Season 23 Group Experience Meta Guide

Last updated on May 21, 2021 at 09:00 by Deadset 1 comment

This page contains an overview of the current meta outlook for group XP farming in Season 23 of Diablo 3, listing the different roles that exist in groups and which classes and builds can fulfill them, as well as the tiering of the party compositions and how they play out.

1.

Introduction to Experience Farming

One of the most important tasks in Diablo III endgame progression is the acquisition of Paragon levels, a time-efficient and linear means of advancing the power of your character. This task is most successfully performed in groups of four, where a party of players pool their resources and abilities into a hyper-optimized team that is meant to clear the upper tiers of Greater Rifts at a breakneck speed. To put it succinctly, you will never outperform an organized four man group in terms of experience acquisition, so the formation of a steady farming group is one of the baselines of competitive seasonal performance.

The group experience metagame is defined by its reliance on synergistic buffs and expedient enemy kill speed, and is usually dominated by classes and builds that excel at those two tasks. With that in mind, the Tier List for the current Group Experience Meta is displayed below.

2.

GR Group Experience Farming Tier List

Top Tier — the following setup(s) are considered the best group combination for Paragon experience farming in the game.

High Tier — the following builds fall between 5-10% less efficiency than the Top Tier group setup, resulting in very decent farming performance with minor sacrifices.

Mid Tier — the following builds fall between 10-25% less efficiency than the Top Tier group setup, resulting in acceptable performance with noticeable lag behind the optimal groups.

Low Tier — the following builds fall between 25-35% less efficiency than the Top Tier group setup, and are the bare minimum in terms of Paragon farming performance that can still be considered decent and somewhat competitive.

3.

GR Group Experience Farming Setups Explanation

In the following paragraphs, you can get an overview of the setup and gameplay required to execute any of the currently ranked group compositions.

3.1.

Bone Spear and Rat Combo, a.k.a. the 'Bat Run'

This composition makes use of a Masquerade Bone Spear Necromancer for AoE trash clearing and a LoD 'Rat' Skeletal Mages Necromancer for single target damage, and are collectively known as 'Bat' runs.

Gameplay-wise, this setup leads runs with the Support Necromancer at the charge, freezing enemies into place with Land of the Dead Land of the Dead Frozen Lands Frozen Lands on cooldown, which applies the Krysbin's Sentence Krysbin's Sentence damage bonus in turn due to the hard crowd control effect and indirectly protects your glassy DPS teammates by rendering the monsters helpless. The support Necromancer also applies Frailty Frailty Aura of Frailty Aura of Frailty to freshly discovered enemy packs, clumping them up via the Briggs' Wrath Briggs' Wrath pixel pulling effect, and increases the chance they get critically hit via the Corpse Lance Corpse Lance Brittle Touch Brittle Touch debuff.

The Support Necromancer is followed closely in tow by the Support Barbarian, which spreads their myriad of helpful buffs — most importantly, the damage reduction and crowd control immunity from Ignore Pain Ignore Pain Mob Rule Mob Rule. In a speed farming setup, they drop GR progression staples like Ground Stomp Ground Stomp Wrenching Smash Wrenching Smash and Ancient Spear Ancient Spear Rage Flip Rage Flip (since grouping enemies up is no longer their domain), and focuses on keeping mobility up with Sprint Sprint Forced March Forced March and Leap Leap Iron Impact Iron Impact. They still maintain vital buffs like War Cry War Cry Veteran's Warning Veteran's Warning and Threatening Shout Threatening Shout Falter Falter.

The supports are followed by the LoD "Rat" Mages Necromancer, who snipes priority targets (especially elites) down with Skeletal Mage Skeletal Mage Singularity Singularity summons; note that hovering the cursor over a particular enemy when summoning a Mage will focus their fire on that target until it is dead or the Mage despawns, giving you a way to focus fire important enemies. By necessity, the Rat Necro will have to stay close to their support companions in order to re-fuel their Essence reserves via the Devour Devour Devouring Aura Devouring Aura restorative effect. Otherwise, the Rat Necro is the squishiest in the group and will have to constantly be aware of their surroundings to avoid death.

