Patch 2.3 is around the corner. With a new patch, we have a new season and the age old question, “What is the best way to level up to 70 and gear up?” Well, I'm here to help you out.
The patch itself brings many changes to the leveling process and early gear acquisition once you do reach level 70. In this guide, I’ll go into detail about the best methods to level up a fresh seasonal character using adventure mode: * Patch 2.3 changes that affect the leveling process we’ve grown accustomed to. * What difficulty to level on. * What gear choices to make, when to craft, and what levels to upgrade artisans. * What new gem tiers to expect leveling up.
There are many changes in 2.3 that will streamline the leveling process for everybody.
Leveling up, Patch 2.3 changes and crafting gear
- Gems tiers while leveling have been simplified and you should get better gems than you normally would. The new tiers are standard up to level 30, flawless up to 40, square up to 50 and flawless square up to 60 with marquise dropping at 61. This will be a big boost when socketing a ruby into your weapon and helm.
- Crafting materials have also been simplified: There is only one tier of materials now, so salvage everything and save it as you level. You also get salvage all from the get go. Rare weapon and armor tiers upgrade every 5 levels and level 60 rares come with 6 properties so you'll craft better items each time. With the new goblins and even bandit shrines, you shouldn't have any problems with gold or materials while you're leveling up.
- Crafting low level legendary sets requires the same materials as rares, just slightly more. So if you find a Cain’s or Born’s set, you can craft them sooner to help boost XP while leveling.
- You can still craft a level 60 weapon with reduced levels. Unfortunately, they have removed 2-Handed weapons from the pool of level 60 crafted weapons. This time around you’ll need to craft 1-handeded weapons this time around and a second if you dual wield or a mojo/source/quiver if you’re a Wizard/Witch Doctor/Demon Hunter. Bad news with quivers is that they are level 59, but not the end of the world, the main damage comes from your weapon. You’ll want to craft a 1-H mace and Demon Hunters craft Bows. The slow attack speed on a mace make your abilities hit the hardest they can, and you're just stuck with bows because nothing else is level 60 for a DH. Off-hand weapons will likely be your second best craft, so always hang onto them if you dual wield.
- Rifts (standard and greater) and legendary gem upgrades have been changed. I’ll go into more detail on my “post 70” section, but the “slow roll” grifting is gone and gems are simpler to level up now.
- New adventure mode cache rewards are more aimed at level 70+, but adding in a boss chest reward and better full act clear cache rewards makes doing full act clears more beneficial to a leveling player. Act caches now contain bonus gold as well as legendary patterns which can help you leveling. You can also gain act crafting materials for cube recipes later.
- The patch added Kanai’s cube, which is very powerful tool post 70. There’s not much benefit using it when you are leveling, but if there is a bounty in the Ruins of Sescheron, you should probably take a slight detour to do the bounty and then grab the cube after you finish it so you have it when you do hit 70.
Some quick tips while leveling:
- Immediately steal the weapons off your follower at the start of the game. The Enchantress and Templar have 1h weapons, the Scoundrel has a Bow. If you're running solo, the templar. Even without a weapon his support is the best for spot heals and defensive boosts.
- At level 6 start making stops to the fences to look for rings with min/max damage on them. At level 10 amulets will start popping up as well. These are huge bonuses to your damage in the early game and really help out. You don't need to remake games to find them, you'll eventually find a vendor that sells some in a few levels time. Around your 30's, pure stat rings begin to phase out these rings, so don't go out of your way to look for them at that point.
- Only upgrade your blacksmith, jeweler, mystic when you need it. It helps preserve the gold you have while leveling for crafting and enchanting that level 60 weapon.
- Upgrade your rubies, put your best one in your weapon and next best in your helm.
- Unless you're playing hardcore, prioritize damage over survivability with gear stats. You can make up for a lack of survivability by using diamonds in your socketed armor pieces, except for the ruby in your helm.
- Salvage all your materials and never pay to de-gem an item. Salvaging it removes the gems for free.
- When you're 42, upgrade your Blacksmith to rank 10, so you can craft level 60 weapons. Look for a weapon with freeze/stun/fear or other crowd control and roll off the OTHER secondary stat as this reduces possible affixes by a great amount. You might even have better luck straight crafting one with up to 18 reduced levels on it.
- When you're level 61, craft a level 70 2 handed Mace or Xbow the same as a level 60 weapon for a good DPS boost on your way to 70.
If you want the details, check out my old leveling guide where I go into detail on it. Basically, you want to go on HARD difficulty up to level 42-45. When you equip your level 60 weapon with reduced levels, bump the difficulty up to the torments until you're 1-2 shotting things and slowly start knocking it back down to hard or expert once you get close to 60. I find that the power creep of level 61 items let’s you run expert pretty good and you can carry it to 70, but don’t be afraid to drop down to hard if you need to.
You should never run normal difficulty unless you find yourself getting killed constantly and unable to do things like kill elite packs or goblins.
There are three methods of leveling that I’m going to go over.
Three Leveling Strategies
- The fastest is going to be Cursed Bounties and Halls of Agony farming
- The next fastest is doing select bounties or completing all act 1 bounties or chain completing the bonus acts
- Finally, still quick by any means is running pure rifts.
The whole point is to be aware of these three methods and pick what works and has you spending more time killing instead of running empty space or loading menus. Full completing acts or doing rifts are your fall back when you have a game that throws nothing good at you for the best bounties.
