If You Knew Back Then… What You Know Right Now

A fan asked a question I think about now and then, and got a Blue reply:

If you were starting a new character…

knowing what you know now after playing for a year, what would you do differently? Use a different character? New gear? Spent LESS time doing…? Spent MORE time doing…? What would you do now to improve your experience?
Grimiku: I would personally start in Hardcore instead of Normal, focus on crafting right off the bat, and pick up everything instead of holding Left CTRL + Mouse Over to see if it’s worth picking up or not. Also, I would initially roll with a Barbarian who uses nothing but 2-handers.

This topic came up during podcast recording early this evening, when we were talking about amassing riches and leveling up a variety of characters (or not). I’ve never gotten that rich in D3, largely since I always planned to play all five classes and have thus saved 90% of my most valuable item finds to use myself, rather than selling them off. Furthermore, during my initial play through to 60 I alternated time between a Wizard, Demon Hunter, and Barbarian, and did it (almost) all self-found.

In retrospect, that was sub-optimal Diablo 3 strategy on both counts, and if I could send myself a message to May 14th, 2012, I’d tell me to focus 100% of my play time on one class (it doesn’t really matter which one), and to immediately GAH everything that wasn’t ideal for that class. This would have gotten me to 60 much more quickly and amassed me a ton of gold along the way, which would have bought me better gear, which would have earned me more gold, etc.

Insert morale here about learning as I played, enjoying it more since I had to work for it, walking five miles to school through the snow uphill both ways, etc.

But that’s me. What would you guys change about your early playing experience in Diablo 3? What would you recommend for someone else if they were just starting the game now (such as the hordes of PlayStation gamers, sometime soon)?

Incidentally, there’s no funnier answer to this question than something like, “cancel my preorder/kill myself/go back in time to keep Jay Wilson’s parents from ever meeting/etc.” So be sure you put that as your reply, since we’ll all think it’s really funny and clever and will frankly admire your original wit and brilliance.

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50 thoughts on “If You Knew Back Then… What You Know Right Now

    • Actually, that wouldn’t have been the best idea until later patches when melee got much better. I was reserving my DH to play with friends only, so started a Barb first and had to park it outside of Act 2 Inferno forever. I wish I would have gotten my DH to 60 first when IAS was crazy good, Smoke Screen was out of control, and Nether Tentacles was broken. Got to that ship too late. But honestly, I wouldn’t change much. I’m sure I could have AHed better or learned the value of items better, etc. but it’s been fun all around, so I think I’d say just pick up everything and have fun and not necessarily worry about efficiency until hundreds of hours later.

  1. To stay away from the auction house. It was too powerful and I wasted too much gold due to my naivety. Would it be optimal? Nope, but I would have had the perception that I was making progress through inferno.

  2. I would go back in time and tell myself “wait a year so that the game gets fully released”

      • Can we just keep all the ‘not bought the game’ comments in this specific instance of replies? Or keep them as just recommendations of the initial post? It’ll be kind to the people who have regrets in how they play the game at least.

        And yeah…buying the game is on my list as well…even getting it on sale i still wish I had not gotten DIII….as it stands I don’t want to buy or play another ARPG..because I have one I bought recently..and I feel I should get my money out of it.

        As for a regret in the game….trying to level up other characters thinking they’d be more fun endgame/playing/whatever. In reality the game only started to become more than a grind when I got my first high level powerful enough to trivilize MP0 (except for extreemly hard bosses) I now do alk runs..and break it up at the end by running through the keep level 2 (which yes is part of a normal alk run I know) but specifically try to get the highest kill combo possible. So yeah, not alt as much thinking a second high level alt would be easier/more fun.

        • instead of obsessing of efficiency try pushing yourself to run higher mps at a reasonable pace…Also, if you get the right group of people you can actually run faster at highers than lower mps.

          • wow I can’t type…I mean the challenge helps takes the grind out. Other things that help are farming different areas, trying to complete achievements, trying a completely different skill set and/or class.

