GR progression in solo self found (SSF)

So, in leveling testing, I was getting one about every 2 Cursed Chests.

For leveling 1-70 on the PC specifically, I would definitely do one Vision, but skip the rest. On the console, this is how I’d probably focus on leveling.

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Don’t know if you noticed (guessing you probably did), but you can get DBs at low level from Visions as well. Don’t even need high difficulty.

I got DBs from a Hard(30) vision.

Not all that useful with the Challenge Rift cache, but very useful if you use the cache in SSF SC/HC and are levelling the other mode without cache before the challenge rift reset.


So, Vision portals drop DBs before L70? This is quite game-changing, gives me alot more scope to cube + Upgrade Rares for the leveling and post-70 phases.

Normally DBs start dropping at lvl61. But yes, DBs in the Visions may drop even earlier. Furthermore, sometimes you may come across Rift Guardians in those Visions (like, 3 at a time), and they also drop GR keystones, even if you are not level 70 yet.


The chest at the end also drops a GR key or two.

Yep, if you get a floor with a bunch of elites, each elite will drop a DB. I got DBs on Hard difficulty as early as level 30 (I actually didn’t test any lower, so probably earlier than that).

Some floors are just trash enemies, or the floor with 3x RGs (the RGs only drop items and GR keys, no DBs), so those floors won’t have DBs. So there’s a bit of RNG in how many DBs you will get.

The visions can be pretty tough at low level as well, especially if you are on higher difficulties. The resource burn is pretty horrible when you aren’t just wiping the room instantly. The life leach / healing debuff can be pretty nasty at low level too, you’d want to be pretty careful if playing Hardcore. The triple RG fight can be pretty tough at low level too, but you can bypass that if you want. There will be a random trash enemy somewhere with the three RGs, and if you kill that guy, it will open the portal to the next floor even if you haven’t killed any of the RGs.

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The 2 keystones are the most important thing here. Because that gets you immediate access to Legacy of Dreams when you hit 70. It’s going to take roughly 10 minutes to run the Greater Rifts, or 10 minutes to run one Rift, even on Normal Difficulty. Remember, you don’t have Movement Speed, and Greater Rifts are far faster than Rifts. But this will now also be useful for running bounties post 70, because people tend to forget exactly how weak they are post 70, and even running Normal bounties can be excruciatingly slow when facing bosses.

On Hardcore, you’re hoping for a 1 Level Vision, or those bosses really early. Then nope out. On Softcore, you can probably push to floor 4 on the difficulty you’re on, then I’d just drop the difficulty down to Normal and rush to the end. Even on my Necromancer, who can typically take T6 all the way to 70, I had to drop it down to T1 difficulty by the time I completed a 15 floor vision.

On the PC, the XP really isn’t great here. I’m just after the 2 keystones, and the DB is the icing on the cake. Also, if you get the floor with goblins, you’ve won the lottery. Taking the PTR XP buff into consideration, it was about twice as slow leveling with my Necromancer.

On the console, however, due to the lack of useful Massacre Bonuses, this is exactly how I’d approach leveling, because it is so Elite packed. Also, on the console, since cooldowns reset on leveling, this means you can keep Land of the Dead: Frozen Lands up nearly 100% of the time.


Thanks for this info! I missed out on PTR so very happy to get the ins and outs of S29 from players like yourself.

I have a follow up question if you have time to answer - post L70, do you reckon that VIsions portals or the usual Rifts->Keys->GRs cycle are the way to maximise legendary+set item drops per hour? (Assuming same difficulty level when freshly out of L70 in maybe T1-T3)?

This is a great point, thanks! My post L70 plan is to craft Guardians and Sage (assuming - I hope!! that the bounty caches farmed for Chapeter III drop the plans), Then with that I was gonna move on to farming VIsions. Since XP is not critical in S29, which is more efficient for legendary drops per hour - Visions or Rifts-keys-GRs ? I won’t have Haedrig’s Gift for my SSF character due to probably using it for my regular seasonal toon. Any suggestions on what I could do and what’s your usual post-L70 setup?

For keys, definitely go the Visions route. Visions can have boss spawns, each of them drop a key. Plus, the chest at the end gives two keys. Granted, I only tried on Normal through T6, so I could be wrong later on here.

