Attributes: Your Chance At Success

The only thing that could rival the infamous chat gem for being clicked the most was this: the “New Stats” and “New Skill” button.

This image was probably one of the most exciting icons in Diablo 2. Although, it could also be a nerve wracking sight that resulted in many a panic attack as well. If fact, I believe that is the reasoning behind Blizzard making it red with a white cross- because you may need medical attention when this button appears on the screen. This icon meant you had a new allocation of stat and/or skill points to distribute. However, many of us played through the majority of the game without spending all of those points- intentionally. But why would anyone want to play gimped characters? Well, if you were planning to min/max your character, even a single mis-allocated point might result in that character being deleted and having to start all over again. So, as you can see, it was a pretty big deal.

This was a bigger issue for skill points than it was for stats but it was still very important, especially for PVP characters. When creating a character in Diablo 2, you had to sit down and plan everything ahead of time. You had to decide what few spells you planned on focusing your points into and what gear best served your needs. Once you had that figured out, then you could start spending your stat points. For PVP characters, the rule was pretty much always the same. Only put enough points into Strength and Dexterity to use your ideal gear, pretend Energy doesn’t exist and put everything else into Vitality. So, even though we had near-endless possibilities for customization, it always fell back to almost exactly the same allocation.

This is one of the reasons that Blizzard changed how stats are accumulated in Diablo 3. Now, every time you gain a level your base stats are increased automatically. You will still have the ability to customize your attributes, but only through your skill and item selection instead. Additionally, the new character window has had several improvements, making your stats much more transparent.

Here is a look at what is currently available in the beta (build: 0.3.0.7447):

ATTRIBUTES

Attack: Increases the damage of all attacks and skills by 1% per point. In Diablo 2, attack controlled how much damage you dealt with your equipped weapons. This meant that higher attack only meant your Sorceress could hit monsters with her staff a bit harder, but if you wanted your spells to become more powerful you had to pump skill points into that spell or ones that it receives bonuses from. This is not the case in Diablo 3 as the Attack stat increases the damage of literally all attacks and skills.

Precision: Increases critical hit chance by x%. Amounts change based on character level. All classes start with a base 50% bonus to critical damage. Additional critical damage bonuses from items and skills will be reflected here.

Defense: Reduces all damage from enemies of your level by x%. Amounts change based on character level.

Vitality: Each point of vitality increases your Life. From levels 1 to 13, each point raises your Life by 4.

Armor: Reduces Physical Damage from enemies of your level by x%. Amounts change based on character level.

Resists: Reduces damage of that type from enemies of your level by x%. Based on character level and separated into the following schools. However, it should be noted that Arcane Resistance is not only Arcane Damage but also Holy Damage as well.
• Cold Resistance
• Fire Resistance
• Lightning Resistance
• Poison Resistance
• Arcane Resistance (combined with Holy Resistance)

Damage Per Second: The displayed damage per second is calculated with your currently equipped weapons using your class’ Basic Attack against an unarmored target. This amount includes damage bonuses from your Attack, Critical Hit Chance, Critical Hit Damage Bonus, Traits and any active effects. It does not take into account damage increases from your skills and runes.

DETAILS

Offense:
Damage Increase – Can be increased by skills, items, and Attack.
Attacks Per Second – Based on weapon speed. Can be increased by skills and items.
Casting Speed – Can be increased by skills and items.
Critical Hit Chance – Critical hits deal x% bonus damage. Critical hit chance can be increased by skills and items. It is not specified here but Precision also increases your critical hit chance.
Critical Hit Damage – Crit Damage +x%. 50% base plus any additional bonuses from skills and items.

Defense:
Block Amount – The amount of damage prevented whenever an attack is blocked. Block Amount can be increased by items and skills. The base amount is specified on the shield.
Block Chance – The chance to block incoming attacks. Blocked attacks have their damage reduced by xy. Block Chance can be increased by skills and items. The base amount is specified on the shield.
Dodge Chance – The chance to dodge incoming attacks. Dodged attacks do no damage. Dodge Chance can be increased by skills and items.
Damage Reduction – Damage Reduction decreases all incoming damage, not just physical damage like Armor. It can be increased by skills, items, and Defense.

Life:
Maximum Life – If you lose all your Life you die. Life can be increased by skills, items, and Vitality.
Life Per Second – The amount of Life you recover each second.
Life Steal – x% of damage you cause will be recovered as Life. Life Steal can be increased by skills and items.
Life Per Kill – You will recover x Life for every enemy you kill. Life Per Kill can be increased by skills and items.
Life Per Hit – You will recover x Life for every enemy you hit. Life Per Hit can be increased by skills and items.