          • Lol, since when should this be a choice? Have fun, or grind efficently and actually progress, you shouldn’t have to make a choice like that. The thing is “have fun” is really just “challenge yourself” and I don’t really like the game when its challenging, I have fun when I progress and get loot etc, thats the point of this game, its too bad that just means I play by myself all the time, they should really just give loot/xp for partys, until that happens ill continue to have a complete blast on PoE.

          • Been there done that with ‘higher MP challenge’. Exact same thing, just takes longer to do, and/or everything is one shot kills. I’ve tried going to other areas, most of the game is boring to play. And I’ve obviously tried raising other characters, just playing them through the game is boring, and when I raised the MP the game didn’t get harder..it just took even longer to kill the enemies. So playing through the game is boring for me as well.

            Again I’ve forced myself to play the game, just to get as high as I have. I’ve only found the game ‘fun’ when I finally got to where I could squish an MP.

            It also dosn’t help most characters only having certain setups working, period. Or certain ones don’t work until you’re cracked out in gear and the MP is trivial anyway.

    • Maybe I wouldn’t go that far, but I’d definitely warn myself not to indulge in Blizzard’s massive 2008-2013 pre-release hype. The final product failing to meet even LoD-level expectations probably were what killed the whole thing for me. It might have been more acceptable as a stand-alone game from a less premium developer and less premium price tag.

    • If I knew then what I know now I wouldn’t have played Diablo 2 since it sucked so much for a long time aswell and online it sucked for even longer.

      Still glad I played it in the end.

  3. I would have quit the game after inferno and spent my summer outside. My friends did tons of fun things and stopped calling me altogether while I wasted my time inside, hoping this game was gonna get better. Not this summer.

  4. Based on the title, if I knew back then what I know now I would not have purchased D3 in the first place. However, having read more than the title, and if I already purchased D3 and knew what I know now, and was actually going to play regardless, when starting out I would have picked a class and stuck with it instead of playing all 5 classes simultaneously to 60.

    Each one hit the brick wall at 60 and I wasted tons of gold outfitting all 5. I would have been better off only playing one and gearing him/her to farm Act 3 Inferno. From there I could have outfitted the other 4 classes with ease.

    One last thing, I would not have started with a Barb. Blowing tornados out your ass to kill everything as you run away like a pansy is not my idea of playing a Barb. Sure it would have been the best way to get rich, and yes at some point I would have tried it for the lulz of experiencing the build first hand, but no ffffing way I would play this as my main. Blizzard should be embarrassed.

  5. would’ve have played more hours and smarter with my hc barb

    would have been the first to solo Diablo in Inferno

    then it would be me with my own youtube channel, 1000’s each month in ad revenue and hordes of fanboys instead of Kripp 🙂

    • Except he wasn’t the first to solo Inferno Diablo? Remember? He did it with Krippy or whoever his Wizard buddy was at the time. Can’t recall offhand.

      But yeah, not gonna lie he has a pretty sweet set up going for now. I think I would get too bored playing and streaming all the time, but to each his or her own.

  6. Probably the only thing that I’ve 180ed on that I could’ve done from the start was not outfitting my followers with as much MF gear as possible right away.

    By the time the MP system was patched in, I realized that there was no way follower DPS could scale at the same rate as my own, so they were becoming mosquitoes wielding toothpicks good for some CC, buffs to my own damage, and MF. I’m slowly getting them outfitted with jewelry with MF on it, but it’s going to be a while before I find a Sun Keeper/Grand Vizier or anything else useful for them, so I wish I had kept the high-roll MF jewelry I most likely previously found and then vendored/salvaged.

  7. I regret starting a monk instead of a barb and deleting said monk because I couldn’t get a daibo based build to work…

    Currently leveling a barb though and loving it.

  8. I would tell myself to stop grinding Act 1 Butchers runs when my first hero (a barb) hit level 60. I spent dozens of hours killing elites and the butcher just for some All Res gear and none of that amassed any additional experience. I would have been better off not playing at all and waiting for inferno to get nerfed or starting an alt.