The Visions themselves can be from one floor to fifteen floors, each floor increasing in difficulty. Obviously, at the very beginning of hitting 70, you may not be getting far in, so you’re going to hope for short Visions.

Now, as far as which is more efficient, I’d say it definitely depends where in your journey you are. If you’re a fully loaded Inna’s Monk with 3 piece Raiment and can handle T16 with ease, I’d have to guess that Rifts are still going to be faster. If you’ve just hit 70, the Visions are going to be faster.

But, you’re going to need bounty materials anyway, and this is going to be a great way to get them, and get extra keys while you’re at it. Like, I wouldn’t pass up a Vision later on. With the Paragon Points capped at 800, rerolling gear is going to be necessary, and this will require a lot of bounty mats.


Keeping this a separate post from the previous one, as this is going to be a more in depth answer, and don’t want to create a TLDR covering multiple topics.

This depends on whether you’re going after Haedrig’s, or going purely for LoD, and your motivations. My usual post-70 tends to focus on speed leveling, maybe grabbing a conquest, and trying to complete the Season Journey as fast as humanly possible. Probably going to be a few trade secrets, but people who care about this stuff and are in competition pretty much already know.

Season Start Approach


  1. Find out how long the Challenge Rift takes, and how long you take to complete it. Don’t actually complete it. Rather, get to about the 75% mark pre-season.

  2. Your goal is to complete the Greater Rift as soon as humanly possible after the season starts. So, if you have 6 minutes to run it, but it takes 2 minutes to complete, you’d start roughly 4 minutes ahead of the hour of the season start. You’ll want a little buffer in case it doesn’t start directly on the hour.

  3. Run the Challenge Rift up until about 80-90%, then stop, and just wait until you see the Season Start notice. Provided you don’t actually kill the Rift Guardian until after the Season Starts, you can actually collect your Challenge Cache.

Diablo 3 - Season starts and the Challenge Rift - YouTube

Some people don’t like to do this, as they prefer to be safe than sorry. Plus, this doesn’t work on the consoles.

Leveling 1-70

I do this every season as a Necromancer, and then switch to my real class. No other class is consistently as fast. I can consistently level as a Necromancer to 70 in under 75 minutes with just the Grasps of Essence.

And it works in Hardcore as well.

Diablo 3 - HC Necro 1- 70 Solo, Actual Season, Grasps of Essence Only - YouTube

My fastest 1-70 in an actual season was 41 minutes a couple seasons ago in the Americas, and excluding my teammate, I was 20+ minutes faster than the next fastest player to hit 70. Now, while you might say that wasn’t SSF, with groups, I do a carry leveling approach. That is, the player I’m grouped with doesn’t really contribute with the killing. In fact, they don’t even need to open up their Haedrig’s Gift, so in reality, that really is me doing all the leveling.

Anyway, my best advice is to ignore anyone claiming they level in under an hour, let alone anything faster. Excluding last season and Season 22, only 5 players have ever leveled in under 50 minutes. And Lybrix on EU is the only player to have ever done it more than once, and he only did this twice. Even under an hour, excluding last Season and Season 22, and some glitches on Asia, leveling in under an hour has only been accomplished fewer than 100 times on Asia, EU, and Americas combined, and only a handful of players have ever done it more than once. The Achievement Leaderboard can be used to keep track of this, as your first 70 points are most likely going to be you hitting 70, and the leaderboard keeps track of when you hit 70.

A few tips, which differ from most guides you’ll see online.

  1. Don’t upgrade your weapon. The one exception is if you’re playing an HC SSF DH. This will naturally change come season 30 with the Altar. But for right now, it’s inefficient, and will cost you time.

  2. Unless you’re a DH, the first thing you should do is teleport to Act 1. Just buy vendor gear. Don’t bother grabbing your follower’s gear. Act 1 will typically have decent weapons. You’re mostly after a weapon with +XP, but if you see a weapon with +8 dps or higher, go for it.

  3. For a DH, craft two Level 5 hand crossbows. For every other class, craft a Level 5 axe. The Necromancer will also want to craft a Level 5 phylactery. Do not craft any other weapons other than that. Everything else from this point onwards should be bought from the vendor.

