news-seasons-featureSeason Four kicks off tonight in the US (and already in Europe and Asia) and while the game is still much the same, there are a few wrinkles to keep in mind for more efficient leveling and smoother play once you’ve hit level 70. Thanks to the pair of Season Four trial runs on the PTR, we’ve had some experience at the new, so here’s a quick list to keep in mind.

    This isn’t a huge how-to guide, just a focus on some key changes in Patch 2.3 and how they affect the leveling up process, plus impact your early Paragon level experience. The most obvious tip is to party up and cooperate, sticking together on the same level and combining your powers against the enemies. Strength in numbers, and save the split farming for higher levels.

    Patch 2.3 Season 4 Fast Leveling Guide:

    Rift, Rift, Rift.

    There are no more Nephalem Rift keys, which means you can enter a Rift with a brand new character even at level 1. Rifts grant the same higher exp per kill but generally have higher density, plus Rift completions grant Blood Shards and big exp bonuses, and Rifts have increased legendary drop rates.

    On the other hand, Bounties are worth nice exp buffs, so it’s wise to at least cherry-pick a few each game; taking out ones that can be completely quickly/easily, and/or for a big chest reward. Kill Zoltan Kulle is probably the single best bounty in the game, on that score.

    Diabolic Horde chests

    Blue/yellow/gems: check.

    Blue/yellow/gems: check.

    A new addition in Patch 2.3, Diabolic Hoards are special blue chests that appear after you defeat certain bosses, but only when they are bounties. These chests shower a dozen+ items, always with a lot of blue and yellow items and rarely a legendary, plus a good amount of gold and many gems. These aren’t of much value past level 70, but nailing them as you level up, especially hitting one early on around level 10, (or at 15 20+ to get gems) will upgrade your gear in at least half a dozen slots, plus provide a heap of blue/yellow crafting mats.

  • Full Diabolic Horde article here.
  • Kill these bosses when they are a bounty, and a Diabolic Chest will appear. You will always get one of these bounties every game in Acts 1, 2, 3, and 5.

  • Act One: Skeleton King, Queen Araneae, The Butcher.
  • Act Two: Maghda, Zoltan Kulle, Belial.
  • Act Three: Ghom, Siegebreaker, Cydaea, Azmodan.
  • Act Four: Rakanoth, Izual, Diablo.
  • Act Five: Adria, Urzael, Malthael.
  • Click through for more tips on efficient play in Season Four, including the end of slow rolling and its effect on Legendary Gems, Kanai’s Cube and Horadric Cache materials, Gem changes, Crafting advice, and more.

    Legendary Gems come more slowly

    One big change in Patch 2.3 is the removal of the option to upgrade the level of your Greater Rift Key. (Urshi only provides LGem upgrading, and only if you finish within 15m.) This means you’ve got to find a Greater Rift Key for every Grift you want to enter, and they only drop from Rift Guardians once you hit level 70. (GRKs can now drop on any difficulty, but the odds are pretty poor until you’re well into the Torments.) This removes the popular strategy of “Slow Rolling,” where players would clear several (or more) Grifts of gradually increasing level, from a single GRK, accumulating lots of LGems quickly, plus many legendary items.

    This change means you will need *MUCH* longer to accumulate all of the Legendary Gems, and there’s a lot of RNG tied to which ones you find and can start using first. On the first Season 4 trial on the PTR, my Demon Hunter was nearly to Paragon 200 before I had found all of the Legendary Gems, (since I spent a lot of time farming cache mats instead of just doing Rifts) and 2 that I most wanted for my build didn’t drop until I was past P150.

  • Full article about the end of Slow Rolling.
  • Crafting Changes

    The crafting recipes have been condensed and streamlined, and in the level 1-50 range, you are almost guaranteed an item upgrade via crafting a rare piece of armor. Material costs are lower than they used to be (below level 70 legendary crafting, at least), so don’t be shy; better gear will boost your performance. Hit Diabolic Hoards for blue/yellow materials, and hope for Odious Collectors, who drop lots more mats than they used to. Horadric Caches drop a lot more materials as well, and both green goblins and Caches are great sources of legendary recipes, which simply fountain out in Patch 2.3.

    That said, gold is a big bottleneck during the leveling process, and you need to upgrade your Artisans to get to the good recipes. And while sub-level 70 crafting is pretty cheap on the material costs, it’s not that cheap on gold. Don’t go overboard on crafting for a short term gain.

    The place to go overboard is on a weapon when you get to around level 42. The highest upgrade you can do to the Blacksmith is level 10 (level 11 and higher requires a Death’s Breath, and they don’t drop until level 60+) and at that level Haedrig can craft level 60 weapons, which may spawn with up to -18 level req. Getting one of those (craft a rare weapon with a decent damage roll and +mainstat, then try to enchant the -lvl req) can more than double your DPS, and make a huge difference in your leveling speed. Plus once you get to level 61 the DPS on dropped weapons takes a huge leap.

    Gem Changes

    Gems are much streamlined in Patch 2.3. There were formerly 14 types of gems below Marquise, of which you could find 8. There are now just 10 total types of gems, 5 of them below Marquise, all findable. The values on the gems have been tweaked/condensed, but the gist is that gems level 1-5 do a lot more than findable gems used to do.

    This makes it well worth your trouble to save all the gems (of a useful type) that you find, and to upgrade them, since upgrading is very cheap below Marquise. (You’ll have to upgrade the Jeweler as well, of course, and that’s more gold.)

    Update: Gems don’t drop until around level 20 now, up from the ~15 range previously.

    Kanai’s Cube

    Master=2 cache mats. T1-T6=3, T7+=4.

    Master = 2 cache mats. T1-T6 = 3, T7+ = 4.

    DiabloWikiKanai’s Cube, the new artifact unlocks huge powers, but mostly above level 70, at least for your first Seasonal character. Cube powers work for characters from level 1, but you have to find find the legendary items and farm up all the DiabloWikiHoradric Cache mats, and that’s inefficient below level 70 since the game puts a hard cap on how many cache mats can drop (this is not as true in live as it was early in PTR testing), and you won’t be strong enough to do higher levels of Torment to get more mats per cache.

    Update: You only get 1 cache mat from each horadric cache at low levels, but you can get more than 1 from the DiabloWikibonus cache, and even just Hard difficulty = 2 mats from the bonus cache.

    Early on your time is better spent leveling quickly in Rifts, and/or doing fast bounties for the exp, and while it’s useful to have your Cube at level 70, it’s really in the 70+ range when you start moving fast enough to make bounty farming real viable. (Finding your first RoRG just to put the power into the Cube and get you more quickly into your first six piece set is a big RNG challenge, early in the season.)

    Once you hit 70, try to get up to T1, since there you’ll find 3 cache mats from each cache (plus the bonus cache), while you have to get up to T7+ to find 4 mats per cache.

    Go Fast, Have Fun

    The most basic advice for a new season is to party up, since you’ll kill faster and gain more exp much more quickly. And it’s fun; finding a good group, ideally in your clan, and leveling together builds camaraderie and can be very effective if you all play smart, stick together, and share gear. Give another class those legendary items that aren’t for you, since their increased killing speed means more exp for you, and that’s a lot more valuable in the short term than saving the item for a future twink, or getting one more Forgotten Soul.

    Any other advice sought or questions that need answering? Tips/tricks you guys want to share? Hit the comments.

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