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Diablo 2 - Strange Amazon Build Idea

Discussion in 'Diablo 1 & 2' started by Aldeth the Foppish Idiot, May 2, 2007.

  1. Dengo Gems: 8/31
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    You're lucky. I am lvl 25, I killed Mephisto and yet didn't find any unique or set items except an axe which was useless for me. I am playing with whatever equipment I found at stores. I found my current bow (a rare long battle bow) by gambling from Elzix. Monsters don't drop good items.

    Yes, the dream of every Bowazon.
     
  2. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    Gambling is a necessary evil of any untwinked character. On Normal difficulty, shop owners have their item levels capped so that they can only offer certain equipment. Gambling, on the other hand, is based solely on your character level. For example, Charsi, in the Rouge Encampment has her item level capped at 12. Obviously, even if you're really quick, you're going to be far higher than level 12 by the time you reach the end of Act 1. So if you don't gamble, you're basically accepting that you are progressing using inferior equipment.

    Gheed's (or Elzix, Alkor, Jamela, or Anya) gamble screen is typically populated by items that you'll never find for sale by anyone else in Normal, and then when you add in the 1 in 10 chance of landing a rare, there's no comparison when it comes to the quickest way of improving your equipment. On any given character I make, I'd say about 2/3 of the items I have equipped are gambled, with the other 1/3 being found. Obviously, class-specific equipment (other than assassin claws) cannot be purchased, so that's one piece of equipment where you have to make do with whatever drops.

    I do not know if you are already aware of this, but once you hit Nightmare and Hell difficulties, there is a chance of gambling exceptional and elite items, respectively. (On the gamble screen, it will always display the "normal" version of the item, but after the purchase, sometimes it becomes the exceptional or elite version). I do know what the exact formula is for deterimining your chances of getting an exceptional or elite, but it increases with character level, and there's a better chance for an upgrade on Hell difficulty compared to Nightmare difficulty.

    Since there really isn't much to spend gold on other than gambling, you may as well do it. In Normal difficulty, the items available for gambling steadily increase as your character's level increases, with at least one new item becoming available at every level until you hit level 40, when ancient armor finally becomes available, which has the highest item level among normal equipment. When you first enter Nightmare difficulty, the chances of gambling an exceptional item are quite low (around 5%), and even by the end of Nightmare when you hit level 60 or 70, your chance of landing an exceptional are still only around 10%. Hell is different. The chances of landing an elite are about the same chance of landing an exceptional on Nightmare difficulty, but the chances of landing an exceptional are MUCH better. Looking at diabloii.net, it says that at level 70 on Hell difficulty, you have a 25% chance on every gamble to be either exceptional or unique, which isn't bad at all. At level 99 (not that this is really attainable) nearly half of all the items you gamble would be at least exceptional quality.

    EDIT: One more thing regarding improving equipment. Body armor and weapons that are rare or unique CAN be upgraded using the Horadric Cube. The recipes for upgrading normal rares and uniques to exceptional versions are cheap, while the recipes for upgrading exceptional rare and uniques to elite versions are expensive. Here are the recipes:

    Rares:

    Ort + Amn + perfect sapphire will change any rare normal weapon to the exceptional version.

    Fal + Um + perfect sapphire will then improve the exceptional weapon to the elite version.

    Ral + Thul + perfect amythest will change any rare normal body armor to the exceptional version.

    Ko + Pul + perfect amythest will likewise change the exceptional body armor into an elite.

    Uniques:

    Ral + Sol + perfect emerald will change a normal unique weapon to an exceptional unique.

    Lem + Pul + perfect emerald will change an exceptional unique weapon into the elite version.

    Tal + Shael + perfect diamond will change a normal unique body armor into the exceptional version.

    Ko + Lem + perfect diamond will then change the exceptional unique body armor into the elite version.

    Some words or warning on the these recipes.

    1. When I say it upgrades them, all it does is change the class of the item, improving damage for weapons, and defense for armors. It does not change ANY of the other attributes.

    Example: Don't think that if you get the unique short bow, Pluckeye, that you can turn it into the exceptional edge bow, Skystrike. The recipe will only change the weapon to a edge bow, with the commensurate damage increases, but retain Pluckeye's exact modifiers.

    2. Even though the runes for upgrading the normals to exceptionals are cheap, make sure you don't screw yourself by upgrading the weapon or armor too early, because strength, dexterity, and character level requirements increase to the exceptional version as well.

