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In-depth look At Mihoyo's History, misconception about Gacha gaming industry, and Genshin Impact's future

Hi all, I see there is a lot of anger and anxiety toward Genshin Impact due to the wide audience it brought to the table, as well as a lot of misconceptions about the gacha gaming industry. I am 40 years old and have been gaming for over 30 years. I have 300+ DAYS /played in World of Warcraft and recently, over 1000 hours in Path of Exile with popular build guides with hundreds of replies. I also have played just about every major hit of every era on every platform. I really want to tell you who Mihoyo really is, how the gacha gaming industry works, and what Genshin Impact's future looks like.
Mihoyo's History
In 2011, three college students from Shanghai Jiao Tong University (comparable to Cornell in America) released their first game, FlyMe2TheMoon. When they graduated in 2013, they used their own money to make the first Honkai game (released as Zombiegal Kawaii overseas). This game allowed players to farm gold coins to buy all weapons and gear, only spend real money to speed up progress and came with glorious two players co-op way ahead of other mobile games at the time. At end of the day, players just didn't pay money for it. When they took it to investors, they were laughed at and ridiculed by everyone. Nobody is going to pay money for this silly anime stuff! You guys don't know how to monetize a game! Both of these games are still available on App Store, feel free to download them to check them out!
In 2014, on the verge of bankruptcy, the team learned monetization model from Puzzles & Dragons, the first-ever mobile game to break a billion dollars, and released Honkai 2 with the same art style and gameplay. The biggest change was moving to the gacha model. The game became a top-10 grossing title in China, released to overseas market as Guns GirlZ - Mirage Cabin and Guns Girl - Honkai Gakuen. Mihoyo the company was born. Today, Mihoyo has over 1000 employees and pays them more money than titans like Tencent and Netease, and runs their office in the ultra-expensive heart of Shanghai business district. Despite Genshin Impact's smashing global success and player's thirst for more content, they gave many of their employees a full 8 days break, standard with the 10/01 Chinese national holiday, for the historic job they did with the global launch. They understand it is a marathon, not a sprint.
For Mihoyo, the most important metric for their title will always be LIFETIME REVENUE, and they do not abandon their titles. All of them are still available. Honkai 2 is still getting content updates six years after release, even if the game itself is nothing more than a piece of history for them at this point. Honkai Impact 3 hit an all-time high revenue month this year, still makes a few hundred million dollars a year in China/Japan, three years after release, and Mihoyo took every dollar they made and spent an unprecedented 100 million dollars on a mobile game we know as Genshin Impact. You can count on Mihoyo to treat its most ambitious title ever with love and care, but you must remember they will always prioritize LIFETIME REVENUE over any other metric, which is what successful companies do because it is the only way to make the product best in class.
Fate Grand Order - Genshin Impact's TRUE inspiration
In 2015, Fate Grand Order was released as a turn-based mobile JRPG, the first six months it scored just $100 million dollars, and was on the verge of sinking into irrelevance. Five years later, the game grossed 4 billion dollars and became the most successful PVE game on any platform since GTA 5. How did it happen?
Many say it is the fate IP, but the truth is fate's IP is nothing special in a sea of big IPs trying to make a splash in mobile and failed miserably, just ask Nintendo how their two Mario games performed, or Square about their countless Final Fantasy mobile games. 80% of the billion-dollar games on mobile are actually brand new IP's.
The biggest challenge for every PVE game-as-a-service is monetization. PVP games like League of Legends and Fortnite do not need huge content updates to stay fresh and can maintain much higher daily active user counts to sell cosmetics, make $5 per player, and still hit a monster year. Monetizing PVE games is much harder. Players simply run out of things to do and quit the game, no matter how quickly you can produce content. Games like Path of Exile and Warframe struggle to break 100 million a year in revenue.
PVP gacha games like Summoners War and AFK Arena can rely on whales dueling each other to force meta changes, and they grew into billion-dollar franchises in their own right. But Fate Grand Order had a different idea in mind, what if you design amazing characters that are truly desirable, and price them at a low gacha rate so it takes thousands of dollars for rich players to max out their box by pulling multiple copies? You are never going to have the player base of a Candy Crush, let's try to maximize our revenue ceiling from whales instead, and make players emotionally attach to their characters because they are so well designed. The rest was history.
While there are indeed many generous gacha games like Granblue Fantasy, Azur Lane, Dragalia Lost, etc, none of them are in Fate Grand Order's tier if you look at their annual numbers, not even in the same ballpark. Other multi-billion dollar franchises like Puzzles and Dragons, Monster Strike also follow the same concept of greatly increasing the limit of what a whale can spend on a PVE game to max out a character. And yes, we are talking about providing strong benefits for getting multiple copies of the same character.
The numbers have proved time and time again, that maximizing whale spending in a PVE game is far more revenue than maximizing the number of monthly card players.
Genshin Impact's Target Audience
Any product that tries to be everything for everyone is doomed to fail. Mihoyo has very clear audiences in mind:
  • Players who love anime graphic and ARPG, there is simply no AAA game out there in this genre. Tales series, Xenoblade, etc. are all low budget, low sales games. Granblue Relink is single platform and dead on arrival. There is no dominant franchise at all.
  • Players who love Zelda's open-world exploration and environment interaction, but hate the difficult puzzles and survival/weapon durability/ammo aspect, and want constant content updates. Hey, a co-op mode with a real RPG system sounds amazing!
