Diablo 3 diary: The monk hits level 10, starts crafting

By John Keefer, May 16, 2012 9:00am PDT

The road to hell is gradually getting more difficult. In the first installment of my monk's Diablo III diary, Darkartiste may have gotten a bit cocky as early enemies were relatively easy. Exploring and killing were entertaining, but the norm.

Then it happened. I died. I sprung a trap in the crypts below the cemetery while searching for the crown of the Skeleton King Leoric. My monk seemed so powerful with his Deadly Reach and Lashing Tail Kick, able to dispatch as many as 16 enemies in a single fight. But even powerful characters get overwhelmed by sheer numbers, and in this case, lousy tactics (hint: don't fight in the middle of the room). When I revived at my last checkpoint, I was better able to handle the waves of skeletons from a corner.

That was a few levels ago, and as of this writing, I am level 10 and deeper into the Cathedral. I have unlocked my first passive skill and my first two runes for my primary and secondary abilities. I have also unlocked my first technique, Dashing Strike, which allows me to rush headlong in the enemy to damage and root him. While I can change to a new secondary ability now (Tempest Rush), I have yet to use it as I am finding that Dashing Strike seems to offer a bit more benefit, while allowing me to keep the incredibly fun Lashing Tail Kick bound to my right mouse button.

So far the game has been explore and kill, break barrels and overturn corpses for loot, and occasionally kill the wandering random rare monster for random magical loot. The are obviously plenty of monsters to kill, as my kill count is more than 1,600. There was one room I entered that I thought was empty, when suddenly at least 10 skeletons crawled through the windows in the room. Nice touch.

The game is peppered with tomes and writings that are read to me as I continue to play, offering some nice back story on the monsters or events of the game. I also found my first follower, a Templar, who requested help in finding his gear, before offering to join me. Being a solitary soul, I declined, but I still see him in New Tristram, waiting for me to change my mind.

I find that I also need to keep reminding myself to get to a checkpoint so that my progress will be saved. A few times I have logged out and all of my exploration maps are wiped clean, including dungeon entrances and accesses to the next dungeon level. It's not that big of a problem, since I get to kill more monsters for experience and grab more loot, but it does tend to slow down the progress a bit.

An interesting part of the game has also opened up with crafting. After discovering that the blacksmith's assistant had come to a rather gruesome end, he opened up his shop to me offering me the chance to make my own armor and weapons. It also allowed me to break down all of the magical items I had been keeping in my stash (Diablo III's version of a bank) into components for new items. Training is rather expensive at 2,000 gold a pop, but each training opens up more items I can make. I have crafted a new tunic for myself, but not everything I craft is worth using. Recipes imbue items with random stats and while I can wear those exquisite looking gloves I made (picture above), Intelligence is a useless stat for me. Sadly, I've made gloves with intelligence three times now. The good news is that I have found some nice magical gear and am finally magically delicious in each armor and weapon slot available for my level.

The good news is the server issues from launch day have not been a factor since. I also have not run into the achievements problem or the ERROR 3003 connectivity trouble.

Tune in tomorrow for another installment when I can report on my battle that concludes Act I. I also plan to check out the in-game auction house to see how unreasonable prices are.

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