If you ask someone prior to looking at this data, what is the best act3 zone for archon, 99% of people will say it's Keep Depth 2, and they'd be wrong. KD2 suffers from low xp mobs, your kills are worth 75% of mobs in other zones. So even if it seems like you're killing more, you're not getting more xp. Crater 1 and 2 are good zones also because this zone is fueled by "stygian crawler herds", you're bound to run into a few of these herds on your way through craters.
[condensed run] <-- this is now my preferred route of choice for efficiency
[standard run] <-- not most efficient, but offers more variety
Cursed(skip if full nv)
field of Slaughter
stonefort(if you want key, HC folks, stop trying to kill KW at mp0, it's very inefficient!)
Right now, I pretty much do the "Condensed Run" only as I find it more efficient than long run. SC folks can stick to the big three, KD2, Rakkis, Crater2. Because they can go higher MP where NV bonus isnt as important. For HC, people generally dont have the GG gear, so it's better to do Skycrown and build up NV there.
The general idea is to alternate between your 'good zones' and 'bad zones', in terms of sustainability. That way you have left over archon time from good zones to help smooth out your run in the bad zones.
Each zone can be grouped into different tiers.
XP++ (~18k xp/sec)
XP+ (~16k xp/sec)
cursed (level 1)
XP--(cant sustain archon due to lack of mobs)
XP values From diablo3blog
3375 XP – Demon Trooper, Fallen Mongrel, Dark Skeletal Bowman, Skeletal Marauder, Icy Quillback
4500 XP – Fallen Prophet, Fallen Grunt, Soul Ripper, Swift Skull Cleaver, Blood Clan Warrior, Blood Clan Spearman, Reviled, Fallen Soldier, Stygian Crawler, Succubus, Blazing Ghoul, Tormented Stinger, Phasebeast, Winged Molok, Blood Clan Occultist
5625 XP – Fallen Overlord
6750 XP – Herald of Pestilence, Demonic Tremor, Demonic Serpent
11250 XP – Bloated Malachor
- #1 rule, if you're not constantly killing stuff, you're wasting time, and your results will suffer.
- Start the run by choosing Kill Azmodan quest, so you have access to all waypoints. Bosses are not worth killing.
- Note these things do NOT give xp or loot, so dont bother killing them. The Exploding Mounts, the "Tongue mounts" that grab you, the mount that breaks into 6 scorpions, the mounts dont give xp, but the scorpions do. The "summoning constructs" in craters does not give xp, summoned mobs do. Basically, if it's inorganic, it doesnt give xp.
- Fallen Imps that get revived by Shaman do NOT give xp/loot, so try to kill off Shaman asap, or they just give u extra work for no reward.
- Walking while not killing is time wasted. General idea is to kill densely packed areas in each zone, do not go into every little corner to make sure you do a full clear, it's not efficient. There'll be more demons for you to slay when you remake game!
- Do not backtrack too much, i do a little backtracking in craters and keep2 if i see map hasnt been half cleared. if you back track more than 10 seconds, it's not worth it. Go to next area.
- Dont open normal chests/corpses/breakables, dont pick up blues. It's called Opportunity cost. Your time is better spent killing more mobs.
- Use flamers in Crater areas to trigger Scramble rune, if you use that.
[Tips on each specific zone]
Port in from waypoint. Make the run to complete the circle. You want to run it counter-clockwise, this way you can see if there is a pack near the exit area, so you dont have to run down there to check. You can shoot stuff from the ledge overlooking the mobs in exit area. Complete the circle, then go back to way point, or head up and goto backdoor of Crater 1.
Fairly straight forward, note there's a high chance of phase beast pack here, so if you cant handle them, avoid this area. For archon run, you want to get check point near Azmodan area, so you start your run here, and run backwards to waypoint, saving portal time. Not advisable for hardcore because you will get ambushed when you login and there's little area to run.
Start the run by using Portal to Stonefort and run backwards. Fairly straight forward, there are areas where you can take a 'long route' to kill more mobs. There are staircases where packs or globs of trash can hide, learn those areas, takes a second to check. Just dont side track too much.
Archon specific: right before stair case that lead to 'original entrance' is densely packed with mobs, good time to refresh your archon here.
Keep Depths 2
Start your run by using Portal to Keep Depth1 and walk to KD2 area. The trick to doing this zone is to find "the square" in the zone, after you complete "the square", run to a dead end, you covered 75% of map, end your run here.
HARDCORE ALERT: Hardcore folks might want to skip this area due to Exploding Fallens. I've seen so many people die in this area, take caution, don't mess around in this area, you've been warned!
start from regular entrance, purposely go away from exit route and find a deadend.
start from tower of damned entrance , go back to crater 1, go to another deadend.
start from regular entrance, go find exit(north'ish), then when you see Azmodan's head pop up, usually there's a fork here that leads you to exit and another to a dead end, back track a bit to find another deadend. Or just end here if you covered most of map.
crater 1 is slightly less dense than crater 2.
After you do enough of the crater zones, you start to recognize which paths lead to dead ends, and which lead to exit. For example, always go Right on initial split, the left is deadend. By finding exit, you covered most of map in Crater2.
Portal to Rakkis Crossing WP and run backwards. If you see Door open and man crawl out, there's pack inside. The Spyglass quest is worth doing ONLY if it's at end of run, because walking back down is waste of time, this purple mob has high drop slots(10) for a purple. And NO, it does not drop more Legends than usual.
Field of Slaughter
There are a lot of Ranged type monsters here and the dreaded Tremor pack. So if you cant handle this, skip this zone. Just make a tight circle, do NOT try to kill everything on the map, it'll just make your run less efficient.
Other notable areas:
- Back track from Crater2 WP into Heart of Damned, there's usually a pack here and/or gob. Might be dangerous to HC due to limited area to maneuver.
- Tower of Cursed WP, zone is kinda sparse in the middle, so just walk until u find first pack, usually near entrance, then TP out. There's usually a pack hidden in out of reach area in middle of map, you can scout out area from top ledge without actually walking there.
So how do I increase my xp per hr?
In order of effectiveness:
- Increase your dps. faster kill = faster runs = more xp.
- Get xp bonus items, leoric/hellfire ring on you and your follower, ruby gem in helm
- Pickup less stuff. id/sell sessions are very time consuming and inteferes with your xp session. When you stop picking up items/rares or even gold. Your runs will be MUCH faster, resulting in more xp.
- Increase your MP ONLY after you've done facerolling previous MP. Most people push up in MP and only end up hurting their xp/hr. Your optimal MP might very well be MP0.
General Pitfalls, these are the most common problems I see with people's runs.
- Refer to #1 rule, you should be constantly killing stuff. Most glaring mistake I see is people back track too much on their runs, or they tend to go into every little corner of the zone. When you back track, that means you're on 'idle' time, you're not killing stuff, thus less xp/items. Your route should be one straightline, covering most(but not all!) of the zone, with as little overlap as possible. Dont worry that you're 'missing out' on some of the zone, because when you start a new game, there'll be more stuff for you to kill!
- They pickup too many items.
- They tend to go kill a particular boss or breakable/lootable because they got a great item from it long ago. As your investment adviser would tell you, past performance does not guarantee future results!