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Diablo II Single Player Thread - 2

Discussion in 'Diablo 1 & 2' started by dmc, Jan 27, 2010.

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  1. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    True that - for just about any class. Even for a character that doesn't use melee attacks, and doesn't raise dexterity enough for max blocking, it's almost always more useful to utilize those items slots for two items instead of one. And HotO is also relatively cheap, needing a Vex - I cannot imagine that finding a Vex is much more difficult than getting a Mang Song's Lesson.

    Although that's the thing with high runes and TC87 items. Since all of them are exceedingly rare, it's hard to compare. None are completely likely, and just because you got one of the "more rare" ones like MSL, doesn't mean you have some of the less rare items in that TC. Similarly with runes. I'm a case in point. I have a Jah and a Cham, but not Ber, even though Bers are supposedly more common.
     
  2. dmc

    dmc Speak softly and carry a big briefcase Staff Member Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    Finding a vex is a heck of a lot easier when you don't even need to do it. Just saving runes and upgrading them will get you a vex. Doesn't take too long either.
     
  3. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    Gul and Vex are about the limits of those that you can reasonably expect to upgrade to though. Anything beyond that and you need exponentially more of the mid-grade runes to get to the next level. For example, I've never found, nor upgraded to, a Lo, Sur, or a Ber, and my one Ohm rune was found.

    EDIT: And I really want a Ber. Need for Chains and Beast - two runewords I'd really like to try out.
     
  4. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    While I'm not completely convinced on what to do with my next character - I'm torn three ways - I'm leaning towards a conviction zealot. I just found a Thunderstokes, and I have a T-gods belt, so a lightning-poison javazon is attractive, and of course the poison necro, but I do kind of want to put my recently acquired SS to good use, and while I COULD use such on the other two classes, I think I'd rather put that on a paladin.

    And thus I'm strongly considering a different kind of take on a Conviction Paladin. Different, in that conviction is usually teamed with Vengence, but I plan on going the Zeal route, and have a fast hitting elemental weapon in hand. I have gathered up a few high elemental damage weapons to use until Baranar's Star is available, and I'm definitely going with SS, Atma's Scarab as an amulet, and probably Gore Riders. Everything else pretty much has to be dedicated to resistances. I'm not dead set on the other equipment, but I'm thinking "Smoke" or "Gloom" in a decent armor (I need 156 for Storm Shield, so I may as well pick something fairly heavy), or at worst an upped Goldskin. (Upping once sounds like a good idea, but not so much for upping twice - I think that would take the strength requirement well in excess of 200.) If I got Tal Rasha's Mask as a helm for resistances, life, mana, and dual leech, then I can probably get everything else I'd need out of my rings, belts, and glove slots - probably with rares.

    The skill points are the standard for a conviction zealot:

    Offensive Auras: Max Conviction (req level 30)
    Prereq: Might, Thorns, Holy Fire, Holy Freeze, Holy Shock (which will have some use prior to getting Conviction)
    Subtotal: 25

    Defensive Auras: The only useful one point wonders are Salvation and Redemption, but to get those, you pick up some not-too-shabby utility skills in Prayer, Cleansing, Defiance (synergy for Holy Shiled), and Vigor
    Subtotal: 6

    Combat Skills: Max Zeal, Sacrifice, Holy Shield
    Prereq: Smite, Holy Bolt, Charge, Blessed Hammer
    And it would be silly not to sink at least one point in Vengence.
    Subtotal: 65

    Total: 96, with Holy Shield being the last one maxed. I'll throw a few points in HS early on, to get it to a usable level and not have to be constantly recasting it, but it won't be maxed until I have everything else done. Any points after that go to Defiance, for it's synergy to Holy Shield.

