Monday Musings – Inferno Edition   6 comments

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Diablo

I have been playing a lot of Diablo the past few weeks. I continue to enjoy the game, and I am having a good deal of fun with it. I have a barbarian that is part way through act three (normal), patiently waiting for a friend to have a some free time to smash faces with him; and then I have my “main” a level 60 witch doctor. I haven’t had a lot of time outside of those two characters (yet!) to play much else, but I do intend to try them all.

On Cooperative Play

Before I go much further, I wanted to take a quick minute to talk about cooperative play in Diablo. When the game first released, had you asked me, I would have told you that there was no way in hell I would participate in the cooperative play function. And, in fact, through my very first play through on normal, I did everything by myself and politely refused any offers for group play. However, once I hit nightmare Brade and I started to group together and I haven’t looked back. They play experience with a group has been something that has been pleasantly surprising to me. But not only that, it’s an enhancement of the game that I think I feel safe saying that if you haven’t tried it out, you are missing out on some of what the game offers.

As an example of that statement, I had my cake decorating class Friday night. When I got home, I found Brade reading (or passed out…maybe) on the couch. I was a little surprised by this, as he’s got a Hell level wizard that he’s been playing solo when I’m doing other things. But when I commented that I was surprised not to see him at the computer, he commented that he played his wizard a little bit, but really just found he had more fun playing the cooperative games with me. Now, ya’ll, as a complete nerd couple, this is almost akin to walking into a surprise candle lit dinner. But I think also speaks a lot to how much fun the cooperative play can be.

In short, if you haven’t given cooperative play a try yet, you should.

On the Witch Doctor

I’m going to talk a little more about my Witch Doctor. This weekend I hit level 60, finished Hell and started Inferno. I am still utilizing this spec for her, however if my Nephalem Valor (more on that in a bit) is reset tonight when I log in, I think I might try dropping Spiritual Attunement for Pierce the Veil and see how that plays out. I have made a minor tweak here or there, but for the most part this is the spec that I ran all of Hell with, and the first parts of Inferno with, and it has served me quite well. I do not know how it would fare as a solo spec, but it works very well for a group spec. It has strong single target damage, strong AE, decent CC and multiple magic schools. Plus, the range on darts is just obscene, I can’t even tell you!

As far as Hell went, I think that the hardest thing we encountered was Belial. I don’t know if this is just a Brade and I thing (as in we both just suck at the fight), or if the boss is really just that tricky, but I almost feel as if Belial is the hardest boss in the game. I think it took us three or four efforts on him, whereas Azmodan basically feel over and handed us loot, and Diablo (aside from being owed by my shade’s bear) was only marginally harder. Perhaps there are some other factors, like being level 60 for the latter, that played into it, but I will tell you that I’m cringing at the thought of getting to Belial in Inferno.

As for Inferno, we are about half way through the first act, and while we may find death a few more times, it doesn’t seem too bad (famous last words, I know!). I’ve heard that Act 2 is where you really start to feel it, so I will have to wait and reserve judgment until we get there. I imagine that we will be partaking in some Act 1 farming after having our asses handed to us by that first wasp pack. I did want to comment, though, that I feel that the difficulty of these levels isn’t really felt in the bosses as much as they are in the elite packs leading up to them. For example, we laughed at the skeleton king and that spider boss, but had our asses well and thoroughly handed to us by the event in the woods on top of the mound.

Did you know that some of those elite packs have an enrage timer? Or perhaps it was proximity enrage. I don’t know. But they can enrage. Did you know that when you die and are “corpse camping” a pack, that each time you die your rez timer increases? It can get up to over 30 seconds! I think that this particular pack is the worst one that we’ve come across. The elite had fast, minions, illusion and molten. I think. Regardless, we spent probably 15 minutes killing them. It included having to go repair in town because they’d killed us so much our gear broke! Good times were had by all.

On the Best Advice I Can Give For Late Hell/Early Inferno

There are a few pieces of advice that I feel comfortable giving for those who are finishing up Hell and starting Inferno. The first one is: Be Patient and Expect to Die. I cannot stress this one enough. I hear a lot of stories from people who have “quit” the game because they died a lot (I’ll touch on my advice on this in a minute). However, by the time you reach Diablo in Hell or are getting ready to start Inferno, you’ve entered into the part of the game specifically designed to challenge you as a player. You are saying “I want to do this in the hardest way possible” and you are going to be faced with crazy (and maybe impossible) challenges. I know that there are some class issues, and some melee/range issues that may cause additional frustrations, but as a whole at this level of the game you should expect to die, a lot. Figuring out how not to die is part of the challenge! Also be patient. You should not expect to clear Inferno with the same swiftness you cleared the other levels. It’s just not designed that way. Enjoy the ride and laugh at your misfortunes (they will be plentiful)!

