Last night Shigeko and I finished clearing Hell and started Inferno. Woo!
We had a small run around in Inferno: finished the first few quests/areas there and it didn’t look terrifying. We only fought one champ pack and the ability combo wasn’t insane, so we killed them quickly and painlessly. I’m assuming the pain levels will ramp up heavily though as we press onwards.
We thankfully didn’t come up against one of these:
The difficulty of Hell difficulty
We actually didn’t find Hell toooo bad. Elite packs with annoying combinations sometimes took a few corpse runs to defeat. There were definitely some tense moments where we thought we might not be able to defeat an encounter – but in general it was just a matter of kiting and peeling regardless of the composition of the pack.
There was one pack of champs we gave up on. It was in one of the Act 3 Sin dungeons so it was at a linear point where we couldn’t easily ‘skip’ them. However, we wanted to press on: we had our Nephalem buff and didn’t want to lose it. So Shigeko aggroed them and ran away while I vaulted like mad through them… and the rest of the level… and dove through the portal at the end. Shig rezzed and hopped through my banner and we went on from there.
So champ/boss packs in general were difficult, but not impossible.
The consistent pinchpoint through every difficulty so far has been Izual. Certainly on Nightmare and Hell, it was after a few deaths on Izual that we re-thought our gearing level and headed off to the AH to look at upgrading some gear pieces.
We killed Izual the night before last, but it took quite a few attempts, including one where he decided to spawn twice. Fighting two Izuals was less than enjoyable, although unsurprisingly brief. We decided afterwards that we both needed some mitigation upgrades and did a spot of shopping.
Last night we started Act 4 again and cleared right through to Diablo. We wanted to stack our Nephalem buff; most of the large rooms/trash with elite potential is early in the act. This time we killed Izual on the first attempt – although it was still messy.
How we handled Izual
Shigeko’s monk tanked Izual while I pewpewed at range. I moved to avoid frost bombs, Shig did not. There are two waves of adds (based on his health I guess, maybe 70%/30%?) melee/fire breath demons first wave, fallen angel casters next. When the adds spawned I would take them down one by one (with a little kiting for the melee ones). Any that ended up on Shig I took down last with AOE or single target, depending on how things were going.
Often one of us would die. It is possible to get a rez off if a) you have movement abilities as Izual is fairly slow or b) during a window where Iz stops to use his frost bombs or decides to attack an angel or Tyrael. But it’s touch and go, sometimes he just chases you endlessly. If he’s low on health and your adds are dead then we found it was often better just to solo him down and rez after. But rezzes are possible when duoing, if difficult.
We were frustrated initially by Shigeko being one-shot inexplicably at times – especially during crunch times like while moving into a space during frozen bombs, but we have a plausible theory for what was causing this.
The theory: Izual crushes your puny frame if he gets to hit you while you are facing away.
It seems that mostly we were oneshot while running from him. Actually, Shig was oneshot once while just turning to begin to move away, hence the theory. And hence why we switched to Shigeko tanking the freezes. His mitigation is such that the bombs themselves don’t hurt much, and it doesn’t seem that Izual does significantly more damage when you’re frozen. Well, not compared to the smash-in-the-back-oh-you’re-dead attacks.
And then there’s Diablo – but he/she deserves another post.
And I leave you with these poignant words from the family in Bastions’ Keep: