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PTR Patch 2.6.7 Notes - Season of Eternal Conflict (S19)

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Update: we're also getting a new pet and portrait frame in addition to the reurning rewards from Season 7!

The next season's PTR will be up this Thursday and we have all the patch notes already! The big news is the new seasonal power, and it's a pretty solid one. The Pandemonuim effect will not only buff your speed and power (up to 50% speed and 100% damage) based on killstreak, but also has a combo effect depending on when you choose to end your killstreak (from massive frost novas, angels descending to help and more). All the effects are listed below and will scale based on the GR level as well, making them (hopefully) relevant in higher GRs as well.

We're also getting new sets! Crusaders and Monks will be getting them this season, with the other class ones arriving in later seasons, and there will be new and returning legendary powers that will synergize with the sets.

Barbarians also get a lot of tweaks to their legendary items, hopefully addressing the issues players have had with the class.

Blizzard LogoNew Pet (source)

I totally forgot to put this in the patch notes, but just in the interest of visibility:

  • Added a pet and portrait frame reward for completing the full Season Journey for Season 19

  • This is similar to the Galactic Wings that were available during Season 17 and in addition to the returning Season rewards from Season 7 for completing Chapter IV

 

Blizzard LogoPTR Patch 2.6.7 (source)

The one-week PTR testing period for 2.6.7 begins October 17 and we need your help to make Season 19 better than ever!

We’ve begun introducing brand new class sets to Diablo III as outlined in our Ongoing Support blog, heavily revised several Barbarian Legendaries at the direct request of the community and continued to iterate on our approach to Seasonal buffs and how they can change up the overall gameplay experience. Take a look at the preliminary patch notes below and start theorycrafting; Patch 2.6.7 will be arriving before the end of the year!




PATCH 2.6.7

Table of Contents:

Note: All changes apply to all versions of Diablo III, including PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC unless otherwise indicated. Please note that PTR is only available for PC and Mac users.

 


General

  • Greater Rift Keystones are now subject to vacuum pick-up
  • A note regarding the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) has been added, clearly stating we do not sell account information. For more information regarding the CCPA, please see here. (Console Only)

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Seasons

  • Developer Note: One of the biggest pieces of feedback from Season 18's buff was that the Triune bonus didn't stick with your character while you adventured. With Season 19, we've altered course as well as upped the ante by experimenting with new mechanics to add an element of both chaos and power to the battlefield. It should feel a bit like Pandemonium, and it may be a consideration whether or not you want to reset your total kill streak for a particular killstreak bonus versus continuously maintain the overall effect (especially as the highest level killstreak rewards will be harder to leverage in situations like Greater Rifts). Killstreaks with higher kill count requirements are more powerful, and we're looking forward to seeing what players think of and do with them!
  • The buff for Season 19, the Season of Eternal Conflict, has been added
    • Pandemonium
      • For the duration of the Season, all players will have a stacking buff that that persists as long as you have hit or killed a monster within the last 5 seconds
      • Each stack gives 0.05% movement speed and 0.1% bonus damage. This bonus caps at 50% movement and 100% damage (1000 stacks)
      • In addition, after reaching a certain number of kills in a row, a power is unleashed, dealing an amount of scaling damage based on player level and difficulty or Greater Rift level:
        • 15 Kills: Five massive energy twisters are unleashed
        • 30 Kills: Dark Geysers form beneath enemies
        • 50 Kills: Exploding Chickens seek and destroy
        • 100 Kills: Corpses rain from the sky
        • 150 Kills: A wide Frost Nova freezes enemies
        • 200 Kills: Treasure chests fall from the sky
        • 300 Kills: A ring of fire engulfs everything
        • 400 Kills: Meteors hail from above
        • 500 Kills: Angels descend upon the battlefield to fight for your cause
        • 1000 Kills: ???
      • Powers are tracked at a group level; this means only one power can be active in play at a time, regardless of the number of players in a group

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Items

  • Developer Note: With Patch 2.6.7, we are beginning to roll out new class sets for every class in Diablo III. For the Season of Eternal Conflict, we're focusing on the two classes that embody the Light and wield some form of Holy elemental damage: Crusader and Monk. You'll also find a handful of retuned or newly added Legendary powers intended to synergize with the new class sets. We did a lot of community research into which skills were most requested by players as well as most underrepresented in current builds, and we hope you're as excited as we are for these new gameplay options. The other class sets will be coming in later patches, so if your class isn't represented this time around, fret not—they're coming in a future patch!
  • You'll also notice a significant number of Barbarian item changes in this patch. While the Barbarian class set will be coming at a later date, we have very much heard the War Cry from our dedicated Barbarian community and implemented a number of changes heavily inspired by extremely thorough feedback. While not every suggestion has been taken at a 1:1 parity, the thoughtful analysis helped guide us to changes we could implement in this patch. Thanks very much to the community members who expressed their concerns in a respectful, constructive manner. It's very helpful, and we greatly appreciate the thought and effort that went into making your voices heard!
  • New Crusader Set: Aegis of Valor
    • 2-Piece Bonus: The charged bolts from Fist of the Heavens has a chance to cast another Fist of the Heavens
    • 4-Piece Bonus: Hitting with Fist of the Heavens reduces damage taken by 1% for 5 seconds. Stacks up to 50 times
    • 6-Piece Bonus: Increase the damage of Fist of the Heavens by 10,000%
  • New Monk Set: Patterns of Justice
    • 2-Piece Bonus: Sweeping Wind gains the effect of every rune
    • 4-Piece Bonus: Each enemy within Sweeping Wind increases your movement speed by 5%. Stacks up to 10 times.
    • 6-Piece Bonus: Attacking with Tempest Rush while Sweeping Wind is active will temporarily increase the size of Sweeping Wind after hitting over 30 times within a short period. Sweeping Wind damage is increased by 10,000%
  • DarklightDarklight
  • The Eye of the StormThe Eye of the Storm
    • New Legendary Power: When Sweeping WindSweeping Wind hits exactly 1 enemy, its damage is increased by 100%.
  • Vengeful WindVengeful Wind
    • Increases the maximum stack count of Sweeping WindSweeping Wind by [6-7] 10
    • Additional Legendary Power: Increases the damage of Sweeping WindSweeping Wind by [250-300%]
  • Chantodo's Resolve
    • The scaled attack speed damage bonus to Wave of Destruction has been reduced
    • Developer Note: This is a reactive adjustment from an earlier change to how Wave of Destruction receives a bonus from Attack Speed. The buff that resulted from that change was more than we expected, so we're reigning it in.
  • Wrath of the Wastes
    • 6-Piece Bonus: The damage bonus now also applies to RendRend
  • LamentationLamentation
    • Additional Legendary Power: Increases the damage of RendRend by [150-200%]
  • Ambo's PrideAmbo's Pride
    • New Legendary Power: Attacking with WhirlwindWhirlwind also applies RendRend and the total damage of RendRend is dealt over 1 second
  • RemorselessRemorseless
  • Fjord CutterFjord Cutter
    • You are surrounded by a Chilling Aura when attacking.
    • New Legendary Power: Seismic SlamSeismic Slam attacks 50% faster and also deals 100-150% increased damage against Slowed or Chilled enemies
  • Bracers of DestructionBracers of Destruction
    • Seismic SlamSeismic Slam deals [400-500%] increased damage to the first 5 10 enemies it hits.
  • Fury of the AncientsFury of the Ancients
    • Call of the AncientsCall of the Ancients gains the effect of the Ancients' FuryAncients' Fury rune and your Ancients attack 100% faster
  • Bone RingerBone Ringer
    • Now has a cap of 60 stacks.
    • Developer Note: We never intended for this item to be used in a way where you farm stacks for an egregious amount of time (5+ minutes) and then watch all their health disappear in less than a second. It's not an engaging style of gameplay, and we don't want that experience to be the best way to play the Necromancer.
  • Legacy of DreamsLegacy of Dreams
    • This gem is now more likely to drop from a Greater Rift Guardian