The second piece of advice that I can give is: spend some gold on your gear when you hit 60. The number one thing you should make an investment in is a level 60 weapon. In fact, even before 60 I upgraded my weapons with some regularity. You don’t have to spend a TON on it (you should be able to find a significant upgrade in the 50k – 100k range), but making the investment in a level 60 weapon of blue quality (and OH if needed), will be like night and day at the end of Hell and the start of Inferno. Additionally, buy yourself some level 60 gear, and make sure it has Vitality on it. Again, don’t spend a TON on it, but going into these levels with more than 15k life is crucial to your survival and the ease in which you can succeed. For me, I didn’t buy anything over 5k gold (outside of a weapon) because I hit level 60 with something like 89k gold, and was able to find upgrades with both Intellect and Vitality for a good number of my gear slots (minus rings and amulets). By the time I killed Diablo and started Inferno I was over 30k life, and I can honestly say that even just the weapon upgrades at the end of Hell likely had so much impact on the ease in which we cleared Act 4.

The final piece of advice that I can give is: explore everything and expect to farm. By the time you hit level 60, your only increases in power are going to come directly from your gear. Don’t expect to rush from objective A to objective B straight to the finish line. Just like any other game, you have to spend time to grow in power (how many of you farmed levels in a Final Fantasy game? Same principle!). If you don’t take the time to “hunt” out elite packs for Nephalem Valor and loot upgrades, you are only going to find frustration the further into the game you go. You will likely have to repeat levels, specifically for the purpose of grinding out gear. Also, don’t neglect the auction house! Quality level 60 items will sell very well, which in turn means that you will have more gold to spend on quality items for yourself!

On Nephalem Valor

One of the perks that you get at level 60 is a buff called Nephalem Valor. It stacks up to five times, and each stack will increase your gold and magic find by 15%, up to a total of 75% (if you have five stacks). The way that you gain Nephalem Valor is by killing elite packs. Each time to kill a pack, you gain a stack. The buff lasts thirty minutes, and refreshes each time to kill a new elite pack. It will survive death; but leaving the game, changing your spec, and changing a rune will remove your stacks. Additionally, if you accidentally pull a button off of your bar, you will also lose your stacks (as Brade learned the hard way).

I rather like Nephalem Valor. I think it’s a cool way to spice up farming, and ease gaining gold. We specifically farm out packs to gain the buff, and try to hurry to a boss before the buff drops if we are close so we can kill the boss with the buff. Plus, seeing like 15 items drop from a boss is also kind of fun!

I’m sure that I will continue to have thoughts on Diablo as I continue through Inferno, but I’m curious your thoughts! Are you still enjoying the game? Do you find Inferno fun or infuriating?

Posted June 4, 2012 by Beruthiel in Diablo

6 responses to “Monday Musings – Inferno Edition

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  1. I always like seeing people talking about learning Inferno in a group, since there’s been a lot of complaints that Inferno is much easier to solo learn. Hamlet and I leveled our ranged characters together, and while parts of Hell were ugly before we used the AH, we settled into a pattern to where we learned most of Act II Inferno in a day. The challenge for us was that there are popular glass canon builds/gear setups for both our classes, but that works less well in a group where the mobs are stronger and your glass canon setup won’t one shot them.

    The problem with farming is that the rewards in Act I aren’t really proportional to the effort required (a downside to having Inferno scale up in mob level/difficulty/rewards–Act III/IV is the real endgame). I think it’s a lot more fun to get gold by killing champion packs than playing the AH, but the AH is sadly more profitable. I’ll search for certain item/stat combos under a fairly low price point–anything that shows up in that price range I will be able to flip for a good 100k more. (Side note: Level 45+ items can have great stat combos–don’t limit searches to just 60.)

    In contrast, maybe I’ll get one item per run from Act I that’s of use. It’s weird how the most efficient way to get gold is to play the AH instead of playing your character, and that translates into being the fastest way to gear up a character and allow meaningful progression, as opposed to a skill cap/strategy. It sounds really odd after what I’m used to in WoW, but D3 was designed to feature an AH, so it does make some sense that most of the items you’d get by looting have junk stat combos–else there’d be no use for the AH. (Act II is an even stranger place, where the increased difficulty + awful base mob types like wasps, huntresses, and naga, coupled with level 49 items dropping, makes it really unappealing to ‘farm.’)

