Disclaimer: Long Text! This all applies to playing solo. If you start in a group and will be playing zmonk from the beginning, it won't matter.
I was practicing the season start a bit the last few days on hardcore and I'm glad I did. Ulianas really is a pain to set up early in the season.
It needs almost perfect cooldown rolls everywhere (or RORG to be able to use crimsons), two specific bracers (out of the pretty big pool). Granted, you can get gungdo on a level 1 monk and cube it, but still.
Your main damage mitigation comes from CDR and being in Seven Sided Strike as often as possible. Spirit guards add a nice layer of survivability, but disturb the flow (especially if you were to play with madstone, so you don't have to hit with your generators, it becomes tedious).
But my biggest problem was Binding of the Lost. While it looks great on paper (up to 70% damage reduction if you have lion's claw), it's absolutely useless when you get your 6 piece set bonus, because you oneshot most stuff and maybe get 2-4 stacks. Additionally they are overwritten every time you use SSS, so if you may be successful in getting full stacks on an elite, you will lose them on your next SSS. Bummer.
Also, as the 2 and 4 piece alone are not really helping at the start, doing the bounties alone for your 4-piece season journey at lvl 70 is really annoying, so much so, that I would actually recommend doing it in your late lvl 50's during leveling, when you still are overpowered because of your lvl 70 weapon.
So, today I tried out a LoD start (If you don't know, you get the LoD gem in your 2nd GR, guaranteed) and it was a much more pleasant experience, especially because you can skip the season journey entirely (no bounties needed) and focus on rifts + GR.
Leveling was done in 1:40h with the lvl 1 T6 snapshot method with only rivery dancers (I think it's reasonable to expect to get these) and a -20lvl req weapon. Here's my whole leveling process (Note that this if for Hardcore, you can bump up the difficulty on SC)
- Create Character
- Open Game on Master difficulty
- Select templar, take his weapons and equip it yourself (It's better than the one you start with)
- Check act 2 bounties if Kill Zoltun Kulle is one of them (Magdha works too, but Kulle is much faster). If it's in the bounty list, do it. The point of this is, that you will get a chest with rare items if you succeed.
If you don't have that bounty, leave
In both cases: Do the Challenge Rift.
If you haven't done Kulle yet, keep opening new games on Master until you get it
Open game on Hard difficulty
Rund Halls Of Agony 3 until you get Dashing Strike
Buy Rings with xx-yy damage at the fence merchants in town
Craft a blue 2H axe and equip it
Upgrade all your NPCs, but don't use your other materials from the challenge rift bag yet.
Craft a 2H lvl Mace. It should have one of the crowd control affixes as secondary and ideally life on hit on primary. The reason for this is, that it will reduce the possible rolls at Kadala to only 3 and it will be much easier to roll reduced level requirement. Do not reroll more than 4-5 times, because of the gold cost. If you don't get -lvl req, craft a new weapon and try again
Now comes a special trick, that you might not be able to do, if you don't have a friend online or no second account (I use my wife's account for this on vmware)
- The second account opens a T6 game on a lvl 1 character and invites you
- Lvl 1 char leaves the game (This is important)
At this point, the monsters in this game will stay snapshotted at level 1, no matter your character level. So it will be very easy to kill them and it's very safe on hardcore. You will still gain much more XP than you would when leveling normally.
Get Cube while maintaing massacre bonues as much as possible
Go to town and craft a lvl 70 Daibo. Use cube recipe #3 to upgrade it to a legendary. You're looking for Incense Torch or Balance (This one is controversial, some people don't like to do this in order to be able to cube legendaries they find later, but in my opinion, especially with this method, you don't find so many, that it would be worth it. You have a 1/4 chance to make the whole leveling easy)
If you get one of two weapons, extract itЗагрузка...
If you were lucky, gamble for bracers, if not do boots (For Rivera Dancers) and wear the item you hopefully get
Return to the room where you got the cube and do the Kanai Stomping Grounds event (It's a special event in march, that you can access through Kanai's throne room near where you get the cube). Kanai will help you kill monsters, but it should be pretty easy anyway. Keep up the massacre bonuses (400 should be possible to get everytime. Skills that help with maintaing the bonus are Sweeping wind, fists of thunder, dashing strike). The first time you do this, you should get 10 levels from the massacre bonus alone.
Make a new game and repeat the stomping grounds method until around level 45 (After that it gets slow) – your friend needs to open a new game every time. You can also add Eternal Woods (Area south of the Ruins of Secheron waypoint) and temple of the first born, then you won't need as many new games. You should only need around 5-6 games of this to reach level 45.
If you see a chest bounty (Kill 100 enemies) in your game, do it too.
Remember to craft new 2h axes every few levels and to buy armor pieces at merchants (You will have to open a game on your own character's difficulty for this though, because in the T6 game, you will only be able to get lvl 1 pieces)
If you don't want or can to use this method, run normal massacre bonuses on master in Eternal Wood and Temple of the Firstborn
Around level 45 you will have to switch to that method anyway, because the T6 method will stop giving that much xp.
Be careful on hardcore when you switch from T6 (LVL 1) to your character's difficulty, you might have survivability issues, so I would recommend to do them on hard until you get comfortable (Or until you get to use your Level 70 weapon)
As soon as you get to use the Lvl 70 weapon, you can switch to T4 and keep doing massacre bonuses
Around lvl 60 go back to T1
Around 65 you can switch to master if you have problems
Continue until 70
As for LoD, you then have two choices that both work really well, depending on the gear you got. First, craft and upgrade Daibos – you have 2 possibilities here, Incense Torch or Balance. Dependign on this you will go Tempest Rush or WoL. Next up are bracers (Gamble them at level 1, you want Pinto's Pride or Caesar's Memento). The rest of your items do not matter, craft as many legendaries (and equipped ones you found during leveling) at the blacksmith as you can (You can also wear single set pieces, without using set bonuses of course). With 8 legendaries you should already be able to do t4 or so easily. With every GR level (Level your LoD gem first) you will become noticeably stronger and just equip every legendary you will find.
If you're playing tempest rush, you will want to get a won khim lau as soon as possible and together with lefebvres soliloquy it will give you a great survivability boost.
Other notable items you will be looking for when using tempest rush:
- Hexing pants
- Crudest Boots (For double spirit from mystic ally) so you can use
- Aquila Cuirass (With 1-2 Spirit Cost reduction, Air Ally, one of the Spirit Regen passives and your templar you can keep it up)
- Leoric's crown
- mantle of channeling
- Tzo Krin
- Crudest Boots
- Rabid Strike
- Kyoshiro's Blade
Using this method and simulating rather bad luck, I was able to do GR70 on hardcore after around 3:30h.
When I played Uliana's it took an hour more to get to GR70 and in the meantime I had to channel all my ressources into items for Uliana, which are pretty useless for other builds, while most of the LoD items will also be useful when you switch to PoJ or SWK or even Inna's (whichever set you complete first).
When you can do GR60-70 comfortably, it's time to work on completing one of the 3 good sets (PoJ, Innas or SWK). Apart from natural drops, it's best to gamble either shoulders or pants (Because there are only 10 items in those pools for monk, while the other ones have more) and then use recipe #4 in the cube to convert the spare pants or shoulders to other pieces of the set you may be missing.
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