Tag Archives: Season 5

Diablo III, Season 5, and the Set Dungeon

As I left things last time I had but one achievement left between me and finishing off the main achievements for Season 5; completing the set dungeon.

My first runs at it made it seem like a distant goal.  But a few people chimed in with advice in the comments of that last post.

The first thing I did was swap out the gem on my sword, giving up my health per hit for additional thorns damage.

Then I started running bounties in order to find more gear that would add to my thorns total.  The swap on my weapon actually let me boost myself up to Torment level VI for bounties.  So I started running those in hopes of some decent drops.

So many drops.  So little worth keeping.  The gear haul does start to wear on you after a bit, when you’re looking for one type of attribute in a sea of random drops.  Still, I did end up getting a few more achievements… Torment VI seems to be a plateau for some boss kill achievements… and I ended up seeing a couple new places along the way, such as Whimsydale.

Into colorful unicorn and teddy bear land...

Into colorful unicorn and teddy bear land…

Eventually I picked up a piece here and there that improved my thorns, giving me a base amount of about 135K damage.  At that point I was into Torment Level VII bounties.

That seemed like a pretty decent amount.  Trading out for some of the skill suggested in the comment thread as well, I decided to give the set dungeon a try.  I just had to hit a couple of goals and I would be done.

Thorns of the Invoker set dungeon requirements

Thorns of the Invoker set dungeon requirements

I went in and found one of the elites.  I closed in, put up iron skin and consecration and… was actually able to kill him successfully as required.

The first elite done in

The first elite done in

Suddenly, this seemed doable.  I just had to kill four more… and get hit with those 75 spears… all without dying.

I had just one elite left on that first run when I walked into an open area and got mobbed by hostiles and died.  Dungeon failed, everything reset.  Still, it seemed within my reach.  Yet in a half dozen more runs I got nowhere as close as I did on that first one.  I gave up for the evening.

I went back the next night to try again.  Again, the whole thing seemed like I ought to be able to manage it, it was just a bit finicky.  After a few false starts I seemed to be on my way.  Then I hit an barrier I wasn’t expecting.  There is a third goal that shows up on your quest tracker when you enter the set dungeon, requiring that you slay 157 mobs along the way.

I figured that this was a minimum number.  As it turned out, it was a boundary condition that you could not cross before you finished off the two main objectives.  So at one point I had four elites in and only need a couple more spear hits when I killed that 157th mob and the whole thing failed on me yet again.

Success on kills means failure on everything else...

Success on kills means failure on everything else…

That rather poorly worded objective was a real kick in the teeth.  I spent the rest of the evening never quite getting as far.  I was tiring of the whole thing again, so I decided to give it one more chance.

As it turned out, I got a pretty good start, with three elites… the most difficult bit… showing up almost immediately.  That really helps.  I was able, with a few close shaves, to get in the five elites and then the 75 spears.  That left me with about 30 monsters still to kill, which I did with great care until I got that last one… and boom, I was done!

Set Dungeon Complete

Set Dungeon Complete

I missed the timer, which is required for mastery but not for the Season 5 objective.  I was not set for Season 5.

Mission Accomplished

Mission Accomplished

Of course, there are post Chapter IV seasonal achievements to be earned.  Almost as soon as I wrapped up that chapter I was being told there was more goals in store.

Season 5 - Not Done Yet

Season 5 – Not Done Yet

There is a whole list of Season 5 achievements listed out over on Reddit.

But I think I might be done with Season 5.  I got to where I planned, I managed to pick up what seems like a lot of gold (200 million after doing all my gem combines) and I had my fun.  It might be a good time to take a break.  I’m not worn out on the game yet, and sometimes it is best to go out on a high note.

What will Season 6 bring?

Diablo III and my Great Leap Forward in Season 5

One of the quirks (and drivers) of a gear drop driven game like Diablo III is that sometimes you can go for ages and get little or no advancement in your gear… and then suddenly it rains upgrades on you.

After the last post, where I was wondering how to get through the Season 5 Chapter IV objectives, I was at Torment II and running Adventure Mode in hopes of picking up a drop or something that would boost me past that.  I needed to be at Torment IV to finish things off.

