Diablo® III

Getting clear on why items suck (long)

Regarding why people feel the AH is a design mistake - the drop rates, that is, the standardized Diablo 3 drop rates (overall) are based on an auction house trading system instead of the trade/barter system in Diablo 2. As such, just finding loot that is an upgrade for you is a real problem for people, and I'm talking even leveling up. The entire drop rate mechanism is designed to drive you into the AH at some point, which will vary depending on the player's tenacity/patience.

The problem here is not one of loot quality, but sufficient quantity, especially during leveling up, to find upgrades that actually feel like (and are) upgrades. Nephalem Valor is a royally misguided crutch, and only works for players at max level, which is the exact opposite of the way it needs to work (assuming we maintain D3's abysmal loot distribution scenario as is). In Diablo 2, rares were relatively...rare, and uniques, while rare were still found a whole freaking lot more than in Diablo 3.

During my level up process on my first Monk, I didn't find a single legendary until LV 53 in Hell. And of the few rares that did drop (remember, no NV until LV 60), only a single one was even an upgrade at the time.

There is also the problem of item relevancy even during leveling up. That is, most rares and legendaries are still ten levels past their relevancy at the location in the game where they drop. This is a big problem. Because of this, unless you buy the (also misguided) "Reduces Level Requirement by XX" items from the AH or farm them on a max level character of your own, you ultimately feel weaker as you level rather than stronger. That's one of the biggest letdowns in the entire game. Items that drop two full acts past where they're needed and useful for are utter garbage. This major problem is the main factor driving people to the AH system, because natural progression during leveling up happens so rarely that it just feels awful, and the sad part is that this is how the game was intentionally designed.


It would seem that our experiences diverge radically on this point. I played hardcore almost exclusively, which meant that I had to take a LOT of characters from 1 to 60. After a while I realized it was far more fun to do it without the auction house, and without using any gear stashed from previous characters. Yet in the many times I leveled to 60, not once did I ever have a problem finding appropriate loot myself. Despite playing in HC (where it's obviously much more important to have gear appropriate for what you're tackling) I did not have to rerun any areas to farm up or outlevel the content. Furthermore, as I mentioned with my softcore barbarian, I was able to get to the point of efficiently farming A3 inferno after a grand total of 20 hours without using the AH. I simply couldn't disagree more about quality loot dropping, so long as we define quality in terms of the ability for that loot to help you clear content.

In fact, I had far more difficulty self-finding appropriate loot in D2 than in D3. It was very challenging (albeit fun) getting through A1 hell on a hardcore character using only self-found loot without first farming nightmare bosses to a great extent in D2.

One very big issue with this game that could actually help remedy the issue of caps (and which I haven't heard any discussion of myself) is the issue of which affixes roll on which types of items.

Currently, items basically serve to fill up a certain slot with a good roll of the same things. Attack speed, crit, crit dmg, etc.

Well, why should I be looking for a chest armor that increases my attack speed? I have one, but why does even an set or unique chest piece improve my damage at all? It's a piece of armor. If its properties focused on different kinds of protection exclusively (with the exception of giving primary stats, perhaps) then it would actually feel like it was chosen to be a piece of armor and not a pseudo-weapon.

Same thing for pants. Why do my Inna's pants improve my attack speed and critical hit? (Granted they are the only ones that can and it's only a 1% crit chance, but you can bet that 1% crit chance combined with attack speed makes them a very popular item among many classes). They're pants. Even unique pants should focus on movement/armor.

