Season 25 Compendium for Diablo 3
Season 25 introduces a new type of socketable items called Soul Shards, along with a slew of set and legendary item changes, as well as new rewards to be earned by completing the Season Journey.
Diablo 3 Patch 2.7.2 / Season 25 Best Builds and Change Analysis
Patch 2.7.2 for Diablo 3 enters PTR testing phase on Thursday, November 4th and will last over the course of two weeks. This content hub article will guide you through the most important changes in the patch and will show you the best, strongest builds to take into the new Season 25.
Diablo Season 24 End Date
Historically, Seasons end on the Sunday before the week a new patch is applied to the live servers. It has been announced that Season 24 will be over on December 5th 2021 at 5pm PDT (NA servers), 5pm CEST (EU servers), and 5pm KST (Asian servers).
Diablo Season 25 Start Date
Given the timeframe of the PTR and the usual schedule for the application of the tested changes to a live server, it is reasonable to expect Patch 2.7.2 to be live on Non-Seasonal servers on December 8th, and for Season 25 to start on December 10th 2021.
The Public Test Realm runs for a period of two weeks, with periods of scheduled maintenance and possible hotfixes, minor patches, and server outages. Should you decide to participate in the PTR, you can expect the following alterations to the normal state of the game:
- There will be PTR-specific buffs that will assist with accelerated testing of changes. Legendary drop rate is increased, Experience gain is boosted, and Blood Shards (currency used for gambling) are doubled. Additionally, there is a PTR-only vendor, Djank Mi'em, who will exchange Blood Shards for class-specific bags full of Legendary items, greatly increasing the pace at which you acquire any and all items you may need for testing.
- There will be PTR-specific class and item balance changes. This Season focuses on changes to the Witch Doctor and Demon Hunter the most, with additional tweaks made to Barbarians, Necromancers, and Wizards.
- There will be a test run of the new Season 25 theme, along with all of its season-specific items and gameplay alterations.
Season 25 Theme: Soul Shards — All You Need To Know
Season 25 introduces a new type of socketable item called Soul Shards. Beyond the quick overview below, we also have a massive Soul Shards Effects and Mechanics article, where we go in-depth over the effects of this seasonal addition. If you are interested in the particulars of these bonuses and how they can affect your build, delve right in!
You can find 7 unique Soul Shards, based on the Lords of Hell, each giving your hero a unique new power based on their demonic origin. Regardless of their differences, they share a few common mechanics:
- Prime Evil Soul Shards (Fragment of Destruction, Shard of Hatred, Sliver of Terror) are only socketable in Helms.
- Lesser Evil Soul Shards (Dregs of Lies, Essence of Anguish, Remnant of Pain, Stain of Sin) are only socketable in Weapons.
- At Rank 1, they will grant similar (but potentially stronger) benefits to having all 5 standard Flawless Royal gems socketed at once in the respective slot. At Rank 2, they will provide a random defense- (helms) or offense- (weapons) oriented stat roll.
- You may only equip one Prime Evil Soul Shard and one Lesser Evil Soul Shard at a time.
- Each Soul Shard can be upgraded using a new, seasonal-exclusive consumable, the Hellforge Ember.
- Soul Shards can be salvaged, but cannot be traded.
- Soul Shards can used in the Caldesann's Despair recipe instead of regular Legendary Gems.
- Lastly, Soul Shards and Hellforge Embers can only drop in Seasonal play and will not transfer to non-seasonal characters once Season 25 ends.
Quick overview of Prime Evil Soul Shards:
- Sliver of Terror is a very potent DPS gem with a considerable cooldown-increasing downside. Nevertheless, lots of builds will be trying to fit it in and counter its negative effect with additional CDR stacking.
- Shard of Hatred greatly enhances your AoE, but at the cost of lessened damage in single target situations. It forces you to go all in on the rift clear, forcing massive fights and hoping to amass a time advantage to offset the longer Rift Guardian fight.
- Fragment of Destruction will mostly be useful to support characters as they gain an additional source of Cooldown Reduction, Passability and, with the right roll, a Culling effect to assist their parties with.
Quick overview of Lesser Evil Soul Shards:
- Essence of Anguish is a universally useful DPS gem that enhances CDR and Movement Speed by default, and adds either splash damage on kill, or a consistent damage increase as its Rank 3 effect. While some of its powers hinge on dealing Poison damage, they can be triggered by your weapon's damage roll — making the gem usable by all classes.
