)
  • Fire Golem (Burns the Ground it walks on)
  • Teleporting Golem (Active attack teleports your Golem to the target destination)


Raise Demon

Raise a Demon that charges to the target position and deals damage on its path. Lowers balance by 20 points.

Would be a mixture of Phalanx and Zombie Charger. A skill that deals massive damage and "costs" resources.

Shapeshifting Skills


Vampre

Inspired by /u/Ceek4y and the Trang-Oul's Avatar set from Diablo 2

Passive: Transforms the Necro into a Demon. Adds life leech and increases Movement and Attack Speed. Lowers balance by 2 points every second.

Active: Cast a Fire Ball. Raises Balance by 5 points for every enemy you hit.

I don't know about skills like fire wall and meteor. They might be too similar to the wizard skills


Edit: Below are my old suggestions for a shapeshifting demon, but maybe it doesn't fit the necro theme very well.

Inner Demon

Passive: Transforms the Necro into a Demon. Adds Resistance to all Elements and Attack Speed. Lowers balance by 2 points every second.

Active: Attack with a powerful melee attack for 400% weapon damage. Raises Balance by 5 points for every enemy you hit.

Runes
  • Fiery Demon (Attack becomes ~ Disintegrate - Orlash Style)
  • Poisoned Demon (You release a vile stench that deals 500% weapon damage as Poison every second to enemies within 8 yards.
  • Demonic Slaves (Summons two Demonic Slaves that fight by your side and are connected to you and to each other with a chain)
  • Behemoth (Bigger, more damage)

Winged Terror

When in demon form, you grow a pair of wings and charge through enemies to the selected location. Lowers balance by 10 points.

Fires of Hell

When in demon form, you release a gigantic wave of power, dealing damage to all enemies 15 yards. Raises Balance by 2 points for every enemy hit.


Passives


As mentioned above, there should be somne passives to help the Recovery stat of a Vitality based class. Passives that restore some percentage of your life or that lower your life but increase your Armor/AllRes.

Items


I really like the idea of a set that doesn't support specific skills, but changes the way you play.

My idea would be a "Balance of Life" set, that increases your damage depending on how balanced your resources are. So if they are exactly 50/50, your damage is increased by 1000%, but if the difference is greater than 40/60 the damage increase is only 500%, down to 0% by 10/90.

This would probably be a 6pc set bonus, with the 4pc bonus balancing out your resources by 1 point every second or something like that.


Another set could be focused around your summoning skills, by making your Skeletons last until they die and increasing your pets' damage to cursed enemies. Supporting items could give Raise Skeleton the Skeleton Army rune or give your Golem the Teleporting rune.


I had a lot of fun writing down my ideas and I hope a lot of people join this discussion about possible skills for a Diablo 3 Necromancer. After hearing about the Witch Doctor in Diablo 3 I thought that there wouldn't be the need for another summoning class. But after writing down all this stuff I think that it would fit in the game quite well.

What are your thoughts?

Saturday, 18 July 2015

[PTR 2.3] State of the WizArt



After playing on PTR for a couple of days I wanted to write down my impressions on the new patch and the state of the wizard.

I have all the sets and tested a lot of new builds that were made possible/viable by Kanai's cube. One of my favorites is the DelRasha Frozen Orb build, but I also tried out pure Vyr's, Tal's, Delsere's and even Firebird builds just to test some stuff.

This post is full of my own ideas and my personal opinions on the design choices, so feel free to disagree!


Vyr's Amazing Arcana

The 8 items set!

I already made a post about the new Vyr's set before, but this was before PTR season 4 launched. With the new season exclusive belt for the Archon build, the whole setup becomes a lot stronger (maybe too strong as it is right now), but I have the feeling that the problems stay the same. I have no idea why Blizzard thought it would be a good idea to change Chantodo's the way they did. Having a build, were you are forced to wear two sets in addition to two additional items (Swami + new belt) is just bad design in my opinion.

There are way better ways to make an Archon build viable, without forcing you to wear 10 items.



The last two skills even have the same name but the legendary affixes don't work in Archon form.


In addition to that, I would change the Chantodo's set, so that is independet from Archon and just grants an aura of destruction or whatever. Let the stacks last for 10 seconds or something, but stop forcing us to wear 2 sets to make a build work.

TLDR: Could be so cool if it was designed differently. Being forced to wear ~10 items is no fun.


Tal Rasha's Elements


The set is still very strong, but with the nerf to crowd control the Aether Walker build that enables Wizards to solo GR60+ on live is out of the game. I'm not sure if this is good or bad yet. It was a fun build, but it also was the only viable build for pushing grifts as a wizard and the changes to cc were really needed to stop this WD perma stun stuff. Turning enemies into statues is just a boring way to progess in my opinion.

