Hello, howdy and good evening gentle reader.
With this post I want to share my recent research on early-game class performance.
Especially for the first act, since the drop rates have been adjusted with the latest hotfix.
Furthermore, I wanted to see and try to find answers on the following questions that have been stirring in the community:
- Are lowered droprates an issue?
- Tying into that, but to a lesser extent: Are legendaries really that much of a boost?
- How is class performance after the droprate adjustments?
- What kind of an impact has the new tutorial questline and respective items on gameplay?
But before we dive into each class, lets get some disclaimers out of the way at first.
As a sidenote: These are basically the same as in my posts on the discord in #testing. I’ll list them anyways for readers comfort and to make it less of a hassle.
- no attribute points spent on the player character (drone excluded)
- no shared stash
- all sidequests done
- evenly spread skill-points to simulate new player experimentation
- no event items, buffs, etc. (merchant still allowed!)
- no manual map-resets
- no partyplay → solo only! … besides minions ofc
- no re-rolling of rewards
- clearing all side quests
- clearing maps most of the time (90%+ of the mobs)
- no augmentrex (dis-/mounting mods still allowed!)
So, without further ado, lets get straight into it.
- beat Shulgoth just at the start of lvl6 without any issues in dps or survivability (10 drops - 3 rare for templar, 3 enhanced mixed, 4 basic mixed)
The ‘best/rarest’ item I had equipped at that point, was the quest one (1) from Baker. This one helps out massively. The rest of my gear was all white/green. Not a single legedary.
- Big Ben at lvl7 - drops 4 legendaries, 3 of them for templar (2 swords, 1 grenade launcher)
- Lord Mielmight + Spikelord at lvl7 right at the same time
No damage and/or survivability issues here. Dead in about 20 seconds. (regen on spikelord)
- Sekworm died pretty quickly at lvl8, thanks to Big Ben’s gear - couldn’t regen thanks to poison+ignite!
- a pack of imps in the hellrift before blowing it up made me kite quite a lot and brought my hp down low quite often. still managed to clear all of them quickly, once i got close
- Emperor Gulkar and its entourage of three fiends didn’t survive either (at lvl8) - again, ignite + toxin made short work of those blokes
Tutorial gear is a massive boon early on, especially when skillpoints are to be valued.
The lowered/readjusted drop rates weren’t an issue, really.
Skills used were: 1 Charge, 1 AoP, 1 Matched Blades, 1 SoR, 1 SoJ, 1 Surge of Restoration
Gearquality was as follows: 3 basic (helmet, chest, belt) - 2 enhanced (shoulds, gloves) - 2 rare (legs, boots) - 2 legendary (swords)
Act 1 finished after 1h49m03s
Discord link: Discord
- first legendary on Bag o’ Bones at lvl4! (templar helmet tho)
- Shulgoth dead at lvl6 (just like BM) - given the effort, drops were decent - 1 leg. fuel, 2 blues (templar, cabalist), 4 greens (mixed), 4 basic (mixed)
- Big Ben killed at lvl7 - 3 legendaries (2 swords, 1 bolter)
At this point I actually had to buy some restores, but given the fact that Big Ben is kinda beefy and I had some Palladium from selling some gear that dropped, this wasn’t an issue.
After that, with MacKenzies and Bens boltor equipped, it was basically ez-mode and didn’t disappoint.
- killed Spikelord at lvl7 - regen wasn’t a issue using different skills combined
- Sekworm killed at lvl8 - same as above; strike, grenade and rapid fire grilled that mofo medium rare
- Gulkar + 4 fiends killed at lvl8 - made me use Escape for the third time (3 rare drops, 3 basic, all mixed)
Skills used: 1 Tac. Stance, 1 Rapidfire, 1 Escape, 1 Rebounder Rounds, 1 Beacon, 1 Frag Grenade, 1 Napalm Strike
Gear used: 2 basic (boots, gloves) - 5 enhanced (leg, belt, chest, shoulder, helmet), 1 rare + 1 legendary bolter
Act 1 finished after 1h37m56s
Discord link: Discord
- Sumatran Rat lvl 3 - besides the usual relic first legendary and a focus (+3 to WoF) at that !
- Bag o’ Bones lvl 5 - second legendary! (cabalist helmet)
- Shulgot lvl 6 - 2 blues (cabalist focus + headpiece), 2 greens, a mixed bag of basic gear
Warper and 2 eles made this fight pretty easy. Imps snipers in the back can pose a problem, so clearing those out is advised.
