Last night we completed Act 3 and Act 4, and hence cleared the normal mode. As it was bare minutes before the servers went down, we haven’t had a chance to head into Nightmare yet, so looking forward to that for the weekend.
This continued to be lots of fun. It was split over two sessions of play, but it felt like quite a long act. Again, we tend to play by exploring every edge of every map, so we squeezed as much time as possible out of each area.
Act 3 conitnued the under siege theme, both from the demons outside the walls as well as within. There were plenty of side events and caverns to explore, filled with minions of hell.
A few new monster types that were interesting. Again, lots of environmental damage, but there were also a scattering of caster mobs, particularly succubi with ‘homing’ missibles that you have to stay on the move for.
Also there were nasty mobs that stand in one spot and reach underground so that their arm comes up where you are and they grab you. That hurts a great deal, so it pays to be on the move when you see something tunnelling at you.
We ran into a few champs/bosses with the ‘molten’ ability, that was nasty for melee, especially if the mob is moving around a lot and spreading it everywhere. We are also uncertain, but at least one of these guys exploded when they died, that might have been a side effect of the creature rather than the ‘molten’ ability though.
After a few twists and turns in plot, we moved into Act 4.
Act 4 is fought out in the heavens.
I don’t want to say too much about the plot here, as I don’t like spoilers myself, and a few friends are still playing through. I can safely say, that like Diablo 2, Act 4 is a shorter act than the previous acts.
Blizzard seem to like the feeling of quickly ramping up to the final boss… In Act 4 the pacing was certainly relentless – you were racing the demons to the tops of the heavens and the areas reflected that. There weren’t the side adventures and diversions of the previous acts, and without the safe haven of a base in the zone, there is something about feeling there is only ‘onwards’ and never ‘back’.
In any case we found ourselves outside Diablo’s door when a ‘Servers coming down in 15 minutes’ message scrolled into our chat. With no idea how long the fight was, but with nothing to lose, we entered the combat. The fight was pretty fun, and from the screenshot I have of the kill, took us about 7 minutes of muddling along not knowing what we were doing.
And that was that for Act 4, looking back at the screenies, it was about 90 minutes of play.
All up it was about 17 hours for us to clear, duoing the whole thing, and we were level 32 when we finished. As noted above, we’re pretty obsessive about exploring everything, you could run through much faster if you weren’t as OCD as we are. YMMV
The ‘duration’ of the content is only really interesting for me from a comparative point of view – I’m now keen to see how long the clear takes on Nightmare difficulty and beyond. And Of course none of it matters in the end, it’s where we play at level 60 that really matters, as we gear up and push harder areas in Hell/Inferno. But that’s a way away yet.
Demon hunter thoughts
More experimentation with the Demon hunter skills and gearing last night. I’ve reached a level where I can rune the turret, and it feels a bit more useful now that it has homing rockets.
It’s not a bad ‘set and forget’ skill, and although I like the bombs, I’d rather drop a free(ish) turret then go crazy with a hatred-dumping range attack than spam bombs that use all my hatred and are a bit ‘hit and miss’. This may change of course. I also had a play with runing my bombs as monster targets that explode when the mob dies… but that was a bit fiddly. It might be more useful in tighter packs or when soloing maybe. I actually finished the night using Evasive fire runed with parting gift… trying to get used to using a ‘free’ mobility device rather than an offensive one. I feel the defensive stuff will be more useful in higher difficulties.
I also ran with rapid fire as my RMB hatred consumer for most of the night, and runed it with webs so it snared. That combined with chain gang entangling shot on my LMB was a fun defensive pair of main skills to use.
I also acquired a new archery skill, Rain of Vengeance. I switched out multishot to try this, and I was having lots of fun with MS so I didn’t expect to like RoV. I usually struggle with optimal use of longish cooldown skills in Diablo, but I found RoV to be short enough to use often. The area of effect was large, and the duration/damage high – so you really do feel like you’re raining death over the whole screen.
Too many other bits and pieces
I’ve got lots of other topics whirling around to write about: crafting, gems, vendors, banner design, gear appearance (including dyes)… but I’m kind of buried in actually playing at the moment. More to come in the future, including a less rambly description of my Demon hunter play style and skill choices.