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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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    Well 2k is certianly attainable - I'm there already. While I probably won't get to 3k, I think 2.5k (for both weapons) is certainly in the realm of possibility.

    I don't think physical immunes will be a problem. From everything I've read, War Cry won't deal any damage to physical immunes, but WILL stun them. If that's the case, then I'll simply berserk them to death. And of course I have Taunt, which takes care of the particularly dangerous elemental using enemies.

    I'm currently level 66, just killed NM Diablo last night, and if I calculated correctly, I need 5 move levels to max War Cry. That will mean I'll start working on Axe Mastery next, and seeing as how I need 19 points to max, with four free points yet to be earned, should mean I'll have that done at level 86 - easily doable.
     
  2. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    Well, I was hoping to finish up the barb before I leave for vacation next week (taking the little man to Disney), but that's looking highly unlikely at this point. Between the Easter holiday travel and RL issues getting in the way, I've hardly played at all in the last week.

    I finished Act IV Nightmare last Wednesday, and I've only completed the first two quests in Act V now. I have had an unusually good run of mid level runes with this character in Act III onward. I've found more than my fair share of runes in the Hel-Mal range. While they aren't uber runes, they are much better than what you typically get from general questing in NM.

    I'm still not set on the druid build yet. I definitely want the maxed DW and Grizzlies, and I definitely want a point in Fury as my melee attack. I don't know what I want as my left click button yet. The more I think on it, Fire Claws may be a better investment than Rabies. The problem is that it's hard to figure out without play testing them.

    Fire Claws is pretty straight forward - each whack is 2764 fire damage, plus weapon, assuming a level 29 Fire Claws and one of the synergies maxed.

    Rabies offers a potential for huge damage, but like all poison skills, it's timered, and the damage per second, assuming a level 29 Rabies and maxed Poison Creeper is approximately 867 damage per second. However, Rabies spreads, and thus, with the potential of infecting a great many enemies, the damage inflicted may be a lot higher, but that's assuming I have a lot of enemies, which won't always be the case. As you'll repeatedly run into situations where there's only one or two enemies left, I see the potential of Rabies really slowing me down.

    The Fire Claws version is more expensive in your skill point investment. It will require a point in Wearbear and Maul, and if I do that, I may as well get a point in Shockwave too. I'll still have to spend the point in Rabies to get to Fury. Since there won't be any reason to have a Poison Creeper, I'll probably want a Carrion Vine instead. All told, the FC Summoner is going to have a 95 skill point investment to complete, whereas a Rabies Summoner is just 90. So there won't be many leftover points in the FC build to boost something late game (like either Lycanthropy or Fury).

    ---------- Added 2 hours, 10 minutes and 34 seconds later... ----------

    EDIT: And one other reason I'm considering the FC build: I know it WORKS. I've done builds with a maxed FC with a synergy in the past, and I know they are effective.
     
  3. Sir Rechet

    Sir Rechet I speak maths and logic, not stupid Veteran

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    Although MF has nothing to do what runes you find, my mf necro managed to score both Vex and Ist on a single River of Flame run. Meaning that he now carries a legit HotO, with self-found runes. :)

    Skellies (incl. mages) at skill level 36 are a mean bunch, but it's still a far cry compared to a beefy zealot all by himself. Not to mention necro being at /p3 vs Zealot at /p8... But there's no comparison to the awesomeness of a quick double CE on an Amped and Convictioned (Convinced?) pack of mobs, and first kills are rather fast as well when you can teleport the WHOLE army on a single unfortunate mob to concentrate the firepower a bit.

    Just need to get more aggressive with the necro - it's not like he's in much danger personally when he's got 30 (14+14+1+1) companions even before Revives enter the fray.
     
  4. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    While I never used Rivives much (sometimes I grab a few before a boss battle), they seem like they are practically indestructible. You almost always lose them because their timer runs out - not because they get killed.
     
  5. 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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    Only time I ever lose revives is against Diablo. No one else takes them down.

    Went skiing last weeked (it snowed Saturday and Sunday), so very little D2 has been happening. Nothing to report.
     
