Update 11:20 EST: servers are up and running.
Massive Ban Wave
It seems like Blizzard has issued a massive ban wave for players caught botting or cheating, in preparation for Season 2. In a popular botting forum there are quite a few pages with reports from users saying their accounts were banned. Nevalistis also explained that recent shifts in leaderboard position may have happened because of this. Read below.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)I was just looking at the Grift leader boards for DH and yesterday I was #4 and now I am #3? I was also #9 when they reset and now I am #5. I haven't played so there is no way I could have improved my position.Some of the shifts you may be seeing on leaderboards are a direct result of a recent ban wave issued for cheating.
Did Blizzard remove banned players (did they actually ban people?) from the leader boards?
Players that were found to be in violation were removed from the leaderboards and other rankings have been adjusted appropriately as a result. This means your ranking may have increased if someone ranked above you was removed from the leaderboard. As we move forward to future seasons and eras, we'll be continuing to monitor for such behavior and take appropriate action, though we may not always message when such ban waves occur.
Why Start Fresh
Players have been discussing over at the official forums the reasons for starting fresh on a new Season, and their motives are as varied as they can be. Something often ignored in discussions, and quite an interesting fact about the Diablo playerbase - how different players are and the way they play. See Tyvalir's post below and check the original thread as well.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)The true incentives for seasons are the chance to start over and the competitive aspect of the leaderboards.chance to start fresh, new items, new gems.I skipped season 1 and I'm planning on playing as a Monk or Demon Hunter neither of which I really played as before.I think all of these are good, valid answers to the OP’s question. What's so interesting to me is the variety. Some players are looking forward to the competitive aspect of Season 2, some want first dibs on new Seasonal Legendary items, and some simply missed Season 1 and are ready to join in the fun. One of our design goals for Seasons is to give players the ability to experience a fresh start, and it's exciting to see how the posts above highlight that idea in different ways.
My own approach for Seasons is to take a single class and see just how far I can take it over the course of the Season. While I'm torn between Crusader, Monk or Barb for Season 2, I know I'll have to pick one (just because that's how I roll).
What about the rest of you? What's the appeal of Seasons for you? (And if you’re not interested in Seasons, that’s cool too!)
Blizzard Quote hi
Leveling Method for S2
Quinsane has posted up a video with a method for leveling similar to the old "leveling bounties", and credited to his friend Abanem. It works better with multiple players, but can be done solo as well, and uses the experience bounty from a T6 quest in Act 1 to quickly get to 70. Mind how this could be changed by the time S2 starts this Friday. Check it out!