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Diablo 3 Strategy: Gearing Up for the New and Poor

One day soon, you will be penniless.

One day soon, you will be penniless.

A forum question from VeeSe spurred an interesting forum discussion; what’s the best way to gear up for a new player in Reaper of Souls? It’s largely a hypothetical question for most of us now, but that’ll change when Patch 2.1 goes live and and Ladder Seasons begin. If you create a seasonal character you start with nothing; no gold, no materials, no gems, no gear, paragon points, no leveled up artisans… you’ll even be scrounging for gold to buy your stash tabs!

Here’s the question from VeSee in our Diablo 3 community forum. Diablo 3 Strategy: Gearing Up for the New and Poor?

I was just wondering what the best way to build wealth was for someone who was new and didn’t have great items yet. I read a lot of these threads and guides and the recommended items are just so far out of reach, like I don’t have any of them pretty much. I have one character up to 70 but he’s not strong enough to really do anything besides Normal bounties and rifts.

Is the best way of building wealth just to keep grinding bounties and the occasional rifting in Normal? I’m at the point now where if I try to enchant a legendary I have, I better get it in 2-3 tries because I don’t have the materials to keep going after that and I have to grind for awhile to get enough to try again a couple times, and that doesn’t seem too productive. I’m still expecting the answer to be just to keep grinding bounties since they are the most rewards per time spent and at some point it will exponentially get better once I am able to get to do Torment rifts or something.

So what’s the best way to go about it? Where are the fastest places to level, what are the best ways to find gear, and where can you earn the most gold?

RoS =/= D3v

Considering the question made me to realize how much different the answer is in the current version of the game, whether Reaper of Souls or D3v2. Back in D3v the best way to gear up was via the Auction House (though that would have been different if we’d had seasons then). I spent my first couple months of D3 playing softcore, and when I switched over to Hardcore the best way to gear up was… to grind Act One Inferno on MP0 and collect gems and Tomes of Secret, which sold for very large amounts of gold in the Auction House. I could play a dozen hours like that and find 1 or 2 good items, while earning enough gold to buy good items for all my other inventory slots. (Which is why going DiabloWikiIronborn in D3v was such a bold commitment.)

That economic model is entirely gone in the game today. Not only is the Auction House gone, but everything you find that might be worth selling is BoA. Hell, even the gold itself is BoA. On the other hand, you find good gear about 50x as often as we did in D3v, which was the whole point in Blizzard making those changes. Because it’s more fun to farm your own gear and use only what you find yourself, than it is (was) to find gear and sell it for the gear you really wanted. (At least that’s the theory.)

Reaper of Souls Gear-Up Tips

So for the OP’s question… there’s no simple, obvious answer, but it’s interesting to consider. The overall key to gearing up in RoS is difficulty level. In D3v players needed a lot of DiabloWikiMagic Find to start finding a decent amount of legendary items, and characters could boost their MF by raising the difficulty level, and/or via Paragon Levels + gear. In the current game, MF is pretty much irrelevant, and almost all increased gear benefits come from higher difficulty level. Thus the question, “how do I gear up past level 70?” is really asking, “how do I survive on higher difficulty levels past level 70?”

Some question suggestions:

Stick to one Character
Smart Loot means that most of the gear you find will be themed for your class. That means regular upgrades, and also more Souls, since you’ll be salvaging redundant gear, rather than spreading legendaries around to multiple different characters. Plus with all the game rewards tied to difficulty level, you can get one character up in Torment and build wealth quickly… then your alts can gear up very quickly with plenty of Souls and Shards at their disposal.

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Ring of Royal Grandeur Farming Exploit?

You want? You take!

You want? You take!

The DiabloWikiRing of Royal Grandeur (armory) has become the most sought after item in Diablo 3, as its legendary affix is basically mandatory for all end game gearing decisions, given the power of partial Item Set bonuses. The hard part is finding one, as it’s one of the five legendary items that can only be obtained from Act One Horadric Caches. This is good in a way, as it’s the sole remaining item/profit-based reason players have to do *anything* other than RiftRiftRift. (Given the game’s design direction in recent months, I’m frankly surprised the RoRG hasn’t been turned into a Greater Rift Guardian drop.)

Most players hunt RoRGs with brute force, by grinding hundreds of Act One bounties as quickly as possible, which usually means split-farming on Normal difficulty. That’ll work, eventually, but is there a better way? A user in our Diablo 3 community forum named Horadrimm says yes, there’s a trick to it, by following a method players are calling the “Junger Rules.” Quote:

I got 5 RORGS with very minimal effort and so can you!!

How it works: The game has a pity timer, meaning that if you don’t get a legendary within an hour or so it drops one for you automatically. The goal the aforementioned method of farming is to ensure that pity drop is in your horadric cache and not in the world.

