Season 5 Journey

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I wrote about the newest patch when it released last week, just before the season reset went down. There are some videos of the new areas introduced in 2.4 in that post as well, so check that out if you are still unfamiliar with the changes that have come to the game. Season 5 started shortly after I made that post, and I jumped back into the game whole-heartedly. I hadn’t touched Diablo since Season 4 started, and after my first hardcore seasonal character died post level 60, I lost interest in playing further. This is nothing new, because despite playing during every season since the concept was introduced, I only reached level 70 once, and my play time petered out shortly after that. Last time I was trying to make a “battlemage” build with a new wizard, as my only high level wizard is a normal character, and I have played nothing but hardcore characters since then. I love hardcore because of the extra challenge, but it sure is off-putting when you are level 70 and lose a character you’ve poured a couple dozen of hours into. That’s exactly what happened this season too. *sigh*

I really didn’t know what I wanted to play when I logged in a perused the new goodies that are a part of the new season. I finally decided on a Barbarian, because it’s the only class I really hadn’t played much of. I did create one at one point that died at a really low level and that was really all the time I had spent with the class. With my mind made up, I hopped into adventure mode and powered through bounties and rifts on my way to 70 — a milestone I reached in only a couple of days. It felt like it went quite a bit faster than usual, and I felt like was pretty well geared shortly after hitting 70. An added bonus was the fact that Haedrig’s gift is part of the season journey this time around, and it provides a full set of gear, which is actually pretty damn good. I managed to clear most of the season journey requirements and snagged two of the three Haedrig’s gifts netting me four of the six pieces of set gear.

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Those are the last four objectives I need to complete to finish off the season journey, and I managed to make it a lot further than I did in the previous season. I’m still determined to complete it, but that checklist has been put off a bit, because while working on the “Seeya” objective, tragedy struck.

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The requirement was to kill the Siegebreaker Assault Beast on Torment IV. A previous check mark was earned by killing another boss on Torment II, and having done that rather handily, I figured that I could handle Torment IV with no problem. It was a little hairy fighting my way to the above boss, but I managed to make it and I thought I was doing well enough against the beast. Unfortunately I was unaware of a debuff that is applied if you don’t kill a boss fast enough (I’m not sure if this is due to the torment level or what, but it happened nonetheless) called “Out of Time.” It causes you to take damage over time, which for a hardcore character is a near guaranteed death sentence. I managed to get him to about a quarter health, but it seems that I couldn’t keep my sustain up and died. What a waste. Here’s the evolution of my Barbarian (who was a bad ass I might add) over the course of time:

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I wasn’t ready to give up though. I wanted to see the season journey through, and see more of the torment levels, greater rifts, legendary gems, set dungeons, and all of the other goodies I hadn’t really experienced. Typically after hitting 70 I would lose interest in the grind and would stop playing until the next season or next time I felt like mindless slaughter. I also finally used Kanai’s Cube to snag some of the passives off of legendary items and filled up my stash with plenty of gems and decent gear that I’m going to hold onto for the next time I feel like running a new Barbarian up the ranks. Getting a few Paragon points also helped quite a bit with my new Crusader that I made the day after my Barbarian succumbed to death. He’s felt rather twinked, having a ton of recipes to work with to give him good gear as he levels, along with high end gems and those passives from Kanai’s.

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The two passives I have currently are rather nice. One is a fan of knives proc that does a shitload of damage, and the other ignores arcane damage and heals you instead. Definitely helps with survivability, to the point where I am only in my 40s on the Crusader and am already on Master difficulty. Here’s what the new guy looks like at this point:

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I’m hoping to hit 70 soon, and then finish off the season journey. I know now that I should probably get better geared, and get more paragon points before trying that Torment IV boss again, or perhaps I’ll recruit one of my friends that’s been playing as well, but it seems that outside of Eri, I don’t know many people who are playing hardcore characters. Sissies šŸ˜›

Have you been playing D3? If you want to join up, I’m Izlain#1300 on battle.net.

