As one might rightly assume, I encountered the infamous Infernal Act 2 brick wall.
To say I was “pwned” by the very first elite pack (Frozen, Molten, Plagued, Desecrator) is to suggest that the Allies merely dropped by Dresden in 1945 for a night on the town. The melee attacks alone were brutal enough to take me out in 3 hits, nevermind all the shit on the ground. As the respawn timer crept ever higher, I thought that those “discretion better form of valor” guys might be on to something. Unfortunately, the FMPD welcoming committee had other plans. No matter how far away I dragged them from the Checkpoint I kept respawning at, at least one was hanging around for his turn to teabag my corpse.
The cherry on top of this injury cake was when the Enrage timer went off. Fun fact: the Enrage timer is actually a debuff that simply kills you in seconds no matter where the fuck the elites are at. As I sat there stunned IRL as to how I can be killed by elites not even on the goddamn screen, I had to further endure the 10-second logoff Wait of Shame before I could scurry back to the AH. After spending something in the neighborhood of 500k (on top of the 300k I talked about last time), my stats ended up looking like this:
I came to the sad conclusion that perhaps I was going to have to alter my Noob Wind spec. So I did… grudgingly. I swapped Mantra of Evasion for Mantra of Healing with the 20% resist runes; I dropped Seven-Sided Strike for Serenity; I switched the rune for Breath of Heaven for the 1.5 second Fear. And… that’s basically it. Bought a 1h weapon + shield combo for when things still get really hairy, but the loss of 7000 paper DPS is almost worse than dying in-game.
I still have issues with
many some elites, but at least I have enough time to react to said fact before being ground into a thick paste.
The fact that I am still having occasional issues is somewhat perplexing though, considering the Inferno Act 2 Monk 200k video floating around. If you haven’t see it, the basic premise is a dude went naked to the AH with 200,000g and walked out with enough gear to progress through the entirety of Act 2 Inferno as a Monk… skipping only 3 elite packs along the way. And made a profit with vendor gold alone. I went ahead and did an unbuffed comparison shot of his stats from the video and my own:
I quite literally have 400 more resist than this guy, and I still have issues? The biggest difference – aside from his rather ridiculous amount of Increased Attack Speed – is his spec: Deadly Reach. Ah, yes, the ranged monk. For what it is worth, I did actually try Deadly Reach for a while but couldn’t make it work; without all the extra IAS, you cannot actually kite all that effectively, nor trigger the 3rd punch for the +50% armor bonus.
Then, I noticed something else about his video… the elites he actually faced.
- Fast, Illusion, Electric, Plague
- Nightmare, Electric, Waller, Health Link
- Waller, Fast, Electric, Plague
- Frozen, Reflect Damage, Health Link, Waller
- Teleport, Jailer, Nightmare, Fire Chain
- Fire Chain, Arcane Enchanted, Mortar, Reflect Damage
- Molten, Electric, Plague, Fast
- Mortar, Waller, Shield, Plague
- Plague, Fast, Fire Chain, Vampiric
- Mortar, Illusion, Knockback, Waller
- [not shown]
- Extra Health, Nightmare, Jailer, Fire Chain
- Extra Health, Teleport, Vortex, Plague
- Electric, Plague, Avenger, Wall
- Health Link, Desecrator, Fire Chain, Fast
- Desecrator, Teleport, Shield, Molten
- Fast, Frozen, Extra Health, Electric
- Vampiric, Mortar, Nightmare, Minion
- Avenger, Molten, Teleport, Nightmare
- Teleport, Avenge, Molten, Electric
- Frozen, Vampiric, Jailer, Arcane Enchanted
- Molten, Shielding, Arcane Enchanted, Electric, Minion [skip]
- Extra Health, Arcane Enchanted, Reflect Damage, Waller [skip]
- Molten, Knockback, Illusion, Reflect Damage
- Nightmare, Teleport, Illusion, Fire Chain
- Knockback, Molten, Reflect Damage, Minion
- Fast, Waller, Reflect Damage, Teleport
- Arcane Enchanted, Fire Chain, Reflect Damage, Vortex
- Frozen, Knockback, Extra Health, Reflect Damage [skip]
- Knockback, Mortar, Frozen, Shield
You are goddamn right I wrote them all down. Aside from the four I marked in red above, the elites he faced in the video (barring the occasional enemy type) were a total joke. Could he have faced down my FMPD welcoming committee with his spec? Maybe, maybe not. I have grave doubts.
Sour grapes aside, his video has educated me in various ways. For example, his +631 Life on Hit is obviously doing more for him than my +1027 considering he is getting nearly a full extra attack per second – nevermind all the extra Spirit he generates. The single-minded focus on Dexterity was similarly interesting given how much effect it is having: 229% more damage from his 612 DPS weapons, making them nearly on par with my 1000+ 2H. I am not entirely willing to go Deadly Reach just yet, but I can definitely spend another ~5 hours “playing” Diablo 3’s AH to repair my errors.
And if it sounds like I am enjoying Diablo 3 better overall, you wouldn’t be wrong. The cheeky among you might suggest that it is because of the increased difficulty, and I am inclined to agree – Act 2 has been the only stretch of road I have not been zipping down at 80 mph in a 65 mph zone. Indeed I thought Act 1 Inferno was about as hard as Act 2 Normal in the scheme of things, given the latter’s lack of gold for upgrades and all the locked abilities.