  9. I remember those first few weeks of D3 fondly. The game was a lot harder, I died more, and I’m glad I got to experience release-era Inferno: I still remember the satisfaction of picking up my first good Inferno weapon (which I still use!) and finally being able to confront champions in that difficulty setting. I might tell my May-2012 self to wait to play the game until Blizzard came up with monster power, paragon levels, etc. I did in fact take several months off gaming and only came back to D3 a couple weeks ago and it seems so much easier, especially Inferno. It feels like a totally different game already. I still play all self-found by the way.

    • I really wish there was some kind of classic mode where I could test out pre-1.0.4 Inferno.

      I completed Inferno self-found in 1.0.4 because that’s when I happened to get there — I was leveling all characters simultaneously and playing self-found (with self-imposed rules like, dying 3 times forces you to restart your progress from where I started progressing that day) — and I really wanted the chance to test myself against the content that everyone else was calling broken, unfair, and ridiculous.

      • I reached Inferno back then with a witch doctor and couldn’t get past the Butcher after chipping away at Act 1 for weeks. When I came back to D3 a couple weeks ago, the same character easily cruised all the way to Act 4, with virtually the exact same gear (my good drops are always for the characters I’m not currently playing…). Now she is parked at Rakanoth… one of those bosses that always gives me trouble. Granted I am using Monster Power 0 because it’s the most time/cost efficient for that character at this point, but still.

  10. I think the only thing I would definitely do differently was to not buy anything at all from the AH. I think I bought maybe 3 or 4 items total but I regretted doing it each time, then I quit buying anything there and I’ve enjoyed the game much more with everything self found.

    I think I would probably have put a little more effort to leveling characters up to 60 so I could avoid cluttering up my stash as much. Still working on my Monk (only level 55), but I don’t play these games to optimize it or anything. I just enjoy the thrill of finding neat stuff.

  11. Within the first month I knew that only the people with the best auction house money making strategy would end up with the absolute best gear for their character and be able to run with the top dogs. Their ONE best character no alts. So I stuck with that good money making strategy till the end, got some of the absolute best hardcore WD gear, ran some of the hardest content with the best players and still burned out. So like Joshua said in the movie Wargames “Strange game. The only wining move is… not to play.”

    Got a cool story for you too. I had a #1 ranked hardcore barb friend for awhile that I ran most of the content with. He eventually burned out on his barb and rolled a WD like me. We both had boat loads of money still do just sitting there useless. Anyway it was funny because he fully decked out his alt hardcore WD after I power leveled him. Had almost as good a gearout as me topped my DPS because I guess thats how people judged your characters quality. Burst DPS not total damage output.

    Then without a word he just up and quit the game vanished and never came back. One more name picking up dust on my friends list. It boggled my mind until I eventually reached the same conclusion that he did. I would rather gouge my eyes out with a spoon than run Act III one more time even with the best stuff.

  12. Would have rolled a Wizard instead of a DH.

    I’ve been playing with limited time so I have a paragon 10 DH. I love the DH and I am doing pretty damn well for playing so infrequently. That said, I am amazed at lvl 60 wizards that I group with.

    Also my alt would be a WD instead of a barb.

  13. I would have tried harder to recruit friends to play HC with me. Other than that, I have enjoyed the whole ride.

  14. I would still concentrate on one class first then move onto my second favorite, which is what I did and always do it games. A creature of habit.

  15. Not sure I understand ‘regret’ in the context of d3. I have always played in a way to make the game as fun as possible at the time I was playing. I suppose the only ‘regret’ I have is speculation opportunities on the ah – like buying up all radiant stars at 6m. But this would not really have made the game more fun overall.

    I suppose I should not have bothered leveling the artisans and spent all gold on mf gear from the ah. I did’t start to really find items until paragon 40, so I suppose mf gear should have been a higher priority. However, I could not afford the good mf gear anyway before plvls were introduced, so I never really had the choice.

