Diablo 3 Crafting Strategy: The New Archon ItemsPosted 19 February 2013by
There’s been a lot of excitement about the new Archon crafting recipes in v1.07, and many players have crafted themselves item upgrades by now, generally for a lot less than the millions it would have cost to buy a similar upgrade on the Auction House. You can even make items better than anything otherwise available in the game, with some luck on your roll… assuming you know which items to create. Whether you’re enjoying the gambling-like experience of making your own gear, or you don’t care and have already added Demonic Essence to your (long) list of, “Rare drops to ignore,” it’s worth knowing which crafting recipes are the best, or give the best odds of an upgrade.
There are a lot of factors to consider when planning your crafting. Some of the biggest include:
- What item slot does your class/character most need to upgrade?
- How do the potential Crafted items compare to the best rares/legendaries?
- What’s your budget?
- How do you value DPS vs. EHP?
The last point there deserves some more conversation, since it varies a lot by player and character. In theory, especially for Monks and Barbs (and all classes Hardcore) survival stats, including Vitality, matter. You can largely blow off Vit and Resistance with a Demon Hunter, but those stats are much more important for melee fighters, so when you’re looking at gear for those classes, you should be adding up the total mainstat + vitality when you’re considering the value. Obviously other mods matter, especially offensive ones like Attack Speed (AS), Critical hit chance (CC), Critical hit damage (CD), and so on, but all things being equal (which they never are) an item with +150 mainstat and +130 vit *should* be more valuable than one with 180 mainstat and 50 vitality. (Since it’s 280 vs 230 in total stat bonus, which is basically like adding a free socket to your gear.)
That said, it’s not illogical to value Mainstat more than Vit, for most characters. Your average softcore end game character has something like 2000-2500 mainstat vs. 800-1200 vitality, and that’s perfectly sensible in most Diablo 3 situations. The best defense is a good offense. Killing monsters before they can hurt you is almost always a sound strategy. Just don’t get so hypnotized by the e-peen nature of higher DPS that you overvalue mainstat at the expense of vit or resistance or other survival stats. Upgrading your bracers to let you kill .4% faster is nice, but adding 5k hps and never dying again is even better, even if you’re softcore.
Diablo 3 Item Affix Info
To value the items, you need to know something about how item affixes are generated in Diablo 3. Since the game is online only fans haven’t been able to crack open the code and understand every nuance and bug (as we did in Diablo 2), but you don’t need to know everything for this study, which is good since I’m writing it and I certainly don’t. The key info is knowing which affixes are most useful, which affixes can appear on which item types, and the maximum values possible from them. This varies by item and class, and an illustrative example comes from the Shoulders slot.
Rare shoulders work like most item types in Diablo 3; there are affixes that add to a single stat, and affixes that add to two stats at once. Both can roll on the same Rare (or sometimes in the random affixes on a Legendary) adding up to a nice big total bonus. Every affix varies by item type and item level, but to keep things simple look at Dexterity on armor, which is easy with the DiabloNut affixes calculator.
The highest value affixes are “Valiant,” which adds +[30-100] Dex AND Vit, and “of pain” which adds +[90-100] Dexterity. You can get *both* of those stats on most types of armor, which is why the highest possible Dexterity on *Rare* Shoulders, Chest, Pants, Bracers, etc, is 200. (Individual +dex affixes go up to 200 on boots and gloves, hence 300 Dex is the max there.) You can find legendaries with higher values, but they generally work the way the new Crafted Archon items work; some inherent affix that’s higher than any single +stat modifier on a Rare, which can be added to by the “Valiant” type affix that adds [30-100] Vit + Mainstat, but *not* by the +single attribute affix. (There are exceptions, as covered below.)
