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S12 4 Player Group leveling plan, weapon crafting info, class support options and party composition musings

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Just throwing down my idea of how to start season 12 off. With challenge rift giving starting mats, I figure a coordinated 4 player group could take advantage of it. 

Step 1: Create season character
- Rebirth or create your season character

Step 2: Challenge Rift
- All 4 players join a group and select challenge rift
- Smash it and then break party

Step 3: First Game
- Everyone goes back to adventure mode with their level ones
- Set to Master difficulty and have everyone start a fresh game on Adventure mode
- Grab follower weapons and snag your Challenge rift rewards. Gamble for level 1 items now for your class.
- Look for Zultan Kulle as Act 2 boss bounty. Everyone goes to a game with that bounty. If not that bounty Skeleton king works as well.
- Smash the boss bounty
- Lower difficulty to Hard
- Craft level 5 and 8 weapons (5 has to be one hander, 8 should be two handed axe if your class can use them (all can except DH)) 

Step 4: Split up now
- No the idea is to get a couple extra things done to make the leveling process really take off. 
- First if your party has a DH or Monk great, the fastest person should start a Campaign mode game on Hard or Normal and rush to Haedrig. 
- Once you get to the Haedrig quest where you kill his wife, Kill her and then leave the game before talking to Haedrig. At this time this member can join back into the original game.
- While the runner is doing Haedrig, another fast person (Monk or DH) should run to the Cube for the party. If the Haedrig runner hasn't finished yet this person should wait near the cube before the party all goes to grab it.
- While Haedrig and cube run is happening, the other two party member should be splitting act 1 bounties, hold off on boss bounty until last and when the full party is present.

Step 5: Reform and turn things in
- When Haedrig runner gets back to party, everyone head to cube runner and grab the cube
- Now people can cube their level 1 gambles to boost damage.
- Go finish the boss bounty for act 1 (and others if split runners haven't finished yet) and have everyone turn in to get possible Cain's and Born's drops
- Haedrig runner drops party, to restart game in campaign on T6 and invite his party members. Go talk to Haedrig just inside the cellar with all party members present on T6 for a good xp bump (this should be a couple levels)
- By now people should be at least level 8. So check Fence's in all acts for +damage rings

Step 6: Split up again
- This time only the runner goes off by himself. The runner can stay in his campaign game and drop difficulty down to hard or normal and start rushing to the skeleton king waypoint. ONce there if the runner and or anyone in the party is not at least level 16 yet, the runner rejoins the party to level.
- While the runner is finishing the path to Skelly, the rest of the party can do another round of split bounties. Save the boss bounty again for the runner. 
- When the skeleton king portal is ready in campaign and everyone in party is over 16, the runner leaves party to remake a campaign game on normal. Party joins and you faceroll skelly king for Leoric's

Step 7: Rift your face off
- Get the band back together and start rifting to 70! By this time everyone should be over 16, have a decent cubed power boosting item and you possibly have Leoric's crown and maybe a person or two with borns or cain's sets, so put em to work. The runner will be a little underleveled, but should catch the party pretty fast due to xp dynamics.

Important things along the way:

- Level 1:  gamble any strong items for your class
- Level 8: Shop Fence's for rings with +damage
- Level 12: Shop Fence's for amulets with +damage
- Level 16: First weapon tier that can be crafted with a socket (put a ruby in it!) (also get Leoric's Crown and a ruby in it too)
- Level 40-50: Craft a level 70 weapon (2hander preferred) and roll 20-30 reduce level requirement on it. Make sure the weapon has two secondaries and one of them being a crowd control one (stun, freeze, etc) and then reroll the secondary one to level reduction.

Crafting Stuff while Leveling

Every class can use 2h Axes, Maces and Swords except DH, so here are tables for what to craft at what level if you feel your damage is lacking and drops haven't been happening.