Last in the pack but certainly not far behind, the Masquerade Bone Spear Necromancer mows trash pulls down with the massive AoE of their namesake spender. The build will have to maintain distance to maximize the positioning-dependent effects of Zei's Stone of Vengeance Zei's Stone of Vengeance, Serration Serration and Bone Spear Bone Spear Blighted Marrow Blighted Marrow (though alterations to the Physical rune Shatter Shatter are certainly viable for lower tier runs and increased AoE, with an adjustment to elemental rolls on gear accordingly). Note that unlike the GR progression build, the XP farming alteration does not use a generator and drops Grim Scythe Grim Scythe for Devour Devour Voracious Voracious for Essence restoration instead; something you will have to keep in mind as you snipe packs from a relative distance, but then Blood Rush Blood Rush to keep up with the group and restore Essence from the freshly slain corpses.

3.2.

AoV Heaven's Fury + Triple Support

This composition is unique in that it aims for slightly higher than the usual GR XP farming range, resulting in slower runs, but ones that yield comparable rewards due to the difficulty scaling. It relies purely on an AoV Heaven's Fury Crusader for damage dealing, and provides them with a utility stack of a Support Demon Hunter, Support Barbarian and a Support Monk.

The support stack is there purely to keep the Crusader alive and stack monsters for them, using crowd control effects very carefully and deliberately so as to avoid the diminishing returns of repeated CC use on monsters. In an optimal situation, the Support Monk will be taking initiative on the CC application, preparing the pull to be nuked down with a singular Cyclone Strike Cyclone Strike pull Blinding Flash Blinding Flash application. The Support Demon Hunter should be there strictly to apply damage buffs and should not have hard crowd control effects equipped; the Support Barbarian should be especially careful with the way they Furious Charge Furious Charge, since its stunning effect diminishes CC potency on enemies.

The AoV Heaven's Fury Crusader plays a sped up version of their solo GR setup in XP farm, cruising from enemy pack to enemy pack via Steed Charge Steed Charge, dropping a Fist of the Heavens Fist of the Heavens on a good pull and adding a generator attack for the F&R buff (see below) if there are elite enemies present. Then, proceed to blast their faces off with Heaven's Fury Heaven's Fury Fires of Heaven Fires of Heaven. Taking the lower difficulty into account, the AoV Heaven's Fury Crusader should make the following alterations to their traditional setup:

Note that this comp is very adaptable depending on the number and type of characters present in the party. You simply require a support that can pull and hard CC enemies, and all three suggested here can pull it off — you simply have to make adjustments to the Crusader's build depending on the missing supports (i.e. a lack of Support DH means you will have to drop GR tiers due to the loss of damage buffs, while a lack of a Support Barb means you will have to revert from the Bastions of Will set into a more defensive setup with Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac and Convention of Elements Convention of Elements plus a cubed St. Archew's Gage St. Archew's Gage).

3.3.

Double Flame Blades, a.k.a. the 'Bird Run'

This composition makes use of two Flame Blades Firebird Wizards, ideally — but not necessarily — playing a 'Reverse Archon' alteration of the usual Flame Blades build, as explained below, and are supported by the uber-damage buffs of a Support Demon Hunter and the ubiquitous survivability increases from a Support Barbarian.

Gameplay-wise, the group is lead by a scouting Support Demon Hunter at the helm, spreading some of the most powerful damage-increasing effects in the game. Most notable is the interaction between Entangling Shot Entangling Shot and Odyssey's End Odyssey's End for the massive, group-wide damage buff, but you also spread the crit buff of Multishot Multishot Wind Chill Wind Chill and the multiplicative damage boost from Wolf Companion Wolf Companion. The Support Demon Hunter can still be a capable monster puller (albeit helped out by the Support Barbarian — see below) due to the interaction between Bolas Bolas and Leonine Bow of Hashir Leonine Bow of Hashir, but for XP farming particularly we advise that you run Yang's Recurve Yang's Recurve as your weapon for the massive Resource Cost Reduction bonuses it provides.