Instead DelRasha seems to be the new top Tal Rasha build. The crowd control and especially projectile control of the set is great and the damage output is also great, thanks to F+R and RoRG in Kanai's Cube.

The raw damage output of a pure Tal Rasha build is probaly still the highest (you can wear Focus + Restraint andConvention of Elements), but without crowd control options it is only a viable choice in multiplayer.

I also tried a fun build with Halo of Arlyse and Aether Walker + Ancient Parthan Defenders, but even with the additional crowd control of your novas you will die at GR50+. It's the closest I've come to reproducing the old Aether Walker stun build. Maybe with some tweaking it could work. I tried the same build with a Wand of Woh and Explosive Blast instead of Meteor, but your damage output is way higher with Meteor. You also don't always have to be up close to your enemies in order to deal damage with Meteor. The build works great even at TX, but Meteor is just better.

Another idea I had wasto combine 6pc Tal's and 4pc Vyr's but of course that didn't work as planned. The main problem is that you don't get the Swami buff when you cancel Archon manually, which basically was my idea for the build. I thought you could get a 300% damage boost everytime Archon was ready if you just cancel it and just play a normal Tal Rasha build with this buff. But without Vyr's 6pc bonus Archon is just too weak. Furthermore you have to decide if you want to use Nilfur's Boast or the new Archon belt. I tried both and think that the belt is the better option because of the defensive bonus, but without the Swami buff on cancel it just feels too weird to play :D

I guess that's how The Swami is supposed to work and that it's not a bug, unfortunatly.

TLDR: Pure Tal Rasha is a thing of the aetherial past.


Firebird's Finery


For the first two days or so, the game decided that I should play a Firebird wizard and a Firebird wizard only. So I rolled with it and I had a lot of fun. I found a Serpent's Sparker pretty early and put it in the cube. Additionally I cubed a pair of Hexing Pants and my RoRG. I played that build through T7 and it does still good damage.

Problem is I never really liked Firebird's and the playstyle unfortunately hasn't changed in the new patch. You still run around casting your Blizzard's and Hydra's everywhere and try not to get hit until everything burns to death. This works out great but becomes harder and harder in the greater difficulty levels. And having to wait for your enemies to die is really bad for multiplayer. You feel like you don't do any damage, because everyone else is directly killing stuff, while you are dodging attacks.

Another problem is that every other wizard set gives you some kind of defensive bonus now (Archon stacks, allres from Tal's, slow time from Delsere's). A free revive is nice, but just not as good as a permanent toughness buff.

Firebird could be easily made viable again by adding some supporting legendaries. Something like Quetzalcoatl that halves the duration of your DoT would do wonders and an item like Ancient Parthan Defenders that reduces your damage taken for every burning enemy would improve your survivability and also support the playstyle of running around casting Blizzard on everything that moves.

TLDR: Still have to dodge attacks and wait for everything to slowly burn to death.

Delsere's Magnum Opus

I really like Delsere's. The playstyle is very engaging and different. The only problem is that the damage just isn't there.

I cubed a Furnace and with an ancient Triumvirate I am able to play t8 comfortably.

I made a post about my DelRasha Frozen Orb build here and I tested two versions of this build. One with 6pc Delsere's and 4pc Tal's and the other way around. The conclusion is, that Frozen Orb is stronger with 6pc Tal's and enemies don't have to be in your slow time bubble for you to do damage.

Another thing that really bugs me about the set is the skill synergy. I used Teleport - Fracture, which summons two decoys for 6 seconds after you teleport. The decoys cast Slow Time all over the screen, but the problem is that their bubbles aren't affected by your items. Enemies hit by your Arcane Orb don't get the damage bonus from Delsere's if they are in a bubble of your decoy. At least I used a cold build, which changes the color of your bubbles, so you can differentiate between your own bubbles and your decoys'.

But this shouldn't be a problem in the first place. Why don't Crown of the Primus and the 6pc Delsere's bonus just work with your decoys' / Mirror Images' Slow Time bubbles?

And this leads me to my biggest issue with the set.

Why does it have to be designed around specific skills? Why exactly do I have to use Arcane Orb, Energy Twister, Magic Missile or Shock Pulse? Tal Rahsa's becomes great with Nilfur's Boast, Firebird's really benefits from a Serpent's Sparker and so on. Why can't Delsere's just work with every skill? If it would just increase your damage to enemies trapped inside your Slow Time bubble, the playstyle would stay more or less the same. A good Triumvirate would still make you play an Arcane Orb centered build, but now you could also use Nilfur's in a Delsere's build an focus on Meteors as your main damage source. Maybe a really underused item like Light of Grace could be used in a Delsere's build. Or Arcane Torrent. or Disintegrate or ...