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Monsters

  • Blighter
    • Blighter's Poison Tentacles' Area of Effect now hits less frequently, but at higher damage, when attacking players

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Bug Fixes

  • Spite
    • Fixed an issue where casting Restless GiantRestless Giant would cause the 200% physical bonus damage to fail to apply when the GargantuanGargantuan enraged
  • Squirt's Necklace
    • Fixed an issue where some ground effects were causing the Squirt's NecklaceSquirt's Necklace buff to fall off despite being shielded

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How to Participate

To participate in the public test, you must have a Diablo III game license attached to a Battle.net account in good standing (i.e. one that hasn't been suspended or banned). In addition, you will also need to download and install the Blizzard Battle.net desktop app if you have not already done so.

Step 1: Restart the Battle.net desktop app.

Step 2: Navigate to the Diablo III tab on the left-hand menu.

Step 3: On the Diablo III screen, there is a drop-down menu right above the "Play" button (note that this may say "Install" if you do not have Diablo III currently installed). Select "PTR: Diablo III" from this drop-down menu before proceeding.

Step 4: Click Install to begin the installation process.

Your PTR account will be created automatically if you do not already have one. The PTR is available in all supported languages, and accounts from all regions are eligible to participate. For additional assistance with installing and launching the PTR, click here.

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PTR Character Copy

The option to copy your existing Diablo III characters from your live account to the PTR will be available and can be done directly through the PTR client. However, only one region per account can be copied at a time. So, if you choose to copy characters from your account in a different region, any previously copied PTR characters will be lost.

Step 1: Log into the live game and then log out.

Step 2: Log into PTR client and create a level 1 character. After you're done, return to the main character screen.

Step 3: Click on the "PTR Copy" button located in the upper right-hand corner. (The PTR Copy button will not appear in-game until you have created a new level 1 character.)

Step 4: Select your region.

Step 5: Click "Copy." This will copy all characters on your account from the selected region.

Step 6: You will be disconnected from the PTR client.

Step 7: Log back in. Your copied characters will be available for play.

Please note that you can only copy characters from one gameplay region at a time. If you choose to copy characters from a different region, any previously copied PTR characters will be lost. In addition, you can only copy characters over to your PTR account once every 24 hours. Attempting to copy characters before this cooldown is up will result in an error.

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As this is a test server, please anticipate uneven game performance, and note that restarts and downtime may occur without warning. Thank you, and we look forward to your feedback!

 

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1 minute ago, Bobbis said:

Hey guys, wrong tag, looks like Diablo 🙂

I was too excited by all this new stuff! I mean D3 getting this many changes, my brain must've thought, oh, this is another WoW patch, clearly.

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13 minutes ago, Starym said:

Greater Rift Keystones are now subject to vacuum pick-up

Quality of Life changes. Gotta love it. I wish they did the same with materials, since they no longer take up inventory space, and also allow non-combat pets to pick 'em up.

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I am happy to see new sets and affixes, they clearly show that D3 is not fully in maintenance mode.

The new Crusader set is very nice, FotH is almost never used as a spender, mainly because there weren't items that support it (outside of general ones, obviously). With Darklight, i imagine huge orbital bombardment. On the negative side, I'm not seeing any cost reduction or refund, and in the current state of Diablo, it's a huge nono using generators for resource. Maybe LoV+Akarat. 

Monk one is... Interesting. They already have a set fully dedicated to SW. Also, this one lacks damage reduction, which means SWK 2 set is a nobrainer inclusion to any builds with this set. 

Barbarian changes are very welcome. WotW+Ambo is pure awesomeness, maybe a bit too OP. SS builds are getting love, and IK HotA gets a new toy (my favorite change, personally). 

Chantodo nerf is justifiable given how high damage it has in current season. Bone Ringer nerf was well deserved, it was cancer meta. (Sorry kiddos, dealing more damage per second than anything, automatically is not something anybody wants in an action RpG) 

But still, i am longing for Damage Reduction changes. We are too glassy already, don't make it any worse, please.

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3 hours ago, Yolo said:

I am happy to see new sets and affixes, they clearly show that D3 is not fully in maintenance mode.