The Support DH is followed closely in tow by the Support Barbarian, which spreads their myriad of helpful buffs — most importantly, the damage reduction and crowd control immunity from Ignore Pain Ignore Pain Mob Rule Mob Rule. Note that unlike other XP farming setups, this party comp keeps the grouping powers of Ground Stomp Ground Stomp Wrenching Smash Wrenching Smash and Ancient Spear Ancient Spear Rage Flip Rage Flip, since at most you only have one other pull (Leonine Bow of Hashir Leonine Bow of Hashir's effect), and even the zDH usually runs Yang's Recurve Yang's Recurve for the Resource Cost Reduction. Naturally, the Barbarian still maintains vital buffs like War Cry War Cry Veteran's Warning Veteran's Warning and Threatening Shout Threatening Shout Falter Falter.

The duo of Flame Blades Firebird Wizards should always be on the supports' toes, making immediate use of the DH's damage buffs and the Barbarian's powerful protective buffs. Note that the less powerful of the two Wizards (make a judgment call based on current gear and Paragons) should slot Conflagration Conflagration in their passives, in order to apply a 6% Critical Hit Chance debuff on affected monsters. This passive should replace Evocation Evocation, or Elemental Exposure Elemental Exposure in a Reverse Archon variant — see explanations below.

The Flame Blades Wizards largely play out like their solo GR progression counterparts, but will ideally make a so-called Reverse Archon alteration to further optimize their damage. The idea is to activate Archon Archon purely for its damage buffing stacks during your standard form, since you keep them via The Swami The Swami legendary effect. The two Wizards should alternate Archon Archon activations, using one just as the other's runs out, and feed each other stacks as the current non-Archon Wizard slaughters everything around them with buffed up Flame Blades Flame Blades. The necessary alterations to the build are:

3.4.

Pure LoD Mages, a.k.a. the 'Rat Run'

This composition uses two LoD "Rat" Skeletal Mages Necromancers as DPS, with the versatile and universal power of the Singularity Singularity rune making for very effective clears in both AoE and single target situations. This setup has the added benefit of being a staple for many Seasons on end, and being very familiar to a large portion of the community, making it relatively easier to form a group of competent people.

Gameplay-wise, this setup leads runs with the Support Necromancer at the charge, freezing enemies into place with Land of the Dead Land of the Dead Frozen Lands Frozen Lands on cooldown, which applies the Krysbin's Sentence Krysbin's Sentence damage bonus in turn due to the hard crowd control effect and indirectly protects your glassy DPS teammates by rendering the monsters helpless. The support Necromancer also applies Frailty Frailty Aura of Frailty Aura of Frailty to freshly discovered enemy packs, clumping them up via the Briggs' Wrath Briggs' Wrath pixel pulling effect, and increases the chance they get critically hit via the Corpse Lance Corpse Lance Brittle Touch Brittle Touch debuff.

The Support Necromancer is followed closely in tow by the Support Barbarian, which spreads their myriad of helpful buffs — most importantly, the damage reduction and crowd control immunity from Ignore Pain Ignore Pain Mob Rule Mob Rule. In a speed farming setup, they drops GR progression staples like Ground Stomp Ground Stomp Wrenching Smash Wrenching Smash and Ancient Spear Ancient Spear Rage Flip Rage Flip (since grouping enemies up is no longer their domain), and focuses on keeping mobility up with Sprint Sprint Forced March Forced March and Leap Leap Iron Impact Iron Impact. They still maintains vital buffs like War Cry War Cry Veteran's Warning Veteran's Warning and Threatening Shout Threatening Shout Falter Falter.