The way I see it, we should have an itemization system that treats items not as placeholders for affixes but as actual items that do what they appear to. Here's a possible example schema:


You've articulated the proposed changes clearly, but you haven't explained exactly how this change would address the issues affecting itemization. If I'm not mistaken, you're suggesting this as an alternative to caps/sharp diminishing returns. What you're proposing would reduce the pool of potential affixes on each item slot. Presumably you have in mind the implementation of new affixes as well, albeit ones restricted to the appropriate item types in your layout. But it seems to me that there's still the fundamental issue of any new affixes having to compete with existing ones. e.g. any weapon will have to compete with Skorn's massive crit damage. My worry about your proposal is that it will put significant constraints on the design of new items (no offensive affixes allowed in defensive slots, no defensive affixes on weapons, etc.) without offering a clear improvement to itemization.
Edited by Saigyouji#1546 on 1/28/2013 5:26 PM PST
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It would seem that our experiences diverge radically on this point. I played hardcore almost exclusively, which meant that I had to take a LOT of characters from 1 to 60. After a while I realized it was far more fun to do it without the auction house, and without using any gear stashed from previous characters. Yet in the many times I leveled to 60, not once did I ever have a problem finding appropriate loot myself. Despite playing in HC (where it's obviously much more important to have gear appropriate for what you're tackling) I did not have to rerun any areas to farm up or outlevel the content. Furthermore, as I mentioned with my softcore barbarian, I was able to get to the point of efficiently farming A3 inferno after a grand total of 20 hours without using the AH. I simply couldn't disagree more about quality loot dropping, so long as we define quality in terms of the ability for that loot to help you clear content.

In fact, I had far more difficulty self-finding appropriate loot in D2 than in D3. It was very challenging (albeit fun) getting through A1 hell on a hardcore character using only self-found loot without first farming nightmare bosses to a great extent in D2.


To be fair to both points of view on this, they have actually fixed this problem.

It is absolutely possible to farm A3 without AH currently within a reasonable amount of time.

It was almost impossible to do this pre-1.04 (and probably pre-1.05) when inferno was less balanced.
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Disagree on your assessment on #1. 2 comments on that:
First, I'd like to know how long it takes you to find gear that will farm in mp5+. I'd really love to know how long it takes you to get said gear on any class other than barbarian.

Second, you are apparently extremely lucky, I have found nothing like the quality you seem or claim to have found without AH, and I've been farming mp1 a pretty long time now. Those items are great. So many multistat items with nice resists ... I wish i was farming that stuff in 20 hours, and I have 75 paragon MF on you!
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The core issue IMO is the game revolves around 3 stats.. All resist, Crit damage, and crit chance. Remove any of those out of any build in the game and it pretty much destroys it.

There isn't enough interesting or useful affixes (IE: 236 bleed damage over 12 seconds on an ilvl 63 item). There is not enough items out there or enough diversity in them. Class specific items do not guarantee the classes primary stat, and 99/100 will roll garbage. There is only 1-2 BiS items out there for every character/class/build which is why everybody looks the same. Weapon damage dependence. No skill tree/stat point allocation which would solve a lot of the problems with the useless items we find by actually being able to tailor our character to a specific build.

The list goes on and on and on. The primary 3 I mentioned are the culprits which you also mentioned as a critical issue in your post OP. There just isn't enough variety to deviate away.

The problems just compound on one another:

1. Games reliance on 3 stats which could be fixed if we had more useful stats..
2. We don't have useful stats but that could be fixed if we had more diverse gear
3. We don't have more diverse gear but that could be fixed if we had stat points
4. We don't have stat points, but we wouldn't need these if more affixes available
5. We don't have more affixes available, but that wouldn't matter if we had a skill tree
6. We don't have a skill tree, but we wouldn't need one if better gear dropped
7. We all know better gear isn't going to drop as long as the RMAH exists.

Kill the snake at the head.. take out the rmah.
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Very well said, OP. For the most part, you accurately identified many of the underlying problems to the overarching "itemization problem."

I disagree with your suggestion of capping stats. Rather than capping stats, the game needs to provide sufficient choices in stats to the player, which gives him or her the opportunity to gear out a character as he or she chooses.

Although most players recognize that there is a problem with itemization, they do not always agree on how or why there is a problem, as is evident in the OP. That's because the majority of "problems" with itemization are not actual problems, but are symptoms of a much bigger problem:

Character Stats. Players are pigeonholed into specific stats due to shallow game design. We stack our primary attribute for damage, and the rest into Vitality for survivability.
The problem stems from Blizzard's decision to make only one primary stat provide damage, while the other two stats provide insignificant defense. I argue that this is the underlying problem to every other itemization and character-customization issue in the game.

The solution requires a complete overhaul of the core Stat, Itemization and Skill mechanics in the game, which means that itemization will not be fixed until the Diablo 3 Expansion (provided that Blizzard actually recognizes there is a problem in the first place.)
Edited by Tommerbob#1808 on 1/29/2013 1:34 AM PST
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First, I'd like to know how long it takes you to find gear that will farm in mp5+. I'd really love to know how long it takes you to get said gear on any class other than barbarian.


MP5+? Quite a while, I would imagine. But if I could farm MP5 or higher after a short period of time, then I'd list excessive loot quality as one of the problems of this game. The higher MP levels are there for challenge, with intentionally disproportionate rewards (the rewards are intentionally made too low to be efficient compared to lower MP levels). There's no reason to expect to farm challenge-modes without a long time spent farming first. If you could, then that would be a defect in the game.

As for the other classes, I don't know - I actually went with the class I had the least familiarity with. I may rerun the experiment with another class, as that would also reduce the factor of luck involved in finding the items I did.

Second, you are apparently extremely lucky, I have found nothing like the quality you seem or claim to have found without AH, and I've been farming mp1 a pretty long time now. Those items are great. So many multistat items with nice resists ... I wish i was farming that stuff in 20 hours, and I have 75 paragon MF on you!


Which items are great? o_O

The only multistat + resist items I have are the boots (50 strength, no vit) and belt (no strength). I find it difficult to believe that you're not finding similar and better items, assuming you're not leaving rare items on the ground.

1. Games reliance on 3 stats which could be fixed if we had more useful stats..
2. We don't have useful stats but that could be fixed if we had more diverse gear
3. We don't have more diverse gear but that could be fixed if we had stat points
4. We don't have stat points, but we wouldn't need these if more affixes available
5. We don't have more affixes available, but that wouldn't matter if we had a skill tree
6. We don't have a skill tree, but we wouldn't need one if better gear dropped
7. We all know better gear isn't going to drop as long as the RMAH exists.

Kill the snake at the head.. take out the rmah.


I don't see how 3, 5 or 6 are true, and we know 7 is incorrect because the loot today is already massively improved from the loot at release. A few weeks after release my monk had a pair of Shenlong's weapons. Neither of them had more than 500 dps.

I disagree with your suggestion of capping stats. Rather than capping stats, the game needs to provide sufficient choices in stats to the player, which gives him or her the opportunity to gear out a character as he or she chooses.


The problem with just giving new options, is that they have to compete with existing ones. As I mentioned in the case of 2-handers, suppose they design new 2-handers with a variety of neat new affixes. Do they have massive crit damage on them? If so, then why use Skorn, when they have the same crit damage but also these new interesting affixes? If not, then why use them? The damage loss associated with 200% crit damage is overwhelming. Conversely, if some of the new affixes are as powerful as crit damage, then you'll "need" weapons that have both the new powerful affixes and crit damage (this would also result in massive power creep). Caps are just one way of addressing these barriers to implementing new, viable, meaningful affixes without running into these issues.

Character Stats. Players are pigeonholed into specific stats due to shallow game design. We stack our primary attribute for damage, and the rest into Vitality for survivability.
The problem stems from Blizzard's decision to make only one primary stat provide damage, while the other two stats provide insignificant defense. I argue that this is the underlying problem to every other itemization and character-customization issue in the game.


Could you elaborate on this? I'm just not seeing how any major problems stem from it. Even if all three primary attributes gave equivalent damage for every class, I don't see anything being addressed by this.

The solution requires a complete overhaul of the core Stat, Itemization and Skill mechanics in the game, which means that itemization will not be fixed until the Diablo 3 Expansion (provided that Blizzard actually recognizes there is a problem in the first place.)