TLDR: Arcane Orb is stronger with Tal Rasha's Elements, than with a set that is designed to buff Arcane Orb.


Progression

Especially with PTR season 4 I had a lot of fun leveling up and getting gear. With Kanai's cube and all four sets being viable up to at least T8, you can push your character higher and higher until you finally can build the wizard that you wanted. Even thogh I personally don't like Firebird's, I had a great time with my Serpent's Sparker and the 6pc bonus. The cube makes it even easier to complete a set, because you can convert a set item to another item from the same set.

If I compare my PTR experience with last season, I have to say it has improved by a lot. Finding upgrades, changing your build to suit the items that you just found, putting your first item in the cube, it was all just so much fun.


Here is an example of my upgrading progress:

I relativly quickly found to Firebird's items, so with the first bloodshards I got I started gambling for the other pieces. I gambled one additional piece and found the fourth one in a very reasonable amount of time. This enabled me to play T3-4, where I found a non ancient Sperent's Sparker in a Rift. So I adjusted my build and switched Black Hole for Hydra. After gambling two additional Firebird pieces I finally found a pretty decent ancient Wildwood, so I cubed my Serpent's Sparker for a massive damage improvement. Now being able to play T6-7 comfortably, I had no problem finding all the other sets to test the stuff I really wanted to test.

I don't know if it's the same for the other classes, but I had the feeling that no matter what items the game throws at me, as long as I adjust my playstyle and gamble for the right stuff, I would have no problem progressing. And this felt just great! And after testing the other sets, it probably would have been the same for all of them. Maybe even better, because Firebird's is the weakest of the four 6 piece sets in my opinion.


Conclusion

Up to ~T8 you can play any set or combination of sets. The build variety and viabilty feels great. I really think that the wizard is in a very good spot right now. If you want to be efficient at TX you have to use defined builds and specific items, but that's fine I guess.

I really hope they change Vyr's in some way before the patch goes life.


Maybe you recognized that I really like play around with hybrid builds. So another thing that I personally would like to see is additional set pieces being added to Delsere's and Vyr's, so that they're also at 7 pieces, just like Tal's and Firebird's.

This way you could for example combine Firebird with Delsere's for some massive damage over time, or Firebird with Vyr's for a Firebird Archon build, or Vyr's with Delsere's where Archon's Slow Time now deals 2000% damage, or ...

You get the idea.


TLDR: I like the wizard and love the potential of the class.


Please let me know what you think of my thoughts on the wizard!

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Here is my Hammerdin soloing grift 50 on PTR.


1:40 for the start of the rift, 5:00 for when the rift gets good (the first level I got lost in a bit and mob density wasn't great).





The point of the build was more to demonstrate the mechanics of the new set. From 50, I started to climb 2 grifts an attempt. Everything was going swell, but despite getting a pretty good grift, I barely made time in 54. Looking at the leaderboard, there are hammerdins who are as high as 59. So I sold out and peaked at their build. As I mentioned elsewhere, cubing the flail and going furnace is way better. Despite what I thought was a good enough amulet to warrant going 1Her + Holy, I threw on the furnace and went fire (using some of my old fire gear from Roland's). Cleared Grift 54 with 4:26 left (check leaderboard for proof. LetMeTapThat). Definitely go 2H with this build, imo.

A screen shot of my new setup  and skills:


Notable changes are no more focus and restraint. Instead using Unity + CoE, with zodiac in the cube. Cindercoat as armor cube (no more need for St. Andrew Gage, you are INCREDIBLY tanky with falling sword + unity + iron skin + resist gem + akkarat prophet), and flail for weapon cube. Skills are mixed around, as you will see in the screenshot. The build was taken straight from the guy on top of the leaderboard (grift 59), except I changed shield glare - divine verdict for falling sword because I'm a pussy and I want more damage mitigation.

For climbing higher grifts (my guess is 56+), I think you will have to swap some of your survivability for dps (i.e., shield glare - divine verdict instead of falling sword, etc). But I personally like to climb as tanky as possible until I can't make time, and then slowly begin adding in DPS. Personal preference!

Just did GR 56 with a modified build (holy), after jumping around from holy to fire, back to holy. Haven't tried 57, but considering that I only had 2 minutes left in 56 and I got a dream RG (considering my ammy), then I think 56 is my ceiling atm.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Witch Doctors - The Debbie Downers

I've been WD main since vanilla patiently awaiting a patch that gives us some goodies. I thought 2.3 was going to be the patch of all patches for us! Well, nope!