I got a couple small upgrades, enough that I tried to jump straight up to Torment IV, but that was too much.  So I went back to Torment III where I was still struggling a bit.  And then I got the drop that changed everything.

And it wasn’t even a piece of gear.

No, it was a recipe for a sword called Griswold’s Perfection.  Honestly, the recipe wasn’t all that great to look at, but I happened to have enough materials to make 10 swords, so I decided to see if I could get one worth upgrading to.  Nine of the resulting swords were so-so, not much of an upgrade over what I was already swinging, but there was one that stood out from the rest.  It had much higher damage than the rest, decent strength and vitality buffs, and a socket for a gem.

The Sword

The Sword

It doesn’t look like much, but once I had that in my hand, Torment III eased up so much that I went right to Torment IV.  Then my streak of “luck” began.  I was carving through adventure mode and ended up on a level with unicorns and flowers and teddy bears to kill.

Death to all that is cute!

Death to all that is cute!

I am not sure that was actually lucky, but it was something I hadn’t seen before.

Then I was able to kill a treasure goblin in another area and it left its portal open so I was able to enter The Vault for the first time.

Gold Everywhere!

Gold Everywhere!

My immediate gold problems were solved as I went from having about 4 million gold to having more than 40 million gold after that run. (Granted, I immediately burned almost half of it doing gem combines, but I was still way ahead.)

After that I decided to start in on the Greater Rift level 20 objective.  I had two tokens to enter greater rifts already, so headed on in.  The first run was a big success, I beat the timer by a large margin, and it opened me up all the way to Greater Rift level 18.  It also gave me a nice legendary ring and an interesting gem to mount in it.

The Nagelring with the Boon of the Hoarder gem

The Nagelring with the Boon of the Hoarder gem

I love me some “life per hit” bonus, and the gem pretty much has gold raining on me for adventure mode runs, so I won’t have to spend all my vault money.

The second run went equally well.  Again I was well ahead of the timer and got a nice ring drop and a gem to go in it.

Oculus Ring with Boyarsky's Chip

Oculus Ring with Boyarsky’s Chip

If there is something I like as much as “life per hit” it is more thorns damage.  That opened me up to Greater Rift level 24, but I was out of tokens.  So I ran a Nephalem rift to get another, then set off on the Greater Rift level 20.

I was a bit worried when it started off, as monsters were few and far between, so the hourglass line on the timer was getting ahead of my own progress bar.  It actually took me a while before I found a few elites and a boss or two before I was able to catch up.  By the time things got close to the end though I was out in front of the hourglass.  The final fight went well and I had cleared the GR20 objective.

Greater Rift 20 completed

Greater Rift 20 completed

That should have completed my Thorns of the Invoker set.

But I didn’t seem to have them.  I got a bit miffed at them going missing and logged off, thinking I must have missed something along the way.  And then I remembered that the set pieces show up in the mail, which is a pretty subtle icon down in the lower left corner.  So I logged back in and collected them.  I was now all suited up… and fearsome.  The bonuses for the set are pretty nice, especially since I had been working on getting thorns stats for my gear. [You can see all my gear here.]

Thorns of the Invoker set bonuses

Thorns of the Invoker set bonuses

I went out and tried it on a few bosses.  I hit Zoltun Kulle first and killed him so fast I got two achievements.  One was for killing him in less than 30 seconds, though I doubt I took more than six.  I upped the difficulty to Torment V and was still able to slay stuff crazy fast compared to what I was used to, trash going down in a hit or two, elites fading in half a dozen.  In fact, that efficiency actually lead to a couple of deaths.  Once in a while I will kill a group of elites that explode on death so quickly that I will end up eating all the death explosions in one blow and dying myself.  Problems of the powerful I suppose.

At that point I only had two objectives left for chapter IV.  One was equipping a legendary in every slot, and I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t have that one yet.  And then I noticed that my belt was only a level 66 legendary and the slots all have to have level 70 items, so I quickly fixed that for just long enough to check it off the list.

