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Mega Strategy Guide: Diablo 3 to Reaper of Souls

Posted 24 Mar 2014 by

There are a lot of changes going from Diablo 3 to Reaper of Souls, and if you weren’t lucky enough to try it out during the beta test, you probably have questions about the transition. How long will current lvl 60 gear be good enough? What’s the best way to upgrade your kit and and survive? How much harder or different is Act 5? How does the exp gain and item farming from Bounties and Nephalem Rifts compare to the current game? How important are the new class skills and passives? Is the Crusadin (Palisader?) really all of that?

Soon this will be yours.

Soon this will be yours.

We can’t exactly answer all of those questions since things have (probably/certainly) been changed in development since the Beta test ended, but we can give some pretty good predictions based on extensive Reaper of Souls beta testing.

In a way, the transition for us all in the live Reaper of Souls will be less abrupt and shocking than it was back during the beta, since at that point we were importing lvl 60 characters from Diablo 3 vanilla, pre-Loot 2.0. Back then almost every good rare and legendary you found from lvl 61+ was a big upgrade on DPS and toughness, thanks to the +300-500 mainstat and vitality that was so readily available. Now that most of you guys are geared in Loot 2.0 equipment, you won’t be so effortlessly picking up hundreds of stat points.

You’ll have found upgrades for almost every slot by lvl 70, but the sight of your first few good Rares won’t be so shocking, and your Loot 2.0-geared lvl 60 characters won’t have the wildly sub-standard toughness we all had to deal with when first beginning the beta. And you’ll be too busy enjoying Act Five, and then powering through Bounties and Rifts, to worry that much about your gear, which will almost seem to upgrade itself thanks to the Loot 2.0 drop rates. And don’t forget that the Mystic awaits, to easily turn all those 5/10 quality “vendor trash” rares into 8/10 quality “wear them with pride” loots.

Click through for the full article, covering every aspect of your transition into Reaper of Souls.

 

Equipment upgrades

Players who were not in the Reaper of Souls beta often ask how gear upgrades work, in a practical sense. Anyone can look at screenshots of high level legendary items from the beta and compare them to current gear, but that’s deceptive in several ways.

Early beta weapon damage was much enormous.

Early beta weapon damage was much enormous.

1) Gear changed a lot during the beta. That’s why they call it a “test.” But if you’re going to compare gear, do it with items found near the end of the beta. (Like this huge gallery we posted, or this peek at the godly gear the Bliz devs were using.) Early on in the beta there were affixes that got removed (Crushing Blow) and values that were very different (1H weapon damage over 3500). Those big differences were smoothed down over time, and by the end of the beta the gear we were finding wasn’t that much different than the gear you see today in D3v2… just with bigger numbers.

2) The Reaper of Souls beta went on before Loot 2.0 was live in Diablo 3. Thus everyone who transitioned their characters from 60 up to 70 in the beta was going from D3 vanilla gear into RoS Loot 2.0 gear. This gives you guys who have been playing the past few weeks of D3v2 some insight into RoS gear… just imagine the same type of stuff but with bigger numbers.

2.1) The biggest immediate difference in the RoS beta came from gear with much higher stats, especially vitality. That won’t be the case for players going from D3v2 to RoS, since most players have much higher Toughness now than in D3 vanilla. Also, Loot 2.0 introduced hundreds of special legendary properties, none of which were present in our gear when we Beta Testers first moved into RoS.

3) Reaper of Souls has enchanting via the Mystic. That will make a big difference in improving gear in the early days of RoS, but it won’t be as impactful as it was during the RoS beta, when legacy items could be upgraded to make them as good or better than lvl 70 items. (Weapons were the biggest difference, since vanilla items with +50% enhanced damage boosted up to crazy DPS once you enchanted their damage rolls to level 70 numbers.)

3.1) Legendary and set and rare items found during D3v2 *can* be enchanted, but with the affixes normalized to the new loot style, none of them will be way out of the gear quality curve once they’ve been Mysticked.

4) RoS live will probably have a lot of differences (in gear and everything else) from what we got at the end of the beta. Look at all the changes via patches and hotfixes we’ve seen in D3v2 just in the past few weeks. You know that most of those changes are being incorporated into RoS, along with other balancing and tweaking across the board. (Especially in crafting costs and uses, I hope, since that system still had a lot of sharp edges during the Beta.)