    Example: Gleamscythe, the unique falcion has item requirements as follows: Strength 33, level 13. Once you upgrade it to the exceptional version, it becomes a Tulwar, and you must meet the Tulwar minimum requirements to use it i.e., 70 strength and level 25.

    Obviously, the best canidates for these recipes are rares and uniques with a % damage or defense modifier, because you greatly improve the base damage or defense using the recipe, and the % carries over and improves it that much more. Just be careful concerning point #2 above - I once screwed myself by taking a really nice rare ancient armor and cubing it into the exceptional version, only to find that I didn't meet the strength requirement of 170! :doh:

    [ May 22, 2007, 15:03: Message edited by: Aldeth the Foppish Idiot ]
     
  3. JSBB Gems: 31/31
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    It is actually surprising at times how many physical immune critters can spawn on hell level. I stopped playing pretty quickly after they did the update that introduced physical immunities. It totally nerfed the character I was playing and that just killed my interest in the game.

    I was playing a whirlwind barbarian and all of a sudden he went from being unstoppable to being nearly worthless. It was quite a shock going from laughing at others concerns about elemental immunities to suddenly having my honking big sword do no damage and realizing that my barbarian was far too high a level for me to be able to do much to fix his buid for the new rules.
     
  4. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    Um, you can fix that build with one skill point. Berserk is the barbarian skill to deal with physical immunes. Even at level 1, it gives 100% to attack, and 150% magic damage. The big downside is that while you are swinging it reduces your defense to 0. What most barbs do is use berserk with a shield so that they can still block incoming attacks. The killed immune for a barbarian is something that is physical and magic immune, in which case you're pretty much screwed.
     
  5. JSBB Gems: 31/31
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    Yeah that is what I did for a while but it just wasn't that effective and I basically went from almost effortlessly dicing everything on hell difficulty to dying fairly frequently. The problem was that with Berserk I couldn't inflict damage quickly enough for my life/mana drain weapons to keep up with the damage that I was taking. Getting mobbed by 20 physical immune minions and their boss was a total pain. With proper tactics I am sure the character could have been salvaged but I wasn't having fun anymore so I just quit.
     
  6. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    Yeah, I remember playing my conc barb, and large number of PIs in one area was a problem. It's OK if it's just the boss that has the physical immunity, but the problem comes up when you happen to be fighting things like ghosts, spirits, gloams, etc, where all of them are immune to physical. From what I remember the barbarian's best bet was to cast howl to make them flee, and immediately after casting howl, cast taunt to make just ONE come back. Rinse and repeat.

    Oh course, pre v1.10, the barbarians pretty much ignored the warcries completely, or just took Battle Orders with the prerequisites, so it's possible you didn't even HAVE taunt. (But you probably had howl as that is a prereq for BO.)

    EDIT: Oh, and you're right about not being able to leech when using berserk, as leech only works on physical damage, not magic damage.
     
  7. Dengo Gems: 8/31
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    Aldeth, how's your game going? Are you in hell?

    I'm lvl 30 and still don't have a unique or set equipment. I killed Mephisto over 10 times and Diablo 3 times but they don't drop anything useful. Farming Diablo for items may sound crazy but it is very exciting nevertheless. I'll kill him a few times again just for fun. Maybe also for a Darkglow and a Duskdeep. :grin:
     
  8. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    I actually stopped around level 55, when I started working on a druid, although I DO plan on going back to this build. I think the druid thing will pass quickly - I was never able to really stick with a druid, but an idea of a fury druid caught my fancy, and so I've done that for a couple of days.

    Truth be told, I'm kind of ticked off at my Amazon build. If I had KNOWN I would have both a Kuko and Skystrike at my disposal, all of those points I wasted in MA would have gone to GA, and I'd be the better for it now. So, I'm kind of considering restarting the build, and relying on just plain old regular arrows until I hit level 18.

    As far as boss running is concerned, you should definitely mow your way though Act V as soon as is possible. Baal is a MUCH better boss run than Diablo. You get more experience points, and Baals list of potential drops exceeds that of Diablo. Baal can drop every single normal Set and Unique item in the game, and a few of the lower level exceptional Set and Unique items. I mean, if you're having fun running big D, go for it, but it seems like you will be more efficient in terms of both leveling and acquiring items once you graduate to Baal.

    [ May 30, 2007, 18:21: Message edited by: Aldeth the Foppish Idiot ]
     
  9. Gnarfflinger

    Gnarfflinger Wiseguy in Training

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    There were a few places I liked to "cherry pick" The Forgotten tower in act one, the Bug lair in Act two, the Council fight and Mephisto in Act III. I think Pindleskin in Act V.

