From my last post you may have guessed that I’m a bit hyped about the new D3 season this week. To help calm and distract myself, I’ve decided to write down my plans and goals for the season. Maybe some of this will be of use to you if you’ll be joining me on Friday for Season 5.
Stage 0: Being prepared. In the last few days before the season starts, I’m looking up builds and figuring out what and how I want to play this season. I’ll be leveling a wizard first, because I just love wizards and they’re my go-to class. The seasonal reward set for the wizard class this season is the Firebird’s set, so I can plan my initial build around that. There are tons of guides and build suggestions out there so it helps to be able to narrow them down to just the ones that use that set. Knowing ahead of time is really useful since I can be sure to save and cube any specific legendaries I might need if they drop while I’m leveling.
Stage 1: Reasonably speedy leveling. I’ve done lots of different flavors of speed and power leveling in the past. At the start of a new season power leveling is not an option since that requires a higher-level friend to drag you around, so the focus is on speed leveling. Usually I level solo, since it lets me go at my own pace. I’ve found I like to do bounties on hard difficulty. Higher difficulty settings give more xp but seem to slow me down more than they are worth. Running rifts can sometimes be faster, but at the start of a new season there’s a lot of value in grabbing the cube crafting mats that you get from completing each act’s bounties.
This time around there’s a good chance that I will be leveling with a group, so I hope to try out the slightly modified bounty method. Basically if there is a bounty to kill a boss for the act, everyone goes together to do it (for sweet boss xp and loot). After that, the group splits up and each person does a different bounty to finish them quickly. Once they are all done everyone will get credit for the act, with the big chunk of xp and loot that comes with it. Rinse and repeat for each act.
Gearing up while leveling is not a hugely exciting process, but there are a couple key things to keep in mind. Mostly it is important to craft the highest level 2-handed weapon you can equip, and remember to socket a red gem in your helm as soon as you can. There are some other tricks you can use, like trying to craft a level 60 and 70 weapon with reduced level requirement, but honestly you’ll level so fast anyway it may not be worth the time and mats to try to craft it. Hang onto any legendaries with useful abilities that drop, and cube them when you can. The level of the legendary doesn’t have any impact on how it works in the cube. I will be saving any puzzle rings I get until I hit 70 and can do the vault on a mid range Torment level for maximum gold though.
Stage 2: The surge. This is honestly when the game is at its most fun for me, because your power level changes dramatically over a very short time. You’ve hit level 70 but don’t have a ton of gear yet. Running rifts can be a challenge but it feels like everything is an upgrade. Usually as soon as I hit 70 I craft as much gear as I can use, then bump up the difficulty to torment 1 or 2 and chain run rifts for a while. Hang onto any ring or neck that has a socket, even if it doesn’t seem that great, because you’ll probably want it once you get some legendary gems. This time around I will also be making sure to complete anything I need to for the seasonal journey, since I want to get my free Firebird’s set ASAP.
Once I get a few keystones I’ll start on greater rifts. The goal here isn’t really speed or gear, but rather to get the legendary gems I need for my build. Even without upgrades they can make a huge difference. Once I have them I’ll focus on speeding through regular rifts to stockpile gold and hunt for legendaries, pausing to do some bounties as needed to spice things up and get mats for the cube. As I get better gear I can start bumping up the difficulty for regular rifts some, but until I’m in my full class set and reasonable legendaries/cube powers the plan is to prioritize fast runs.
Stage 3: The meat. At this point I should have a full class set and most or all of the other legendary pieces that I want to go with my build. Now it is time to have some fun. I will be checking out the new class set dungeon at this point, as well as starting to push into greater rifts to upgrade gems and start searching for ancient legendaries. Hopefully by this point I will be done with the main part of the seasonal journey for the cosmetic rewards. That means I can start working on the bonus objectives for the fancy versions of the portrait frame.
This is also the stage where I’ll be starting to think about other builds. Just because the Firebird’s set is free this season doesn’t mean I will want to use it the whole time. Also, any class set item is getting saved so I can try all the different dungeons available. Hopefully I get the chance to complete all the wizard ones before the season ends.
Stage 4: The grind. This is when the game starts slowing down for me. It is all about pushing ever higher into greater rifts, searching for the elusive ancient legendaries, and upgrading gems and items as much as possible. Around this time I’ll probably start getting bored and level my witch doctor, or start a hardcore wizard that I’ll never finish. Maybe the chase for all the different class sets and the challenge of those dungeons will keep me interested a bit longer than previous seasons, I guess we will see.
I expect to get to stage 3 by the end of this weekend without too much trouble. Here are my goals for Season 5:
- Hit level 70 on Friday night.
- Complete the Seasonal Journey for the pet by the end of the weekend.
- Reach solo greater rift 50. (My best last season was 45).
- Reach paragon level 400. (Last season I hit around 350).
- Complete greater rift 30 with 2, 3, and 4 players.
- Bonus goals: Reach level 70 on a hardcore wizard or complete at least one set dungeon on a witchdoctor.
Only 2 more days left to wait!