That multi-part disclaimer aside, what can we say with reasonable certainty about the differences your characters will encounter moving up from level 60 to level 70 in Reaper of Souls?

 

It’s easier, until it gets harder.

All of my characters at 60 found level 60-65ish pretty easy and fast in RoS. Initially I was playing on Hard or Expert, and being cautious because new (especially with my Hardcore characters) but even with 1100 DPS weapons, below the curve Toughness due to the limited vit on gear from D3v, unfamiliarity with new Act Five monsters and environments, etc… it was pretty easy until level 65ish.

All of my characters found a few upgrades during that time, mostly from armor that had much higher toughness due to huge Vit and Stat rolls, and the much higher level gems (Marquise drop like candy past lvl 63ish) made any sockets a huge stat upgrade, plus the new (at the time) diamonds finally made it easy to upgrade resistances. But even with just a few upgrades, Hard or Expert or even Master felt like MP1.

This began to change around level 66, and by lvl 68 the curve was accelerating. Monsters were hitting much harder, fights took much longer due to their higher hit points, and by level 70 all of my characters in the beta were very much in “grind cautiously and hope to find legendaries for upgrades” mode. Weapons were the biggest need, since they rolled so much higher in RoS (due to Loot 2.0 and level 70 damage tiers) that any decent rare, much less a good legendary, was a huge DPS upgrade over even very good D3v weapons. (And remember that a lot of us were transitioning from Life Steal, which still worked in D3v at that point, so we had to redo our overall survival tactics, and many HC players especially had been sacrificing some DPS to get LS on their weapons.)

New weapons won’t be such an upgrade in RoS this time, at least not if you’ve been playing in D3v2 for the past weeks, but gear at 70 is a LOT better than gear at 60. (Back in the RoS beta we were getting big upgrades on the partial set bonuses also, though that’s no longer the case going from Loot 2.0 d3v2 to RoS.)

Even if you found all the exact same items at 70 that you had at 60, the stats on every item would be a couple of hundred points higher (to vit and mainstat). Even without adding new legendary affixes, or finding any of the Torment-only super high quality legendary and set items, you’ll find your character much higher on DPS, HPs, and Toughness once you get decent lvl 70 gear.

That’s not good enough to achieve your goals, though. Because…

 

Torment was Harder in RoS than it is in D3v2

Free 4 million exp from Torment side events.

Free 4 million exp from Torment side events.

This may well be gone due to further balancing and tweaking, but going by relative gear quality, I had to find a lot better gear to run Torment 1 in RoS than my chars have right now to run Torment 1 (or higher) in D3v2.

All comparisons between the two games and lvl 60 vs. lvl 70 are speculative (since RoS might have changed a lot of balance even since the end of the beta), but just to give you guys some general guidelines and numbers. Bear in mind that all stats vary between classes and builds, and that paper DPS can be very misleading in Loot 2.0 due to +damage to specific skills, +damage to elemental types, cooldown reduction, etc, and that what’s good enough for Torment in Softcore is way less than what’s good enough in Hardcore. Etc…

That said:

Decent lvl 60 gear in D3v2:

  • 90k DPS, 100k HPs, and 700k toughness.

Decent lvl 70 gear in RoS Beta:

  • 800k DPS, 400k HPs, and 4 million Toughness.

Gear good enough to efficiently solo Torment 1 in D3v2:

  • 150k DPS, 120k HPs, and 1.3.m toughness.

Gear good enough to efficiently solo Torment 1 in RoS Beta:

  • 1100k DPS, 450k HPs, 4 million toughness.

My current level 60 D3v2 Demon Hunter, who is relatively *less* well geared than my RoS beta DH was:

  • 200k DPS, 130k HPs, 1.4m toughness.

My RoS Demon Hunter, who was well-geared but nowhere near top level Torment-only gear:

  • 1600k DPS, 500k HPS, and 6m toughness. (Her DPS was very high, but characters geared for melee survival had 10m+ toughness.)

Those are all relative figures and estimates, etc, but assuming the gear progression in live ROS is anything like it was during the last week of the RoS beta, you can easily expect to increase your DPS by 5-8x, your HPs by 4x, and your Toughness by 4-8x, once you replace pretty good lvl 60 gear with pretty good lvl 70 gear. And that’s probably an underestimate, since I’m not factoring in new/better legendary affixes, and because RoS has numerous Torment-only legendaries and sets that do not exist in D3v2 and have considerably higher potential stat rolls, plus better legendary properties.