The new Crusader set is very nice, FotH is almost never used as a spender, mainly because there weren't items that support it (outside of general ones, obviously). With Darklight, i imagine huge orbital bombardment. On the negative side, I'm not seeing any cost reduction or refund, and in the current state of Diablo, it's a huge nono using generators for resource. Maybe LoV+Akarat. 

Monk one is... Interesting. They already have a set fully dedicated to SW. Also, this one lacks damage reduction, which means SWK 2 set is a nobrainer inclusion to any builds with this set. 

Barbarian changes are very welcome. WotW+Ambo is pure awesomeness, maybe a bit too OP. SS builds are getting love, and IK HotA gets a new toy (my favorite change, personally). 

Chantodo nerf is justifiable given how high damage it has in current season. Bone Ringer nerf was well deserved, it was cancer meta. (Sorry kiddos, dealing more damage per second than anything, automatically is not something anybody wants in an action RpG) 

But still, i am longing for Damage Reduction changes. We are too glassy already, don't make it any worse, please.

Which one of the two new sets do you believe it's better?

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I agree with the above assertion that the vacuum effect/pet pickup should apply to materials too. When you're at endgame and picking up white/blue/yellow items is almost totally worthless BUT you still want mats... it's a little maddening.

Also, the Blighter change, holy crap. Long overdue.

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My major issue is no love to the WD. We have not exactly been sitting in the best of places. Also where is the nerf to bazooka wiz, they have sat on top for way to long, time to drag them down some. I like a lot of the changes though.

My running partner is a crusader so he will be crazy happy. I guess I'll have to run a zoo build and be his initial defense til he can make all those stacks for defense on the 4 piece. Maybe time to switch for a season and go barb, I dunno.

If they do make changes to WD I would love to see a group build for 2's and 4's that ( with a few gear piece swaps) can also be a strong GR push as well like s18 barbs with the reakor set. It can be a strong HotA build or run as support. Maybe a strong garg build, or a fire bats build. Another nice one if they are gonna make a new set for each class would be a stronger nuke build where you dont spend the first 6 seconds trying to build up to being able to nuke like the Jade set. The concept of the helltooth set where the WoD is put down and let's the garg nuke targets but make it for the genuine caster build. At least then you could decide if you wanna be a pet nuke or caster nuke.

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On 10/14/2019 at 2:54 PM, Starym said:

New Monk Set: Patterns of Justice

  • 2-Piece Bonus: Sweeping Wind gains the effect of every rune
  • 4-Piece Bonus: Each enemy within Sweeping Wind increases your movement speed by 5%. Stacks up to 10 times.
  • 6-Piece Bonus: Attacking with Tempest Rush while Sweeping Wind is active will temporarily increase the size of Sweeping Wind after hitting over 30 times within a short period. Sweeping Wind damage is increased by 10,000%

Is this... a dream??? My main build for monk uses the Monkey King Garb Set that focuses on Tempest rush and Sweeping winds! One of my favorite builds of all time...! I can't believe these past few patches man. Are they trying once more?? Lol

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On 10/14/2019 at 3:06 PM, Starym said:

I was too excited by all this new stuff! I mean D3 getting this many changes, my brain must've thought, oh, this is another WoW patch, clearly.

I thought exactly the same... just alone adding more leggo effects and one more class set for every class is amazing! These past few patches have been hitting the mark for me honestly, hopefully it continues! 

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On 10/14/2019 at 9:06 PM, Starym said:

I was too excited by all this new stuff! I mean D3 getting this many changes, my brain must've thought, oh, this is another WoW patch, clearly.

haha no worries happens every now n then 🙂

 

I keep getting an urge to try D3 but then install, load, aaaaand it's gone

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On 10/15/2019 at 9:51 AM, K1ngMrglMrgl said:

Which one of the two new sets do you believe it's better?

I'd go with with the Crusader one. Its pretty standard additional mechanic+dr+damage super buff bonuses lean toward progress content. Additionally, as i mentioned above, FotH was overlooked since forever and was never really used in the endgame. 

Meanwhile the monk one is more speed farm oriented and lacks DR, which limits its use in progress. 

And while the Crusader one already moves my theory crafting nerves, monk feels just "meh, another sw set". 

But thats just my judgement.

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11 minutes ago, Yolo said:

I'd go with with the Crusader one. Its pretty standard additional mechanic+dr+damage super buff bonuses lean toward progress content. Additionally, as i mentioned above, FotH was overlooked since forever and was never really used in the endgame. 

Meanwhile the monk one is more speed farm oriented and lacks DR, which limits its use in progress. 

And while the Crusader one already moves my theory crafting nerves, monk feels just "meh, another sw set". 

But thats just my judgement.

Ιi feel the same mate

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So read through the patch notes and i like what there doing so far. But I am curious about the Pandemonium buff. I get how it works with a stacking buff based off kills. Same thing we currently have with the xps buff from getting high kill counts. But what I wonder about is how this will play out in GRifts since in there their is no kill counta at all. So it makes me wonder if that is something they will be adding this patch or if this will work differently with the stacking killing counts. 

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So, has anyone got the 2.6.7 PTR yet?  I can't connect... and it was supposed to be released today, right?

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For someone who plays daily, having the test realm ONLY available on pc or Mac is disappointing..... Its 2019.. Technology isn't advanced enough to make it available on xbox??

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20 hours ago, MayStarr said:

For someone who plays daily, having the test realm ONLY available on pc or Mac is disappointing..... Its 2019.. Technology isn't advanced enough to make it available on xbox??

They don't own any of these platforms and I imagine it's complicated to deploy. When they release a patch on consoles they first need to send the data over to Sony in advance, so that for testing would be all but ideal, given that PC testing lasts for just a week.

It wasn't so long ago that we didn't even have patches launch at the same time on all platforms; consoles were always for some reason, so at least that's an improvement.