    The real trick is what to do before the end. And I'm thinking some balance is needed. Here are the main points between the primary attack and aura:

    Zeal: +10%AR/level
    +1 attack per level up to level 4, +6% damage per level 5+

    Conviction: -res to fire, cold, lightning 30% at level 1, 5%/level thereafter.
    But the -enemy defense has some steep diminishing returns:
    level 1: -50%
    level 5: -70%
    level 10: -80%
    level 20: -90%

    Now, I definitely want to get to level 4 Zeal ASAP. And I'll probably sink my points from level 24-29 into Holy Shield. But once I hit level 30, I think I'm better off going with Zeal than Conviction (after the first point obviously), as you don't really have any trouble hitting stuff pre-hell. I think the order of maxing should be Zeal, Sacrifice, Conviction, and then going back and finishing Holy Shield, once I hit around level 70.

    Pros of the build: High elemental and physical damage, with some crushing blow. Very low dexterity investment - If I calculated correctly, this character needs just 122 dexterity to get to max block at level 80. And since some of expected end-game equipment is going to give me a fair amount of dexterity, I'll probably only have to raise this to around 100 or so. Normally, that low of a dex investment would mean death to a zealer, with a terrible chance to hit, but with enemies having a 90% reduction to their defense, it should be of little concern.

    Cons: I'm going to need a fair amount of strength, but with the low dex requirement there should be enough left over for dexterity. Still not sure on a mercenary. I can see arguements for might, defiance, or holy freeze. Leaning might, although a high level defiance would really take my defense through the roof with a high holy shield.

    Also not sure between "Smoke" and "Gloom"

    Smoke: Nef-Lum (mega cheap):
    +75% defense
    +280 Def vs. Missiles
    All res +50%
    20% FHR
    Level 6 Weaken (18 chages) - probably wouldn't use it
    +10 energy
    -1 light radius

    Gloom: Fal-Um-Pul (not mega cheap, but definitely doable):
    15% ctc Level 3 Dim Vision
    +10% FHR
    +200%-250% defense
    +10 Strength
    All Resistance +45%
    Half Freeze Duration
    5% damage taken goes to mana
    -3 light radius

    So the question really comes down to is the extra defense worth giving up a bit in resistances and hit recovery? I'm thinking probably yes.
     
  5. Sir Rechet

    Sir Rechet I speak maths and logic, not stupid Veteran

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    If you want a good defense base, you pretty much have to get most of it out of your body armor. Uniques and set items in other armor slots very often have some sort of +defense or +x% defense mod so you can't alter the sumtotal from them all that much, unless you really go out of your way to do strange combinations.

    And if defense is what you want, you can't beat Prudence (Mal + Tir). It has only 140-170% extra defense, but since it has auto-repair, you can make it in an ethereal armor. And if you socket your armor yourself, you'll get an eth bugged armor that easily gets to 2000+ defense all by itself.
     
  6. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    I thought they had got rid of the eth bug in one of the recent patches, but if it is still there, you are right. The 140%-170% bonus to defense essentially becomes 240%-270% in an ethereal armor.

    There are a couple problems with this option. For starters, I don't have any suitable 2 socket ethereal elite armors lying around, and socketing it myself will require use of the cube recipe, as any armor I'd consider making Prudence in would get 4 sockets from Larzuk.

    Note, that I'm not necessarily going for all out defense, but my thinking is that since I'm investing heavily into HS anyway, I may as well use a high defense body armor. The armor that would offer the maximum in defense would be Stone (250%-290%), but I'd really like to get more than 15% resist all from my body armor slot.

    Other options I have available would be Guardian Angel, but I'd have to up it to get the most out of the defense, and Arkaine's Valor is also available, but neither of them have any resistances at all. I could up Duriel's Shell - if I ever find one - but that's still only 20% resist all (except cold which is 50%, but I should have cold covered with the big boost from Stormshield).

    The one major disappointment as far as the class specific runeword armors go is the paladin's Principle. It gets the +2 skills that all the others do, but other than that, it's nothing special. I could see it being marginally useful for a hammerdin, as it's automatically casts a level 5 holy bolt on striking, so if you maxed Blessed Hammer, it could be OK damage. The rest of the mods are +5 max poison resistance, 30% fire resistance, and 15% slower stamina drain - whoop-de-doo.