    I started d3 playing with a friend through nightmare on a wizard. He didn’t play as much as me, so I made a dh to play in parallel. Ended up clearing hell with the wizard and getting stomped bad in inferno. My friend quit meanwhile, so I got to 60 with the dh. I concluded the game seemed too punishing vs ranged, so I made barb next and stuck with him since.

    It may have been more efficient to start with barb, but, it was more fun overall getting there after 2 other characters.

    I started using the ah in nightmare on my first character and have never regretted that decision.

  16. I haven’t used the AH much at all since the beginning, but if I should start from 0 again I would not touch it _at all_ because I’m having so much more fun without it now.

  17. D3 stopped my WoW addiction. Now is that a good thing or a bad one ?

    Still don’t know as my wife says its the same to her …

    Since I am a loner, perhaps it’s a good thing …

  18. From the beginning I’ve had the plan to get one class to the maximum before seriously working any anything else. Other than my current P84 barb I’ve worked one DH to 60(3) and that’s pretty much it (other than quite a few Barb deaths along the way!). I’ve been really glad of that strategy because it’s been exactly as Flux said, I’ve sold a LOT of stuff on the AH, accumulated a lot of gold, and when I finally get this Barb to P100 I’ll have a real nice bank to start working on the other classes.

  19. I would have never done Act 1 Butcher runs, just Act 2 goblins. I wouldn’t have made as many stupid sales/purchases on the AH, and probably would do a lot of flipping.

  20. I would have simply taken advantage of the force armour/low vit/high life regen mechanism to the fullest first 🙂 – practically god mode there.

    Then the actual god mode for a day.

    Would have had the best gear on my Wiz, which was my 1st char – but i didn’t follow D3, incgamers or other forums at the time… so i didn’t know about these exploits (casual gamer here)

    Would have sold more loot on the AH and saved up for the Legendary Revamp patch.

    Most importantly, I would have spent all my gold buying Radiant Star Emeralds on the EU GAH when it reached 4M gold – then stashed them until news of the 1.0.7 patch broke about the new gem level.

  21. Rolled a barb for sure, but also would have focused on bigger upgrades rather than incremental upgrades. That and pull a terminator and send one back to stop Jay Wilson from destroying ‘our’ Sanctuary.

  22. I ddin’t buy the game upon release. I had already grown quite skeptical of blizzard. I was very worried about lack of social controls, dating back to my WoW experience where they inexplicably removed global LFG, which accomplished absolutely NOTHING except destroying the trade channel as everyone repurposed it as global LFG 2.0 and forcing everyone to sit in town to chat instead to playing an alt out in the world while chatting on the old global LFG. i bought d3 in december i think, at the discounted price of $40. cant say it was much fun but i managed to get to 60 then quit. if i knew then what i knew i wouldnt have done anything differently, id still wait for the discount to buy.

  23. I’ve wasted time grinding inefficiently, and two stupid HC deaths at lvl 60 and 53… but overall I have no regrets.

    I play almost exclusively HC since the start, which makes the game a much better experience IMO.

    I have every class to 60 on HC “mules”, so I don’t have any lingering class envy issues.

    Just now came back after a few months away from the game, and refreshed again to play.

  24. I would have told myself when about to buy the game to turn around in the big box store and go home after asking if they had any keychain authenticators and getting the bleak reply “whats an authenticator?”….

    So I get the d3 box anyways against my better judgement and run home to install it only to find out the MAC versions serious issues, imagine my enjoyment factor doubling when my system is crashing while all my other PC friends are leveling up quickly, oh what fun!

    Had no choice but to wait for a patch that took weeks and I really fell behind big time, never really recovered.

    Shortly after that a family members hardcore 60 wizzard was hacked by a Chinese hacker. This message was brought to you by Online Only, where less choice in how and when you play a game guarantees security!

