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I haven't played Diablo 3 in a while (maybe a year?) and I have recently created a Seasonal Barbarian Character. I have since beaten the game in ~4 hours and am halfway through my 2nd play through (ng+), and have yet to find any real challenge in the game - I beat Diablo in less than 2 minutes flat.

Additionally, I have gems, magic and rare items coming out of my nose, and I get a guaranteed unique drop on every boss, and occasionally on treasure goblins (of which there are many) and resplendent chests.

My character is:

  • Level 50
  • has ~400 hp/sec regen
  • has never taken more than 3/4 of hp worth in damage (which is regenerated within 10 seconds anyway) - and only from attacks from "Molten" or "Arcane" monsters; bosses do next to nothing.

I specifically remember the game being far more challenging the last time I played, my other Barbarian character (also at the same point) has encountered far less unique items, has far more trouble with the bosses, and needs 2 hands to count the number of times he died.

So do seasonal Characters alter the difficulty of the game at all?

Note: I have played the game multiple times before, with all other characters, and I have played the entire series as well, so this is not an issue with unfamiliarity with the game (i.e. "learning the ropes").

  • Also, yes I do realize that Barbarians are super tank-y, but as I mentioned in my question, there still does seem to be a difference in difficulty since I last played – Ben Aug 11 '16 at 0:05
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No, Seasonal game is exactly the same game as non-seasonal.
If you haven't played in quite some time, though, there are other things in play.

First, many skills were buffed over time - when balancing, Blizzard prefers to buff weak things instead of nerfing strong things, if possible, which results in character "power creep".

Second, there are more and more powerful Legendaries. Back then there was little stuff like "Seismic Slam deals 300-400% more damage, lol", now there are many items like that.

Also, for those readers who come from before Reaper of Souls, the game was greatly changed back then (including the base game, regardless of RoS itself being bought). Item drops became much better, resulting in easier gearing.

What difficulty are you playing in, though?

Post-RoS system of changing difficulty at will is designed so each player could pick one that fits them, and the "game is too easy" situation should never come up.

As an experienced (but not too hardcore) player, I try to level my characters on Master, dropping to Hard in case of unlucky streaks (avoid Expert, its difficulty/reward ratio is unfair) and stepping up to Torment 1 on good days (like when I find a powerful weapon).

True, that does result in much faster leveling than before, plus there is that killing streak experience bonus now.

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  • So they've basically changed it from a progressional "ng+" system to a "choose your difficulty" system? Well that's lame :/ – Ben Aug 11 '16 at 2:43
  • @Ben hasn't it always been "Choose your difficulty" style. I bought it the first week and it's always been like that. And it makes more sense than ng+, especially in seasons. An experienced player should probably go straight to Torment 1 and in 5 hours be able to survive T3. – Coomie Aug 11 '16 at 3:17
  • @Coomie I may just be remembering the earlier games, but I'm pretty certain that D3 followed this pattern (at least initially). Once you defeated a certain difficulty then you could start a new character on said difficulty, (So I beat Nightmare with my lvl 60 char, then create a new one and start on nightmare). But I may be remembering that incorrectly – Ben Aug 11 '16 at 3:53
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    @Coomie, it has not been always that way. "Choose your difficulty" system of Norm-Hard-Exp-Master-T1...T6 has only appeared in RoS (and grown to ...T13 now). In pre-RoS D3, and also in both D1 and D2, there was indeed a tiered, "New Game +" style system of Normal-Nightmare-Hell (-Inferno for D3). Ben in only incorrect in the bit about creating new characters - when you beat Normal, you unlock Nightmare for current character, and can enter Nightmare games with it. Fresh lv.1 char had no place in Nightmare games where each Fallen is lv.30+. – Orc JMR Aug 11 '16 at 5:03
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    @Ben, change from tiered system to a free one is hardly "lame". For Adventure mode, it is the only feasible way (the world is always leveled to player's char, there is no story to tie difficulty to), and for Campaign, if you think of it, it does not matter much. With old system, monster levels were fixed at story points, so if you explored more, you overleveled the content and had dull time, and if you rushed, the game explicitly punished you. Now the progression is more linear - whatever you do, you continue to find new stuff and level up, and if you want challenge, turn it up and suffer! :-) – Orc JMR Aug 11 '16 at 5:10
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A little bit.

There have been a lot of game changes since you last played, and Orc JMR's post goes into some of them. The itemization change and rebalancing of difficulty levels in particular made a huge difference, but these happened before seasons and affect non-seasonal characters too.

Where seasonal characters make the game "easier" is the bonus they added in season 5 to the Season Journey back in patch 2.4: Haedrig's Gift. Now, when you complete certain objectives in the season, you are rewarded with a full six-piece set of gear.

Prior to that patch, when you first hit 70 you had to spend a while farming level 70 rares and crafting some of the entry-level set pieces and legendaries so you could run on one of the Torment difficulties and farm your six-set and better legendaries. These days, you still have to do a little bit of that, but you can be handed your first set bonus as early as hitting level 70 on Expert. This greatly reduces the "early 70 gear-up" time. allowing you to jump to higher Torment levels faster than before.

Non-seasonal characters don't have this advantage and must gear up the old-fashioned way. Note that seasonal characters will convert over to regular characters at the end of the season and will retain all of their equipment and items. So in that sense, seasonal characters make the game a little bit easier.


That said, from the description in your question, the seasonal character part is probably not what's affecting your play experience. If you're finding the game too easy, I'd recommend cranking up the difficulty. If I remember right, Master unlocks when your first character hits level 60, and Torment I+ at 70, but you could still be running on Expert for now.

Also note the difficulty goes up a bit in the 50-70 range as the monsters keep scaling but you start out-leveling your easily available gear upgrades.

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