Unfortunately I don't see this being feasible even for an expansion. I think we're stuck, for better or worse, with the base attribute system that we have for the lifespan of Diablo 3. Fundamentally overhauling basic systems like this would effectively destroy peoples' characters, and I just don't see them going that far with it.
Edited by Saigyouji#1546 on 1/29/2013 5:59 AM PST
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01/26/2013 11:06 AMPosted by Saigyouji
His gear would be called complete and utter garbage by anyone who complains about loot quality, yet it's good enough for farming a difficulty that was designed specifically to be an extreme challenge.


People were rolling over inferno WEEK 1 after the game came out, and since then inferno has been nerfed about 5 times in various patches. Current MP10 is a joke compared to inferno at release.

Thought I'd mention that, since this game isn't about challenges. It's about killing stuff and having fun.
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I like #5. Gearing for resistance on every item is not fun. I liked it in Diablo 1 where you could get 2 Obsidian rings and be done with resists.
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My rather detailed take on how to make loot more interesting:

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/7593582639

This is something I don't think I've ever seen mentioned, yet may be one of the biggest underlying problems with the loot system in D3. You can't get enough of crit damage, crit chance, attack speed, your primary stat, vit, all resistance, or armor. Or pretty much any stat (one of the only exceptions is increased gold/health globe radius). What this means is that if a single item for a given item slot (e.g. inna's pants for leggings) rolls a certain affix, let's say attack speed, then every single other item ever designed or rolled for leggings has to compete with attack speed. Every single 2-hander ever rolled or designed has to compete with the crit damage of skorn. Let's look at D2. Everybody wants resistances. Everybody wants attack speed (or cast speed, if a caster). BUT those are only effective to a cap. Resistances have a hard cap of 75. Attack/cast speed has breakpoints, and is only effective up to a point. In fact, almost all stats in D2 are like this. What this means, crucially, is that you only need enough of your items to have those stats as is needed up to cap. In D2, resistance was very common in large amounts on shields. If stats were like D3, then shields with no resistances would see very little use. But because of the hard cap, you can get all the resistance you need from other item slots or skills. Thus if you find an awesome new shield that has no resistances, it isn't automatically garbage.


This is the biggest flaw of your post. You want the old caps back and this is just a horrible idea. Caps still narrow you down into a destinct path. Let's think of the most simple cap in D2: Cannot be frozen. Either you had it and you didn't even notice it anymore or you didn't have it and felt useless. This is the most simply 0/1 cap of the game and the most restricting one. You HAD to build one item that filled this cap, just like you HAD to build fcr and fhr. It wasn't an option, it was obligatory. D3 moved away from the simply capping system for a reason. Resistances for example: Going from 0% to 10% resistance wasn't even noticable but going from 70% to 80% reduced the damage taken by 33%! The more you have the stronger it got. This wasn't allowing options. This didn't increase the amount of choices yuo had. It simply set a frame you had to work inside. The only thing it alloed was chosing on which itemslot you had what attribute. Do you want the cannot be frozen on your ring or your chest? THAT was the only choice you had. Not having it was not an option.
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This is a common complaint, and one I think is correct. Aside from making items more homogenized, it also greatly reduces the pool of potentially viable items. There are obvious ways in which it does this: a weapon that rolls no damage affixes and thus has only 200 dps is not going to be viable. Period. (There actually might be exactly one exception when it comes to barbarian off-hands, but the point stands). This is in stark contrast with D2 where item damage was important but didn't decide an item's worth. Not only did casters make use of lower damage items, but item damage wasn't even decisive for melee characters. An Azurewrath had significantly less DPS on it than, say, a breath of the dying berserker axe, yet a zeal/fanaticism paladin would actually clear more efficiently with an Azurewrath. This is because the 250-500 cold damage and 250-500 magic damage (stats which didn't affect skill damage in D2, unlike in D3) meant that this weapon would be highly effective even against enemies that were highly resistant to physical damage. But in D3, Azurewrath has low base DPS so it's garbage, every time (except maybe for Kormac). There are other ways low damage weapons can be highly effective as well, such as through crushing blow, which did damage independent of your character's stats.


