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DiabloJul 23, 2021 3:00 pm CT

How to get started with Diablo 3 Season 24, now live

Diablo 3 Season 24

The new Season’s start is one of my favorite times of the year. It’s like a mini gamer holiday for Diablo 3 players. I spend the time between Seasons cleaning up my stash (ugh), enjoying my newly increased Paragon numbers, and generally trying to push the limits that much more. But I also do my prep homework because I want to have everything together come 5:00 p.m. Pacific (or earlier, if you play in the Europe or Asia regions). And since the season starts this Friday, we’re all running out of prep time.

Whether you’re at that bleeding edge start line or kicking off your Season weeks later, here are some things you can do to make sure your Season 24 kicks off as cleanly as possible.

How to choose your class

Class choice is a particular beastie. Some people have their favorites that they play every Season and could not care less about how they may have changed at the patch. Some are looking to kick butt and take names and want to optimize from the get-go. And some fall in between those two extremes. I tested the waters of Seasonal play in Season 10 and never looked back. I know what I like to play, but I also want that initial grind to go pretty quickly. So here are a few factors to consider when selecting a class:

  • What are your goals? Do you want to farm as many Death’s Breaths as possible, be the top solo Crusader with your build, group with your friends to run Greater Rifts every weekend, or maybe make the leaderboards for Conquests? Whatever your goals, they can have a significant impact on your first steps in the new Season.
  • What are the Starter Sets for the Season? Class sets are effectively on a rotation per Season, so even before the announcement, you can do a quick search online and put forward a solid guess as to what will be available.
  • What set build ticks most of your boxes? Let’s say you want to start off playing solo in Hardcore mode (go you!). Survivability is likely your top requirement for both build and playstyle, so that you may look for a class with more defensive skills. Knowing how you want to play is just as important as knowing what you want to do.

From here, you can order the class list in your brain, farm through YouTube videos, or make a spreadsheet. Guess which one I do? (Hint: it’s all of them.)

In my spreadsheet, I rank different facets for each class from 1 (lowest) to 7 (highest) to get an idea of what may work best for me. I have played every class at this point, so I understand what I enjoy playing, and ordering things gives me a starting point to consider. Next, I consider the starting sets from Haedrig’s Gift (and the associated builds), the strongest and most useful builds for the Season, and what classes I have the most fun playing.

Once I have a rough idea of my thoughts, I hit YouTube to see where other folks are leaning. Many streamers and YouTubers analyze classes/builds as part of their living, and they are brilliant people. I check out their feedback for what builds they tested and add that to my spreadsheet. Their opinions add another data point for me to consider. The whole process is another way I engage my mind with the game.

Strong class options for Season 24

After weighing all the options, it’s time to make a choice, and the sets each class gets this Season could play into it.

I’ve said it before; I consider a few factors, and the top of my list is not necessarily what I play. Here’s a look into my thought process looks like across all 7 classes:

  • Barbarians continue to be a reliable choice in Season 24, and no, Rossi did not pay me to say that. The Immortal King’s Call starting set boosts Call of the Ancients and Wrath of the Berserker, using Hammer of the Ancients as the notable damage dealing skill of the typical build. While it’s not the strongest of all Barbarian builds, it will definitely get you out of the gates as you farm your preferred gear.
  • The Crusader is also an ideal class if you want to get up close and personal while demolishing the forces of Hell. The Seeker of the Light starting set and the associated Blessed Hammer build tend to be a throwback to the D2 Paladin experience. The set bonuses focus around the Falling Hammer ability, which is taken off cooldown faster by your use of Blessed Hammer. It’s also not the strongest Crusader build, but it’ll stick out your gleeful smashing of demonic hordes.
  • The Demon Hunter provides our ranged friends with a fantastic starting option in the Natalya’s Vengeance set. While the set bonuses boost Rain of Vengeance, the build’s power lies more in its use of the Rapid Fire skill and can see you through the entirety of your Season’s Journey. As always, if you get bored, you can switch over to the Gears of the Dreadlands set that made the last three seasons a wild, spinny ride.
  • Monks get a different experience this season with their Uliana’s Stratagem starting set, as the set saw tweaks as part of patch 2.6.9. The associated build leverages the skills Exploding Palm and Seven-Sided Strike being boosted by the set’s bonuses. It will definitely get you started on your Season’s journey but remains the lower-powered sibling to the Patterns of Justice set.
  • Our first caster on the list, the Necromancer, is my “old faithful” class in the past, and I spent Season 22 darting around cheerfully shooting Bone Spears at pretty much anyone in my path. Their S24 starting set, Trag’Oul’s Avatar, focuses entirely on boosting life-based skills, i.e. — abilities that use your character’s life to boost their power. Definitely not my strongest suit, but pretty fun when combined with the Grasps of Essense and Corpse Explode. As with last season, I’m more likely to deploy a Gem of Ease and farm up the Masquerade set.
  • The Witch Doctor‘s Spirit of Arachyr starter set merits some strong consideration on my side for one reason: Firebats. I’m terrified of spiders, so the permanent spider queen summoned by the 2-piece set bonus makes my skin crawl, but come on — how can you say no to burning down your demonic enemies with a literal swirl of bats? For this, I may be able to disregard the giant spider.
  • Our final caster, the Wizard, is near the top of my list for Season 24. The Vyr’s Amazing Arcana starting set has one of my absolute favorite builds, focusing around the Archon skill. Sadly, you need to build up the entire gear set (including your Chantodo’s wand and source) as well as some hefty cooldown reduction before it shines. However, once you pull all the pieces together, watch out! You’ll be melting faces in no time.

Personally, I’m probably going with a Demon Hunter as my starting class! Since this is one of the rare seasons where I’ll create all seven to get my Ethereal Feat of Strength, I want the quickest start possible. And don’t forget: Unless you want to push the tops of the leaderboards, you can move on from your starting choice. You always have the option to get to 70, grind Greater Rifts for a Gem of Ease to add to a level-70 weapon, and power-level another class!

Once you’ve made a new character, run a Challenge Rift

Hurray! You figured out your class and are ready to go when the Season starts! There is a reliable way to give yourself a leg up on your Season: the weekly Challenge Rift.

Completing the week’s Challenge Rift grants you a cache full of resources to get your Season started; however, heed these critical caveats, or you won’t be able to claim the reward on your new character:

  1. You have to have completed a Greater Rift in your region. If you are a brand new player, this trick won’t work for you.
  2. You have to create your Seasonal character and log in to that character before you complete the rift.
  3. You need to wait until the Season starts before completing the Challenge Rift.

Trust me; it’s worth the wait to boost your start-off. The Challenge Rift cache drops:

  • 35 Death’s Breaths
  • 475 Blood Shards
  • 5,100,00 Gold
  • 125 Veiled Crystals
  • 350 Arcane Dust
  • 375 Reusable Parts
  • 15 of each Act’s bounty crafting materials —  Khanduran Runes, Caldeum Nightshade, Arreat War Tapestries, Corrupted Angel Flesh, and Westmarch Holy Water

Once you complete the Challenge Rift, log back in on your Seasonal character in Adventure Mode. Start on a greater difficulty if you’re comfortable with raised difficulty, as you will get a nice increase to experience. With the gold from the challenge rift (and 1 Death’s Breath apiece), you can max level both the Blacksmith and the Mystic, which also knocks out two of the Season’s Chapter 1 requirements. Finally, spend the blood shards at Kadala for gear roulette based on your class (and another Season requirement in Chapter 3); you can see what is available for your class at level 1 on D3 Planner.

Kick-start your Season 24 leveling

There are a few more things you can do to give your Seasonal Character a strong start. I use various YouTube leveling guides as the starting point for the method that I have described. Follow what I set out, check out other Season starter build videos on YouTube, or ignore all of it and go gangbusters in your own way! It is a game, after all.