- Big Ben lvl 7 - 4 legendaries (3 cabalist, 1 hunter)
- Spikelord died in a hail of bullets, fire and phase (same level 7)
British Museum popped the minigame and dropepd a legendary sword!
- Sekworm, that can of protein got ripped open at lvl 8 - phase, fire, poison *shrugs
- Gulkar + Fiends at lvl 8 - Warper, Fire Eles and Venomous Spirit killed them quickly and reliably.
Skills: 1 additional in Fire Ele, 1 Carnagor, 1 Afterlife, 1 Venomous Spirit, 1 Word of Fear, 1 MotF, 1 Attunement
Gear used: 1 leg. Chaos Pistol, 3 blues (tutorial focus, helmet, hands), 4 greens (shoulders, chest, belt, legs), 1 basic (boots)
Act 1 finished after 1h26m36s - 1 quick break of like 2 minutes included
Overall this was pretty much the smoothest and fastet act1 that I did.
Witch Doctor wasn’t necessary really, although there were some encounters with Imp snipers in narrow corridors, that brought me low really quickly.
So they’ll give you a run for your money, if you don’t watch out.
Oh, Chaos Pistols are magic! __
- Bag o’ Bones lvl 5 - first legendary ! a nice headpiece with hp-regen
- Fangsnort lvl 6 proved to be annoying with his Shockblade - still died with some kiting
- Lord Nyssaylor dropped dead without issues
- Shulgoth lvl 6 - 2 legendaries (cabalist+hunter both 2h), 1 blue, 3 greens (first coreslicer! but lvl 7), some basic
I just got Brom’s Curse, but there wasn’t even the necessity to cast it. Maybe this was just luck, as the small horde of Imps in the back didn’t aggro.
- Big Ben lvl 7 - 5(!) legendaries!
- Spikelord lvl 7 - Demonspine’d to the wall (ragdoll was just amazing here)
- Sekworm lvl 7 - healed up completely once, but died in the end
Again, the Imps were more of a danger than this one. A nasty pack of 3 rares and one legendary was quite tough, given they’re way more aggressive now.
- Gulkar+court lvl 8 ded - this one was a bit tricky, because poison proccs kept me from using heals. Not easy, but managable.
Skills: 1 Spectral Strike (preset), 1 Firestorm, 1 Demonspine, 1 Venmous Spirit (rarely used tho), 1 Dual Focus, 1 Drain Power, 1 Word of Fear , 1 Brom’s Curse
Gear used:1 legendary (helmet), 5 blues (focus, chest, belt, gloves, boots), 3 greens (focus, shoulders, legs)
Act 1 finished after 1h46m3s.
This is probably the trickiest of all classes early on. But the combination of LF + Drain Power makes crowds of Felbores or Zombies kinda easy to digest.
Tougher demons are very much doable, if there is enough LOS and space to kite. (very similar to MM)
Skill-wise it was alright. WoF was kinda useful (cheap on mana), but i’d rather use another Demonspine to get things killed instead of running away.
Dead things don’t get you killed, so be faster.
- Typhoid Mary lvl 4 - the second legendary drop!
The first one was actually from a random Felbore right next to her. So in total Hunter boots and Templar gloves.
- Bag o’ Bones lvl 5 - another legendary ! Cabalist headpiece
Shortly after Baggy,a green chest with +luck on it dropped. Exchanged that shortly after for one of the shulgoth drops, which was also green.
On my way through Coven Garden Market towards the rift the first DE dropped! Hunter gloves +12% dmg, but -24% userate. Instantly equipped those.
- Shulgoth lvl 6 - 2 blues, 3 greens and a bunch of basic stuff
After this fight, the drone got a 1h grenade launcher to help out with some aoe and general dps. (used all 12 attribute points at this point)
- Nyssaylor+Fangsnort lvl 6 - 3 blues in total. Both died with ease. Fangsnort took a little while beacause of very strong shields. (THIS is what I expect shielded/dampened mobs to be like!)
Up until here, I only used basic (white rarity) Bolters.
- Sleestak + Big Ben lvl 6 - Ben had the usual legendary drops (2 hunter, 1 cabalist gun)
- Spikelord lvl 7 - again, died medium-rare
Another legendary just before Sekworm! (inside the Hellrift)
- Sekworm lvl 8 - Just leveled up shortly before the fight, as I decided to clear out all the Imps lurking around.