  • Mobile players who want more than a simple game like Fate Grand Order. They want to do dailies during commute and don't mind doing harder content on PC/console. The game needs to look good on a big screen at home. They don't want to learn/maintain two different PVE games given how time-consuming these games are.
  • Players who retired from MMORPG/ARPG's due to real-life commitments. Many of us who played World of Warcraft have kids now, and the outdated graphics, 20 buttons skill bar, the social requirements for raids . . . it is just too much to keep up. We want a simpler game that looks good and takes far less time to learn and play.
And let's just say they hit it out of the park with the greatest launch in gaming history. Never before a game hit PC/PS4/iOS/Android with cross-play on day one in 100 countries, 13 text language and 4 fully voiced languages, never before a game hit top 5 grossing in China/Japan/US/Korea at the same time, I don't even recall a marketing campaign did so well across so many drastically different regions and cultures. The AAA graphics, sound, incredible polish, you don't need me to tell you why this game is amazing. But from the competition's standpoint, the launch itself was like watching a bronze player climb to grandmaster overnight, and the game's biggest strength. Far bigger companies, franchises, do not dare to even think about launching a game at this scale. Mihoyo released the failed Honkai 1 overseas when the company was on the verge of collapsing, they always punched way above their weight when it comes to global releases.
Make no mistakes about it, this was never meant to be a single-player AAA game or a direct Diablo 3 / Path of Exile / Warframe competitor. It was meant to be a game that converts PC/console players to gacha gamers, by casting a wider net than any mobile game ever. They only need a small percentage of PC and console players to change their behaviors. The rest of them can play for free or leave and it won't hurt them at all. The monthly card is designed as a super good deal (look, WAY cheaper than World of Warcraft $15 per month) to get PC/console players to spend for the first time ever, breaks down their "why pay for a free game" defense. Once they pay once, the pity 5 star is always just a few dozen more pulls away, let me buy another pack! Before you know it, monthly cards are converted to dolphins, dolphins are converted to whales. It is by far the strongest business model for a PVE game today, and people who are new to the genre won't know what hit them.
Genshin Impact has an excellent chance to end Fate Grand Order's reign as the #1 most successful PVE game on any platform since 2016, by the virtue of being on every platform, and the same version across all regions.
LIFETIME REVENUE = Active Player Base * Spend Per Player * Longevity
For every game as a service, balancing these three variables is an incredibly difficult task. Can Mihoyo increase the rate on an event (like Cy Games gala events), put up a Diluc banner, and greatly increase spend per player? Yes, but they will provide less reason for people to pull on other days and lose out on long term revenue.
Likewise, the resin limitation is to prevent even whales from maxing out their characters and moving onto other games, that is why they have a hard limit on resin refill. Player progression is meticulously controlled to ensure content can keep up. A huge part of internal testing is to test how quickly a player of each spending level can go through content. Two-day, three-day, seven-day, and thirty-day player retention are critical metrics to F2P mobile games, you will always lose a huge number of players during these transitional phases. These are tried and true methods in gacha gaming to preserve the maximum number of players over the long haul. It is basically a much more advanced progression control than say, World of Warcraft's weekly raid lock outs. You have to FORCE your players to take breaks, or you will lose them way faster than you can churn out new content.
All four dailies, spend resins, and open-world exploration for crafting/ascension materials, a couple of chests/quest you missed, that is a health 60 minutes of gameplay. Gacha games provide resources for the next pull on every daily, every quest, every event. Getting a five star is a better feeling than getting any item drop in MMORPG/ARPG. Gacha games have a much stronger hold on its players because of this addiction, you are always very close to the next pull! Genshin Impact takes it a step further to actually encourage you to do single pulls over ten pulls. Over time resources will inevitably be loosened up as more contents are released, and daily quests and slowed down progression is there to keep you playing.
Behind the scenes, there is an ultra-complex data model that works tirelessly to balance all three variables. Looking at Mihoyo's track record with Honkai Impact 3, they know what they are doing to maximize LIFETIME REVENUE. With every gacha game like this, the developer has a price point they need to hit on a five star, then based on the competition they usually adjust the price significantly higher than what they consider to be acceptable. Whether it is gacha rate or stamina, once you reduce the price, you can never, ever increase it again. Start high and drop it when you need to is a much better strategy, and players think you listened to their feedback, win-win! If the daily active user doesn't drop while you keep the price high, why lower the price? The developer and player are always in a tug of war, with the developer testing player's limit on what is acceptable. It is just like how Apple kept iPhone with 2GB of memory and tiny screen size for a very long time because they are looking at the overall LIFETIME REVENUE, not because they didn't know their product needed these features.
Genshin Impact is priced at a premium because it has no competition, just like how Apple iPhones were priced at an ultra-premium when it first came out. Over time, prices will drop, resources will come easier, but until there is a real competitor, they do not need to care what lesser gacha games do. Do you think KeQing should be priced the same as a gacha character with PS1 graphics?
Genshin Impact's Future
100 million dollars estimate from Sensor Tower in two weeks does not include PC, PS4 and Chinese Android. Chinese Android revenue has been 1.8 times of China iOS for Honkai 3, many in the Chinese gaming industry speculate the true global revenue number of Genshin Impact is easily double of what Sensor Tower shows. Mihoyo is a private company and it fired one of the employees who bragged about the 09/15 China PC numbers, which was 10 million dollars, so we will never know the exact figures unless they go public. Don't expect Mihoyo to ever share revenue/player base numbers, that is just not how they operate.
