Diablo III: Season 14

As I mentioned earlier in the week, I was diddling around with StarCraft Remastered the other day and sort of checking in on Blizzard games that I still enjoy. I realized that I had purchased that Necromancer DLC sometime last year and had only played for a few hours. My Necromancer was a hardcore seasonal creation but I only took him to level 22. I believe that was around the time I really started concentrating on my backlog, and I have made significant progress on that front. At this point I was tempted to play again, as I hadn’t joined in on a season for quite some time despite having played like the first 6 or so seasons religiously.

Looks like when I actually picked up the Necromancer DLC it was Season 11 and i had missed the 5 seasons prior to that. These reset fairly rapidly so that’s not saying I hadn’t played in years. Apparently we’re into season 14 at this point, and I’ve used the rebirth option on the last Necromancer I created so I could start over. It’s still seasonal and still hardcore, but I want to actually see what a high end Necro can do. I have a month to do so during this season, and I think that’s doable. First up, have a gander at the latest season’s notes if you aren’t familiar with the game, or haven’t played in a while like me. There have been some changes that came down the pipeline that I only discovered once I was in game. As usual, there is a Season’s Journey.

It’s the same as always, though you’ll get different frames, pennants and armor sets. What was new this season was what they’re calling “themes” and season 14 is the season of greed. Treasure Goblins spawn in pairs now, and they drop more loot than usual.

More of the cross-promotional goodies were added to my account as well, apparently I happened to login during the StarCraft 20th Anniversay celebration, so we get this sweet Terran ship as a pet. Doesn’t really do much but it’s interesting nonetheless. I like these cross-promotions because if you’re already playing multiple games from a developer, you get free stuff in each. Hi-Rez has done a lot of this as well, and it’s pretty cool.

One of the new features that was added during my absence are “Challenge Rifts.” These are predetermined Nephalim Rifts that you must complete with a custom built character. There’s a time limit for completion and I assume the rewards are decent but I have yet to try one. I’ll get to that sooner or later.

Another new feature is the Armory, which is located next to your personal stash. This is a great option for those with multiple full armor sets that might be beneficial in different circumstances, and being able to swap gear load outs on the fly is a nice touch. I won’t have use for this for a while but I still am glad it’s something that’s been added.

Otherwise it’s more of the same old Diablo III that you either love or loath. Personally I still rather enjoy it, as I can play and zone out for a few hours without having too much to digest. You’ll see above the new pet in action, me fighting some of the treasure goblins, and how my new lowbie Necro looks at the current time. I’ll be trying to hit level 70 before the seasons reset and have my new set armor installed by then. I don’t know how much I’ll play going into the future because it is more of the same, but I at least want to see the new class in action at high level. There are a couple other ARPGs that I want to get to so I won’t be spending too much time here. Grim Dawn has been calling my name as well, as I picked up the expansion and haven’t really gone all that far into the game. Anyway, that’s all for today’s post. Are you still playing Diablo III?

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 😛

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

State of the Game: Death is Permanent

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I played a few different games this week, but the majority of my time was spent with League of Legends, Diablo III, and a few assorted console titles. As far as LoL goes, I’m still in ELO hell, and still trying to dig my way out. Last night I had the perfect team comp to get a win, and then the jungler had “Net issues” and didn’t actually start playing til 15 minutes into the match. That win would have resulted in heading back to a promo series, but alas it wasn’t to be. I don’t have much else to report on that front, because thinking about it irritates me. Playing is still fun though. Will be nice to report my advancement to Silver, but it hasn’t happened yet.

On the console front, I’ve played a bit more of the South Park RPG, but also spent some time with The Order 1886. I went to my friend’s house the other day and he had just picked up a copy for his PS4. He was already a little way into the game, but I played for a while with him anyway. The next day I went back over, and this time he had already completed the game, so I started from the beginning, this time playing on hard. I made it a few chapters in before we decided to play something else. Overall, The Order is just about the best looking game I’ve seen on this console generation, and I think it is very much deserving of a sequel, hopefully including some co-op and multiplayer options. The other game we played for a bit was Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare, and that game is super entertaining. I was surprised, because it seemed like a rather cheesy game, but the depth of the game modes and the frantic action had me hooked right away. We played some co-op survival first (much like CoD Zombies) and then I played some multiplayer death match type games. It was pretty cool.

Otherwise I’ve spent the rest of my time on Diablo III. Season 2 started recently, so I thought it would be a good idea to roll up some characters I’d not played before, just to see what was up with them, and the new season.

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The first character I made was a Hardcore Seasonal Witch Doctor. I hadn’t really played that class at all, so I didn’t really know what I was getting into. I happened to catch Eri online though, so she offered to powerlevel me a bit, since the same had been done for her. Next thing you know, my level 10 Witch Doctor is hiding in fear from mobs on Torment IV. That’s the highest difficulty I had seen to that point, but man the experience poured in. Everything was going well, and though I had a close call or two, I didn’t die. Until one point I ported into the zone and Eri had dragged mobs across the point of entry, and I got stuck and smashed. Even with my death prevention, I got screwed. The death was permanent, and all that remains is a ghost of the Witch Doctor, who had briskly advanced to level 52.

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Frustrated, I ended the session that night. I ended up deciding to try again, but level more traditionally with the other class I had never played before, the Barbarian. This was even more short lived, because I tried playing on too hard of a difficulty to increase my leveling speed, but without the appropriate gear you’re stuck swigging potions, and the cool down is pretty long. The Barbarian was dead by level 7, which is rather sad, but I determined I don’t care for the class at this rate either.

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I decided to go back to the Monk for a bit after this. He’s hit 70, he’s got 5 paragon levels, and I turned up the difficulty to Expert at this point, but I think I might bump it up again, and I’ll tell you why in a moment. Here’s what the Monk looks like at the moment:

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I didn’t do much with the Monk before deciding that my Seasonal Hardcore character from Season 1, the Crusader, needed some play time. Fortunately my shared stash and all of my recipes etc are available on the normal Hardcore mode (non-seasonal) so I was able to twink out the Crusader. Not only was he able to use my higher-end gems, but I was also able to craft him some set gear, and I lucked out and found more recipes as I played, so he actually has 5 slots of green gear, which is pretty good for a level 37. With the set gear and uber gems, I was able to bump up the difficulty to master and had no trouble clearing rifts and bounties. I also can attest that the Crusader is 10x more fun to play than the Barb. Just saying.

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Above is the Crusader looking all regal, below is a shot of his gear. It’s nice stuff for the level. Can’t wait to see this guy hit 70.

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For a better look at the gear, you can click this link for the b.net profile. I’m debating now on whether I should grind him out quickly, or if I should play the monk some more just so that I have more paragon levels for him. I suppose I’ll split my time between the two. I also need to decide what character to recreate for the season. Maybe I’ll roll a demon hunter again. Oh well, til next time.

#stateofthegame #diablo3 #roundup