Diablo III Patch 2.4

Diablo III had another big patch go live this week, and just like in patch 2.3, there was a whole new zone added to Adventure Mode. This does mean that you need to own Reaper of Souls to access the new content, but if you haven’t picked up that expansion by now, you’re probably not much of a fan. The brand new zone added is called Greyhollow Island, and it is an offshoot of the Act V portion of the map. A gloomy, rainy, wooded island, there are plenty of new creatures to fight, lore bits, and places to explore. Outside of the new zone, there was also two previously existing zones that were expanded, both the Ruins of Sescheron and Leoric’s Manor. The former was expanded with the zone called Eternal Woods, and the latter had a section called the Royal Quarters added to it. They are smaller areas, but combined with the new zone add quite a bit of variety to your bounties and other adventures.

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There’s much more to the patch than just new zones. Set Dungeons have been added, and require you to don a full set of class armor to enter them. The seasonal journey that was introduced in season 4 is also being tweaked for season 5 (that starts tomorrow), where completing it provides a whole set, so if you are having trouble finding a set of armor for your class, you have a guaranteed way to pick one up now. That will allow you to check out the set dungeon as well. Finally, there are empowered rifts, which is building upon the ever-changing rift system that has been around since RoS launched. I have no experience with the latter, so I’m not sure how good or bad that ends up being. All I know is that I feel re-motivated to try and complete the season journey this time around, and actually get far enough into the end game to see beyond Torment I and jump into greater rifts and all that good stuff. Who knows if that feeling will be maintained for very long, but I’m aiming towards getting balls deep in Diablo III again.

Last night I decided that it would be a good idea to play through the new areas on one of my existing max-level characters. I also decided to record all three of the new areas while I played through them, so at this point I’d like to share those videos:

Part one is a full clear of Greyhollow Island. It’s a fairly large overland zone with a lengthy dungeon so this is the longest of the three videos.

Part two is a full clear of the expanded zone of of the Ruins of Sescheron: The Eternal Woods. This zone is a bit smaller and also comes packed with a dungeon but it is only one level and was a much quicker clear.

Part three is the shortest run of them all. The Royal Quarters is a section added onto the Leoric’s Manor zone. It is filled to the brim with undead but is a relatively short clear. It is also the area you have to access to be able to enter the set dungeons, as you’ll see me discover in the video.

That’s all I have for now. Happy Gaming!

Season’s Journey

A short progress report on my journey through Diablo III’s fourth season.

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My hardcore wizard is climbing the ranks, though not nearly as fast as some other bloggers. Eri is already working on paragon levels, and others on my Battle.net friends lists have been playing in the new torment levels. I saw a post on Anook where a guy just earned his 500th paragon level already, and said he “felt casual” because he knew people with 8-900. That’s just insane, though I suppose if I had some of that laser focus to just play one game at a time, I’d probably be quite a bit further along.

Either way, I ended up hitting level 39 last night, and at this point my melee “battlemage” build has been working really well. If you’re curious as to what constitutes my build, here’s a quick run down:

  1. Spectral Blade with the Siphoning Blade rune: The bread and butter basic attack, it does frontal aoe damage and the rune gives me more arcane power per hit.
  2. Arcane Orb with theĀ Arcane Orbit rune: This spell is usually ranged where you sling the orb into groups of enemies for aoe damage. With the orbit, 4 orbs circle your wizard.
  3. Frost Nova with theĀ Cold Snap rune: An aoe panic ability, the freeze on this can slow down fights and allow you to reposition. Cold snap lengthens the freeze and lowers cooldown.
  4. Wave of Force with theĀ Arcane AttunementĀ rune: Wave of Force is a larger diameter aoe that does some damage. I liked the pushback rune, but because both my mouse skills are arcane based, the attunement’s damage boost is preferable.
  5. Storm ArmorĀ with the Thunder Storm rune: Storm armor is just nice for periodic damage to random enemies nearby. It’s like Blitzcrank’s Ult passive. The rune increases that damage.
  6. Explosive Blast with theĀ Flash rune: This is another short range aoe, but it goes off after a delay and has a longer cooldown. Flash reduces this cooldown, and the damage is changed to lightning. I know later you can make the blast happen immediately and I’ll most likely change to that.