- Dregs of Lies is a pet build-oriented gem, providing a significant damage buff for that build subtype, as well as an additional stacking damage buff on its optimal Rank 3 roll.
- Remnant of Pain encourages you to drop all Crit Chance rolls on gear on Crowd Control-heavy builds, allowing you to massively alter your stat distribution on gear to attain other useful, but otherwise sub-optimal stats. Great addition to stat-starved builds!
- Stain of Sin offers a Support build-oriented power that spawns an AoE circular field once a trash pack is taken down, greatly enhancing damage dealt to elites within. Its additional powers can negate harmful effects towards the group, or directly assist progression, further solidifying it as a Support staple.
Personal Thoughts on Soul Shards
Nov. 5: Soul Shards are an awesome addition to the Season 25 mechanics, and are arguably the most game-changing powers added to the game in quite some time, easily surpassing the Ethereals of Season 24 in sheer strength and potential to alter a build.
Much like Ethereal items, it is somewhat of a regrettable decision that successful and beloved Seasonal mechanics do not roll over into a permanent change to the game. The only instance of this was the Legacy of Dreams season, which was turned into the Legacy of Dreams gem, which was a universally liked addition to the game. Perhaps there is still time to change developer's hearts on the matter, so it bears repeating that some of the season-specific changes we have experienced in Seasons over the past few years can carry over very nicely into base Diablo 3 and liven up some of the more forgotten or neglected aspects of the game. Even with the scant details we have in the initial PTR patch notes, Soul Shards will likely fall into that very same category.
Season 25 Item Changes — All You Need To Know
The effects of Depth Diggers have been changed to encompass all Primary skills, not just resource-generating ones.
- Personal Thoughts: This is a very welcome change that will not only benefit the Arachyr set rework, but is also the doorway to greater generator build variety in the future.
Remorseless has been buffed to increase the damage of Hammer of the Ancients from 200-250% to 600-800%.
- Personal Thoughts: This buff strengthens any Hammer of the Ancients-reliant build — regardless if it uses the Immortal King set, the Raekor set, or Legacy of Dreams mechanics — by about 7 tiers. This further lessens the discrepancy between Barbarian builds, making the power differences in endgame Barb builds even smaller and making it one of the most balanced classes in the game.
Changes have been made to the Embodiment of the Marauder set that bring about the return of the automated Sentry playstyle of Season 1!
The 4-piece bonus of the Embodiment of the Marauder set makes it so that Sentry cast your equipped Hatred Spenders when you do, but also automatically on their own. They lose their current 400% damage increase from this set tier. The 6-piece bonus of the Embodiment of the Marauder set now applies the 12,000% increased damage bonus to the listed skills per active Sentry to the Sentries themselves. An addition has been made to Bombardier's Rucksack to also include 150-200% increased damage to Cluster Arrow in the legendary property.
- Personal Thoughts: Considering the sheer impact of the numbers listed, as well as the effectiveness of an automated Sentry playstyle that veterans will remember from Season 1, this is a serious contender for one of the most interesting changes in Season 25. This brings a lot of flavor back to the set and its playstyle, placing huge emphasis on Sentry positioning and how you think about dealing damage in this build. The addition of Cluster Arrow damage in the legendary property of Bombardier's Rucksack is also a very smart addition that practically equalizes the pushing potential of both Multishot and Cluster Arrow arrow Marauder variants, for greater build flexibility even in high end play.
Changes have been made to the 6-piece bonus of the Shadow's Mantle set that bring an additional 25,000% damage to targets beyond the first enemy struck by Impale (and the set retains its 75k damage bonus against that initial target).
- Personal Thoughts: While this change pretty much restricts Impale players to Overpenetration, it is also a decent buff to the power level of the build of about 6 tiers, and shifts its "elite hunter only" gameplay to something more universal and usable across all sorts of rifts.
Changes have been made to the 6-piece bonus of the Bones of Rathma set, increasing its damage bonus to Army of the Dead from 500% to 1750% per active minion, up to 31,500% (from 9000%).
- Personal Thoughts: While this does not address the bigger issues with the Rathma set — namely, the clunkiness of its use and the lack of survivability — it is still a welcome improvement to the damage potential of this under-appreciated Necromancer build path, worth about 7-8 GR tiers.
Shukrani's Triumph has been buffed to make Spirit Walk last until you attack 3 times (up from 1) or until an Elite enemy is within 20 yards of you (from any enemy within 30 yards). It now additionally doubles the damage of attacks made while in the spirit realm (read: while Spirit Walk is active).
