Diablo 3 – Season 28 Starter Guide

  • Post published:February 11, 2023
  • Post last modified:December 19, 2023
  • Post category:Diablo
  • Reading time:29 mins read

Rites of Sanctuary – Top 3 classes to begin your next adventure


This is my personal list of favorite classes to begin the next Season 28 – Rites of Sanctuary, based on the Patch notes (2.7.5) and Haedrig’s gift rewards. This guide is not intended for the mid-end season and only aims for the fresh day one/level 1 start.

Season 28 Start Date is February 24, 2023. (confirmed post here)

In case you are new to seasonal themes, you can check out my old video here where I show one little trick on how to get free bounty materials to ease your fresh start with a level 1 character.

Altar of Rites Theme

Seals and offerings

With Season 28 on its way and the upcoming release of Diablo IV, Blizzard has finally unleashed the “ultimate” season of all time. With this new theme, players will be able to obtain legendary powers from altars scattered around the world. These altars provide passive bonuses for the Nephalems to shake the grounds and shift the rules.

To obtain such powers (aka. Seals), players will have to offer specific items in return. There are 26 seals in total, which can be unlocked one by one, and no need to worry – you can unlock them all, eventually… But you’ll need to choose wisely to gain the buff that would benefit your character. And once you unlock all 26 seals (if you are a devoted player), you will get a double Primal drop chance till the end of that season, and Cosmetic wings – the Wings of Terror.

Speaking of the actual buffs, they can give you some basic bonuses like extra resistances, % damage, or extra damage to elites. But things get really hot once you reach the mid-tier tree. There are plenty of interesting bonuses to help you progress in the season and reach new heights!

We are talking about Permanent XP pools that don’t disappear even after death, double bounty caches, double Death’s Breath, Progress Orbs auto-pickup, and extra elite damage.

Once you reach the end-tier tree, you’ll also be able to unlock special buffs for your potions. There are 3 potion buffs in total, and they offer quite decent temporary buffs for your character. Such as: a random pylon effect, reduced incoming damage, or runic circle that gives you extra damage with cooldown reduction.

But to unlock these potion’s bonuses or other powers, you will need to offer gifts to these altars. The more seals you unlock, the more gifts you will have to offer. You will eventually need to sacrifice 1500 blood shards, for example, or have a spare legendary gem (at 125 level), and even Staff of Herding – the one, that opens the secret Cow level outside of Tristram.

Will you manage to unlock all the seals before the end of the season and also unlock all the usual Seasonal Journey tasks? We’ll see. The altar of Rites will await your generous offers!

Class changes

As for the usual Patch tweaks in 2.7.5, many class sets have been rebalanced once again. Natalya’s Vengeance for Demon Hunter now grants extra bonuses to Spike Trap, instead of Rain of Vengeance. Shadow Mantle has also switched the 2-piece bonus to more specific skill damage, instead of 6000% of all damage. But what’s more important, is that Unhallowed Essence has been buffed even further (from 350% per discipline to 1700%). The recent update has also brought Gears of Dreadlands back into higher leagues by increasing primary-skill damage from 15000% to 27500% increased damage.

Monks on the other hand haven’t received many tweaks. Patterns of Justice will now deal 20000% damage instead of 15000%, and Raiment of Thousand Storms now lowers the cost of Dashing Strike from 75 spirit to 25.

Necromancers received only one set tweak – Masquerade of the Burning Carnival will do even more damage with Bone Spear and strike for 9000% damage instead of 6000%.

And some final tweaks for Wizard The Typhon’s Veil Hydras will now deal more damage (from 2000% up to 4000%).

We can also see one slight change to Witch Doctor’s ability – Spirit Barrage (from 6000% to 14000% increased damage), presumably to push Mundunugu set even further.

Unfortunately, there are no updates in patch 2.7.5 to Barbarian, or Crusader. Maybe it is time to highly consider Demon Hunter for the new season once again. Let’s find out in the ranking list below!

Rank 7 – Crusader

Place number 7 is Crusader with the Aegis of Valor set.

Patch 2.7.5 hasn’t introduced any changes to this class or set, so crusaders stay at the end of this list once again. Aegis of Valor is definitely not the worst starter set to pick, but it is going to be a rough adventure.