Resource:
This stat varies from class to class, listing the current (modified) maximum resource amount and the regeneration rate if applicable. The base amounts are as follows.
Barbarian:
• Maximum Fury = 100
Demon Hunter: (though changes are currently in the works)
• Maximum Hatred = 100
• Hatred Regeneration = 600 Per Minute
• Maximum Discipline = 30
• Discipline Regeneration = 60 Per Minute
Monk:
• Maximum Spirit = 200
Witch Doctor:
• Maximum Mana = 200 + 30 for each level gained (i.e. you have 230 base Mana at level 2, 260 at level 3, etc.)
• Mana Regeneration = 1800 Per Minute
Wizard:
• Maximum Arcane Power = 100
• Arcane Power Regeneration = 750 Per Minute

Adventure:
Movement Speed – Movement Speed: +x%. You no longer have to take Faster Run/Walk percentages and convert them into Yards Per Second. Thank god.
Gold Find – Gold Find: +x%. While this may not be a widely desired stat, the new AH will definitely make any bonuses to this stat welcomed.
Magic Find – Magic Find: +x%. Because it wouldn’t be Diablo without it.
 
 
Of all these changes, I am most excited about being able to be emotionally attached to my character. What do you think of the stat changes? Post your thoughts and opinions in the comments.

Artisan Review: Crafting with Haedrig the Blacksmith

 
One of the features in Diablo 3 that was not present in either of its predecessors is the introduction of the three Artisans. These specialized craftspeople will follow your characters from act to act, providing assistance along the way. And the more you work with them, the better your rewards will be.

The current plan at release is to have a Blacksmith for your forging needs (weapons, armor, and socket creation), a Jeweler for all things gem-related (upgrading to higher quality gems and removing them from sockets), and a Mystic for magical and alchemical items (potions, scrolls, runes, and charms). And one of the most exciting features of the Artisans is that their level, goods, and services are shared among all your characters, at least in the beta. This is especially beneficial for people who don’t generally stick to just one main character.

In the current beta build, the only artisan that is available for testing is Haedrig Eamon, the Blacksmith. After completing a couple quests for/with him, Haedrig will begin to offer his services to you.

The materials Haedrig needs to craft items for you are mainly acquired through using your Nephalem Cube to break down your loots (however, they can also be dropped by monsters, chests, etc.). You can break down items of any quality and are given materials of that level. For example, if you use your Nephalem Cube to break down an Inferior or Superior item, you will get Common Scrap. Magic items award Subtle Essence while Rare items award Fallen Tooth and Legendary give Petrified Bark. However, it should be noted that you are sometimes, albeit very rarely, awarded higher level materials than the item you broke down (i.e. getting a Fallen Tooth from a Magic item) and the only items for testing currently are from Act 1 Normal. Additionally, it is not known if Set items can be broken down by the Nephalem Cube or what materials they would provide if so.

In order to craft higher level items, the Artisans require training. This training is provided to them by collecting Pages of Training, combining five of them into a Tome of Training, and giving that tome to them with some other varying materials and gold. Every time you train your artisan, they will have a few more items/services available to you. After training five times, the Artisan will level up and provide you with items from the next higher tier as well as get an upgraded physical appearance to their shop.

The Blacksmith starts off as a Apprentice (level 1), crafting items with that prefix. With training materials available in Normal difficulty, Haedrig can learn Journeyman, Adept, and Master prefix items as he levels up. However, for Grandmaster and beyond, items such as the Assorted Fragment from Nightmare difficulty is required. Because of this, it is not possible to get to level 5 in the current beta build.

Here are a few of the higher level items available for characters in Normal difficulty. Mouseover the links to see the item’s stats and the materials required to craft it.

 
 
Again, I would like to reiterate that all of this information is based off of the current beta build and is always subject to change. However, if it does, we will keep you updated. And, as always, let us know your thoughts and opinions on the artisans in the comments!

Oh Blizzard, You Card: Legendary Item References

If you’ve ever played a Blizzard game before you probably know how much they love to slip in pop-culture references and call backs to their older games. Diablo 3 is no different in this regard, and the items recently released on the community site are filled with them. Here’s a bunch that we found, along with some returning fan favorites from Diablo 2.

