Diablo 3 Strategy: Boosting DPS for Beginners

Diablo 3 Strategy: Boosting DPS for Beginners

A new player hit our Diablo 3 Wizard strategy forum to offer up his character for advice and insight from more experienced hands. His wizard provides a useful example for anyone new or newish to Diablo 3 and looking to gain some understanding of the puzzle that is gear upgrading. It’s time for Diablo 3 Strategy: Boosting DPS for Beginners!

Hi I’m a new player, this is my first character. I have a problem… i’m doing some T1 but i can’t find any good new items to improve my dmg. I’m stuck at about 350k-400k and this is frustrating. Any advice? 🙁

His Wizard is here and will probably have upgraded some items by the time you read this, but when I saw the thread he had listed values of:

  • Damage: 312583
  • Toughness: 4336840
  • So how to help and fix? There are some great suggestions in the forum thread, with the biggest change needed to his weapon. He’s got a wand that has decent listed DPS, but 1) no socket, and 2) it’s got good DPS mostly since it’s a fairly fast attack (1.40/sec) which doesn’t really mesh so well with his skills/build).

    Replace the wand with an actual weapon. Since you use a channeled ability you may want a slower weapon (1.2 attacks per second) like a mace-type, but definitely you want something other than a wand. Your overall damage starts with the damage on your weapon and while that wand shows decent DPS, the actual damage value is quite low (the 1331-1767 is the actual damage the wand does,) and it should be incredibly easy to find a real weapon that outpaces that significantly. As mentioned you will want a socket in your weapon for an emerald, but I wouldn’t even bother trying to roll one on the wand.

    Optimize Everything: His new Wizard does what I see on a lot of newish or non-min/max players. There are good pieces of gear, but multiple items are not optimized. You don’t need to have full item sets all over the place (though that certainly helps), but you don’t want *any* pieces of gear that are inferior. That’s self evident advice, but it really matters in Diablo 3 since each piece of gear interacts with all your other gear. Making a lot of little upgrades might only add 1% or 2% green number each, but all of your gear leverages all of your other gear, like a rising tide lifting all ships.

    moar-bird-dpsFor instance, the new Wizard in question has CC on his bracers, but no +elemental damage. His chest armor has decent stats, but no sockets. He’s got DiabloWikiCrit Chance or DiabloWikiCrit Damage on his rings, amulet, and gloves… but he doesn’t have both CC and CD on any of them. (You want both on all of those item slots, and that’s what primary affixes like +LpH and reduces resource cost are for; enchanting into DiabloWikitrifecta stats.)

    New players often focus on one of two really good items, which is fine, but you will usually boost overall character performance more by making minor upgrades to several items than you would by adding one new awesome item. This is especially important and true in Hardcore, where every affix is important since it’s essential that you boost Toughness *and* DPS with each piece of gear. But even in Softcore, you don’t want any gear with wasted primary affixes, since that’s just wasted potential.

    Legendaries in Every Slot: One key I stressed in the forum thread is to upgrade all your Rares to Sets or Legs, and to use the Crafting recipes. Crafted gear in RoS is amazing, often offering better stats (especially with the set bonuses factored in) than the legendaries you find, and since legendary items all have 100-200 more to the stats, that really adds up if you swap 5 or 6 Yellows for Orange/Greens.

    Non-DPS damage: The more subtle upgrades in RoS (aside from special legendary affixes) are +elemental damage and +skill damage, which requires a little more specialization in gear. You need to figure out a build that goes with your gear (or vice versa) and then select and stick to skills/runes that synch up with your type of +elemental damage. +Elite damage is a huge boost as well, since most chars quickly get to the point of blasting trash mobs, and find Elites the only slowdown/danger point.

    Of course none of those more advanced stats show up in the DPS number in-game, which is why all *sensible* fans want an enhanced DPS display, or an outright damage meter. We were kicking around (and voting on) that topic just a few weeks ago.

    What advice do you guys have for players new to the gear game? Or what questions do you have about optimizing your gear?

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    14 thoughts on “Diablo 3 Strategy: Boosting DPS for Beginners

    1. This is good advice. Another thing to do is to take the time to experiment with different skills (passive & active) to maybe find a boost you didn’t notice before. Don’t forget toughness either. That keeps you alive. So, sometimes taking a tiny hit in dmg for a large upgrade in toughness is worth it.

    2. Man, I wish this post existed the day RoS came out (or even before). I spent a couple weeks flailing around helplessly before I figured a lot of this stuff out. Weirdly enough, there have been several threads on battlenet criticizing the present gear/build system that inadvertantly contained a lot of excellent advice such as this.

      I still hold onto yellows that have unusually good rolls – I find a lot of yellow gloves with trifecta for some reason. Rings and amulets too, of course.

      As to putting orange/green in every slot, Kadala is good for this, if you’re persistent. Now I just look at my character’s paper doll, find the weakest links, and spam Kadala on one slot until she pops a legendary. It might not be a good one, but still likely better than most yellows.