Helltooth underperforms, has deadzones, is clunky. Arachyr underperforms, is clunky. Jade and zdps build(s) might as well not exist. Melee pet Docs still worse then Carnevil + DoD.

It's great that we got some new toys to play with, I just wish they worked better. Granted, there's still time between now and s4 where big changes could be made to make these sets better, but I'm not holding my breath.

Just a real bummer, ya know? Get super hyped to only realize we're still going to be playing DoD in the end game, but this time around, we have no party utility whatsoever.

My suggestion Blizzard?

A) Give us back Jade. Dotty Shotgun is a fun play style. Just admit the Spirit Walk change is what doomed the set, revert it back to the way it was, and let us do our thing.

B) Continue to try and make Helltooth a thing. Every WD I know wants Wall of Zombies (change the name back, Wall of Death is beyond corny) to be a thing, and is super cool. Maybe try and focus the 6-piece into something more potent. Either all in for Bears, or all in for Acid Cloud.

C) Trying to turn two of our worst spells into a competitive set was ambitious, and that's admirable. But there's still a lot of work to be done to make Arachyr a set to be reckoned with. I'd like to see the 2-piece changed a bit to where you aren't forced to use Corpse Spiders as your primary in order to control the Widowmaker. The 4-piece is freaking great. Love it. Don't change a thing! The 6-piece is the biggest problem of course. Channeling spells is not where we want to be as a class. Especially when that spell mostly involves being in melee-ish range (which is precisely why Jade is currently terrible - we go splat without our old Spirit Walked juiced up with CDR). Many people have suggested the 6-piece allow Firebats to be channeled while moving. That could be cool! Or moving away from Firebats completely could also be a thing. Maybe put a bigger focus on Piranhas? This is a tough one, but it's a cool idea for a set using our "animal" abilities.

D) Now with 0dps shot to death as far as I'm concerned, we need a utility set! I'm kidding, but still, we have so much utility in our skills, but other classes are doing it so much better since we can't Tik our way to victory in 4-mans anymore. Which, frankly, I'm fine with - if it meant WDs could find another way to still be a great utility class - which doesn't seem to be the case.

I'm sure I'll get downvoted into oblivion for yet another whining Witch Doctor post, but shit dudes/ladies, I think we have some valid reasons for being bummed.

Maybe some people have had better experiences with the new sets and I'm missing something? I'd love to know if there's anything that can be done to salvage these 2 "new" sets before S4. I love DoD as much as the next guy, but I already had my heart set on playing the new sets, not just playing DoD with SMK/Jeram/RRG as passives.

Cheers.

Edit: There was a great suggestion on the forums about changing Helltooth to a Grasp of the Dead build instead of Wall of Death. This, as well as some major bumps in damage to the 6-piece (and possibly 2-piece, as well as making it poison damage - I believe its currently physical), would be a huge step in the right direction for this build.

Another suggestion! Not that I dislike Acid Rain. I love it, in fact. However, I like bears more! I'd love to see a change to how Zombie Bears work. It would be great if the spell had a longer range, and shot one large bear straight ahead as opposed to three adjacent bears that have many collision issues. Being able to slow with WoD (or grasp) and then nuking them down in a rain dance with giant bears would please me, and I'm sure many WDs, to no end.

Realistically, I imagine none of these are feasible in the window Blizzard has before they drop 2.3. WDs aren't the only class in the game, of course! But it never hurts to throw out some suggestions as you read them, or think of them. Please, WDs, throw out suggestions as much as you can. You never know what Blizzard might pick up from these seemingly random posts. Blizzard is one of the few companies that does scour places like reddit and their official forums for ideas from the community. I imagine almost all the Quality of Life changes made from Vanilla to Ros, and Ros s1 to now, have been suggestions from the community. Just be constructive, try not to be super salty (I should take my own advice, lel), and good things could come!

Thanks for all the responses!

Deuces

Monday, 6 July 2015

Diablo III Patch 2.3.0 Lands in PTR to the Chagrin of Mice Everywhere



Yes indeedy, there is a lot of clicking to be done in Diablo III in general, but the recently released patch 2.3.0 will make sure that gamers' mice are kept red-hot the majority of the time. The patch comes complete with tons of new and intriguing content, new features, and countless new tweaks, covering just about everything from skill allocation to damage increases for various skills , to new difficulty levels and to new collision models for pets. Obviously, the changes and tweaks are way too numerous to comfortably list and discuss all of them here, but there are a few features that stand out and that just have to be appraised one way or another. It also has to be noted though that getting into the PTR is not a small feat these days at all, as some players complain of queue times as long as 23 hours (for t10) - something that obviously kills playability completely.

