Diablo 3 Strategy: Gearing Up for the New and Poor

One day soon, you will be penniless.

One day soon, you will be penniless.

A forum question from VeeSe spurred an interesting forum discussion; what’s the best way to gear up for a new player in Reaper of Souls? It’s largely a hypothetical question for most of us now, but that’ll change when Patch 2.1 goes live and and Ladder Seasons begin. If you create a seasonal character you start with nothing; no gold, no materials, no gems, no gear, paragon points, no leveled up artisans… you’ll even be scrounging for gold to buy your stash tabs!

Here’s the question from VeSee in our Diablo 3 community forum. Diablo 3 Strategy: Gearing Up for the New and Poor?

I was just wondering what the best way to build wealth was for someone who was new and didn’t have great items yet. I read a lot of these threads and guides and the recommended items are just so far out of reach, like I don’t have any of them pretty much. I have one character up to 70 but he’s not strong enough to really do anything besides Normal bounties and rifts.

Is the best way of building wealth just to keep grinding bounties and the occasional rifting in Normal? I’m at the point now where if I try to enchant a legendary I have, I better get it in 2-3 tries because I don’t have the materials to keep going after that and I have to grind for awhile to get enough to try again a couple times, and that doesn’t seem too productive. I’m still expecting the answer to be just to keep grinding bounties since they are the most rewards per time spent and at some point it will exponentially get better once I am able to get to do Torment rifts or something.

So what’s the best way to go about it? Where are the fastest places to level, what are the best ways to find gear, and where can you earn the most gold?

RoS =/= D3v

Considering the question made me to realize how much different the answer is in the current version of the game, whether Reaper of Souls or D3v2. Back in D3v the best way to gear up was via the Auction House (though that would have been different if we’d had seasons then). I spent my first couple months of D3 playing softcore, and when I switched over to Hardcore the best way to gear up was… to grind Act One Inferno on MP0 and collect gems and Tomes of Secret, which sold for very large amounts of gold in the Auction House. I could play a dozen hours like that and find 1 or 2 good items, while earning enough gold to buy good items for all my other inventory slots. (Which is why going DiabloWikiIronborn in D3v was such a bold commitment.)

That economic model is entirely gone in the game today. Not only is the Auction House gone, but everything you find that might be worth selling is BoA. Hell, even the gold itself is BoA. On the other hand, you find good gear about 50x as often as we did in D3v, which was the whole point in Blizzard making those changes. Because it’s more fun to farm your own gear and use only what you find yourself, than it is (was) to find gear and sell it for the gear you really wanted. (At least that’s the theory.)

Reaper of Souls Gear-Up Tips

So for the OP’s question… there’s no simple, obvious answer, but it’s interesting to consider. The overall key to gearing up in RoS is difficulty level. In D3v players needed a lot of DiabloWikiMagic Find to start finding a decent amount of legendary items, and characters could boost their MF by raising the difficulty level, and/or via Paragon Levels + gear. In the current game, MF is pretty much irrelevant, and almost all increased gear benefits come from higher difficulty level. Thus the question, “how do I gear up past level 70?” is really asking, “how do I survive on higher difficulty levels past level 70?”

Some question suggestions:

Stick to one Character
Smart Loot means that most of the gear you find will be themed for your class. That means regular upgrades, and also more Souls, since you’ll be salvaging redundant gear, rather than spreading legendaries around to multiple different characters. Plus with all the game rewards tied to difficulty level, you can get one character up in Torment and build wealth quickly… then your alts can gear up very quickly with plenty of Souls and Shards at their disposal.

Multiplayer Pays
This is very true for a new player now — if you can party with established players they’ll carry you, give you legendaries they find and don’t need, etc. Even aside from that, split farming is a quick road to riches, and even just normal party play (if it existed) adds firepower more than it adds monster hit points. Plus this is Diablo 3, so monsters drop loot for your character even if someone else kills them. Players are wise to exploit this game function.

Crafted Item Sets
The biggest item improvement for newly level 70 characters comes from crafting Item Sets. New players (or fresh Seasons) will have to find the recipes everyone else already has, but the items you can make with these are big upgrades over any Rares and more Legendaries, thanks to the fat Item Set bonuses. I’ve found Asheara’s and Aughild’s the most useful in Hardcore thanks to their huge defensive set bonuses, but other players probably have their own set recommendations.

Questions Remain

Those few tips given, there’s a lot more to figure out. Some questions I thought worth asking, that I do not have ready answers for.