  6. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    Wow still some snow in the mountains?!? Summer officially arrived in Maryland this week. We have had highs in the 80s all week here. I figured you were lost in the world of basketball.

    As for revives, I know they are summoned back with more hitpoints than the original monster had (I think double), and they gain the same benefits as skeletons from skeleton mastery, as well as summon resist. So they are especially durable. I think I've also only lost them against Diablo. I don't think I've ever even had them for Baal, because you cannot revive Lister or his minions, and everything else will likely expire the timer before you get to Baal. (Of course, you could just kill the minions and then go to some other area of the WSC - assuming you didn't clear the entire area already - and get revives there and bring them with you. But for whatever reason, I've never done this.)

    I'm now at level 71 with my barbarian, and I completed the Anya and Nihlathak quest last night, so the Ancients are up next. The skill point I gained with my last level up finished War Cry. So I'll start working on axe mastery, as that's the only thing left that will do much of anything for this character, and even that isn't going to make a big difference. The first point in axe mastery is obviously huge - not only is it a bigger bonus than you get for subsequent points spent, but when you factor in +skills, that first point can easily get you into the +50ish% damage range. After that it's just 5% per level. I don't know if the 8% bonus in AR per level up will amount to much - he could cast Battle Cry less. (Of course, given that monsters are stunned, it's not a big deal.)

    While I haven't changed my tactics, I now have enough points in War Cry that I don't need to switch to my echoing weapons during fights to cast it, which actually helps a lot. It was difficult to time the switch between Double Swing attacks. It's much easier to just hold down the right mouse button, and cycle back and forth between Double Swing, Battle Cry and War Cry. I use the A-G keys on my key board for all the attacks I use a lot. With characters that use a lot of skills, I incorporate keys H-;. I only keep the F-keys for skills that are prebuffs. So things like Battle Commands, Shout, Battle Orders, and Find Item are there.

    I'm still leaning towards the FC version of the druid. I'm not completely convinced that Aldur's Rhythm is that bad. From the Arreat Summit:

    Emphasis mine. Is it just me? Doesn't an additional 260 or so damage per whack seem pretty significant? Or at least nothing to scoff at? With fire claws it doesn't matter much - almost all of your damage is from fire anyway. But a Fury attack will have about 1,300 damage per cycle added to it. That sounds... I don't know... potentially significant. It's not going to be an ideal weapon - it won't get to the level of top runeword selections. But it certainly is going to put it on par with many elite choices, and you get to use a shield. It's also extremely fast - it comes with +30% IAS, and I plan on socketing it with Shaels, so I'll have +90% IAS.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2011
  7. Sir Rechet

    Sir Rechet I speak maths and logic, not stupid Veteran

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    I think the comment about insignificance spurs from the fact that the base damage of the weapon itself is so small, compared to just about any half-decent elite unique at least. So you need rather huge +ed% modifiers to make much of a difference.

    As for your Fury calculation - you seem to assume that you get the +ed% as your base weapon damage when it's just plain ol' off-weapon ed%, just as Fury itself. So you'll only get about another ~300 average damage per swing for a slvl 20 Fury for a total of 600-700, give or take. Not 1300+ average, unless you find yet another 800+ percent of off-weapon ed somewhere else. Not impossible, but easily beaten (several times over, in fact) by getting a weapon with better base damage so that the ed percentage has something to work on.

    For comparison's sake, Grief can get nearly 450 base damage. Any +ed% working on that baby gives you about six times the effect than you'd get from Aldur's.

    Edit: Oh, you meant 1300 extra damage per full cycle. While true, the point about upgrading to a better base weapon giving better results much easier still stands.
     
  8. Shrikant

    Shrikant Swords! Not words! Veteran

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    IAS is only useful if you are hitting a break point, right?
    If +20 speed is the slowest weapon, what fpa does it have? Is there a rough table of attack speed v/s frames per attack, or a formula.
    I want to readily compare weapons. For example a War Hammer that has +20 to speed (slow) with a Flail [Shael] that should be -30, I want to get an approximate frames / attack or attacks / second.
    I have a link to the German calculator.

