2. General hints and tips
At its core, Diablo III is about killing monsters and finding loot. There is a ton of information that I could present about this game, but I've tried to include only the most basic and relevant information to keep the walkthrough at a manageable size.
The console version of Diablo III features an adjustable difficulty setting beyond the four standard "difficulties" (which are Normal, Nightmare, Hell, and Inferno). So when starting out, you will be on Normal difficulty with the option to play on the Easy, Medium, Hard, or Master I setting. Settings for Master II, III, IV, and V will become available after (I believe) you reach level 10 with a character.
The game is essentially the same through each of the four standard difficulties, with the only difference being the level of enemies and loot. The overall scaling across the difficulties attempts to make it so your character will always be in a place that approximately matches their level.
Enemies and loot in Normal difficulty start at level 1 and scale up to about level 30.
Enemies and loot in Nightmare difficulty start around level 30 and scale up to about level 50.
Enemies and loot in Hell difficulty start around level 50 and scale up to about level 60.
Enemies and loot in Inferno difficulty are level 60.
The settings for Easy, Medium, and Hard affect enemy health and damage but offer no change in terms of item drops, experience, or anything else. The only reason to play on a setting other than Easy is for a personal challenge.
The Master levels continue to scale up enemy health and damage beyond Hard. The Master levels also offer increased experience from enemies and a higher chance for better loot and more gold to drop. The game is very difficult on the Master levels and I don't suggest playing on them until you've reached level 60 and have top-end gear. There is no achievement-related reason to play on any setting other than Easy.
The game is very linear in terms of the main story. NPCs will give you a series of quests that you must complete to advance the story. Most quests require that you acquire a quest-related item or defeat a quest-related enemy. This walkthrough will not guide you through the story to try to avoid spoilers. Quest objectives are always very clearly marked, and if they are not, then thorough exploration of the specified area will be sufficient to find them.
Like earlier Diablo games, Diablo III has many randomly generated maps. Overworld areas are usually a static shape/size with key components of those areas (dungeon entrances, quest objectives, etc.) generating at random places in each game. Most dungeon layouts are also randomly generated in each game, too. Some layouts are static, however.
Four different stats affect character damage and survivability: Stength, Dexterity, Intelligence, and Vitality. Each class has a "primary" stat that directly affects their damage output. Stats also provides a defensive bonus to each class.
Strength is the primary stat of Barbarians. Strength also increases armor, which affects physical damage received.
Dexterity is the primary stat of Monks and Demon Hunters. Dexterity also increases dodge chance, which is the chance to completely avoid attacks.
Intelligence is the primary stat of Wizards and Witch Doctors. Intelligence also increases resistances, which affect elemental damage received.
Vitality affects total life and is not a primary stat for any character.
Damage output (damage per second or DPS) is most greatly affected by the damage shown on your weapon. It is further enhanced by increasing your primary stat and then by other modifiers like increased attack speed and critical chance/damage. In general, the higher damage weapon, the better. When considering other gear, primary stat is generally the most important modifier.
Characters unlock active and passive skills (and the slots for using them) as they gain levels. Active skills are further enhanced by "runes" that also unlock by gaining levels. Skills and runes can always be changed around. Feel free to experiment with various skill and rune combinations to find what works best for you.
The Blacksmith can craft items. Crafted items are generated with random stats that are outlined in the crafting menu. Crafting an item requires crafting materials and gold. Crafting materials are obtained by having the blacksmith "salvage" items, which is an alternative to selling items to vendors. Salvage higher level items to obtain higher level crafting materials.
And just a heads up: one achievement is way out of balance with the rest of the achievements as far as the amount of time required to earn it. You could theoretically complete everything except All That Glitters else in about 25-30 hours, but picking up 5m gold will likely take another 25+ hours depending on how you choose to approach it.
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