Diablo 3

The Late Starter’s Guide to the Season Journey

diablo4 - The Late Starter's Guide to the Season Journey
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The Situation

So it's a month before the season ends. Maybe you haven't had a chance to play. Maybe you were playing on console and wanted to catch up on PC or vice versa. Maybe you just experienced a Rip Van Winkle-type scenario. Whatever the case is, you haven't played yet and you want to complete the season journey. Note that this assumes you are familiar with the game and have gone through the Season Journey once. This is just to help focus on efficiency rather than going step by step.

Starting Off

So a couple things to get out of the way. First, you should be a bit more selective about your class if you're starting late. All the classes are equal, but some are more equal than others. While it's usually not critical I would also consider what the
Haedrig%27s Gift - The Late Starter's Guide to the Season JourneyHaedrig's Gift set is since you'll want to get off to a quick start. There are good options all around (especially after 2.6.4 where every set is pretty substantially powerful) but I would consider how critical other legendaries are to your build. You don't want to be slowed down by searching for multiple specific legendaries that your build can't do without. You also want to focus more on a speed build. The "hardest" content you need to clear for the Season Journey is GR70. With the 2.6.4 buffs you can do that pretty easily using a less-than-optimized speed build. You really won't need a pushing build if your focus is just the Season Journey, and a speed build will help you with many of the other tasks.

A quick note: when deciding on a class, consider if you're okay with asking for help. I say this because of the Conquests. There are two that are easy to do solo no matter what class you pick (you basically get On A Good Day for free, since you need to do more than that for the Season Journey, and Years of War is easy as long as you're okay with making an alt). For the third, you can do Speed Demon solo easily if you are a Monk or Demon Hunter but may need to group up/ask someone to help you otherwise.

So after all that, what do I recommend? Demon Hunter and Monk are probably two of the easier classes to clear the Season Journey with because they have excellent speed builds that are easy to gear up for and good 4-piece set bonuses this season. Barbarian is good as well, especially because of the solid Immortal King's set as Haedrig's Gift in S16. While I played through with WD this season on Switch, it's a bit tougher to recommend here. Arachyr's is a solid set, but for the speed build in particular you need not just a lot of specific legendaries but also good rolls across the board so you can do enough damage. I think everything else falls somewhere in the middle.

Next, open the Season Journey Tracker. Pay attention to tasks that share objectives across chapters. Bounties are a good example here – Chapter 1 has "5 bounties" and Chapter 3 has a cache from each Act. You might be able to get through Chapter 1 faster by picking 5 easy bounties, but focusing on a single Act will give you progress towards Chapter 3.

Now, we're late in the season so there are plenty of people at paragon 1k+ running god knows what GR level. There are also plenty of people who are "done" and don't really care about pushing further, and may just want to help people. Swallow your pride and ask for a powerlevel. If you're on PC, join a seasonal powerleveling community. On Switch, join the Discord and ask for a powerlevel there. I've never played on Xbox or Playstation but I imagine it's similar there. It will save you a couple hours that can be spent getting through the first couple Season Journey chapters. If you don't want to ask for a powerlevel… idk, good luck. If this was a "season quickstart guide" I would write a long explanation here. Just level via massacre bonus in the Fields of Misery or Halls of Agony. If you're on PC, play on hard until you can do master because the expert XP bonus is too low. If you're on Switch it's better so it's worth jumping to when you can.

