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Just found out I'm getting Diablo 3 in a week or two as an early Father's Day present. I will have limited amounts of time to play (about 30 minutes around 7am EDT) during the week, and little to no time on the weekends. None of my friends are likely to be available then (plus they like longer play sessions).

If all I'm interested in is gaining EXP and loot as quickly as possible, is it more efficient to go it alone as a wizard, or should I be joining a public game for whatever quest I happen to be on? I'm not sure how the lack of coordination / play skill of the random Public players will balance against the 75% HP increase on the monsters.

Do these considerations change in Nightmare / Hell? Just going to leave Inferno out. What about with a different class?

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possible duplicate of How can I level up more quickly? –  Tharius May 23 '12 at 19:38
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@Stephen Nothing in that question addresses the efficacy of joining Public games. If speed was the only consideration, taking a week off of work and power levelling with friends in a well thought out, well-coordinated group would be the winner. Absent a coordinated group and given a more casual schedule, which of solo or Public is a more efficient use of my time? –  JamesCW May 23 '12 at 19:55
    
Fair enough James, I went off the line "If all I'm interested in is gaining EXP and loot as quickly as possible" ... which the other thread deals with quite well. –  Tharius May 24 '12 at 0:06
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@Stephen totally, and I'll end up using advice from there for the actual gameplay part of things whichever way I decide. –  JamesCW May 24 '12 at 0:11

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

If you have limited time to play and will not be online when your friends are, I recommend you play solo, at least for Normal difficulty. As Rachel mentioned, it is just as viable (until you get to very high difficulty), you will get XP and loot at the same pace, and also you may find it more fun:

  • You get to play with followers (unavailable in co-op play)
  • You can choose your follower and equip/spec them to complement your play style
  • Followers have interesting lore and great voice-acting
  • Follower AI is likely to be better than most of the random people on Battle.net
  • You can complete quests at your own pace
  • You can listen to dialogue and watch cinematics without people interrupting them
  • Solo gameplay is arguably more tactical and strategic as opposed to mindless click-spamming

Overall I feel that Blizzard has really invested a lot into the RPG elements of this Action-RPG, and if you play solo, you may enjoy them a lot.

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+1 for pointing out that you can listen to dialog and watch cinematics without people interrupting them. In public games, anyone can skip these, and they frequently do. I'd recommend at least one solo playthrough just to enjoy the story and cinematics (I love the Act 1 ending cut scene!) –  Rachel May 23 '12 at 20:08

I've played in public parties... It wasn't bad at all, the players actually communicated and waited for one another. There was no selfish playing and we ran through the maps a lot faster and the experience was good.

Solo play is good for players who want to go at their own pace, go AFK and come back, etc...

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I've just been playing solo, got my wizard to act 2 inferno that way. I'll have to join a public game and see how it goes. Thanks! –  JamesCW Nov 27 '12 at 20:57

You do not get any extra experience or better loot in multiplayer games

You might have an easier time at higher difficulty levels with a variety of other classes (such as a tank) and go through the game faster with more people to help take down mobs, however solo play is definitely feasible.

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By extra, I mean experience for monsters I did not personally kill. All of the monsters die, and all of the XP is accumulated, but how is the increased time per kill (due to mob health boost) balanced against the fact that two players can be each killing separate mobs simultaneously, and each get all of the experience? –  JamesCW May 23 '12 at 19:53
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You have to be pretty close to the kill to get the experience for it, and at that point you were more than likely part of the kill or at least assisting in the kills of other monsters in the same pack. If you can't play with a group of people you know I'd suggest solo play... There's no telling what public players might do. –  nzifnab May 23 '12 at 20:01
    
@JamesCW As nzifnab said, you have to be fairly close to get experience. I think it's a screen and a half away or something, but I'm not sure exactly. I'm fairly sure I saw a question on here about specifics, so search the site if you want to know an exact answer :) Personally, if you want to play with other people, play as a group. If you don't like playing with random people, then go solo. Both options are perfectly viable, especially with the earlier difficulty levels –  Rachel May 23 '12 at 20:06
    
I guess what I'm trying to say is: if we treat the party as one big DPS machine, how does DPS boosts from additional members compare to the 75% health boosts on the mobs? It sounds like the consensus from the four of us is that the unpredictability of Public players makes it better to go solo w/ an AI follower. –  JamesCW May 23 '12 at 20:21

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