There is no way the game can continue the 100 million dollars a week pace, that is 5 billion dollars a year, so for haters out there, you will see a massive decline in the player base between content updates, you will see the game falling out of top 10 grossing, you will get your "I told you so" moments when the weekly revenue drops by 50-70%. It is perfectly normal for gacha games between banners, and what Gensin Impact is doing is completely unsustainable. This is called filtering out users and building a stable player base.
However, even with the inevitable massive decline, this is a game destined to be a multi-billion dollar franchise. I personally give it a very conservative estimate of two billion dollars in three years. It will easily outperform the likes of BOTW, Cyberpunk 2077, etc. by the end of the first year in terms of the player base, hours played, and revenue. It will take money away from all other gacha games and force other developers to step up their game. It will take money away from long-standing multi-billion dollar PC PVE franchises like Dungeon Fighter Online, and to a lesser degree, MMORPG's like FF14. It will encourage companies to play with bigger budgets and provide PC/console releases for bigger mobile releases like Diablo Immortal, instead of relying on emulators. It will even change the monetization model for western F2P games. Iksar, lead designer of Hearthstone has been playing Genshin Impact since release. Imagine if Hearthstone didn't allow you to craft cards, and provided benefits to getting multiple copies of the same card. It is way too late for Hearthstone to change now, maybe there is still time to change Diablo Immortal's monetization model, I believe they will need either gacha or real-money auction house to be competitive.
But will Genshin Impact shake up the AAA industry? My personal opinion is no. Japanese developers do not have the technology to make mobile games at this level, you just need to look at the top 20 grossing Japanse mobile games. Western developers do not have the artwork to make characters so attractive, I mean just look at Baldur's Gate 3 and Cyberpunk 2077 characters, will whales spend $1000 on them? Whales spend enough money in gacha to pick up girls in real life many times over, many of them are ultra-rich and live a lavish lifestyle, just showing anime assets is not enough to win them over.
In all of my years playing Western games I have never been attached to a female character as I did with Artoria aka King Arthur of Fate Grand Order, I played the game for six months even if I don't really like turn-based JRPGs, and always enjoyed listening to her "Excalibur". Mihoyo is coming very close with some of Genshin Impact's character designs. I am not sure if Western culture is capable of creating the type of characters that can connect with players on an emotional level. Lara Croft is definitely not it. I believe Western gaming's general pursuit of realism and grittiness hurts them when it comes to creating an idealistic world and dreamy characters. Top western games tend to expose the harshness of real-world to players, instead of offering an escape. In many ways, Mihoyo's mastery of anime is closer to a Japanese company than Chinese company, it is not something you can just hire a couple of artists for. Likewise, the western market will always be 15-20% of the overall revenue for gacha games at best, it is difficult for western companies to justify making them with a AAA budget.
It is also incredibly hard to make a cross-platform PVE game on PC, Console, and Mobile look this good. It is not something you get from just licensing Unity. There are maybe a handful of companies out there capable of dropping 100 million dollars on a game like this, but until their main cash cow die, which studio dares to take this kind of risk? The tier 2-3 companies are simply not capable of spending 100 million dollars even if they went all in. I don't see a real competitor in two years, not even from Tencent and Netease, the bar is that high.
How You Should Approach It As A Player
If you are not a fan of gacha games, no problem! The best way is to play it like a free AAA game with unlimited free DLC's. With the amount of money this game makes, in a few years it will have more content than any other open-world game, and the developer will also be more generous over time as end game contents become more abundant. As their tools mature, the amount of time it takes to release contents across all platforms at the same time will shrink significantly, there will also be more events they can queue up. Every F2P player can get at least one five star character without rerolling if they complete most of the quests and use up their gifted currencies. I expect 100% F2P players will get at least 4 five-stars per year, 3 from pity, 1 from luck. I believe F2P with limited resources is a lot more fun and only spend money to support the developer. I am still 100% F2P on Genshin Impact as of today, because getting 20 pulls from the monthly card is not that exciting. I will wait for a one-time-only deal later in the game's life cycle.
For players who want to be a bit more involved, you can buy a monthly card, do your dailies, enjoy new content, enjoy the thrills of pulls, and pity 5 stars. Once Mihoyo gets a stable end game loop out there, they will definitely loosen up on resins. Just don't expect to play it like a Path of Exile season start. Save currencies and pity timer for a banner you want. Take it slow! Gacha games are designed to be played over many years, alongside other games. Take your Cyberpunk 2077 break, take your Call of Duty break, but in the end, there is simply no anime ARPG competition on any platform, and if you are into this kind of game, you will be back.
submitted by hitmantb to Genshin_Impact

Paladin holy shock beginner guide

Hello everyone, hope you're having a fantastic day, the reason I'm making this guide is because I'm positive there are people who are completely new to action role playing games such as diablo II, they saw some articles talking about this brand new mod, they wanna play, and don't have any proper guide to help them, also I don't see many people talking about Paladins in this mod, even less people talk about non-caster paly builds, so I thought I might step in and offer some advice, during this unfortunate server downtime. Be aware though, this is all from personal experience, who knows, you might learn something new. Non the less I hope this guide will help with getting the fundamentals down, and starting your endgame grind successfully! (This guide is still WIP, and is my very first guide)
  1. Act 1, so it begins
PD2 has changed the way melee works, all melee weapons have splash damage (except your starting weapon), which makes the early game much easier, furthermore, paladins have access to weapons and shields such as scepters which provide bonus damage to undead and add skill levels to abilities we shall be using, not to mention being able to find a 4os targe (shield) and putting 4 perfect diamonds(gems) in it helps with resistances down the line. We start in act 1, which should mostly be a breeze and here's how you should do the act.
