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 the 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 the 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 the Arcane Attunement 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 Armor 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 the 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.

Diablo III is Evergreen

Using a different designation, I’ve been writing about my favorite games for years, and long time readers will notate that there are a few titles I always end up coming back to. Many of them tend to be “session-based,” which is a term I use to describe games you can play in small time frames. Lobby shooters, MOBAs, Action-RPGs, even some MMOs can be designated this way, due to the nature of being able to jump in, play a game and jump out (or make some overall progress). However, not all of the games I play really fall under this category, but I still return to them time and again.

Void, proprietor of A Green Mushroom, and I had a discussion on Twitter before this whole Blaugust thing kicked off.

I have to give credit where it’s due, and since he’s also made it a writing prompt for Blaugust, I figured I could write about one of my evergreen games. Obvious choices would have been League of Legends and Everquest II, as I’ve written more posts about those two games than any others. Due to the fact that I have written so much about them inspired me to look through other titles, and the next most frequently mentioned game is definitely Diablo III.

It’s still a little while off, but the next patch has me excited. I can’t wait to collect Kanai’s Cube and get some new buffs from my legendary gear. I can’t wait to check out the new zone. Shortly after 2.3 drops, season four will be starting up, and there’s actually been some new information revealed about some of the rewards that will be available with that. Another new feature, the “season journey interface” sounds like it will give you some focus as to what you can work on during a new season, and I like the idea of there being new rewards each time. It gives you a reason to come back to the game every few months, or play solidly if you’re a dedicated player. I know D3 is feeling more and more like and MMO-lite at this point, and definitely holds my interest better than some full blown MMOs have. But this isn’t the first time I’ve talked about how it’s similar or could influence the MMO world.

In case you haven’t played a seasonal character before, or have questions on what happens with your seasonal progress once the season ends, there’s a great write up that breaks things down for you over here. I was actually wondering what happened with seasonal paragon levels, as this was the first time I had a character make it to max level and earn any paragon levels during a season. It was assumed that the paragon level would stick on the seasonal end of things, and carry over between seasons, but the paragon xp is actually transferred back to the non-seasonal side of things. So if you had a seasonal normal or seasonal hardcore class, at season’s end paragon levels earned will transfer to non-seasonal normal or hardcore characters. So the few paragon levels I earned on my S3 Hardcore Witch Doctor will tally up with the paragon levels I earned on my Hardcore Monk and affect the entire account. Currently I have three level 70 characters:

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The Normal level 70 Wizard has 25 paragon levels, and last I played him I was very comfortable at Torment I difficulty, but I haven’t braved anything beyond that. I also stopped playing normal mode, as the added difficulty of Hardcore mode is more fun. That, and Eri wouldn’t stop badgering me about being a wuss. I’ve had several Hardcore characters that have died along the way, but I did manage to get a Monk to level 70, and he has 5 paragon levels, also sitting in Torment I. My season 3 Witch Doctor is 70 with 9 paragon levels and is on the same difficulty level. Finally, I have a Hardcore Demon Hunter that is level 40, but gets the added benefit of paragon levels. I’m sort of thinking about leveling him to 70 before this season ends, so then I can level a Crusader to 70 during season 4. Then I just need to make a new Wizard in Hardcore, or try to level a Barbarian. I’ve not been fond of the latter though, despite giving it a shot a few times. Perhaps I’ll save the Barb for season 5 leveling. I know I want to actually try and play more of the end game, because I’ve not seen a greater rift, a legendary gem, or the highest torment difficulty and I really want to. So this might be making it back onto the To-Do list sooner than later.

Either way, it’s apparent that Diablo III has been an evergreen game for me, as I’ve played it fervently for short bursts on several occasions over the past year and a half.

Edit: Forgot to do a Daily Nuclear Throne run until after the 11th ended, so instead of the run being a day ahead, you’re getting it on the actual day (i.e. I missed a daily in there. Oh well, still planning to keep this up for a while). I failed hard on this one, so it’s shorter than the previous run.

Edit again: turns out that the daily runs reset at 5 pm my time, so that was still technically a run for the 11th, so I’m going to rename the file and run with my original “play it a day behind the post date it’s posted on” scheme.

#diablo3 #blizzard #endgame #seasonal

(Pre)Season 4 Masteries

Edit: This information pertained to old Runes/Masteries. While I am always updating my information on the site, I am aware that search engine queries are pointing at this post due to page rank. For updated Runes and Masteries, follow this link.

Preseason is here, and with it, many changes are coming for League of Legends. The first Preseason patch (3.14) hit the servers this week, the focal point being re-worked masteries. This is an important part of League’s metagame, and as such it is important to get your masteries right before the season starts. I have written about Runes and Masteries a few times in the past; my most recent post about Rune pages are the ones I am currently using. Runes are supposed to be changing soon, I will update those as necessary when the time comes. For now, I have come up with what I believe to be a good starting pool of Mastery pages for any role on Summoners rift. These pages can also be used during other game modes, though some roles might not be deemed necessary (People rarely play true support in ARAM/Dominion, and there’s no jungle either).

Attack Damage - Utility
Attack Damage – Utility

This page is for your Marksmans and Assassins. 21/0/9 gives extra attack damage, speed and penetration, and the utility of movement speed, reduced Summoner cooldowns, increased potion duration and trinket range, along with the extra buff time.