  • Where are the fastest places to level?
  • What’s the best way to earn more gold when you first hit level 70?
  • Which items that aren’t that hard to find (or craft) are the most useful, relatively speaking?
  • If you’ve got limited DiabloWikiSouls, is it best to spend them crafting sets or legendaries to upgrade above Rares, or should you save up your Souls so when you do find or craft a legendary you can enchant it?
  • What’s the best gambling strategy? Decent rares (at least) in every slot, or go all in until you get just the right legendary in one slot? And should you do the cheap gambles on armor, or spend much more per gamble trying to get a great weapon and/or jewelry?
  • Hit the comments if you’ve got good answers to some of these questions, or just have more questions of your own. Seasons are coming, after all. DiabloWikiSoon™.

    Tagged As: | Categories: *Featured, Diablo 3, Diablo 3 Seasons, Forums


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    1. I've now leveled 6 characters to 70 on the PTR on mime and my wife's accounts. I always start by doing Act 1 campaign mode picking up and selling EVERYTHING (even grays)! when I am totally geared in blue with a smattering of yellows I pick a monetary value… Anything over that value I sell and anything under that I salvage. I also run the quest in the Damp Cellar early and often to get yellows. Once I am geared in all yellow I start adventure mode… All that goes out the window tho if you can find a willing Clannie to donate an hours or so of their time to a PowerLeving session. Even 15 minutes of a good PL can get you to level 40-4 Using Adventure mode.

      • is Adventure mode even possible in a season since you're starting at zero ?

        • First time I went over to PTR without a copied account and created a seasonal character, Adventure Mode was not accessible. Could be subject to change later

        • I copied my characters over to the PTR and was able to jump right into Adventure mode at level 1. I'm glad I did not have to slog through the story yet again.

        • No. When you make a seasonal character you will have to beat story at least once before you can adventure, just like when you first purchase RoS.

          Or, you can have a friend invite you into an adventure game…I'm pretty sure that unlocks adventure mode for you without having to beat the story. Not sure.

    2. Honestly, doing bounties is the fastest way to level.

      When you first hit 70, most people tend to play on Normal, but I recommend finding the highest difficulty you can maintain a good killspeed, even if it's Expert or Hard or Master. The gold drops increase significantly in difficulty. And then do bounties.

      As for items, it really is "use the best you find" and naming an item to farm for is kind of silly. The way the game is now, it's more about adapting to what you find than it is waiting to find a certain thing. Ability to change your build to match a certain element or skill that's boosted by an item is a good thing.

      Enchanting is an end-game thing, first you want to get all-around strong before you start tweaking a specific item to be exactly the way you want it.

      Gambling is similar. Get at least a level 70 rare in every slot, then focus on getting a legendary in every slot, then focus on getting the legendary you /want/ in every slot.


      The most important thing I've found is that split farming is great for getting caches faster, but sucks for getting gold/experience/loot faster. Much better off playing multiplayer the way it was intended and getting all 5 bounty rewards per game instead of just 1 or 2. Just be forewarned that you'll get kicked from normal-difficulty games for doing that at level 70 because EVERYONE requires split farming act 1. Sigh.


      This is just how I play a new character, and I haven't even gotten to torment yet anyway so oh well, but I have fun. Part of the reason is I play one of each class as opposed to sticking to one character, probably. That's the main reason I haven't advanced farther.

      • I agree, enchanting is an end-game thing, do not intend to enchanting an item if it is not a big one and if it isn't going to make all that difference.
        Is better to get all medium set than wasting all your resources to get a good roll specific item while having others weak items.

    3. I tried out the Seasons on PTR and leveled one DH up to 70 (now about Paragon 11)…I did it all solo (no power leveling). The two biggest gold sinks for the 1-70 process are your stash and the artisans. I wasn't really very focused on increasing my stash space, mainly because I wasn't concerned with saving many items for another character, but also because I was either salvaging or selling everything I picked up, so I haven't even fully bought all the rows for the first stash tab. Normally I'm a compulsive pack rat in D3 (my stash on the live servers is super-stuffed!), but I don't think it's as necessary to invest in it sub level 70.

      The artisans are a different manner and I'd recommend upgrading the jeweler first, blacksmith second and mystic last. By far, you'll have the most need to upgrade gems as high as you can as you level up to help boost your dps/survival…I did very little crafting from 1-70 and unfortunately leg/set plans don't seem to follow the smart drop formula – the first 3-4 leg plans were all for other classes. I'd advise to level up the blacksmith on an "as needed" basis until you get to level 61+ where you can start finding Death's Breaths and get him up to level 12. The Mystic is really the least useful artisan until you get to level 70. Items are replaced very quickly from levels 1-55ish, thanks to relatively fast leveling rate and that all the monsters level up with you (and all drop items the same level), and enchanting costs are extremely high relative to the ability to stockpile required material, so it's not really worthwhile trying to supercharge any item below level 70.