    Keep in mind that I will have a few other high-end pieces of defense on. I'm planning on using Stormshield, so that's another 500+ defense right there (and HS will improve the base defense). I'm also reconsidering my helm choice. Tal Rasha's does offer excellent dual leech, but between my rings and gloves I definitely should be able to pick up leech. I'm thinking something like Crown of Ages would suit me better. There's another 350 defense there, resistances, FHR, and even a splash (12%) of Damage Reduction. Combined with the 35% DR I'm getting from Stormshield, I'll be nearly at the max of 50%.

    For a switch weapon, the only thing I can really see doing is improving my holy shield (I cannot see why I wouldn't just use my regular weapon regardless of what I'm fighting). Heaven's Light seems a clear choice for the weapon, and I probably have some type of shield lying around that gives +2 to paladin combat skills.

    ---------- Added 1 hours, 47 minutes and 2 seconds later... ----------

    Also, I just realized that Shaels may be my friends here. If I Shael Baranar's I'll hit the last breakpoint for zeal, and a shael in CoA will take me past another breakpoint in hit recovery. I need 50 FHR recovery to make a good break point (technically 48, but since FHR only exists in multiples of 5, it's 50). The one after that is 86, so effectively 90, and while I can get there, it would take some gear modifications. I'd have to include Bladebuckle, Bloodfist, and Sandstorm Trek - well not all 3 - any two of those three would work.
     
  7. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    A thought came upon me on my drive to work today. If I'm going for a high defense build, why not go all in with it? I am pretty sure I have a 3-socket sacred armor sitting in my stash, and I can make Gloom in that. The obvious downside is that it has a strength requirement of 232. The defense on that piece of armor is 580ish, which is over 130 points higher than any other 3-socket armor in my stash, and with up to +250% on Gloom, and 385% on holy shield, that 130 points translates into well over 1000 additional defense.

    But I don't think the strength requirement is a huge impediment to this character. I'm using quite a bit of strength-boosting end-game equipment. The minimum level requirement on sacred armor is 66 - which is higher than the level requirements of any of the runes needed to make Gloom, so 66 is the rather high level requirement. That's not too big of a deal, as the two biggest pieces of strength-raising equipment I'll be equipping are Baranar's Star and Stormshield, which have level requirements of 65 and 73, respectively.

    So I did some math for a level 73 character. I'll have received 72 level ups at that point, which works out to 360 stat points to distribute to my character, and I would have completed the Black Book quest in Act III twice, for a grand total of 370 stat points.

    I need 232 to wear the armor. I know I am getting 30 from Stormshield, 15 from Baranar's Star, and I get 25 strength when I click on "create character" as a paladin. I have other choices for some strength raising equipment, but I'm calculating only those pieces I know I'm using. (I may, for example go with T-god's as my belt, which would give me another 20 to strength, but I'm not sure.) So I have 70 points in strength for sure, meaning I need to devote, at worst, 162 stat points to strength. (Which if you want to consider it by level, is between 2 and 2.5 per level up.)

    Next I calucalted the dexterity I need for max block at level 73. The equation worked out to 113 points, assuming a level 20 holy shiled. (It will probably be closer to level 25, but the gains in blocking beyond level 10 are pretty minimal, so I just went with the increased chance to block at level 20.) Baranar's Star gives +15 dexterity and you get 20 at character creation with a paladin. So I'll need to devote 78 stat points into dexterity, or about 1 with each level up.

    That leaves me 130 stat points for vitality. Once you consider the paladin's starting life of 55, 3 life per vitality point, and 2 life per level up, you're at about 600 life. That's before we add in any charms, or vitality/life boosting items. Still, even if we use just 600, it would be that amount at the start of hell difficulty. It's low, but not terribly low, and my defense will be excellent. Especially considering that from that point going forward, 4 out of 5 stat points will go into vitality (with the 5th needed to maintain max block). So with every level after 73, I'll add another 14 to life.

    It think it's doable. The only other thing I have left to consider is what helm I'm wearing before I get to use Crown of Ages. CoA is a staple of this build - I'm devoting an Um to the socket, and I'm getting 42% resist all out of it - a necessary component of my hell difficulty equipment - and I do mean hell difficulty, as it's level requirement is 82!
     
