Season 2 is just around the corner now and that means it’s time for another Race to World First in both Softcore and Hardcore modes! The first Race to World First at game launch was a nail biter with the game being new to players as well as some kinks that needed to be ironed out initially. June 1st, 2023 we featured a multi-POV broadcast with several casters and other influencers within the Diablo community on our Twitch page at www.twitch.tv/diablobuilds and where you can find us hosting for the next Race to World First on the launch of Season 2.
Let us take a moment to briefly talk about the first race. Since this is of course a race after all people were trying to get as much exp as possible and that meant teaming up. There were of course some solo players but for the most part people were bouncing between group and solo play. One of the strategies these players would use is completing dungeons in groups of 4 and they could split up in the dungeons and clear them very efficiently since the exp is shared dungeon wide. Once the dungeon is complete, you just reset it and repeat for some very quick and efficient levels. The other important thing to worry about in Diablo IV aside from the character levels is Renown. The extra stat points, skill points, and paragon points all mean a great deal to the overall strength of your character and can not be ignored. Racers in groups would spread out to different dungeons because completing a dungeon would share the completion bonus exp and renown to everyone in the group, you just miss out on the kill exp. Interestingly enough, there were a few surprises thrown at the racers that were not expected. Blizzard decided to do some quick hotfixes that also had balance changes in them on June 3rd. Many builds were hit hard by the nerf bat but the racers had no choice but to carry on.
During the Race to World First, we saw many builds shine and take over as the meta fairly quickly. Here are the builds that were most commonly seen during the race:
- Whirlwind Barbarian: Whirlwind Barb took over the race pretty quickly. This build was extremely overpowered and was blasting through all content without any issues. Even after facing some nerfs, the build still seemed to outperform every other class. After addressing some bugs that made this build much stronger than intended, it became much weaker but was still a solid build. Hammer of the Ancients slowly began to take over later in the season.
- Pulverize Druid: This build was the go to for Druid players. Pulverize would easily clear entire screens with the pulverize aspect and scaled quite well into the endgame. It struggled a bit with single target but debatably had the best AoE clear in the game.
- Bone Spear Necromancer: Due to some nerfs to summons prior to launch, Bone Spear became the most popular Necromancer build. The build was very well rounded and was able to clear packs and deal some ridiculous single target damage. After the race, we saw an infinimist corpse explosion build gain popularity as well as a bone spirit build.
- Twisting Blades Double Trap Rogue: This Rogue build was a very popular build on launch. This build had great screen wide clear with Death Trap and consistent DPS and Crowd Control. This build brought great utility to group play and was also the best build for solo play.
- Ice Shard Sorcerer: Ice Shard Sorcerer slowly started to take over once people realized it’s potential. A lot of people started with Chain Lightning before switching over to the Ice Shard set up. This build had good AoE clear with Frost Nova, Ice Shard Enchantment, and Fireball Enchantment as well as some pretty decent single target damage.
Next there was the race for season 1 which introduced Malignant Hearts into the mix adding another layer to powering up your character. This time around there was a bit of a shift in the leveling meta due to balance changes that Blizzard had made pre-season 1. Strongholds were the name of the game for a lot of the grind where you would complete and reset and repeat in certain ones such as Nostrava stronghold. That particular one was popular due to its mob density. Racers were pushing for capstone dungeons to be able to progress with greater gear and the ability to get resources from Helltides along with all the other bonuses of going up in World Tier difficulty as soon as they could manage to do so giving them even more of an edge over those who have not made it to the next difficulty yet. Here is where the racers ran countless NM (Nightmare) dungeons in their grind to level 100.
Common builds for the season 1 race were:
- HotA Barbarian: Due to countless nerfs to Whirlwind Barbarian, HotA grew in popularity. It had good AoE clear as well as pretty substantial single-target damage. Another build that was seen by a few players was a Double Swing build that saw some buffs in Season 1. Both of these builds benefited greatly from the Barber heart, which was commonly used in the majority of builds this season. Ignore Pain was also quite popular in HC since it gave a substantial boost to survivability. Pairing this with Revenge made you virtually unkillable.
- Poison Creeper Trampleslide Druid: With the introduction of the Subterranean Aspect, Trampleslide Druid got quite a crazy power increase. This build shined with the Inexorable Force Heart, which would pull in enemies from up to 50 yards away. Pairing the new aspect, which causes Poison Creeper to cast a large area of landslides with the Trampleslide aspect, enemies did not stand a chance. This build could easily clear entire rooms while also doing quite high single target damage.
- Bone Spear Necromancer: Bone Spear Necromancers did not change much this season. Necromancers did gain access to the Decrepit Aura Heart, which would automatically cast Decrepify on enemies around you if there were at least 5 nearby. They also gained access to the Sacrilegious Heart, which would automatically cast a Corpse skill when walking near a corpse every second. This would be used to constantly cast Corpse Explosion and Corpse Tendrils. Barber was also a go to for this build.
- Twisting Blades Rogue: Rogue saw a shift away from Death Trap this season and was more focused on Twisting Blades with Poison Imbuement. This build had pretty decent clear with incredible single target damage. Pairing Poison Imbued Twisting Blades with Barber was a devastating combo and was quite popular for deleting Uber Lillith.
- Chain Lightning Sorcerer: Chain Lightning Sorcerer took over Ice Shards this season due to the new Sorcerer heart, Omnipower. This caused your projectile skills to consume all mana and launch an additional projectile for each 30-45 mana spent. Late game with the proper amount of mana and resource generation, this build was incredible for blasting through nightmare dungeons with ease.
Most Popular Hearts:
- Prudent Heart: Prudent Heart was a go to Heart because it provided up to 20% reduced incoming damage. The heart would suppress up to 20% of incoming damage and would explode after using a defensive ability. The damage from the explosion was insignificant, but the damage suppression was extremely powerful.
- Barber: The Barber was used in the majority of builds this season. It would cause all of your damage following a critical strike to build up and explode for extra damage. This was incredible for AoE situations and also was a substantial increase to single target for every build across the board.
The hearts did not cause that much of a meta shift, as all of these builds were popular on launch. Some new aspects that were introduced brought some new exciting builds to the game, but they were not strong enough to cause a meta shift.
If you would like to take a peek at the leaderboards from Launch and Season 1 then check out these links here:
We will be adding a new boss bounty board to Season 2’s Race to World First! Will you be the first to clear all 5 new bosses?
With Season 2 right around the corner we would like to invite you to join us in the Race to World First when the new season launches! Please visit here to sign up!