What to do:

  • Do not kill any mobs except those required for objectives.
  • Do not kill goblins.
  • Do not open chests including resplendent chests.
  • Do not destroy breakables (pots, barrels, looting bodies etc).
  • Do not pop fortune shrines.
  • Do not kill mobs from required cursed chest and shrine event objectives until the timer has run out.
  • Avoiding a legendary drop in the world increases the chance the pity timer drops one in your cache.

    First off, the guy who invented this was apparently named Junger, so now it’s called the “Junger Rules.” Which is fine, but how the hell did they avoid the obvious pun and call it the “Junger Games?” So that’s what I’m calling it, since I’m all about obvious puns.

    As for the technique, the theory is that since the game has a “pity timer” that increases your chances of finding a legendary item the longer you go without finding one, you can exploit this by obtaining a Horadric Cache after not finding any Legendaries for some time. Hence not killing Goblins, not opening golden chests, avoiding random Elites, etc. This is a sacrifice since it’ll lower your total legendaries found, but boost your chances of finding that all-important RoRG.

    Does it work? Some players swear it does, others say it doesn’t. And thus we’re plunged back into the conspiracy theories that are inevitably spawned by item hunting in a game where we don’t know exactly how item drops work. I think the principle is sound, as the pity timer is real, but I’m not at all sure the stated rules are how it should be done.

    First of all, we don’t know when items in a Horadric Cache are determined. The Junger Gamers say the legendary pity timer works when you find the Cache, but that seems contrary to what we know about how Horadric Caches determine their item drops. Remember early in RoS, when players were storing Caches up in Normal and opening them on Torment 6? That was a real exploit, easily observed since it caused Imperial Gems to drop from Caches found in Normal. (Which made it seem that items in Caches were determined when the Cache was opened. NOT when it was found.)

    Blizzard confirmed that exploit by hotfixing it and adding an internal tag to unopened Caches that tracked what DiabloWikidifficulty level they were found on, and the level of the character that farmed them. (So if you find bags with a lvl 70 and open with a lvl 60, all the items will be lvl 70.) Bliz later expanded on that in Patch 2.0.5 when they boosted the chances for legendary items to drop from Caches found on Torment 2 and higher.

    Furthermore, Bliz recently confirmed that items from Caches roll their smart drop according to the class of the character that opens the cache. It doesn’t matter who farms the cache in terms of what items drop. That matches my experience and testing as well, as I once farmed a bunch of caches with my DH and my Barb, and then opened them with a WD and got almost all INT gear, plus several Witch Doctor-restricted items.

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    Monster Density Changes in the new Patch

    Posted 7 Feb 2014 by

    Some good discussion about the latest changes to build density in Reaper of Souls and D3 on the PTR. Let’s start with the patch notes, which mentioned the issue thusly:

  • Monster Density has been revisited across Acts I-IV

  • Players should now encounter smaller packs of monsters less frequently
  • Act I has received density retuning to be more challenging at higher levels
  • Nevalistis fleshed out those bullet points with some explanation in a forum post, and stirred quite the controversy:

    The intent is that smaller packs are less likely to chain together. They still exist, but are less frequent. It’s an improvement to pacing, and you should run into “empty” areas less frequently now.

    Here’s an idea. How about we just go back to 1.08 levels, when it felt right? Why mess with something that wasn’t broken?
    Nevalistis: 1.0.8′s density change was an interesting beast that ended up solving some problems, and then creating a few more in its wake.

    The benefit of increasing density in 1.0.8 was that the world felt less empty and, based on feedback we received, combat became super action-packed. There was plenty to kill, and it kept you moving. There were *assumes Buzz Lightyear pose* monsters, monsters everywhere. In terms of raw gameplay and personal fun factor, we loved the result and definitely enjoyed the increased density when playing ourselves.

    The downside to increasing 1.0.8 density, however, was two-fold. First, it landed an unfortunate blow to build diversity, encouraging a very specific style of play (AoE or bust). Based on all the data we pulled, build variety narrowed quite quickly – even now, you can see the effects with Archon, WW, Zero Dogs, and other similar builds trumping almost everything. Overall, increased density led to much less interesting game play (for the game as a whole), even if it may have been super fun on the surface. Second, by adding a boatload of more monsters, server performance took a hit, which some of you may or may not have experienced.

    This is why we originally lowered density. We realize we may have turned the density dial down too low, though, and that’s what these recent changes are about – and really what PTR is all about too. We want pacing in the game to feel good, but without the additional technical or build diversity issues. We want to open up a greater variety of ways to play the game, and this is one of many steps we’ve taken to achieve that. Density is one of these things we can continue to evaluate and tweak, and we have every intention of doing that. We won’t, however, be returning 1.0.8 levels, but there’s likely a sweet spot somewhere in between.

    The real issue, I think, is rewards. In the live game the areas with higher density are the most rewarding, since many builds can demolish infinite numbers of trash mobs in a blink. This leads (forces?) everyone to play builds focused mostly on AoE. But if the game’s reward structure changes along with the density, then more types of play are viable. Players are complaining about less density, but they’re really worried about a (perceived?) loss in rewards.