 


Oculus Ring = In Diablo 2 this was actually a hacked item with the same stats as the sorceress’ occulus wand.
Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac = In Diablo 1 the suffix “of the zodiac” gave a bonus to every attribute. Rings of the zodiac were very commonly duped.
Justice Lantern = “In brightest day, in blackest night, No evil shall escape my sight, Let those who worship evil’s might, Beware my power… Green Lantern’s light!”
The Murlocket = Anyone who has played World of Warcraft won’t need an explanation for this one. Mrglgrlgrlgrlgrl!
Ouroboros = An ancient symbol of a serpent devouring it’s own tail, important in alchemy and several religions.

 

 

The Sporting Hat = The Sorting Hat decided which house students of Hogwart’s were assigned to in Harry Potter. The Diablo 3 Wizard would obviously be in Slytherin.
Storm Crow = This was one of Gandalf’s many nicknames/titles in Lord of the Rings.
Ghost Face Mask = The mask worn by the killer in the “Scream” movies.
Andariel’s Visage = Andariel was the final boss in act 1 of Diablo 2, though she was less famous for her visage than other…assets.
Quetzecoatl = “Quetzalcoatl” was a mesoamerican feathered serpent deity.

 

 

Ice Climbers = The Iceclimbers are Nintendo characters from their own NES game and the Super Smash Brothers series.
Hammer Jammers = Stop! Hammer time!
Blood Raven Armor = Blood Raven was the first miniboss in the first act of Diablo 2. There is unconfirmed speculation that she was supposed to be the Rogue character from Diablo 1.
Lachdanan’s Hauberk = In retconned Diablo 3 lore Lachdanan was the Captain of King Leoric’s guard, and it fell to him to slay Leoric once his madness became too prevalent to ignore any longer.
Chaingmail = Gmail is Google’s web-based e-mail service.
Tyrael’s Might = Tyreal is an angel who plays an important part in Diablo lore, as well as the storyline from Diablo 2.
Beckon Sail = Kate Beckinsale is an actress, most famous for her roles in the “Underworld” movies.
Hands of Fate = “Manos the Hands of Fate” is widely regarded as one of the worst movies of all time, and a very popular episode of Mystery Science Theatre 3000.
The Undisputed Champion = In professional Wrestling/Boxing/MMA champions are awarded belts as proof of their accomplishments.
Pride of Cassius = Cassius Clay was Mohammad Ali’s name before he converted to Islam. He is considered the best boxer of all time.

 

 

Pig Pimple’s Crucio = Pig pimple, or another way to say hog wart. Another Harry Potter reference folks. The crucio curse was a name of a spell from that universe.
Jaryth’s Crystal of Dreamshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yt2zoY45508
Murderer = Axe Murderer. Cute.
Fenrir’s Tooth = Fenrir is a monstrous wolf from Norse mythology.

 


Logan’s Claw = Logan is Wolverine’s real name in the X-Men universe. You’ll also note this item provides health regeneration, which is one of Wolverine’s mutant powers.
Odyn Son = Odin’s son, or you know, Thor. Carried a hammer, you get it.
Harvest Moon = Harvest Moon is a long-running farming simulation game series.
The 300th Spear = A reference to the graphic novel/movie “300” by Frank Miller.
Griswold’s Edge = Griswold was the blacksmith in Diablo 1, and a zombie in Diablo 2.
Rakanishu’s Blade = Rakanishu was an unique monster in act 1 of Diablo 2. Also the noise fallen shamans made.

 


Blackthorne’s Sword = Blackthorne was the first game made by Blizzard Entertainment, after changing their name from Silicon and Synapse.
Thunderfury = Thunderfury was the first Legendary Sword in World of Warcraft
Butcher’s Carver = Ahhhh! Frest Meat! The Butcher was an iconic boss from Diablo 1.
Sister Sledge = Sister Sledge was an all girl group who enjoyed some success in the 80s, most famous for their hit ‘We are Family.’
Cataclysm = Cataclysm is the title of the latest expansion for World of Warcraft.
Monster Masher = You might start hearing this 1962 novelty song pretty soon as the Monster Mash is a Halloween favorite.
Wormwood = This one might be a bit of a shot in the dark, but the graphic on the staff is rather green, and wormwood is one of the primary ingredients in Absinthe, also known as ‘the green fairy’ for it’s distinctive color.
Maximus = “My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.”