a) Q1 - Go ahead and talk to Akara, she will give you your very first quest! Move out of the rogue encampment and follow the road/dirt path which will eventually lead you to a cave called the Den of evil(don't forget to kill some monsters along the way to familiarize yourself with the controls), the quest requires you to kill every single monster and demon there to claim your reward, while in the cave you might find some stuff, pick all of it up to further understand how the armoweapon system works, identify all the items you deem useful, and once you've killed all of the demons you should have gained a level up (you gain five attribute points and one skill point per level). Spend your first five points on vitality, and put your first point into might (go into the offensive auras category, it is the only available skill so far). Might is a great aura for your first few levels, in order to use auras, you must put them on your right skill slot. After you've done this, use your scroll of town portal to instantly return home once you've completed your quest, talking to Akara will grant you yet another skill point which you should spend on a skill called sacrifice(located in the combat skills category). Sacrifice is also a great starting skill that hits hard, and in conjunction with might should be able to kill most of the smaller demons in one hit.
b) Q2 - Now talk to Kashya, she will give you your second quest, leave the rogue encampment once again and follow the road that once led you to the den, following upon it you should leave into an area called the cold plains, there you will find your first waypoint! (clicking on it activates it and allows you to instantly move to any location you've unlocked, including your town!). Now from cold plains you can either do the second quest or proceed into the stony field, the choice is yours, although I recommend doing the second quest by finding the Burial grounds and killing Blood raven. Be warned, it is a very tough mini boss fight, and might result in your death. Be sure to stock up on supplies at Akara, also be sure to buy some town portal scrolls so that you can put a tp scroll before major fights. If you die in diablo II you drop your body, so you have to go back and grab it to regain your gear, remember this (alternatively you can leave the game and return, the body will await you in town, use this if you died in a sticky position). Once you've defeated Blood raven, you should be around level 3,4. Put another 5 points into vitality, and then 5 points into strength, also, put both of your skill points into sacrifice. By now you might have found a charm, those are helpful items which you should identify and put into your lower inventory, that's how you activate them, the lower inventory is defined with a yellowy colour and is a four square tiles tall.
c) Q3 - You should return to town, talk to Kashya, and you officially have your first mercenary! Buy her some gear and put in on her, she will aid you on your journey! Talk yet again to Akara, and she should give you your third quest to find Cain. Use your waypoint to go back to cold plains, travel to the stony field, find the waypoint (be sure to do this!), then keep going until you find some strange stones arranged in a circular fashion, kill the mini boss there (he gives lots of xp) then proceed until you find the edge of the map, somewhere around there you should find an entrance to a cave known as the underground passage, move through the cave until you reach the exit which leaves to the dark wood(alternatively you can go to underground passage level 2 for a golden chest, it might have some goodies, after that proceed to the dark wood). By now you should be level 6 hopefully, now it's time to put another 10 points into vitality, 1 point into holy fire(we won't be using holy shock yet! As it is a level 24 skill, we must be patient and use holy fire while leveling :D) and 1 point into resist fire(located in defensive auras). Resist fire is a synergy to holy fire, which means it increases the damage of it, pretty neat huh? Equip your new aura, and now you should return to town and try to shop for some scepters at Akara which have +1 or more to holy fire, these scepters greatly increase your damage, you can also try finding it, you might get lucky, anyway, walk through the Dark wood until you find the waypoint, activate it and find a big tree which will be highlited on your minimap and click on it, grabbing the scroll of inifuss, kill the mini boss near it, and return to Akara, after that go to those strange stones in stony field, click on em in the order the scroll says and off you go to Tristram! Save Cain, kill everyone there! They give tons of experience. After you've saved Cain you might want to redo Tristram a couple of dozen times for extra xp, until level 12(it's worth it). If you choose to do this your skills and points at level 12 should look like this :
Might - 1 ; Sacrifice - 4 ; Zeal - 1 ; Holy fire - 5 ; Resist fire - 1
STR - 30
DEX - 25
VIT - 65
ENE - 15 ; After this point I'll stop typing so much, by now you should know the basics of the game, so I'll add only new stuff
d) Q4 - Quest 4 is pretty straightforward, go into the black marsh from the dark wood, find the waypoint, find the tower, kill the countess and you get your hands on RUNES. The core aspect of diablo II. You should redo this encounter a couple of times as well (I highly recommend this!!!), until you get the runes TAL and ETH. After that buy an armour with two open sockets (it has to be white, remember this, on the ground it has a pale greyish colour). And then socket the chest armour by first putting TAL then ETH, this armour will be used as soon as you reach level 17. Save it in your stash for now.
e) Q5 - After making your first runeword (good job!) talk to Charsi, she'll give you your next quest. Proceed to the tamoe highland from the black marsh and move north-east until you find the monastery, open the gates, find the waypoint, and proceed to the barracks. You'll know you're close to the hammer once it pops up on your minimap. Kill the Smith guarding it and take the hammer home, now you can imbue a white item (no sockets, nothing, pure white) and make it a rare gold item. Don't do this yet, you should do it in act 2, I'll tell ya later why.
f) Q6 - Good job friend, it's your final quest of A1! Go back into the barracks and find the entrance to Jail level 1, proceed until you find the inner cloister, grab the wp, move into the big door to your right, clear out the area, and proceed to the catacombs. The catacombs have 4 levels(wp is at level 2, boss at 4). Once you reach level 4, be sure to clear out every room before facing her, you don't want any mobs ganging up on you from behind, trust me. Also before you fight her buy some antidotes at Akara (around 9,10) and drink them all, she mainly does poison dmg so this helps. After a thrilling fight you've won! She drops some goodies, you come home, quest bug her, talk to Warriv and head into act 2, well done!