Passives are Evocation for lower cooldowns overall, Astral Presence for extra arcane power and regen, and Blur for damage reduction. I’m trying to focus on cooldown reduction and health on hit along with resists for sustain. Some of these might change along the way as well, but this is how it stands for now.

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I’ve been paying attention to the season journey page, and though it’s the same sort of things I would be doing in the game anyway, but I like the effect of having a checklist and a reward at the end. I finished the first chapter just the other night, though as it was I had already finished quite a few of the objectives in chapter two as well. Again, this is basically just the same stuff you’d be doing anyway, but the visual representation and having a checklist is a nice feature that was added in. I haven’t gotten Kanai’s cube on my seasonal character yet, but as I killed off mine and Eri’s first characters this season by going in there too soon, I’ve just been waiting for a bit. Not only that, the things I’d like to be ripping passives from probably won’t come til the tail end of the game anyway.

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At the time that I took this screen shot I still needed to complete a couple of tasks in chapter 2, but I have since leveled the mystic to 10, so the only thing left is to level to 60. Unfortunately the following chapters are “locked” (you can check off items but unless you know what they are you can’t aim for them) until you finish the chapter before. So we’ll see what comes next, but 60 shouldn’t take to long to get to. More to come as I get there!


Today’s run is nothing spectacular. I made the run with plant, got shitty drops all around, and died on world 3. Hooray.

Season 4 Begins

In my last Diablo III post, I had just been leveling up my Demon Hunter, trying to hit level cap before moving onto a new character in season 4. Ā Things were going well. I had checked out the new content in the newest patch, and I figured I’d raise the difficulty up a little bit just to try and speed along to 70. I was level 61 when it happened.

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I snapped this before (or maybe after) the death message had appeared, but you can clearly see I have no health. You can also see how it was easy to happen, with all of those spells and walls sitting near my corpse. A frustrating end, though one you have to accept when you play hardcore. This is the highest level character I’ve had die though, the past high was 52, but that guy was powerleveled and died while in difficulties he had no business being in. I suppose the same should be said of this particular death, but I didn’t have a problem with Master difficulty pre-70 on the Witch Doctor. I guess I just like casters in this game, as I have come to the conclusion that I don’t really care for the Demon Hunter or his kit. Things got better towards the higher levels, but it’s still not exactly my cup of tea. The Wizard and Witch Doctor put up bigger numbers, have more survivability, and more AOE. Maybe it was just my build, maybe the class just isn’t for me. I do like the Monk and Crusader though, despite not being so bursty, but being nice and tanky. Anyway, season 4 started on Friday, so I was keen to get into game with a new character, and to forget my loss.

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The entry screen gives a good summation of what to expect in the new season, and I decided to go ahead an make a wizard this time around, because I had the recent loss of the DH (and don’t want to replay that class), already have a Monk and Witch Doctor at 70, and don’t feel like playing the Crusader right now, but that’s my next character for sure. The season journey proved to be exceptional as I expected, and gives you clear goals that you can use in Adventure mode that you’d be doing anyway, but the tracking of these tasks is nice.

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Soon after starting up my game, Eri popped in with a brand new Barbarian, but had also mentioned running a new wizard up into the 20’s solo. We were burning through content, hit level 11, and I said we should go over to the new zone to unlock our Kanai’s cubes in the seasonal mode (I have it open on my non-seasonal hardcore characters). This was perhaps a bad idea, as we got crushed by the first named we encountered, and our lowly new characters have already died!

