Diablo III Season 2 started on February 13, 2015. I had the opportunity to get on Mumble and start off Season 2 by talking with, and gaming with, friends of mine. It is rare that I decide to get on Mumble while I’m playing video games and I’m really happy I did it. I think that Season 2 is going to be about pushing out of my “comfort zone” in Diablo III.
In Season 1, I spent the entire Season playing a soft core Barbarian (named Gurr). Barbarians are so much fun to play, and I had a great time. Before Season 2 started, I decided that I was going to play a hard core Demon Hunter this time around. I chose a male character because I’ve already got a female Demon Hunter who is at Level 70.
My new Seasonal Demon Hunter is named Dusk. The inspiration came from a Tweet sent by Neil Degrasse Tyson, who noted that we have a lot of people named Dawn, but no one named Dusk. I think the name fits the mood of a Demon Hunter. The screenshots you see in this blog are from February 13, 2015.
My goal for my series of blogs about Season 2 is for the blogs to keep up with my progress in the game. This is going to mean there will be times when I put off playing until I get the blogging caught up. The reason for this is simple. Hard core characters have only one “life”. If they die, they are gone forever. I’m trying to avoid putting myself in a situation where my hard core Demon Hunter dies and I’ve got tons of stuff to blog about between then and when I fell behind. Chances are, I had stuff I wanted to say about what happened in between those two points, but won’t have the heart to write it after losing my hard core character.
My current goal for Season 2 is to get my Seasonal character to Level 70. I haven’t put any restrictions on how I manage to achieve that (so long as it is legal). In Season 1, I got my Barbarian all the way through Story Mode before working on Bounties and Rifts. I mostly played solo except for a few times when Shawn (my husband) and I played our Seasonal characters together. For Season 2, I want to intentionally play the game differently than I have before.
The above screenshot shows all the cool stuff you can earn during Season 2. Right now, I’m focused on getting the two transmogs to go with the ones I got in Season 1. They unlock when a player gets a Seasonal character to Level 70. If I manage to hit Level 70 I will choose another goal to go after.
One difference has already made itself apparent. I take significantly less screenshots when I play hard core than when I play soft core characters.
I started out talking with friends on Mumble but playing a solo game. It’s been a long time since I’ve played a Demon Hunter, and I wanted to take a little while to remember how to do it. Part of this was to re-teach myself how to use the skills, and figure out which ones I liked best. The other part was to practice staying out of the mobs instead of plowing through them. I didn’t want my new hard core character to die because I “forgot” that I wasn’t playing a powerful Barbarian anymore.
As a result, I started out playing Season 2 by being overly cautious and going through Story Mode at Normal difficulty. I hit Level 2 in front of the gates of New Tristram, Level 3 and Level 4 on the New Tristram Road, and Level 5 in Adria’s Hut.
For the most part, this was fun. I remembered to hit the shift key to lock myself in place and avoid running into the mobs while I was still a “lowbie”. A minor problem occurred while Dusk was at Level 4. One of the small cellar dungeons appeared and it just so happened to have the first pack of blue monsters with a gold monster in it. Dusk was not powerful enough to quickly kill them off. Instead, I had to resort to jumping into the cellar, firing off a few shots, and quickly dashing back out – over and over and over and over. This was incredibly tedious! Eventually, I managed to kill off the mob, but it took a long time.
My first Achievement of the Season appeared when I reached Adria’s Hut.
Overlook Road, New Tristram, The Slaughtered Calf Inn, Leah’s Room, Cain’s House, Old Tristram Road, The Old Ruins, Adria’s Hut
Shortly after I hit Level 5 I was asked to join a game that some of my friends had started when Season 2 began. They originally had 4 people, but one person had to leave for a little while. After making sure I wouldn’t be holding them back because I was at a much lower level then they were, I agreed to join them. Most of the time I spend playing Diablo III is in a solo game. If I’m playing cooperative, it is almost always with Shawn. My intent for Season 2 was to play differently than usual – and so, I joined the game my friends were playing.
Immediately, four Achievements popped up.
The quickest way to join up with the rest of the party, who are already in the dungeon, is to click on someone’s banner. Doing so teleports you directly to where that player is at. All of us did a great job of asking who was clear before teleporting, in order to avoid death by dropping directly into the center of a mob. This was an especially important tactic to use for me because I was several levels lower than the rest of the group. The first time I clicked on someone else’s banner – an Achievement appeared.