This set is tied to Fist of the Heavens and Heaven’s Fury skills. Most of the time you will have to press them to deal the actual damage and maintain reduced incoming damage from your foes. This can drastically reduce your mobility, and you become vulnerable to attacks. You may also have a hard time controlling your character as this set limits the choice of skills, and it doesn’t offer many options for survivability. You’ll have to aim for lower difficulty levels at first, and slowly progress to Torment XVI.

While 20000% damage for Fist of the Heavens and Heaven’s Fury sounds impressive, the set doesn’t provide much benefit on its own. You’ll still have to find plenty of additional legendaries to make it work as intended. This includes: Shield of Fury to increase Heaven’t Fury damage; Fate of the Fell to gain two additional rays and deal 500% more damage; craftable Captain Crimson’s set for improved toughness, cooldown reduction, and resource reduction; Bracer of Fury for additional 400% Heaven’s Fury damage; and the Ring of Royal Grandeur to unlock more customization options.

Keeping this set for bounties or Nephalem rifts is not recommended, as its bonuses are mostly designed for Greater Rifts push. While it is still manageable, your efficiency will drastically decrease compared to other classes.

If you still plan to start your next season as Crusader, consider switching to Akkhan as soon as possible. It is much more customizable and can efficiently clear most of the activities. But keep in mind that you will need at least 56% cooldown reduction to make it work properly.

Rank 6 – Witch Doctor

Moving next, We have Witch Doctor. Mundunugu’s Regalia.

Witch Doctors, just like crusaders, have not received any updates once again. So don’t expect to hear anything new here. At least the next seasonal theme can revive most of the builds, including our starter set for Season 28.

Speaking of this set itself, it performs quite well mostly in Greater Rifts due to his high Spirit Barrage damage and area damage against crowds of enemies. You’ll definitely like this set if your primary goal is to push the leaderboards. But prepare to collect many different items to execute this set properly, and expect to die quite often at the early stages.

For this set, you’ll definitely need Lakumba’s Ornament with the combination of Sacred Harvester dagger for extra toughness (especially at low paragons). But the essential part of this build is The Barber dagger. It drastically increases your Spirit Barrage damage, and it can stack with other important legendaries, such as Gazing Demise mojo, Captain Crimson’s set, and Ring of Emptiness.

Once you obtain all these items, you basically become unstoppable. With Mundunugu you can also successfully clear bounties or Nephalem Rifts thanks to Shukrani’s Triumph mojo and Spirit Walk. But don’t get too excited, because this set can be slow at the time – you’ll need to apply your Locust Swarm on each target, stand still for a few seconds and hit with your Spirit Barrage. Definitely not very efficient for farming, although highly customizable, but strong in high-tier Greater Rifts. Additionally, if you are not very familiar with Witch Doctor’s spells, it may be too complex at first to understand its core mechanics and reach its full potential. If you rather prefer some casual play sessions, then consider switching to Helltooth or Zunimassa.

Overall, this set is highly capable in Greater Rifts, but it is squishy at first and requires much practice to perform well. His average mobility allows him to clear Nephalem Rifts or bounties, but other sets can do it better without overcomplicating it.

Rank 5 – Wizard

Place number 5 is The Typhon’s Veil. Wizard.

This starter set has been tweaked for just one (6) piece bonus, so Hydra will now deal 4000% damage for each Hydra head alive. While this may sound a lot, you’ll still need to find a few core items to reach higher difficulty levels to deal decent damage to your foes.

One of these core offensive items is Serpent’s Sparker which allows you to summon one extra Hydra, and it deals 400% more damage. The Magistrate helm will also provide 300% more damage, and Hydra will periodically cast Frost Nova to control large groups of enemies. It is also recommended to equip Winter Flurry source to add more damage against enemies which are under the effect of Blizzard. Tasker and Theo will also boost the attack speed of your Hydras, because they are considered pets. As for your attack speed, you can equip Fragment of Destiny + The Shame of Delsere. This will make your signature spells as deadly as your Hydras, especially for Greater Rifts.

As for the defensive items, you’ll also need Halo of Karini ring, and Ashnagarr’s Blood Bracer to protect you from fatal hits. Without them, your wizard is basically doomed to die from any gentle hit.

