My weekend was largely dominated by the launch of Diablo 3 Season 9, and the Darkening of Tristram event. Up until this point I had not really touched any of the anniversary content, and to be honest the season beginning had completely slipped my mind until Grace asked me if we were doing our usual push. It has become a bit of a tradition to hang out Friday night and push as far as we can. While I rarely actually make it to 70 that first night, we both end up with a good head start into the season. This time around however we opted to do the Darkening of Tristram content… which is essentially a 16 plus level Greater Rift. I say plus because there are a number of offshoots that grant access to boss battles like the Skeleton King and other side areas. The interesting thing is that as much as I was not feeling Diablo 2… I absolutely enjoyed the weird nostalgic romp that is the darkening content. Basically glorious retrovision was cute… but did not destroy the fact that the underlying game is one that I still greatly enjoy. However for Diablo 2… I had simply moved on past that style of gameplay and the sort of character decisions that game asked you to make… permanently or at least relatively permanently.
As far as Season 9 goes I opted to play a Crusader once again… which is honestly my favorite of the Diablo 3 options. Primarily my decision this time around was due to the fact that the Invoker set was one again the freebie, allowing me to play quite possibly my favorite build… the one I loving refer to as “stop hitting yourself”. It is all about maximizing your thorns damage and then watching the mobs grind themselves to death on your armor. Essentially it plays into my ultimately player fantasy… and that is being this immovable object that survives being swarmed and walks out unscathed. The unscathed part however is a little open to interpretation since there are a handful of mob types that can just eat my lunch, but overall I am extremely happy with the progress so far this season. So far I have soloed up to a 42 greater rift, and had more than enough breathing room to probably be able to bump that up to 45 without issue. The most interesting thing is… I am already doing the equivalent of Torment 8 while still missing most of the items I need to do my proper build. I am following the traditional Thorns/Invoker build and am still missing: Traveler’s Pledge, Compass Rose, Heart of Iron, Justice Lantern, Akarat’s Awakening and Convention of Elements… and in truth I could probably use a better Hack than the one I managed to pick up.
I managed to complete through step 5 (Slayer) in the Seasons journey and am just now starting to slowly work on the Champion aka step 6. However the bulk of my time has been spent working on finishing the various Anniversary events. There is an excellent guide up on Icy Veins that I have been working on, and to the best of my knowledge I have completed them all. The one that took the longest however was “Protector of Tristram” which I included a screenshot of the completion above. Essentially as you go through the Darkening of Tristram Rift each floor has specific mobs that can spawn. You are usually only going to see a single spawn per floor, but in at least one rare case I didn’t see any rares up. Similarly in other rare cases you have a shot at seeing all three mobs up on a given floor… because that happened to me for certain on the fourth floor of the dungeon. Where the guide comes in handy is after a few runs of the event you are going to get your list of 40 whittled down to something more manageable. Towards the end of my grind I realized that I needed mobs on floors 5, 6, 7, and 12… so I began focusing those specific floors and simply rushing to the exit on any floors that I didn’t need. Finally both myself and Grace wound up needing the same mob… which feels like a rare spawn on floor five Foulwing.
The other item that took a long time to finally complete was the collection of Cultists pages which can be found off special Temporal Priests that spawn in amongst existing cultists out in the world. In theory there will only be a single Temporal Priest in a given spawn location, so once you have found it it is probably safe to move on to the next area. The Icy Veins guide has the zones that are likely to have them up at a given time. That said we did manage to find quite a few of them while doing normal rifts, and it seems like the “one per area” bit is unique to a given floor because we wound up with multiple pages in the same run a few times. For those curious about drop rates of pages… by the time I finished I managed to obtain:
- Page 1: 1 copy
- Page 2: 4 copies
- Page 3: 3 copies
- Page 4: 1 copy
- Page 5: 3 copies
- Page 6: 1 copy
- Page 7: 3 copies
I doubt any of the pages are intentionally rarer than others, but for me I spent a lot of time grinding away still needing the very first page to drop. At this point I am extremely happy to have finished up all of the anniversary event and can now just start pushing towards that stash tab. This feels like a good season so far, and I am hoping that my drive maintains itself as I get into the harder content.