That just left the set dungeon.   I looked up where that was located and ran off to give it a try.

Where the set dungeon starts...

Where the set dungeon starts…

There my power was not effective and things went very badly.

As I understand it, the set dungeons are all a bit… finicky I guess.  You have to go in and kill several things in a specified fashion without dying yourself.

So for this set I had to go in and kill five elites.  Five elites, which had to die while I was standing in my active consecrate circle, while I had iron skin active.  First I had to figure out how to get those two on my ability bar at the same time.  Google told me to go to Options and select Elective mode.  Once that was set, I gave it a try, and failed.  And tried again, and failed.  And over and over and over again.

I would put myself at 20+ attempts in about 15 minutes, as I was failing very quickly.  I would either die, which was pretty easy to do, since the elites could almost one-shot me, while the trash was hitting me for a quarter to half of my health… dying ends run… or kill an elite but either consecrate or iron skin would have faded… and killing an elite in the wrong way ends the run.

Basically, it seems like a very simple task, but I managed to mis-time things or die every single time.  I watch a couple of videos about the run, which both pretty much said, “This is easy, just kill the elites while in your consecrate while iron skin is up” without going into any further detail.  So I gave up for the moment.

So that is where I stand on Season 5 right now; one objective away from completing chapter IV.

Chapter IV - So close

Chapter IV – So close

I am going to have to find something more informative on that set dungeon, because I was clearly getting nowhere.

Anyway, I have the set from the season and I think I can bump myself up to Torment VI if I want to chase some achievements.  Or, I can lower it down and probably accomplish some of the speed run achievements.  I imagine at Torment I in story mode I would just have to run through things and watch mobs explode as I passed… which, I have to admit, is kind of fun for a while.

And this is as far as I have gotten with a character in Diablo III, so Season 5 has worked out for me on that front.

Diablo III Season 5 and into Chapter IV

I’ve kept on with Diablo III and my quest for the Season 5 goodies.

Season 5 - All this can be yours

Season 5 – All this can be yours

As I have noted in the past, I am not really all that enthusiastic about Adventure Mode or rifts…  tt least not as a solo pursuit, and since I have only been playing Season 5 solo, it seemed likely that I might run out of steam once I finished the story.

But, while I may find little enthusiasm for slaying large quantities of mobs just to collect gold and sort through equipment drops, actually having a set of goals changes things.  I can immerse myself in checking off boxes for an extended period of time, being a somewhat task oriented in real life.  I like getting things done and the illusion of progress.

And so I have carried on and managed to work my way through the first three chapters of the goals… the journey as it has been spun… without too much problem.  A decent set of discreet tasks, helped along by the fact that if you accomplished any of them before unlocking the list of goals for a specific chapter, you still got credit.

I also notched myself up in difficulty, first to Torment 1 then Torment 2, neither of which made things drastically more difficult.  I do have a lot more gold now though.

And then I unlocked the Chapter IV goals for Season 5. (All the goals for Season 5 are listed out on this Reddit post.)

  • Penchant for Enchants: Replace a property on an item at the Mystic
  • Keeping it Low Key: Slay Xah’Rith the Keywarden at lvl 70 on T1 or higher
  • The Key to Success: Slay Nekarat the Keywarden at lvl 70 on T1 or higher
  • Mercy: Kill Zoltun Kulle at lvl 70 on T2 or higher (gives 2nd Haedrig gift)
  • Seeya: Kill the Sigebreaker Assault Beast at lvl 70 on T4 or higher
  • Great Expectations: Reach GR20 solo (gives 3rd Haedrig gift)
  • Set me free: Complete any set dungeon (doesn’t need to be mastered!)
  • Up all night to get lucky: Equip all slots with lvl 70 legendary items
  • Key Decisions: Slay Odeg the Keywarden at lvl 70 on T1 or higher
  • Key Wee: Slay Sokahr the Keywarden at lvl 70 on T1 or higher

I actually had two of them done, and most of them seemed doable, so I got stuck in on a couple right away.

Another item from the list...