The twin LoD "Rat" Skeletal Mage Necromancers follow in tow, sniping priority targets (especially elites) down with Skeletal Mage Skeletal Mage Singularity Singularity summons; note that hovering the cursor over a particular enemy when summoning a Mage will focus their fire on that target until it is dead or the Mage despawns, giving you a way to focus fire important enemies. By necessity, the Rat Necros will have to stay close to their support companions in order to re-fuel their Essence reserves via the Devour Devour Devouring Aura Devouring Aura restorative effect.

3.5.

Double GoD

This composition utilizes two GoD Hungering Arrow Demon Hunters as DPS, since — much their like LoD Rat Necromancer counterparts — the GoD DHs can deal reasonably well in both AoE and single target situations; this, coupled with their tremendous movement speed and fluidity turns them into very capable and versatile XP farmers. The composition is complete with the uber-damage buffs of a Support Demon Hunter (or a Support Monk for extra party survivability, depending on your preferences), and the ubiquitous toughness increases from a Support Barbarian.

Gameplay-wise, the group is lead by a scouting Support Demon Hunter at the helm, spreading some of the most powerful damage-increasing effects in the game. Most notable is the interaction between Entangling Shot Entangling Shot and Odyssey's End Odyssey's End for the massive, group-wide damage buff, but you also spread the crit buff of Multishot Multishot Wind Chill Wind Chill and the multiplicative damage boost from Wolf Companion Wolf Companion. The Support Demon Hunter can still be a capable monster puller (albeit helped out by the Support Barbarian — see below) due to the interaction between Bolas Bolas and Leonine Bow of Hashir Leonine Bow of Hashir, but for XP farming particularly we advise that you run Yang's Recurve Yang's Recurve as your weapon for the massive Resource Cost Reduction bonuses it provides.

The Support DH is followed closely in tow by the Support Barbarian, which spreads their myriad of helpful buffs — most importantly, the damage reduction and crowd control immunity from Ignore Pain Ignore Pain Mob Rule Mob Rule. Note that unlike other XP farming setups, this party comp keeps the grouping powers of Ground Stomp Ground Stomp Wrenching Smash Wrenching Smash and Ancient Spear Ancient Spear Rage Flip Rage Flip, since at most you only have one other pull (Leonine Bow of Hashir Leonine Bow of Hashir's effect), and even the zDH usually runs Yang's Recurve Yang's Recurve for the Resource Cost Reduction. Naturally, the Barbarian still maintains vital buffs like War Cry War Cry Veteran's Warning Veteran's Warning and Threatening Shout Threatening Shout Falter Falter.

The twin GoD Hungering Arrow Demon Hunters stay close to the support pack, relying entirely on their supports for survival and buffing and going all-out on sources of increased damage. Due to the proximity targeting priorities of Strafe Strafe, GoD DHs should always be cognizant of their location on the battlefield, prioritizing bigger targets and larger clumps of enemies. This is harder to pull off in practice than it seems in theory, since the Gears of Dreadlands set increases movement speed to a point that can be hard to handle; ideally though, you will be close to your monster pull while keeping track of the myriad positioning-based buffs like the Bait the Trap Bait the Trap circle, Oculus Ring Oculus Ring procs, the distance-dependent Steady Aim Steady Aim, or even Inner Sanctuary Inner Sanctuary if you decide to run a zMonk for better Squirt's Necklace Squirt's Necklace uptime.

3.6.

WW Rend Barb + RGK

This composition incorporates a Whirlwind/Rend Barbarian as the AoE trash clearer, and includes one additional dedicated single target damage dealer — either an Impale Demon Hunter, or an AoV Heaven's Fury Crusader — to take down higher health priority targets such as Champion (Yellow) Elites and Rift Guardians. Helping them out are a Support Barbarian speccing into pulls, and a Support Monk with shielding buffs.