    I respec'd my barb and changed the primary skill from WW to Frenzy. Was hardly using ww so was wasted, frenzy I just leave on the lmb. Crafted a bloody axe and having fun with that. Its great for reducing my time spent on Countess runs. In Act V NM after killing Shenk he is at level 61.

    I found a Duriel's Shell. Am currently wearing that till I get it down to 50% durability, then it becomes property of the minion. I'm thinking of socketing an Amn, Thul or PTopaz. Any ideas?
     
  9. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    Correct - It's possible that reducing weapon speed by -10 or -20 will not allow you to hit a break point, and therefore your fpa will be equal.

    It's impossible to answer with the information you have provided. There's not a universal fpa table that you can look at because attack speed depends on many factors. It depends on your class (presumably a Barbarian), the skill you're using (presumably Frenzy), the skill level of frenzy (20?), whether or not you have any IAS on other items (which you haven't mentioned), and in the case of a Barb using Frenzy, what the other weapon is (unless you mean that you're considering using a War Hammer and a Flail).

    Um... Why until it gets down to 50%? Is it an ethereal Duriel's Shell? Otherwise you can just repair it.

    As for the sockets, Amn and Thul don't seem like great choices to me. Amn in armor is attacker takes damage of 14. Even in NM difficulty, 14 damage is very little. Your frenzy damage is likely in the 100s per swing, so 14 is not going to do a whole lot. Thul provides cold resistance, but IIRC, Duriel's Shell already comes with +50% cold resistance. It would seem like any of the other resistance granting runes (Tal, Ral, or Ort) would be more useful, unless Cold Resistance actually is the one resistance you're lacking in.

    As for what I'd do with it, perfect topazes are my default option for socketing armor if I don't need anything else. I will never socket something that isn't end-game armor (Duriel's Shell definitely qualifies as potential end-game materiel, especially if you upgrade it to elite). And what I socket it with depends on my needs.

    If my resistances are hurting, an Um (or a jewel with +resist all) would go in there.

    A Sol wouldn't be a terrible choice if I had other damage reducing gear on (gear with the modifier damage reduced by X). However, the damage reduction by 7 that Sol provides would be marginal if that was your only source.

    A Shael is also worthy of consideration. Just like attack speed has breakpoints, so does hit recovery. Depending on your other FHR gear, a sheal could help. (If you have NO FHR gear on, a single shael will probably allow you to pass two breakpoints, but if you already have a lot, it may not let you hit any breakpoints.)

    If my resistances were good, I wasn't going for damage reduction, and I was happy with my hit recovery speed, then I would go to the default option - PTopaz.

    ---------- Added 1 hours, 40 minutes and 57 seconds later... ----------

    EDIT: Here's the formula for calculating your fpa using frenzy:

    Here's what the abbreviations stand for:

    larm/rarm are the left arm and right arm, respectively. That can be a bit confusing. The inventory screen has your character facing you, so the character's left arm is on the right hand side of the inventory screen and the right arm is on the left hand side of the screen. This is important because any IAS you have on the characters left hand isn't counted (that's why it has -larm ias in the formula).

    So the first rule of thumb for getting the best fpa is to place the weapon with the higher IAS in the character's right hand, which is on the LEFT side of the inventory screen. So in your example, you'd place the flail in left side and the war hammer on the right side. Since you haven't listed the rest of your equipment, I'll assume that the only IAS you have is the shael in the flail.

    The first formula for you is then:

    item ias = [120 * (total item ias - larm ias) / (120 + total item ias - larm ias)]
    item ias = [120 * (20 - 0) / 120 + 20 - 0)
    item ias = [120 * (20) / 100
    item ias = 2400 / 100
    item ias = 24

    We'll save that number for later. Let's move onto the second formula. In the second formula wsm stands for "weapon speed modifier" those are the numbers you listed in your previous post, so +20 for the war hammer, -10 for the flail.

