• Hardcore Mode Inferno Progress

    Currently we are slowly inching forward in act 2. Now there is a huge act 2 farming session ahead before Belial. Approximately two weeks to our estimates.

    This video shows some of our progress, including Champion, Rare and Named mob fights.

    Read on for my thoughts on current inferno difficulty and common misunderstandings on how to approach the lategame.

    Against popular belief among softcore players, I think that inferno is not badly tuned, but amazingly on the point. There are attacks that should never hit you (e.g. Pain Mongers - see 31:00 in the video, Wasps, Grenades) and that have to be avoided by playing really aware and careful. There are also attacks you can tank for a few hits if you gear properly.

    The most important thing however is that control and mitigation are far more important than damage. You need to use slow, knockback, stun, cc, etc. effects and kite mobs properly instead of tanking damage. You need to dodge everything you can dodge. You need to stack resists and armor. You need to play as a team and stick together really well. You need group synergies like warcry and mantras.

    The fact that glasscannon builds work too well if you stack enough dps tends to make most softcore players belief that this is the way to play this game. They are spoiled by those big numbers and tend to forget that there can be really epic fights. My Demon Hunter runs around in Act 2 with 12k DPS and a shield. On SC this is probably unthinkable of. However they refuse to give up their imbalanced DPS for survivability. You can even easily get the Act 1 speedkill achievements with 10k charscreen DPS in a proper group.

    I think there are several fundamental misunderstandings that lead to a false perception of the inferno difficulty:
    • Glasscannon builds work too well
    • It feels tedious to drop A LOT of damage to survive
    • Stacking vit/armor/resists does not mean you can _tank_ damage, you will barely survive with active dodging and all your skills, but it will not be a oneshot anymore
    • Inferno is made for coop play, not for solo
    • There are _crazy_ synergies between classes that you need to use (warcry [~60% effective health!!], mantras [48% dps!!, 20% all resists!!], sentry, mark, voodoo, etc.)
    • You need to always keep a safe retreat path and remember where it goes. Use WPs and dungeons wisely to your advantage.

    My personal experience is still limited to the first half of act 2, so I might have to change my mind later on, but our gear is also still far from being perfect. I can see that some champion pack affix combinations are really insane (e.g. everything with invulnerable minions and some waller/jailer combos), but in most cases you are able to dodge them. A few monsters are overtuned right now, namely the soul lashers (any type of those, the tongue monsters in a3 dungeons and tower) and phasebeasts (tower and arreat core in a3). Heralds of Pestilance are probably also a challenge, as you need to be 100% spot on to dodge their poison pools fast enough. Additionally all extra fast monsters that outrun you are dangerous. Even the huge tremors can be a big threat with fast affix. Blizzard announced that they would tune down some of the spike and burst damage with one of the coming patches, so I am curious what that will bring.

    For now, my conclusion is that inferno mode is incredibly challenging and fun, but surely not as badly tuned as most softcore players claim it was. If Blizzard can flatten damage spikes and remove exploits like Zoltun Kulle powerleveling and rigged loot mechanics like treasure goblins, the game is so promising to remain fun as hell for a long time. Especially with hardcore mode pvp in mind, item farming in an infermo mode of this difficulty gets to another dimension.