Quick recap, you should be level 15, and even if you aren't, on level 15 your stats should look like this:
Might - 1 ; Sacrifice - 5 ; Zeal - 1 ; Holy fire - 5 ; Resist fire - 1 ; smite - 1 ; charge - 1(for mobility, fast clear speed)
STR - 30
DEX - 25
VIT - 80 ; You might have noticed a new skill in the mix, zeal, you can start using it now, it should be strong enough.
2) Act 2, cubin'
If you haven't by now, make it your priority to find a scepter with +x to holy fire (also +x to sacrifice, if possible, it is kinda expensive though..), you want to have that by now, also, buy some white boots or gloves at Elzix or Fara, and go ahead and imbue those, be sure to also buy a double belt so you get more potion slots.
a) Q1 - Nothing you haven't seen before, talk to Atma, go in the sewers, reach level 3, kill Radament, bam you get another skill point, feel free to put it into sacrifice or holy fire, your choice. Leveling goes slower in a2, I'll post how your stats should look like on the end of this act.
b) Q2 - Oh boy this is a tough one, venture out like you did from the rogue encampment, find the dry hills, grab the wp, go into the Halls of the dead, get to level 3, and you found the famous horadric cube. This cube has a number of function which I can't list here, but I'll give a link below(note some have been changed in this mod, consult the official project diablo 2 wiki for further information). http://www.d2tomb.com/horadric_cube.shtml. After that go into the far oasis, grab the wp, find the maggot lair, grab the staff, from the far oasis go into the lost city (and watch the Sun go poof), and go into the viper valley, and enter the temple, break their table, grab the amulet that dropped (hooray the Sun is back!), talk to Drognan, because this also finishes quest 3 heh, cube the amulet and staff, and you get the horadric staff.
c) Q4, Q5 - Essentially the same quest, after talking to Drognan talk to Jerhyn, enter the palace, go down, find the portal, enter the Arcane sanctuary, get lucky ;) ( you'll know what I mean haha), kill the summoner read the book, and you've got the symbol required for the final quest, go through the portal, grab the wp and go back to town.
d) Q6 - Talk to Cain, go to the canyon of the magi, find the tomb that bears the symbol you have written in your quest table, clear the tomb(you get a lot of xp). Find the orifice, put your staff there, before you face the boss buy some thawing potions as he is based around cold damage (do the same thing you did with Andariel) kill the boss (take his goodies), explore the tomb talk to Tyrael, go back to town, talk to Jerhyn, then Meshif, and off you go to A3. After this you should enter some public lobbies (if you're multiplayer) and do some tomb runes, essentially clearing every tomb in the map, in 2-3 runs you should be level 25, and very strong haha.
Quick recap, you should be level 25, and even if you aren't, on level 25 your stats should look like this:
Might - 1 ; Sacrifice - 5 ; Zeal - 1 ; Holy fire - 15 ; Resist fire - 1 ; smite - 1 ; charge - 1
STR - 45
DEX - 40
VIT - 110 ; Hopefully after all these runs, you have some decent gear and a weapon with +x to skills. Also don't forget to constantly get new gear for your mercenary, whatever it may be, if you choose to swap your merc for an act 2 merc, that's fine, but be sure to gear him properly, in normal difficulty, if your mercenary is properly geared he can even outshine you! Also, if you ever find an item you wish to use, don't be afraid to put points in whatever stat you need, forget about vitality for the time being. And from now on, this is the only thing I will bold, find an open 3 socket shield that you can wear with your stats, save it, and try to find 3 runes - ral, ort and tal. The shield is top priority, runes can wait.
  1. Act 3, old dog, new tricks
Well this act is usually regarded as the most boring one, and for a good reason, the environments all look the same, enemies swarm you by the hundreds, also many annoying enemies are introduced in this act, welp, let's get on with it. If playing online, I highly recommend you get someone to rush you, as you will at best only gain one or two levels from it, but if you so desire, you may play through it fully.
Q1 - This quest is unique in the fact no one gives it to you, the first unique monster you kill will drop a figurine, which you bring to Meshif, then Alkor and boom you get perma 20 hp.
Q2 - Talk to Hratli, he'll give the quest, this quest is like A1Q3, in which you get only a stupid ring for completing it, the dagger is located in the flayer jungle near the place you found the flayer dungeon, press it, move a bit away to the right, come back to the left, kill the fetish, he drops it, give it to Ormus, bam, you're done.
Q3 - Just like in A2, this is a multi part quest, you gotta find the spider cavern in the spider forest, grab Khalim's eye, find the flayer dungeon in the flayer jungle, grab Khalim's brain, then in the sewers beneath Kurast bazaar you find his heart, and in Travincal the flail, cube it, break the compelling orb in Travincal, and the quest is done.
Q4 - This quest actually gives something useful, first talk to Alkor in town, then go to the Kurast bazaar where you found the heart in the sewers, in this mod, the book you need will spawn in one of the two reliquaries located somewhere in the area, it's always in the bazaar, find the book, give it to Alkor and you get 5 stat points(put them all into VIT).
Q5 - This is automatically completed upon completing act 2, you kill the dudes guarding the temple in Travincal, they drop the flail, and it's done.
