I haven’t done a write up about Diablo 3 since Season 24 had started but am close to achieving the Ethereal Feat of Strength and decided to write my thoughts down on my experiences of this season as well as some impressions what is needed going forward with this game.
First, some of my friends has finally got involved and they seem to be enjoying it. I think the Follower improvement and Ethereal hunt are definitely contributions to making the game more interesting. One guy in particular is completely new so it’s interesting to see how he’s learning the ropes. We did some group play with Ancient Vaults, bounties and Greater Rifts so that part was always fun.
Next, let’s talk about various builds. I started with a monk and tried going Patterns of Justice early on. However, there’s definitely a bug with that set that prevents me from really enjoying it. Instead, the stand out set has become Innas for me. I had tried it out on PTR with Fire Ally and it fell flat. Then my bud, who is running a Monk this season, had shown me a slight variant using Water Ally for the rune and it really is night and day in terms of the game play.
While Fire Ally is the top build for Innas, I would say that Water is probably a lot more fun for me just because it seems to nuke the hell out of things so much smoother. One thing I didn’t realize about the build was that you need to constantly keep the Active aspect of the ally up. Until that point, I felt that the build was super slow and clunky. So with an In-geom, Gogok of Swiftness and some CDR along with Water Ally, the build really starts to zoom through GRs and feels far better better than the Patterns of Justice build. I might eventually switch to Fire Ally again for pushing but right now, I’m super satisfied with Water Ally.
Another build that I’ve been playing with again is Frost Hydra on my Wizard. I really enjoy doing normal T16 rifts with my Wizard as a farmer. However, I did attempt some GRs but found her to be squishy. I can’t tell what the issue is outside of gear and augments. But I’ve been somewhat hesitant about doing GRs right now on my wizard until I can find better gear. So I might eventually switch to Firebirds, even though I hated it, and push with that build a bit.
For my Barbarian, I had done some adjustments because initially I found the build to be squishy. Part of the problem I learned was that I started using Squirt’s Necklace. I attempted to mitigate some of the problems of incoming damage by tossing in a Molten Wildebeest’s Gizzard thinking that the absorption shield would help, but in the end I simply was taking too much damage where Squirt’s Necklace had become a hindrance.
So I found an interesting post on Reddit describing how Squirt’s Necklace really is better used as a pushing item under specific conditions. Those conditions are managing to locate a Shield Pylon and Power Pylon to maximize the uptime on Squirt’s Necklace. Otherwise, the damage just becomes to much with numerous spikes and more importantly a tremendous loss in damage.
In the end, what I did was just getting rid of my Squirt’s Necklace and attempting to find a better Hellfire Amulet. I’m still using the Bul-Kathos Mighty Weapons as I have not found a decent Ethereal for my Barbarian. But I think for normal farming Bul-Kathos is still one of the better weapons mostly for the uptime on Whirlwind. I might attempt to do more with my Barbarian but I’m a bit focused on finding the last Ethereals and improving other characters.
For Crusader, while I managed to get a good Ethereal for the higher end Heaven’s Fury version of the Valor build, I simply prefer using Fist of Heavens just because resource management isn’t as painful and it’s easier to keep Steed Charge up. Also, part of the build involves keeping your Fist of Heavens stacks up for damage reduction. With Heaven’s Fury, it becomes a nightmare trying to keep 50 stacks up all the time and you’re competing for resources and legendary spots. So because of the setup, I’m still using Norvald’s Fervor, which again is better for speeding through rifts.
My Gears of Dreadlands Demon Hunter remains my favorite build, although the change to my Innas monk is making him equally fun to play. But GoD is just so consistent and I managed to score a great Ethereal that makes her mega speedy and versatile to run through anything. That said, I started doing some GR90s and began feeling the damage slowing down on bosses. Still, this build probably is my favorite and the only thing that could make it better is me finding a Buriza to improve my damage.
Next, we come to my least favorite seasonal characters. I’ll start off with the Witch Doctor. Mundunugu’s Regalia remains the best Witch Doctor set and I managed to find a usable Ethereal. However, I really can’t stand the dependence upon Soul Harvest for the bulk of my defense. I’m sorry but it really sucks especially when you fight a boss and your stacks drop. The issue is equally bad with Spirit Walk since it has a double cooldown. But it just shows why cooldown dependent builds suck the life out of play.
Lastly, let’s talk about the worst class in the game: Necromancer. Once more I’m forced to do the Masquerade build for a Necromancer and it’s simply one of the most unenjoyable experiences around. I attempted playing with other builds and came to the conclusion that they should just delete the Necromancer and pretend it never existed.
The problem with the Necromancer that I see is that fetish certain Blizzard developers have for rotations and cooldowns. You really can’t get away from this from any build if you want any kind of viability. Rathma? Cooldown. LoD? Rotation. Inarius? Back to rotation and cooldown.
Masquerade was severely nerfed this season/patch without compensation. The problem I have with Masquerade is that it’s just a mess of a play style. Bone Spear is far to slow when you cast it and enemies are too fast. The meta doesn’t use Brigg’s Wrath. But I do just to gather up enemies and blast them collectively with a curse. The radius of the curse to pull in enemies just is too small and the distance needed to recast Bone Armor is too short. And the stupid Scythe of the Cycle kills your uptime on Bone Armor, forcing you into this nonsense rotation of curse, Bone Armor, Grim Scythe, then nuke with a wet noodle Bone Spear that is hardly wide enough to kill enemies. This is like a super shitty version of the Marauder Demon Hunter build.
Now, to make this build a little more digestible, I had to employ the Molten Wildebeest’s Gizzard again to keep my Simulacrum up at 100%. I think without it I found myself just running around waiting for the cooldown that’s excruciatingly and unnecessarily long since I think they were dying. And I do have a Haunted Visions so I can’t tell why they were dying and forcing me to resummon them.
That said, I’m just trying to bite my tongue and pinch my nose whenever I play my Necromancer. I’m trying to find a build that doesn’t suck but I feel like I’m all out of options. I might try Inarius eventually but only because the set dungeon doesn’t look like it makes me want to puke.
Speaking of Set Dungeons, let me say that Invoker pissed me off. I gave it a few tries and found it for whatever reason to not be able to do it again. The Consecration + Iron Skin is just plain stupid to me. It’s not like Consecration actually kills the elite that you need to beat and NO ONE uses Consecration with Invokers. So why is it even there? Why can’t they just let you kill the elite with Bombardment instead since that’s what every sane person uses?
But again, the whole set dungeon concept is dumb. If it was really meant to train people in using a set, then it utterly fails and has just become an unnecessarily stupid and useless task that everyone collectively hates and has asked Blizzard on numerous occasions to remove from the Season Journey. I figure it’s just pure arrogance at this point that they keep it in because some genius thought they were being clever and doesn’t know when to delete something that sucks. At least with the Necromancer, you generally aren’t forced to play it.
At any rate, outside of my complaints, I’m pretty happy with most of the season. I’m still motivated and enjoying the hunt for Ethereals. I really hope to find more for my various characters who are still lacking them or lacking a good one. I might give my Witch Doctor some love later just because she’s less painful to play than my Necromancer.