So, Shoulders. The highest possible Dex or Int on Rare shoulders is 200, from a single affix that adds +100 Dex or Int, and another affix that adds +100 to Vit + Int/Dex. (Some items also have affixes that add Str+Dex, Dex+Int, and Str+Int also, but I’ll just mention Vit ones in this article since those are desirable.) The highest possible Str on shoulders is 300, since there’s a +200 Strength affix on shoulders which adds to the +100 Vit + Str affix. Why? Barbs have strong shoulders, apparently, and the Diablo 3 designers did put some variety/interest into the items game. (There are other examples; Rare gloves go up to 300 Dex/Int but only 200 Str, Rare Boots go up to 300 Dex but only 200 Str/Int, etc.)
Generally with Legendaries and always with the new Crafted items, it’s impossible to roll a +mainstat that’s the same as a single inherent mainstat bonus. Which is why you don’t see Vile Wards with 500 Strength, or 400 Dex/Int. The +170-200 Mainstat affix usually precludes an affix with a bonus to just that same attribute rolling on the same item. (This rule applies to most types of mods, which is why you never see double rolls of Res All or Critical Chance, etc, on items with those affixes inherently.)
This is why Vile Ward shoulders are almost always the BiS for Int or Dex classes, but might not be for Barbs. Vile Wards get +[170-200] to one Mainstat, which can add to the +[30-100] Vit+Mainstat affix for up to 300 to Str/Dex/Int, which is 100 more than Rares can get for Int or Dex, but equivalent to the Str on rare shoulders.
So, bearing those rules in mind, look at the new Crafted Archon shoulders.
You can craft them with an inherent bonus of +[201-230] to any stat, and hope to also roll the Mainstat+Vit affix, or a bonus to another individual attribute. The inherent affix replaces the +Mainstat random affix, which is 200 for Str but only 100 for Vit/Int/Dex. Thus, to quote CrazyJim’s wise observation from comments on our recent Crafted Item Strategy post:
Since Rare shoulders can roll 300 Str, crafting the Vitality ones for a Barb is actually better. The best Str crafted Archon shoulders would roll 330 str/200 vit. Best Vit archon would roll 300 str/330 vit.
Note that this is *not* true for Dex or Int shoulders, since they can only roll up to 100 to a single affix + another 100 Vit+Str for 200 total. Of course you might roll Vitality shoulders all day without ever getting any with a huge bonus to Strength (or Dex or Int), while you can guarantee ever single one has huge Strength if you craft that recipe… but if you’re looking for a potential BiS type item, you want the most possible value from your mainstat + vitality, and that makes the Vitality Archon crafts a good idea in several instances.
So, let’s consider each item slot individually. Click through for that.
(TLDR: Shoulders are a spectacular opportunity and Bracers are very good as well, if you can use other gear to offset Lacuni’s dual faster. Chest, Amulet, and Gloves can also upgrade any character, but you’ll need a really good roll to make them work.)
Read the rest of the Diablo 3 Crafting Strategy after the break.
We’ll start with Chest Armor, since it’s the hardest to evaluate. It’s not that crafted chest armor sucks — it’s that there are so many alternatives.
There are six Item Set chest pieces with great stats in Diablo 3. My Barb wears an IK chest, my WD wears a Zuni’s, my DH wears a Nat’s, my Monk wears an Inna’s, and my Wizard is wearing a Cindercoat, but would go for a Tal’s armor to match her hat and amulet if Tal’s partial set bonuses weren’t worthless. And I didn’t even mention the BK chest.
All of those Set chest armors have 3 sockets inherently, plus other good stats, plus partial set bonuses if you’ve got other items from the set equipped. Thus it’s really hard to compare them vs. Rares vs. the new Crafted Archon chest pieces, since it’s so dependent on the other gear on your character. But just to get it done, here are the maximum potential mainstat and vitality values for the new Crafted armors vs. existing armors.
So, rares and various of the Set chest armors can get up to 200 to Str/Dex/Int, and all of them and Rares can get up to 300 Vitality. So that’s basically 200 Mainstat + 300 Vit = 500 total stat. Pretty good, but that’s theoretical. Items with these rolls don’t actually exist and if they did you couldn’t afford them. For instance, the highest stat value of any Immortal Kings Eternal Reign right now in the Americas GAH is 193 Str/ 285 Vit, and it’s selling for 2 trillion gold.