All classes but DH

- Level = Type
- 5 = 1H Axe 
- 8 = 2H Axe
- 16 = 2H Axe
- 19 = 2H Sword
- 21 = 2H Axe
- 23 = 2H Sword
- 27 = 2H Sword
- 29 = 2H Axe
- 33 = 2H Axe
- 37 = 2H Axe
- 41 = 2H Axe
- 44 = 2H Sword
- 40-70 = Lvl 70 2H Mace with -20 to -30 level reduction

Demon Hunter

- Level = Type
- 5 = Hand Crossbow 
- 8 = Bow
- 12 = Bow
- 15 = Crossbow
- 19 = Crossbow
- 25 = Crossbow
- 29 = Crossbow
- 32 = Crossbow
- 36 = Crossbow
- 42 = Crossbow
- 50 = Crossbow
- 40-70 = Lvl 70 Crossbow with -20 to -30 level reduction

You only need to craft if weapons upgrades haven't dropped for you in a while. 2Handers are always better dmg per resource spent and they have an innate damage bonus above similar level 1handers so they are just more efficient at using resources while leveling. Axe will be your best bet while leveling but there are some swords in between axes that can help hold you over until a new drop or axe level is reached. For DH crossbows are the best option after level 15 and they come frequently enough that you should only have to craft them.

Everyone should craft a level reduced 70. With a higher end roll it should be usable between level 40 and 50. Make sure to craft a level 70 weapon with two secondary stat rolls with one of them being a crowd control stat such as freeze or stun etc. Then roll the other secondary to level reduction. With the challenge rift mats you should have enough gold and mats to try this several times and there is a very good chance to get a decent one. 

Party Composition

Every party makeup should work, but here are some thoughts I have for each classes roll in them.

AOE Clearer's

- Gamble grasp of Essence, cube it and slot Corpse Explosion Bloody mess as a skill. 
- Corpse Explosion and corpse near monsters until no monsters are left
- Party members can kill mobs for you and you can help with Bone Spear to make a few corpses if needed
- Later on Golem can make 8 corpses on demand for you and even later Land of the Dead is an option for burst windows for large packs or RG's
- Early on you can also slot Corpse Lance to help kill elites and RG's, but once LOTD is available CE will be better burst for RG with Grasps in cube

- Gamble bracers and hope for Gungdo. Slot Explosive Palm, tag low hp mobs for party to kill, and blow screens up.
- Best EP rune to use is the spirit returning one. Later on you can slot the cold rune for higher damage, but spirit will be better if you also have other legendaries to make other spenders worthwhile
- If you gamble Gungdo and still have shards, you can gamble Rivera dancer boots and cube them. Wear Gungdo. That gives you EP screen clear and a good damage spender to use for everything else.

General Damager

- Gamble HOTA or Siesmic slam bracers, slot respective skill and use it to smash demons
- Focus passives and other non-boosted skills for more damage or resource production

- Gamble Hellcat Waistguard belt, slot Grenades and spam away. Also slot Turrets with Spitfire for single target damage boost later on

- Gamble Denial, slot Sweep and spam as much as possible

- Nothing good to gamble early, but Manald heal can be gambled at 27 with some luck
- If no Manald, a standard Disintegrate build is really good aoe damage and Etched Sigil source can be gambled at 33. Will have to swap to using 1handers or cube it though.

- Spirit Barrage mojo can be gambled at level 1, but the skill isn't usable until level 17
- Can start gambling the firebat staff with high chance at level 8.


Useful Support options for each class:

Wiz (damage buffs and CC options most are passives, can clear ground effects)
- Cold Blooded Passive makes enemies take 10% more damage while chilled by you. All party members benefit from this
- Conflagration passive: 6% increased chance on enemies burning from your fire skills for the party (all fire skills will cause burn)
- Temporal Flux passive is an 80% slow for some CC
- Paralysis passive can stun for CC
- Frost Nova: Bone Chill enemies take 33% more damage while chilled or frozen from the nova (all party members benefit), this is also a decent aoe CC and will trigger Cold blooded passive
- Slow Time: Exhaustion rune causes enemies in bubble to do 25% less damage and Time Warp rune causes them to take 15% more damage
- Wave of Force: Deblitiating Force rune reduces enemy damage by 20% for 4 seconds
- Black Hole: Event Horizon can remove enemy elite ground effects like arcane, poison and lightning attacks and it groups mobs

DH (Good defensive buffs and a couple damage boosts)
- Numbing Traps passive used with Grenades generator or Sentry skill can reduce enemy damage done by 25%
- Boar Companion boosts party life regeneration and resistances by 20%
- Marked for Death provides a 15% damage boost. Contagion rune is the easiest to use
- Guardian Turret rune for Sentry at level 60 reduces party damage taken near turret by 25%
- Multishot Windchill rune increases chance to crit enemies by 8% (works for party)