    +skill ias is the bonus you get from frenzy. I'll assume you have a fairly high level frenzy and I'll assign 40 IAS from it. (If you have a really high skill level in Frenzy it may be 45 IAS, but it won't change the formula much. item ias is the 24 we calculated from the last calculation.

    speed increase = 70 + average(rarm wsm, larm wsm) + skill ias + item ias
    speed increase = 70 + average (-10 + 20) + 40 + 24
    speed increase = 70 + 10 + 40 + 24
    speed increase = 144

    Now we can finally calculate your fpa:

    Note these brackets: [] mean round down
    While these brackets: {} mean round up

    frames = {256 * 17 / [256 * speed increase / 100]} / 2
    frames = {256 * 17 / [256 * 144 / 100]} / 2
    frames = {4352 / 368} / 2
    frames = 12/2
    frames = 6

    So you'll have a 6 fpa when your frenzy is charged, meaning the total frenzy speed for swinging both weapons is 12 frames, which is 4 attacks per second (with each weapon swing twice each second). Note: The best fpa with frenzy is 5 frames, which yield 5 attacks per second, but 6 frames isn't terrible.

    If you do the same calculation with an uncharged frenzy, it works out to 7 frames, so while uncharged, the first two swings will be slower.

    I hope that helps.

    ---------- Added 0 hours, 19 minutes and 7 seconds later... ----------

    Sorry for the repeated posting, but there is one other factor you need to consider, and that's whether or not you want to use frenzy or double swing. And the answer lies completely in how many skill points you want to spend on the skills. Double swing doesn't suffer from the slower first attack, so it is potentially more damaging than frenzy.

    It breaks down like this. If you only want to spend about 20 skill points, double swing is better. You'd maximize your double swing damage output by placing a single point in double swing, and devoting 20 to Bash. Frenzy would have one in double swing (as a prerequisite) and 20 in Frenzy.

    The break even point is with about 40 skill points. Double swing would have 1 point in double swing, 20 in Bash, and 20 in the appropriate weapon mastery, whereas the Frenzy setup is 20 points in Frenzy and another 20 points in the synergies for Frenzy, which are Double Swing and Taunt (or some combination of the two, so long as they add up to 20 total).

    If you plan on spending more than 40 points - say 60+ skill points - then Frenzy leaves Double Swing in the dust. Once you've maxed Bash and a Weapon Mastery, there's nothing else you can do to increase your Double Swing damage. Additional points in Double Swing will increase your attack rating and reduce the mana cost of the skill, but it won't increase damage. Frenzy, on the other hand, can continue pumping Taunt and/or Double Swing for the added synergy boost. If you wanted to go all-out with Frenzy, after finishing Taunt and Double Swing, you could work on the Weapon Mastery. (Although you should always put one point in the mastery, because it's passive and benefits from +skills, but you'd only invest additional points in the Mastery as a Frenzy barb after Frenzy, Taunt, and Double Swing are all maxed out.)

    So for a Frenzy build, I recommend the following skill distribution:

    Combat Skills:

    Bash (prerequisite) - 1
    Stun (prerequisite) - 1
    Concentrate (prerequisite) - 1
    Double Throw (prerequisite) - 1
    Berserk (for physical immunes) - 1
    Frenzy (main attack) - 20
    Double Swing (synergy) - 20
    Subtotal: 45

    Masteries - All one point wonders:

    Mace Mastery
    Iron Skin
    Natural Resistances
    Subtotal: 3

    War Cries:

    Howl (prerequisite) - 1
    Shout (prerequisite) - 1
    Battle Orders (prebuff) - 20
    Battle Commands (one point wonder) - 1
    Taunt (synergy) - 20
    Battle Cry (one point wonder) - 1
    Find Potion - 1
    Find Item - 1
    Subtotal: 46

    Total: 94 - attainable at level 83 with all skill quests completed. I'd max Frenzy and Battle Orders first, and then alternate points between Taunt and Double Swing. If you advance beyond level 83, additional points would go to either Shout (for defense, and synergy to Berserk), Natural Resistance (if your resistance are poor), or Mace Mastery, for even more Frenzy damage.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2011
  10. Shrikant

    Shrikant Swords! Not words! Veteran

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    Its an eth Duriel's ... thats why it goes to the minion. Given what you have said I'll wait to upp it rather than socket it.