  8. dmc

    dmc Speak softly and carry a big briefcase Staff Member Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    So you do all that and keep your Act 2 normal defiance merc. The idea is that your defense and blocking are going to be such that getting hit is a complete rarity (except maybe Baal, Lister and the Ancients), right?

    How fast is the killing speed? Are you going to get bogged down in Hell at all just plowing through things?

    What gloves are you aiming at? If you have Drac's, you get some life leach, damage reduction, strength, open wounds and ctc Life Tap, which is sweet. Not sure what other gloves would really be worthwhile for this build -- maybe crafted blood gloves with 10% CB.
     
  9. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    I'm still leaning towards a defiance mercenary, just because A) that mercenary is the most survivable of any choice and B) I don't think I'm going to need much help from the mercenary in terms of the damage he deals through normal questing. I have a chance to cast amp damage though, so amp + might would be really sweet.

    I've also not completely ruled out the thought of a holy freeze merc, as they too would benefit greatly from the conviction aura. It wouldn't be enough to off-set the damage gained from might, but it would be substantial, and also provide a defensive benefit. If my sorceress gets lucky and happens to find an Ohm rune, I'll make the Doom runeword for him (I already have the harder to acquire Cham rune), which is absolutely outstanding - it gives +2 skills, 45% IAS, +350% damage, 5% ctc level 18 volcano, -20% requirements, -60% cold resistance, and grants a level 12 holy freeze aura for free. If that happens, I'll have a choice between a might + holy freeze, or (more likely) a defiance + holy freeze.

    I think for most things, it will be the 5% minimum chance to hit me. For Act bosses, and a few super uniques, it will be higher than that. Not only do they have very high attack ratings, but the to hit chance is affected by character level compared to monster level, with bonuses or penalties coming into play when the difference in level is 5 or greater.

    So anything with a mlvl in the 90s is likely going to get a bonus. That eliminates all regular uniques, as their mlvls can never be higher than 88 (if they spawn in a level 85 area). The only superuniques and Act bosses with mlvls at least 90 are: Baal's Minion Boss Packs (90), Hepahsto (94), Diablo (95), Nihlathak (97) and Baal (99). I have no idea what level the Ancients are, although it would not surprise me if the were level 90+.

    I never bothered to calculate it until you asked it just now. Given that the only undecided pieces of equipment are my ring slots and gloves, none of which are going to give me any +skills, I'm only going to have +1 skill point to zeal and conviction. I'll have Heaven's Light and a Rose-Branded paladin shield on switch, so Holy Shield will be level 27, but my predicted end-game standard questing gear only gives +1 all skills.

    I am assuming that even with a low dexterity, my chance to hit is going to be 95%, owing to a level 21 Conviction aura granting -90% to monster defense. So I'm only concerned with damage. Calculating the physical damage from BStar, I took average damage, and added in the strength bonus (mace class weapons gain 1.1% damage bonus per point in strength, so 255%), the zeal bonus at level 21 (126%), and the level 20 sacrifice synergy (240%), and it came out to 1146. That's per swing, and assuming amp or CB doesn't kick in.

    Next up was the elemental damage. A level 21 Conviction aura will lower enemy resistance by -155%, although it caps at -100% for any individual resistance. Conviction does work on elemental immunities, but only at 1/5 power. The maximum elemental resistance possible is 120%, so a level 21 Conviction breaks everything that is immune to lightning, fire, or cold. I have Atma's to break physical immunes. So the only thing I cannot break is poison and magic immunity, both of which are irrelevant to the build.

    BStar deals 200 each in cold, fire, and lightning damage. However, just because I can break any immunity, does not mean that I'll get them all the way down to -100%. The typical hell monster is immune to either cold, lightning, or fire. Let's say they still remain 70% resistant after Conviction (if they start at 100% like most immune monsters, 1/5 of 155% is 31%, so they'd still have about 70% resistance). I'll assume that their other two resistances are now at -100%. So they'll take another 860 elemental damage per whack.

