The “No Set Items” Challenge

There are no Greens on me...

There are no Greens on me…

Last month on the Diablo Podcast we did some speculation about what it would be like if Diablo 3 had separate Leaderboards for characters who were not pulling any item set bonuses. (Or even Rare-item-only Leaderboards.) It seemed weird to contemplate with the end game now focused almost entirely on huge six-piece item set bonuses, but it was a fun thought exercise for the conversation.

Some Hardcore players have taken that concept beyond the hypothetical, and there’s a small community on the forums who are making it a reality, and competing/comparing their success in Reaper of Souls without equipping any set items at all.

Some of us in the HC forum are doing a no set item challenge. Here is the link for the rules.

  • No set item of any kind
  • Character levels own gems
  • Solo adventuring only
  • Gear can be acquired however.
  • The goal is to clear the highest GR possible. Please give it a try and post your success 😀
    Nevalistis: This sounds like a lot of fun! It can be very refreshing to re-approach the game in a different light if you’ve taken a break for a while or just feel the urge to try something new.

    I’d love to see what everyone comes up with. I think I’ll give this a go myself this week.

    Here are some of the no-greens participants from the HC forum thread, if you want to eyeball their character profiles. Many players have gotten into the mid 30s, thus far, often dying in the GR35+ range, where things start to get very real. Twinkee (Wizard), Cyd (Barb), Fireheart (Monk), Adie (WD), and Isabel (Crusader).

    This is a big challenge compared to the normal game, but almost everyone participating has played extensively this season with set-using characters, building up 500+ paragon points and finding almost all the gear they’ve twinked to the no-green hero. Plus it runs entirely on the honor system, since anyone could cheat and use sets and bigger LGems during a game, then switch back to legs-only before logging off. Imagine if this had official support though, with a no-set option on character creation, a separate economy, no-set leaderboards, etc? That would be really cool, for players who wanted to fully commit to the program.

    It’s a bit reminiscent of the DiabloWikiIronborn movement we saw during D3v, where players who wanted a challenge and wanted to stay out of the Auction House played entirely self-found. Click through for a reminder of that, and some memory lane strolls through the “use junk gear to make the game harder” player options in D1 and D2. Anyone else remember BNMs? (Beyond Naked Mages.)

    Self-Gimped Variants in Diablo History

    There’s a proud tradition of this sort of thing in the Diablo series, of course.

    The classic Diablo I option was the “Beyond Naked Mage” where players used only cursed gear with negative stats, making them actually LESS powerful than if they’d simply gone without any gear at all.

    Players also enjoyed the Ironman or “Live of the Land” challenge in D1 and to a lesser extent in D2, heading down into the dungeon and never returning to town, while using only the potions and items they could find in the dungeons. That was especially a challenge in D1, since all gear, including weapons, lost durability fairly rapidly and would break and vanish entirely when the durability reached 0.

    Diablo 2 featured some naked mages as well, but mostly players sought challenge by playing odd variants that were stylish and interesting, but used much less powerful skills/gear than the most popular builds.

    We’ve seen less of this sort of thing in Diablo 3, since without skill points and with weapon damage essential for all classes, a character’s power derives almost entirely from gear. Thus the challenge in D3 has usually been to use sub-optimal gear, starting back in D3v with players who boycotted the Auction House, or went DiabloWikiIronborn. Which was a huge challenge back in the day, with the crappy legendaries and crappy legendary drop rates. The play style (and Waterfiend’s columns) were basically ended by D3v2 boosting drop rates and making everything BoA.

    But perhaps this no-set play style will catch on for players looking at more of a challenge? With every one of the top builds in the game today requiring at least one six-piece set bonus (and often another 4 or 2 piece bonus as well), not using any set items at all makes for radically different gearing choices. One benefit; at least you’ll never again have to seek a DiabloWikiRoRG with a decent damage roll!


    You're not logged in. Register or login to post a comment.
    1. Yep, some very viable builds exist without set items at all. Not optimal maybe but just fine.
      I threw this on my monk and ran some rifts and its slower but works well.

    2. incorrect profile on the skills. It’s supposed to be a fire bell build. You can see the items anyway.

    3. Set items are a very limiting factor to build diversity and the “no more nerf” philosophy will make this unchanged and new sets even more powerful… until expansion. Hope they fix build diversity in it.

    4. I think it’s a great idea, I used to do that once in a while in Diablo II, only I was doing that by creating a character and using only rare items.

    Comments are closed.