- Gulkar + 5 Fiends lvl 8 - Gulkar alone didn’t even drop my shiedlds. The awakened fiends did though, once they became active. 1 legendary (Gulkar’s Demonic Shredder - Hello early game carry!), 3 blues
Skills: 1 Inhibitor Bots (preset), 1 Rocket Bot, 1 Beacon, 2 Drone, 1 Weapon Retrofit, 1 Napalm Strike (the last remaining point from lvl 8 i didn’t even use/need)
Gear used: 1 legendary (boots), 1 double-edged (gloves), 3+1 blues (tutorial weapon on a second set, 2 bolters, shoulders), 3 greens (belt, chest, helmet), 1 basic (legs)
Act 1 finished after 1h28m59s
This one was very similar to my run on Summoner. Very forgiving, plenty of aoe to clear out trash mobs like zombies, also nice ignite/sfx application. Overall a very solid choice as a first character.
On another note, as it came up quite often so far on discord: I did not encounter the bugs where your drone loses equipment or your stats cannot be allocated.
- lvl 4 - The minigame popped out 3 legendaries ! (2 hunter, 1 templar revolver)
- Bag o’ Bones lvl 5 - Another legendary for templars (helmet)
- Shulgoth lvl 5-6 - Actually made me lvl up! 2 legendaries (sword + shield), 2 blues (boots + sword), 2 greens , some basic
The dropped shield had a massive 122 armour, compared to the 28 that I used up until then. Also came with 2 tech slots, 2m physical spalsh and 2 points in Shield Bash.
Shulgoth’s Sword of Nightmares is … okay, but doesn’t provide you with skills. Which is why I didn’t use it. I can only assume this, but it is very likely players probably would’ve come to the same conclusion as me here.
- Big Ben lvl 7 - 3 legendaries (sword, shield and a hunter gun)
Hard choice here, as the sword gave +2 AoP and had nearly double the damage than the tutorial sword. The shield had some nice shield pen and +crit on it. Decided to keep my other one, as Shield Bash was a stronger alternative than some small crit bonus. Shortly after another legendary drop! Hunter helmet.
- Bloomsbury lvl 7 - Another minigame popped and yielded 3 blues (2 aoe-shields and a tempest rifle)
- Spikelord lvl 7 - No notable drops, but supreme Shield Bash proccs made this fight an easy one.
- Sekworm lvl 7-8 - Made me level up and died basically to perma-stun from Shield Bash.
- Gulkar + 5 fiends lvl8 - 5 blues and some basic stuff
Anchor + Shield Bash/Turn rounded up those peskies pretty good. Not as fast as BM but I had no worries about my HP. (didn’t even drop below 80%) Besides that there was no need to use the last skillpoint from lvl 8.
Skills: 1 Shield Bash (preset), 1 Shield of Faith, 1 Aura of Renewal, 1 Sword of Justice, 1 Sword of Reckoning, 1 Challenge, 1 Anchor
Gear used: 2 legendary (helmet, shield), 3 blues (tutorial sword, shoulders, boots), 4 greens (chest, belt, legs, gloves)
sidenote: the other legendary gear that dropped was either put in a secondary set that wasn’t use or sold.
Act 1 finished after 1h33m10s
This was actually the only one where I felt the difference on a legendary item. Without the shield the whole run might’ve taken a little longer, but it still felt good. Very strong clear through the combination of Taunt, Anchor and Shield Turn made it a breeze and pretty relaxing to play.
After all these runs I can only say, that it was actually quite fun to do this.
I never felt I needed something from the merchant, as I checked the stock at least twice on each character. Each class had its own style of gameplay, pros and cons.Looking back at the changes to Imps it was also interesting to see and experience how that works out in lower levels.
Now, to come to a reasonable closure and to answer some questions that may or may not arise, a few additional words may be necessary:
I do realize (and agree with!) that the first act alone is rather short and not something class balance should be centered around. It (the first act) should however give players, especially new ones, a rough estimation of what they’re in for with their chosen class.
To further insights into the, supposedly hard, early game of BMs and MMs, I will keep those two characters and go all the way up to lvl20 or maybe 30. As I am really interested with the results myself.
With all that being said, thanks for reading and please do provide your feedback on format/setting of these tests! What would you do differently? Elaborate and be precise, so we all gain learn and grow from this.
€: fixed some typos