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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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    Diablo 3 Monster Density and Farming: Problems and Solutions

    Posted 6 Jan 2013 by

    One of the main requests fans make is to see more useful areas for item and experience farming in Diablo 3. This was one of the complaints in the Top Ten Fixes article we posted yesterday, and since it’s something I’ve read about and discussed in the past, here’s an article presenting some of the problems and a few potential fixes to the issue.

    First of all, what’s the problem? Why are some areas of Act Three so much better to play (and play, and play and replay) than anything else in the game? They’re better since they’re much more profitable, and there’s really no debating that. If you don’t agree you are wrong are probably not *really* be farming yet. I say that from experience, since I didn’t fully notice the differences between the acts until somewhat recently, as I upgraded my characters into more kick ass function.

    When you’re just playing through the levels at a reasonable pace, working up some MF, picking up most of the Rares you find, etc, you don’t really notice it. You might think you’re farming at that point, but it’s not until you really get geared up, strap on a Hellfire Ring, and decide to seriously grind some exp, that the difference in farming potential becomes completely clear.

    When you’re playing in that style, there are two features of Act Three that the other acts are completely lacking. 1) High monster density, and 2) good level layout.

    Monster Density

    This is the obvious difference, and if you don’t notice the huge numbers of skeletons in the Keep and scorpions in the Arreat Crater levels, you haven’t been playing very long. Those areas aren’t just cannon fodder hordes, but those dumpsters full of trash mobs makes them the most profitable places for experience in the game. They’re great for item hunting as well, both from the trash monsters and from the bosses that abound.

    That said, the bosses aren’t that intense; I don’t think anywhere in Act Three pops more bosses in a small area than the Vault of the Assassin in Act 2, but the difference is that lots of Act 3 is that good, while only that one dungeon in Act 2 can compare.

    So could Act One and Two become comparable to Act 3 just by doubling or tripling the number of monsters? No, for two reasons; 1) it would mess up the aesthetics of the level/monster layout, and 2) the layout of the Act 1 & 2 levels would still be a problem.

    Click through for level layout issues and solutions to fix this problem.

    Level Layout Issues

    This is a slightly more subtle issue than the monster numbers, and it’s also harder to fix.

    If you’ve not really noticed this problem, you will when you begin serious, high-speed farming. I didn’t really notice it myself until fairly recently, when I got some characters up into the high MF/high DPS range and began playing to optimize my gains.

    (If you’re not *really* farming yet, here’s how it goes. You know how you think you’re playing pretty fast, moving quickly to collect the gold, not wasting much time on IDing or trips to town, and how you only kite once in a while, and how you’re not that much slower than the really fast farmers? You are wrong. I thought that and I was wrong. When you play with enough DPS to one-shot everything, with at least 24% faster run, with added faster run from skills, without touching chests, don’t bother picking up gold, only pick up maybe 1/100th of the items that drop, it makes an amazing difference. Your exp gain doubles. Easily. Maybe triples. And issues with level layout and monster density become very much more apparent.)

    An ideal level layout for fast farming is something like the Fields of Slaughter, or especially the Tower of the Damned 1. Neither level is all that profitable for gear, and the Fields of Slaughter is actually pretty poor on boss density — generally there are only 2 or 3 bosses there and it’s quite a large area. But since both levels are basically circular in shape (the Tower of the Damned 1 is literally round) they can be cleaned out very quickly.

    This is most true for classes who like to be swarmed, such as Barbs or Monks (some WD and Wiz builds also) who just race around and get everything to come to them, for ease of disposal. The Tower of the Damned 1 makes it so clear, since that level basically sucks for bosses (just 2 usually, sometimes only 1), there’s never a resplendent chest, very few regular chests, and there isn’t a very high monster density for the area. It’s actually a crappy level for people playing “normally.” But when you’re going high speed farming and just racing around the circle, it’s great since all the monsters flock to you and you can clear the whole thing in a minute or two.

    On level design, it’s useful to compare Tower of the Damned 1, which is in almost everyone’s DiabloWikiAlkaizer Run, to Tower of the Cursed level 1. That’s a much less popular farming level, despite being about the same size as Damned 1. I actually prefer Cursed 1 with my Demon Hunter, since it’s a short spiral without all the side paths of Tower/Cursed 1 (those suck with a Demon Hunter since there are witches and fallen and other junk off to the sides and you don’t get a good field of fire), and it’s mostly stocked with large targets that are very easy to shoot, and there are usually 2-3 bosses. But the total number of monsters is much lower since it’s only one path, instead of two side by side, and you can’t run around it quickly and get back to the waypoint, so it’s a much less useful “run” level for most classes. My Monk and Barb and WD don’t go there at all, when they’re running.