      To me, weapons are the hardest slot to upgrade. A truly great, well rolled legendary weapon just doesn’t happen very often for me. They also cost more bloodshards. Crafting is okay as a stopgap here, up to a point. My wizard, for example, has been using a dagger called the Barber since a few days after RoS came out, and I’ve been farming diligently with that character at least 80% of the time. Not one upgrade to that slot for her in over a month now.

      Another good tip is to craft up royal+ gems for your mainstat and load up armor and pants with those. It makes a surprisingly big difference.

      In softcore, it’s okay to sacrifice toughness for damage until your damage has risen to a nice high level. When I first hit 70, my toughness kept climbing while my damage plateaued, because it’s so much easier to raise toughness. Again, for softcore only, I would focus hard on damage and the toughness will come on its own later.

      • “To me, weapons are the hardest slot to upgrade.”
        Completely agree. Having really good luck to get great weapons within the first few days of RoS has made legendary weapon drops boring for me, kinda sucks. Nice point on the top gems btw 😉

    3. One thing to consider is the legendary ring Stone of Jordan. I can not stress how important that 25-30% damage to elite modifier is. The majority of your concentration/fighting power is going to be on champs, elites, rares, and bosses. This is an absolute must even if it gives you -10% red numbers, or even if you don’t get the elemental roll you want. Plus that extra resource may give you enough for one more cast of your big spender.

      Also, if you sell enough on one server!… wait nvm…..

      • It has to roll the other mods mods pretty well too. A trifecta rare still beats the one that dropped for me.

    4. “He’s got DiabloWikiCrit Chance or DiabloWikiCrit Damage on his rings, amulet, and gloves… but he doesn’t have both CC and CD on any of them. (You want both on all of those item slots, and that’s what primary affixes like +LpH and reduces resource cost are for; enchanting into DiabloWikitrifecta stats.)”

      One of the big remaining weaknesses of 2.0 loot. I hope they eventually try to do *something* so that boosting CC/CD isn’t always the right way to go.

    5. I disagree about crafted items. The drop rates on the plans are too low, and the materials are too low, as well. The only one w/ great “out of the box” stats is the IAS belt. Everything else is a fake rare. You will find better stuff hunting for plans and mats before you get enough stuff to build the crafted item. Also, eventually, just sell/vendor all of your Reusable Parts. You can’t enchant w/ them, and none of the leg crafts use them. Do not pick them up, period.

      • Actually, the plans seem to drop fine for me. I had the crafted Asheara’s and Aughild’s set plans within the first couple of weeks of release. The materials are very easy to find for those sets, and they are both very good sets for the amount of effort needed to craft them. I now make it a special point to have the materials so I can create partial set bonuses by crafting pieces of those sets for each new level 70 character. The stats are far better than rares in those slots. I would advise any new player to craft those sets as soon as they are available. Also, Captain Crimson’s, Born’s, and Cains set aren’t that difficult to farm for once the plans drop. The key is just to kill monsters on normal, and the plans will eventually drop for you.

    6. The obvious solution is remove CHD from the game completely except for maybe a couple of legendary items.

      Remove CHD from emeralds, remove CHD from paragon points.

      That would pretty much solve the problem with trifectas.

      • It would be perfect if max CHD you could get was around 200%. Then if your build does not focus on crit chance to get something shiny, you would not bother with more then 2x% chc.

        • Bliz had max caps on CC, CD, and other stuff in an early version of RoS that got datamined and that spawned a lot of fan debate. However it was just an early idea that they scrapped pretty far back, as they told me when I asked about it an interview last summer.


          Their main concern is always about changing the value of existing items. Oddly, that didn’t seem to stop them from nerfing MF and life steal into the ground in Loot 2.0.

          I just wrote a bunch of notes to talk about max caps on affixes for a podcast, so I won’t write it all out here. But I think it would be interesting. Depends on where you set the caps, obviously. 30/350 cap on CC/CD would be a huge change, since most end game chars are well over those figures. 40/400? 50/500? The later wouldn’t change many players, since few are over those values for either.

          In more general terms, what would hard caps do? The goal is more gear and play variety, and I think it would achieve that. If your raw damage was capped by CC/CD max, then you’d want to boost damage elsewhere. +damage and +mainstat would be essential on every item possible. As would +elemental and +skill. And you’d want to increase your quantity, so IAS, cooldown reduction, and -resource cost would be more sought after. Area Damage?

    7. A mandatory ring for any player aiming at higher T, I was luck to get one early on, now with mainstat, CC (reroll) and elemental% (19%!!) that is simply BIS for ever.

    8. I complately agree re CC/CDH being th eonly viable foundation of every build.

      I recently build a crusader around no CC/CD, focusing entirely on res reduction and CD reduction (diamond in helm, ruby in sword (3000DPS) and he totally just sucked.

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