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 Journey Complete

I’ve finally completed the Season’s Journey for Diablo III. This would have been a much easier feat to accomplish if I was playing the game on normal, but playing it on hardcore meant that there was the potential for stumbling blocks, which is exactly what happened. I’ve gone over it before, but just to recap, I leveled a Barbarian to 70 and was working through the journey when he died, and due to playing on hardcore mode, that death was permanent. I also lost some of my Haedrig’s gift set pieces, so that meant grinding til I found a set on my Crusader. I was at the point that I had nearly all set pieces for multiple sets, but just couldn’t complete one. I ended up getting a piece last night that was a duplicate, but I only needed one more piece of the Akkhan set to finally enter a set dungeon. You can use Kanai’s Cube to reforge these items into another piece of the set, so after spending a bunch of death’s breath and forgotten souls, I finally had the last piece that I needed.


The set focuses on giving bonuses when you use Akarat’s Champion, which is an ability I was already using, but the overall stats of the set were less effective than the Invoker set. I started to feel how much harder I was getting hit on Torment VI in this set as opposed to the mixed up pieces I had on before. Part of that was due to having a few ancient pieces in other sets. Anyway, the first step towards getting the season journey was done, now it was time to find the dungeon. I headed to the Royal Quarters, and found a clue.


Being too lazy to figure that out (and also trying to make some progress in a limited amount of time) I looked up where to go for the set dungeon. This particular one is in Bastion’s Keep in Act III. It was easy enough to find, after knowing where I was going.


Set dungeons come with a list of things to complete, and have a timer, so there are similar to Greater Rifts, but have more specific things that you have to do. This particular set dungeon had these goals:


I already use Condemn and Akarat’s Champion normally, so these objectives sounded rather easy, but I went into the set dungeon on Torment VI, and ended up dying. Thankfully, even on hardcore mode you don’t actually die if you die inside of a set dungeon. I’m thankful, because I was about to rage and never play this game again. I lowered the difficulty to Torment III and managed to complete the dungeon, but didn’t complete one of the primary objectives, so I had to run it once more. I dropped the difficulty to Torment I and at that point I was at least able to complete one primary objective, but ran out of time so got no mastery for it, and I’m not sure what that does anyway.

Hitting ten enemies at once with condemn is harder than it sounds. Perhaps I should have lowered the difficulty even further, and perhaps I will in the future while doing these. With that, my season journey was complete, and I earned the portrait border, a pet, and a new sigil for completing that dungeon. I was surprised to find out that there was more to the season journey after the fact though, and I have already completed a couple of the tasks:


I’m not sure if I’ll actually complete this section of the journey, as all it does is give you another portrait frame and an achievement. Those are all well and good, but I may have had my fill at this point. I think I’m ready to wait for the next season and move forward with a new character. But maybe I’ll play more, I’m not sure. I still love this game but I think it’s time for another break.

Progress Report: D3 Season 5


The above screenshot paints a picture of what’s going on with my latest character in this season’s journey. He’s max level. He has 124 paragon levels. He’s got all but one of the season journey objectives completed. He’s got mostly matching gear. Grinding Torment IV rifts has become nearly effortless, and moving onto Torment V is happening very soon. I’m sure you can probably guess which one of the objectives he hasn’t completed yet, but I have already spoiled that in the above sentence and also on the latest episode of Couch Podtatoes. For those of you who suck at guessing or weren’t paying attention, this Crusader still has yet to finish a set dungeon.

Ah, the elusive set dungeon. Truth be told, most everyone who isn’t playing a hardcore character (or didn’t kill their first one off like I did) had no issue getting their first complete set of armor, allowing them entry into the exclusive club known as set dungeons. Nay, they had Haedrig’s Gift on their side, and they completed all of the objectives needed to earn that full set of gear, and they triumphed over their dungeon and perhaps moved onto other set dungeons. My stupid luck meant that I had only one Haedrig’s Gift to reap on this character, as the other two fell into the ether once my Barbarian died. The last gift contained only one set piece I could use, as I had already found the other via RNG (grinding). I have since been grinding quite a bit. I pushed through the 20 levels of Greater Rifts required for the last gift a week or more ago. I’ve earned a bunch of paragon points along the way and have increased the difficulty each time things started to feel easy. I’ve upgraded a legendary gem to rank 25, and a second to rank 10. I’ve found ancient weapons and armor. I have matching set rings. I have set pieces in almost every slot, legendaries in the rest. I’ve even nearly filled up my stash with more set gear, legendary gems, and legendary weapons and gear.


At this point I have gear that will go to my other 70’s who aren’t seasonal after this season ends. I have four pieces of the Akkhan set, four pieces of the Invoker set, three pieces of the Light set, and two pieces of Blackthorne armor. This isn’t counting duplicates that I broke down for components. I really don’t care which set is completed first, I just want one to be complete so that I can get the last bit of the season journey done and probably go back to not playing Diablo III for a while. At least, til they add something new or refresh the seasons once again. I feel like I have had my fill, but I want to finish what I’ve started. It will also be fun to flesh out my other 70’s whom I’ve spent less time on but have some gear waiting for them in my stash.

At this point I just want to share my personal build for the Crusader:


I’m running Slash with the Zeal rune which gives 1% attack speed for 3 seconds, stacking up to ten times. This combined with the Heavenly Strength passive means I can still sword/board with two handers and attack a bit fast during sustained fights. Fist of the Heavens with Divine Well rune means the initial strike of lightning spreads out to other enemies. AOE is killer on Crusaders. Akarat’s Champion with the Hasteful rune gives my Crusader extra damage, wrath regen and attack speed (this really helps with elites/bosses). Condemn with the Unleashed rune makes the damage instant, and this is another great AOE tool. Combining that with my first Kanai’s Cube power, from the Blade of Prophecy makes the Condemn trigger multiple times. Bombardment with Impactful Bombardment rune makes for a stronger damaging single projectile. I have a proc from one of my set pieces that makes this effect trigger twice. Finally, Falling Sword with Flurry is a great engage/escape tool. You leap into the air and come slamming down, and then a ring of swords pops out that continuously damages nearby enemies (also staggers weaker ones). My other three passives are Indestructible (death prevent), Holy Cause (+10% damage – helps to offset the -% damage from Heavenly Strength), and Vigilant (health regen and -20% damage).  The other two Kanai’s powers are from the Death Watch Mantle (25-35% chance on receiving damage to shoot out fan of blades causing 750-950% weapon damage) and Countess Julia’s Cameo (prevents all Arcane damage and heals for 20-25% of the amount prevented). Also, here are my paragon points at this time:

Mainly keeping with the themes of more attack speed, sustain, and some other defensive stats. Overall I have found this build to work really well for me. Perhaps it will work well for you too.

Season 5 Journey


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.


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.


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:


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.

Screenshot007 Screenshot010

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:


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.

Season’s Journey

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


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.


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.


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.