    Reason why I did not mention other IAS or skills was because I wanted to see if I could compare weapons at a glance. The idea being that I could get an approximate fpa with any particular weapon from its wsm for barb, pally or druid across builds. Like: a flail hits twice as often as a war hammer , thus average damage for a flail is x2 when compared to war hammer ... but I guess thats not possible.

    Your formulae leave me a bit confused:

    item ias = [120 * (total item ias - larm ias) / (120 + total item ias - larm ias)]
    why would ias be a positive factor in the denominator, should it be -
    item ias = [120 * (total item ias - larm ias) / (120 - (total item ias - larm ias))]

    speed increase = 70 + average(rarm wsm, larm wsm) + skill ias + item ias
    as this seems to indicate a positive weapon speed modifier is good, ie a war hammer is better than flail ... perhaps it should be -
    speed increase = 70 - average(rarm wsm, larm wsm) + skill ias + item ias
    Also if it is "average(rarm wsm, larm wsm)" then the value in your example should be 5 and not 10

    My frenzy is at L22, so skill ias should be 43 I suppose. I have +1 to barb skill helm and a +1 to combat skills GCharm.

    The third formula is taken at face value as increase in speed leading to reduced frames per attack I can understand. Hope I didn't piss you offwith my nitpicking AFI.

    -----------------

    As far as skills go there is a lot for me to still learn. Right now frenzy is maxed, taunt and double swing have 5 hard points, and 1 point in every weapon mastery. Yes, that includes thrown weapons, and that is after a respec. Not that it went waste, used a lot of thrown weapons in Act III, there was no way I was going to be running after the little miscreants.

    I have spread atleast a single point to all skills, except WW. 3 went to resist and am increasing shout and bo alternatively so they have equal duration.

    I cant really see much point to the 2 synergies, except as synergies. Battle cry[1] seems more useful than taunt, and frenzy itself is better than double swing. I may still bring taunt up to 15 while leaving ds at 5.
     
  11. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    It's not an either/or type decision. It's possible - recommended even - that you do both. Order is irrelevant. If you socket it now, it will keep whatever you socket into it when you up it.

    Alas, such is not possible. The only type of table that would work for is if you were only considering a standard attack, and even then it wouldn't be perfect, as different classes get speed boosts for certain weapon classes. As an example, druids can swing mauls and clubs considerably faster than other classes in the game. But once skills enter the picture, direct comparisons based simply on the base weapon speed are impossible for determining fpa. Faster weapons are faster, but you cannot tell how much faster just based on wsm.

    I'd be lying if I told you I can explain the derivation, because they aren't my formulae. Fortunatley, I can direct you to when you can see the derivation. I got them from the Amazon Basin's Technical Discussion Forum, in the "technical lookup table" thread. Here's the link. There's a ton of stuff in that forum that you may be interested in - it should help you with a lot of different calculations if you're interested.

    Hells no. I'm pretty sure the calculations are correct, as I cut and pasted them directly from the Basin, from people who know a lot more about the game code and how it calculates those things than me. Having said that, despite doing well in grammar school, I did hose up the second calulation by not being able to correctly average two numbers. The average of 20 and -10 is definitely 5 and not 10.

    Some barbs like using thrown weapons as a weapon switch, so I don't have a problem with a point there - I just wouldn't go more than that. Spear and Polearm Mastery as well? You cannot use those weapons with Frenzy.

    That said, if you don't have your end-game weapon in mind, placing a point into all the masteries that allow use of one-handed weapons is a shrewd decision - I do the same thing with all my barbs if I don't have an end-game weapon in mind. It's especially smart to do that with a Frenzy barb, because you have so many other synergies that will give a better return on your skill points than the mastery would. By placing a single point in axe, mace, and sword mastery, you get the big benefit that the first point provides (spending the first point is a no-brainer), and you gain the flexibility of using any weapon you happen to come across.