Barb (Good party healing, good damage reduction options and some minor damage boosts)
- Inspiring Presence passive will restore 3% hp per second for the party after any shout and is available early
- Rend: Mutilate rune will make enemies take 10% more damage and it is a good aoe skill for the barb anyway
- Ground Stomp is a good stun and can group enemies with Wrenching Smash rune
- At level 53 barb can boost party speed with Sprint Forced March rune
- Ignore Pain Mob Rule provides party CC immunity and damage reduction at level 43 and can last up to 11 seconds with Cassius belt (can gamble at 31 and starts dropping soon after)
- Threatening Shout can reduce enemy damage by 25% or increase their damage taken with Falter rune. Demoralize rune also taunts them to help with grouping etc.
- War Cry boosts party armor and is a good trigger for Inspiring Presence passive. Several off the runes can boost defensives even further. Best options are Veteran's Warning or Invigorate

WD (good mix of damage increase and reduction, can group with Nado)
- Bad Medicine passive reduces enemy damage by 25% when dealing poison damage to them and there are many skill options to do so
- Locust Swarm: Cloud of Insects rune makes enemies do 25% reduced damage
- Hex is a good CC and the Jinx rune at 31 causes enemies to take 15% more damage
- Wall of Death level 60 rune causes enemies to do 25% less damage
- Pirhanas skill makes enemies take 15% more damage. Nado rune can be used to group mobs
- Big Bad Voodoo increases attack speed. Slam dance rune also increases party damage by 15% or Ghost trance rune can be used to heal party 5%/sec and reduce incomming damage by 20%

Monk (Great defense options, some decent healing and potential movement speed for party)
- Very first passive is Resolve and causes any enemy damage by the Monk to do 20% reduced damage for 4 seconds
- Blinding Flash is a good blind CC that will also cause elites and bosses to have a 30% miss chance. Crippling rune at 41 will cause enemies to do 25% less damage for 5 seconds after the blind wears off
- Breath of Heaven is an ok heal for the monk and party early game
- Serenity Tranquility rune can remove CC from the party and provide a decent damage shield as well
- Inner Sanctuary is the largest party shareable damage reduction in the game (55%), but is not good for mobility reasons. Still there are several good defensive runes to support it
- Cyclone strike is the best grouping skill for any leveling class and at 55 it can also become a decent party heal
- Mantras can provide defense or offense. Best defense option is Salvation: Agility at level 58 but ealier runes such as Hard Target and Divine Protection are also very good. Wind through the Reeds rune at level 40 increases party move speed. Conviction Mantra is the best option for damage and the Annihilation rune can also speed the party up.

Sader (good move speed buff for party, some okay healing and damage buff options)
- Shield Glare: Divine Verdict is a 20% damage buff for 4 seconds with a 12 sec cooldown and it CC's
- Consecration is a group life per second heal and the level 23 rune boosts the healing and radius
- Provoke taunts enemies to you for 4 seconds
- Condem Vacuum can group enemies
- Laws can provide offense or defense and many other secondary effects. Justice law is the best passive defensive benefit of 140 all resist for the party and with the immovable object rune at 30 it provides a huge 7000 armor for 5 seconds (10 with Long Arm passive) Making it a huge defense cooldown. Laws of Hope provides passive life regen and the Wings passive provides 50% runspeed which is great for speeding up party rift clear times

Necro (can spawn a lot of health globes, good attack speed reductions to enemies, and nice defensive or healing curse options)
- Life from Death (first passive) spawns health globes reliably allowing the party to heal more and DH and WD have passives that can take advantage of them
- Bone Prison passive can provide CC to a few skills
- Rigor Mortis passive reduces enemy attack speed when using poison skills
- Bone Spikes level 6 rune stuns mobs for 1 second each cast and paired with Bone Prison passive is a strong CC option
- Siphon life Blood Sucker rune can be used to pull in globes on demand
- Bone Spear Crystallization rune reduces enemy attack speed by 20%
- Death Nova Blight rune reduces enemy damage by 15% for 1 second (only good if you are spamming it as your main damage dealer)
- Corpse Lance Brittle Touch can be used to up crit chance for the party on tough mobs like RGs and elites
- Land of the Dead Frozen Lands at level 43 is 10 seconds of great CC 
- Multiple Curse options: Decrepify reduces enemy damage by 30% and slows them. The slow can be removed by wither later for 10% more dmg reduction and early on Dizzying curse can be used to give a chance on hit to stun enemies. Leech provides a 2% heal to party anytime they hit the cursed enemy. Frailty can make mobs die at 15% hp and has an aura rune making it passive
- Bone Armor Dislocation rune can stun large groups of enemies for 2 seconds


With early gambling boosting damage, I feel the defensive options each class bring above are the best things to go for to allow the party to run higher difficulties while rifting. I have made bold the support skills above that I feel every player should run if partying 4 man rifts. 