My friends were running through the Halls of Agony Level 3 over and over again. I’ve mentioned in previous blogs that I am not a fan of the Halls of Agony (any level). All the torture stuff makes me feel kind of sick. That being said, I have to admit that doing speed runs through it made this much easier to cope with. There wasn’t time to focus on the ickiness surrounding me.
It is my understanding that running through this particular level of the Halls of Agony is a very efficient way to level a character. The game was set to Hard difficultly and it was in Adventure Mode. What you do is run through it and kill everything. Stop before you enter the part where you fight The Butcher. Instead, portal back to town, leave the game, go back in, and do it all over again. This purpose had something to do with the Leaderboards. Personally, I can confirm that I was leveling much faster now.
Things were moving quickly and I didn’t have the opportunity to grab a screenshot of Dusk hitting Level 9. It’s obvious he got there, though, because I did get the screenshot of him hitting Level 10. My friends suggested that I stay back from the mobs and run away as needed so I wouldn’t die. So, that’s what I did (and I also shot at whatever monsters I could from a safe distance).
At some point I questioned whether I was doing them any good at all. While I cannot recall who explained that yes, I was doing them good despite being a much lower level, I am greatly amused by the explanation about it. The description was something like “It’s like you are a Follower that gives us a buff.” This made me laugh. I’ve never played as a “Follower” before, so this fits into my intent to play Diablo III in ways that are new and different for me during Season 2!
Before I go any further, I want to clarify that I understand that what is happening here is that I was being “carried”. I don’t see this as a problem. First of all, it’s legal. Secondly, the amount of time I played with my friends didn’t actually push me beyond what I’d already achieved on my own with other characters. I’ve already got a soft core Demon Hunter who is at Level 70. I’ve already got a hard core (non-seasonal) character, a Witch Doctor, that I think is sitting somewhere around Level 20 or so.
In other words, this small amount of being “carried” wasn’t going to put me at the top of the Leaderboard, or anything like that. It is not my intent to have friends “carry” me through to Level 70. I’m not judging anyone who chooses to be carried that far, it’s just not for me. I want to feel like I did at least some of it on my own.
Achievements were popping up as fast as the Levels were. I suspect this first one is a glitch.
This popped up because one of the guys in the cooperative game I was in earned it. I’ve no idea why this achievement notification popped up on my screen, too. Even stranger, the text in chat told me “You have earned [Cursebreaker of Tristram]” (and it indicated that it was a Seasonal Achievement). However, when I went back to take a look at my Season 2 Achievements, it was clear I had not actually earned this Achivement. (Nor should I have – my new Seasonal character had only vaguely participated in one cursed chest event.)
LEVEL, LEVEL, LEVEL!
My first Legendary item in Season 2 was a quiver called Fletcher’s Pride. The flavor text says: The quality of these arrows is stunning. Even the fletchers of Jasender would be hard-pressed to match it. Usually, I prefer to use two one-handed crossbows when I play a Demon Hunter. However, this quiver was good, so I changed how I play and used it a one-handed crossbow with it for much of the game.
Here’s a screenshot of the team I played with on the first night of Season 2.
We killed the pastel colored Treasure Goblin and got a portal to Whimseydale! This marks my first trip to Whimseydale in Season 2. I got there twice during Season 1 (and can’t recall how many times I’ve been there non-season).
The ring turned out to be a Manald Heal. The text says: Crafted by the healers of the Viz-jun to protect their warriors from harm. It has a special secondary skill on it that is for Crusaders, only. I’m playing a Demon Hunter, and I didn’t have any rings yet, so I equipped this one. The rest of the primary and secondary skills are ones that can benefit a Demon Hunter.
Dusk hit Level 19 shortly before earning the Bloodletting Achievement. Bloodletting in Whimseydale (well, in part).
It is hard to see, but the first screenshot below is of Dusk hitting Level 21. I almost missed the screenshot.
Dusk ended up at Level 22 by the end of the first night of Season 2. (Or, to be more accurate, at the end of the time I was able to play that night.) Overall, I think I made an excellent amount of progress, thanks to help from my friends.