A couple general tips…

  • Keep any Puzzle Rings you find, you'll need one later
  • If you max out on Blood Shards at any time, spend them to gamble items for your class set. I mention this at a couple specific times, but you might max out earlier if you're getting powerleveled
  • Save any legendaries you find, and salvage duplicates. You need to extract a total of 40 powers to complete the season journey, and it's easier if you keep what you find
  • Remember that you don't need to do the Season Journey steps in order. I recommend you focus on 1-4 to get Haedrig's Gift, but especially for the steps after that it can be valuable to do them out of order to be more efficient
  • Keep one of each set item you find if you want to attempt Years of War

Once you're level 70, let's work on…

Chapter 1 and 2

We're going to treat these as a pair because there's no reward for Chapter 1, so there's no advantage to waiting until Chapter 1 is done to start Chapter 2. Quit your game, and change the mode to Challenge Rift. They're all pretty easy, but if you need help look up a guide for the given week. This gives you a huge boost early on – something like 30 million gold and a bunch of crafting materials. You can use this to quickly max out all of your artisans. Hang on to the blood shards for now. Craft a Level 70 weapon if you haven't found one yet, otherwise just your weakest armor piece. If you have some Marquise gems, craft an amulet as well. If not, you can wait for that step. Go ahead and enchant a property and transmogrify an item at the mystic since it won't be too costly with your Challenge Rift Cache. Your tracker should look something like this (if you were powerleveled, otherwise ignore the first row).

Start a game on Hard in Adventure Mode (no reason to make it harder than you need to). Look up a "fresh level 70" build on Icy-Veins to get you started, grab the Templar and check the bounties. If one of the bounties happens to be in The Ruins of Secheron, go ahead and do that one and pick up Kanai's Cube while you're there. In this same game, kill Ghom, Belial, Urzael and Aranae (or the respective bosses that are part of whatever season you're playing). Hopefully some of them are bounties. When you're done with them, finish off whatever act you're closest to finishing for a Bounty Cache. Finish equipping your follower – I've usually ended up without a Templar Relic so go ahead and craft one at the Blacksmith. Things should look like this.

Chapter 3

Now you have a decision to make. If you're in Season 16, or happened to get a Ring of Royal Grandeur from the Act 1 cache, use the blood shards from your challenge rift cache to gamble for one of your later Haedrig's Gift set items. This is all RNG based, and you won't have enough Death's Breaths to try to upgrade an item, but if you happen to get one of the later pieces of the set it will be a huge boost. You'll be running the four-piece set bonus after completing Chapter 2 and the full set bonus after completing Chapter 3. That will make Chapter 4 trivial without any extra work. If you don't have a RoRG/are not in Season 16, use the blood shards to try to get a different legendary that's needed for your set. Look up a speedfarming build on Icy-Veins and target an item with a good boost to damage.

If you end up with the four-piece set bonus, Master should be trivial. If not, it should still be doable. Start a game on Master and kill Zoltun Kule and Rakanoth. Assuming one of the bosses you've killed throughout the process was a bounty you should have a handful of Marquise Gems and should be able to craft an Imperial Gem.

The longest part to this point will be doing the bounties. If you have a friend who will let you leech off a round of bounties that's honestly the quickest way, but you're going to be making three people run at 75% efficiency. You can try asking in one of the powerleveling communities but it can be a bit harder to find a group to help you with this step since it's about 15 minutes of work for a group of three other people. In the likely scenario that you can't, it should still take under an hour to go through the other four acts. Just make sure you're picking a good movement speed skill (most of the Icy-Veins fresh 70 builds include one) like Fleet Footed for a Monk, Tactical Advantage + Vault for a DH, Battle Rage – Ferocity for Barbarians, etc… and don't worry too much about killing enemies. Just focus on the bounty objectives. Once done, use Kanai's Cube to extract a legendary power – if you have an item you need for your final build, use that one, otherwise whatever looks vaguely useful. Aaaand you will be done chapter 3! Make sure to teach any blacksmith/jeweler plans as you go. You will easily get 5 blacksmith plans, but jeweler can take a little longer.