    The primary purpose is the synergies. Every point you spend in them increases your Frenzy damage by 8% - which is a good thing. The game favors specialization, and any character that doesn't utilize synergies is in for a rude awakening upon entering hell. (Although you can spend skill points willy-nilly as much as you like in Normal and Nightmare and simply respec after you do the first quest in hell.) However, in this particular case, both Taunt and Double Swing have utility beyond the synergy. Allow me to explain...

    Let's start with Double Swing as that's the easy one. In addition to increasing your Frenzy damage, Double Swing has the wonderful property of costing no mana once you get it to level 9. No doubt you have run into enemies that drain your mana to nothing in short order. They only become more common once you hit hell difficulty. Having a zero mana backup attack is extremely useful. DS will not give you the same damage as Frenzy, but it's a hell of a lot better than trying to hack your way through mana burn enemies using a standard attack. Most frenzy barbs assign Frenzy to one mouse button and DS to the other for just this purpose. So you aren't wasting any points getting this skill up to level 9 (counting +skills of course - you don't necessarily have to sink 9 hard points into it).

    Now for Taunt. Let me apologize in advance for what is likely going to turn into a rant. Taunt is the skill I miss most when not playing a Barbarian. Taunt does three things (in addition to supplying the 8% damage increase to Frenzy). When you use it the follwoing happen: (1) Monsters have their defense reduced, making it much easier for you to hit them. (2) Monsters have their attack rating reduced, making it much harder for them to hit you. And MOST IMPORTANTLY (3) it over-writes their AI and forces them to engage you with their standard attack.

    The importance of (3) cannot be over-stated. It's a skill that should be abused throughout the game, even if it's just skill level 1. Those gloams that fire lightning bolts at you from far away? Taunt them and they come up to you and use their phyiscal attack (i.e., they stop firing lightning bolts). Those annoying flayers that keep running away from you? They won't when you taunt them. Or how about those minotaur things that have a frenzy attack? Taunted, they use their much less damaging regular attack. The list is practically endless. Balrogs stop breathing fire. Mummies stop raising undead. Shamans won't raise fallen minions, and won't shoot fireballs at you. Slinger cats won't throw potions or javelins at you from a distance. Arrow firing enemies engage you in melee and don't run away as you approach. Need I go on?

    You get the AI over-write from level 1. More points makes the skill better by causing a larger penalty to a monster's attack and defense rating. ALL of my barb builds - even the ones that don't place a single point in Frenzy - use Taunt. That this skill also is a synergy for your main attack makes it much more useful for you than any other barb variant. There's no downside here. Taking DS beyond level 9 isn't obligatory, but seeing as how often you'll use Taunt anyway, and the fact that it increases your damage to your primary attack makes it an excellent candidate for a heavy point investment.

    Some other comments: You should definitely shop for a couple of weapons that increase your war cries. Note that I said SHOP not find. You can buy these from vendors, as they are magic (blue). +1 to all war cries are available in normal, +2 to all war cries are available in nightmare, and +3 to all war cries are available in hell. Don't worry about the damage they do - you won't be using them for combat purposes. The only thing that you use them for is prebuffing. Hit "W" to bring up your switch weapons when not fighting an enemy, cast Battle Commands, Battle Orders, and Shout, then switch back to your combat weapons. You keep the all of the bonuses from your war cries at +6 (both duration and active effect) even when you switch back to your regular weapons. It's basically 18 free skill points (6 each to BC, BO and Shout).

    One other nitpicky point. Pretty much all barbs max battle orders - doubling life and mana is never a bad thing, so go all out there.

    However, I do not think a heavy investment in shout is in your best interest. On the surface, the skill appears great. You'd think getting 200% additional defense is too good to pass up. You'd think that going from say, 2K defense all the way to 6K defense would make you unhittable. Unfortunately, monsters in hell have such high attack ratings, that you won't see any appreciable returns on defense unless you get well in excess of 10K.

