The lights are on
Now that we can all actually get in and play Diablo III consistently, it's time to start thinking about how to maximize your fun, your loot, and your leveling. Here are a few Diablo III tips that should improve your experience considerably.
Remap your ability keys.
It may not have attain MMO levels of stupidity in default keybindings, but Diablo III's hotkeys could use some help. At least you have the power to remap them! For optimal results, move your ability hotkeys from 1-4 down to ASDF, and change Move to W. That way you never have to move your left hand from its natural position on the left side of your keyboard in combat.
Oh, and put something on spacebar. It's the biggest key on the keyboard, why wouldn't you map something there a little more commonly used than "close all windows"? I suggest health potion or show items.
Explore those mini-dungeons.
The best loot drops generally come from killing Inferno-level bosses with a full stack of Nephalem Valor, but that's a bit in the future for most of us. In the meantime, do check out those Dank Cellars and Lost Ruins and the like – the mini-dungeons that dot the landscape in each act almost always have an elite/champion pack and a gold chest. From an XP/loot per time perspective, they're some of the best locations in the game.
Nevermind the bollocks, stock up on "Adds X-Y damage."
The way that Diablo III's math works makes flat damage modifiers the most powerful ability you can have on a piece of equipment. Because all damage is a multiple of your weapon damage, and all damage is also multiplied by your main stat, adding flat damage to your weapon's base is incredibly powerful. Go find a blue amulet that "adds 2-5 damage" and equip it instead of whatever crappy rare currently occupies your neck slot. Unless you're rocking forty-plus of your main stat – and even sometimes then – your damage (listed in the bottom left of your character sheet) probably just skyrocketed.
Therefore, socket the best ruby you can afford in your weapon.
A square ruby should only cost you a couple thousand gold on the auction house, and the damage it adds when socketed into a weapon is substantial. If you're like me and have more money than sense, you can buy even better gems for geometrically increasing prices. Also, there are no level requirements on gems, so putting a square or better gem in a new character's weapon is a great way to give a recently created hero a significant boost.
Don't forget to remove the gem from your weapon and drop it into a new one as you level and outgrow it – it's almost certainly quite a bit cheaper than buying a whole new gem.
Main stat über alles.
Your main stat (intelligence for wizards and witch doctors, strength for barbarians, dexterity for monks and demon hunters) is far more useful than the other two because of the significant damage increase it grants. A bit of dex sprinkled here and there on your barbarian's equipment is fine – it still adds dodge chance – but strength increases your damage while also providing armor. Why only get a defensive boost when you can get both offense and defense for the same price?
These tips are probably second nature to some of you by now, so share your advanced wisdom in the comments below.
Email the author Adam Biessener, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.