There are a few ways to circumvent to queue issues though. First off: casual players should not even attempt to queue for t10. There's just no added benefit for them there in terms of legendaries, as the drop rate there is about the same as it is on t6. Bounties might make an exception for those exceptionally well geared, but as a general idea, they too are more efficient on t6.

Those who want to do greater rifts should just queue up for lower difficulty games, like expert, where the queue times are way lower (we're talking about 10-15 minutes), so that's another great way to speed things up. Yet another option is to join several public communities and request them on spots that may become available.

Once in the game, players will obviously want to avoid going AFK, so to do that, they can just bind a skill to a key and then place some sort of weight on that key to keep re-using that skill after cool-down. It's a bit rudimentary but it works.

One of the newly added zones is the Ruins of Sescheron one, situated in the upper right corner, in a previously blocked-off zone. Ruins of Sescheron is a rather linear area. It comes complete with some new mob-types and some traps which do actually cause some damage. There are two levels to this area, at the end of which the Kanai's Cube is unlocked, which gives players the possibility to fully customize their items among other things. As soon as the cube is acquired, several recipes become available, like Convert Set Item, Upgrade Rare Item, Reforge legendary Item, etc.

Another interesting feature (to say the least) in patch 2.3.0 is the Bandit shrine. Some call it ridiculous, others call it entertaining: the bottom line about it is that once a player hits it, it essentially spawns a goblin rift. If someone does indeed want to kill all the goblins, he/she should make sure the difficulty level is adjusted accordingly. The loot is obviously sweet in this one: there will be a few legendary items, as well as tons of gold and tons of clicking to do.


Philip Thalberg works for esportslistings, the premier destination for eSports odds and everything regarding eSports betting. 

Saturday, 4 July 2015

How to prepare for 2.3



I've played a fair bit on the PTR over the last 24 hours (Torment 8/9/10). It's pretty fun (albeit incredibly laggy). There are a lot of changes, and I thought I'd write up some advice for people who aren't going to play the PTR (or can't get into a game).

Note: while there may or may not be an overlap where 2.3 is live, but S4 hasn't started yet, much of this does not apply if you're playing seasons, however some of it is still good to keep in mind :)

1. Don't do any Ubers until 2.3

Any effort you put in now, could be 4 times more effective once 2.3 goes live. Currently, in order to craft 1 x Hellfire Amulet (HFA), you need to farm 4 x keys from each of the 4 keywardens. You use 1 of each key to craft 1 infernal machine. You need 4 machines to get enough mats to create 1 HFA. This means creating at least 4 different games (to respawn the wardens). So 1 HFA = 16 keys. In 2.3, any keys you have in your stash get converted to infernal machines. This means you're getting 4 HFAs in 2.3 for the same effort you're putting in now. Farm keys now, store til 2.3, then create HFA's til you get a good one.

2. Use your Rift Fragments
In 2.2, you need to do a bounty to get a rift fragment, then you use that fragment to open a rift. In 2.3, rifts are free. You just click the stone, and start a Nephalem Rift. So awesome. If you have rift fragments now, you might as well use them up now. In 2.3 they just become "grey" items that you can sell to a vendor for gold.

3. Collect Death's Breaths and Forgotten Souls

Currently most people have a lot of Veiled Crystal (the yellow crafting mat), and hardly any Arcane Dust (the blue one) or Reusable Parts (the white one). In 2.3 you can convert crafting mats from one type to another. This will make people with tens (or hundreds) of thousands of Veiled Crystal very happy. The bounties and goblins also seem to drop a lot more crafting materials as well, however they don't really drop a lot of Death's Breaths (DB). I noticed we were getting 2 DB per elite pack instead of the 1 we might be lucky to get currently on T6. If you can fit the Sage set into your build (it doubles how many DB drop), then definitely start picking them up. Many of the cube recipes only use 5 of them, but I think some used 50. Same for Forgotten Souls. Pick up those legs and salvage them in town.

4. Make crafted items now

If you need crafted items, and you don't have ancient ones already, make them now. Things like Reaper's Wraps, Aughild's, Born's, Sage's, Cain's, Asheara's, Captain Crimson's, etc will cost the new precious crafting mats which you get from doing bounties. These mats will most likely be in demand for rerolling things. Make these items now while they only use the Yellow/Blue/White mats.

5. Use your high GR keys

In 2.3 all unused trial keys (the ones with the infinity loop symbol on them), and every GR key you have (no matter the level) all become one and the same. They simply allow you to start a Greater Rift. You can choose to start up to a level which you have cleared while playing solo. Yes, this means that those 1200 trial keys you have in your stash are all potentially GR56 (or even higher) keys.

