Saturday, May 19, 2012

D3 Marathon - Day 4

On day 4, because my Demon Hunter was having some difficulties in Act 4, I decided to trade some Dexterity for Vitality. It was very risky going with only 1600 HP. Even though my DPS dropped, my survivability improved.

Performance metrics
At the end of day 4 my Demon Hunter was level 38. On this day, I had only played 6 hours on the DH, for a total of 26 hours 15 minutes. On the other hand, I did put in some time on my Monk, that I leveled to 15, as well as the Witch Doctor (10) and Wizard (9).

My Demon Hunter's DPS went from 406 to 690.

My gold is now 465K, and that's after buying the remaining space in my first shared stash tab for 20K.

Inventory management
My inventory was becoming a big problem. The shared stash was full and I had to make frequent trips to town on my Demon Hunter to sell stuff. Eventually I took the time to create 4 more mule characters (for a total of 5) and successfully transferred all the crap that was taking up space in the shared stash. I will probably do a post on this aspect of inventory management alone, because I think it is a fairly organized way to do it.

Beat Normal
I finally finished Act 4 and the act's boss. OK, at this point it shouldn't be much of a spoiler if I tell you that the boss is Diablo. After all, the game is called Diablo, right? When you're solo, your follower is disabled before the last battle. He gets trapped in a bone cage. Not fair!

The fight has 3 phases and I died on the second phase. I realized that, due to the nature of the fight, I would have a very hard time completing this on my own. So, once again, I decided to join a group. A Barbarian and I managed to kill Diablo but we both came close to dying. It was the first time for both of us. I have to say, it's a tough fight. I wouldn't have stood a chance if I hadn't donned that Vitality gear, I can tell you that.

In the end, I finished Normal difficulty on my Demon Hunter at level 33 with 21 hours and 50 minutes on this character.

Diablo seems to be a girl. Well, (s)he should be, considering. But it was hard to tell in the heat of battle. Problem is, the voice is male.

Zones and monsters
After I beat Normal, I couldn't wait to start Nightmare. Man, Nightmare is a lot harder than Normal, I can tell you that! Even at level 33 (which, I believe, is ahead of the curve) it was tough for me. Starting in Nightmare, I grouped up every time. The mobs are vicious, they have tons of HP and there are packs upon packs of rare bosses and champions, now with 2 modifiers. They kick ass so hard that I died a dozen times in the first half of Act 1. I wasn't alone in my predicament. Many of my group mates also died about the same number of times even though they seemed to be better equipped.

I was glad to be back in Act 1. After going through it again with the Demon Hunter and also my lower level characters, especially the Monk, I realized how much I like the design of this act. The zones are very varied and change often. The only repetitive zones are the Cathedral levels but that's ok. I seriously believe that Act 1 is the best act in Diablo 3. It feels leagues ahead of Acts 3 and 4 in terms of diversity and art.

Items and Gold Auction House
In Act 1 Nightmare flawless gems have started to drop. Also, there's been an abundance of Jewelcrafting and Blacksmithing pages of training. Guess what? I sold all of those (a few dozen of them) on the GAH. There's no point in using them right now because the prices are relatively high. I'm gonna sell them now and, if I need to, buy them later for much less. Besides, they sell almost instantly.

When I sell pages of training I look at how much 100 of them cost, not 1, not even 10. Whenever you look at the price of 1 unit (for commodities), you might be fooled into pricing your own items too low. That's why it makes sense to search for 100 pieces or even more.

One final thing about items is that the Skeleton King had some really crappy drops in Nightmare. Just 2 blue items! I guess that was the luck of the draw.

Oh, here's a funny item I found. Department of Redundancy Department? Yep.

I have started to level my Monk in groups and I am very impressed so far. I'm afraid he might steal the crown from my Demon Hunter. I just love the gameplay. Granted, he inherited a lot of good stuff from the DH, including some kick-ass weapons for his level. In 3-4 man groups he can kick ass on his own, and kick it real hard. But then again, at these low levels, on Normal, monsters aren't very challenging.

Excuse that piss-bucket my Monk is wearing on his head. It makes him look goofy but I'm sure it will be replaced soon. The claws, on the other hand, are wicked.

That's about it for day 4. I'm relieved I finished Normal so that I can now focus on leveling the Demon Hunter exclusively in groups. The monsters are much harder but the loot is also better, not to mention the gold which drops in higher quantities (200 gold stacks anyone?).

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