This exists in the same way in D3. Items do give these +500 cold damage. The only difference is that it scales. In the end it comes down to one item scaling better with attackspeed than the other. And this can be introduced in D3 after crit damage has been nerfed in 1.1.
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Oh one of the biggest problems with this game:

Blizzards fear of nerfing things.

Double tornado barbs, CM Wizards, Monks serenity, overawe, thunderclap (I'm playing a monk), crit and crit dmg are all things that neeeeeed to be rebalanced because they don't have any downsides but Blzzard is scared to do so because these things are to popular at the moment. Blzzard can not let this game rot away just because a few people might get butthurt when they fix their op stuff. In the end it would increase the variety and potential of the game.
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This exists in the same way in D3. Items do give these +500 cold damage. The only difference is that it scales. In the end it comes down to one item scaling better with attackspeed than the other. And this can be introduced in D3 after crit damage has been nerfed in 1.1.


Two differences actually. One is that it contributes to weapon damage, the other is that all damage types are functionally equivalent. The fact that you did less overall on-paper DPS with azurewrath than BotD was compensated by the fact that you did more actual damage against targets that are cold resistant. This dynamic is completely missing in D3.

This is the biggest flaw of your post. You want the old caps back and this is just a horrible idea. Caps still narrow you down into a destinct path. Let's think of the most simple cap in D2: Cannot be frozen. Either you had it and you didn't even notice it anymore or you didn't have it and felt useless. This is the most simply 0/1 cap of the game and the most restricting one. You HAD to build one item that filled this cap, just like you HAD to build fcr and fhr. It wasn't an option, it was obligatory. D3 moved away from the simply capping system for a reason. Resistances for example: Going from 0% to 10% resistance wasn't even noticable but going from 70% to 80% reduced the damage taken by 33%! The more you have the stronger it got. This wasn't allowing options. This didn't increase the amount of choices yuo had. It simply set a frame you had to work inside. The only thing it alloed was chosing on which itemslot you had what attribute. Do you want the cannot be frozen on your ring or your chest? THAT was the only choice you had. Not having it was not an option.


Actually I don't explicitly endorse caps. My main purpose here is to figure out what exactly the itemization issues in D3 are. In comparing the situation in D3 to D2, it's clear that the difference in why we stack resistance on every defensive slot in D3 but not D2 is because of caps. The problem is the lack of meaningful choice on items, and the fact that every single (for example) chest piece without resistance has to compete with a similar chest piece WITH resistance. Whether this is addressed via caps or via some other way, I'm not particularly concerned. I just think that this is a severe issue affecting itemization.

Having said that, I think your reasoning concerning caps in D2 is flawed. Cannot be frozen was not a mandatory mod in D2. Most enemies did not deal cold damage, and some characters were less troubled by the cold snare than others (zeal paladin vs summoner necro, for example). So I strongly disagree that the only choice was where to put that mod. More importantly, however, caps have nothing to do with stats being mandatory. If you're a barb, is strength an optional stat in D3? Or if you want to be powerful, can you ignore crit chance/damage? How about neglecting vitality and resistances? This isn't about caps. In both games, there are stats you definitely want. The difference is that in D2, an item lacking these mandatory stats isn't automatically inferior the way it is in D3. All 2-handers in D3 have to compare with Skorn, which can roll with 200% crit damage.

Oh one of the biggest problems with this game:

Blizzards fear of nerfing things.

Double tornado barbs, CM Wizards, Monks serenity, overawe, thunderclap (I'm playing a monk), crit and crit dmg are all things that neeeeeed to be rebalanced because they don't have any downsides but Blzzard is scared to do so because these things are to popular at the moment. Blzzard can not let this game rot away just because a few people might get butthurt when they fix their op stuff. In the end it would increase the variety and potential of the game.


Then why wasn't this a problem in D2? Were hammerdins balanced?
Edited by Saigyouji#1546 on 1/29/2013 7:55 AM PST
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Game is turning into D2 were you will be forced to buy your items and gold.As far as items dropping run after run after run yep i remember those days in d2 i tell ya i never got crap in that game.Blizzard why do you think everyone in your game has no life i would love some awsume drops but i am not gona grind my eyes out.
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01/29/2013 08:04 AMPosted by DamageInc
No responses? Would think people would object to my claim that neither the AH nor the quality of item drops are relevant to why the item game in D3 is bad.

