The Blizzard rumor mill is running rampant over the past few days. While these rumors are pure speculation and in many ways hopeful wishing, I’m still liking everything I hear.
First we have a rumor that Diablo 3 will come to the Nintendo Switch. There’s also a rumor of a local co-op mode, which has me intrigued though admittedly I would be very disappointed if there wasn’t online play.
The Switch does need hack and slash action RPGs. Though I’m not sure whether or not I could find a place for D3 on the Switch, since I’ve played it just about as much as I’d like to on the PC, it makes for a good addition to the console and a reason to back up Nintendo’s statement about expecting a longer shelf life on the Switch.
I needed a game to pass the time until Battlefront 2 comes out, so I decided to jump in a few days after the start of Diablo 3’s 12th season. For the uninitiated, a season basically means you start a character over at level 0 and play ‘fresh’. Each season tends to bring a patch to balance things, maybe introduce some new items, etc.
Season 12 did a ton to balance the classes in the game so that there isn’t such a disparity between “the best” and “the worst”. In other words, if you had to classify a ‘build’ as the “best” (let’s call it S Rank) and a class as the “worst” (F Rank) there would be several builds for each class closer to S than F.
That’s a big change from even just two seasons ago. Plenty of builds sucked and would never exceed Greater Rift 100. Totally different now, and instead of having to play a “good build” you can just play what sounds fun to you.
So, for the first time since Diablo 3 launched, I’m playing a Monk.
I was power-leveled to 70 (max level) in about 10 minutes thanks to sitting at the entrance while a friend clears T6 rifts. Now I’m gearing up to find the Sunwuko set so that I can use a Wave of Light build. It seems like the most fun to me. Lots of screen-clearing ability and capable of pushing GR115+, but that like I’ll ever see that. I’ll probably see 70.
Diablo 3 seasons tend to be 1 week endeavors for me. I find lots of gear, clear lots of grifts, and then decide I don’t feel like doing the “grind mobs mindlessly for small upgrades to min/max and optimize gear” game.
This time around, I think I’m going to start coining it the “3-Dayer”. The 3-Dayer actually has much larger application which I’ll post about in the near future.
I decided to jump back into Diablo 3 again. My main reason for returning is to check out the new Necromancer. I waited until the beginning of Season 11 (just a few days ago) to take the plunge because I like the idea of starting fresh.
Since the Necro is the main reason I’m playing, I want to highlight a few of the things I really like about the class and where the game is at right now.
The Necromancer was one of my favorite characters to play in D2. I love pet classes and passives. Although the Necromancer is anything but passive, there’s still a nice element of sitting back and letting your skeletons smash stuff.
Necros use a resource called Essence, which must be harvested from corpses. The essence mechanic isn’t really different than any other expendable resource, but how it’s obtained is really cool.
When monsters die they leave a corpse that the Necro can utilize in a number of ways. Depending on your build, you might blow those corpses up with a nostalgic Corpse Explosion ability, or you might harvest them for essence.
This makes for a fun and unique mechanic for Necros that no other classes utilize.
The Necromancer is just perfect for Diablo games. We’re already talking about death, undead, demons, and the Lord of the Underworld here, so a Necromancer simply compliments everything about the game.
Necromancers look awesome. The style of their gear fits right in with the theme — especially Reaper of Souls.
This is my Season 11 Necro Gearing Up build that I use. It’s really straight forward minion build. The goal is to eventually roll into a very similar build using the Rathma set. I’ll post about that in the coming days.
This build uses a builder like Bone Spikes, and uses the standard Skeleton minions. A few key abilities below make up the build’s bread and butter.
Skeletal Mages (Singularity) – 3500% weapon damage for 250 essence. Mages wreck elites and rare mobs. The melt packs like butter too if I have my volatile death curse on a pack. Without these, I find my killing speed is really, really low.
Devour (Cannibalize) – Consumes corpses and restores 10 essence per corpse (and 3% HP with cannibalize). I use this to keep my Essence as high as possible in order to maximize my Skeletal Mages.
Frailty (Volatile Death / Scent of Blood) – Curses enemies in a radius killing them at 15% health. When they die, because of Volatile Death they’ll explode for 100% weapon damage. Doesn’t seem like a lot, but in packs this pretty much clears them all. Scent of Blood is a higher difficulty alternative to increase minion damage.
Leveling up a new character can be daunting. I’ll be the first to admit that the prospect of 1-70 wreaks of burnout for me.