  4. Gamble as little as possible. With the Necromancer, I only gamble for the gloves, and absolutely nothing more. Don’t waste all your blood shards on junk like Pox Faulds, Leoric’s Crown, Leoric’s Signet, etc.

  5. Don’t immediately race to the cube. This will cost you time. (An exclusion here is the console.)

What most people, including popular streamers, get wrong here, is that it’s not really 1-70. It’s Level 1 to Haedrig’s Gift, or Level 1 to your complete build. The advice they tend to give, while it might get you to 70 five minutes faster, will cost you half an hour or more post 70.

Leveling as a non-Necro

Now, if you’re after conquests, you might not want to dual class here. Conquests are all about getting there fast, fast, fast, and completing them with as little gear as possible.

In that approach, if you’re decent with Massacre Bonuses, you’ll want to snapshot Eternal Woods for your first 10+ levels. It’s better to have some movement speed so you can race through The Elder Sanctum, which in turn saves you more time in the end.

Diablo 3: Advanced Season start leveling for Demon Hunter and Monk, HC Viable - YouTube

Halls of Agony 1 Blades leveling can be faster (for every class but Necro), but

  1. It doesn’t work in HC.
  2. It’s not consistent. Get a good layout, you can hit Level 20 in 10 minutes. Get a bad layout, and 10 minutes in, you’re still stuck at Level 4.

My goal, regardless of class, is typically Level 12 by 5 minutes into the season, regardless of class.

Afterwards, level up however you want to level up.

Dual classing won’t get you to be the first player to Haedrig’s Gift of your real class. A person who wins the Kadala + Level Reduce lottery will get Haedrig’s Gift every time before you. But my Season Start approach is all about consistency. If you pay attention to the leaderboards at Season Start, you’ll notice the same 5 people every season near the top at the beginning of the season. And they’re not all winning the Level Reduce Lottery, Kadala lottery, etc. Because every 8-10 seasons, give or take, you are going to strike out on everything.

Post 70

This is what you wanted.

  1. Craft your Legendary Weapon now. You should have enough Death Breath for it.
  2. Craft a Sage Helm. You want the Guaranteed socket to put a diamond in, and get Cooldown.
  3. With your remaining blood shards, gamble for the rest of your gear. You want yellows in every slot. With any that you’re missing, craft the rest.
  4. If you have any remaining resources, craft the rest of your Sage Gear. You won’t be wearing it, but it emanates, and you can put it on your follower.
  5. Anyway, you have your two Greater Rift keys from the Vision. Just speed run Greater Rifts to get a Legacy of Dreams here.
  6. Run another Vision now. Start on roughly T2 difficulty, and lower it where necessary. The legendaries started to drop roughly on floor 4.
  7. When you have about 5 legendary pieces, grab keys for running ubers, and run Ubers on T4+. This should give you a good shot of at least 2 mats.
  8. Craft a HF Ring + Amulet. This counts as Jewel Crafting recipes. ( Diablo 3 - Quick Jewel Crafting Recipes at beginning of season - YouTube)

At this point, level up your real character. And you can knock bounties out of the way. Provided you leave one Chapter 1 or Chapter 2 requirement incomplete, you can collect on HC/SC. Remember, if you complete a Chapter, that gift is forever locked into that mode, so you cannot collect it in any other mode. Hence whey we leave an early requirement incomplete.

Note: This season, SSF and non SSF count as separate journeys, but you only get one reward. So you can’t cheese your way into Haedrig’s with this.

Taking this approach, it is possible to still take Rank 1 dual classing a little later on.

This was EU Season 22, and a good example of why wasting all your mats can harm you in the end. The first player to hit 70 took 39m that season on EU, whereas I took 90 minutes to hit 70, as I didn’t level up via the shrines (an example of whiffing the season start). People underestimate exactly how slow the season starts really are.

Also, 2nd player to clear GR75 during Season 26 on Asia and 63rd on EU and got as high as Rank 2 on EU that season:
Remember, I’m running solo here against other players who leveled up in a group.

Still, if not collecting Haedrig’s, you still will have a bunch of mats (gems, DBs, blood shards, etc.) to help boost your real character for an LoD build.


Did a small test on the PTR, my average was one fissure/3 mins with an average of just over 22 legendaries per fissure, so I would have to do grift 90 at 1.30 average to match that.