8.19.2012

A Diablo III Journey: Phase 1 - The Monk


So I've spent the better part of the last two months neglecting my blog all for the sake of this: a grueling Diablo 3 five class solo completion run. I was never interested in farming for sake of farming. I farmed as a necessity to advance and beat the game, five times over.

Almost 175 hours went into this first phase. Learning the game, making lots of mistakes, farming up a storm, and making improvements on the account (full stash/craft unlocks/recipes). I ended up doing it the hard way, as melee classes were way underpowered pre-1.03, and given that the Diablo 3 population was still fresh, items in the AH were in high demand and cost a lot, especially for the Monk.

Continue reading after the jump ...

When I was finally able to defeat Diablo with my Monk for the first time, my stats were not that great for what I ended up spending during this period. I believe I spent a total of 10 million gold for inefficient items, including 2 million foolishly crafting during a craft-unfriendly phase (during 1.01-1.02) and other items I never really got full mileage out off.

The journey with my Monk was easy at the beginning but horrible and miserable by the time I got to Inferno mode. I tried out everything but was having difficulty advancing through act 3. With my first million gold, I bought a 650 damage rated 700 life-on-hit sword with 180 dex, which changed everything. I was able to farm act 2 using the standard fist-of-thunder, attack speed, and life-on-hit build. I was able to kill Ghom. Then the 1.03 patch dropped. I didn't notice at first, but I was able to get further and further into act 3. I was able to begin optimizing act 2 farm runs due to lesser difficulty. But I still could not beat act 3 or act 4.

Then I tried a 180 on my itemization pattern. Instead of high armor, high resist, high vit, I went with whatever-armor, minimal-resists, more dex. It didn't cost me much to change to these, as I bought cheaper armor to test my theory. I got rid of the shield, switching to dual wielding - the 15% attack speed gain post 1.03 was just too good; got rid of the dodge aura, switching to the overpower (increased damage) aura. And despite spending 3M on weapons, life on hit was too expensive - high end ones were asking 10-20M each at the time, so I ditched that too, going with health globe+ and pickup yardage+ items instead. My gamble was that I would be able to kill things faster and thus collect health globes to stay alive. I bet that better kiting skills and improved reflexes would carry me through.

My final stats.

All of my bets succeeded in the span of days. I was glad I had finally finished Inferno, but at the high cost of an extreme inefficiency. Many of my expensive items did not fit my build anymore, but I still used them - like a Helm of Command (increases block %, but no more shield), an Inna's Glory (a bugged attack speed item that never worked), a 2.5M staff that got nerfed to oblivion by the attack speed patch and the on-set of dual wielding dominance. Again, 2 million sunk into crafting worthless items, not including materials.

In the end, I was able to re-coup about 5 million from the items I switched off, which I would use a base for my next character, the Wizard. To this day, I have kept the helm, kept the buggy pants, and my staff of sadness. These would be reminders of a foolish, spendier era. One day, I will re-work my Monk, but that's for the future.

This leg with my monk would be the equivalent of brute forcing things; and the knowledge I gained from this first leg would become a nice building block. The high degree of difficulty of a melee character completion taught me a lot of tactics and strategy. I learned alot about melee character spacing and taking advantage of the environment. I gained a lot of patience while ducking and weaving through arcane last beams, molten puddles and fire chains, and I also learned a lot watching my friends play their Demon Hunters and Barbarians.

However, due to the success of my desperate damage strategy, I became obsessed with higher dps, but as I learned later with other characters, balance would be key. Looking back, even though this period occupied the majority of the time I spent on this game, I still had a lot to learn about elemental effects, resistances, armor, etc. I was also drunk with farmed money and had not yet learned how to put together a value build. It wouldn't be until my third character when I'd realize how much I had wasted here.

Next chapter - tomorrow - leveraging the advantages of the elements, The Wizard.

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