So what can the crafted Archon Armors do?
Archon Armor of Vit/Dex/Str/Int: 150,000 gold + 1 Demonic Essence + 2 Tomes of Secret
Like I said in the intro, you really have to factor in the other mods on the Set and Legendary armors, partial set bonuses, etc. But just on raw potential stats, the Archon Dex/Str/Int armors look pretty interesting. You need 2 affixes with fantastic seeds to get anything near the max stats, and then you’d probably need sockets and All Res from the other random properties to match up to the Item Set armors, but that’s not out of the question. It would take a lot of rolls, but when you consider that any of the Item Set chests with even 400 total stat (and 3 sockets) are going to cost you 100,000,000 or more, possibly rolling 500 or 600 on a Crafted chest, with other good mods, is intriguing.
Just don’t forget that it’s only for you; no trading or selling (or recouping production costs) of these crafted items because they’re all BoA.
The Gloves are an interesting case, since Rare gloves can roll up to 300 Dex/Int, but only up to 200 Str. What can you find on Rares and Legendaries currently?
It’s both difficult and pointless to figure the highest possible attributes from gloves since none of the Legendary gloves can get their highest roll to Mainstat and Vit at the same time (not enough random modifier slots), and you don’t really want that anyway since you’d rather spend the random modifier slots on on affixes like Attack Speed, Critical hit Chance, and Critical hit Damage.
That said, Tasker and Theo roll 40-50 to all Attributes inherently, to which you could add up to 200 Dex/Int, + another 100 Dex/Int for a total of 350 Dex/Int + 150 Vit = 500 total stat, plus a socket. (There’s a pair in the US GAH now with 318 Int/144 Vit for 100m gold, so the theory seems to match reality. But realize that there’s no CC or CD on those gloves, so they are far from the best gloves by performance.)
So what’s the best Archon Gauntlet to craft?
Archon Gauntlets of Vit/Str/Int/Dex: 50k gold + 20 Iridescent Tears (yellow) + 5 Tomes of Secret + 1 Demonic Essence
Those max totals all spend 3 of the 5 random modifiers just to build stats, which means these are already *not* the best gloves, since every class wants the Trifecta stats on a pair of gloves. Furthemore, while you can get decent vitality on gloves, it’s not really on many player’s wishlist since there are much more valuable offensive stats to be had. For this reason I’d advise against crafting Vitality gloves, since that only leaves you 5 random modifiers to get the quadfecta affixes you really want, Mainstat, AS, CC, and CD. If you got it though, you could get (arguably) the best glove possible:
So yeah, a trifecta with 630 stat would be pretty nice. The biggest stats I see on gloves with a trifecta on the US GAH right now has 201 Dex/132 Vit, which isn’t even 350 total stat.
Str vs. Int/Dex? Gauntlets
In theory you’re getting 100 points more value rolling Strength Gauntlets than Dex/Int. That calculation is skewed by the IK Gloves though, since they roll up to 200 Str inherently (and big CC) and can thus roll up to 300 Str. (But not with a trifecta since you need to stick CD and AS on the two random modifiers, rather than +strength.)
On the whole I’d say roll Str/Dex/Int gloves depending on which of your chars needs them the most. Or you can roll Vit gloves and hope for miraculous luck on the random modifiers? That’s obviously a better idea if you have characters of every class, or at least of all three mainstats, so you can use your miracle Vitality Gauntlet roll whether it comes up Str, Dex, or Int. Or maybe you’ll get a trifecta without any mainstat, and be able to use them on any class? (There are 8 pairs of gloves on the US GAH right now with a trifecta and at least 140 Vit, and all of them cost at least 80m, and all of them have at least something to a mainstat.)
