I haven’t done a Diablo 3 write up for sometime mostly because there hasn’t been enough content nor interest from me. But I will say that Season 13 has been enjoyable overall even though I had a slow initial start. I want to discuss the current game and my overall thoughts on where the game should go from here.
Season 13 from a feature point of view feels mostly complete as it’s ever been. While the balancing patch came in Season 12, this season felt stable overall in terms of the just basic game play. There’s a lot of solid builds, more diversity in terms of what can be played and a few new metas. It’s not completely even across the board but that’s realistically not going to happen without some form of limiting factor.
I started out with a demon hunter as the Shadow set is a reasonable starter set. It has been boosted a bit in terms of damage and early on was able to compete. Due to work, I could not push far at the beginning and it took me longer than usual to get the main gear. I did go with a Chakram style build at first using sentries to compliment the style and ran with that until I found the Holy Point Shot quiver.
Eventually, I switched over to Unhallowed Essence because it’s simply the best set for the demon hunter overall in my book. I use the typical meta build which is quite solid for most purposes. I have found myself easily farming 55-60’s in terms of Greater Rifts compared to the old 50’s. Most of that is due to the raw damage boost of the set.
Despite the damage boost, I discovered that Unhallowed Essence suffers in squishiness. It simply is flimsy and can be taken out in a GR just due to sloppiness. I know some people run Awareness as a passive so it might be something I could consider once I decide to push beyond my typical comfort zone.
The one thing I have been doing is using Goldwrap in conjunction with Boon of the Hoarder for quickly farming Death Breaths in T13s. It’s something I never really had done before but the combo is incredible! I can probably take out a T13 in 5-10 min tops with this combo as long as the density stays reasonable.
That said, I do wish to augment more of my gear. My gear isn’t great by far but augments help in terms of damage and mitigation at the higher end of the spectrum. Perhaps, my augmentation “early on” may seem wasteful to some players, but I really don’t intend to hit leaderboards. If anything I just want to do a 70 so I can look for Primals.
I did grow bored and swapped over to a wizard for the past few weekends. Now, my main purpose behind this is that the wizard has undergone a few really awesome changes that has freshened up their meta in a variety of ways. First, Archon no longer is the sole build to play. Instead, the combination of Deathwish, Etched Sigil and the boost to meteor damage via the Grand Vizier have greatly influenced various builds.
Most people use some form of channeling (namely Arcane Torrent) while having a few spenders like Meteor on the side autocasting via the Etched Sigil. In turn, the builds are far less awkward in my view compared to Archon where the UI changes between forms. Here, the game play is very straightforward, the builds are reasonably tanky and do a high amount of damage while clearing large areas.
Before that, I was using doing a slightly different variation using DMO with Black Hole, Energy Twister and Slow Time. That build was fun at the start but peaked early on for me just because it really was slow. Of course, that particular version wasn’t the actual meta but it was fun in lower torments. Lots of CC involved there but the area effect aspect and general speed grated on my nerves.
I know the higher performing builds involve Firebirds, which seems more focused than Tal Rasha when it comes to the meteor builds. I think part of it is just because Firebirds doesn’t have a rotating damage buff which can be a pain to maintain compared to Tal Rasha. It can be painful because you do need to keep up three varieties of fire based attacks for the main damaging form to really work. But that’s easier than the rotating version. Either way, the fact that there’s more variety than just leaning on Archon has made me interested once again in the wizard play style.
Going back to demon hunters, one build that really caught my eye early on was M4/N6. The idea here is using the M4 sentries to cause a great deal of damage while rain of vengeance boost it from N6 (and getting defense with the rain up). It’s a strange combination, especially because Natalya’s generally is more about Strafe (channeling) whereas Marauders is more about Cluster Arrow. Either way, it is something I would like to try when I have some time.
I may rebirth one more seasonal character once I’ve achieved my goals with my main two. I feel that I’m burnt out on barbarians for a while and the witch doctor meta with Firebats or Gargantuan via Helltooth just have no appeal for me. That does leave Crusaders, Monks and Necromancers as possibilities.
The thing with Crusaders is that the main build people are playing is Condemn + Akkhans. The thing is that Condemn is still the same for the most part from what I could see, except possibly slower. It doesn’t look that fun and the last time I played it, I wasn’t really impressed. If ponies made a comeback, I might’ve considered trying a Crusader again but there’s not enough builds that really entice me.
The Necromancer is a class that has seen far too little game play from me. But I feel it’s just not a very mature class compared to the others. There are a few builds that I have played, including the currently popular Pestilence build. So it is a class on my radar but with a general low priority.
Now, Monk is the class that a lot of people have raved about due to Wave of Light and it’s clear speed. I’ve done monk a few other times but the WoL meta supposedly is what makes it special. I’ve got a few pieces of gear here and there, which would make leveling a breeze. Not to mention a lot of dex gear from my DH. But I really haven’t felt a strong urge to play.
So where does that leave us?
Right now, I feel that while more metas have been introduced, others still are left in the dirt. A good example is the old school fetish build with Zuni’s. I hated the dart build version and dearly miss just running 23 fetishes with pets eating things alive. Also, Helltooth is in Hell because people just run a single build with gargantuan. I really enjoyed the Acid Bomb/Firewall build. Not a fancy, tricky, gimmicky build, but something straight forward and rewarding to play.
Another massive issue is that there’ still too many plain/junk legendaries. Items like Skorn should by now be classified as a specific class’ weapon with it’s own power that compliments a set. It would be great if the overall pool of legendaries shrunk even further and be better distributed for more focus. I shouldn’t have to feel down if I find, say, a Rimeheart or worse yet a Monster Hunter. Why even have these in the game if they lack purpose and meaning?
Speaking of lacking purpose/meaning, Followers still are horribly useless. This is one area that requires a massive correction. I proposed a while back allowing solo players to help balance out the end game meta a little better where their skills, items, etc. could be more effectively used. I mean, I find it ridiculous that most builds just take a templar around, leaving the other two just standing around.
Another area that really rattles me is the environment colors. I know it’s partly done on purpose but it gets too extreme at times where I end up with bad headaches, eye aches and feel tired after playing for extended periods. A lot of this is due to the dark colors. I get this should be atmospheric but it shouldn’t be this extreme.
Also, despite the number of years this game has been in production, I still encounter horrible bugs with lag spikes and fatal crashes. This is pretty disheartening since at the very least, the developers ought to focus a good chunk on game stability. I know I’m not the only person who encounters poor performance, frequent freezes and random lags spikes. It’s so bad that I can’t really do anything else on my gaming rig for fear of halting my system.
Overall, I still find the game to be enjoyable. It’s nice being able to shut my brain off after a horrible work week and just destroying demons while pretending they are my company’s clients (or certain members in management). I do think that the game still can have a few really good features tossed in before the next big Diablo 4 comes out. I still want to see another meta introduced where Kanai’s Cube can be expanded with more recipes such as stripping one legendary power onto another. I don’t think the end game meta should be just +5 main stat in some format of minor, incremental progression, but something more combinatorial with creativity in spicing the game up. But I don’t know if these ideas are in the works or if the game development team’s main focus is just on Diablo 4.