The trick that I found to level up quickly is doing Bounties. You might be tempted to run Rifts, but I really, really recommend Bounties for two reasons:
One main quality-of-life improvement that stands out right now is the crafting material tab. Instead of this crap filling my inventory or bank, it’s going into a special pocket/tab for materials and all stacking/registering as a number. If they could just do this with gems, that’d be nice.
I hit level 70 last night. I can easily clear Master rifts in a timely manner with crap gear, so I think it shouldn’t be hard to grind out my Rathma set.
We all know how this story goes: Play for a few weeks to a month, burn out of killing the same mobs over and over, and wait until another season. But at least this time around there’s a new class!
Season 5 began on Friday afternoon and I am once again jumping in with my regular group of friends. In typical fashion, I’m either dead last in my ability to pull my own weight, or I am somewhere in the middle and inconsequential. This all boils down to luck + time. I put in less time and have less luck, therefore I have less gear. RNG loot drops and all.
This time around I am playing a Wizard — for the very first time. Luckily, I think I didn’t pick the worst class this season. I have a knack for picking the class that just flounders. I think with some luck I might actually push to a 85+ grift.
A number of changes were introduced this season that have, thus far, made the experience more enjoyable. Everything from supercharging the Grifts as a form of money sink to new items, achievements, class balances, etc. The biggest change for me has been giving away a “free set.”
Everyone receives what has essentially become the “free set.” Reach level 70 and you’ll receive 2 pieces of your classes predetermined set. Defeat a boss and then solo a Rank 20 Grift and you will get the other 4.
The free set means you get to jump to T6+ almost instantly whereas, if you’re like me, this process could take any number of hours or days depending on your loot drops. These sets are balanced to be lower tier, yet fun enough to push you into the more difficult and meta game that is the Diablo 3 gear grind.
We’ll see how long I last! Some seasons it’s a week. Others it’s a month or two. I’m in a competition with my group right now to try to see who stays the longest.
I’m slow on the followup this time around! I want to reflect on some of what we saw at Blizzcon as it pertains to my thoughts pre-con.
So I went with an April prediction just to be extreme and different, admitting in my predictions/wants post itself that I know full and well we won’t see it until August+ because of ‘Overhype’. That came true. No shock at all. Now… wtf to do in WoW until then? I have absolutely no idea. As I speak I’m in the queue for LFR Archimonde. Once I kill him that will mean I have seen everything in WoD. That was my goal. I’m done at this point. Believe it or not, some of the most fun I’ve had is managing my Garrison. I wish it was more like farmville/harvest moon.
Ten (10) months until new content in WoW — Okay, more like 8-9 but that is incredible. I’m pretty much riding out my last 20 days on this sub then calling it there. No reason to keep paying when I have seen EVERYTHING I want to in the game. ::cough:: I don’t really want to keep saying I told you so, but is this not the epitome of winding down WoW to ramp up / hype up their next wave of potentially more profitable/more revenue per player games? Of course it is.
Legion continues to look amazing. Yes, I’m going to buy it. Yes, I’m going to play all of the story and quit when I ultimately run into the same situation I have in WoD. That, ladies and gentlemen, is WoW.
The hype levels are dangerous here. We already call it ‘Overhype’ and people are already saying it’s dangling from the precipice of mediocrity and genericness. I have yet to play it myself, and I withhold the right to pass my own judgment. Overwatch LOOKS fun. I like shooters of this style and calibre. I can’t say this is hte kind of game I’ll play for years, though. Their release date is exactly as I would expect.
What shocked me here was the DLC. I don’t know why I let it come as a surprise that they would go from taking one game, and making three full games out of it, to making mission packs. I probably won’t buy them. To be quite honest, I simply don’t see the value. If I have absolutely NOTHING else to play… I might be tempted. Otherwise, I’m somehow not the market — which really makes no sense because I’m the guy who buys SC to play the single-player…
I was completely wrong here. HotS was a huge emphasis. Cho’gall seems awesome, albeit a little outrageous. That’s the HotS model, though. “No one else would or could, so we did.” That’s the HotS model. Arena mode reminds me of those gladiator maps from the glorious WC3 custom map days. Those were amazing.
Blizzard played it very safe. Nothing about bringing back the classic games, and no major surprises or announcements that truly shocked me. Yet, without fail, Blizzard remains stable and proving that they are going to be putting out a heck of a 2016.