    Never tried Diablo or Baal runs though...

    I've heard Andariel on Nightmare is nice too.
     
  10. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    Obviously, the areas that are quick to get to are the most popular. As for act Bosses, Mephisto is the most run boss in the game. He's the quickest act boss to get to (just find the stairs down and he's there), and given that there are a bunch of unique council members around him, it's a great item run that also gives moderate experience. Mephisto himself is also a relatively easy kill, increasing his popularity further.

    Andarial is also an easy boss run, but she isn't as popular because it takes much longer to get to her. The closest waypoint is in level 2, and she's down on level 4. So you have to find the stairs down, and then wander around another area and find the next set of stairs before you fight her. Add to the fact that her drops aren't as good as Mephisto and the experience is low in the area, most people would rather do the far more rewarding Mephisto run.

    Duriel is the LEAST popular boss run, for a number of reasons. First, he's hard as hell. Most people think he's the hardest fight in the game until you hit Diablo. Second, once you complete the quest, you lose the location of the correct Tomb of Tal Rasha, as it shows up as "quest complete". The tomb's location changes with each game, so you'd have to go tomb by tomb looking for him. And he doesn't drop as good as Mephisto. That's why you never see people do that run - it takes forever, it's dangerous, and it's a small payoff. Talk about a high risk/low reward ratio.

    Diablo, however, is run almost as infrequently. Just like Duriel is harder than Mephisto, most people consider Diablo harder than Baal. The Pandemonium Fortress (where Diablo is located) also has oblivion knights that cast iron maiden, making it an extremely dangerous area for any melee character. It's also long (you have to do the entire river of flame, then open all of those portals). If you do all that though, Diablo does drop well.

    After Mephisto, Baal is the most popular run. It gives outstanding experience points, and gives the best item drops you can get on that difficulty (on normal difficulty, he can drop every regular unique item it the game, and even some exceptional unique stuff). It's certainly not a quick run, but the rewards in experience and items are the greatest. You're also guaranteed getting 5 super uniques to kill (Baal's Minions) that also drop great. Most people, once they complete Normal difficulty, will run Baal several times to get more of his great item drops that they will need to compete in Nightmare difficulty. Also, your character generally earns 1 full level of experience in doing the run, although there is a limit to that. Since you need an ever-increasing amount of experience to gain further levels, this item and experience gold mine starts to run dry around level 45 - by then you usually have your nightmare difficulty equipment, are the experience points you get starts to be a much smaller percentage of what you need to hit the next level. However, most people kill Baal for the first time before they even hit level 40 - so everyone does this run at least 4 or 5 times before proceeding to Nightmare.

    There are also three super uniques in Act V that are worth running. Gnarff already mentioned one of them - Pindleskin at Anya's portal. However, if you touch the waypoint in level 2 and kill Nihlathak, the portal closes, so if you plan to kill Nihlathak don't touch the waypoint. The other two super uniques that are very quick to do are Eldrich and Shenk. You take the first way point from Harrogoth and Eldrich always spawns just north of the wp, and Shenk just south of the wp. Two great item drops, and you can do them both in about 3 minutes.
     
  11. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    The Amazon has been reborn! And I've used the experience of the last time through to tweak the build a bit. The first thing that needs to be addressed is that the magic arrow build owns throughout normal and nightmare with even decent equipment. The problem comes in hell difficulty, when you definitely need more mass attacks. So, given what I've learned up to this point, here's how the new one will look:

    Javelin and Spear Tree - 0 skill points, same as the original build.

    Passive and Magic Tree - 32 skill points
    Breakdown: 20 in valkyrie
    4 in pierce
    1 in everything else (which is 8 other skills)

    The 4 in pierce is necessary to have a 99% chance to pierce on my main weapon, the Kuko. Level 4 gives 49% chance of pierce, and weapon peirce adds to skill in pierce, so I'm at 99%.

    The other change is placing only 1 point in decoy. I've found the only thing I use decoy for is to give monsters something else to whack at while my merc and valk help me kill stuff, so it's more of a luxury than anything. My valk actually is a better tank than my merc, so there's no pressing need to pump decoy to increase her life. 1 point will do.

    Bow and Crossbow Tree: 35 skill points.

    Breakdown: 20 in Guided Arrow (main attack)
    10 in multishot
    3 in stafe
    2 prerequisites (magic arrow and cold arrow)

    This is where the biggest changes from the original build take place.

