Diablo 3

Zero to Hero Seasonal Guide

diablo9 - Zero to Hero Seasonal Guide

*Note: This guide is focused on players with at least a basic understanding of Diablo 3*

Diablo III – From Zero to Hero Seasonal Guide

In Diablo 3 (D3) there is one word to rule them all, one word to find them, one word to bring them all to the realms of Hell and bind them: efficiency.

You see, in order to become a master at D3 you must first immerse yourself in the mindset of “efficiency” and thereby transcend the mundane ranks of the noob and become a seasoned pro.

Weather you are leveling your hero from 1-70, farming normal rifts (NRs) or Greater Rifts (GRs) you want to be doing it as fast and efficiently as possible.

What this boils down to is that you want maximum gain for minimum expenditure; the maximum amount of game resources for a minimal investment of time. Now, this can be done in a myriad of ways but for the purposes of simplicity I’m going to focus this guide on five main factors:

  • Leveling
  • Paragon points (paras)
  • Crafting materials (mats)
  • Legendary gem levels and gold (these two sort of hang together as I will explain later on)

Basically you want to approach D3 as if every second you spend in game is something precious that cannot be wasted. The reasoning being that D3 is an ARPG, and that ARPGs tend to revolve around a long-term investment, in exchange for a cumulation of “wealth” unmatched by most other game genres… and because D3 is awesome!

In other words you will be spending a lot of time in order to become a god in game, and in a game with a steep learning curve the difference between good and bad is enormous and rewarding: this is the reason we play D3.

So, with that rather excessive introduction out of the way, lets get stuck in.

The Leveling Process

I’m going to start this section by saying that there are a hundred ways to level your character in D3 and that the guide below might not be the absolute fastest out there. However, this guide is the one that I follow every season as I count down the seconds for launch and try to reach 70 as fast as possible. It’s simple, its fun and it works.

This guide is most efficient as a 4 man party, but can also be done solo, and should take anywhere between 1.5 hours and 4 hours to complete, based on group composition and skill.

Level 1

  • Create Seasonal Character
  • Complete weekly challenge rift with your seasonal character (For bounty mats, Death’s Breath (DBs) and gold).
  • Start new game at anywhere between hard and master difficulty (you can lower difficulty at any time but not raise it) and open your challenge rift cache (CRC).
  • Depending on your class you might want to roll specific items at Kadala at level 1 (
    kadala - Zero to Hero Seasonal Guidethis link will give you an overview of Kadala drops).
  • Grab weapon from the templar companion.
  • Optional: Find a boos bounty that is easy to reach – for example: Sultan Kulle, The Skeleton King or Maghda and kill it (For guaranteed rare drops from the chest).

Level 2-24

  • In season 17 we will be getting 35 DBs from CRC, so you want to fully upgrade blacksmith and forge a level 70 class specific weapon.
  • Grab Cube in act 3
  • Upgrade your class specific weapon in cube for a level 70 weapon, if it is ancient then keep it, if it is not then cube it.
  • You can either do massacre bonuses in Halls of Agony 1-3 or start doing NRs.
  • Every 8-10 levels you should check smith for better craftable weapon, depending on how often you are in town (this is not a priority).
  • Check vendors in town for jewellery with +X damage.

Level 24-40

  • Start grinding NRs, change difficulty to an appropriate level based on any lucky legendary drops.
  • Fully upgrade mystic.
  • At level 40 craft a level 70 two handed weapon at the blacksmith. Keep crafting until you get a weapon with a “%” secondary roll (3% chance to fear, 2% chance to freeze, blind etc). Once you have a 2 handed weapon with a % secondary roll, go to the mystic and roll “reduced level requirement” on the other secondary stat – the goal here is to get as close to 30 as possible.
  • Equip level 70 crafted weapon once possible and change difficulty to T6.
  • You now have 1 cubed weapon and 1 level 70 two handed weapon with “reduced level requirement”.

Level 40-70

  • Keep grinding rifts on T6 until progress gets slow, then start lowering difficulty.
  • Keep grinding NRs until 70.
  • Optional: At level 67 start doing all bounties.
  • Congratulations, you are now level 70.

Getting Started in Season

This is where the fun begins. You have just reached 70, you have trash gear and you need to get power ASAP. This part of the guide will go through the tactics I usually use to get gear as fast as possible. Again, this might not be the absolutely fastest way, but it works, its easy and fun.

Season Journey

  • Do one GR – this will usually yield at least 1 legendary drop and more importantly a bane of the powerful for that sweet 25% extra damage to elites.
  • You should have enough DB’s to upgrade an item from the class specific items with cube (again). Necromancer: Two handed scythe. Barb: 2 handed mighty weapon. Crusader: Crusader shield. Demon Hunter: Either 1h dagger, crossbow 1-2H or bow (DH is a little tricky here as not all the bows or daggers are useful). WD: Ceremonial knife. Monk: 2H daub or fist weapon.
  • Complete Chapter 1, 2, 3 and 4 of Season journey (only tricky part here are the bounties).