 

 

Monster Hunter = Monster Hunter is a long-running video game series known for their garish weapon designs.
Flavie’s Vigil = Flavie was the helpful little Rogue Scout in Diablo 2 who warns you about the Cold Plains if you haven’t completed the Den of Evil yet.
Hawk Eye = Hawkeye is a bow-wielding superhero from the Marvel universe. He will be in the upcoming Avengers movie.
Manticore = A Manticore is a mythical creature with the head of a lion and tail of a scorpion.
Styx Shooter = A double whammy! A six shooter is a nickname for revolver type handguns that carry six rounds. The river Styx is the border between the land of the living and the underworld of Hades in Greek mythology.
Calamity = ‘Calamity’ Jane was a famous American frontierswoman who was known as a crack-shot marksmen.

 
 

Returning Items:

 
 

Can you find any that we missed? What’s your favorite reference? Which items are you happiest to see returning? Let us know in the comments!

Monk PVP Build: 1 – Mantra Twisting

For the first Monk PVP build, I wanted to showcase how much support this class can add to your arena composition. I call this build “Mantra Twisting” as much of the gameplay will be focused on timing the use of and swapping mantras depending on the situation of the match.

Here is the build.

Active Slot 1:

Skill: Crippling Wave
Runestone: Breaking Wave (Alabaster)
Explanation: This is your Spirit-generator for this build but it also serves as a debuffing ability, snaring your target while increasing the damage they take from you and your team. This is a great skill for adding pressure or switching targets for a kill.

 
 
 
 
Active Slot 2:

Skill: Lashing Tail Kick
Runestone: Scorpion Sting (Alabaster)
Explanation: This should be used as your main Spirit spending ability when you don’t need to worry about mobility. The stun from the alabaster runestone allows this skill to be useful both offensively and defensively.

 
Active Slot 3:

Skill: Dashing Strike
Runestone: Way of the Falling Star (Indigo)
Explanation: This is your mobility skill and will be used to keep your Crippling Wave debuffs or Lashing Tail Kick stuns on your targets. Pairing this ability with the indigo runestone not only lets you stay on top of your target should they use a gap-creating skill (Teleport, Leap Attack, etc), but it can also be used to quickly escape around a pillar if you get focused.

 
Active Slot 4:

Skill: Mantra of Evasion
Runestone: Divine Protection (Alabaster)
Explanation: This is your main defensive mantra. You will likely want to keep this mantra active if you aren’t able to keep up the damage from the other team or if one of your teammates starts getting low on health.
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
Active Slot 5:

Skill: Mantra of Healing
Runestone: Boon of Protection (Obsidian)
Explanation: This mantra is the one you will ‘twist’ the most, as you will likely be using it on cooldown- provided the shield is allowable every 30 seconds.


 
 
 
Active Slot 6:

Skill: Mantra of Conviction
Runestone: Overawe (Crimson)
Explanation: This is your offensive mantra. With the crimson runestone and your Crippling Wave debuff, your abilities alone will cause your target to be taking 135% additional damage from all sources. Use this mantra when you’re ahead to keep the pressure on your opponents or switch to it when going for a kill.
 
 
Passive Skills:

First Slot: Fleet Footed – Increase base movement speed by 10%.”
Explanation: As this passive can be used both offensively and defensively, it is a great choice for ensuring you can stay within melee range of your opponents as well as being in range of your teammates for the mantras.

Second Slot: Pacifism – “While stunned, feared or charmed, all damage taken is reduced by 75%.”
Explanation: Since this build uses half your active skill slots on mantras, the extra survivability will help you avoid needing to use your mantra twisting on yourself.

Third Slot: Near Death Experience – “When receiving fatal damage, you are instead restored to 35% of maximum Life and 35% Spirit.”
Explanation: When all else fails, this gives you a second chance. An amazing PVP choice for any build- including this one.
 
 
*Disclaimer: Keep in mind this build is based on beta skills that are subject to change and until we step foot in the arena this is all merely theorycrafting. As always, give us your builds and let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Play To Your Strengths: The Right Class For You

Those of us who were lucky enough to have gotten into the Friends & Family beta have had a few weeks to get a feel for each of the classes. Many more of us will be starting our experience now that the closed beta invites have started going out. And while we can’t get passed level 13 repeatedly playing through the first part of Act 1, we can start to see which classes we enjoy the most.

Each of the five classes have their own unique strengths and weaknesses, but how do you know which one will be the best choice for you in PVP? Some of us already have our favorite niche classes but when you’re getting ready to jump into the arena, you’ll want to find the class that best fits your playstyle and/or complements the composition you plan on running.

To help do exactly that, here is a quick breakdown of each class based on the current beta build (0.3.0.7447).

Barbarian:

Description: This stoic warrior uses tremendous physical strength to crush foes. The Barbarian moves aggressively, unleashing a multitude of attacks on enemies. Tough and unyielding, the Barbarian excels at close-range combat. Fury drives the Barbarian’s assaults and is generated in the thick of combat by dealing and receiving damage.