- Personal Thoughts: This change affects how Witch Doctors think about their staple survivability and mobility tool, Spirit Walk. Currently Shukrani's Triumph only applies its restrictions once the initial runtime of the skill is over (2 seconds base, 3 seconds with Jaunt); assuming this mechanic remains unchanged, this mojo will give Witch Doctors a 2-3 second period of doubled damage whenever the CD is popped, adding an offensive angle to an otherwise defensive cooldown. Most Witch Doctor builds either do not have a defining Mojo or have a somewhat flexible weapon slot in the Cube, so Shukrani's Triumph can be easily taken almost across the board.
Lakumba's Ornament is now changed to reduce damage taken by 60% if you have at least 1-3 Soul Harvest stacks, plus an additional 2% per stack (the power used to be just 6% DR per stack).
- Personal Thoughts: This is a massive buff to one of the weaker aspects of Witch Doctor-dom, survivability. It also makes any one-on-one engagements, such as Rift Guardians, much more manageable due to the high baseline DR.
Changes have been made to the Arachyr set, as well as to existing legendary WD items to bring about a Corpse Spiders-oriented build:
- The Spider Queen's Grasp now increases the damage of Corpse Spiders by 600-800% (up from 45-60%), on top of the usual Slowing power it adds to the skill.
- A new belt, Brood of Araneae, now causes Corpse Spiders to deal an additional 75-100% damage, and each spider bite causes the target to take an additional 1% damage from Corpse Spiders for 5 seconds.
- The 2-piece bonus of Arachyr set now summons a permanent Spider Queen connected to your character by an "infested thread". Enemies caught in the thread are Infested. Corpse Spiders attacks against infected enemies inflict the same damage to all Infested enemies. The Spider Queen is commanded to move where you cast Corpse Spiders. Corpse Spiders now spawn with health. The 4-piece bonus makes the Spider Queen leave behind webs that last for 15 seconds and Slow enemies. Infested enemies remain infested while on the web. You take 75% reduced damage while in the web and for 4 seconds after. The 6-piece bonus is a 17,500% damage increase to Creature skills.
- Personal Thoughts: The second rework of the Arachyr set in the 2.7.2 PTR results in a decidedly better, more fluid playstyle that also has a flow of its own, with the tethering mechanic of the Spider Queen and the necessity to reposition in such a way as to maximize AoE. The changes to the damage reduction mechanic make it more relaxed and practical, with the 4 second leeway offering a more than reasonable window to adjust positioning without the loss of valuable survivability.
Changes have been made to the 6-piece bonus of the Firebird's Finery set that disable Ignition mechanics from Pets, thus disabling the popular Mirror Images Firebird variant.
- Personal Thoughts: The 2.7.2 PTR nerfed the Firebird set damage in half in a misguided attempt to mitigate the pervasive Mirror Images meta, but community outcry thankfully reversed the butchering of the set. Instead, what was (rightfully) removed was the unintended and annoying to play around interaction with the Mirror Image summons, leaving a very viable and very fun Flame Blades Wizard instead.
Season 25 — Best New Builds
So far we can only speculate what the absolute best builds for Season 25 will be, but we definitely have contenders for the best new ones.
Witch Doctor — Arachyr Corpse Spiders
This is a Primary attack-oriented build variant that considers the Arachyr set rework with its newfound focus on Corpse Spiders. Click on the link below to see the full guide!
Necromancer — Rathma Army of the Dead
The strength of the Bones of Rathma have been revised for Season 25, revitalizing interest in this beleaguered set. This build leans on the Poison synergies of the new Essence of Anguish Shard, as well as the naturally cooldown-heavy playstyle of Necromancers with the Sliver of Terror Shard.
Demon Hunter — Marauder Multishot
This will likely be the strongest build for the Embodiment of the Marauder set in Season 25, considering the already existing synergy with Multishot for speed farming and the inability of Hellcat Waistguard to proc its effect on Cluster Arrows cast by Sentry. This build follows existing Multishot build conventions, but adapts them to a pet-reliant playstyle with damage multipliers from gear rolls with Sentry damage, Tasker and Theo in the Cube, and a socketed Enforcer.
- 30 Nov. 2021: Minor revision to links and Season end/start dates.
- 13 Nov. 2021: Soul Shard mechanics moved to their own page, changes from 2nd PTR iteration reflected in the guide.
- 07 Nov. 2021: Guide added.
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