    Allow me to put this into a bit of perspective for you. I recently tried a high defense paladin build that finished up with around 30K defense, and monsters STILL had about a 15% chance of hitting me. Going from 2K to 6K takes a monster's chance to hit from about 60% to 50% in hell.

    A barbarian (in addition to the paladin and werebear) is one of the few characters that can get to such high defense values, but a Frenzy barb is a variant that does not lend itself to such a strategy. High defense builds focus on defense rating and blocking, used in concert, to minimize their chance of getting hit. If either defense or blocking is lacking, the tradeoff of doing less damage doesn't work to your favor. As a frenzy barb cannot block, it isn't going to work nearly as well as you hope. (It will work wonders in nightmare - I'm just trying to save you from frustration upon entering hell.)

    That is not to say I wouldn't use shout. It's a prerequisite to war cries further down on the tree which you need, and since you already have it, you may as well use it. If you acquire +6 war cry weapons, cast battle commands first, and get the duration synergy from battle orders, a single point in shout will double your defense and last in excess of 3 minutes before having to renew it. It just doesn't do much more for you after that first point. I would much prefer to divert those 20 points into Taunt or DS, and gain 160% bonus damage to Frenzy. Remember the game favors specialization in hell difficulty, and a Frenzy barb is an offense-heavy build.

    Given your skill point distribution, allow me to modify my previous skill point layout:

    Combat skills:
    Bash - 1
    Double Swing - 9+
    Stun - 1
    Double Throw - 1
    Leap - 1
    Leap Attack - 1 (oversight on my part - very good utility skill)
    Concentrate - 1
    Frenzy - 20
    Berserk - 1 (only will use against Physically immune monsters in hell)
    Subtotal: 36

    Combat Masteries:
    Axe Mastery - 1
    Mace Mastery - 1
    Sword Mastery - 1
    Throw Mastery - 1
    Increased Stamina - 1
    Increased Speed - 1
    Iron Skin - 1
    Natural Resistance - 3+
    Subtotal: 10

    War Cries:
    Howl - 1
    Taunt - 10+
    Shout - 1
    Battle Cry - 1+
    Battle Orders - 20
    Battle Command - 1
    Find Potion - 1
    Find Item - 1
    Subtotal: 36

    Total: 82

    You should have around this many total points when you enter hell difficulty. That's level 75 with 8 free skill points from all the skill quests in Normal and Nightmare. You'll likely earn 12-15 more skill points in hell difficulty between the skill quests and leveling, and I think they could be applied at your discretion to any of the skills I've marked with a "+". Which one you choose is dependent on how your character develops. Natural Resistance if your resists are hurting, Battle Cry if you find yourself using it a ton, Taunt if you want to up your Frenzy damage, etc. And there's certainly no harm in speading them out to shore up any of your weaknesses and to improve your character somewhat in all areas.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2011
    Balle likes this.
  12. Sir Rechet

    Sir Rechet I speak maths and logic, not stupid Veteran

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    I second Aldeth's comments on Taunt. It's a brilliant thing to have. Not just for barbarians, for anyone. Only when you get to the point that you can bathe in Gloam bolts all day while taking on a pack of melee mobs at the same time (ie. let's leave it at 'good luck with that') can you safely ignore the skill for safety purposes, but it STILL retains its usefullness in actually getting to some of the more annoying mobs.
     
  13. Shrikant

    Shrikant Swords! Not words! Veteran

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    Right now, I am running upto a mob, using a battle cry on them (so now they hit for less and get hit easier) and start wailing. The minion catches up and adds his own destruction to the cause.
    I guess once I get to hell I'll be walking a few steps, taunting individual monsters to me, and hiding behind the merc.
    I know NM was a rude welcome to me ... I dropped from /players8 to /players3 because of the ridiculous difficulty.

    I still have my normal respec left and will be using the hell respec for after I'm done with hell. I want Find Items [8]. Maybe will have to go back to WW for that to work.

