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Diablo 3 Diary: 10 tips to prepare for Nightmare

by John Keefer, May 21, 2012 11:30am PDT

Darkartiste has slain the beast. It only took 27 hours, but I've completed the four-act epic of Diablo 3 with my monk and am wiser for the experience. Already eight hours into the Nightmare level, I'm finding the difficulty level lives up to its name. How can you survive? Here are 10 tips to help you succeed alone.

1) Destroy every barrel, search every body and explore every inch of the map. I said there is no shortage of gold, but the more you explore, the more monsters you kill. Every dead body rifled and every barrel, vase or bookshelf toppled means more gold or items to sell. Utilize your town portal to get back to town quickly to empty your bags so you can get back to the action.

2) Stick and move when fighting the yellow or blue mobs. Elite monsters (named individuals ringed in yellow) or Champion monsters (groups of three or four ringed in blue) are tougher to take down and often have special abilities that can wall you off or freeze you in place. Especially as melee, standing in one place is usually a bad idea as flames, poison or ferocious blows can drop your health to zero in a few seconds. Constantly move, grab health globes, and pick your spots to use your special attacks. Certain mobs will drop health globes as they drop in health. Use only what you need and save others for later in longer fights.

3) Get extra experience by reading lore or fighting well. The journals found in satchels or bookcases will give you some good back story as well as limited XP. Also, having a big killing spree where you massacre a large number of monsters will yield extra XP. As an extra tip, listen to the lore (or read it later) when it is offered as it can give you tips on a new monster and how it attacks.

4) Use your shift key for certain battles. Movement in the game has your character following the mouse cursor. Targeting can be a bit troublesome on monsters that move quickly and you could literally find your character running in circles. Holding the shift key down will allows you to stand in place and let the mobs come to you. This strategy is not as good for the elite and champion mobs as mentioned above, but for large groups, or that last one or two mobs eluding you, it helps quite a bit. Also, holding a mouse button down automatically repeats an attack. You don't need to keep clicking for each attack.

Covetous Shen gains more patterns with Jeweler pages and gold

5) Use your gold to max out your jeweler and blacksmith crafting skills. Once they are maxed out, you will only be able to increase them through gathering blacksmith pages (five pages plus 15,000 gold for each Grand Master skill up) or jeweler pages (10 pages and 10,000 gold for each skill up in Master). There is no shortage of gold in the game, and crafting rare items (and even some exceptional magic items) will make adventuring and killing easier.

6) Don't sell your magic items, just break them down. This goes hand-in-hand with number 1. The randomness of the crafting magic means that I created plenty of items with stats that were of little use to me. My monk didn't need strength or intelligence. So I had to craft several of the same item before I got one with stats that were useful. The more crafting materials you have, the better.

7) Make sure all of your followers are properly equipped. They have slots for two weapons (one if two handed), a necklace, two rings and a focus. Although the damage they do is considerably less what I did, the little pokes and stabs they do means less damage you have to do. Giving them gear that increases their damage or healing could be the difference in a kill or a long walk back. Your followers also never die, they just rest and won't fight for a time before rejoining your side.

8) Watch for visual cues in boss fights or when exploring. As in World of Warcraft, certain fights will offer visual cues before special attacks. Later in the game, environmental obstacles that can damage you will do the same thing. An area of the floor will glow or swirl, an item will drop on the ground that appear innocuous at first but will explode a second or two later. If you played WoW, you may recognize a few boss fights in Diablo 3. That is not a bad thing for survivability.

9) Utilize checkpoints as often as possible. There is no save in the game. The game is saved on Blizzard servers at checkpoints, when entering a new level or using a way point. An unexpected disconnect could lose your progress and force a regeneration of the random map or dungeon.

10) Don't assume Nightmare difficulty is just Normal mode with harder hitting mobs that have more hit points. My entry into Nightmare has shown Elite and Champion mobs with new attacks and AoE, forcing me to move more or run around a bit to wait for an ability on cool down. These fights can be tougher than the boss fights. Also, I find that I am utilizing the environment to put obstacles in between myself and certain types of mobs. Nightmare has its name for a reason, so be warned.

I am just beyond the Skeleton King and working toward the Act I conclusion. That last boss will be a true test of just how ramped up Nightmare level is. Hopefully, these tips will help you get there so we try some co-op together.


Shacknews' ongoing Diablo 3 Diaries follow Managing Editor John Keefer's journey through Blizzard's latest RPG.





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