Post Headring’s

You now have a full set of green items and you should at least be able to start grinding T10. Next fase is to complete the build you want. For season 17 I will be playing the necromancer and the first step for me is setting up the
Rathma Singularity Build or a znecro (depending on how lucky my team mates get).


Dont forget to do a solo GR 70 for a guaranteed primal. This is easily done right after season journey.

However, in season 17 the Necro will start with the Inarius set, so I basically want to get as many items as possible to grab the gear for the Rat build.

  • Do NRs at T10+ (all sets are at the point where this should be easy).
  • Tidy up the rolls on your first set at mystic.
  • Swap between NRs and GRs at a scale of 1:1 (every time you complete a NR do a GR – this should result in you getting more keys than you are spending).
  • Start pushing higher GRs, but you dont want to be slower than 5 minutes.
  • Upgrade missing item slots at cube every time you get enough DBs.
  • At around paragon 200-400 I should have the gear needed for the Rat build.
  • Keep upgrading and farming items until you have ancient main hand.
  • If you find any puzzle rings jump into the Vault at highest torment possible.

Preparing for the Grind

With Rat build complete and zbarb and znecro complete for my team mates we will start grinding GRs at full blast at a speed that averages 2-3 minutes. We will start getting gear upgrades fast and focus on leveling the gems we use for our respective builds.

At this point you should start setting up a speed farming build for T13-T16. Upgrade a Boon of The Hoarder to a minimum of 25.

The key to successfully farming paragons is Speed GRs. The general recipe for this is to find a GR level that you can complete at an average of 2.5 minutes pr. GR. The paragons will start flying in at this point. (I will go more in depth on speed GRs later on).

You now have 1 build for speed GRs and 1 build for farming T13-T16 (this might be the same build depending on what you are playing).

The Grind

Ahhh, the grind, the life and soul of Diablo 3. At this point you have played a lot, if your like me you’ve had very little sleep and sit around 800-1000 paragon levels in the first 24 hours. Now, go to bed and rest. Wake up in the morning (lol, more like middle of the day) and go for a run or hit up your local fitness center so you dont go completely mad. Eat some food, walk your dog speak with your gf or bf or kat or whatever.

Then get your “real life is also important” attitude out of the way, boot up your PC, jump on Discord with your team and get down to what really matters: grinding the hell out of D3!

Gem upgrades and Gold

Now, you have your speed build and your T13-T16 farming build, good job. Time to put them to use.

  • Grind NRs with Boon of The Hoarder equipped, jump into vaults every time you get a puzzle ring.

With Boon of The Hoarder and T16 gold is easier to farm than ever before, which is good because you’ll need a lot of it.

  • Continue spamming GRs in 2.5 minutes average (make sure to empower all GRs you jump into, and dont die).
  • Upgrade 5 gems simultaneously, 1 level at at time.
  • Once all 5 gems are around level 90-100 its time to augment.
  • Obviously you want to augment your best gear first, unless you are playing support in which case you can save your augment gems for your DPS build(s). I recommend augmenting the “basic” items first; that’s to say items that are easy to roll: body, legs, belt are usually defensive slots an most often roll with main stat + vit which is all your really want. On intelligence builds you want to roll armour, on none-intelligence builds you want to roll all resist.
  • Rinse and repeat!

Playing the Meta

Some of you are probably starting to think that this guide is purely for those who play meta speed farm builds in 4 man groups, and although that might be true I’d like this segment to represent those who dont go as balls deep as me.

If you are playing a none-speed-meta build you should not fear, because you can play whatever you want and not fall too far behind. The trick is to set up a support build for the speed meta. Barbs are always the safest bet since they are used in virtually all 4man speed and pushing comps.

With a support build you can join 100+ GR speeds at very low paragon levels and gain more XP than you thought was possible.

Diablo III Communication

Make sure to join communities and a clan – join the ones with most members dedicated to seasons and GRs. Whenever you see someone posting “zbarb lfg 100+” It means: “I am a support barbarian looking for a group at Greater Rift diccifulty 100+”. Use this yourself to look for groups.

If someone says “+1 cbaba 3 mil 107+” It means “we have one spot in our group. We need a charge barbarian with a minimum of 3 million sheet DPS for 107+ Greater Rifts”. Dont be afraid to whisper these messages with a “+” if you have the requirements they are looking for, you can also write “only have 2.8?” If you have 2.8 mil sheet DPS – they might still invite you.

It’s also important to understand that players put a lot of effort into the game, so if you want to join a group with people twice your paragon level dont get upset if they dont accept you – its nothing personal, they just want the best guy for the job because “efficiency” is god.

Same goes for public games, if you join a game with paragon 1000+ guys and you are paragon 400, chances are they will kick you. Again, dont get upset, its not personal its simply that you will not be efficient to that group. With that said you do stumble across some arrogant dickheads once in a while, this is an online game afterall. However, in my opinion people in D3 are polite 90% of the time, when they kick you they dont trash talk you – they simply look at numbers.

Dont be afraid to whisper people from your clan or communities about advice on your build. The r/Diablo sub Reddit is also a great place to get advice. At the end of the day, the more skilled the average player becomes the more fun the game is for everyone – if you are new to the game it can be daunting, but simply asking is a great way to learn.

Good luck in season 17!

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