So Diablo 3 recently got updated to 2.0, and I thought I’d check it out, considering I’ve only been on it once or twice since the first week it came out. I have to say, my main gripe with Diablo when it first came out was that I burned out of it extremely quickly – I played through the story once. I played through it twice, slightly harder difficulty. I played through it a third time, at an even higher difficulty and ultimately stopped there, leaving my wizard to rot at around level 54.
For some reason, Blizzard decided that it would be best to make sure that people are edged in at a slightly higher difficulty as your character leveled up, which makes sense as I’m sure that a low level wouldn’t have made it far in Hell difficulty at the start. However, now all you need is some rare pieces and Expert or Master can be done at low level – the enemies will scale with you, and still be challenging throughout the game’s story.
After hearing more about Reaper of Souls at BlizzCon, and friends in WoW getting into a frenzy about it, I thought I’d check it out again, and I ended up leveling my Wizard to 60 through some boosted runs in some high-experience areas. I hit 60, thought about continuing into paragon levels, but ultimately put the game back down again to return my focus onto WoW, Dota 2 and other games.
After the 2.0 update, and hearing many good things about it not just from friends, but from podcasts and blogs, I thought I’d roll a completely fresh character – a Witch Doctor – while the 50% bonus exp is up, have no items to be boosted to him from my Wizard (with the exception of a gem here or there once I hit 45+) and see how I got on from there. Needless to say, after my first playthrough of the game back nearly a year ago back in May, I was pleasantly surprised with the improvements to gameplay, the new loot system (ohjeez loot 2.0!), the pacing of the game in terms of time between reward. I’ll admit, it got me hooked.
My Wizard took nearly 35hrs to hit 60. My Barbarian has around 3hrs under his belt and is only level 14. My Monk is at level 27 by 4hrs played. I don’t know how much of this time is AFK looking at cat pictures on the internet for those characters, but my Witch Doctor hit 60, and continued into paragons for the first time on my account up to Paragon 18 in just 17hrs. I’ll admit I did get a friendly boost from a bored friend toward the end, but I was happily making my way through Act III on the first playthrough of the character and was still in my 40’s. I think I did two full playthroughs of the storyline on my Wizard at that stage!
I know the bonus exp won’t be there forever for the constant dings, but another thing that I wanted to make a point of in terms of time spent between rewards, is the increased amount of USEFUL loot you now get. So many times on my Wizard I’d get items with Str/Dex/Int and no other stats, that although an item was so much better overall stats, I chucked a level 50 item away and kept my level 22 boots. With smart loot, especially during leveling, upgrades are constantly coming along. I even went back to kill Skeleton King again after I killed him once, even though that I know he took ages to kill with my lowly gear, just so I could have another shot at a bunch of decent loot. Before, I had no motivation to go back and enjoy some of the fun fights because I knew they took too long and I might not even get anything that would be remotely useful for me.
Now, I’ve played through the entire storyline, picked up a fair few legendaries along the way (also got gifted some set items too from pre-2.0 once I hit 60), and ended up Paragon 17 after killing Diablo. I did do an exp run through one of the sections in Act 3 that allows for a lot of choke points for me to abuse Locust Swarm and collapsing zombies, but I quickly worked out that grinding rooms like that isn’t my cup of tea, unless I’m watching a movie at the same time or something…
Overall, I have to say that I’m extremely surprised at how much the gameplay and feel of D3 has changed over this past year, and it’s only changed for the better. While I don’t think I’ll be grinding out the paragon levels before Reaper of Souls hits next week, I have to say I’m looking forward to the experience to 70 alongside the nephalim rifts, bounties and other fun things adventure mode has to offer us. At least, I’ll probably end up getting boosted by friends who have already grinded gear and paragon levels past 100 or whatever. I’m sure I’ll pay back the favour by boosting their Crusaders or something.
It’s been a light WoW week for me this week again, though I did manage to sneak my way into a raid on the Druid and net myself a Thok heroic kill (thanks to Bridgeburners!). On Hordeside, we managed to down Garrosh on normal, but other than that, I passed ExC leadership onto an officer who’s going to be miles more active than me, and has much more comradery with anyone that didn’t used to already be Alliance. Other than that, I’ve mainly been at work, and had a few games of Dota.
Found a neat little site at http://truepicker.com/en/ that basically allows you to anti-pick anything the other team choose, with the option to choose what role you prefer, if you’re jungling/solo/tri-laning and your own general skill level. Keep an eye on the timer though as you don’t want to lose out on any of that starter cash, though scumbagging of anti-picking too hard can make games pretty unfun, so I just generally pick something once there’s 20secs left, no matter how many heroes have been chosen on the other side.