I mentioned Shoulders in the intro so I’ll try to be briefer here. Shoulders are an unusual item slot since there’s really only one Legendary and no Sets of any use, and Vile Wards don’t have any stats that can’t appear on Rare shoulders such as AS, CC, CD, etc. (Though the Int/Dex values can go a lot higher.)
BTW, did you know that the original patch tease said we’d get new crafted items for Amulet, Chest Armor, Gloves, Bracers, and Pants. Yes, Pants. Not Shoulders. Wonder why they changed that? Possibly since there are a lot of good Set/Legendary options for pants, but only Vile Ward for shoulders?
At any rate, the highest possible stat values for shoulders are:
A pretty boring list, and note that you can not get very much Vitality on any of these, and that it costs a fricking fortune if you do. The cheapest Vile Ward in the Americas GAH right now, with 250 Mainstat and 90 Vitality, is 45m for Int, 75m for Dex, and 60m for Str. You can save some gold going with a Rare shoulders, but not much. 250 Str, 150 Vit, 60 All Res will cost you at least 40m. Even a pretty good Vile Ward, with say 220 Dex/Int and 80 Vit, will cost you at least 20-30m on the US GAH, and much more elsewhere.
Given those prices, I’m going to say that crafting Archon Shoulders is a fantastic opportunity. Check out the kind of stats you can get:
Archon Shoulders of Vit/Str/Int/Dex: 75k gold + 10 Tomes of Secret + 1 Demonic Essence
Make them. Make them now.
Note the prices I quoted on Vile Wards. It’ll cost you at least 50m for a Vile Ward with 350 total stat (Mainstat + Vit), and these crafted recipes can easily roll 500+ total stats, and still have 3 other random modifiers. Better yet, Vile Wards don’t have any stats you can’t get on these. How many crafts would it take you to create some shoulders with 250 mainstat, 280 vit, 70 All Res, +Armor, and life regen? Basically a rare Vile Ward with VASTLY higher vitality? I don’t know, but I bet the materials would run you a fraction of the 1 trillion gold it would cost to buy a Vile Ward with less than half that much Vitality.
Still not convinced? I made 10 Archon Shoulders of Vitality last night, none rolled with more than 2 good mods, and several of them were *still* almost upgrades over the 5-8m Vile Wards most of my chars are wearing. The best can be seen to the right, equipped on my Barb, with a comparison to current GAH prices (17-40m) for the highest Str/Vit possible on rare shoulders, which is considerably less than the crafted ones. The ones I made, with 262 Str/298 Vit and nothing else, would be worth a fortune now if they weren’t BoA. If those had even a decent amount of Res All they’d already be arguably better than a 500m Vile Ward, and like I just said… they’re not even a good roll!
Seriously, roll your own and be quick to sell off your Vile Wards before everyone realizes how obsolete those formerly BiS Legendary shoulders have become.
Below you can see a few others I made last night below. None are upgrades, but you can see how they compare (pretty well) to the Vile Wards my Monk is wearing.
Bracers are an interesting debate since while they’ve got vastly higher stat potential than any current Bracers, they can’t do the Faster Run and Attack Speed that you get with Lacuni Prowlers. Lacunis don’t fare well on the highest possible stats where Strongarm Bracers dominate:
And here’s what you can make with the new Archon Razorspikes crafting options:
Archon Bracers of Vit/Str/Int/Dex: 50k gold + 30 Exquisite Essence (blue) + 5 Tomes of Secret + 1 Demonic Essence
The biggest total stats on any current Rare bracers are a fraction of that. Strongarms can go up to 270 mainstat + 100 Vit, Rares can get up to 200 mainstat + 200 Vit, and so can Lacunis in theory, though you’d never want that since it would spend all 3 random mods and preclude rolling CC on them.
Bracers seem like another excellent place to roll new Crafted recipes, especially since Critical hit Chance is the only really mandatory affix for the slot. The Archon Razorspikes can *easily* go as high or higher on Str/Dex/Int than any existing Bracer, and when you pair that with 2 or 3 other good random affixes you’ve got quite an improvement.
