Tuesday, May 22, 2012

D3 Marathon - Day 7

On day 7 I'm becoming even more comfortable with my Monk. At the end of the day he is level 44, with about 1.1K DPS and 7K+ health. This may not seem enough but I can explain.

I was playing with this Demon Hunter who was lower level than me. I asked what his DPS was. Mine was 900 at the time and I was feeling pretty good about it. He surprised me when he said 1600. But then he said that he spent a bunch of gold on the Auction House buying upgrades. Fair enough.

Regardless of DPS, the Monk feels just right. I run a defensive build, with a lot of passive and active healing and it seems to work very well so far. I will detail the build shortly.

Here's my Monk, at level 44, with his new polearm. I gave up a shield for now, but I'd like to take one up again, for the extra armor. Also, I prefer a faster weapon, but this 2-hander was very cheap on the Auction House and it gave me a very nice DPS and health boost.

Also notice that I changed my banner. Yeah, ok, banners are not so bad after all.

I'm tempted to play with some armor dyes but I realize it would be a waste of gold right now so I'm putting it off until much later, after the RMAH is released.

Build and skills
I love how my build evolves slowly from one day to the next. Today I'm using a slightly different build than on day 6.

Grinding build @ level 44 (available at 39).
The main highlight is that I replaced Crippling Wave (regretfully) with Fists of Thunder runed with Lightning Flash. The reason is twofold: first, it generates more Spirit; second, it increases my Dodge by 16% as long as I'm hitting stuff with Fists of Thunder.
The other thing is that I replaced the Water Ally rune for Mystic Ally with Air Ally. While the little dude seems to do slightly less damage, occasionally he gives me a huge Spirit boost thanks to the rune.

The main reason for these changes is that I kept finding myself starved of Spirit. I need a build which could generate lots of Spirit, especially since spending Spirit also heals me thanks to the Transcendence passive. This build is an improvement but still not perfect. If you have any suggestions on how to improve my Spirit generation even further, I'd be grateful.

Boss build @ level 44 (available at 39).
The boss build remains almost unchanged, except for the Mystic Ally rune. The other minor change is that I'm now using Breath of Heaven with Circle of Life instead of Circle of Scorn, for even more healing. Truth be told, I'm not even sure this last change is warranted. With this build I'm not taking enough damage from act bosses to make the extra healing mandatory.

I can see myself later on replacing Mystic Ally with Inner Sanctuary runes with Safe Haven or Consecration or Circle of Protection. So many choices. This would make for the ultimate tank.

Auction House
Speaking of the Auction House, I have become a convert. Not that I wasn't before, but I didn't expect I would end up searching actively for upgrades. I decided to upgrade some lousy pieces of equipment I had and in short order bought, for a total of 6K gold, 3 rare pieces which boosted my DPS by over 100, as well as my health and other stats. Was it worth it? Hell yeah! I can make 6K in less than 5 minutes on Nightmare.

The polearm/pike thing you see in the screenshot was also purchased for 6K gold and this alone improved my DPS by an additional 200.

I have also discovered an easy method to search for the best deals on the AH, but I will have to write a standalone article on the subject. UPDATE: never mind. Great minds think alike. Meldora posted the exact same thing, along with a video showing how it's done, on d3artisans.

A friend from Europe has also mentioned he was using the AH for upgrades. I'm telling you, if you want to rely solely on items you find on your own, that's fine. But in Nightmare things are getting hairy and you might suffer greatly for it. My friend's Wizard has 2K DPS and 12K health at level 47 but still struggles in Nightmare Act 3. Now, this is very subjective because, in comparison, my Monk has a bit over half his stats but he doesn't have a lot of problems, also in Act 3 Nightmare.

Auction House bugs
The AH might be great for finding item upgrades but it suffers from some serious bugs, currently. First, there's a major bug that prevents you from selling high(er) level gems. This is especially true of Perfect Square and Radiant Square gems. Basically you post the gem on the AH but other players can't buy it. I don't even think they will see it, even if it is the lowest priced. There's an elaborate trick involved that seems to fix this issue but such workarounds are ridiculous and shouldn't be needed at all. Damn you Blizzard, fix this right now!

Apart from that, I got some serious errors when trying to purchase some Tomes of Secrets. These are reagents for crafting some higher level gems. I spent over 20 minutes trying to buy 6 lousy Tomes. After placing the buy order I waited for several minutes while the order was "processed". Then, each time I got an error that my request failed. Problem was, the gold was deducted from my account. In the end, I found that I had purchased 2 stacks of 6 Tomes each, instead of just 1 stack, but there was a lot of gold missing (about 100K or so). Each time I clicked "Buy" my gold seems to have disappeared into a black hole of some sort.

It is possible that I will get a refund of all that gold. Last night when I went to bed I didn't see it, but I'm hoping today, after their damn maintenance, I will.

So yeah, be very careful when buying certain commodities. If you get a very long delay when placing an order and then an error message, stop buying.

I managed to sink a couple hundred thousand gold in leveling my Jewelcrafter. My intentions were good. Studying the gem prices on the Auction House it became clear that I could make a profit by crafting the highest level gems available so far in the game. Currently these are Radiant Square Rubies. Well, Rubies seem to be the most profitable.

There were two problems with this strategy. First, I lost all that gold trying to buy Tomes of Secrets. Second, no one can buy the first gem I crafted because I forgot that the trick I linked above involved exactly 2 gems. So now I have 2 choices: take a loss and use the gem myself on my Monk's weapon (which would give him yet another DPS boost), or risk crafting a second gem. In the meantime, prices may drop even further, nullifying any profits.

I'll see how it goes after the game is back online. But the outlook is grim. I don't understand why it's so hard for them to fix these serious AH issues. I can't even imagine if shit like this happens with the RMAH. Either way, this is inexcusable. Gold will translate very shortly into real money. So if the system eats my gold, it is essentially eating my hard-earned cash.

Items and farming
In Nightmare Act 2 you will start seeing Perfect gems drop. In Act 3 you will see Radiant gems.

I did a tally of how much gold I can "farm" in an hour and it comes to about 50K per hour in Nightmare Act 2. 30K are from picking up gold and vendoring blue/rare items. The rest are from the value of gems and pages of crafting which I find in an hour and sell on the AH. Not too shabby. I'm sure that amount would be even more if I focused exclusively on farming, but now's not the time. Gotta get to 60 first.

While killing stuff in Act 2, my Monk found this really nice 117.6 DPS bow, the first weapon with more than 100 DPS. He, of course, passed it on to the Demon Hunter whereupon the latter's DPS rocketed up to about 1600. And by the way, these are exactly the stats I'm looking for in a DH item: Dex and Vit. This bow has plenty of both.

Another Scoundrel piece of wisdom
In closing I will leave you with another lol moment, courtesy of the Scoundrel follower.

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