Gameplay-wise, the support stack is there to safeguard the DPS duo and stack monsters in convenient clumps for them, using crowd control effects very carefully and deliberately so as to avoid the diminishing returns of repeated CC use on monsters. In an optimal situation, the Support Monk will be taking initiative on the CC application, preparing the pull to be nuked down with a singular Cyclone Strike Cyclone Strike pull Blinding Flash Blinding Flash application. The zMonk's protective Inner Sanctuary Inner Sanctuary bubbles will also make it easier for the DPS teammates to maintain their Squirt's Necklace Squirt's Necklace damage buffs. In turn, the Support Barbarian spreads their myriad of helpful buffs — most importantly, the damage reduction and crowd control immunity from Ignore Pain Ignore Pain Mob Rule Mob Rule. Note that unlike other XP farming setups, this party comp keeps the grouping powers of Ground Stomp Ground Stomp Wrenching Smash Wrenching Smash and Ancient Spear Ancient Spear Rage Flip Rage Flip, since you only have one other mid range pull — the Support Monk's Cyclone Strike Cyclone Strike. Naturally, the Barbarian still maintains vital buffs like War Cry War Cry Veteran's Warning Veteran's Warning and Threatening Shout Threatening Shout Falter Falter.

The Whirlwind/Rend Barbarian is a competent AoE trash killer due to the interaction between Whirlwind Whirlwind and Ambo's Pride Ambo's Pride plus Lamentation Lamentation — a deadly combination that spreads over entire monster pulls with the Rend Rend Bloodbath Bloodbath rune. Note that due to the supercharged kill speed during XP farming, the WW/Rend Barb makes some alterations to the standard GR solo progression setup. Notable changes include:

  • Changing jewelry to include the Bastions of Will set, Focus Focus and Restraint Restraint, and using Squirt's Necklace Squirt's Necklace as the amulet. This jewelry combination is entirely oriented towards offense and dealing the biggest amount of damage possible upfront;
  • Naturally, in order to proc the generator requirement of the F&R bonus, the build alteration will use Furious Charge Furious Charge Merciless Assault Merciless Assault over a solo, progression-oriented skill like Ground Stomp Ground Stomp. Furious Charge Furious Charge also helps out with mobility;
  • Instead of the solo-oriented pull of Ancient Spear Ancient Spear Rage Flip Rage Flip, the XP farm Rend Barb takes some extra survivability from Call of the Ancients Call of the Ancients Together as One Together as One;
  • Last but not least, the build alterations swaps into Messerschmidt's Reaver Messerschmidt's Reaver as a mainhand weapon, since the fast kill speed in XP farming feeds into the legendary effect of this axe for permanent uptime of all your valuable skills.

You have some freedom in the choice of single target damage dealer, with an Impale Demon Hunter and an AoV Heaven's Fury Crusader both offering strong options for the role. The Impale DH is a more party-oriented choice, since they offers valuable damage buffs to their AoE trash clearing teammate via Companion Companion Wolf Companion Wolf Companion and Marked for Death Marked for Death. The AoV Heaven's Fury Crusader is a stronger build overall and is versatile in their ability to handle both single target and AoE situations with ease, but is a more demanding build to gear up for and play effectively, and is somewhat a more high GR-appropriate choice (note the pure AoV comp described in this article).

4.

Closing Words

In conclusion, keep in mind that Greater Rift speed farming for experience, legendary gem upgrades and overall gear drops will constitute the bulk of a Season's playtime, so keep the following general grouping guidelines in mind:

  • Communication is key, and voice comms are even better. Try to organize the party in such a way that you can relay information quickly. Be civil and punctual with your GR teammates.
  • Track your performance and try to optimize! Gathering Pools of Reflection to improve experience gain, synchronize gambling at Kadala across the party, schedule break times and note your overall GR speed over time to improve your group.
  • Do not be afraid to stray from the top tier meta if it will result in more fun for all players involved. The absolute best party composition is only as valuable as you can maintain consistency and interest in playing it, and a party comp that keeps you entertained and engaged for hours on end is far more efficient than the cookie cutter that you get bored from in 10 runs.
  • Have fun!
5.

Changelog

  • 21 May 2021: Page added.
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