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    Are you having fun with Patch 2.0? Finding cool new stuff? Awesome, me too.

    Although I’ve enjoyed the new affixes on gear in the patch, I realize that the items we find now will be obsolete once RoS hits. It’s no reason to stop playing the current game, but it did make me wonder what I could do that would have more long-term value in the game going forward.

    For those who prefer to focus on how to build value in the game before the expansion, I’ve thrown together the list below. We’ve got 23 days to prepare for Reaper of Souls, so let’s get started!

    Develop Cool New Builds

    Numerous skill changes and a massive reworking of legendaries in Patch 2.0 have created all-new build possibilities. Even if some are nerfed in the near future, we’ll still have plenty new ones from which to choose, so it’s a good time to revisit your character’s skills and sample the new runes.

    I’ve gone through all the old skills and abilities on my Barb, and it turns out WW barb really IS my favorite build (even when it’s not broken) – so no changes for him. The rest of my characters are rocking new builds though (particularly my Wiz and DH). There are tons of build options now that interact well with the new affixes, so you’ll almost certainly find something new to enjoy.

    Speaking of affixes, it’s also a good time to start integrating Reduced Cooldown, +% Skill Damage and +% Elemental Damage into your build. You may not be able to perfectly recreate CM Wiz or Perma-WOTB WW Barb, but you should be able to find something that will last you a while.

    Rack Up Paragon Points

    If you’ve been grinding for Paragon levels on the Live server the last few months, congrats: you’re ahead of the game, and that experience will carry into the expansion. If you were instead focused on the PTR, you can be happy that our Paragon levels won’t get wiped on the Live servers. Huzzah!

    On top of that, we can now choose how to allocate Paragon points, allowing us to shore up weaknesses in our gear. You can think of the new Paragon system like the shampoo aisle at the grocery store: there are lots of options to choose from, and trying them all is half the fun. Plus, you can change them whenever you want – so feel free to go crazy and dump points into Gold Find (if that’s your thing).

    Dissect The New Difficulty Levels

    One of the nice things about the new difficulty system is that there is a much stronger incentive to play at higher difficulty levels. I found out last night I was able to grind levels on Torment 1 with a little help from a friend, and I’m hoping I can stick to that difficulty until the expansion arrives.

    So, if you haven’t already, start getting comfy with the new difficulty levels. Word of warning: although it’s tempting to crank the difficulty up to higher Torment, it’s better to pace yourself. After all, with the new gear in the expansion (and a new item level cap), we’ll have to grind from Normal to Torment again anyway. For now, focus on discovering which difficulty offers you the best rewards for the challenge.

    Build Clans And Join Communities

    Aside from loot changes, clans and communities have to be the best thing added to D3 Vanilla. The old friends list is nowhere near as good as what we have now. True, there’s that irritating “ping” sound with all the clan messages hitting your chat window – but a client-side fix is already being planned.

    As a quick refresher: you can create a clan or join one (if your request is approved), and you can join any number of communities. In fact, there are already several clans for Diablo IncGamers, so mouse your cursor over to the bottom right of the game screen and start building out your friends list.

    Enjoy Smarter And Better Drops

    Although fewer items drop in the game now, stat ranges on gear are better overall and are often tuned to the character we’re playing. Drop rates on legendary and set items have been doubled as well, which makes finding your own gear a lot easier.

    On the other hand, we now have account-bound items. For those who enjoyed trading prior to Patch 2.0, it may take time to adjust to playing the game self- or group-found. If you hope to maximize the amount of legendaries you get, playing in a group of four with everyone using the same class seems to be the best way, unless the devs come up with a different formula for multi-player drop rates.

    Conclusion

    If you’ve been away from the game for a while, it’s a great time to start playing again. If you’ve been playing the Live game or the PTR / beta, the above activities should help you prepare for the expansion.

    There are a lot of other cool things in Patch 2.0 that I didn’t touch on. Thankfully, Flux has you covered with his Patch 2.0 overview article. I just wanted to mention a few things you can do to take the edge off the wait for RoS – and be ahead of the game when it arrives.

    Is there anything you’ve especially enjoyed so far in Patch 2.0? Are you going to dig in to any of the above ideas to pass the time, or are you holding off on grinding your heart out until RoS hits?


    Waterfiend is a Diablo IncGamers contributor. Say hello at his forum profile.

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