6. Clean up your stash/mules

Considering you can make all your trial keys into GR keys, and the fact that the Cube makes your character a lot more powerful, you'll be able to speed clear GR45 in 1-2 minutes, just like you're doing with GR35 now. This means more blood shards and more loot drops. If it's not mentioned in the patch notes, and you're not keeping because you're a hoarder like me, salvage it. Be ruthless. Keep 1 of each rare item (non-ancient) to go into the cube. I'd only do this for things with a low drop rate like Furnace, SMK, Krider, etc. All those other ones you're keeping "in case it's useful in some new build Blizz creates" will go into the cube, just in case that new build does exist at some point. The cube means we can use Legendary Affixes to supplement/alter how the sets work. Keep greens, trash dupes of orange items that have affixes.

7. Put together a fast bounty build

When 2.3 lands, everyone will be doing bounties. Well at least for a day or two. Bounty caches drop the crafting materials which allow you do perform the transmutations provided by the Cube. Bounties will also allow you to effectively reroll existing items. If you have horrible RNG luck and don't get an ancient, say Flying Dragon/Serpent Sparker/Kridershot/etc, but you get a non-ancient one, just do heaps of bounties and then reroll the item. This essentially changes the one you put in the cube into a brand new one, as if it has just dropped again. This means it could possibly be ancient. If you put an ancient one in, it can also (most 90% chance) end up as non-ancient. Either way, you will need to do quite a few bounties in order to reroll an item. Monk/Wiz have the fastest builds due to dashing strike and teleport travelling over terrain/through walls. Barbs/DH can usually keep up. Crusaders are ok with Swiftmount. Witch Doctors might have some viable speed builds in 2.3.

8. Save your Puzzle Rings and Bovine Bardiches

If you're short on cash, save any Puzzle Rings/Bovine Bardiches you get now. In 2.3 you can stick them in the cube and they'll open a portal to the Goblin Greed realm or the Not a cow level. Both of these are excellent sources of gold and gems. Currently these portals are quite random, so no one really sticks any gold-find gear on to maximise them. In 2.3 you'll be able to set up a char with heaps of gold find on, then pop a Puzzle Ring in the cube, and probably walk away with 500m-1billion gold. This will be excellent for people who have only just started the game and don't have billions of gold at their disposal.

9. Save some set items for rerolling

If you are really struggling trying to get those last 2 ancient versions of set pieces (or even just those last 2 pieces of a set), but the RNG gods are being unkind, simply hold onto any non-ancient versions of the set and you can convert them in the cube. EG: if you don't have ancient Raiment shoulders, keep all set pieces and when the patch lands, put the non-shoulders into the cube and convert them to another piece in the set, you might get shoulders, they might be ancient. If you have saved up some shoulders then reroll them. Rerolling essentially spawns a brand new item of that type, just as if it had dropped. All stats change, and it has a chance to be ancient. Rerolling is expensive material-wise, but it'll be the best chance of getting an ancient version.

The PTR has only just gone live, so some of these things might change. However I think most of the above will end up making it to live.

Try the PTR out (if you can). Play with new builds. Perma CC will be gone, so think up new and exciting ways for groups to survive. Most of all, just have fun :)

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Blizzard Warns Gamers About Data Mined Diablo 3 Info

The team at Blizzard in charge of Diablo 3 is telling fans of the title to take all the information that it extracted from game files and offered by various sources as a clear indication about the future of the title with a grain of salt because it is often based on data that might be changed relatively quickly.

On the official forums, the company explains that there's a lot of experimentation going on and that info linked to the game elements might give the fan community the wrong idea about the way the experience will evolve.

Blizzard adds, "There's already a couple of strings I've seen that I can confirm are not making it into this patch for various reasons. Cursed Realms continue to be an internal experiment and will not be appearing in Patch 2.3.0. The ability to level a Legendary up to your level using the Kanai's Cube was pulled because it created a lot of unforeseen interactions and nasty bugs that will take too long for us to implement for this particular patch (though we may revisit it at a later date)."

The 2.3.0 major patch for Diablo 3 is at the moment in the final development stages before it arrives on the Public Test Realms.

Once it gets there, a small number of players will be able to explore the new mechanics and core changes before the entire player community gets access to it.
Diablo 3 is continuing to evolve, new expansion might be coming

Data mining has become a good way for the most dedicated fans of big franchises to get a look at how developers are planning to improve them in coming patches or expansions.

But as Blizzard explains, there's also a chance that info might be based on old files or on leftovers.

