The content of the article
- Bird Runs: Flame Blades Mirror Images
- Bell Runs: LoD Wave of Light Monk
- Rat Runs with LoD Necromancers
- Combination Runs with GoD DH, Bomb Crusader or Mystic Ally Monk
- WW Rend Barbarian Speeds
We already have a guide on how experience works and how to farm it effectively here. In this article, we will talk about the 4-Player most effective tactic available (META) for experience (exp) farming. There are different ways to farm experience efficiently in groups, but they all have one thing in common: Clearing Greater Rifts as high and as fast as you can! This method yields the most exp by far as you can see in our Greater Rift Scaling Guide. We farm in groups because we are much stronger with more players and get nice group experience bonuses.
Group experience META's generally include synergies that exceed normal support buffs, like Movement Speed buffs with Standoff for Furious Charge META or Land of the Dead combined with Life from Death & Reaper's Wraps for Rat runs. Here is a list of experience META's we had in past patches:
|2.6.3||15 (Boon of the Horadrim)||RATS / LoN SB WD / Star Pact Wiz|
|2.6.4||16 (Season of Grandeur)||Charge Barb / RATS / Bazooka Wiz|
|2.6.5||17 (Season of Nightmares)||Vyr Wiz / RATS|
|2.6.6||18 (Season of Triune)||Vyr Wiz / RATS|
|2.6.7||19 (Season of Eternal Conflict)||WW Rend Barb / RATS / HF Sader|
|2.6.8||20 (Season of the Forbidden Archives)||RATS / Spirit Barrage WD|
|2.6.9||21 (Trials of the Tempests)||GoD DH / RATS / 150 LoD PSN Scythe|
|2.6.10||22 (Shadows of the Past + 4th Cube)||RATS / BATS|
|2.7.0||23 (The Disciples of Sanctuary)||RATS / BATS / BIRDS|
|2.7.1||24 (Ethereal Memory)||BIRDS / BELL / RATS|
As you can see above, there has been one constant META since the Rise of the Necromancer release: Rat Runs! In Patch 2.7.1 there is a strong contender: The Firebird's Finery Mirror Image Wizard with the super strong Ethereal Mang Song's Lesson!
1. Bird Runs: Flame Blades Mirror Image Speeds
The dual Firebird's Finery Mirror Image Wizard setup was always close to Rats but now gets an even bigger buff (around 7 Tiers) during Season 24 with the tremendous power of Mang Song's Lesson!
The group setup revolves around two Mirror Images Wizards supported by a zBarb pulling Elites and grouping monsters together so that the images can hit many targets at once, with a zDH tremendously buffing their damage.
The party rushes to Elites and big pulls of monsters, kills them quickly and moves onto the next pull. Luckily, the Wizard won't have to care about Crowd Control Effects as the zBarb is providing Ignore Pain Mob Rule.
With two Mirror Image Wizards in the party, the Wizard with the least damage should take Conflagration to provide everyone with a 6% Critical Hit Chance debuff. The other Wizard can take Dominance for more Squirt's Necklace uptime or Astral Presence for better resource management as there is no Offhand and no Arcane Power on Critical Hit on Mang Song's Lesson.
Reverse Archon Mirror Image is a possible setup with 67.5% Cooldown Reduction to get a 39 second Archon Cooldown and Dominance to sustain shields for Squirt's Necklace, but can be widely inconsistent due to Pet A.I. in comparison to the Reverse Archon Flame Blades setup found here.
2. Bell Runs: LoD Wave of Light Monk Speeds
(0-10% less exp than Bird Runs)
The new buff to Rabid Strike finally puts the Legacy of Dreams Wave of Light Monk into the META. During Season 24 the build is further enhanced by Jade Talon with the ability to generate Spirit on critical hits!
The group setup revolves around two Wave of Light Monks supported by a zBarb pulling Elites and grouping monsters together while a zDH tremendously buffing their damage.
Both Monks spam Mantra of Healing with Chant of Resonance to maintain each other's Squirt's Necklace. They use Cyclone Strike into Wave of Light spam to kill everything. They try to Epiphany teleport with Cyclone Strike instead of using Dashing Strike to get more Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac procs into Epiphany and Air Ally. The Monks need to pay attention to the position of their Rabid Strike clone (shown by a purple dot on the minimap). The clone likes to get stuck on terrain several screens behind, especially if the Monks teleport a lot. If that happens, they need to stop attacking for a couple of seconds to let it reset.
Pillar of the Ancients does more damage but has way smaller AoE than Explosive Light and can also be played as an alternative. Thanks to Stone of Jordan, the same gear can be used to play with either rune.
3. Rat Runs with LoD Necromancer
(0-10% less exp than Bird Runs)
While this setup gets a 4 Tier buff with Soul Harvest, it can't quite reach the Firebird Wizard, who gets a 7 Tier buff.
This is the most figured out META with 2 LoD Mage Necromancers as Damage Dealers, a zNec and a zBarb. There have been a lot of variations in the past with Bones of Rathma (which gave the name to this META) Legacy of Nightmares, Legacy of Dreams (LoD) and many more. Rats have been the top tier experience farming META since its introduction into the game in patch 2.6.0 with the Necromancer as a new class. This META is extremely fast and relatively easy to play once you reach around 3,000 Paragon!