Party Makeup

Ideal 4 man rift groups should have at least one Necro or Monk for speeding up AOE clearing and at least one strong dps class that is boosted by early gambling such as a Barb with HOTA or SS,  LTK Monk with Rivera Dancer, DH using grenades with Hellcat Waistguard or Firebats WD with Staff of Chiro. Of those the easiest to gamble for is Barb and Monk. Wiz and Sader have the worst gamble options for boosting damage early though. All classes will work and as shown above every class can bring some support to the table and should in a party. Support skills that provide toughness would be most desired and every class has some option to do that.

My ideal party since I am a Necro would be (and who I plan to play with at start): Necro, Monk, DH, Barb or WD

Necro and Monk both bring the AOE clear and have good defense support skills and monk can group with cyclone

Monk can also be a good dps with LTK and the boots gamble

DH brings boar pet for toughness and later on guardian turrets as well, has good early damage options with Grenades and Hellcat belt and can buff party damage with mark and cold multishot and they benefit greatly from the increased globes from the Necro with Blood Vengeance passive restoring their resources. DH also has a strong journey set with Nat's set to help boost into t4 right at 70. 

Barb brings Warcry and Inspiring Presence for heals, and can either gamble for early strong boosts to HOTA or SS making them a great dps and barb has by far the best early DPS skill at level 5 with Rend. Barb journey set is IK and that starts out very strong so that helps boost to T4 right at 70 as well. Barb also benefits from the necro globes with the Pound of flesh passive

If not barb WD would be ideal as the 4th because they bring more toughness with Locust Swarm and Bad Medicine, pets for body blocking and if they can manage to gamble and early Staff of Chiro they make great aoe dps. WD also benefits from the necro health globes with the gruesome feast passive

The great advantage of my ideal party setup would be having both DH and Monk to be able to do the campaign and cube runs. They are the two classes that get mobility the earliest and as such make great characters to do those runs and that fits in to early game plan I mentioned above.

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Great write up man!



For Wiz, can gamble for Etched Sigil.

New Challenge Rift gains:

4.6 million gold

475 Blood Shard

10 DBS - good enough to cube one item, not two since upgrade smith will need DBs

15 x Bounty Mats

~300 - white mats

~200 - blue mats

~100 - yellow mat

~10 souls

Note for rolling lvl 70 weapon -

Roll no more than 5 times before just crafting another weapon. at 5 rolls, your cost is 40-50k gold per roll then it jumps to ~70k. it is significantly cheaper (gold wise) to craft another viable 70 weapon (1k gold), so you have to balance gold vs mats. if you don't get your 70 weapon with 4 different weapons, THEN it'll be worth it to loop back around and trying your 6th, 7th rolls. if you still don't get a viable lvl 70 weapon, then uninstall diablo and throw your computer out the window.

On average (I test 60 items), it took me about 60(4x15) of each mat with bout 450k to 600k gold to get a lvl 70 weapon down to between 45-60. You'll have about 5 million+ gold to work with by the time you hit 45-60, so I'll likely attempt to make the 70 weapon right away and see what i get, then try again once i hit 45 and once more by 60 if i haven't gotten it.


Don't forget to try for borns/cain after bounty turn in



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Clarification on the Etched Sigil. You can't gamble it until level 33, but at that level it is only one of two possible sources, so it is a great chance to grab it early.

Another tip I picked up from watching some start videos. If a person or two in your party is able to craft a lvl 70 weapon in the low 40's then the whole group can remake a T6 game at the first level the weapon is useable and clear a T6 rift. This will make your entire group able to do above GR20 rifts right at 70. So that removes having to run a T4 at 70 to unlock straight to the GR20 everyone needs to complete their Journey set.

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