I’ve put a lot of thought into what it takes to level with maximum productivity during the release of Diablo 3. Allow me to let you in on some basic advice that may help you form your own opinions. For starters what is better, solo or group play for leveling and productivity capabilities?
Solo Leveling Benefits
Well on one hand solo play (If you choose to go this route I wrote about the most OP Diablo 3 class for soloing at release) allows you have a follower, (an extra helper) with no mob health gains; allowing you to maintain your own pace. There’s nobody to lag you and nobody to wait on. If you want to craft, you can craft. If you want to search the Auction House for items, (like +Exp, +GF, +MF, or just a new weapon) you have all the freedom in the world to do so. I’d say this allows extremely fast Normal through Nightmare gameplay. What starts happening when content starts to get a bit harder?
Group Leveling Annoyances
Of course, if you look at Diablo 3 groups you’re looking at a each monster getting a bonus, you’re looking at having to stick together in order to maintain a rapid pace, and you’re looking at a need to organize crafting and vendor selling rounds to minimize breaks. The list of potential delays is endless; if somebody has to eat, go to work, help their kids on homework, have sex with the gf, or go to the bathroom; then your efficiency could go down the drain. In essence, you are relying on others a great deal. Then again you could avoid the hassle and still play with 3x other characters by multiboxing Diablo 3.
As a rule of thumb, I’d rule out public games completely due to the inconsistency of valuable members who can maintain your pace. Communication limitations will also bring hazard if you’re serious about speed. I wrote a lot about these topics in my post about (Diablo 3 clans, community and chat concerns).
What You’ll be Missing if you go SOLO
When looking at group play numbers, there are no buffs to monsters other than original mob health increasing by 75% for each additional player. There’s no monster damage buffs and you get to enjoy delicious, friendly group buffs and healing from your teammates. These concepts alone point out how much more valuable it is to have group play.
By default survivability increases and allows damage intensive classes to focus only on DPS output. What are some other positive benefits? Monk auras give huge global increases, there’s barbarian shouts and many global monster debuffs. If your class or build isn’t CC intensive; you still have others to back you up. There will most likely be many Minions to help you.
Furthermore, each additional person in the group is getting a drop for each mob kill. These items can be traded to balance the RNG from drop rates. Specific class and slot items will be much easier to fill in this way. In other words everyone can get the maximum gear in slots in the least amount of time with a reduced chance of having to settle for a crappy luck spree (like finding 10x different kickass belts while having several outdated pieces). Being able to help out friends in this manner is vital for fast progression. Furthermore, you can generate better gear faster by feeding all the salvaged goods to one blacksmith. This takes a bit of individual sacrifice, but the leveling speed would reign supreme in the later difficulties.
In my mind, it’s a no brainer. I suppose the question comes down to whether you can get a coordinated group of determined, like-minded players and some sort of voice communication.