We got the 2.4.0 Patch for Diablo III last week, which included a few new items. The big items were listed out in the new patch intro screen. The focus there was on new places and new gear.
That was enough to get me interested. Then there was the new season, which started this past Friday evening, which also held the promise of new items.
Together that was enough to rekindle some interest in me to play the game.
I had tried out the season thing last time around, rolling up a Demon Hunter for Season 4. However, the DH never quite stuck with me and I ended up leaving him lingering at about level 13.
So this time around I figured I would go straight to a class I already enjoyed playing, which pretty much narrowed things down to either a Barbarian or a Crusader… and since I already had two Barbarians, a Crusader was the choice.
I created him… character creation in Diablo III is basically just choosing a class, a sex, and a name, with check boxes optional for season and hardcore, so the term “rolling up” is barely applicable.
Oh, and you get to choose your difficulty. This time around I decided to start with Expert, which sits in the middle on the continuum of difficult, arrayed as: Normal, Hard, Expert, Master, and Torment, though I am not sure if you can pick Torment right away with a fresh character.
Expert, if I read the chart correctly, gave me a 100% bonus for gold and exp and gave the monster a 320% boost in hit points and a 189% boost in damage output.
That seemed to be just about the right choice for me when setting out, at least while solo. I opted to go through the story again rather than straight into Adventure Mode, and there is a gap between when you show up outside New Tristram and when you finally acquire a companion, some decent gear, and some skills that feels a bit iffy to me. It wasn’t horribly difficult or anything, though I did die once. It feels more like punishing the new player a bit.
Ah well, with the boost in exp I leveled into skills pretty quickly and you get a companion soon enough. Gear dropped well enough, though the extra gold helped on the crafting front to fill in gaps.
One of the first thing I noticed is that the game is a lot more communicative about things like massacres, which can grant you a bonus to exp. Previously you found out after the fact that you were on a streak. Now you get a pop-up that tells you when you’re on your way and shows a little timer, in the form of a burning fuse, to let you know how much time you have to start hitting something new to keep it going.
There were also a pile of changes to all of the classes with the 2.4.0 patch, though it had been long enough since I played that I had to pretty much relearn the class anyway. I pottered away solo through the first act going with the skill that let you single hand a dual wield weapon with a penalty to damage with reasonable success.
Then, in comparing notes with a co-worker, he said he preferred to go with single hand weapons and the skill that buffed up their speed instead. I swapped to that and started in on Act II, which was a bit of a trial because I needed to get a decent 1h weapon. There was a bit of a DPS deficit going from a Legendary 2h to just a Magic 1h that was handy.
Once I got a 1h Legendary however, the gap was clearly filled and my Crusader began tearing through mobs like they were paper. He was doing well enough that part way into Act II I upped the difficulty from Expert to Master. That put some effort back into the game and I had to start paying some attention to my health globe again.
So far, so good. I have 7 of the 9 initial objectives complete. Doing that gets me some stuff.
And my Crusader is advancing at a decent rate for me. Playing solo and in short-ish chunks of time (there is always that one more thing cycle to deal with though) means that, unlike Bel who hit level 68 over the first day of the season, I am only level 43 so far.
But that works for me.