And remember that you’ll be enchanting everything you find, certainly all the rares, so it’s *much* easier to get items of say, 8/10 or higher quality in RoS than it is to find those items in D3v2. I’ve got half a dozen rares right now that I’m going to enchant first thing in RoS (well, first thing once I gather up some of the new materials and find the Mystic, who you rescue on one of the first quests in Act 5) and I expect to considerably upgrade my gear for less than 100k in total enchanting expenses.

So yes, you’ll have a lot of fun finding gear upgrades in Reaper of Souls. That’s really the most fun thing the first day(s). You hit a plateau at some point and keep finding rares of equivalent quality while trying to find legendaries that will boost your gear quality, with the ultimate goal getting strong enough to farm Torment, where the really special gear can be found. (Obviously Softcore chars will make that gear quality leap more quickly/easily than Hardcore, who can’t just Zerg their way through Torment, hoping for a lucky drop.)

 

What Gear Will Hold Up Best?

The comparison to the Beta is inexact, since we brought “legacy items,” pre-Loot 2.0 gear into the beta, and since the game allowed those items to be enchanted. That’s no longer possible. In live RoS only Loot 2.0 gear can be enchanted, and this means that the real above the curve items from D3 vanilla can not be upgraded with a level 70 affix via the Mystic. Examples include:

    • Weapons with +20-50% enhanced damage.
    • Weapons with +100-200% Critical Hit Damage.
    • Two-socket Manticores.
    • Vanilla rare jewelry and gloves with (the equivalent of) 6 primary stats.
    • Other vanilla legendary items with the equivalent of 5 or 6 primary stats (e.g. Mempo of Twilight).
    • Many vanilla legendaries with special bonuses to Attack Speed or Critical hit Damage.
    • Rares and legs with much higher Attack Speed affixes than can be found in Loot 2.0.
    • There are other examples, but those are a few of the most powerful items from vanilla D3, and in the beta those items with a good enchant upgrade were as good or better than lvl 70 gear. Those sorts of items are still very good in D3v2, often better than any of the new gear, but since you can’t enchant them in RoS they won’t be better than good lvl 70 gear.

If you don’t have those godly items and you want to find new upgrades, you’ll get them most readily in armor. Level 70 gear has much higher inherent defense, plus much higher potential stat rolls, so a 5/10 quality Rare at lvl 70 is usually going to be better than a 9/10 quality rare at lvl 60.

Gambling

All my chars in the beta found a few upgrades on the way to 70, but usually I’d just rush some levels to get there, store up some Blood Shards on the way (from Bounty rewards or Rifts), and as soon as I hit 70 I’d head to Kadala for some gambling. It was very easy to gamble rare armor pieces, and with the ability to enchant one affix per item, it was not hard to get chest and pants with +500 vit/mainstat, sockets, and 85% AllRes. The same held true for shoulders, boots, bracers, and belts; no sockets in those items, but big rolls to vit/mainstat, AllRes, and often a +10-15% damage boost to one of your attack skills. Those skill bonuses are awesome, but very hard to find in D3v2 since you can’t just enchant them. Once you can, it’s easy to take a good item, reroll the 4th primary affix a few times, and presto; great item.

Weapons, off-hand items, helms, jewelry, and gloves were much harder to upgrade since they required several ideal affixes, and there are many many possible affixes for those item slots. It took me weeks of beta time and extensive gambling to accumulate level 70 quadfecta jewelry and gloves, and even then I was always hoping to find legendary jewelry in those slots, since the legs had 100-200 higher values for the stat rolls, plus sometimes special legendary properties. Helms were harder to roll since you needed a socket and Critical hit Chance for a top quality helm, off and items were the same, and there are a lot of possible affixes on hats.

Weapons towards the end of the beta were much as they are now in D3v2; rares never have the damage of a decent legendary, so there was little point in gambling them unless you hoped to get lucky and roll a legendary.

Gambling Legendaries

Eventually your character has very good rares or legendaries in every slot, and at that point gambling becomes pointless. Thanks to Enchanting you can turn any very good rare (found or gambled) into a nearly perfect rare and at that point there’s no upgrading it. Not enough to bother with, anyway. .1% green on DPS, .2% red on toughness, .1% green on healing… that sort of thing. Unless you can add bonus damage to your main offensive skill(s), which you probably already have, there’s no way another rare is going to be substantially better.