    20 goes to Guided Arrow (GA) because it auto-hits, making it an excellent source of consistent damage. It will be the attack of choice against most of the tougher creatures, and the primary boss killer. More points reduces mana cost by .25 per level, and adds 5% damage per level. With the equipment I currently hold, it will go off at a skill level of at least 24, granting +115% damage at a mana friendly cost of just 2.25 per shot, which of course will be leeched back, espceially considering that guided with pierce means the arrow will go through a creature, turn around and hit him multiple times.

    Strafe (S) vs. multishot (MS) was a choice I battled with in the original build design, and this build utilizes both of these skills. After studying the skills, I discovered that there are strengths and weaknesses to both, and since both are effective with fewer than 20 points invested in them, I decided that both could be used on a case-by-case basis. In wide open areas (like large areas of Act V) where there are enemies popping up in all different directions and those annoying teleporting imps, Strafe is clearly superior. In areas where the creatures are more clustered together, including most dungeons with narrow walkways, MS is more effective.

    The reasoning behind the number of skill points is straightforward for strafe, and somewhat subjective for MS. The number of arrows strafe fires is the skill level +1, plus one additional arrow for every merc, summon, partied member on the screen up to a maximum of 10 arrows. Since at all times I will have a valkyrie and merc on the field with me, that means I'll get a bonus two arrows per strafe. So skill level 3 will be increased to 7 with skill items, and with the bonus two arrows per hit, I will reach the maximum of 10 arrows per strafe with just three skill points.

    MS gets 10 as a good balance between number of arrows and mana cost. The mana cost increases with more skill points, but the damage per arrow does not increase. Since MS can only hit an individual monster once (even if multiple arrows go through them, it doesn't make sense to fill the screen with arrows if there aren't a ton of monsters to hit. It's also more mana intensive than strafe, and deals less damage than strafe, so the fewer the number of creatures on the screen, the more likely you'll use strafe.

    So that's the build. As you can see, it only requires 67 skill points, meaning you're "done" around level 60, once you figure in bonus skills from quests. So from level 60 on, you got a ton of wiggle room for optimizing the skills of this build. While I haven't gone into a detailed examination of what I would work on next, the only logical placement of the remaining skill points would be in the passive and magic tree. All of the skill for avoiding attacks (dodge, evade, avoid) have steep diminishing returns, but could be valuable to invest a bit more in, until you hit about level 4 or 5, when further increases only up the % chance by a couple of percentage points. Same for critical strike, although given the number of attacks you're shooting out there, even a modest % increase of doing double damage is worth while. Decoy will increase the effectiveness of valkyrie, although as stated the 20 points I'll be investing in valkyrie early on will be more than sufficient throughout nightmare.

    I'm currently at level 18 in Act II, normal, and everything is going fine so far. I've saved a bunch of points, but now that I'm level 18, I'll be pumping guided arrow. At the present time, guided costs 8 mana per shot, making it much too expensive to use consistently with my meager 3% mana leech, so getting the damage up and the mana cost down is the main priority now.
     
  12. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    I need a name for this build. "Strange Amazon Build" isn't doing anything for me. Maybe the "Flamethrower"? But that still sucks, as in hell I won't be firing exploding arrows much. Suggestions?

    [ June 19, 2007, 21:42: Message edited by: Aldeth the Foppish Idiot ]
     
  13. Dengo Gems: 8/31
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    Yes, this new build isn't that strange. I can't find a good name though. "Guided bowazon" doesn't seem appropriate.

    The previous build was very hard to play even at normal, especially against bosses. Trying to kill Diablo with MA is really hard. I guess this one will be much better. GA does good damage. I'll try it too, as soon as my hardcore summonancer dies. :grin:
     
  14. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    Yeah, this character hits the launch point around level 31, when Kuko becomes available. That's also when you can start pumping valkyrie. So I agree that the biggest challenge is taking on diablo without a valk, and without a decent bow.
     
  15. Jhonka

    Jhonka This is the face of Justice Veteran

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    That's definitely an interesting 'Zon build you have, Aldeth. The only Amazon I ever got to a respectable level is a lightning javazon, which is certainly fun but pretty unoriginal.

    A note on pierce: if you're lucky enough to find a Razortail (exceptional unique light belt, called a mesh belt or something) you can afford to put considerably fewer points in the pierce skill. Razortail adds 33% to your chance to pierce, IIRC. Greatly useful! Pretty sure I got mine from NM Mephisto, shouldn't be too hard (but probably time consuming) to get one.
     
  16. Gentleman Margaret Thatcher Gems: 1/31
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    Wouldnt your own character rather be busy with something else other than shooting no-damage magic arrows?
     
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