As you can see, the list of important items is huge, but it doesn’t mean that this set is overcomplicated. Depending on your needs, you can customize it for specific activities. It can perform quite well in Nephalem and Greater Rifts as Hydras can target all the enemies and cover your back. Unfortunately, though, these Hydras never listen and can attack the wrong targets, and the gameplay itself may be quite repetitive. But if you play bounties or Nephalem Rifts, it shouldn’t be a problem to clear a wide range of maps and farm efficiently.

If for some reason you are not satisfied with its repetitive piano-style gameplay, then consider finding another set for Wizard, preferably Tal Rasha as it is also another decent Meteor-pushing/Explosive-farmer set that can be easily customized to your needs and give sufficient damage.

Rank 4 – Barbarian

Place number 4 is Barbarian. Horde of the Ninety Savages.

This is the pure physical-melee set that relies on Frenzy and battle shouts. You can make this set work relatively fast, and you’ll mostly need legendaries that can stack your primary skill attacks. Bastion’s Revered is a two-handed mightily weapon (for Cube) that adds split damage to nearby targets and allows stacking Frenzy up to 10 times. The Undisputed Champion mightily belt will give Frenzy every rune + 400% extra damage. Depth Diggers to add 100% more damage to all primary skills. And Oathkeeper mighty weapon for 50% attack speed and 200% additional primary skills damage. For defense, you’ll need just one item – Band of Might. It’s a classic choice for every Barbarian.

That’s pretty much most of the items you will need to deal significant damage on high-difficulty levels. There is just one drawback though – This starter set lacks area damage, and it’s heavily dependent on the density and even map layouts. For this reason, this set cannot be used efficiently for farming Nephalem Rifts or Bounties. The core purpose of this set is to push Greater Rifts, which can help you level up fast early on, and find decent legendaries for other sets.

And also keep in mind, that this starter set can be easily recommended to the group players, for Zbarb roles. If you prefer only group play, then this choice is probably for you. You will easily find most of the Zbarb pieces naturally by playing the game, and you can join the Meta as soon as you find Band of Might ring.

However, if you still want to play Barbarian, and want to get rid of this solo-target build as soon as possible, then look for the Wrath of the Wastes set instead. It is the best casual farming set for bounties, Nephalem rifts, and even Greater Rifts where you can just spin to win.

Rank 3 – Necromancer

Necromancer. Masquerade of the Burning Carnival.

This is a highly efficient starter set that you can adapt to all possible end-game activities. It’s a fun and straightforward set that doesn’t require many items or much knowledge to perform well in Greater Rifts of Nephalem Rifts.

You can start dealing damage even without most of the items, and most of them can be found easily if you convert yellow scythes to legendary quality. One key item here is Maltorius’ Petrified Spike which adds 700% damage to Bone Spear, and another one Scythe of the Cycle for 400% increased damage while Bone Armor is active. Two extra items are required for your Simulacrum Gelmindor’s Marrow Guards for 400% extra damage and Haunted Visions to remove the time limitation.

As you can see, it is relatively easy to start, and if you need more toughness and mobility for your hero, then look for Steuart’s Greaves and Dayntee’s Binding belt. It should be enough to move fast, hit deadly, and survive most of the hits if you combine Bone Spear with any curse to your advantage.

This set can also help you in finding other pieces for LoD builds while playing the rifts. So if you plan to play mostly in a group as DPS or Znec support and farm XP efficiently, then it’s a good pick for the next season 28.

Rank 2 – Monk

Place number 2 on my list is monk. Patterns of Justice.

This is another fast-paced and deadly set that will help you in your journey. It was extremely underperforming when it was first released to the public, but nowadays, it is one of the strongest sets for monks.

The play style of this set is similar to Wrath of the Wastes (Barbarian) where you just use one skill – Tempest Rush and keep Sweeping Wind active at all times.

There are only 3 items to collect: two-handed daibo Balance for 600% increased Tempest Rush damage, Won Khim Lau fist for another 600%, and Cesar’s Memento for 800% damage against blinded, frozen or stunned enemies. To squeeze extra damage, it is also recommended to equip Squirt’s Necklace, Mantle of Channeling, and Captain Crimson’s Trimmings.