At that point you just gamble for legendaries for your main character, and maybe not even that, since the top quality legs, the Torment-only ones, can not be gambled for. Only found, on Torment+ difficulty. Even for any legendary gamble the odds are very poor; Bliz kept tweaking the legendary odds and the costs to gamble during the beta, but from my testing it was definitely below 1%. Near the end of the beta your max stack was 500 Blood Shards and the cheapest gambles were 5 shards. And burning a whole 500 on something that cost 5 (all types of armor) I learned to not expect a single leg from the full Shard pool. Maybe every other time I did 500 at once I’d roll a leg. And gambling cost 10 for 1H or 2H weapons, 10 for rings, and 20 for Amulets. (Subject to further tweaking, no doubt.)

As a result, gambling was awesome when you first got to 70, and felt kind of pointless once you were well-geared. We beta testers used to joke that the 500 cap was there just to remind/force us to gamble or else we’d have just stacked up Shards indefinitely.

 

Act Five

No spoilers here, but just some basic advice.

The general monster variety in Act Five is pretty similar to the other acts. You get swarming weak enemies, casters and summoners, big brute single targets, etc. The flow and progression and general style of the combat feels familiar, though I think on the whole Act Five is tougher than the other acts, with the possible exception of Act Four. (Nephalem Rifts are by far the hardest possible monster spawns, as you can get mixtures of the toughest enemies from all the Acts.)

Act Five has more aggressive, fast-attackers and more dangerous tank enemies, since they tend to have leaps or dash attacks that bring them to you very quickly, and there are more debuff talents for the beasts. Plus there are giant glowing blue dogs that can eat you, and that will issue a pee-tality if they kill you with a bite.

Act Five areas are huge, easily the biggest in the game. Initially in the Beta and especially doing bounties, most players avoided Act Five since the areas were so big. (Plus a lot of them were bugged so the bounties weren’t possible to complete.) It took forever to explore some of the big areas, and you could do Bounties much more quickly in other acts. That remained the case even after the bugs were fixed, but eventually players found that Act Five bounties and areas were actually amongst the most rewarding, and not just because they were interesting and different and varied.

It wasn’t the Act Five bounties that were so valuable, since they gave the same exp/gold rewards as equivalent bounties in other Acts. What made Act Five worth doing, despite the huge levels, was all the side events and Cursed Chests. You guys have surely noticed the value of such diversions and side events in D3v2, and in RoS and especially in Act Five they are 1) much more numerous, and 2) much more valuable.

I’ll actually be surprised if those rewards haven’t been nerfed a bit, since they were just so valuable in RoS. The approximate values of such events on Torment 1:

    • Short bounty: 2.9m exp(usually just kill a purple with a 50 or 75 total kill counter).
    • Medium bounty: 5.8m exp (kill a purple in a larger area with a 100, 125, or 150 total kill counter, or find a Cursed Chest or other simple event.)
    • Big Bounty: 9m exp (Locate and complete a larger event.)
    • Max Bounty: 15.2m exp. (Clear a dungeon level, always level 2 of a sub-dungeon you had to find.)

That’s only a part of the exp story, though. Along the way to bounties you do a lot of exploring, and find side events and Cursed Chests. Do them. Do them all. They’re worth more exp than the bounties, in many cases, and can be completed quite quickly.Just any old Cursed Chest on Torment 1 was worth at least 4m exp, often 5.8m, and those chests often spawned just a single big purple or a pack of Champions. (The waves and “kill 100+ enemies in time” chests are usually found as the goal of your Bounty, while smaller/quicker Cursed Chests are just random level elements.

Side events are worth less than Cursed Chests, but they’re still substantial. Most of them on Torment 1 were worth 2-5m exp, and that’s what made the Act Five areas so valuable, since on most of the big levels you’ll find several sub-dungeons, all of them with some sort of 5m+ exp reward in them, and most of them can be done in just a minute or less.