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That was quick. Two deaths in two days… not boding well for the future of my hardcore characters. My Witch Doctor and Monk are both on Torment I but because they won’t benefit me with seasonal rewards, I don’t want to play them at the moment. However, it is required to grind out a bunch of paragon levels to access the post T6 difficulties, so I’m going to have to devote some time to them if I ever want to see the “true” endgame. For now though, I’ve already rerolled a new wizard which I’m intending to level to 70 and beyond. I want to get it done quickly though, so I can work on the paragon stuff, as the paragon levels do transfer to the non-seasonals after the fact, which is a nice bonus for them.

So that’s where I am now. So far I’m really enjoying the new stuff that keeps coming out of Blizzard’s Diablo team. Keep it up y’all!


This post marks the end of Blaugust, and the collective blogosphere will breathe a sigh of relief. I have sort of forced myself into this whole blogging every day thing, along with updating The Digital Backwoods daily and doing the whole Nuclear Throne Dailies, and I think if nothing else, I might use those dailies as daily post fodder for days when I’m not in the mood to write. I might just keep up the practice, and I might not. I’m not entirely sure at this point, so I guess we’ll find out together!

 

Diving into Patch 2.3

This past Tuesday morning Diablo III came down for patching, and when it came back up, 2.3 was live. I’ve talked about the new patch quite a bit in recent posts and have brought it up a few times on the podcast because honestly, it’s refreshing to see a single player or small multiplayer game getting new updates and being kept alive like this. In the past year and a half Diablo III has seen the complete loot system rework in 2.0, along with removal of the shitty auction house system, a full expansion in Reaper of Souls, and the introduction of Adventure mode and seasons. This patch adds to that considerable amount of new content in such a short time, it makes you wonder why Blizzard couldn’t keep up with content production for some of their other titles. Anyway, I jumped into the game the other night to check out the new changes and work on my Demon Hunter a little more before the new season was to start up on Friday.

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The new entry screen gives you a taste of what you can expect in the patch, and my first order of business was to check out the new zone, The Ruins of Sescheron.

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For those curious, it’s located on the Act III map in the top right corner. The zone consists of the first area called the ruins, another large area, and then a third level that contains a throne room and what you would think would be a boss, but I couldn’t find a way to interact.

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No one wants to talk with me.

The Ruins and subsequent zones all have this snowy ruin look to them, and I think it keeps with the feel of that particular act. Overall I fought a few unique bosses, took part in an event that rewarded a resplendid chest, and earned two levels worth of experience clearing out the three areas.

While clearing the various areas, I managed to find Kanai’s Cube, and our old buddy Zoltan Kulle shows up to become the newest “vendor” in the base camps across all acts.

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Kanai’s Cube is mine!

I can report that it doesn’t matter who you find Kanai’s cube with, once you have found it, it’s yours across all characters (probably separate for normal and hardcore but I did not confirm this). There was also a big change in the way Rifts work, in that you no longer need rift keys, so selling all of the ones on my characters netted me 100k, which was nice. I also confirmed that I have the transmogrifications from finishing season 3 with a level 70, so that is no longer a mystery. Anyway, Rifts are now accessible without the rift keys, but you do have to be level 70 to get into greater rifts, and there’s another stipulation as well, but I don’t remember exactly what it was.

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Lastly, checking out Kanai’s cube in town, you can click on the little book symbol and you’ll be able to check out the various things it can do for you. It turns out that being able to remove the passives from legendaries to add to your characters isn’t just a simple task, they have added new crafting components to the horadric caches, which are those chests you get at the end of series of bounties. 1 of each type of crafting component (1 from each act) is required along with some death’s breath and the item you want to remove the passive from. There are loads of other functions as well, but each requires some old and some new crafting components, but seems to be pretty fair. I look forward to checking out more of these features in the coming season.

That’s all I have to report for now. Have you checked out any of the new features yourself yet?


Today’s run features Y.V. and a stupid melee death on world 3. Woooo!