    This places the total estimated damage at 2,006 - or around 10K per zeal cycle. For comparison's sake, a well-synergized elemental zealot with a decent one-handed weapon tops out in the 1,200-1,500 range on a per whack basis, so while the damage on this is substantial, it's not quite wrecking-ball material yet. Not many monsters can take 10K damage, but owing to the nature of zeal rotating attacks among several enemies at once, you won't be able to direct all of your attacks at one enemy very often. The advantage over the single elemental zealot is there's nothing that slows him down - not even mixed packs with varying immunities.

    This is why I'm not dead set on a merc yet - although still leaning towards defiance. A might merc would give an additional 477 physical damage per attack, and would take me up to around 2,500 per whack, 12.5K per zeal cycle. While not insignficant, it is hard to say how meaningful this difference is - it doesn't really matter if it takes you another zeal cycle or two to kill a pack if they can't hit you.

    I don't have Drac's, but yes, they are great. The 5% ctc Life Tap is basically 50% life leech, so against a boss, it's essentially a 5% ctc immunity to death for you and your merc. My second choice would be Lava Gout, which I presently do not have. They proc enchant - further increasing my elemental damage, and would also give 25% fire resistance, which is the one element in my current gear setup where I'm going to have to use charms to get to 75%. So unless I do something silly like wear Bloodfists for the 30% FHR to get me to the next breakpoint, it looks like it's a Blood craft.

    EDIT: I'm also considering making "Holy Thunder" for normal difficulty and into nightmare - I cannot use BStar until level 65, and conviction loses a lot of luster if you aren't inflicting a lot of elemental damage. I have several high elemental damage rares stashed, but if I can get a few points in holy shock - and the lightning damage on the runeword, I think that will out-perform many of the rares + conviction.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2011
  10. Sir Rechet

    Sir Rechet I speak maths and logic, not stupid Veteran

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    I finally took an Auradin (ie. high level Holy Shock and Holy Fire from items, combined with his own Conviction) for a ride. It's rather similar to the previous Dream Zealot, which maximizes Holy Shock and Zeal damage, wielding a Grief weapon. While I still consider the Dreamer to be my best character (and by far most expensive) so far, I never felt satisfied about the aura dilemma - I could either boost my melee with Fanaticism or my Holy Shock with Conviction but not both of them. Having Conviction from a merc works in a pinch, but the merc still has a mind of its own and is hardly ever where I'd like him to be. Auradin doesn't have this dilemma as both of his main damage types benefit greatly from Conviction.

    Although Holy Fire "only" does 1.5k damage per hit at slvl 30 (HoJ weapon + Dragon armor) when fully synergized, it actually compares to about 6k hits made by a fully boosted melee zealot when you consider the difference in resistances. Physical resists on Hell monsters are generally at 50% and there's no non-clunky way to bring it down. Single digit percent chance to proc Amp/Decrep on hit is spotty at best, weapon switch is just irritating and Reaper's on a merc leaves you at the mercy of the mercenary AI again. Conviction just pulses on the mobs and stays there, especially if you provide it yourself and non-immunes are most often stuck at -100%.

    It was slow going up and until level 65 when I could finally don the Dream Helm + shield, after that I just zipped through the rest of Nighmare on /p8 without any notable resistance. Adding HoJ and Dragon at level 67 didn't change much - overkill is still overkill if you add another +50% to it. In hindsight, I could've started as a Frost Zealot and respecced in Nightmare but you know, old dogs and new tricks.. :)

    However, things changed drastically upon entering Hell level. Monsters were still crumbling down super-fast, but while a melee zealot can actually expect to live through most anything due to his enormous life leech - easily 100+ health gained per hit on just about anything that has blood in it - an Auradin can barely counter a decent poisoning with his. In fact, he might as well not bother. Eventhough HoJ is no slouch as a melee weapon (mine does ~125 physical on average), none of the skills nor suitable items boost melee damage much and thus the life leech percentage doesn't have much to work on. A Might mercenary would about double that, but I rather keep the Defiance one as long as I still don't have skill points to boost my Holy Shield past slvl 5 or so.