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      Content helps out a lot, as doing various different things to obtain gear keeps it feeling fun. Specific game modes or dungeons can completely revitalize a game. For example, if you came across a dungeon with really good rewards, but weren't allowed to use any of your top items, that would make you instantly have to change your build and playstyle, play with what you have available and adapt. Balancing said dungeon would be a nightmare, but it would be doable. Even separating the loot pool into different game modes is an option, so certain content is only accessible with the "worse" loot. It still rewards you with desirable items, but in order to get a chance at it you have to make sub-optimal builds with items that are weak. There are many different ways to do this and use content to liven up the itemization game, force players out of their comfort zone and get them thinking.
        My solution
      While most of the above is only applicable to a new game I've found a solution that works for me in Diablo 3 specifically. It's still a tough sell to some of my more hardcore-minded friends who physically can't have fun unless they're pushing the absolute highest GR possible, but I'll force/threaten convince them of this new way eventually. So what is it? Well it includes a bit of patience, unfortunately, but basically you make your own tiers and see how far you can get with them. If I stumble upon Ancients for my old reliable Cyclone + every single passive legendary possible that deals damage to everything around you Monk build I'm going to play it until it's no longer fun and try to see what GR level is the maximum I can get with it. Basically that Cyclone set is my own endgame. But here's the thing - I can have MANY endgames this way. Whenever I stumble upon an interesting combination of legendaries that might work well together, I'm going to try them out (or keep them in the stash because I need one or more additional legendaries to make it work) and if it's a fun build, then bam, I have another endgame goal for myself - take THAT build to it's maximum potential and gather items for it.
      I'm actually going to make a spreadsheet for this purpose (yes, it's a bit much, but I have to keep myself away from those damned optimal builds somehow), charting what builds make it how far and how I can improve them.
      All of this might seem like a lot of work and mental discipline for just one game when there's so much else to play, but it's worth it for me. Diablo 3 has many flaws and issues, but at its core, it's still the best in the genre and if I have to put in a little effort on my end to get it fresh again I'm absolutely willing to do that. Having tried literally every alternative out there in the genre for significant amounts of time, I keep coming back to D3 and there has to be a reason for it. That's not to say the other games are bad, but they're just not what I'm looking for - perhaps I truly am a gameplay snob.
       
      The real name of the game
      Creativity. Creativity and build diversity are the one and only solution in the end. Everything else I wrote about is just trying to emphasize that one aspect. If a game's items spark your imagination, make you think "OMG, if I just combine these 2 legendaries, and add this third one in, and then another and another, it'll be amazing. I can't wait to get them and try it out!", that's it, the game has you. Discovering new ways to play and creating them by yourself is what makes these games fun in the long term. As good as the gameplay can be and as good as the individual items are, they all have a pretty short expiration date. Finding new builds that change the way you play extends that to the extremes. There's nothing better to me than finding an item or items for a different class that immediately has me thinking I HAVE to try this class out now, look at how great this item is! Then, every once in a while, hop on to your optimally built destruction monster and stomp some crazy high GRs and Torments for some catharsis, just for good measure.


      Conclusion
      In closing, obviously you should play EXACTLY the way that you want to, and if pushing the high GRs and using the absolutely best gear that is available in a season is what's fun for you, then that's great, I'm actually envious of you! If using the same build all the time is what makes the game fun for you who am I to tell you different! This was just about my personal issues with the game and genre, and potential solutions to it. If you found any of this useful (or at all comprehensible), great! Let me know what you think of the whole thing above, from the paradox to the potential solutions and if I missed something in my reasoning. A big part of why I wrote this article (and hope to write more) is to see what other current Diablo 3 players think after 7 years, and to potentially be able to tell Blizzard what we want from Diablo 4, as they seem to not really have a firm idea themselves.
      Why optimal builds hurt the game (for me) and how we can move away from them.
    • By Starym
      The XP/paragon farming meta is changing this season, as the extremely popular Rat runs are no longer the top dog and Demon Hunters are taking on Necromancers for the throne. We have our own guide writer Impact taking us through all the details, from the start, through the Haedrig's set and on to the actual group compositions and builds for the optimal group XP runs in the endgame!
       
      The Rat Run
      For many seasons now the “Rat Run” has held the top spot of being the most efficient and best group composition for farming XP in d3. “Rat Runs” refer to the 3x Necromancer and 1x Barbarian group composition that focuses on the two supports spawning as many health globes as possible so that the two DPS Necromancers, using Reaper's Wraps, can pick them up for quick essence gain. This enables them to continuously summon full essence Skeletal MageSingularity for insane damage potential early on. They  get their name from the Rathma set that Necromancers have, which boosts their Skeletal Mage damage. Over time the build has evolved into using the Legacy of Dreams gem instead for even higher damage potential, but the name stuck. These runs were so off the charts efficient that no other group composition could ever come close to touching them, until now. With the nerfs to Reapers’ Wraps in Season 21 through a 2 second cooldown, the Necromancer has been dethroned. In its place, the Demon Hunter rises.
      Demon Hunters Arrive
      Season 21 is the season of the Demon Hunter.After many long seasons of the Necromancer and “Rat Runs” reigning supreme in the XP grinding meta, the DH is here to take the throne. For those of you planning out your season start, if you are looking to be the most optimal that you can be, then you should be looking to maximize efficiency in whatever you will spend the most time. During a season start, your time playing can generally be broken down into three stages.
      Leveling 1-70 Starter build at 70 with Haedrig’s Gift End-game build While Necromancer is still far and away the best class in the game for a swift 1-70 leveling process, level 70 is where the Demon Hunter will truly take over. Demon Hunters get access to the Shadow’s Mantle set this season, allowing them to access the Impale build as a starter build. The Impale build has a huge multiplier baked into the 2-set for the build, allowing you to start dishing out huge number straight out of the gate. You also can upgrade level 70 rare daggers in your Kanai’s Cube which has a 50% chance to get a Karlei's Point, providing yet another easily accessible multiplier to the build and the best weapon that you will want to use. Finally, if you save your challenge rift bloodshards until level 34, you can try to roll quivers which gives you a 25% chance to get a Holy Point Shot when you roll a legendary quiver. If you do get lucky, you can easily jump straight into t8 or higher once you get your 2pc bonus, giving you a huge start at 70.
       
