Saturday, May 19, 2012

Levelling diary part 3: Starting Inferno

Just woke up to the sound of Kripparrian's stream coming back online. Good time to continue playing and blogging! I'll name this part three just to complete the cycle even though it's not about levelling anymore.

It took me almost exactly three days real time to ding 60. From Tuesday 02:08 when I finally got in, to 00:00 between Thursday and Friday. Got six hours of sleep two times during that. Afterwards we went to play inferno for four hours until getting more sleep.

In my last post I told how I was whirlwinding over things on the easier difficulties. Later in hell, and especially in Inferno, I've changed my build to be properly tankish. Sometimes it felt exactly like playing a tauren warrior in PvP, but with Leap too.

Currently I'm using this build:

  • Cleave with Broad Sweep
  • Leap with Death from Above
  • Ground Stomp with Wrenching Smash
  • Threatening Shout with Falter
  • War Cry with Hardened Wrath
  • Revenge with Provocation

  • Berserker Rage
  • Nerves of Steel
  • Superstition

The debuff shout sometimes becomes Charge, and runes change based on party composition and their builds. Experiment!

The build is filled defensive abilities since elites in Inferno do hit really really hard. I also went to max fury build with Cleave, Broad Sweep and Berserker Rage. With those I do 156% × 1.25 = 195% weapon damage per swing. Let's compare to rotation of Bash/Instigation and Hammer/Smash which is (1.66 × 150 + 1 × 270) / 2.6 = 195% weapon damage per swing too. Surprise! Spamming Frenzy with Maniac for single target is about 210-230 in comparison depending on your current IAS, since the Frenzy buff stacks additively to other IAS sources. All in all I think my build deals easily enough damage from skill point of view, it is much better to gain dps from weapon upgrade than dedicating too many of skill slots for dps buffs.

Fighting in ideal situation consists of spamming revenge and cleave while keeping buffs up. This is more like the solo way, just gotta rely on revenge and usually it delivers, 30% chance per hit is quite a lot and certainly enough. If that isn't possible, which it often isn't in party, it becomes more of a kiting routine with stomp and leap sunning the monsters for while so I can kite them around while a ranged class deals massive dps.

Also he other guys I play with have gotten tanky. They've been successfull like that while trying out the builds and gear solo, should make inferno progress as group easier too. The most important thing about fighting hard elites is not dying. If you don't die, you can pop in to dps the monsters while you got cooldowns up, and just kite them around when you're vulnerable. If it feels like you die too much, trade inconsequentual dps abilities in order to gain more survivability.

It doesn't matter that you do less dps with survival oriented build. If you die, you lose anything from 10 to 40 seconds of dps time while waiting for respawn timer (or someone else stopping their activities to resurrect you) and trying to reposition yourself and getting buffs and debuffs up. And if everyone dies at the same time, the monsters might reset! To a lesser extent movement skills serve the same purpose, it's better to Leap away from desecration than use 5 seconds to dodge that around an arcane beam. But of course getting more armor and resistances directly make you able to withstand those monster abilities for longer time.

Farming with Nephalem Valor is constantly a race against time. Here's some good advice based on our experience so far. I'd say the most important thing we've discovered is to find an easy elite group and leave it as a back up. If we're running out of time on the buff, we'll just make our way back there to kill it in order to refresh the duration back to 30 minutes. It pays to clear that group's surroundings so that absolutely nothing can go wrong when taking the emergency option of killing them, but of course you should do this with any group where possible.

For Inferno Act 1 the earliest good place to start an elite farming run is the quest Northwest Gate. Before that there are too many quest mobs which don't stack the buff and the areas don't even really spawn elites. From the gate onwards though you'll find a large zone with maybe one to three groups of lites, followed by crypts and cathedral. Perfect! Remember that killing Skeleton King takes a long time, so you really should not take a break and start wondering about the drops when he's down, even though it feels natural to do so at that time. Rather go hunt for the next pack as soon as possible, or maybe even go clear your backup group to gain some time.

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