Your Barbarians gear is crap. That's an objective fact. Your " argument" is not sound.


If I can efficiently farm A3 inferno with crap gear, then lack of power on dropped loot is not an issue.
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01/26/2013 12:46 PMPosted by Saigyouji
No responses? Would think people would object to my claim that neither the AH nor the quality of item drops are relevant to why the item game in D3 is bad.

well, the games kinda 8-9 months old. And the issue about "loot" has been mentioned countless times by now. People are somewhat tired of repeating the same old stuff over and over again.

Though I dont know if we can be so sure that the AH never played some consideration in the loot and itemisation of the game. I do belive that the AH, both gold and real money was a heavy topic during the development of Diablo 3. And I do have the feeling that all future decisions will depend as well someone on the AH. And it is somewhat understandable. Its not like Blizzard didnt tried to protect the economy in previous Diablo games either. Even thogh I believe its a fight they cant win. To balance some economy or even keep "cheaters" and "criminals" out doesnt even work always in the real world. Why should Blizzard manage to suddenly come up with a system that has no flaws and works perfectly? Of course that doesnt mean they should not try it. But still, botters, dupers, scamers etc. WILL take over at some point, just as how they did in D2. Not to mention if you ask some, the economy IS already broken (and I somewhat agree).

When you talk about items though, then I really dont think its good that the game is working in a way where the really good upgrades cost billions of gold, which means a large part of the playerbase has pretty much zero chances of reaching that content. Now you say "why should they?". Well. Because its part of the game. Sure making it difficult to reach is one thing. But it is not good to make it almost IMPOSSIBLE to reach the content but POSSIBLE to BUY it with real money (if you have enough of it ...). If F2P games teached us one thing then then that people in general are not satisfied with such a concept.

As long as the "economy" is such a huge factor in an ITEM BASED game people will feel frustrated because the goal is how to get a lot of gold in a very short time,
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01/29/2013 06:05 AMPosted by TianZi
His gear would be called complete and utter garbage by anyone who complains about loot quality, yet it's good enough for farming a difficulty that was designed specifically to be an extreme challenge.


People were rolling over inferno WEEK 1 after the game came out, and since then inferno has been nerfed about 5 times in various patches. Current MP10 is a joke compared to inferno at release.

Thought I'd mention that, since this game isn't about challenges. It's about killing stuff and having fun.


People were rolling over Inferno by DHs using Smokescreen that's about it.
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01/29/2013 08:16 AMPosted by Saigyouji

Your Barbarians gear is crap. That's an objective fact. Your " argument" is not sound.


If I can efficiently farm A3 inferno with crap gear, then lack of power on dropped loot is not an issue.


I doubt that you are efficiently farming even mp0 with that build.
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I doubt that you are efficiently farming even mp0 with that build.


Champion packs take 10-20 seconds to kill, which is what I consider efficient.

When you talk about items though, then I really dont think its good that the game is working in a way where the really good upgrades cost billions of gold, which means a large part of the playerbase has pretty much zero chances of reaching that content. Now you say "why should they?". Well. Because its part of the game. Sure making it difficult to reach is one thing. But it is not good to make it almost IMPOSSIBLE to reach the content but POSSIBLE to BUY it with real money (if you have enough of it ...). If F2P games teached us one thing then then that people in general are not satisfied with such a concept.


The upgrades that cost literally billions of gold are not needed to tackle any content in the game. I don't see why it's bad that there are items so rare that the people with the most gold in the game are willing to pay billions for them.
Edited by Saigyouji#1546 on 1/29/2013 8:27 AM PST
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01/29/2013 08:25 AMPosted by Saigyouji
I doubt that you are efficiently farming even mp0 with that build.


Champion packs take 10-20 seconds to kill, which is what I consider efficient.


with 20k dps, suuuuure.
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