    Anyway, I still enjoy Act I speed clears since I get bored of the AH eventually and free gems/pots are nice, and have started doing a bit more exploring for book/dungeon achievements :) We found that doing Skeleton King runs with clearing out the Cemetery crypts usually yielded 5 stacks, and when our gear got better, we switched to Butcher runs, which included two Halls of Agony floors and the prison. It’s also been fun seeing how my NV spec has changed as I’ve gotten more upgrades, both dps and survivability.

    At this point I’ve also switched a lot of my vitality gear to resist gear. I started inferno with something like 37k HP, and rethought it when a monk friend was carrying us through with drastically less vitality and 600+ resists as I was dead 90% of the run. I’ve halved my vitality while really beefing up my resists (as well as having some glass canon pieces if I ever solo), and my survivability has gone way up.

    • I think what has surprised me the most about the game is how far I’ve gotten in it. I never really expected to be tackling Inferno, more or less enjoying it! Brade has always been the more adept gamer and it was never a doubt in my mind that he’d do it, but for me to not only have gotten this far, but feel like I’m pulling my own weight has been a pleasant surprise :)

      We are both working on building resist sets, but it’s been a little slow going, and unfortunately resist gear is fairly expensive on the AH (or I’m looking for the wrong things!). I’m hoping before we get too deep into everything, we’ll be able to build up our gear a little more so that we have more resist on it. As we find stuff worth selling, we are doing it, but we are both still fairly cash poor (I’ll blame my obsessive “must do everyone” complex, and my expenditures on building up both my BS and JC for my poorness!). I’d love to hear any tips you might have for AHing!

      I would definitely agree on not being able to use some of the more traditional specs when grouping. Brade and I have both read up quite a bit on our classes, but have both deviated from some of the more “standard” (can those even really exist?) specs, so that we can better navigate together. We both have CC talents, we both have some survival talents (well…at least I think he does!). But so far we’ve manage to figure out solutions for things seemingly impossible. I’m hoping that we will have time to finish Act 1 tonight and see what is in store for us in Act 2 :)

      • We decided to split leveling JC/BS–I got stuck with BS and stopped after Level 8 when I was always broke and had maybe one item to show for it. I heard that the process will be changed to be less costly, so I’ll finish it out then and held onto the rare patterns I’ve found. As for AHing–I’d be happy to email more about it since I am slightly possessive about my strats and also need to be making a ton of gold to buy those upgrades now ;)

        Good luck with Act II! We farmed the AH (and Act I) for a week before trying it, so don’t get too discouraged if the wasps seem awful at first :)

  2. I’ve just gotten through nightmare- have yet to try hell. I’ve mostly played co-op with a minimum of 2 others, usually a full party (Raggu/Ely/Warbat lol). I’m always wandering off “exploring” usually to my own demise, or the groups >.> I get pretty excited when I find treasure goblins, and quite enjoy uncovering the entirety of the map, and breaking/opening every jar/pot/whatever along the way. I played for the first time alone yesterday- Act 4 on Nightmare… My poor pets probably think I have real “issues” many expletives were yelled rather loudly at my repeated deaths to the copious amount of mobs- or just my own stupidity. *Did you know that the “helpers” you get can use can be given GEAR? And they have TALENTS? They weren’t so useless once I figured this out! lolol. I’m having fun doing it at my own pace, and plan on levelling my Witchdoctor next. Peachizard just hit 50 last night so I’ll likely try hell for a bit, then swap to tossing frogs at everything. I also love the cow care bear level. Well, not on nightmare. Chubby Purple Unicorn has slain Peachizard. Chubby Pink Unicorn has slain Peachizard. Twinkleroot has slain Peachizard. I don’t even think I got a rare that run : / haha.

  3. I must say that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed playing with you and Brade. A lot of the people from my guild zipped on ahead and are late inferno currently so getting to play through a bulk of Hell difficulty with you guys was a blast. Hands down the cooperative play has been far more enjoyable than solo play. I liked that my spec, albeit only slightly different than yours witch doctor wise, complimented well when dealing with larger packs and I actually “tanked” a few mobs as I had a little more HP while you guys picked up health globes for me :D

    All in all I say i’ve had a great experience with the game and I’m genuinely looking forward to playing more Act 2 Inferno when I have the opportunity. When we all finally get to act 4 i’m looking forward to some whimseyshire action. Have a magic find gear swap for those clouds waiting in the wings.

    Good luck and happy hunting as always!

  4. I agree on the point regarding the cooperative gameplay being more fun than solo. Best of luck to you two in Inferno. :D

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