Another item from the list…

The Zoltun Kulle fight was surprisingly easy, and got me two new pieces from a set, though one of them wasn’t nearly as good as what I already had equipped.  That leads to the age old question of whether or not the bonus for wearing four pieces of the set was worth it or not.

four down, six to go

four down, six to go

I am, however, a bit skeptical of a couple of the items on the list.

Notching up to Torment 4 difficulty for the Siege Breaker ought to be okay.  But getting to the point where I can solo a level 20 Greater Rift might be a challenge, in part because I’ll have to figure out how to do that.  I haven’t been there before and  I imagine it will involve some grind, and grind is the enemy of my attention at this point.

Meanwhile, completing a full dungeon set and equipping level 70 legendary items in every equipment slot both sound like “go grind rifts” which, as noted, is where my interest in playing starts to break down.  Still, I remain a bit surprised I have gotten this far.

Crusader in gold

Crusader in gold

Through the Story in Season 5 of Diablo III

I kept on with my Season 5 Crusader, whom I posted about last week, moving through the story, saving Adventure Mode and rifts and what not for afterwards.  I like the story, and the waypoints… the places where you can stop and pick up again later without having to redo anything… are fairly well spaced.

There are a couple of points where they feel a bit too close together.   For example why, in Act V, are there waypoints present literally the moment you step outside the Survivor’s Enclave, which has its own waypoint, for a couple of the story threads?

But too close is better than too far.  I rarely felt like I had to slog along forever between waypoints, even if I ventured up every side path I could find.

It was interesting to up the difficulty from Expert to Master as well.  There was clearly a period of time after I made the change that things were much tougher.  I died a couple of times soon after the change, but after a while the gear drops caught up with the difficulty and I could once again just pile into the middle of normal mobs and go to town.  I had to be more careful with elite mobs and bosses, a bit of mobility goes a long way in those cases.  Getting out of all those arcane beams is always a good idea.

The only boss I had any real trouble with was Urzael in Act V.  I died twice, very quickly, once his health dropped by about a third and triggered his second stage of attacks.  But, again, the solution was mobility to avoid his burst damage, then back in close to just tank and out heal the rest of his damage.  I favor gear that heals me some with every hit so beating on things is my general solution to taking damage.  The third run at Urzael was a success.

The change to Master also sped up my level progression and it began to look like a race to see whether I would hit level 70 or finish Act V first.  I went into the final fight with Malthael at level 69 with a few bars of experience left to go.  The question was, would the Malthael give me enough experience to get me there.  Well, this is how it turned out:

Fight finish, level cap hit, achievements achieved

Fight finished, level cap hit, achievements achieved

The race ended in a dead heat.  On slaying Malthael I hit level 70 and finished Act V in one simultaneous flash.  A friend of mine happened to be in game as well and got treated to a splash of achievement notifications in his chat window.  I could not have made these two events happen together on purpose if I had tried.

So the story is done and I now have a character at level cap.  Here is what he looks like, having put on the new pieces he got after the battle. (His profile is here.)

Chadwick the Crusader

Chadwick the Crusader

Now I have to wrap up the last two of the first round of Season 5 goals, which involve bounties and a rift.

First objectives

This hasn’t changed since last week

I should probably also look into what skills I ought to be running with.  So far I have just picked what has looked fun and seems to work, but I am going to guess that, if I want to progress through the various Torment levels, I will have to be a little less ad hoc in my approach.

Of course, that assumes I will make it into the Torment levels.  I must admit that the story drives me much more than the end-game of bounties and rifts.  The reason this is my first level 70 character is because the last time I finished the story I got bored with the end game and wandered off to do something else, leaving my previous Crusader at level 67.

I suppose I will have to see what other rewards Season 5 has to offer.


Entering Season 5 of Diablo III

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.

Diablo III - Patch 2.4.0 highlights

Diablo III – Patch 2.4.0 highlights

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.

Season 5 - All this can be yours

Season 5 – All this can be yours

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.

Streak under way

Streak under way

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.

First objectives

First objectives

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.

Chadwick the Crusader

Chadwick the Crusader

But that works for me.