    So yes, yet another "nice on paper, but don't forget XYZ!" trial. Damage is excellent, extremely strong on two different elements simultaneously with a half-decent third (physical), Conviction is an all-time party favourite anyway, but leeching capabilities are lousy at best, life-threateningly poor at worst. Which is kinda unavoidable and even expected for casters, but a major glass-cannonizer for a melee unit. And finally, while not noticeably more expensive than a Dreamer Zealot, the second-hand value of Dragon and HoJ is hardly worth mentioning compared to Grief and Fortitude.

    And for those wondering - yes, I dupe runes to be able to test exotic builds. It is hard enough to find the socketed items *on single-player* to not want to hunt for the runes for testing purposes as well.
     
  11. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    Out of curiosity - as you would obviously know - the Holy Fire automods on Hand of Justice and Dragon... stack? So you get the level 16 from HoJ AND the level 14 from Dragon, and 20 points in resist fire benefits BOTH?

    EDIT: Hopefully, I won't have problems with leech. I have a higher damage weapon, higher strength, and the synergy in sacrifice, which should make the physical damage component of my build much greater than yours, and thus increase the efficacy of leech.
     
  12. Sir Rechet

    Sir Rechet I speak maths and logic, not stupid Veteran

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    Yes, they stack. Not only that, but you get the sumtotal SPELL LEVEL of the items, ie. 14+16=30. Dream shield + helm is correspondingly 15 + 15 = slvl 30 Holy Shock. Combined with maxed Resist Fire, Resist Lightning and Salvation we're talking about ~1500 fire and 1-7000 lightning hits, before Conviction kicks in. The dual aura pulse hurts as well - Hell Act 1 monsters on /p8 require only a few pulses to die, unless they're fire or lightning immune from the start. Then it takes a few more. :p

    Pushed on a bit more to Act 2 Hell, and while the life leech is still quite pathetic, 17% LL giving me ~10 health returned on most mobs, the level difference played yet again larger role than I originally thought. Once I reached level 80, the mobs no longer hit me nearly as often. It's only the Cursed/Extrastrong packs that I need to be aware of, and those combined with Might or Fana are seriously life-threatening to anyone so there's no huge difference there.
     
  13. Balle Gems: 19/31
    Latest gem: Aquamarine


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    and they are also affected from the +all or +skilltree items right? do you know how high you can get with perfect items? torch, anni, ammu and so on, maybe a soj, and skill charms, i guess this could get to 40+ yea?
     
  14. Sir Rechet

    Sir Rechet I speak maths and logic, not stupid Veteran

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    No, plus skills only increase your OWN skills, not the ones that are active just by you wearing certain items. That'd be even more hilariously OP than it already is. :p
     
  15. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    True - although skill levels into the 40s are not unheard of with +skill items. I'd say just about any character can get a particular skill or two that high with the right equipment, and I don't mean filling you inventory with skill charms. Granted, in going for all +skills, you might be giving up on a lot of other useful modifiers, but if you so dsired it could be done.

    The most obvious and easiest example I can think of would be the barbarian. Barbarians can dual wield, and +3 to a particular tree is possible on weapons. Many barbs do this for prebuff purposes by carrying two +3 warcry (echoing) weapons on switch. That, combined with Battle Commands, already take you to +7 before you even consider any other equipment spot. A barb helm can give you +3 all warcries and +3 to up to 3 different singlular warcries, taking you up to +13. Echoing ammy gets you to +16. SoJ and/or BK rings, get you to +18. Arachnid Mesh gets you to +19. "Myth", "Chains of Honor", and "Enigma" get you to +21. (I cannot think of any boots or gloves that provide +skills to barbs, so I guess that's it.) Assuming you also spent 20 hard points in the skill, you're at 41, and if at that point, you're willing to go to skill charms, you can conceivably get your slvl up to 50.

    EDIT: Duh - forgot about the torch and anni - that's another +4, so slvl 45 before skillers, so well into the 50s with.

