It’s time to slay demons and climb through Greater Rifts: Diablo 3 is starting Season 18 today with the release of Patch 2.6.6. The new Season of the Triune buff is sure to make both leveling and endgame content more dynamic, and there are several brand-new Legendary affixes added to older items.
For the past few seasons, the buff has primarily aided players in their endgame grind exclusively. Now the seasonal buff will assist both endgame and leveling, which should make the initial grind far more enjoyable. The buff will provide a periodic summon of a circle onto the battlefield. When one enters these circles, one of three random buffs are provided:
- Triune of Love (Power): Players inside the circle receive a 100% damage bonus while active
- Triune of Determination (Resource Reduction): Players in the circle receive a 50% discount on resources spent while active
- Triune of Creation (Cooldown Reduction): While standing in an active circle, any skills currently on cooldown come off cooldown more quickly
The benefits of the buff are clear from the beginning. Additional damage bonus will be instrumental in later rifts. As higher rifts often take time to down a Rift Guardian, the constant appearance of these circles will keep combat dynamic, demanding that you move around to obtain the benefit, and will also make shorter work of these enemies.
Certain classes will benefit more from Resource Reduction and Cooldown Reduction, such as Demon Hunters spamming Multishot and Vengeance before having items optimize their builds. Have you not yet achieved an adequate Cooldown Reduction to have 100% uptime on Vengeance? No problem, because these circles will allow for more aggressive play with less powerful gear.
Cosmetic Rewards For Season 18
As of Season 17, Blizzard began to reintroduce previous Seasonal rewards for those who have missed them the first time. The rewards for this season are the same from Season 6, including the Chest and Gloves of the Conqueror Set, a series of portrait frames, and the All Hallow’s pennant.
As expected, Blizzard has rotated the Class Set rewarded from Haedrig’s Gift after completing chapters I-IV in the Season Journey. Players should remember that one can only unlock a class set in this manner across both Hardcore and Non-Hardcore, so choose wisely. It is far less efficient to split them up, as a full set allows for a massive power spike in the ability to clear higher level rifts.
The sets from Haedrig’s Gift in Season 18 are as follows:
- Barbarian – The Legacy of Raekor
- Crusader – Armor of Akkhan
- Demon Hunter – Embodiment of the Marauder
- Monk – Inna’s Reach
- Necromancer – Pestilence Master’s Shroud
- Witch Doctor – Zunimassa’s Haunt
- Wizard – Delsere’s Magnum Opus
As mentioned, certain classes will benefit more from the constant Resource and Cooldown Reduction offered through the Season of Triune buff. The Demon Hunter’s Embodiment of the Marauder set is a prime example, where until gear is optimized the ability to spam more Sentry turrets and Cluster Arrows through the seasonal buff will be of great assistance until that optimized gear is found and its affixes rerolled to perfection.
Class Set Tier Lists
As always, it is impossible to know exactly which sets will be the strongest at the start of a season. However, given that we have no significant changes to sets and we can apply the Seasonal Buff to our theorycrafting, we do have a good idea of which sets will come out on top. Note as well that this tier list is only representative of the absolute top end of Greater Rift attempts. All sets in the game are viable for farming based on player preference. The tier list often represents a difference in that maximum Greater Rift pushing potential - between an S tier and an F tier set, that difference is often about 15-20 levels apart. Unless you are striving for a high seasonal ladder placement, play what you love, and everything will be fine.
In general, most Legacy of Nightmare sets from the previous season are still perfectly viable but have dropped in overall strength. The loss of the Season 17 buff means that the ring slots must now be occupied to achieve the same result, cutting two gear slots for use. Sets that require Resource Reduction and Cooldown Reduction are at an advantage due to this new buff.
As always, checkout Rhykker’s channel for a never-ending update of all things relating to Diablo 3, including a great discussion on how the tier list is shifting for the start of Season 18.
Notable Patch Notes In 2.6.6
Blizzard has adjusted a number of legendary items, stating that “we wanted to introduce a handful of new item powers targeted at two audiences: (1) certain classes with long-standing requests for balance/quality of life adjustments and (2) the broader player base for experimenting with Kanai's Cube. This means fewer class-specific new additions, but more additions that everyone has an opportunity to play with.”
As a result, the following items have been changed:
- The Flavor of Time
- The Executioner
- Stone Gauntlets
- Echoing Fury
- Squirt’s Necklace
- Messerschmidt’s Reaver
- Mortick’s Brace
A New Legendary Gem
Legacy of Dreams is a new addition to the game that reads, “While you have no set bonuses equipped, every Legendary item you have equipped increases your damage dealt by 3.75% and reduces your damage taken by 2%. (Max level 99). Rank 25: This bonus is doubled for Ancient items.”
This addition comes as a result of the popularity of the Season 17 buff and aims to make the additional a permanent fixture of set building. As a result, one can achieve slightly less powerful effects than we had in that season on a permanent basis, inviting creativity going forward in similar types of builds.
Several crafted sets have been revised for leveling and in their level 70 effects, including Sage’s Journey, Captain Crimson’s Trimmings, Aughild’s Authority, and Cain’s Destiny. The changes vary but mainly work towards providing greater utility depending on the needs of a player, such as greater experience gains, more Greater Rift Keystone drops, and more.
Overall, the season looks to be a great one with the inclusion of a new Legendary Gem and the new seasonal buff. Best of luck to everyone, especially those who venture forth into Hardcore mode during this new season!