My Return to Diablo 3

Hey everyone! Just thought I’d swing by this week and give you a brief recap of perhaps the biggest thing to happen this week; I started playing Diablo 3 again. Yeah, I know. Slow week. Anyway…

I, like so many other people, jumped into and trudged through Diablo 3 the night of its release. I was even honored with an invite to the Diablo 3 Beta a few months before, and was able to see the game change and grow over that small period of time. So, for me, the ability to finally play the sequel to one of the most influential games of my formative years was both exciting and wicked fun. As usual, I burned through the game at my usually quick pace and did everything in my power to absorb as much of the story and characters as I could. I’d hop online to play with my friends, we kill a hordes of demons… it was High School all over again. Alas though, it wasn’t meant to be.

Azula, my level 60 Wizard (with 1 Paragon level).

As the game progressed and my friends and I made it into the higher difficulties, the “grind” started to kick in. Especially as the monsters we continued to fight got more and more challenging. There came that point (for me it was level 56 or so) when I just kind of sat there and wondered if hitting 60 yet was really worth it. I mean, where would I go from there? So as other new releases hit and my time started going towards other titles, I slowly slipped away from Diablo 3 like I’m sure many others did. I didn’t abandon it though, and made sure to keep up with any recent news or changes they talked about or released. Which brings us to their recent 1.0.4 Patch and the introduction of the Paragon system.

The Paragon system, for those of you who haven’t been keeping up with things, is essentially an additional 100 levels for each character to achieve. Only where the first 60 levels brought you new abilities and runes to customize and experiment with your build, the new Paragon levels help fill in the other important part of your Diablo 3 character: items. You see, for each Paragon level you have you get and additional 3% boost to your Magic Find and Gold Find, meaning that not only will leveling up you level 60 character net you a higher chance of finding awesome weapons, but it’ll get you more money to spend on the auction house to get you that one special item you’ve been missing to complete your build. At paragon level 100, you’ll end up with and additional 300% to both stats; a sizable amount of Gold and Magic Find by anyone’s standards.

Once again I can kill things with Arcane Hydra and Disintegrate… just as God intended.

Patch 1.0.4 also brought with it some serious tweaking of offensive abilities for every class. Where as I was previously picking some abilities over others due to the desire to max my damage, like picking Acid Hydra over Arcane Hydra, 1.0.4 brought many of the classes weaker abilities up to par with their stronger ones. Arcane Hydra for example, which was only doing 28% weapon damage per orb prior, was brought up to 60% weapon damage per orb. Making it a much more viable option when facing the increasingly difficult monster of Diablo 3’s higher difficulties. As someone who is always a fan of picking things that look cool over things that work well, it was really nice to see Blizzard level the playing field and give people some freedom back into their builds for their characters.

Likewise another large change that was made was with weapons. And oh boy, let me tell you… these changes were big. Before I left Diablo 3 for other games I was lucky if I could find a weapon capable of doing 300ish damage a second on the auction house. Now though? Weapons capable of doing 1000ish damage are not only more prevalent, but more accessible to characters lower than level 60. I was floating around 2,000 damage prior to hopping back into Diablo 3. Now though? I’m sporting 39,000 weapon damage and I know I can easily get more. Inferno difficulty isn’t nearly as intimidating as it used to be, where I’d often hear stories about how people simply ran out and fought the most basic enemies for hours to work up enough money to start doing anything seriously. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound like fun, and was one of the reasons I was so hesitant on hitting level 60 in the first place. Now though? Inferno is a comfortable challenge. Oh sure, I can burn down some basic zombies in a second. But if some elite monsters show up? Well, then $h!t gets real… and got forbid they have  Damage Reflection and I already cast Blizzard on them. That never ends well.

Gotta love that damage…

But that’s the name of the game. You run around, fight monsters, and do your best to stay alive. I have things I have to look out for, items and stats that still need filling out, and strategies to perfect. I’m not invincible, yet still powerful enough to cut down waves of enemies like the BA Wizard I am. And with some upcoming tweaks coming to defensive skills in Patch 1.0.5, my ability to customize my powers to my liking will only get more expansive. I really have to hand it to Blizzard on this one; where they once had a game I was having to talk myself into continuing, they now have a game I once again can’t pull myself away from. And I’ve already beaten it! That’s the kind of quality, balance and dedication I like to see from a game company. So I tip my hat to you Blizzard, you’ve re-affirmed my faith in you.

Well, that’s that really. If any of you have taken a break from Diablo 3 like I have, now is the perfect time to hop back on the proverbial horse and get to hacking and slashing once again. I can assure you, the game is more fun than ever now. So try out a new build or swing by the auction house to beef up the one you’re already sporting, because 1.0.4 has given you all the options you could dream of.

And now, I’ll leave you all with a taste of what’s to come…

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