The first big town area of Act Five, the Westmarch Commons, was initially my least favorite Bounty zone since it was huge, had a lot of dead ends, had low monster density, etc. Once I realized the value of all the side events there, it became my favorite area since I could zoom along the streets, bypassing most of the weak skeleton archers, and hitting every one of the 3-7 glowing basement sub dungeons, all of which had a cursed chest or some side event worth at least 5m exp, and most of which could be cleared in under a minute.

Other big areas of Act Five weren’t so generous on the side events, and I won’t be surprised if the exp for all those such things is turned way down in RoS, but they were certainly delicious during the beta.

Bounties are Mostly Running

Last note on bounties; they’re best to do on the highest difficulty you can hack. The reason is that the rewards (exp, gold, shards) scale up considerably, while the time to complete them does not, since in most bounties you spend at least 75% of the time running through levels, looking for the target monster or event, or the dungeon you need to enter, etc. Higher difficulty level doesn’t change the maps at all; it just gives the monsters lots more hit points, and only a fraction of the time on a typical bounty is spent in combat.

This is exactly the opposite in Rifts. There you spend almost all your time in combat, or racing to the next group of enemies, so going up in difficulty greatly increases the time to complete them. Through most of the beta this made Rifts on Torment or higher a very poor reward for the time spent. Happily, towards the end of the beta the devs considerably boosted the drops from Rift Guardians, and upped the usual Shard drop from 20 to 60ish (on Torment) which put them on par with Bounties for the gold and shards (though Bounties were worth more exp, on the whole).

 

Nephalem Rifts

Rifts are the only place to find Goblin packs.

Rifts are the only place to find Goblin packs.

I wrote a long article about Rifts during the beta test, breaking down the average times they took to complete, the rewards granted from monster killing and for Rift completion, the average item finds, etc… all compared to Bounty rewards, time to complete, utility of Blood Shards, etc. And then before I could finish and post the article a big beta patch came along and changed everything. New Rift maps and layouts, changed monster densities, new higher monster kill counters in bounties, and all adjusted gold/exp/Shard rewards for completing bounties and rifts.The net result was that the value of Rifts became much more competitive vs. Bounties, especially on Torment and higher difficulties. I didn’t do all the testing and recording times and exp/gold amounts again after that patch late in the beta, and the values have probably been tweaked since then by Blizzard’s internal testing — but from the direction they were going it seems clear that the devs want to make bounties and Rifts equivalent in rewards. They can’t ever be exact sicne the Bounties you get differ from game to game, and since every Rift is different in monster composition, level layout, monster density, etc.

Teamwork and strategy will factor in as well. Split-farming of bounties was fixed during the beta, but you can still do better by splitting up a bit and searching to find the bounty more efficiently. And characters with high movement speed rule for doing Bounties quickly.

Rifts are not about movement speed, though it can be nice to move quickly to the next group of enemies. In Rifts what really matters is killing speed, so finding a complimentary suite of characters/builds would boost your Rifting time to increase the profits per hour. Rifts are also a lot more random in size and layout and monster density, so they’re less predictable than Bounties, which you can predict quite accurately, plus or minus a but for your luck in exploring/finding the target.

 

Builds and Skills

This one is very subjective, since everyone has different builds, different tolerance to experiment with different skills, etc. Back in early RoS this was a real change since there were so many skill differences from D3 vanilla to RoS. Now it’s not such a shift since almost all the skill changes in D3v2 are found in RoS as well.

Each class has 3 new passives, enabled from lvl 61-70, and a 4th passive skill slot at level 70. The 4th passive makes a big difference for some builds, but it varies a lot, and I’m sure some players will find new ways to

Each class has a new skill in RoS. These may have been tweaked since the beta ended, but at that point they were generally pretty good and popular. Almost every Wizard loved Black Hole and every DH loved Vengeance, while WDs were pretty fond of Piranha. The other classes — Barbs with Avalanche and Monks with Epiphany — were less enthralled of their new skill options.

This build and skill issue will evolve greatly once millions of players are in there trying out the new stuff, so stay tuned for more details and crowd wisdom there.

 

Conclusion

Lots to plan and most of it you’ll pick up easily as you play. I’ve gotten excited for RoS again just writing this guide and thinking about all the details and issues in it. All that gear upgrading, all the new skills, the new Crusader class, new Torment-only gear, Bounties and Rifts adding so much fun and variety of objective to the normal play experience… is it Monday night yet?

Do you guys have an excite? What’s your most anticipated activity or goal in Reaper of Souls?

 


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