    How do you want to play Diablo 3?

    What kind of monster density do you want in Diablo 3?

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    Click through for a lot more, with additional blue posts and related discussion about changes to density and play incentives.

    In discussion over the last year, the way I’ve come to think about the game’s changes is that v1.08 was basically “density 1.5.” Something the devs put in to improve the play experience, but as a short term fix while their main development efforts went into the big Diablo 2.0 changes, which we’re now seeing on the PTR and in the RoS beta. The analogy is to the Diablo 3 console’s loot system, which we initially thought of as Loot 2.0, but soon realized was just Loot 1.5, with the main fixes and improvements coming in terms of moremoreMOAR, without any real added depth or features. (Those came in Loot 2.0 on the PTR and in RoS beta.)

    On the issue of Monster Density and how it incentivized player behavior, here’s what Wyatt Cheng said when I interviewed him and Josh Mosqueira last year on the DiabloWikiDiablo 3 Podcast.

    Flux: So it seems like there’s nothing you guys can do with a single target skill that’s ever going to make it viable in a game where there are 100 enemies on the screen at once?

    Wyatt Cheng: I think that an unfortunately side effect of the monster density increase is that it devalues single target skills. What are we doing to do about that? Well, something we’ve talked about, and I stress that we mean a lot when we say “talked about.” But what we’ve talked about is that in a given level there are portions that are dense and portions where single target matters more. We like higher monster density, but maybe we don’t need the player to be surrounded by 100 monsters all the time.

    You mentioned it could be used for Ubers. Well, maybe we can create a gameplay experience that has a lot of variety to it, so in a single ten minute play session, you’d have need for single target skills as well as AoE skills. So we’re looking into that.

    That’s basically the message the Blue CMs are giving us now, and here’s Nevalistis this morning:

    Holy misinterpretation, Batman! I think I might need to clarify a sentence in my original post, because it’s been misquoted quite a lot. Apologies for potentially giving some of you the wrong impression. Hopefully I can make amends. :)

    First up, monster density was not lowered or nerfed in the latest Beta/PTR patch. In fact, it was more or less buffed compared to where it was at when Closed Beta launched. With this last Beta/PTR patch, pacing has been improved and, although there are fewer mobs spawning now compared to 1.0.8, individual monster rewards have been adjusted and monster kill experience has been greatly increased. We definitely heard player feedback from the PTR and Beta about density levels and have made changes which should help address some of the concerns we were seeing. Our goal is to still have monster slaughter be rewarding and engaging (contrary to popular belief, we actually do want you to have fun!) while also avoiding many of the technical and mechanical issues introduced in 1.0.8. There are many parts of the whole experience to consider aside from a simple monster count and our goal is find a good balance.

    As always, if you have feedback regarding these changes, I encourage you to try out the current PTR build and leave us feedback in the applicable forum.

    Monster density in the new patch is definitely better than what it was before. Still not ideal in my mind, but better for sure. There is not as much downtime between combat encounters. However, there are some areas that could use some additional tweaking like Festering Woods. Hopefully you folks will continue making adjustments until it’s just right as it’s not quite there yet.
    Lylirra: Glad to hear it! If you’ve got additional specific areas in mind (i.e. Festering Woods), let us know. Knowing what areas in particular feel like an outlier to you is actually super helpful in this regard.

    As I said earlier, I think the issue isn’t mob density so much as the rewards given. Huge hordes of enemies are very fun, but I think more fun when they are a special treat that only appears occasionally, rather than a constant state of affairs. (As in the live game today, where it feels like only the few most-dense areas are worth playing.) The bigger issue then, is rewards gained from playing. Players love the thickest packs of monsters, especially in v1.08+ Diablo 3, since that’s where you get the most EXP and items. Hence everyone adjusts their play style to be most effective against giant groups of enemies, and lots of builds and skills and procs feed into that play style.

    But what if the devs tweaked the game so that the biggest hordes weren’t always the most profitable? So that you were incentivized to play more areas (via Bounties) and that areas with fewer enemies were more rewarding? This would mean cutting the rewards from huge hordes of trash mobs, but let’s be honest… those are actually the easiest places to play, for most builds. With constant targets all your buffs stay active, everything’s proc’ing like mad, there are tons of health orbs dropping, etc.

    For the sort of changes that we’re getting in the game today, consider Act Four. That act has most of the hardest types of monsters in the game, but much less overall density. So for the past year+ many fans have been saying, “why not make those big guys that much more rewarding, to create an approximately equal value to easy trash mob areas?” After all, in the live game today it’s much tougher to battle through a level full of off-screen charging angels, meteor dropping Morlus, disappearing Terror summoners, etc, vs. effortlessly snowplowing through the endless helpless trash zombies you find in the Decaying Crypt. So why should that Act One punchingbag dungeon style of play be 5x more valuable than something that’s actually challenging?

    And now, in D3v2 and RoS… it’s not.