This method has proven for the past seasons to be the fastest leveling method, although very monotonous to do it for several hours. The density is always stunning on Halls of Agony 3 (you can go to levels 1 and 2 as well) and has a chance to spawn the swarm type cursed chest which awards the best XP of the cursed chest types. Monsters are mostly melee, skeletons and cultists. Before you run Halls of Agony 3, check around act 1 for the cursed bounties on the map and do those first, you’ll always end your run with Halls 3 and then start over when you dead end or reach the Butcher. Never re-create games fishing for bounties, you're just wasting your time in menus. I would avoid doing the Butcher all together, even if you get the quest, 2.3 added a bonus chest to give you some good loot for the bounty. If you are struggling for crafting mats or just have bad items, you could do a boss run. But I warn you, you’re giving up a lot of experience per hour to get the kill and should probably bump the difficulty down a notch just to clear it faster. Make sure you re-create your game to bump back up the difficulty to hard.
Halls of Agony and Cursed Chest farming method.
- Cursed Chest bounties to look for: The Cursed Chest events to look for are the ones that require 100 kills for the bonus chest. These reward more XP on completion and more XP per monster kill than the wave type. You're only looking for acts 1 and 4 for these. A1: Cursed Bellows (Halls of Agony), Cursed Cellar (Old Ruins), The Cursed Court (Cathedral Level 2), The Cursed Grove (Fields of Misery) and The Cursed Hatchery (Spider Cave). A4 you are looking for The Cursed Chapel (The Silver Spire Level 2). There are others, but these are the easiest to get to and have easy mobs to kill.
I’ve even made a fancy map you can open up on a second monitor to remind you of the areas I like the most here.
Select bounties and other high density zones with the full act option if you want a chance at Cain’s set pattern method.In this method, stick with the Cursed Bounties and Halls of Agony farming, but look bounties that have decent density and good time vs. reward investment. This method adds variety to keep you from going insane grinding all those cultists in the Halls.
- Zone clear bounties: these bounties give the most XP than any other and are simply finding a dungeon and killing all monsters on a given floor. The easiest ones are those that have easy to find entrances: A1 - Khazra Den, Scavenger's Den, Den of the Fallen, Cave of the Moon Clan. A3: Icefall Caves. A4: Hell Rift. there are other zone clears but these are the easiest to find in their respective zones and have easy layouts to navigate.
- Heavily dense zones: These are zones with easy monsters (i.e. heavily melee based) and relatively simple/linear map layouts to minimize backtracking. You will want to complete any bounty in these zones but SKIP boss kills as they take too long for the XP rewards. A1: Halls of Agony Level 3, Weeping Hollow, Cathedral Level 2. Fields of Misery is an honorable mention. If you're on higher difficulties, the ranged guys can really rip into you. But playing on Hard shouldn't be that difficult. A3: Keep Depths Level 2 a bit dangerous for HC, so I suggest only going here for SC.
I'd skip over act 5 if possible... fuck that act and fuck those mobs.
The last method is pure rifting. Rift fragments are no longer required to created rifts in 2.3, so you can start running them right at level 1. There’s not much to the method here except running rifts over and over. You’ll get some blood shards, but save them until you get 70 or cannot carry any more. In rifts, you'll get the benefit of double legendary drop rates. However, I would still suggest getting your first 15-20 or so levels in the methods I listed above. The earlier levels will go quicker due to easier mobs. Once you get your movement and AoE abilities, you can move to rifts.
Now that you’ve hit level 70, the real game starts. Here, some time saving methods on gear acquisition can trickle down to saving you hours on progression. The sooner you can get a good baseline of gear, the sooner you can acquire set items which boost your efficiency farming your end game set of gear. Your top priority for gear farming once you hit 70 will be as follows:
What to do once I reach level 70?
- If you haven't unlocked your Kanai's Cube, do the quest right now. Without the act specific crafting items, you can still; turn rares to legendaries, convert set items, swap crafting materials and gems and open a portal to the Vault with a puzzle ring. If you do run the vault, make sure you do it on Torment 1 and above for a chance to get your class set items. Don't worry about bounties. You'll only need the act crafting materials to make level 70 legendary items and extract legendary affixes to the cube. The recipes that benefit a fresh 70 (rare to legendary conversion, gem/material conversion, set item swaps) do not require these cache materials.
- Immediately start rifting on a difficulty you feel most comfortable on to get double legendary drop rates. Remember, in softcore you can always start high and drop the difficulty down. In hardcore, start on hard and use greater rifts to gauge your difficulty. Greater rift keys drop at any difficulty now, up to 100% on T6 and then a chance for an increasing double drop on Torment 7 through Torment 10.
- Use greater rift keys as soon as you acquire them and complete them as fast as possible. With patch 2.3 you can pick what +1 on your highest completed greater rift level. The menu is also a gauge for when you can start doing T2 bounties. Gone are the days of “slow roll” rifts, because one greater rift token opens only one rift, so do them on the highest level you are comfortable at completing.
- Since slow rolls are gone, legendary gem acquisition is slowed down a bit but at the benefit of more efficient upgrading of your gems. Take note to do the highest rift you can complete so you can upgrade your gem at the end. Try your best to +12 the rift relative to the gem so you can 100% each upgrade. Remember, failing a rift means no gem upgrade chance.
- Start doing bounties once you can clear level 13+ rifts and are hunting for a 4 or 6 piece set bonus. You'll want to start them on Torment 2 and beyond as cache rewards are a 50% drop rate of items, up to 100% on Torment 6.