      The Endgame Build
      Demon Hunters up to this point are arguably the best class, but now we get to where you will spend most of your time in Diablo: your end-game build. It is fun to optimize your season start and getting good builds early is great, but regardless of how you start you can always get to an end-game build within a couple of days, or even within the first day if you are lucky enough. For Demon Hunters, that means playing the GoD Hungering Arrow build.
      Once you have your end-game build, you should be able to clear t16 Nephalem Rifts without much trouble. This means your main source of progression will be in greater rifts. Once you have your full set of correct pieces in your end-game build, your main source of power progression is going to come from farming ancient pieces, getting gem upgrades, and farming XP for paragon levels. The last two specifically are done primarily in greater rifts. With an optimized 4-man group, you can clear higher greater rift levels, much higher than you would be able to achieve solo early on in a season. This enables you to rack up the paragon levels, with some of the more optimized groups even reaching 1000 paragon within the first 24 hours of a season launch. This XP farming meta is where Demon Hunter really shines this season. The optimized 4-man group for farming XP consists of the following:
      1x Support Barbarian 1x Support Demon Hunter 2x GoD Hungering Arrow Demon Hunters The true power of this group lies within the Support Demon Hunter. Thanks to the update to Leonine Bow of Hashir, your Bolas will not instantly explode, pulling in enemies within 24 yards into one spot. The DH can speed through the rift due to the movement speed that the GoD 4 piece bonus brings along with Smoke Screen, creating large, dense groupings of enemies ahead of the support Barbarian and Hungering Arrow DHs. You map out the rift for your team, create nice density of enemies through your Bolas, and then spin on top of the groups using Entangling Shot and Odyssey's End to put a 150% damage amplification on every enemy you hit. This is the single largest support buff that any class in the game can give, making DH an incredibly strong support early on when you need the extra damage.
      The support Barbarian is there to do their normal job helping to toss elites onto the packs for better positioning for Area Damage, while also using all of theirs shouts and the 2 pc HotNS for double effectiveness. Finally, your two GoD DH’s can spin around without stopping, utilizing Blood Vengeance for all their hatred generation so they do not have to stop channeling Strafe.
       
      The true devastating damage potential of this group comp lies within the innate damage that the GoD Hungering Arrow set provides. Thanks to your Devouring Arrow rune, your arrows will gain exponential damage each time they pierce enemies, but can pierce infinitely, only limited by the number of targets you have grouped. The crazy grouping potential that your two supports bring allows your arrows to pierce huge numbers of targets, which means your damage scales more than most classes would even without accounting for Area Damage.
      The GoD Hungering Arrow Demon Hunter build is the best solo-pushing build this season, and the insanely high base movement speed that the build offers without any support items allows you to build for full damage while still moving fast enough to do speed clears without missing a beat. While other speed compositions often must sacrifice damage for better mobility and speed, the Demon Hunters will never need to make that trade. You can abuse the base mobility that the build offers, building full damage, and push higher greater rift levels than any other group composition would ever allow for speed clears.
      If your goal is to be as optimal as possible in Season 21 with a group, you need to be playing the Demon Hunter meta to abuse it for all it is worth.
       

      Related articles:
      Which Class to Play in Diablo 3 Season 21? Solo, Group and Speedfarm Rankings
      Diablo 3 Season 21 Start Times
      Demon Hunter Set Guides Spotlight for Season 21: Gears of Dreadlands
      Diablo 3 Patch 2.6.9 (Season 21 Precursor) Is Now Live + Patch Notes
      Diablo 3 Ban Wave: June 19th
      Is the Season 21 Power Too Good? ZDPS Barb Can Solo GR 150 Without Area Damage
    • By Starym
      Season 21 is almost done (although we might be seeing some delays/extensions) and it hasn't been the most popular of seasons, but it did have many unique aspects to it, from the almost-kinda-exploits to the crazy 10K+ gathering of the seasonal stacks outside Greater Rifts, and much more. Today we'll be taking a look back and discussing what the issues with this and similar themes, how they potentially ruin the core concept of the game, how this type of seasonal power should be done in the future and much more.
      To do this we have our own guide writer Deadset and special guest sVr, an EU player and top theorycrafter who has been concocting guides and mechanical analysis to the benefit of the whole Diablo community since the dawn of seasonal play. You might remember him for unleashing the Bazooka Wizard onto Sanctuary, breaking down the veil of obscurity on Spirit Barrage, and many other math-heavy feats and word-laden reddit posts. You've certainly seen him on Twitch, both as a regular caster and a Blizz-sanctioned invitee to Gamescom and BlizzCon broadcasts. He likes crunching numbers, crunching hugs and horrible Californian iced tea. So let's get to it as the two take on the Trials of Tempests.
       
       
      Introduction
      Deadset:
      Season 21 bears the name “Trial of Tempests” and uses a mechanic that is closely related to the one from Season 19, the “Season of Eternal Conflict” — it is once again based on abilities spawned by the game, but based on a timer rather than kill count. The goal was, once again, to make the effect Season-defining in terms of power, and the developers have matched — and even surpassed — the powers of the former mechanic. It has certainly led to a spike in build potential within the 10+ Greater Rift tiers range, with certain builds of course benefiting more from the theme than others.
      Whenever a proc-reliant, percentage damage-based power gets introduced to the game, it opens a window for ‘clever use of mechanics’, or outright exploitation, and it requires careful monitoring by the developers. And while I can certainly commend the teams for squashing out abusive strategies in a timely manner, I can safely say that with two proc-based Seasons behind us — the sheer potential for abuse and the diminished feel of player agency stemming from themes like these bring down the morale of casual and veteran players alike. The visual treat of these effects fades away in the early stretch of a Season, leaving players to a prolonged period of visual fatigue, lessened screen readability, and even technical issues in certain cases.
      sVr:
      The Trial of Tempests seasonal theme had a very similar feeling to S19, where generated (not-selfcast) abilities would spawn after a certain condition is met. A couple of severe issues were identified on the PTR and were fixed appropriately. As an example, the theme itself scaled with Area Damage equipped on one’s character, and a player was able to teleport out of the GR, safely wait in town for the countdown, re-enter the GR and “idle in the immunity phase of entering a rift” while the seasonal theme would proc and kill everything. These issues were fixed, but I feel that the general concept of auto-generator themes are flawed and they simply brick the core concept of Diablo 3 for me.
       