The only real debate is how much you’ll miss the AS and MS of a good Lacuni. The AS can be offset by sheer volume; 150 more mainstat would probably add more to your DPS than +[8-9] Attack Speed, and you only benefit from up to 25% movement speed from equipment, so faster run boots paired with Inna’s Pants or any of the other Movement Speed boosting legendary or set items (I compiled a full list in an article back in December.) can make up for that. And since Lacunis with good offensive rolls don’t add any resistance or vitality or other survival stats, a good crafted Archon Razorspikes will probably do you more good on the whole than any current Bracer in the game.
The last item type to consider is another one for much debate. I was most interested in making Amulets when the recipes were first revealed, but now that I’ve given them all consideration, this one looks like a fairly long shot. Yes, a good amulet is incredibly costly (I recently found a great upgrade for my Monk that’s far from perfect but still worth 150-200m to replace/upgrade.) but it’s also incredibly hard to produce with multiple affixes required, and there are a LOT of possible modifiers on amulets, making the odds very long that you’ll roll 3 or 4 good ones in the 5 random.
Here are the max stats on current amulets:
Here’s the new recipe and what it can produce.
Amulet of Vit/Str/Int/Dex: 100k gold + 1 Fiery Brimstone + 1 Demonic Essence + 1 Perfect Square gem (type corresponds to the stat)
Mara’s rolls with inherent +[84-89] to all 4 attributes and it’s possible to get both types of affix to boost the stats on top of that, which means that the biggest possible stats on a Mara’s would be enormous: up to 439 to any of the two stats, not just mainstat and Vit. That’s 878 in total stat, plus up to 89 to the other two stats. Or for the biggest possible I guess you’d want the 150 to 2 stats twice, plus another 200 to one stat, which would give you um… 89 + 150 to all, + 200 to a 4th = 239 + 239 + 239 + 439 = 1156 in total stat bonus. (Assuming all 3 of those affixes can all spawn on the same Mara’s, which might not be possible.)
No such amulet exists! The biggest two stat Mara’s I see US GAH right now is a 342 Dex/378 Str, which had to cause the guy who found it to curse for a solid minute. There’s also a 393 Dex/321 Vit, which at least sort of works. That said, these are all intellectual exercises since since the trifecta stats are generally more valuable than higher attributes. (And Mara’s doesn’t get any of those inherently, though it does have All Res at least.)
Other Legendary amulet options are the BK Amulet and Tal’s Amulet, both of which have good stats, 2 random modifiers, and 1 one part of the trifecta inherently.
Beyond that, most players are using Rares with as many offensive stats as possible, especially Critical hit Chance (1-10%) and Critical Hit Damage (1-100%), since those roll huge on amulets. Mainstat and Vit are nice on Amulets, but the trifecta stats are the really sought mods, and none of the Crafted Amulets offer those.
So should you craft amulets? You could try it, but these are almost pure gambles. Your results are likely to be indistinguishable from a Rare amulet, aside from being Account Bound, and there’s no weighting towards or away from any of the Int/Dex/Str attributes. As most players want offensive stats on their amulet maybe you want to roll your attribute of choice, but since you can get up to 200 in a single affix bonus to any stat, it’s kind of a waste to spend your inherent bonus to add +[201-230] when you might almost get that much anyway. (Bit like rolling the Strength Shoulders, except that Barbs *really* want Str on shoulders, while +mainstat isn’t at the top of anyone’s list on an Amulet.)
I’m open to counter arguments about Amulet crafting, but at this point I wouldn’t really recommend it unless you’re feeling very lucky, or you’ve already upgraded your Bracers and Shoulders, since those seem much better bets to improve with Crafting. (On the other hand, check out that sample to the right. Trillion gold item there… but just because someone else wins the lottery does that mean you should go play?
If you want more crafting, check out the Crafting item show off thread. It’s where the Amulet you see to the right came from, courtesy of Katniss, and there are plenty of other excellent results to drool over.