The immediate discovery by all players leveling up in Season Four on the PTR was that crafted gear was the way to go. Crafting recipes got an overhaul to streamline them (not so many different recipes with only slight level/stats difference), and crafting costs were tweaked (almost all rare crafts cost a standard 1000 gold now).
The biggest change is that crafted items have no level requirement, which makes the early game strategy, 1) gather all the mats possible, and 2) spend all your gold training the Blacksmith, since he can then make you much better weapons than anything you can find at your level. For instance, when I (grudgingly) played a couple of hours to experiment with the new system, by level 10 I had the Blacksmith up to level 3, even a level 2 bow had 55 DPS, compared to the ~20 DPS weapons I was finding.
It almost seemed too good to be true, and it turns out that it was. Season Four Leveling: All about the Crafting?
Is this intended? It makes leveling pretty fail, if you find a gilded baron early or when someone discovers an easily exploitable t10 quest you can just get gold, max out your blacksmith and then craft a high level weapon and just stomp through to level 10 in rifts. Would like to get a word on this because it seems counter-productive to realistic s4 testing if this is not working as intended.
Nevalistis: Crafted items should have a required character level. This is definitely a bug. We’ve already gotten this working properly on our internal build; unfortunately, the fix just barely missed this past Tuesday’s patch.
We’re exploring some options to get this fix out as quickly as possible, but it may end up requiring a patch. We’ll be sure to keep you all updated.
S4 live on PTR, And still no updated patch notes. These from 7th July don’t count.
…There have been no changes to the PTR build since July 7th… so there is nothing more for them to tell you until they release the next build.
Nevalistis: This is correct. The base 2.3.0 PTR Patch included what was necessary to launch Season 4, so a patch wasn’t necessary to begin the Season.
We’d like to see how the start of Season 4 plays out with current balance iterations, at least for a little bit, before introducing the first PTR patch (especially with the addition of Season 4’s Legendaries). As noted, the July 7th patch was mostly aimed at resolving connection issues for Mac users and larger balance changes will be coming in the next PTR patch.
It’s a pretty obvious fail to start S4 with the community buff turned off, but with a bug allowing crafted items to have no level. That said, Bliz wasn’t real worried about leveling progression from 1-70, since you can’t do any powerful cube recipes until max level anyway.
Getting crafted weapons a bit ahead of schedule isn’t even a drop in the power bucket compared to Gem of Ease’ing yourself a 3500 DPS weapon from level 1, but it would certainly skew the start of season 1-70 race, so best they’ll have this bug fixed before the season starts on the live realm next month.
Some screens I took during my brief S4 play time, showing the costs and comparative power of crafting vs. finding: