Diablo 3: My Season 30 Strategy

Now, that I had the opportunity to play the PTR, I started to formulate a strategy for the upcoming season 30. I mentioned the previous night/blog that I would give a few more builds a try. In that case, I played around with the Helltooth Witch Doctor and a Delsere Wizard. I avoided the Necromancer altogether just because I’m not really into them at the moment. So the only two I would need to futz around a little more with are another monk build and possibly Raekor Barbarian (because I haven’t tried one). Given what I’ve seen/tried, I wanted to discuss my strategy for Season 30.

Without a doubt I’ll be sticking with a Demon Hunter as my opener, regardless of the seasonal set drop bonus. Usually, in really flat seasons where the bonuses are bad, Witch Doctors, Demon Hunters and Necromancers make the best starters. With Witch Doctors getting such a huge nerf to the chicken build, I just don’t feel as motivated to play one beyond novelty. The Helltooth build I tried with the Gargantuan still isn’t great and I didn’t want to give Zombie Bears another shot. And I’m simply not a fan of Rathma. It’s just a very boring build to me, although admittedly this would be my choice for completing set dungeons.

By process of elimination that leaves the Demon Hunter. For the record, I believe the reward for the Demon Hunter season set is the Marauder set. The M6 set is quite good despite the nerf and quite fun just because you get tons of pets. Ultimately though, I’m racing to obtain the GoD set just because it’s hands down the best set in the game for me.

Before that though, how does one get to that point? First, with the Altar returning, the main thing is to get 10 Reusable Parts for the first unlock. That first one will be extending killing streaks. While it’s not the best thing around, it does help very early on. I believe the easiest way to do this is to grab your followers’ weapons and just shred them. They may have enough to do the first unlock. But as a DH, you will probably want to keep the bow from the Scoundrel just because it’s a slight increase in DPS from your bow.

Also, I like equipping my Enchantress more than my Templar  these days. Early on, I might go with the Templar simply because at level 20 you can get easy resource generation and don’t require a cheat death at this stage. Later on, I’ll swap in the Enchantress because her cooldown and cheat death abilities become more valuable especially with Vengeance and other cooldown abilities. Add in a pet for pickup, which becomes highly valuable at later stages with the Altar this season, you’re ready to go demon hunting.

I generally just hit Act 1’s Halls of Agony level 3 because I can find decent density and Cursed Chest events. And with the extended kill streak from your Altar, you can use one area which spawns a ton of zombies to get some easy experience. In addition, since Visions of Eternity are now a permanent feature, I find that Halls of Agony level 3 will spawn one fairly reliably. In the early stages, I might use a Vision of Eternity to get some quick loot but sub level 20, I find them to be pretty tough just because you won’t have the gear, abilities nor DPS to really progress. But if you can kill a few things and get a rare or even blue, then it’s worth trying.

These days, I tend to do Halls of Agony until level 10 or so. From there, I’ll start doing Act 1 bounties because they’re relatively easy. The ones you want to start with are kill quests with a unique mob. The goal for Act 1 bounties is to start building up gold and some bounty mats. There’s also a small chance of securing a Ring of Royal Grandeur. So you’ll want that as soon as possible and target farming Act 1 bounties just helps increase that chance.

Another major reason to do Act 1 bounties is that you want to get recipes. Namely, you’ll want to obtain the Cain’s Fate and Born’s Defiance plans because of their XP bonuses. These sets are decent up until roughly level 55 or so because the stats needed for survival from higher level sets outweigh the XP bonuses.

All the gold you earn, you will want to put it directly into the blacksmith as well as sharding most items rather than selling them. Your goal is to max out your Blacksmith asap and farm Visions for Death Breaths. Then you will want to keep all your low level Diamonds (at least three) to upgrade them once at the Jeweler so you can unlock the reduced level requirement on the Altar. If you can get those three aspects, you will catapult quite far early on. If you have enough materials and gold, you should be able to craft a solid level 70 weapon and with enough Death Breaths, you can eventually upgrade the weapon into a legendary.

