I pulled off something that was, in hindsight, probably a dumb move for someone playing Diablo III in Hardcore. Faced with levelling my latest Witch Doctor up to the level cap, I decided some bonus XP was in order. I haven’t seen the Gem of Ease drop yet, so I decided to craft three pieces of the Cain’s Fate level 23 set (Cain’s Robes, Cain’s Scribe, Cain’s Sandals) for the +30% bonus XP. I then paired this with Leoric’s Crown with a Flawless Imperial Ruby slotted for even more bonus XP, and set off on Master difficulty. This wouldn’t have been such a terrible plan if it wasn’t for the fact that I proceeded to wear these level 23 items until I got to level 68.
I was levelling up quickly, yes, but I felt very fragile indeed inside Nephalem Rifts past level 60. It was a bit of a daring move, as any attack against me would remove a decent chunk of health; even from regular monsters. Hilariously, at one point a quick skim through my loot showed that even a white “common” item was a significant upgrade.
Still, I made it. I switched into some regular gear at 68 and finished levelling to 70, then switched into some saved set and legendary items from the stash. This was by far my quickest levelling-up of a Hardcore character; I knew it would be, so I made some notes:
|Level||Total time taken|
|50||3 hours, 47 minutes|
|60||5 hours, 7 minutes|
|70||7 hours, 14 minutes|
Pretty pleased with that. Getting the Gem of Ease upgraded and slotted into a legendary weapon will help massively, but that’s a project for later — like, when it actually shows up for me.
Poison running through my veins
I had intended to reuse my usual Rain of Frogs / Haunt / Acid Cloud skillset, but along the way Jeram’s Bracers dropped, which I stored in Kanai’s Cube. That led me to start using Wall of Death / Ring of Poison alongside Acid Cloud / Lob Blob Bomb, which was ridiculously fun.
Later though, Coils of the First Spider and a Belt of Transcendence dropped which just seemed too good not to use in tandem. I swapped out Acid Cloud for Firebats / Plague Bats, and my usual Fetish Sycophants passive for Confidence Ritual. Now I’m wading into combat, dropping Ring of Poison and spraying Plague Bats which is working triple duty as Fetish summoner, damage dealer and damage mitigation.
I’ve been really lucky in that Zunimassa’s Vision and Zunimassa’s Pox have both dropped since, so I’m now hoping for more of that set, and possibly migrating from this close-up build to something more ranged; this Carnevil-based build, for example.