This is how my typical Season start plays out:

  • Play in Adventure Mode. I always start in Adventure Mode; while I enjoy the story in D3, it doesn’t bring anything to the Season. (Plus, it lets you dive straight into bounties for big rewards.)
  • Don’t forget the follower. Hire a follower — Enchantress, Scoundrel, or Templar — to lend a hand as you go, especially since the follower system revamp.
  • Upgrade your weapon. Hit the merchants to get an upgraded weapon. Some recommend grabbing the weapon from one of your followers; you can do this, but the merchants may have better options, and you have the gold from your challenge cache. Live a little!
  • Get Kanai’s Cube. Go straight to grab Kanai’s Cube (after talking to the spirit of Zoltan Kulle in town) from the Ruins of Sescheron in Act 3. You will need it for the next steps.
  • Extract a power for Kanai’s Cube. From there, your biggest priority as you level up is to stay on top of upgrading your weapon. First, use the challenge cache materials to craft a level 70 rare weapon for your class and upgrade it to legendary with Kanai’s Cube using Recipe 3 (Hope of Cain). Next, use Recipe 1 (Archive of Tal Rasha) to extract the legendary power and equip it in your Kanai’s Cube. A boosted ability is yours, right from the onset!

Remember to check back with your Blacksmith every 5-10 levels. You will be able to craft a new weapon for yourself with an impressive damage boost: two-handed items are your best bet on this front.

Easy leveling for solo players

There is a known optimal path for leveling in Season — burning through Nephalem rifts in a 4-person group. As a solo player, I’ll usually deviate from the optimal party method and level up with the following strategy:

  • After getting Kanai’s Cube, run a Nephalem rift (or two) to hit level 10.
  • Go to Act 1 to kill Leoric for his crown. From here to 70, equip the highest level ruby gem you have handy for an impressive XP boost. (Thank you, andreios!)
  • After checking the Season Journey, run the Act 1 bounties to see how much progress I can make in Chapter 1! If this doesn’t get you to level 20, knock out a Nephalem Rift.
  • Go to Act 2 to complete the bounty quests, then rifts to 30.
  • Rinse and repeat across all 5 acts.

This may not be the optimal path, but by level 60, I’ve completed most of Chapter 1 through 3’s requirements in the Season Journey. If you want to increase the experience boost you’re receiving, try increasing the difficulty every 10 or 20 levels. Before you know it, you’ll have all four chapters completed and your full set from Haedrig.

Don’t forget out-of-game gaming session prep!

Video games are immersive. Some top-tier players grind the first 24-48 hours of the Season to secure their leaderboard ranking. But, don’t forget — you still need to take care of yourself during your Diablo binge! Here are some tips to make the most of your Season start:

  • Hydrate. Water is your friend. If straight water is not for you, try adding lemon, cucumber, or mint. Decaf tea and sparkling water are also alternatives to consider.
  • Prep snacks. For me, this means going to the grocery store and getting some fruit, baby carrots, and peanut M&Ms, but now I have a fantastic source of recipes right here on Blizzard Watch (more below)! Just make it something easy to munch on while playing (breaks for meals are good too).
  • Move around. You don’t need to hit the gym for an hour; that may not be your thing. But it’s still important to stand up every so often. Changing positions makes it easier to play for long stretches. Bonus points if you go outside!
  • Sleep. Yes, even if burning through the first 48 hours with your team. If you are 100% committed to that level of play, clear your Sunday for a stretch of sleep.

We really lucked out in that Blizzard Watch has acquired writer Rob Flanagan for all things delicious, so if you’re looking for some magnificent munchies to accompany your weekend leveling binge, enjoy the treats below!

Final thoughts

I approach the game from a solo casual perspective. I actually met my usual Season goal of Paragon 1,000/GR 100 solo in Season 21 but fell extremely short in Season 22 and got the GR100 in Season 23 no problem (even with sub-1000 paragon!). My goal for Season 24 is to enjoy myself and, of course, get me a creepy mummy pet! Regardless of your goals — GR100 on the first day, by the end of the season, or even never — have fun and be good to yourself. See you in Sanctuary!

Updated 7/23/2021

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