    Now what would you do with this barb? Well, I'm not so sure... I guess a level 50 war cry (this skill, not the tree) could do some damage. About 500, and stun for around 12 seconds. If you went all in on the skill I suppose you could max all of the synergies - Howl, Taunt and Battle Cry, all of which would give you +360% damage, taking you up to 2.3K damage per should. I guess you'd also spend one point into berserk just so that you'd have a means of whacking while they were standing there like topiary. This doesn't appear to be a particularly fun build, but it could work.

    After the SB last night, I needed to beat on some stuff, so I took my fledgling paladin out for a spin. Conviction will be largely useless until I start getting into some high elemental damage weapons, so the character is going to start as a standard zealot, with all extra skill points going into zeal, and then sacrifice. Well twinkied, that should be adequate to get me through normal and into nightmare. Conviction isn't going to shine as a skill until you start dishing out the elemental damage, and enemy defense gets high enough to matter, which is to say, hell difficulty.

    I'm definitely going with the following plan - get all prerequisites as I level, with all extras going to zeal until I hit level 24. Skill points from slvl 24-29 go into Holy Shield, and that will be all for a while into HS. Save up another few skill points to buy the remainder of my skills at level 30, then I'll max the skills in the following order Zeal and Sacrifice (done by early nightmare), Conviction (done late nightmare), Holy Shield - won't be completed until hell difficulty. Any points earned beyond level 84 go into Defiance for it's holy shield synergy.

    It also occured to me that I get a free skill out of this build - Smite. Smite doesn't do a ton of damage on it's own, but it always hits, and carries some modifiers - including Crushing Blow. It's synergy is Holy Shield, and it's one of those skills where pumping the synergy improves the skill more than pumping the skill itself. So a 1 pt Smite + 20 Holy Shield actually does considerably more damage than a 20 pt Smite.

    Oh, I also played my sorceress a bit this weekend - she just finished Act III. Found the unique scepter Zakarum's Hand - something I didn't have yet - and that may well be something my zealot can make use of in the early going:

    +180-220% Enhanced Damage
    +50% Damage to Undead
    30% Increased Attack Speed
    6% Chance To Cast Level 5 Blizzard On Striking
    8% Mana Stolen Per Hit
    Ignore Target's Defense
    Regenerate Mana 10%
    Heal Stamina Plus 15%
    +2 To Holy Shock (Paladin Only)
    +2 To Holy Freeze (Paladin Only)

    Definitely not bad for a level requirement of just 37. The Fetid Sprikler is also right around there in level requirements, and I think that's +2 to all skills. Heck, unless I have a +3 Heaven's Light - and I'm not sure if I do - The FS is good enough to be permanently equipped, as the main weapon for leveling, and the prebuff weapon after that.

    This is one of the few paladin types I've never tried - so I'm finally glad to get aroudn to a Conviction Zealot. The only other one I've considered for a while is a FoH paladin, but I don't see how I can make that viable. To fully synergize FoH, it's 60 skill points - 20 for the skill itself, and 20 into Holy Bolt and Holy Shock. Since you've invested 20 into Holy Shock, that has to be your aura, which means you have to spend another 20 into Resist Lightning for it to be worth your while. OK, so now with prerequisites, we're well over 80 skill points. So you do what exactly against LIs that aren't undead? Vengence? Smite? You only have a few skill points to play with.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2011
  16. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    Hmmm.... Prior to my current sorceress, my three previous characters were a trapper/kicksin (with Cloak of Shadows), a WWS Amazon (with Slow Missiles), and a skellimancer (with Dim Vision). I had forgotten how much Gloams and Black Souls suck. I had to do a Save and Exit body recovery last night. Got hit by a couple of Black Souls, the ctc Teleport on my Oculus kicked in, and it dropped me right in the middle of the Conviction/Extra Fast boss pack. That sucked. I'm looking at my body on the screen, and there's the boss and about 6 other souls standing in a circle around it. It was totally unrecoverable. I did get to the City of the Damned WP after that, and hopefully I'll get my hellforge drop in the next day or so (which will invariable be an Io or something of the like).

    Anyway, I also tooled around with my paladin a bit last night. I'm now in Act II, level 22. I have started out the heavy strength investment early - each level up I place three stat points into strength, and one each into dexterity and vitality. That's actually a bit more than I need and I would overshoot 232 if I kept doing that until I hit level 73. But it keeps it simple, and once I see my strength getting to around 150 or so, I'll recalculate then.