After 38 hours /played, it is about goddamn time some fun was had.
The end is probably nigh however, for all the reasons I have seen in the comments to my own posts (and elsewhere). “Farming” Act 1 Inferno holds about as much appeal as sticking my balls in a toaster, and… well, actually, that is basically the way forward here. Or giving in to the Deadly Reach
around build. While the thought of maybe getting a $200 item drop soothes the chaffing a bit, I already spend more time in the AH than in-game. I don’t know how much longer…
…hold on, I have an email.
BRB, grabbing my toaster.
P.S. Congrats to Anderasill, the owner of the above screenshot + $173.40 ($200 minus fees) and a winner of the Diablo Annual Pass Challenge (Hardcore). She actually got Diablo 3 via the Annual Pass, so there’s that too. And she probably could have saved herself the 15% transaction fee since I know damn well she’ll just spend all that money and more buying the new WoW pets.
As you slaughter more skeletons and zombies than should technically exist based on historical human population levels, remember this:
I never ended up pulling the trigger on the Annual Pass, and the RMAH fees Blizzard settled on are completely ridiculous, but hey. Give it the old college try, and let’s see what happens.
Tobold forced my hand a bit, so without further ado… I formally present:
The Diablo Annual Pass Challenge
For the the visually impaired, the four difficulties are as follows:
- Inferno – Earn $155.88 within 12 months.
- Hell – Earn $95.89 within 12 months.
- Nightmare – Earn $59.99 within 12 months.
- Normal – Earn $38.97 before you quit.
Completing Inferno will mean you financed both Diablo 3 and a year of WoW (with associated perks) entirely through Diablo 3’s real-money Auction House. The step below that, Hell, means you financed an entire year of WoW through the purchase of a $59.99 game. Meanwhile, Nightmare demonstrates that you got Diablo 3 for free after paying for a year of reduced-price WoW time. Finally, completing the Diablo Annual Pass Challenge on Normal difficulty means you managed to pay for 3 of the 12 required months via Diablo 3 gameplay.
A Hardcore mode can apply to any of the above difficulties, and requires two things: 1) no seed money, e.g. putting $20 on your account to get started, and 2) net profit only counts when cashed out via Paypal.
Death is (unfortunately) permanent in all difficulties and modes. We are working on a hot fix.
For the purpose of this Challenge, “earnings” refers to net profit from the sale of items in Diablo 3’s AH. If you spent $50 and made $160 flipping items, you have only actually achieved Hell difficulty, not Inferno. “Items” refer to anything sellable on the RMAH, whether it is gear, gold, gems, characters, etc. Any money spent in the satisfaction of your Annual Pass obligation, i.e. buying game time, will still “count” as long as it came as a result of AH profit. In other words, you don’t have to just sit on the money until you reach your desired difficulty.
For those Challenge participants not using USD, simply use the relevant cost of two 6-month WoW time cards (Inferno), two 6-month WoW time cards minus the cost of Diablo 3 (Hell), the cost of Diablo 3 (Nightmare), and the cost of three months of the reduced-priced WoW Annual Pass subscription in whatever your local currency happens to be (Normal).
Good luck everyone, and don’t you dare undercut my shit.
There was a bit of excitement over the weekend following a Kotaku article that showed a Diablo 3 game display in a Best Buy whose countdown clock showed the release date being February 1st. Disappointingly, Bashiok replied a few hours later on Twitter with:
Diablo III does not have a release date. Any store or person claiming otherwise is guessing.
While the February 1st date no longer seems likely, I nevertheless was somewhat shocked into realizing “hey, it’s probably coming Sooner™ than Soon™” – that would have been ~3 weeks away, after all. I have mentioned before that D3 is going to be one of those rare Day 1 game purchases for me, and that puts me in a bit of a bind, decision-wise. I was close to breaking down and buying SWTOR before a price drop after reading four weeks of blogroll posts, but decided that perhaps playing through Mass Effect 1 & 2 first would be a good idea. You know, so I could make informed comparisons. A day later the D3 news broke, and I thought “oh shit, I probably should play Torchlight before it gets ruined, yeah?”
As a 3-year late aside, I am amazed at either the charity of Blizzard’s legal department or the extent to which iconic items are not protected by copyright. Scrolls of Town Portal, with blue ribbons, making blue portals, with their identical stated function? I know Torchlight was made by ex-Blizzard guys, but wow. There are obviously a lot more similarities, but that seemed the most egregious for some reason.
The decision bind is that the WoW Annual Pass “promotion” is still active, and I almost expect it to be indefinitely (in some form or another). Since I am already committing to D3 on launch, and will be interested in MoP once released, at what point does it not seem foolish to sign up? Especially given my predilection towards AH shenanigans, it is entirely possible that I may be able to finance the entire $155.88 Annual Pass damn near exclusively through D3.
…Hell, why not? Let’s call it the Diablo Annual Pass Challenge: pay for the Annual Pass entirely through D3’s real-money AH. Good idea, or brilliant idea? Time will tell!