Speaking of gameplay, this set performs well in Nephalem Rifts, Greater Rifts, and bounties. It has enough toughness to survive most of the hits early on, and you have enough mobility to move in front of the group. With the help of Dashing Strike, you will be able to travel fast on long distances, especially if you equip In-geom. Playing this build may take some time to get used to controls, but overall it is quite straightforward and it has no hidden in-game mechanics.

As an alternative to Patterns of Justice, you can equip Inna’s Mantra later on. It is a less dependent set that can be used for casual farming and playing bounties. Despite Inna being nerfed to the ground, it is still capable of dealing tremendous damage in mid-range Greater Rifts and Torment 16 Rifts.

Rank 1 – Demon Hunter

And the winner of the list is once again Demon Hunter, with the Gears of Dreadlands set.

This starter set holds strong even after the recent patch tweaks (I’m talking about Unhallowed Essence) and shifts in Meta, and for a few reasons!

It is fast, deadly, straight to execute, and easy to collect. Even without most of the items, this set deals tremendous damage with your primary skills. Playing bounties, Greater Rifts, and high Nephalem Rifts is not a problem at all. As you move constantly with your Strafe, enemies have a hard time hitting you, and you save a lot of time clearing most of the maps without standing still. You will only need to reapply your Momentum from time to time to maximize output damage.

For the items, this set requires The Ninth Cirri Satchel quiver to deal 600% damage with Hungering Arrow, Hunter’s Wrath for 30% attack speed and 200% primary skill damage, Depth Diggers for 100% primary skill damage, and Yang’s Recurve bow for 50% reduced recourse costs. For defensive items, it is highly recommended to find Elusive Ring, or at least Wraps of Clarity to survive damage and play comfortably at Torment XVI difficulty. Another option would be craftable sets: either Guardian’s Jeopardy or Captain Crimson’s Trimmings.

This spin-to-win set will leave you satisfied at least to Greater Rift level 100. Beyond that, Gear of Dreadlands is losing grip due to the limited area damage and unpredictable arrow trajectory. But you can still use it if you plan to play as ZDH, to support your group in Meta with Sentries.

If your goal is to push high Greater Rifts above level 100, then consider finding another set – Unhallowed Essence with Multishot, or Shadow’s Mantle with Impale.

Class table Performance (personal preference)

Time for the summary. I have provided a table below which shows what classes in general are the most efficient in farming and playing certain activities in Season 28. One plus (+) represents the possibility to run a certain activity, and up to Three pluses (+++) for strongly capable classes.

This table is just my prediction of certain classes. It is based on their set performance, previous PTR tests, and leaderboards. This table may not reflect the actual S28 capabilities.

ClassSpeedsMeta PlaySolo Push
Witch Doctor++++
Demon Hunter+++++++++
This table shows what classes are highly efficient to do certain activities with Starter sets. More Pluses the better.

Some conclusions

As Season 28 also introduces new unique buffs for each class, then I assume that Demon Hunters, Wizards and probably Monks will have really high chances to dominate the leaderboards, especially in the new meta.

Monk is going to be played as trash killer, Wizard – possibly as trash/boss killer, and Demon hunters with Barb for the support roles. Recent altar’s perks may also bring more underperforming builds back into the game.

Speaking of early progression, starter sets for Demon Hunter, Wizard, and Monk have much more potential in finishing seasonal chapters than other classes. Here, you can easily finish your set dungeon and also beat most of the conquests like Speed Demon (finish Torment X rift within 2 minutes), and Boss Mode (kill all bosses within 20 minutes) with ease. Here’s the video guide on how to beat Boss Mode fast. Curses! (kill 350 monsters in a Cursed event) however, would require some preparations or a well-geared group that would assist in finding and clearing the cursed chest (The best spot is from Act V). If you are struggling to complete some of these conquests, then On a Good Day (level 3 gems to level 65) conquest will unlock naturally by playing Greater Rifts. It will be one less conquest to worry about, and you can focus on the other two conquests from your Seasonal Journey.

I have a Complete Conquests guide on my website, check it out if you plan to finish Season Journey fast!

I hope you liked this article and the information was useful. Please consider supporting me on my YouTube channel where I post different showcase videos from PTR for Diablo 3, as well as Diablo 2, video guides, YouTube Shorts with memes for different games, and reviews.

Thank you for reading this Season 28 Starter Guide article. Have a nice day!