       
      Theme Behavior and Relation to Core Gameplay
      Deadset:
      All this, of course, is not to say the theme lacks strategizing potential; simply that it externalizes the potential from the capabilities of the character and the build choices you’ve made along the way, and shifts decision making all too much in the direction of effects that feel even more arbitrary and unpredictable than the “usual suspects” of rift layout, monster composition and elite affix RNG.
      To put this in perspective, a Greater Rift pushing attempt that falls into the “stars have aligned in your favor” category — one with desirable open spaces, monster density and decent Pylon spawns — can be completely ruined by a bad proc of the Seasonal theme. Some work mostly to your advantage, like the Beam proc and the decent amount of control you can apply to its effect. Some of the procs are reliant on the spaces you choose to fight in — the Twisters and Snowball, for example, benefit greatly from small, closed off spaces and tight corners. And others still require plain luck — maybe the Meteor strikes the cluster of monsters you prepared... or maybe it doesn’t. Maybe the Fire Wave melts the Elite pack ahead of you, or maybe it bugs out and doesn’t spawn at all, and ends your push then and there. To make matters even worse, the harder you lean into the Seasonal theme to make the Rift clear — very understandable considering its ubiquitous power — the more you open yourself to bad RNG from the procs, inevitably leading to some very unsatisfying pushing sessions where you have played your build to the maximum of its potential, played around Rift RNG, and still fall prey to an additional layer of randomization.
      sVr:
      To elaborate on my comment about ‘bricking the core game concepts’, this is how I see it: the power of one’s character in Diablo 3 comes from three different sources.
      Paragon and Augments: Increasing one's damage via the (1 + mainstat/100) multiplier, as well as one's toughness via the respective defensive mainstat bonus (All Resistance via Intelligence, Armor via Strength/Dexterity).  Gear and Affix Quality: Increasing one's damage via appropriate primary affix rolls (e.g. quadfecta weapons or gloves, trifecta jewelry) and high legendary affix rolls. Increasing one's toughness with appropriate primary (All Resistance, Elite Damage Reduction %) and secondary (Reduction of damage from melee and ranged sources, Crowd Control Reduction %, single element Resistance) affixes. Main Gems: Increasing one's damage/toughness via high gem levels. There isn't any other “dimension” that gives power to the overall capability of one's character. Sure, there is the “capability” of a player on how well one can play his character, however, for the sake of this argument, assume that everyone has the same exact skill; everyone is a god tier gamer. In this scenario, each time a player logs in to play his goal is to progress his character making it stronger. One chooses to scale these three pillars over the span of a season progressively to reach higher and higher in GRs.
      For the first pillar (Paragon) people would choose to run XP meta runs, such as Rats runs (or historically Vyr Wizard XP groups, Charge Barbarian XP groups, Rend Barbarian XP groups, etc.). For the second pillar (Gear/Items) people would choose to run Bounties in "teched out 4 Man groups" (quad-Unhallowed Essence Multishot Demon Hunters) to ultimately reforge their gear into the desired rolls. For the third pillar (Main Gems) people would choose to run 1%ers (mostly solo) or group meta (GR150) to level their Main Gems to max cap. While 1%er runs are, quite frankly, a “thing of the past” nowadays, back in the days these runs constituted another end-game activity with a different group setup. Technically speaking, only solo self found players regularly play 1% runs to increase their gem levels.

        How the Theme Circumvents Progression
      Deadset:
      Over the course of the Season, experienced players have learned a great deal about the inner workings of the Season 21 theme, and using them to their Greater Rift pushing advantage. The theme even enables the tantalizing proposition of dropping Bane of the Stricken — one of the game’s staple pushing Legendary Gems, which is often single-handedly responsible for taking down Rift Guardians with its damage stacking mechanic — and going all in with the proc RNG, hoping circumstances and its damage would be enough to obliterate the biggest HP obstacle in the Rift.
      The general strategy for S21 Rift progression got distilled to the maximization of trash pulls, with heavy emphasis on getting the most out of the initial proc in terms of stacks, and snowballing that effect into future trash pulls — with the added factor of their even spacing and preparation for the 90-second interval of the theme effect. The timing aspect attains some additional complexity in groups, where synchronization of the procs between party members comes into play. Killing elites got relegated to (mostly) collateral damage in favor of building momentum via trash throughout the clear, although exceptions could be made when stacks were deemed high enough, elite health got low enough from circumstances, or a combination of both. The overall principle for elites, especially in a Stricken-deprived build, was to simply skip them.
      If we were to summarize the optimization of the Seasonal theme’s effects, it would be to:
      Amass a huge monster pull to kickstart your stacks as soon as the first proc comes into effect. Chain trash pulls for every subsequent theme proc, trying to keep your stacks well above a 50 stack minimum — although ideally, much higher. Chain trash pulls with careful positioning and judgment of your surroundings to squeeze the most of the upcoming effect. With some practice, rinsing and repeating steps 2 and 3 will take you much higher into Greater Rift progression, but also translates into half of the time spent in a GR push attempt or more being spent on proc setup and positioning, instead of using the capabilities of your own character. This is very reminiscent of the gameplay loop forced by exploitative mechanics, and I’ll once again leave it to the capable hands of SVR to walk you through his definition of the term (that I also share), as well as some of its history in Diablo 3.
      sVr:
      Each of the gameplay pillars I described before aren't entirely perpendicular to one another, but they all serve to increase one's power — allowing for higher GRs to be DPS-ed. Once a mechanic short-circuits all those three pillars (you don't need to scale the pillars anymore to go "higher in GRs"), it fundamentally breaks the feedback loop and core concept of the game. One technically doesn't need to "scale one's character" (or in other words, play the game as intended) to increase one's power.
      Historically, this was always my train of thought on how to "identify an exploit" that is clearly not just “a clever use of game mechanics” (as often postulated by 'exploit'-defenders). An example would be the “Necromancer’s Frailty curse plus Demon Hunter’s Marked for DeathGrim Reaper debuff” exploit after the Necromancer's release, where an entire screen would get one-shot by the interaction of both skills, regardless of what gear, paragon and main gems the Necromancer and Demon Hunter players had equipped. The Necro and DH were the damage dealers in that scenario - yet, their damage was "un-scalable" by any ingame playtime investment: regardless of how much time those players would've put in the game, they would've always executed the entire screen by the maximum damage value the game could apply. This mechanic short-circuited the entire concept of "power", hence, an exploit in my books.
       