Chapter 4

You'll either have a 4- or 6-piece bonus at this point, and that will pretty significantly impact how hard Chapter 4 is. If you have the 6-piece bonus (with 5 items) you should have no issue with all of the Torment 4 tasks you need to get through. Cydea and the Keywardens should be easy to get through with the huge damage bonuses you get from all of the 6-piece sets. Most 4-piece set bonuses don't provide much of a damage boost, though. Natalya's doubles your damage with Rain of Vengeance, Uliana's has a nice damage boost to Seven-Sided Strike, but the rest of the Haedrig's Gift sets will only give you utility/defense buffs. You're probably somewhere around T2 or T3 with a 4-piece set if you've gotten lucky with a well-rolled weapon. I would run some Nephalem Rifts to get GR Keys and Death's Breaths, plus the nice bonus of some Blood Shards. There are two strategies here – you will want to upgrade rares/gamble, but you can either target another piece of your class set or a different legendary that will help with your final build. For Season 16/if you have a RoRG, I highly recommend looking for one more item for your class set since it will give you a 6-piece bonus. The 6-piece bonuses are massive across the board now and will easily carry you to T6 without any other specific legendaries. You're at the whim of RNGesus, but between gambling and upgrading rares you should be able to get there by the time you have a nice supply of GR keys. Once you have the 6-piece bonus, convert your build to the "starter build" for your respective class set from Icy-Veins. This will take advantage of the class set without needing any other legendary items.

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When you have a decent weapon, reroll until you end up with a socket and slot an Emerald. Take out the Skeleton King at your convenience on T2, then bump the difficulty to T4. You should be somewhere around here. Make sure you do one of your Nephalem Rift clears on T4 as this will unlock up through GR19 and will make getting to GR20 solo easier. Even with the 4-piece set you should be able to work your way to GR20 without too much issue, and between the blood shards and DBs you'll have at this point you should hopefully be able to get the last piece you need. Now, work on the Keywardens. The Keywardens are in Fields of Misery (Act 1), Dahlgur Oasis (Act 2), Stonefort (Act 3) and Gardens of Hope 2nd Tier (Act 4). Once you waypoint to the zone you will get a purple indicator for their location. If you have a 6-piece set bonus they will fall easily. Once you're done with them, take out Cydea in the same game. You should be done with Chapter 4. If you're missing a jeweler plan (it happens) just don't worry about it. As long as you have the 6-piece set bonus from gambling/upgrading, you can move on to the Chapter 5 objectives. The last plan will drop for you soon enough.

Slayer and Beyond

You've probably spent ~5-8 hours getting to this point (maybe more if you've gotten really unlucky with drops/gambling/upgrading). I would take a quick break from the season journey to focus on your build. Part of the "long haul" is getting to higher GR levels. You can circumvent that by soloing higher Torment level Nephalem Rifts, all the way up to unlocking GR60 by completing a T13 rift. If you complete any of the speedfarming builds this will take you past T13 easily – you should be able to speed farm GR70-80 with a basic build due to all of the buffs.

To do this, run the highest Torment NR you can in about 5-7 minutes, focusing on the Elite packs to get Death's Breaths. Spend any Blood Shards you get to gamble for the item slot you're looking for, any then use the Upgrade Rare recipe in Kanai's Cube to upgrade whatever Rares you end up with from farming and gambling. Once you've finished the basics of your build (don't worry too much about rolls at this point) you can run some GRs until you've cleared 70 solo. This will allow Primals to drop (irrelevant for the Season Journey) and also get you some Legendary Gems and gem levels. Pick a couple to focus on. Bane of the Powerful is guaranteed as your first legendary gem and is a good choice up to about GR90. Bane of the Trapped is an easily recommended second for most builds. Focus on those two and one more depending on your build and try to level them evenly as you go.

Once you have your speed build and all three gems at level 25, you should be able to clear a T13 in under 4 minutes. If you're running a "slower" build, join a public T13 game and you should get it without an issue.. If you haven't already, extract any legendaries in your stash and equip powers in all three slots. Most of the bosses apart from Malthael and Greed will be easy with your speed build. Malthael can be tough depending on your class. He has a long lead up which means any buffs you get from enemies will be lost (like the Witch Doctor's Soul Harvest). Give it a try, but if you have trouble just ask in chat for someone to help you out. You should have at least one Puzzle Ring by now, so use that in the Cube to get to the Vault and kill Greed.