    Another useful comparison is Arreat Crater 1 vs. Arreat Crater 2. AC2 is one of the “always” levels in Alkaizer Runs, while AC1 is much less played. Why not? I wondered that when I was first getting into running, since the monster types and variety seemed very similar between the levels. Once I was doing them repeatedly though, and at high speed, the lower density of AC1 (there are big packs, but more dead zones between them) became evident. And more to the point, AC1 has a lot of long dead ends and empty passages. It’s farmable if you make the right turns, or just TP back to town if you get to a dead end, but when you’re going high speed for experience, any delay is a problem.

    And that’s the whole problem with Acts 1 and 2… they’re lower on monster density, but more blatant is their terrible level layout. Not terrible in terms of playability or functionality, but they suck for farming since they’re full of dead ends. There are good areas — some of the surface zones can be traversed quickly just looking for bosses — but there’s nothing approaching the exp from monster density you get in Act Three. And much of Acts 1 and 2 is simply useless for fast farming; all those long, narrow corridors in the Cathedral and Leoric’s dungeons are a waste of time and Act 2 is even worse with the numerous sewer levels and the endless long and empty hallways in Zoltan Kulle’s fourteen themed dungeons.

    I haven’t even mentioned Act 4 since it’s bad on both scores. The only areas that are even sort of farmable are the Silver Spire levels 1 and 2, but both are fairly small, the monster density is low, there are almost no cannon fodder exp feasts, and the monsters that are there are huge, slow killing, and actually dangerous for characters who aren’t super geared up. If anyone has some suggestions on making Act 4 more playable that are at all doable; i.e. they do not require a complete rebuild of the levels and the monsters found on them, I’d be curious to hear them

    Suggestions and Improvements

    So, how could the developers improve Acts 1 and 2 to make them more viable for farming? (I don’t think they’re interested in changing 4.) The easy/obvious thing would be to simple double or triple the monster density. That could work in some areas, such as the Weeping Hollow or the surface desert areas in Act 2, but it wouldn’t be very elegant. Yes, players could make far more profit running parts of Act One and Two if there were say, triple the Cultists, or 5x more zombies, but I think the developers would feel that ruined their carefully-designed levels.

    And it would, in a way; now you get a nice mixture of monsters and open space and it seems like a real place, in the context of the game. If Leoric’s dungeon levels were just wall to wall Cultists, it would seem sort of silly. Like, “what are all those people doing down here?” It would also be a huge increase to the relative difficultly and a new player just trying to get through Inferno for the first time would be shocked, awed, and overwhelmed.
    But players after farming areas don’t care about that. They (we) want more places to play that are as profitable as Act Three, or at least that aren’t obviously delivering 1/2 or 1/3 or less the rewards. I do those areas on MP1 once in a while just for a chance of pace, but it’s impossible to forget the fact that I’m forfeiting like 50% of the experience gain I could be pulling if I were racing through The Keep Depths level 2 for the umpteenth time.

    Another fix I’ve seen suggested is to increase monster density with higher levels of DiabloWikiMonster Power. That’s great for players with super geared characters who can farm MP3 or MP5 or more, but it’s not much use to others. On the other hand, it would at least help with the currently suboptimal design where the best exp AND the best items are found by very rapidly slaughtering wimpy monsters on MP0. But I think there are better fixes to that problem than making MP increase stats and density of enemies. (And how would it even work in Act 3, which already has crazy high density in several areas?)

    So here’s my compromise solution. New dungeons in Acts 1 and 2. Make the entrances spawn always in some area, or maybe just a special portal to them from town, kind of like you get for the Infernal Machine event. They don’t even have have any story or plot or special event stuff, like the Infernal Machine. They’re just much bigger dungeons than we see currently in Act 1 or Act 2, with much higher monster density and more frequent bosses.

    I’m not a Diablo III modder (and neither is anyone else, sadly) so I don’t know if or how that would work with the level design and tools. You’d need to basically double the width of the corridors in the crypts, or Cathedral, or Zoltan Kulle’s dungeon, to accommodate the greatly increased monster numbers, and that might not be possible with the tile set. (Just compare the width of the levels in Acts 1 and 2 vs. to the much wider hallways in Act 3′s Tower or Crater levels, and the total lack of hallways in the Keep which creates much more floor space for many more skeletons.)

    Whatever the new levels look like though, they should be larger than current dungeons (maybe about the size of the Keep in Act 3) and should have multiple levels. These can get larger or harder or both as you descend, and even if this isn’t the long-requested bottomless dungeon, it should at least be quite large to give players the option of grinding on and on, if they so desire. No one likes the current system where we have to constantly start new games, build up more stacks each time, etc.

    This isn’t an ideal fix, but it seems doable and not too complicated. No new game systems required, no total rebuild or new content, it doesn’t require a ton of new monster models, etc. Just reuse existing dungeon models, modify them a bit, and stick in larger numbers of the current monsters. It’s not exactly D3X, but it would certainly be an improvement in function and variety of play options over what we see in the game today.