The zNec leads the group, cursing every monster with Briggs' Wrath and applying the Critical Hit Chance debuffs from Brittle Touch on the enemies. They also freeze everything with Land of the Dead Frozen Lands to proc Krysbin’s Sentence and protect the damage dealers. The zBarb adds buffs, scouts and picks up the Health and Progression Globes as soon as possible! The most important buff to keep up is the crowd control immunity from Ignore Pain Mob Rule. The damage Necromancers stay close to slain enemies to get Essence back from Devouring Aura. Finally, they summon fully powered Skeletal Mage Singularity onto the Elites by hovering the cursor over them for focused damage.
At very high Paragon you can drop the zBarb completely and get a zDH in. That way the Necromancers get even more damage from Odyssey's End, Companion Wolf Companion and Multishot Wind Chill. The tradeoff is the Necromancers can die very easily now without Ignore Pain and War Cry.
This setup is only recommended for very experienced players and can even outperform Bird Runs. For 99% of players, however, we strongly recommend playing with a zBarb.
4. Combination Runs with GoD DH, Bomb Crusader or Ally Monk
(15 - 20% less exp than Bird Runs)
These runs utilize a basic team with zBarb, zDH and two DPS. The supports provide massive offensive and defensive buffs and a bunch of utility such as Movement Speed, pulling and grouping mobs, picking up globes, clicking pylons etc. In Season 24 we have 3 different damage dealers who are very close to each other in power: the GoD Demon Hunter, the LoD Bombardment Crusader and the Inna Mystic Ally Monk. Your two DPS can be any combination out of these 3 (except double Monk) and the results will be very similar.
Note that while Bird Runs have the same team composition, it’s not a good idea to combine a Firebird Wizard with one of these 3. The Wizard is a lot stronger but also clunkier (due to Ignite mechanics, Deathwish and Mirror Image A.I.), so they farm higher tiers a bit slower. If you go for the tier appropriate for Firebird then your second DPS will be unable to contribute meaningful damage. But if you go for sub 3-minute runs in lower tiers then the Wizard will struggle to keep up as by the time Deathwish buff kicks in, most enemies will have died.
The Gears of Dreadlands Demon Hunter gets a buff of around 10 Tiers from Buriza-Do Kyanon. This build provides excellent single target damage and is the most consistent out of the three being able to deal full damage unconditionally at all times. The build cannot aim its damage; Strafe is always firing at the closest enemy. For this reason, you should focus on your positioning, which can be tougher than expected due to all the Movement Speed you have. You should (in order of importance):
- Stay out of dangerous ground effects
- Stay inside Oculus Ring zone
- Stay inside Bait The Trap AoE
- Stay 10yd away from all monsters for Steady Aim
Other than that you just need to keep up your Momentum stacks, spam Smoke Screen and cast Preparation and Vengeance when they come off cooldown.
The Crusader excels at AoE damage and also brings some Movement Speed and Damage buffs via Laws of Hope Wings of Angels and Strongarm Bracers. In Season 24 The Redeemer allows Crusader to use Messerschmidt’s Reaver together with the Fervor passive, resulting in an 8 Tier buff.
The Crusader’s job is to group up mobs with Condemn Vacuum and destroy them with Bombardment. You should mostly focus on keeping your Iron Skin active at all times to buff automatic casts from Belt of the Trove. Manual Bombardment should be used on large groups of trash and elites.
The Monk is great at both single target and AoE damage, but it is very reliant on cooldown resets from In-Geom and Messerschmidt’s Reaver. For that reason you don’t want a double Monk team as you will run the risk of fizzling out when your resets don’t align properly. Having a different, more consistent, second DPS that can feed the monk with Messerschmidt’s Reaver procs helps alleviate this issue. In Season 24 Monks get Bartuc’s Cut-Throat for a great single target damage boost.
As a Monk you need to make sure to apply Cyclone Strike to key targets before you detonate your Allies. Always attack to maximize Flying Dragon uptime. Stay still for a second or two after activating Mystic Allies to prevent their AI from glitching out.
5. WW Rend Barbarian Speeds
(around 30% less exp than Bird Runs)
Concept & Gameplay
While the Wrath of the Wastes Whirlwind Rend Barb gets a 8 Tier buff from The Grandfather during Season 24, it is still not quite strong enough to compete with the other METAs. Still it is a decent alternative for the Barb enthusiasts out there!
This setup usually consists of a WW Rend Barb, an AoV Crusader, a zBarb and a zMonk and uses the same principle as many speeds META listed here.
The WW Rend Barb as trash killer deals good Area of Effect Damage with Rend Bloodbath. This rune together with Lamentation allows the Barb to stack up to 4 Rends on the target (2 normal ones and 2 Bloodbath procs). We usually add a Mirror Image Wizard or a Heaven's Fury Crusader for their single target damage to kill Elites and the Rift Guardian while providing awesome buffs to the group like Conflagration. The zMonk maintains our Squirt's Necklace with their shielding. The Monk is basically like a 2nd Rend Barb, as you gain double damage from Squirt's Necklace alone, while also providing massive toughness and damage buffs. The zBarb is the other standard support that provides the full package of toughness, damage buffs and pulling abilities. A zNec is not very useful because Rend, as all other damage over time skills, does not work with any Critical Hit Chance debuffs on enemies. That means Iceblink does not work with DoT skills either, it is just used to buff the Wizard or Crusader Rift Guardian Killer.
There are plenty of options to farm experience efficiently in groups. Always communicate with your teammates to optimize Greater Rift times, Pool of Reflection uptime and town rotations. Rat Runs have been a consistent part of the exp META for many years and now are finally contested in patch 2.7.1 by the Bird Runs!
Let's hope we can get more builds and classes (Witch Doctor?!) up to speed in the future. Happy farming!
META report by Rob