The development team is now working on the 2.3.0 patch, but other rumors are suggesting that they are also creating a new major expansion that will be launched for Diablo 3 in 2016.

It seems that gamers will be able to get access to a new character class to use, more environments to explore, and a range of enemies to deal with, while the Season mode will also be improved.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Diablo 2 is 15 years old today and is still one of the best games of our generation.



Was one of the original 1000 D2 Beta testers, and then the D2Exp 1000 testers :-) Game has a lot of meaning to me, got so excited when the beta disks came in the mail :-D

D2Beta Disks if you never seen what they look like.




Blizzard often doesn't get the credit it deserves for pushing really good control schemes in their games. Both SC and D2 can be played with a mouse-only mentality, and it's a big reason why their games are so popular.

The skill system, while pissing off some people, worked well for newcomers because it prevented hoarding all of your skill points into a single skill. Along with the item mechanics, skills felt like real rewards - you leveled, and you got something great for it almost every time.

It came at the peak of 2d isometric graphics in games. It's art direction is unbelievable. It is the darkest, most gothic video game made. If you own The Witcher on GOG, you can read through it's digital art book that is a downloadable extra, and they talk about how in their early design meetings Diablo 2 came up as the style they really wanted. Witcher was the first realistically dark game I had seen since D2.

The soundtrack, another often ignored portion, marked a real shift in composing for games. It's almost musical noise, avoiding melodies in most situations. As a result, it's creepy. But it's not just creepy, it lacks musical resolution, which means it keeps the listener expecting something to change. In other words, the music makes you want to keep playing.

The items. Oh dear lord the items. Diablo 2 had the best items ever, because mods were so flexible and disjointed. You could build a character around almost any single skill, or any single item, and it would be hilarious. It wasn't going to be the most efficient, but almost all of them were effective enough. As time went on builds became popular, but playing through the game and just using what you picked up made the game constantly change for you.

Diablo 2 is said to have killed ARPGs for a time. That it was so good, anything that followed was decried as either a cheap imitation or simply not like Diablo 2. Many believed that Diablo 2 was one of the first modern grind-fest RPGs, and as a result many that followed were painfully grindy. But Diablo 2 wasn't designed around the grind; players would grind in Diablo 2 because they didn't want to quit. That's how good it was.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Everything about Kanai's Cube

General Questions 


What is it?
 Those who played Diablo II might remember the Horadric Cube, a unique device which allowed you to combine items. Useful as it was, it was easily surpassed in power by the item from which it originated, Kanai’s Cube. In Patch 2.3.0, players will be able to discover this powerful ancient relic and utilize its incredible potential, including the ability to break down Legendary items and equip their special effects as passive skills (which are separate from your other passive skills), convert crafting materials from one type to another, and so much more.


Source

How does it work?
The primary function of the cube is to serve as a collection system to allow you to accumulate powers from items and then assign the powers you want to use. This has a lot of benefits one of which is hopefully to help free up some of that stash space that players, like me, are using to save cool items "just in case". Now instead of keeping 1 of every cool item in my stash you can simply extract it's power for later use.

Anytime you extract a power from an item it is added to your collection of powers. You can enabled any power you have ever extracted, within each specific game type.
Source

How do you get it?
The Cube, for all intents and purposes, is like a new artisan. Once it's acquired (by completing a quest in the new Ruins of Sescheron zone), you'll be able to access it in each of the Act hubs. This unlock also works similarly to other artisans — you'll need to unlock it once in each game mode (Hardcore, Normal, Normal Seasonal, Hardcore Seasonal).

This does also mean that, like leveling up your Blacksmith or Jeweler, you'll need to unlock it each Season. It's a pretty quick process, though. :)
Source

How many passives do you get?
One weapon passive, one armor passive, and one jewelry passive.
Source

Is Armor ARMOR, or ALL armors (bracers/gloves/etc)?
The armor slot for Kanai's Cube currently encompasses every slot except weapons and jewelry. So, for example, the cube could give you the Legendary power from Lut Socks, or Leoric's Crown, but not both.
Source

Do the Cube passives replace normal passives?
Stopping by to say that powers assigned with the cube do not compete with normal passives.
Source

Can you get cross-class passives (e.g. Flying Dragon on a Barbarian)?
You can only assign powers that you would normally be able to use so no Calamity on Barbs or Flying Dragon on Demon Hunters.
Source

Are offhands (Sources, Mojos, Quivers, Crusader Shields) considered weapons or armor?
Anything that goes in your main or offhand is part of the weapon category for the purposes of the cube.
Source