      I have to say that going from 1-70 in a fresh start, ladder environment is vastly different than creating a new character in your main account. Paragon points, as alluded to prior to ROS launch, are a major boost to new characters and not having access to them makes any character much weaker through the entire level up process. Towards the end, the highest difficulty I could manage was Hard or Expert. Gold is much more limiting, especially where unsocketing a marquise gem (100K) is likely to eat up 10-20% of your total gold. However, I did enjoy playing a character where picking up every rare and scooping up every gold stack was important. The best advice to give to new players is to open/break everything possible since you can get a lot of gold (and items!) along the way.

      • You can save the cost of unsocket by doing a salvage instead although of course that destroys the item. As you're leveling your way to 70, though, you probably don't care to keep that low-level rare anyway.

        I would say priority would be jeweler, stash, blacksmith, mystic, with the exception that the blacksmith should be kept about the same level as you. You want to be able to make gear the same level as you, but you don't need to go higher than that until you level (it's a waste to be able to make level 54 gear when you're only level 23.) But if you're level 48 and can only make level 26 gear, your blacksmith needs to get caught up with you as a priority even above jeweler.

        It is a MAJOR boost to leveling to be able to fill weak spots from the blacksmith. I mean it's basically like self-twinking. If you're super lucky you get a legendary or set item that you can make, but even just the smart-drop rares you can make are usually pretty powerful, especially to replace something that's 9 levels old, or more.

        I probably wouldn't even touch the mystic until level 70 anyway and everything else is maxed out, including stash.

    4. I am hopeful that replaying the story once per season is required because I personally find that fun. The thrill of rushing through the game as fast as possible was something I really liked in d3v.
      As for gearing I would avoid normal splits and focus on gearing in your best clearing speed bounties. If you can group up for exp great. Maybe find similar main stat friends or similar classes. Gold find is a secondary stat but going up in difficulty is better for cash.

      • I hope not
        I still think Act 2 and 4 are so boring

        Act 3 is the best and even it has problems

        it would be awesome if you could start bounties and rifts at the beginning of a season with a brand new character

        • When I tested seasonal on the PTR, doing story was required. What I wasn't able to test was whether getting invited into an adventure game would 'unlock' adventure mode before completing the story.

    5. story mode gain…sorry not interested

    6. Adventure mode is unlocked in seasons if you have completed the campaign on your account. *Currently* It could easily change in a future PTR patch.

    7. I'm doing something close to this on live, that will end like this on seasons:

      0)It looks like adventure mode will be open on season. If it isn't, I'll unlock it a Spirit walk/jaunt + Horrify/stalker wd – rest of the build is open (maybe even if decide to play another class, but that isn't very likely).

      1) Kill Hammermash/friend or clear hellrift lvl 2 and another easy act4 bounty that shows up (Cursed chapel, Cursed Dais, Kill rakanoth). (Fixed map, always there, fast. I heard they reduced the XP, but since you'll have a method, the speed will be hard to beat. Dot it on master/expert, or at a pace you can clear the bounties easily). Do not spend the rift keystones or bloodshards. You'll be doing at least two bounties to stockpile them for lvl 70.

      2) Use vendor gear under lvl 60. Check all of then every run and buy rares under 60 (or even 60-70) you don't find from merchants. It's tedious, but it works. Upgrade chest, pants and weapons on a regular basis and especially neglect jewelery :). Put diamonds on sockets for all res and ruby on helm for XP, but keep in mind you can't salvage vendor gear (so upgrade gems only if you really need to).

      3) If it isn't mentioned above, try to live without it.

      I started doing the above because I wasn't in the mood to look for the gear I saved for some characters on mules, finding twinking gear and/or fooling around on bounties with bad characters (it's not like my main characters are good, but… :p)

      Also, vendors were helpful on my EU account, iirc.

      If you don't like the time save aspect of act 4, I would save shards and rift keystones for lvl 70. Lvl 60+ disenchanting will be a choice, depending on your gold balance.

      /end of the mini-guide (I don't know if it it's right, but I'll be doing it until I know it isn't 🙂 )

      • Are vendors stocked with decent weapons often? Even though you need mats the BS always has weapons at decent intervals.

    8. 1) Spirit Walk, Steed Charge, Teleport, or get rushed through the campaign.

      2) Bounties!

      3) Spend rift keys and blood shards only at level 70.

      4) Spend greater rift keys only when you're Torment ready.

      Gear tiers:
      -1: Not yet level 70.
      0: Level 70 items of any color.
      1: Level 70 rares with 3-4 primary stats 'correct'.
      2: Crafted sets and viable legs.
      3: Best in slot everywhere. (Torment sets too.)
      4: …exceptionally well rolled too.

      Never gamble rings. They cost too much and you'll never get an SoJ or Unity because there are dozens of rings. Gambling amulets is a rich man's games for when you already have well rolled BiS gear. Gambling weapons costs too much considering that you're likely hunting for a specific weapon and it's the problem with rings all over again. Gamble only armor, and whatever is your worst slot. This also gives you the most souls per shard.

      Plans drop super easy. You can easily play T1 with crafted legs and sets.

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