Q6 - Just go down the durance from the temple in Trav, find Mephisto(he's very dangerous here, try to somehow attract only him, and bring him to the right side of the arena, then kill him while he's alone), grab his soulstone and off you go into the portal to act 4.
Honestly at the end of act 3, if you started at level 25, there's a big chance you might barely be level 26, if so just put the 5 points into vitality, one into holy fire and move on.
  1. Act 4, swiftly now
Now you might be noticing a slight difficulty increase here, this can be quickly solved by spamming Drognan until you can buy a life tap wand, this increases survivability drastically, just leave town and reenter so his inventory restocks, once you get the life tap wand, put it in your off hand, and you're good to go!
Q1) Talk to Tyrael, head out, find the plains of despair, kill izzy, you get 2 skill points( put them into holy fire). If you maxed out holy fire by now, put your points into resist fire and get that sweet synergy bonus.
Q2) Travel from the plains, through the city of the damned, find the wp, go down to the river of flame, then find the hellforge, kill Hephasto, grab his hammer, put the soulstone on the table, smash it and enjoy your gems, after that find your wp, and proceed hero into terrors lair...
Q3) The final quest, talk to Hadriel...then go past Hadriel, enter the chaos sanctuary, open all 5 seals, kill every mini boss demon, and now it's time for Diablo. I don't have much advice at this point, you should know how to treat boss fights, he is alone, therefore you can always return to town and restock, just beware, he puts a bone cage where your tp is, be careful not to get stuck in it and killed.
After Diablo is killed you might wanna kill diablo a few times to see if he drops some cool loot or runes, this of course applies to all the bosses, if you ever feel weaker than you should be, never hesitate to redo encounters and level up, there's no shame in that whatsoever. After a couple of runs let's say you're level 30. Your Pally should look like this:
Might - 1 ; Sacrifice - 5 ; Zeal - 1 ; Holy fire - 20 ; Resist fire - 2 ; Smite - 1 ; Charge - 1 ; Vengeance - 1 ; Joust - 1(basically further improving your mobility, it's a teleport with a cooldown)
STR - 55
DEX - 40
VIT - 125
  1. Act 5, the finale
Well you're in the endgame of normal now, by now you should have grasped the basics and fundamentals of the game, you know how enemies work, which enemies you should avoid, tactics regarding special enemies, how runes work, how the cube works, you know which items are useful to you, which synergies help you, why we put only 1 point into charge, why we put more than 100 points into vitality etc...
Q1) Simply enough, talk to Larzuk, go outside, follow the path of the stairs located on the map, they indicate the direction in which you should go, find Shenk, kill him, grab the wp located north, and you can now socket one of your items, hoozah!(save this until you get a really good item)
Q2) VERY IMPORANT QUEST - Talk to qual, then go back to the frigid highlands, find the prisoners, free them, go back to qual, and you get the runes we need, remember that shield with 3os? Now is the time to use it, put ral, then ort then tal and you got a beastly shield with around 50% all res, not bad huh?
Q3) Go back to the frigid highland, follow the stairs, find the areat plateau, grab the wp follow the stairs again, find the tunnel that looks like the underground passage, and off you go, once in the crystalline passage, find the wp, then the frozen river, in the frozen river find anya, go back to town, grab the potion from Malah, give it to anya, boom you get a shitty shield from Anya, BUT permanent 10% all res from Malah. By now you should have 75%+ all res and basically should be a god with added 150-200 fire damage, so just proceed.
Q4) Go to Anya's portal, grab the wp in the halls of the dead, proceed, kill Nihlatak, and get the worst quest reward in the history of arpgs, personalize whatever you want, and continue
Q5) From the crystalline passage enter the glacial trail then the frozen tundra then the ancient's way(all places have wps which you should grab). From the ancients way enter the arreat plateau. Be warned, this is the hardest boss fight in the game, because you CANNOT return home, or put a tp, it instantly resets the fight, stock up on potions, drink those thawing pots, and try to fight them one by one, your merc is very important here, he can draw away the ancients so you have time to take em out one by one as intended.
Q6) Getting close are we? Go to the worldstone chamber, grab the wp at 2, then go to the throne room, face off against Baal's waves(if you can't deal with one wave because you didn't listen to anything I said and did whatever you wanted, just lure them away by putting a tp in a safe corner, dying far away from the tp, then coming back and dragging the minions as far away from Baal by going back to the enterance, do this with every wave you struggle with), then go and kill Baal, and you did it!!!! You beat the game, he prolly dropped some trash but nvm. Proceed with clearing worldstone chamber levels(whichever you can do comfortably, the throne room and Baal's waves give most xp, but they're also the hardest), and once you're level 40, it's time to respec, go to Akara, reset your skills(you can only do this once per difficulty). DO NOT ENTER NIGHTMARE BEFORE LEVEL 40
When reaching level 40 your stats should look like this(now your stats are very important).
STR - Enough for your desired gear
DEX - Enough for your desired gear
VIT - Rest
ENE - Base level;
Sacrifice - 1; Zeal - 1; Vengeance - 1; Joust - 1; Smite - 1; Charge - 1; Might - 1; Holy fire - 1; Holy freeze - 1; Holy shock - 20; Resist lightning - 14.
After this your lightning damage should be ludicrous for normal(1-2100 ish), and you should be able to farm baal, diablo, and hell cows comfortably( I recommend farming cows, as they are in big groups and have a large chance to drop goodies, also great for testing your build and survivability, they can't drop runes yet unfortunately, the treasure level is low for now, you can get up to a dol rune). In order to farm cows go into Tristram again, grab wirts leg, cube it with a town portal book and enter the red portal.