Can you stack two immunities from amulets?
If you want to wear an immunity neck and infuse yourself with a second immunity you can absolutely do that.
Source

Can you double dip passives (i.e. wear a Furnace and use the Furnace cube passive)?
No double dipping, you can only have one instance of a power active.
Source

Think of it this way: Equipping a power from a Legendary power via Kanai's Cube is just like equipping the item itself, only it does not take up an equipment slot.
Source

How are legendary powers stored on your account?
Powers extracted via the cube are accessible the same way that paragon levels are. They are account wide per game type, Normal, Hardcore, Seasonal Normal, Seasonal Hardcore.
Source

How are stat ranges in legendary powers dealt with?
Powers that are extracted into the cube are extracted at their maximum power.
Source

Why are stat ranges always maximized?
We discussed a lot of ideas on how we wanted the extraction process to work. We discussed powers extracting at the level of the item, we discussed powers extracting at the lowest power and upgrading by extracting more of the same item. We ultimately decided that extracting a power would give you it's full potential because we want the feature to be a collection system, not a progression system.

There are already tons of things to upgrade, you can always get better rolls on an item, you can always get more paragon levels, we didn't want this system to feel like a grind or to have players regret extracting a power because it was a low value.
Source

Is it Season only?
...it is not a season only feature.
Source

Will it indicate which special powers are still missing?
The current plan is that it will so that players know what Legendary items they're still missing. Of course, it's still a work in progress. :)
Source

Where did this idea come from?
It's been in the works for quite some time. As with many features, it's a combination of player feedback and internal design.
Source

Where is the name from?
The name is a tribute to Kevin Kanai Griffith, a Diablo artist who died last year from cancer, and his incredible work on the art in the Diablo universe.
Source

Specific Items

Can you get an additional normal passive by extracting a Hellfire Amulet?
Also the Hellfire Amulet passives cannot be extracted via the cube.
Source

How does the Hellskull shield work for a Demon Hunter not using a bow?
Hellskull increases damage while wielding a 2h weapon. That power can be used without requiring a shield to be equipped. If you want to trigger an on block effect from a power you will need a way to block or it won't be able to trigger.
Source

How does the extracted legendary power account for Leoric's Crown and the Broken Crown?
In both of these cases it will give you the benefit based on whatever gem you have socketed into your helm.
Source

Can you extract Ancestor's Grace (extra life)?
Ancestors Grace can't be extracted into the cube...
Source

Unresolved Questions


  • Let me know if there are updates!
  • For Meticulous Bolts, is the legendary power (Elemental Arrow - Ball Lightning now travels at 30–40% speed) pushed to 30 or 40?
  • Can you put in legendaries from any level?
  • Can all legendaries be extracted, or only post patch ones?
  • Can set items with legendary effects be cubed?

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Secret cow level in Marvel Heroes 2015

The ARPG Marvel Heroes 2015 is having an anniversary event, and one of the special drops is an item that takes you to a "classified bovine sector."




Thursday, 18 June 2015

My wife's doing a playthrough, and she's pointing out things that bother her about it



Like, why are there poor living in the sewers? There are literally jars filled with money lining the streets.

Why do spiders have eighty three gold, and two pairs of pants?

Why does Diablo, the lord of terror, have a mediocre blue fist weapon? What's he doing with that?



Diablo is awesome

Diablo is a masterpiece, i remember the first time i played it around 1998 and i got hooked straight away. My mother got angry at me for neglecting my school works and just sitting and playing Diablo. Many of my friends played Diablo also so we competed against each other alot who was the best and so on. My friend Fredrik who was worst at Diablo is still getting teased to this day of his lack of skills in the game. 

Everybody gets older and you move on to other games and interest. But it was still something with Diablo that made me keep on playing it. The mystery in Diablo 2 is still something that can make reminess the game and the exitement.

I remember when Nintendo was planning to launch Diablo on Nintendo 64 but failed miserably. But obvously it naver happened. Same with Diablo Junior for Gameboy also failed due to high cost. To be honest im quite happy it didnt happen because i see Diablo as a game on the computer not on a console like Nintendo or Gameboy.  Blizzard did a fine job so no need to involve other companies. Nintendo is good other games like Mario and Zelda and they should stick to that. 

Many people who play Diablo also like E-sports like LOL, Dota, CSGo etc and the exitement to be able to bet on esports is exiting. People who like esport bet on many things. For example some play casino online.  Games like Blackjack, Roulette and Spilleautomater. It's a fun and exiting way to win some extra money. The biggest win so far on a jackpot has been 17 million euros on a slotmachine called Mega fortune. That is crazy! If i won 17 million i would develop my own computer game and make it awesome!

Stuff around the net