You'll notice that I haven't told you to complete the Uber Bosses or Set Dungeons yet. There's a reason. From here it's basically just a gem grind. To complete the Season Journey you need three gems at Rank 70 and one at 50+ for an augment. Assuming no deaths and empowering every rift that's a minimum of 42 rifts with ~6 of those being above GR70. To maximize efficiency, run rifts at 15 levels higher than your current gem level. This guarantees all five upgrades will be a 100% chance, while still minimizing the time and gold you need to run them. You'll probably need a break from GR grinding at some point, so use that time to run your set dungeon (you should be able to master it in one try if you've waited until you have a full build – reference the Icy-Veins guides if you have trouble) and do the Uber Bosses (use the Infernal Machines you've gathered in the house behind the healer in Tristram. Note that these can be challenging, so if you're not confident you can drop down to T12 for them. Do them all at T7+ though, as that will give you a couple materials for a Hellfire Amulet). When you have your gems up to Level 70, use one that's at least level 50 to Augment an item using Kanai's Cube. Ideally you do this to a "keeper" item. It needs to be Ancient and you want to have good rolls. That will get you around here. Note that leveling three gems to 70 automatically gets you one Conquest.

You can close out many of the other tasks as they make sense. Reforge a legendary in Kanai's Cube, extract powers as you find Legendaries, convert a set item if you have duplicates of one set item but want to try another non-Haedrig's Gift set… They're all easy, but you don't want to waste resources. Make sure that you craft a gem up to Flawless Royal once you have the recipe and the materials – I would focus that on whatever you're putting in your Helm for your build, but you should get flawless royal in all your sockets when you have a chance. Make a Hellfire Amulet if you haven't – it might not be necessary for your build, but you can buy the plans from Squirt in Act 2's town and you'll have the materials from doing the Uber Bosses. Azmodan under 30 and Izual under 10 sound tough, but with the recent buffs to class sets it should be easy. By the time you have a full speedfarming build everything in the "normal difficulties" (T13 and below, just not higher GRs) will fall quickly. You should be noticing a theme – once you have a full speedfarming build, the whole Season Journey is easy apart from the grind. That should finish you off apart from the conquests. There are 5 conquests and you only need to do three:

  • Speed Demon – Complete a T10 or above in under 2min
  • On a Good Day – Level 3 gems to 65 You get this on your way to the rest of the season journey
  • Boss Mode – Kill the bosses in under 20 minutes from game start
  • Curses! – Defeat 350 or more monsters during a single Cursed Chest event
  • Years of War – Clear GR55 solo with 6 different 6-piece set bonuses

You already have On a Good Day. Speed Demon can be soloed easily if you're playing a Demon Hunter or Monk. If not, it's still easy if you group up. Either join a public T10 rift game or just ask for help in one of the communities. Anyone with a DH/Monk can help you and it's (obviously) a quick one.

For the third… it depends. On PC, you can organize
Boss Mode or
curses conquest guide - The Late Starter's Guide to the Season Journey
Curses! pretty easily. Both are also soloable, but rely on your skill/some degree of luck. If you want a "sure thing" solo, try
years of war conquest guide - The Late Starter's Guide to the Season Journey
Years of War. The guide was written back in November 2017 and talks about how easy it is… and that was before 2.6.4. Almost all of the 6-piece set bonuses were doubled or better in 2.6.4. You don't even need a synergistic weapon at this point – just the 6-piece bonus will be enough. You will likely find 5-6 pieces of each set for your class while doing all of the above, and can easily get an alt powerleveled and geared up with a couple hours of work. Use blood shards to gamble/deaths breaths to upgrade rares and you should fill out two sets in no time.

Whatever you choose, the Conquests should finish it up for you!.

I hope this helps someone. I wrote this up because I am trying to get through the Season Journey on PC and just started yesterday – I finished it already on Switch this season.

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