Nightmare tips and tricks;
When going into nightmare, you’re basically going through the game the same way as before with a few minor differences: You lose 40% of your resistances, but on the bright side, you don’t need to do some quests anymore (like grabbing the cube, killing blood raven, nihlatak etc.), you can skip certain areas that give low xp, you can rush through some acts and farm at key spots. The wonderful thing this mod does is that instead of making the game easier as you progress, it actually becomes more challenging but also more rewarding. Before, nightmare was more or less a drive by area, something you just wanted to get over with before entering hell and getting down to the real endgame, the only key farming spots were Andariel, Mephisto and Pindleskin, and those were mostly farmed by sorceresses. Now with the new revamped gear (basically every item has its own use), new movement skills, and the added bonus of bosses dropping essences and being able to open cows as many times as your heart desires, you can basically farm nightmare until you’re level 65-75 (and not get mega bored lol), which I strongly recommend, as hell here is no joke, it is very difficult, and you’ll need to come prepared.
a) Act I – Act 1 shouldn’t prove to be much of a hassle, you’re starting out with 2k lightning damage, all you need to do is avoid lightning immunes (sorry, you can’t break those…yet), complete the den, kill the countess, return the malus and kill Andariel, after this point you can choose to stay in a1 for a bit and farm Andy, she might drop some goodies, although I don’t recommend wasting too much time on this.
Best farming spot in A1 nightmare: Catacombs (Andariel), sorry no other area is remotely worth farming, it’s just a waste of time, and since Andariel can no longer be quest bugged, you aren’t hunting uniques you’re hunting some good armour pieces (hopefully you’ll find some dual res boots/gloves here).
I don’t think it’s necessary to talk about skill points or stat points for the rest of the guide, your remaining skill points should go into the synergies for holy shock (blessed aim, resist lightning, salvation, the order depends on whether or not you need the passive attack rating from blessed aim, or the added +% max lightning res from holy lightning). As far as stat points go, you don’t benefit from strength boosting your damage, because you do mostly elemental damage, as such all your points should go into VIT, unless you find some item that increased/boosts your stats by a considerable margin, in that case, put some points into the stats that you require.
b) Act II – Kill Radament, grab the extra skill point, proceed with the act, and when you reach the arcane sanctuary, you can choose to farm this area, it’s a good place to find a sol rune, which you can use to make a Lore helm and it will boost your damage nicely (the helm is ort-sol). After that, kill Duriel and finish the act.
Best farming spots in A2 nightmare: Arcane sanctuary (runes), Tombs (gear improvement), don’t farm Duriel, he’s way too hard and not worth it, he CAN drop good stuff, but most of the time you’ll end up dead because of his holy freeze aura and have to restart and lose xp.
c) Act III – This is the first act in which you can actually get some decent uniques by farming the end boss, do everything but the gidbinn, and from here I recommend you farm Mephisto for a while until you get at least one useful unique [vampire gaze (phenomenal for your merc), shaftstop (also great for merc), goldwrap (good for personal use), oculus (for trading if you’re online), some unique rings or amulets (also for trading or personal use)]
Best farming spot in A3 nightmare: Mephisto, undoubtedly, you might need to kill him dozens of times, but it is very much worth it.
d) Act IV – Now it’s time to test your luck, after killing Izual head over to the forge and hope for an um, you can get a rune from sol-um, if you get an um it’s time to make the best weapon for this build, the crescent moon sword – 3 open sockets (dimensional blade preferably) - Shael, Um, Tir. Godly weapon. After killing Diablo, I’d recommend staying here and farming hell until level 55-60 ish.
Best farming spot in A4 nightmare: The entire river of flame, from start to finish including the chaos sanctuary, on average this has been the place where I have found most of my best gear, hopefully you will as well, statistically you can even find an ist rune here!
e) Act V – Let’s cut to the chase, frigid, anya, ancients, baal. After that you have a choice, either start farming cows (the easier way, as cows have no elemental immunities, except for boss mobs, and there’s more of them, which means more runes, runes are based on quantity, not on magic find, so if you play solo, the more enemies the better), or farm worldstone keeps 2-4, then Baal (you need stronger gear, but it gives more xp, is more straightforward, and baal can drop a shako, and you can find up to an ohm).
By the time you finish farming nightmare your gear should look like this (some items may vary), and I highly recommend not going into hell without the items I mark as important. Hell gives another -60% to all res.
Helm – Lore (important), Griswold’s valor (you can only find this in HELL DIFFICULTY, and also only use it if going for the set bonus, the helm gives up to 25 all res)
Amulet – Either a +1-3 offensive aura/life or a good rare with nice resists
Weapon – Crescent Moon (Top priority)
Shield – Spirit shield made in a paladin shield that already has innate resistances (you don’t need the fcr, you just need the resistances)
Armour – Duriel’s shell (for the cannot be frozen mod), or Griswold’s Heart (for 2 to all paladin skills and the set bonus)
Gloves – Laying of hands or rare gloves with ias and dual res (I’d go with LoH, the added damage to demons is really, really good)
Boots – Rare boots with frw/dual res (many classes struggle in hell with resistances)
Belt – Goldwrap or a belt with good +life and resistances
Ring #1 – Dwarf star for extra life
Ring #2 – Mana leech ring
Hell – the turning point
When entering hell the difficulty really gets ramped up to eleven, you get another resistance penalty, you are at -100% all resistances now, every enemy in the game gets an immunity to at least one element (many unbreakable lightning immunes start spawning here, you must avoid them, nothing we can do about that, until we start maximizing our gear). From now on I’m going to put only the most important things about nearly every worthwhile area in the game, everything else you’ve probably understood by now.