I feel like double-edged sword is too detrimental to be helpful. Extra damage is nice, but taking extra damage is counter-intuitive. Butcher and Feast don’t seem worth the points, for only 2 extra damage to minions/monsters, and 2 health/1 mana restored on kill. The Spell and Blade Weaver abilities are also new, and I really don’t feel that the extra % damage is going to help much unless you are able to spell/auto/spell/auto and that’s not always going to work out. Taking AP-related slots is an obvious no-no, as should be Arcane Blade as it adds extra damage based on AP ratios. On the Utility side, you may recall I used to use Mana regen, but those points were required to get the extra mana and that was my reason for it. They have since moved the mana further down the tree, and now health regen based on mana took that spot. ADCs don’t have all that much mana, so this feels like a wasted point, as does the enhanced recall. This felt like the logical setup.

Ability Power - Utility
Ability Power – Utility

This is the page for your Mages, or a Support class on Howling Abyss/Crystal Scar. AP-Utility is set up precisely like the former page, with a couple of tweaks. Instead of the AD influenced masteries, we use the AP influenced ones, and instead of Frenzy we’re using Arcane Blade for the same reason I already discussed. On the Utility side, we are using the mana/health instead of the movement speed and jungle buff. I chose this because I rarely play mid on Summoner’s Rift, so I’m not needing the extra buff time on blue. It made more sense for ARAM, where I play mages all of the time. If you play mid, feel free to use the point differently, but that goes for all these builds, this is just a general guide.

Attack Damage Tank
Attack Damage Tank

This tree is for your Tanks that are AD focused. 9/21/0 gives a nice blend of attack damage/speed for early game, along with all the tank masteries you could want. We’re avoiding the paltry 2 hp regen, along with the jungle mob buffs. I dislike Oppression, it’s 3% damage reduction against CC’d targets is too situational. The couple of points of MR from Resistance would have been nice, but it’s counterpart Evasive is negligible, reducing AOE damage by 4%. Again, situational. 10% off slow effects from Swiftness is ok, but I chose to use points elsewhere. Runic Shield is garbage, a refreshes-by-death 50 point shield? No thanks. I wanted Second Wind to help out with sustain, but ran out of points. These choices, to me seemed the best.

Ability Power Tank
Ability Power Tank

This page is literally the same as the former, but using the AP related masteries in the Offense tree. For AP Tanks.

Attack Damage - Defense
Attack Damage – Defense

You’ll probably notice a pattern by now that very little about these pages are changing, but the scenarios where you might only need slight variances are endless. These seem to be what have worked best for me. This is the AD Bruisers page. For when you need more Attack Damage, but need some extra Defense to go with it, rather than the Utility. Good for champions that need to be able to off-tank but still put out good damage.

Ability Power - Defense
Ability Power – Defense

This is the same page as above, AP-flavored. This is going to be your AP Bruiser page, or for when you’re playing an AP champion that needs a little help being less squishy. I’m looking at you, Kassadin.

Support
Support

Finally, some new material! There has been much love and care going into helping out the Support class, and the Utility tree is a reflection of that. This is your Support class page, which will pretty much only be used on Summoner’s Rift, as other maps usually don’t use Supports in the traditional way (I build a mean AP (insert support champ here) on Howling Abyss). 0/9/21 provides maximum gold production and some defense to keep you alive. The Defense portion is just like the previous pages, and the first half of the Utility tree is the same as well, but towards the bottom you will see the extra gold per 5, for being near minion deaths, and for hitting champs. I opted out of the movement speed at the top of the tree for the final point, and also avoided the spell vamp (negligible) and jungle buff (not reserved for you), and the extra xp for being near a higher level allied champ. The latter seems cool, but I haven’t really ever had trouble being underleveled in season 3. I may rethink this later.

Jungler
Jungler

This is what I’m calling my Jungler page for now. I ended up rethinking my jungler page late in season 3 because I was primarily using Hecarim, and the build just worked right. I have modeled this page after that page, but the masteries are tweaked just a bit because of the changes. I still feel any jungler can use this page because of the added damage to jungle mobs, plus health/defense bonuses, movement speed to get around the jungle, some extra cooldowns, more sustain from potions, and the recall is actually helpful for junglers. Obviously we don’t need the gold per 5, but those could be optional to help with gold hungry or slow junglers.

There is still a good chance that these will change before the season is live, so check back often for updated posts! More to come on other preseason changes as they roll out.

Pre-Season 4

There are so many changes coming down the pipe-line for League of Legends that I don’t feel I can adequately go over all of it in a single post. There is a wealth of information over at the official site, and here is a video roundup of the most important bits we know so far:

I really like the focus on helping out Supports. Playing support competitively is something that is easy to understand but difficult to master. I played the majority of my ranked games as a support, and I know how thankless of a job it really is. If your marksman feeds, you are to blame. If no one else buys a ward, you are to blame for lack of vision. Add in the fact that you get no farm, are under-leveled and get less gold for assists than kills, and you’ll see why people aren’t clamoring to be the support. Riot has seen this pattern develop, and are working to fix it. The main part of that fix is coming with a new item slot specifically designed for trinkets, all of which are free and perform different functions all pertaining to vision. Paid upgrades are available for these items later in the game, but it amounts to less gold that is typically spent on wards throughout a game, so now vision is finally everyone’s responsibility!

Changes to the mastery tree and runes are expected each season, as the balance is always tweaked. Information on runes hasn’t been released yet, but the new mastery trees appear to be similar, but with some new tweaks. Adding to the support love, there are masteries that give extra GP5, gold for being in the vicinity of kills (minions included!) and gold for poking enemy champs. It appears getting items will be much easier to do as the support without having to have as much lane dominance.

I am very much looking forward to the changes that are coming. I will be touching back on these changes as they develop.