      Conclusion
      Deadset:
      There is depth to be found in Season 21’s mechanics and what they bring to the game; certainly, an argument can be made that it forces you to play differently, to think differently of the things you do during the Greater Rift pushing attempts, which has always been the highlight of ‘hard’ content in Diablo 3, the proving ground of your heroes. In my book however, the shift from the intrinsic qualities of the aRPG genre — gradual character development, set and legendary item interactions, proactive use of abilities and their synergy — into a thinly veiled management of timers, is the wrong one to make. I greatly appreciate the practice of “themed Seasons” and the additional developer thought and effort spent, but in the future I’d be happy to see more player control and agency over the things happening on screen.
      sVr:
      Unfortunately, the S21 Theme, while not technically an exploit, nominally behaves the same way as an exploit in its current iteration. No amount of time investment scales your character's capability in GRs. While this is not entirely true and definitely and over-exaggerated statement, since you still get tankier and can increase your non-theme damage output, the core of the issue remains the same: there is no reason to play, besides playing the S21 Theme itself until you clear GR150 with it. To me this fundamentally breaks what Diablo 3 and GR progression is about; a journey of your character’s progression.
    • By Starym
      Season 21 starts today!  It's going to be quite a season, especially for Demon Hunters. We've already taken a look at the top builds for solo pushing, speedfarming and group compositions, as well as the meta-breaking new 3x DH-based XP farm setup which dethroned Rat runs, so now its time to head for the full guides themselves, and we have them ready for all classes!
      Barbarian
      The Support build still reigns supreme, as it retains it's place in the new XP farm meta, and the rest of the rankings haven't changed since the last season, as Barbarians didn't get many changes.
      Support Barbarian (Raekor + HotNS + Istvan) (Top Tier) Speed Farming Variant Rend Barbarian (WotW + Istvan) (Top Tier) Speed Farming Variation Seismic Slam Barbarian (MotE + Endless Walk) (Top Tier) Speed Farming Variation Frenzy Barbarian (HotNS + Endless Walk) (High Tier) Speed Farming Variation Hammer of the Ancients Raekor Barbarian (Raekor + Endless Walk + Istvan) (High Tier) Speed Farming Variation Hammer of the Ancients IK Barbarian (IK + Endless Walk) (High Tier) Speed Farming Variation Furious Charge Barbarian (IK + Raekor) (High Tier) Speed Farming Variation Leap/Earthquake Barbarian (MotE + Bastions) (High Tier) Speed Farming Variation Hammer of the Ancients GR Barbarian (Legacy of Dreams Gem) (Mid Tier) Whirlwind Wastes Barbarian (WotW + Bul-kathos) (Mid Tier) Speed Farming Variation Frenzy Thorns Barbarian (LoN) Speed Farming Variation
        Crusader
      Crusaders also didn't get a big shift in rankings, as the seasonal power doesn't really affect the individual builds.
      Heaven's Fury Crusader (Aegis of Valor) (Top Tier) Speed Farming Variation Blessed Shield Crusader (Legacy of Dreams Gem) (Top Tier) Thorns Crusader (Invoker + Endless Walk) (Top Tier) Speed Farming Variation Condemn LoD Crusader (Legacy of Dreams Gem) (High Tier) Condemn Akkhan Crusader (Akkhan + Bastions) (High Tier) Speed Farming Variation Hammerdin Crusader (SoL + Endless Walk) (High Tier) Speed Farming Variation Sweep Attack Crusader (Roland + Endless Walk) (Mid Tier) Speed Farming Variation Fist of the Heavens Crusader (Aegis of Valor) (Mid Tier) Speed Farming Variation Bombardment Crusader (LoN) (Mid Tier) Speed Farming Variation Shield Bash Crusader (Roland + Bastions) Speed Farming Variation
        Demon Hunter
      Season 21 is very much the season of the Demon Hunter, as their new Gears of Dreadlands set brought them 2 top tier builds, both for solo pushing and XP farming.
      Support Demon Hunter (GoD + Marauder) (Top Tier) (New) Hungering Arrow Demon Hunter (GoD + Bastions) (Top Tier) (New) Bolas Variation Rapid Fire Demon Hunter (Legacy of Dreams Gem) (Top Tier) Rapid Fire Natalya Demon Hunter (Natalya + Endless Walk) (Top Tier) Impale Demon Hunter (Shadow + Endless Walk) (High Tier) Speed Farming Variation Group Progression Variation Sentry Demon Hunter (Marauder + Natalya + Endless Walk) (High Tier) Multishot Demon Hunter (Unhallowed + Bastions) (High Tier) Speed Farming Variation Cluster Arrow Demon Hunter  (Marauder + Bastions) (Mid Tier) Speed Farming Variation Rockets-based Progression Variation Grenades Demon Hunter (Unhallowed + Endless Walk) (Mid Tier) Speed Farming Variation Rain of Vengeance Demon Hunter (Natalya + Bastions) (Mid Tier) Speed Farming Variation Fan of Knives LoD Demon Hunter (Legacy of Dreams Gem) Chakram Demon Hunter (Unhallowed + Bastions) Speed Farming Variation
        Monk
      Monk support is still on top as the class build rankings stay the same as last season.