    After a few hundred hours and a level 60DH, I quit. No good finds ever.

    I should have known, any game that says a spear is a one handed weapon is pure bunk, those are called javelins not spears. Get it right blizzard!

    I am doing now what I should have done then, currently started over on my D2 HC grail and having a blast, just made fortitude armor and really slaying now! WITH REAL SPEARS to boot!

    I would seriously have asked for a refund knowing what I know now.

    Too late….

  25. I played all five classes equally to 60 on self found items and if I had it to do all over again, I would have done it the exact same way. Do I know now that there would have been more optimal ways to advance my characters faster? Of course, but that doesn’t mean I made a mistake doing it the way that I did it. In fact, I knew when I started that it probably wasn’t the optimal strategy. I look at it this way – what’s the point of getting to Inferno to farm to gear my other classes I’m not playing yet? All that is doing is making playing those other 4 characters less fun. If there’s one thing we can agree on, it’s probably that the game wasn’t all that challenging before Inferno (or at Inferno without MP) as it is. I can’t imagine going through the earlier difficulties with four of the classes geared any better than I already geared them by progressing through to 60 with each at an equal pace without on self found items. It is the only thing that could have made the quest to 60 more boring. What’s the rush to get to 60, farm, Auction House, repeat? Hell, I could gear my characters really easy just by using real money but that’s not fun either. Optimal isn’t always the most fun. Optimal is just optimal.

  26. well i never bought D3 because 1) i was afraid it would suck and 2) my computer wasn’t good enough to run it. i played through normal as a witch doctor on my friend’s account & machine over the summer of 2012. the main thing i took away from that experience was that i was glad i didn’t buy it. so i think i would do the same thing if i had it to do over again, except i wouldn’t have followed the development cycle as closely

  27. Buy as many LoH/socketed weapons as possible and wait until everyone wanted them then flip for ridiculous profit. And get a Helm of Command plan and rake in the cash.

  28. Nothing. I’m pretty sure that I played the game just the way I thought was fun at the moment. It may not have been the most effective way, but fun is what counts to me. I will never be able to mass the amount of playtime to even compete with the average casual player in terms of farming and efficiency.

    My first character was a melee Critical mass wizard. Pretty good choice considering how popular they are now. Allowed me to use diamond skin and wave of force often to keep me alive in inferno. Good times.

    • That’s bull. Flux has posted a ton of excellent and informative articles about the game and has IMO been pretty objective about it. There isn’t anybody on this site that’s been a shill for the game at all, quite the opposite frankly, and if you knew any of the history of the relationship between this site and Blizz you wouldn’t post such a stupid comment. Or then again maybe you would.

  29. While reading all the comments I was struck with the number of whiners that don’t have the backbone or kahones to walk away from the game they profess to dislike. What a bunch of wussies, totally “adicted” to D3 and too WEAK to walk away!

  30. As far as playing the game, I definitely would not have started with a WD. They were worthless until they got to bears and it took me so long I gave up before I got there.

    Once I started my DH, I don’t think I would’ve changed much, because the DH has been, by far, the most fun class to play. There are a zillion different playstyles that kill efficiently on different MP levels and I wouldn’t have discovered them if I hadn’t logged hundreds of hours on it before they got bumped up in Patch 1.0.5.

    Outside of the game, I definitely would’ve started playing the AH more aggressively. It was (is?) a lot easier to gear up by earning Gold in the AH than through farming and once I had amassed enough of a fortune, I could have kitted out all of my classes and played for fun. I’m still waiting on the bankroll to build up a Monk and WD set (really enjoying my new Archon wizard though!).

  31. While I think D3 is a complete disgrace, I think I would have done everything the same. I loved D2 so much that I don’t think I could accept not playing D3 even knowing that they butchered it. I’d have to be sure. So, I’m glad I bought it. Played it. Then sent it back to Blizzard for a refund. I think that was the best course of action. It still wasted a lot of my time and was never entertaining, but I still needed to know for sure.

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