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Diablo 3 Strategy: Normal & Nightmare Farming for Profit?

Posted 27 September 2013by Flux

I’ve read a number of comments recently from players who say they make more profit (via AH sales) farming Nightmare than they do farming Inferno. So I tried it tonight, taking my nearly-max MF P55 Monk (profile) for a quick spin through a good section of Nightmare on MP10. (I actually did all of Acts 2-4 since I had no quests in any of those, having been long-ago rushed right from Act 1 to Act 3 Azmodan.)

Does anyone really pay 10m+ for a lvl 45 amulet?

Does anyone really pay 10m+ for a lvl 45 amulet?

It was kind of fun, but was it profitable? I’m not sure. I’m playing in Hardcore where there’s more (much more?) of a market for mid-level gear. I found 4 legendaries, one of which near dopplegangers listed for about 800k in the Auction House. Along with the legs I only picked up Rare Jewelry and pages of crafting, since this was more of an experiment than a serious effort. (You’d want to pick up most rare armor and rare 1H weapons as well, if you were farming this conscientiously.)

Even with just the jewelry, I got 2 rings that DiabloWikicomp at 200-400k, and one amulet that might be worth a lot more. The comps are quite high, at any rate, though I have doubts that anyone actually pays that much for gear of that level. Perhaps someday if/when we get a proper PvP system and D2-style low level dueling puts a high price on lower level gear. But now, when it’s only useful for 10-15 levels on a reroll?

The most amusing thing in my game? I cleared Act IV in 9 minutes. Literally; I killed Azmodan at 1:02am and killed Diablo at 1:11am. I was playing solo, I did all the quests, etc. Just ran really, really fast, slowing down only to glance at what Elites dropped. This was with a Monk in full DiabloWikiTempest Rush mode: equipment giving me about 11 spirit/sec, and wearing 24% faster movement, +10% from Fleet Footed, +50% from TR: Tailwind. Fast Monk was fast.

Click through for a few more details about the pros and cons of fortune hunting in Nightmare. If you’ve tried this, or done some fortune hunting on Normal or Hell, do share the news in comments. I’d love to hear details about what sells and doesn’t, which are the most coveted item finds, (Leoric’s Signets are level 17 and sell for 30-50m in HC) if this is actually profitable in softcore, etc.

And if you’re curious, do it now since this whole way of life is gone once the AH shuts down.


Gear Prices for Low/Mid Levels

I think this is mostly for Hardcore where players have to reroll semi-regularly, but low and mid level gear is quite pricey for softcore as well. Does anyone buy it? I don’t know. I have rerolled 5 or 6 chars since I’ve been rich enough in HC to not mind dropping a few hundred thousand on an item I’m only going to use for about 10-15 levels, and every time I’ve looked, for a variety of characters, there are many items, of every type, listed for 5m+ from level 15-50. I’ve never paid that much for anything, usually spending 100-500k at most for any gear slot, but someone must or people wouldn’t bother listing rare level 27 bracers for 3.5m… would they?

There are three obvious benefits to paying a lot for low level gear in Hardcore. 1) You’ll level up more quickly and have more fun. 2) You’re much less likely to die. 3) When you outgrow the gear you can stash it for some future reroll, or resell it. And most of the time you’ll get as much as you paid, if not more. Thus your pricey items turn into rentals that you use for 10 or 15 levels and then resell, paying only the 15% AH fee for the usage.


Potential Riches?

First off, let’s agree that no one is going to join the B-club farming Nightmare. At least not from one item. By playing these lower levels you’re giving up the hope of finding anything of truly epic value, which *might* drop for you at any moment in Inferno. Even a one million value item is probably a lot to hope for playing on Nightmare, though there are plenty of legendaries and rares listed for multimillions in every item slot.

The theory, I think, is that you hope to find a lot of 200-500k sales, and get them to add up.

This will not happen in Nightmare.

This will not happen in Nightmare.

The top end gear you can find in Inferno might sell for far more, but as we all know, like .00001% of what you find in Inferno sells for anything, much less jackpot prices. And the quality is forever increasing since so many players are geared up for max MF in Inferno.

This is not true for Norm/NM/Hell item finding. No one playing a new character has even a fraction of max MF (this might change come DiabloWikiParagon 2.0, but we won’t have an Auction House then.) so they’re very unlikely to find legendaries, 6-affix rares, etc.