Strengths: Loaded with gap-closing abilities and hard-hitting attacks, the Barbarian is great at keeping pressure on your opponents. They also have several powerful cooldowns, both offensive and defensive, that can be used if you get focused or need more damage for the enemy kill. A very solid all-around choice for PVP currently.

Weaknesses: Some of your gap-closing abilities generate fury, however, they also have 10 second cooldowns. If poorly timed/used, you will likely find yourself fury starved and/or being kited. Your ability to utilize your mobility will make or break this class for you.

Demon Hunter:

Description: Ranged weaponry and shadow manipulation make this vengeful hero an elusive stalker of demons. The Demon Hunter uses a variety of traps and escape skills to evade the grasp of foes. Lethal and evasive, the Demon Hunter inflicts terrible punishments on adversaries and slips out of their range before they can react. The Demon Hunter’s attacks and tactical skills are powered by the dual forces of Hatred and Discipline. Hatred is rapidly regenerated but Discipline is slowly recovered.

Strengths: The Demon Hunter has everything needed to kite like a pro. With traps, snares, cartwheels, and backflips, they have multiple abilities to keep melee characters away.

Weaknesses: The current implementation of their dual-resource system will be undergoing a drastic change soon, due to issues with burning through those resources too quickly, which will likely result in having resource-generating abilities in your rotation. However, resources aside, your ability to win battles will depend on your kiting skills as they lack defensive abilities. When the revision has been completed, we’ll be sure to review the changes in its own update.

Monk:

Description: A holy warrior who attacks faster than the eye can follow, disabling enemies with precision blows. Holy and elemental magic infuse the Monk with the ability to heal and to deliver crippling damage to adversaries. Fast and agile, the Monk gets in close to enemies to execute withering attacks before quickly moving away. The force of Spirit powers the Monk’s abilities. Spirit is gained through the Monk’s primary attacks.

Strengths: With their versatility and great synergy with mantras and group heal capabilities, Monks will be highly desired additions to many arena comps. In addition to their offensive pressure, they have defensive utility as well.

Weaknesses: The only gap-closing abilities Monks have require Spirit. So if you aren’t able to get in close and punch the enemy with your Spirit-generating skills, you will likely find yourself hopelessly kited. Additionally, your main mobility skill, Dashing Strike, needs to be used with the enemy targeted as it is very inefficient if used to get around the map (you come to a complete stop before and after the ability is used and it will burn through your Spirit in a hurry).

Witch Doctor:

Description: A manipulator of the forces of life and death, this unorthodox caster wields the power of nature in unsettling ways. With a wide range of offensive spells to choose from, the Witch Doctor doesn’t shirk from the fray. A master of spirits, the Witch Doctor draws upon exotic forms of magic to summon creatures from beyond the grave. The Witch Doctor utilizes the power of Mana to cast grim spells.

Strengths: The Witch Doctor is a great support class with multiple crowd controlling abilities and snares, giving you many kiting options. They also have several different pets and DoTs skills to choose from, keeping outgoing damage up while on the move.

Weaknesses: Without many defensive abilities, Witch Doctors are susceptible to being focused or gibbed. To compensate for this, several of the skill and runestone choices in your build will likely be survival or crowd-control abilities- such as the build posted by Blasphemery yesterday.

Wizard:

Description: A master of the temporal and elemental energies powering creation itself. The Wizard can inflict, withstand, and avoid damage with a vast and formidable array of directed and area spells. Powerful but fragile, the Wizard must be cunning to survive, deflecting all manner of attacks in order to unleash frozen havoc and flaming ruin on enemies. The Wizard draws on Arcane Power, a quickly regenerating resource, to cast spells.

Strengths: Wizards can put out substantial amounts of burst damage and have several abilities to limit or control their opponents movement. They also have one of the best movement-based ability in the game: Teleport (which can be used very effectively for both offense and defense).

Weaknesses: Wizards do not offer much in the way of group synergy other than their high damage output and will need to be spot on with their defensive cooldowns to avoid being a glass cannon.
Conclusion: At this point of the game (which really doesn’t give us much to really base things on), the Barbarian seems to be the strongest class, followed by the Wizard. However, the other three classes have plenty of potential to give them competition for the top spots so don’t base your decisions on that. We’re dedicated to bringing you the latest news so if anything changes we’ll be on top of it.

Which class are enjoying the most or most looking forward to and why? Let us know in the comments!