    I think the most efficient means of leveling will be to equip Bonesnap once I hit level 24, and then make like the guy from Army of Darkness ("This is my boom-stick!") as I walk around Lut Gholein - but I'll have a big ass maul as opposed to a shotgun. Blocking is entirely optional in normal difficulty, so I may as well just equip the biggest beat stick I can use and have at it. Besides, this is going to be pretty much a standard zealot in the early going - Zeal and then Sacrifice are maxed first. So all the more reason to get the most out of my base weapon damage before I can start reaping the rewards of the elemental damage.

    I've picked up all my prerequisites and one-point wonders up to level 18 (13 points) I've placed 8 hard points in Zeal, and saved up my skill points from level 21 and 22. I'll also save the point I earn at level 23. The saved points will be used to buy Redemption, Conviction, and Salvation once I reach level 24 and 30. I'm running Holy Freeze as my aura, because of the slowing effect.
     
  17. dmc

    dmc Speak softly and carry a big briefcase Staff Member Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    You just described the reason I chose not to use the Oculus, EVER, on my sorceress. Ugh.

    I am playing maybe once a week and for less than an hour, so I am not making any sort of interesting progress on my two characters.
     
  18. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    Yeah, I assumed the situation I described was an eventuality. It's the first time it happened (not the teleporting, but the bad teleport location resulting in my character's death). It's quite obviously an undesirable mod, but for me, it's only a deal-breaker on a HC character. You can get +3 skills elsewhere (HotO most obviously), which would also give a similar boost to FCR and resistances. Oculus has mf, while HotO has replenish life +20. Other than the ctc teleport, the two weapons are comparable.

    Here's the thing though - HotO requires a Vex, and seeing as how I own exactly ONE Vex, and Vex is probably the most common high rune found in runewords, I'm not keen on blowing my one Vex on a HotO when I can find a comparable substitute weapon that won't cost a HR. I don't know if it's me being unlucky, but I've never found a Vex. The only Vex runes I've ever possessed have been cubed from Ist and Gul runes, which aren't particularly common in their own right, but can be acquired if you're patient enough to do a lot of Countess runs.

    Keep in mind that I get hit very rarely. The most common reason the ctc Teleport activates is I kick a barrel and it explodes. (I suppose I could use telekinesis to bust barrels, but I'm too lazy to bother to hotkey it.) On the rare occasions that it does activate during battle, it rarely is to an unrecoverable position that causes my character's death, as I frequently teleport on Hell difficulty for optimal merc placement.

    The issue here was two-fold. First, it was against a pack of Black Souls - one of the more dangerous enemies in the game. Second, it was a boss pack that had the Conviction aura. I'm unsure what effective level Conviction was, but even if it is only around level 10, it would have been enough to take my lightning resistance into the negatives. That's why it was insta-death. I've taken hits from Gloams, Black Souls, etc before with this character, and while it isn't a pleasant experience, I could absorb a few (maybe even several) hits before dying. However, I got hit by considerably more than "a few", when my resistances were nowhere near 75%. I may have been able to get out of there alive if it weren't for the conviction aura through teleporting.
     
  19. dmc

    dmc Speak softly and carry a big briefcase Staff Member Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    It's funny, but I have found a half dozen vexes in the recent past (since the last patch).

    I understand your reluctance to spend the vex on a HotO, but I have to tell you that is the single best rune-word weapon I have. It is useful to so many characters (mostly because, as you know, I have decided I generally don't like melee characters).

    To each his own, though.
     
  20. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    Out of curiosity, what was your choice for the base weapon? I'm assuming you wouldn't make it in a staff, and instead chose a mace class weapon, and since you needed 4 sockets, that pretty much eliminates the possibilities down to flail (or the exceptional/elite versions). The thing is, it would seem like the str and dex requirements on the higher forms would be... well... high. A Scourge has to require well in excess of 100 strength, and probably a fair bit into vitality.
     
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