      Support Monk (Inna + Born's Command + Captain Crimson) (Top Tier) Tempest Rush Sunwuko Monk (Monkey King + Captain Crimson) (Top Tier) Speed Farming Variation Tempest Rush Patterns Monk (Patterns of Justice + Captain Crimson) (Top Tier) Speed Farming Variation Wave of Light LoD Monk (Legacy of Dreams Gem) (Top Tier) Wave of Light Monk (Monkey King + Captain Crimson) (High Tier) Speed Farming Variation Inna Variation Generator Monk (Rainment + Endless Walk + Captain Crimson + Shenlong) (High Tier) Speed Farming Variation Inna Variation Seven-Sided Strike Monk (Uliana + Captain Crimson + Endless Walk) (High Tier) Speed Farming Variation Lashing Tail Kick LoD Monk (Legacy of Dreams Gem) (Mid Tier) Lashing Tail Kick Monk (Monkey King) (Mid Tier) Speed Farming Variation Exploding Palm Monk (Inna + Endless Walk) Speed Farming Variation Mystic Ally Pets Variation
        Necromancer
      The Necromancer may have gotten the shorter end of the new set stick, but they did get plenty of new toys to play with, resulting in a new build at the top of the list and two more top tier ones, with a whole lot of LoD!
      Corpse Explosion LoD Necromancer  (LoD) (Top Tier) (New) Key Farming Variation Support Necromancer (Pestilence + Captain Crimson) (Top Tier) Poison Scythe LoD Necromancer (LoD) (Top Tier) (New) Trash Killer Variation Corpse Lance LoD Necromancer (LoD) (Top Tier) Skeletal Mage Singularity/Archers LoD Necromancer (LoD) (Top Tier) (New) Speed Farming Variation Key Farming Variation Corpse Lance Necromancer (Pestilence + Endless Walk) (High Tier) Speed Farming Variation Trag'Oul Variation Group Progression Variation Skeletons Thorns Solo LoD Necromancer (LoD) (High Tier) Generator Necromancer (Inarius) (High Tier) Speed Farming Variation Skeletal Mages Rathma Necromancer (Rathma + Jesseth) (Mid Tier) Speed Farming Variation Group Speed GR Variation Skeletal Mages Trag'Oul Necromancer (Trag'Oul + Jesseth) (Mid Tier) Solo Progression Variation Blood Nova LoD Necromancer (LoD) (Mid Tier)
        Witch Doctor
      The WD's new set from a while ago has crept up the rankings and landed on top, edging out the ever popular Poison Dart build.
      Spirit Barrage Witch Doctor (Mundunugu + Endless Walk) (Top Tier) Speed Farming Variation Carnevil Poison Dart Witch Doctor (Zunimasa + Aughild's Authority + Endless Walk) (Top Tier) Speed Farming Variation Carnevil Poison Dart Dagger of Darts Witch Doctor (LoD) (Top Tier) Soul Harvest Witch Doctor (Jade Harvester) (Top Tier) Speed Farming Variation Spirit Barrage Witch Doctor (Legacy of Dreams Gem) (High Tier) Speed Farming Variation Group Progression Variation Firebats Witch Doctor (Arachyr + Endless Walk) (High Tier) Speed Farming Variation Group Progression Variation Gargantuan Zunimasa Witch Doctor (Zunimasa + Endless Walk) (Mid Tier) Speed Farming Variation Gargantuan Helltooth Witch Doctor (Helltooth + Endless Walk) (Mid Tier) Speed Farming Variation Zombie Bears Witch Doctor (Helltooth + Endless Walk) Speed Farming Variation Acid Cloud Witch Doctor (Helltooth + Bastions) Speed Farming Variation Grasp of the Dead Witch Doctor (Helltooth + Endless Walk)
        Wizard
      Wizards retain their rankings from last season, with the ubiquitous Archon remaining on top.
      Archon Wizard (Vyr + Chantodo) (Top Tier) Speed Farming Variation Mammoth Hydra Wizard (Legacy of Dreams Gem) (Top Tier) Frost Hydra Wizard (Typhon's Veil) (High Tier) Meteor Wizard (Firebird + Endless Walk) (High Tier) Speed Farming Variation Tal Rasha Variation Star Pact Variation Frozen Orb Wizard (Delsere + Endless Walk) (High Tier) Energy Twister Wizard (Delsere + Endless Walk) (High Tier) Manald Lightning Archon Wizard (Tal Rasha + Vyr) (Mid Tier) Group Progression Variation Solo Progression Variation Archon Wizard (Firebird + Chantodo + Endless Walk) (Mid Tier) Speed Farming Variation Arcane Torrent Manald Wizard (Tal Rasha + Endless Walk) (Mid Tier) Electrocute Variation Spectral Blade Variation Arcane Orbit Wizard (Delsere + Endless Walk) Speed Farming Variation Explosive Blast Farming Wizard (Tal Rasha + Sage) Greater Rifting Variation
        Those are all the class guides we have, the season start in a matter of hours and we hope you have a great time!
       

      Related articles:
      The Rat Is Dead: Long Live the Demon Hunter Speed Meta
      Which Class to Play in Diablo 3 Season 21? Solo, Group and Speedfarm Rankings
      Diablo 3 Season 21 Start Times
      Demon Hunter Set Guides Spotlight for Season 21: Gears of Dreadlands
      Diablo 3 Patch 2.6.9 (Season 21 Precursor) Is Now Live + Patch Notes
      Diablo 3 Ban Wave: June 19th
      Is the Season 21 Power Too Good? ZDPS Barb Can Solo GR 150 Without Area Damage
    • By Stan
      Wudijo scored the world's fastest Solo Greater Rift 150 in time in Season 21 with his Demon Hunter after 5,500 used keys and weeks of attempts. Congrats!
      UPDATE: This is currently the world's second clear of Solo GR150, not world first as we thought, we apologize for the confusion!
      Placeholder for tweet 1289929742800449540   The player completed the rift and killed the Infernal Maiden with 1 minute and 4 seconds remaining on the timer.

      Here are the final moments of the run!
      (Source)
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