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    Editor’s Note: We have a new column by a new columnist debuting today. The columnist is Waterfiend, a Diablo 3 player who approaches that game from a primarily self-found perspective. This intro column serves up a number of general purpose Diablo 3 gaming suggestions, but future columns will cover more personal play style and strategy topics, often from an DiabloWikiIronborn point of view.

     

    Five Ways to Kill Time Until Gamescom

    Blizzard is expected to release details about the Diablo 3 expansion at Gamescom, which starts August 21st. So, what should we do while waiting? Play the game, of course! As we wait for the details, you can pass the time by trying out these gameplay styles (if you haven’t already).

    Finders Keepers in Self-Found Mode

    Not everyone agrees on what self-found play means, but they do share one idea: avoiding the Auction Houses. While it’s not for everyone, self-found play can be rewarding. Taking a “live off the land” approach has long been a recognized way to play Diablo games, and self-found play takes that idea a bit further with different variations on the main concept. For example, you might trade only with friends, only play with gear you found yourself, avoid in-game vendors, and even avoid crafting. While playing without the Auction Houses was a serious challenge pre-patch 1.0.3, subsequent difficulty nerfs and skill buffs have made it easier. You’ll also experience more gradual gear improvements over time, rather than the more common race-to-the-finish approach encouraged by regular use of the Auction Houses.

    After the break the other four and add your own.

    Become An Achievement Chaser

    When it comes to achievements, most players fall into two camps: you either pursue them aggressively, or ignore them completely. Many achievements – like defeating bosses for the first time – happen automatically while playing the game. Still, there are a few that players pursue for the challenge or just for fun. For example, have you found all lore books in the game? Run up to Diablo and punched him in the face? Or my personal favorite – found every outcome of the ancient device in the Desolate Sands? (Hint: yes, there is a level with chickens and a pig in the desert.) Finding all the unique monsters in the game is another fun challenge. Since we won’t be getting new content in the game till at least after November, why not try to knock out a few achievements?

    Race To The Top of the Ladder

    Since they earned official support from Blizzard in Diablo 2, ladders have been a fun activity for players to enjoy. It’s fun to compete with others to see who can hit max level the quickest – and it adds an element of suspense to an otherwise take-it-at-your-own-pace game. A lack of official support from Blizzard hasn’t stopped ladders from returning in Diablo 3, either. Sites like Diablo3Ladders.com host a new season for players every 3 months. As with self-found play, ladder play in Diablo 3 is based on the trust system, so it’s possible for players to cheat by gearing a new ladder character with items found previously. Thankfully, the site allows you to customize your ladder experience by organizing your own group of friends to play with, reducing the chance of someone cheating.

    Test Your Mettle With Hardcore Mode

    While it can be scary to watch a character you’ve developed come close to death (and frustrating when they die), it also creates a strong emotional bond between player and character. Xanth has detailed his own Diablo 3 hardcore experiences in many posts here – and it makes for a compelling read. Playing a hardcore character forces you to play defensively and to genuinely see the challenges facing your character as threats to be avoided, rather than a temporary setback before respawning at a checkpoint. There are also achievements tied to hardcore mode – another good reason to try it. Just be careful when you do!

    Play “Build Roulette”

    If you’ve stuck to tried-and-true cookie cutter builds till now, your Diablo 3 experience is probably starting to wear thin. One way to combat boredom is to try “build roulette.” Start by taking a character at level 60 (or leveling one) and creating an entirely different skill set than the one you have right now. Try it for one day and see how you feel. Are there any skills you like, but they don’t hold up well without supporting skills? Is there a skill you’ve always wanted to try, but it’s just not as efficient as others? Give it a shot. Then the next time you play, create a completely different build. Do this for one week and see if you haven’t found a completely new build you’d like to experiment with. You might just find that it sticks.

    Even without first-party support for some of these gameplay modes, it hasn’t stopped the Diablo 3 community from taking these ideas and running with them. And who knows? Maybe by seeing how much fun we have experimenting with gameplay ideas, Blizzard will consider adding official support for them. They’ve already mentioned wanting to do so for self-found and ladder play, at least in some form.

    How many of you have tried self-found play? Gotten stuck while trying to score an achievement? Tried ladder play? Died (or survived) in hardcore? Tried a totally unconventional build? Let me know in the comments.

     


    Waterfiend is a writer and avid gamer who follows Diablo 3 news religiously. Say hello at his forum profile.

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