Diablo 3 Hardcore Diary – Part 7

May 29, 2012

*** Warning – Contains spoilers ***

In fairly standard RPG tradition, I’ve left the desert and I’m now in a much colder region with snow, fir trees and a few million demons trying to chew my limbs off.

I’ve changed my approach slightly; instead of going completely overboard with vitality stat increases on gear and gems, Rollins has more +strength gear now. The huge crowds of enemies, noticeably larger and more persistent than in the previous two acts, require fast and efficient slaughter rather than just standing there with 3500+ life, while hacking slowly away at them.

I eventually remembered to change my primary attack from Frenzy to Cleave, far more useful for taking out crowds. I probably set it to Frenzy for the Belial fight and forgot to change it back. I have to admit, in normal difficulty, getting skills exactly right isn’t a priority. I tend to stick with primary and secondary attacks (mouse buttons) for all fights, until I get into a situation where I’m massively surrounded, when I simply fire off the skills on buttons 1, 2, 3 and 4 in quick succession, as follows:

1 – Ignore Pain – damage protection 30 seconds + knockback
2 – Overpower – attack nearby enemies + throw multiple axes
3 – War Cry – increase armour (party) for 60 seconds (120 with Inspiring Presence passive skill)
4 – Call of the Ancients – summon 3 heroes to fight alongside for 15 seconds

That has the effect of pretty much clearing everything in the immediate vicinity, while simultaneously mitigating virtually any incoming damage. It’s simple, mindless and almost impossible to mess up as no thought is required beyond pressing 4 buttons one after the other. As I am well aware, much more thought and tactical skill use will be needed in higher difficulty levels.

One thing I need to get around to trying is the “Elective” mode, where you have complete control over which skills you select and which buttons you assign. That’s more how I’d expect to see skills being chosen and assigned anyway, so I should hurry up and get on with it!

Level 30 arrived fairly quickly, while clearing the large and varied crowds of enemies on the way to The Larder and mini-boss Ghom, looking very much like a flatulent mutant relative of Jabba the Hutt. In spite of the clouds of noxious gas, he was not much of a threat and didn’t last very long.

With all the exploration and a bit of zone repetition, Rollins is even managing to clear up a few of the explore/read achievements that I missed on my standard character.

Rollins’ gear hasn’t changed much, just some incremental improvements in a few slots. I got two decent yellow (rare) rings from Ghom, which was a nice surprise as boss loot had so far been rather uninspiring.

In that screenshot, you will notice that I now also have a level 9 Wizard in addition to the two Barbarians. She is a pure co-op character that I am using in a constant two-player team with a friend who is playing a Witch Doctor. I can thoroughly recommend this kind of co-op play as it is fast, chaotic and a whole lot of fun. The Witch Doctor skills are very weird; I have to get around to playing one of those at some point.

Oh look, I changed my banner…

Coming soon in part 8 … Azmodan and the end of Act III, hopefully as always!

[Diablo 3 Hardcore Diary – Go to Part 6]

[Diablo 3 Hardcore Diary – Go to Part 8]

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