For that next major step, you will want to seek out Kanai’s Cube and begin using whatever bounty mats you may have acquired from farming Visions to start dumping legendary powers into your cube. Assuming that you’re capable of handling reasonable amount of content (bosses) in the Visions, you might even be able to unlock another power from the Altar by obtaining a Greater Rift key. I would continue to cycle through these activities and throw in the remaining acts in order just to do part of my season journey. For the most part, the act bounties will become worthless compared to farming Visions for crafting materials. However, just to keep finding new recipes and special legendaries like the Ring of Royal Grandeur, you will need to do bounties.

Now, one major impediment that you will encounter is requiring a Challenge Rift cache. Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, I cannot say how easy/difficult this challenge will be. On the PTR, we received a fairly trivial Challenge Rift and hopefully it will be the same. But there’s no guarantee there. Regardless of the difficulty, if you do choose and manage to complete the Challenge Rift, keep the cache in your stash because it’s still a requirement. My original mistake was not going for that part earlier which prevented me from obtaining more power early on. Also, the rewards from a Challenge Rift cache are about as good as you can find in Visions these days.

From there I want to see how much legendary gear I can acquire from Visions. Last time, I managed to score quite a few items early on. Because of that, theoretically, I could switch to an LoD type of build while I build up my sets. All I would really need to do is keep roughly 2 spare Greater Rift keys just to get the LoD gem to drop. If I can get a Yang’s Recurve, Manticore or Deadman’s Legacy, I could do a lame version of a Multishot or Cluster Arrow LoD build.

Once I feel I can comfortably clear Visions, I would continue to farm them and up the difficulty. Most likely, I’ll do this in conjunction with farming a Ring of Royal Grandeur. In this manner, I can farm legendary items, recipes, Death Breaths, bounty mats and Greater Rift keys. The main recipe I would aim for early on is the Sage’s Journey set. In this manner, I can get as much Death Breaths as I need early on. Once I unlock the double DBs Altar power, I can drop this set for something else on my Follower.

Besides, the level requirement removal Altar power, the other major power I aim for is having my Pets pick up and shred gear. This is probably the biggest quality of life improvement by far especially in conjunction with Visions. The auto DB pick up also is great but you will gain a huge amount of crafting materials that you probably would have otherwise wasted significant time on going back and forth from town (now only if something is done for gems….)

Once you get your main gear, the real grind begins. The thing you will want to seek out are the proper Soul Shards for your build as well as consumables to upgrade them. I’ve found that Soul Shards are a lot harder to obtain and no longer drop pre-70. I know in a previous strategy, you would be able to farm Zulten Kulle early on but on T6 when I was leveling new characters, I did not see a single one drop (not from Zultan Kulle but just any mobs). I might attempt a few Zulten Kulle kills to see if I can get these Soul Shards to drop but I’m not counting on it. One implication of Soul Shards returning though is that they render the Broken Crown power useless. So if you’re in desperate need for gems, you either will have to sacrifice the helmet soul shard or just deal with the usual drop rate of gems.

Now, a few things that really expedited my power gain in the PTR that I will not have access to once this season goes live are level 100 Whispers of Atonement and Primal Ashes (or just cheap crafting mats). The Primal Ashes made gearing up alts ultra easy since I could soup up their weapons in one go. Also, the Whispers of Atonement allowed me quick augments which in turn let me beat the Echoing Nightmare for the other major Altar unlock. So I’m hoping that despite not having early augments, I will be able to get enough power to handle the Echoing Nightmare aspect. If it becomes easy enough, I might just use it for other augments.

Alt-wise, I’m thinking at the very least I’m going to play a Barbarian and Wizard. I might give Crusader and Monk a go but I’m uncertain of the Witch Doctor and Necromancer. It depends on how bored I get. The one really nice thing about having the Altar back is that alts are very easy to do. I can just save my gear and dump in an LoD gem. I will have a Gem of Ease just for the weapon though. No point in making leveling painful and extenuating the process.

That’s my current thoughts. I do want to write a blog about unleashing more seasonal powers next. I like theorycrafting those situations.


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