Link to zones in Project Diablo 2: https://projectdiablo2.miraheze.org/wiki/Zones (level 85 zones are the best as they can drop all items in the game)
General advice for A1: Farming here is kinda tricky as you’ll mostly be having dark spear women, skeletons and tainted on your back at all times (they’re lightning immune…), so I find farming a1 to be more of a chore than a reward. Remember, let your merc do the work regarding lightning immunes, and keep him alive at all costs (those revive bills rack up qucikly)
Best farming spots in A1for us:
a) Burial grounds + Mausoleum: ONLY if you have a mercenary with decent damage and survivability, my mercenary does around 4-5k pure phys damage (barb mercenary), your job is to tank, kill the non lightning immunes, teleport around with joust and charge to readjust your mercenary (keep yourself in walk mode, this is a must, while running your block chance is reduced to 1/3 of its original value). In my mausoleum runs I’ve found mostly worldstone shards, hel runes and up, some useful gear, I’ve done 27 mausoleum runs so far.
b) Pits: I’m going to be honest, I haven’t done much pit runs so far, navigation is rough, too many lightning immunes, and I don’t have much luck with it (I’ve played this game for over 12 years and I don’t think I’ve ever gotten something good from pits heh). If you choose to farm here, my general advice would be to only clear unique enemies (boss mobs) and stay clear of lightning immunes. I’ve done like a dozen, nothing good so far.
c) Catacombs 2-4 + Andy: Generally a good farming spot for essences and items, not much to say really, stock up on antidote pots like always, she shouldn’t be too hard. I’ve done 21 Andy runs, got a couple of essences, I’d recommend this spot the most.
General advice for A2: I truly do not recommend farming in act 2, the areas all have strong lightning immunes, beetles (can be broken, is buggy for some reason for me), those sand cats etc…But regardless, I’ll list the areas, and how you can circumvent this
Best farming spots in A2 for us:
a) Maggot lair levels 2,3: Since Senpai improved the mobility here, you probably won’t get stuck and killed while trying to farm, my advice would be to move around killing rare packs of maggots, and killing the maggot boss in act 3, avoid the beetles, they’re a death sentence. Did only a couple of runs, got a few shards out of it.
b) Ancient tunnels: If luck is on your side, the amount of lightning immunes will be limited only to the skeleton mages there, let your merc deal with them, charge until you reach rare packs and kill only those, they drop the good stuff, find the chest at the end of the area, and hopefully in a couple dozen runs you’ll get good stuff as I did :). Got some of my good gear here, this is a top spot for freeze sorceresses, not so much for a tesladin, but still dope.
General advice for A3: Be VERY cautious in act 3, dolls are introduced here, and if not careful they can insta-kill you pretty easily, my advice is simple, you might disagree but I say don’t farm here, way too dangerous, I’ve tried farming Mephisto but I end up getting killed pretty often, I’ve tried the new level 85 zones, but they’re long, dangerous and not worth the time, I’ve tried everything but it just doesn’t work for us as a tesladin.
Best farming spots in A3 for us: none
General advice for A4: This is it, the best act for us hands down, all lightning immunes (souls) can be broken, the enemy layout is generous, chaos AND river of flame are level 85 areas, it’s just a treat at this point :D.
Best farming spots in A4 for us:
a) River of flame + Chaos Sanctuary: Enter the city of the damned waypoint, enter river of flame, clear it, then chaos, rinse and repeat, I’ve done around 45-55 runs, and I’ve found an ohm, ist, um, pul, worldstone shards, duriel’s shell, griswold’s armour, superior phase blades, archon plates, the list goes on and on…
General advice for A5: For some reason I’ve struggled with cold res most, the fact that not having cannot be frozen here is basically a death sentence doesn’t help either… My advice would be to farm quick, don’t stay in place too long, and farm only these key areas
Best farming spots in A5 for us (this includes cows):
a) Eldritch, Shenk and Pindle; Enter the frigid highland wp, move up kill eldritch, go down kill shenk, go back to town and kill Pindleskin. My advice here is that you somehow incorporate this either as the beginning or the end of your farm runs, as farming only this is not worth it in my honest opinion.
b) Pit of Acheron: No lightning immunes, decent enemy density, not much to it, need to test this place more as it is kinda hard to find consistently, will keep you guys updated about this one.
c) Worldstone keep level 1- Throne room: Just when facing Baal and his waves, watch out for dolls and souls in the throne room, they might spawn sometimes. Killing Baal is highly recommended, don’t skip it, I’ve seen many people skip killing Baal.
d) Cows: Cows are a mixed bag for me, the sheer number of them warrants at least some runes or itmes, but alas I have yet to find anything good, when facing cows try to group them up and let the melee splash do the work, use your mercenary to kill the cow king and lightning immunes, the best part here is that the basic cows themselves have no immunities and go down fast when u smack em with lightning.
This is it, all the areas and how to approach them, the guide is finally nearing completion! The last thing left is to link some alternative builds and the pros and cons of each build variant. I will be doing that as I further test different builds, I don’t have much gear nor runes unfortunately, so I’ve yet to make a dream or something of that caliber. As always thank you for reading, and may you have a very safe, fun and productive day!
submitted by yeetmaster655 to ProjectDiablo2