High quality gear for level 25-50 chars doesn’t sell for as much as end game gear, but you don’t need to get such a quintuple-miracle of RNG for an item to have value. Can this sort of play actually prove profitable, though? There are some obvious drawbacks:

  • Gold stacks are tiny, compared to Inferno. Even with max Gold Find and MP10.
  • Normal and NM gems are almost without value, selling for much less than gold stacks.
  • Crafting mats are worth a lot less. Pages of Jewelcrafting sell for 1100ish, and Tomes of Jewelcrafting and Blacksmithing sell for around 800 each, while Tomes of Secret are 8-10k in Hardcore. (This is *not* true in Softcore, where NM and Hell crafting mats actually sell for more than Tomes of Secret. Though I think this is purely due to a scarcer supply and the value will drop dramatically if more people start farming the low levels.)

  • Strategy

    I hesitate to call it “strategy” since a character well-geared for Inferno can instantly obliterate anything in Nightmare, even on MP10. The strategy then is mostly about maximizing your Magic Find and movement speed. And you want to kill things with skills that don’t require you to stop, or even slow down. A Tempest Rush Monk is pretty much ideal, since you can kill everything with a single pass and your movement speed is rocket-like.

    While it’s fun for a change to just rush through levels like a madman, you will miss the monster density you’re used to from Inferno. Act Three isn’t so bad, but Acts 1 and 2 are dreadful for sub-Inferno farming and you’ll get that “Why aren’t there any monsters on these levels?” feeling all the time.

    Why swirlies are not blue?

    Why swirlies are not blue?

    Bear in mind that skills that require you to hit or crit enemies aren’t going to work so well since everything dies so quickly. TR (db) is great since it can be entirely fueled by spirit generation gear. A Sprint Barb would have more trouble, and would require very high Crit Chance for the cyclones to proc enough to maintain Fury.

    Also remember that it’s very easy and there’s no danger, so you can switch to odd skills you’d never use in Inferno purely to get more movement speed or resource regen. This is part of the fun, just for the variety in the play style.

    I respeced to Circular Breathing right at the start, along with Chant of Resonance and Exalted Soul… but it took me half the game to remember that one rune in Sweeping Wind generates 3 spirit/sec when at 3 stacks. And you’ll probably want to put some joy into Kormac’s life by sitting Lyndon or Eirena in order to get his GLORIOUS resource regen passive.


    Item Values Strategy

    Pair a shoes?

    Pair a shoes?

    The real strategy is knowing the value of what you find, and that can only come with experience. Most players by now have developed an instant value calculator in their brain for Inferno rares, but the same is not true for level 20 or 30 or 40 items.

    It’s not true for me, anyway.

    To get good at this you’d have to constantly reference the AH on your finds and develop a sliding scale of quality referenced by item level. How much strength and vit makes a pair of gloves valuable at level 25 is very different than at lvl 40.

    You’ve got to learn all the different item types, too. A few times on the podcast I’ve amused myself by pop quizzing the guests with some of the weird mid-level item type names from Diablo 3. No one ever knows any of them. Including me, if I didn’t have the list in front of me. Here are a few item types you’ll find in Nightmare: Ono, kindjal, gada, spontoon, dao, spatha, kastet. Which are worth picking up? Um… yeah…

    It’s funny to look at the names, but if you want to make gold doing this you’ve got to know instantly which items are worth picking up and which you’re going to leave lying on the dungeon floor.


    Conclusion

    I’m sure there are some players who have been running this style for months and know all about it. I do not, and don’t plan to do much of it. But it was fun for a change of pace, and the potential of it actually paying off in some gold gain is a nice incentive.

    Expert commentary or corrections are welcome in comments.

    Update: As a follow up, I haven’t listed most of the potential valuables I found yet, but this weapon sold just hours after I listed it. I also found a Buriza and the cheapest ones in the HC AH are set at 500k, so I figure that’s a guaranteed sale at 400k. So that’s 1.2m from a couple of hours of experimental play with at least 3-5m more in likely sales sitting in my stash.

    I seldom find that much in sale value from a session of Inferno farming, even with a max MF character.

    monster-hunter


    Tagged As: | Categories: End Game, Strategy News, Variants

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