    I'm still carrying my Act II Normal Defiance merc. Once done with NM will switch to a might merc for all the brother runs needed to get to L75 before attempting Hell.
     
  14. Sir Rechet

    Sir Rechet I speak maths and logic, not stupid Veteran

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    What do you mean by brother runs? Leeching off pubby Baal forays? Given that Might is one of the most common choices for a merc aura you could consider switching to, say, Blessed Aim for the duration of those runs, now that switching mercs no longer requires a major detour for leveling.
     
  15. Shrikant

    Shrikant Swords! Not words! Veteran

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    This is single player ... not jumping into the deep end of the pool just yet.
    So Might is for I, me & myself only.

    Besides I love having plugy and the gigabit mod working simultaneously. The original inventory management would leave me nuts. Hope D3 is improved in that aspect too.

    Finishing off Act V NM right now. Got Anya ... going after Nihaltac. This is the first of many times Pindle's gonna die I guess.
    Now I understand what you mean about using Taunt ... Those flying banshee suddenly were a lot more easy to kill!

    Anyone know how to upp a normal socketed weapon or armor into an exceptional version!
    I have the formula for rare and unique but not for normals. And can set items be upped?
     
  16. Sir Rechet

    Sir Rechet I speak maths and logic, not stupid Veteran

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    You can't upgrade normal items, no matter if they're plain white, low quality, superior, ethereal or with or without sockets. Same deal for set items (green), magic (blue) and crafted (orange).

    You can only upgrade rares (yellow) and uniques (gold).
     
  17. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    Back from sunny Orlando Florida, so these comments are probably a bit dated - anyways...

    Battle Cry has it's uses as well. Whether or not to use Taunt or Battle Cry is dependent upon what you're fighting. If you're in a mob of regular monsters that just use regular melee attacks anyway, then Battle Cry is the better choice, as it lower monster's defense more than Taunt. Taunt is useful for the more dangerous stuff - notably missile firing enemies.

    I hope you mean that you plan on investing one hard point, and getting it to skill level 8 with +skills. Find Item is a skill that has very steep diminishing returns. If you invest one hard point, have two echoing weapons on switch (total of +6) cast Battle Commands prior to using the skill, and have +1 to all skills that you already have mentioned, that's a skill level 9 Find Item, which gives a 42% chance of successfully finding another item when you use it. In looking up the return for more points on the Arreat Summit, I found this out:

    Skill level 9 (what you can get with one hard point) = 42% chance
    Skill level 15 = 47% chance
    Skill level 25 = 52% chance

    See what I mean? This biggest increases in percent are with the first few skill points. By the time you hit level 10, additional points are only worth about 1% more chance in finding something, and by the time you hit level 15, you need to spend two points to increase your chance by 1%. Even if all you have is two echoing weapons and Battle Commands, one hard point will make it usable at level 8, a 39% chance of success, which isn't bad. All my barbs have Find Item, but with just one hard point.

    I agree with the might selection. As an offense oriented build, it's a smart choice. Blessed Aim only if your attack rating is lacking. One word of warning - make sure you unequip all of your merc's items and place them in your inventory when you switch mercs. If you switch mercs without doing so, any items in your merc's inventory are lost to you (including your sweet Duriel's Shell).

    As for levle 75 before starting Hell - that's probably unnecessary, and will take you a ton of Baal runs to get there on players 3. I'd say level 70 is mandatory - any less than that and the level difference between you and the monsters will make your attack rating suffer. If you get a couple of more level on top of that, it's fine (more levels never hurt), but there's no need to get to level 75 if it means running NM Baal two dozen times. I just did my first Hell Countess run with my DS barb, and he hit level 75 while in the tower - so it's certainly possible to get through the early phases of Act I Hell at less than level 75.

    If you like running Pindle in NM difficulty, you're going to love him in Hell difficulty. There's only a couple of items in the entire game that Pindle cannot drop in hell difficulty.

    Use it, abuse it, and love it.

    As Sir Rechet said, that's all of them. In fact, you cannot do anything to items that are already socketed. They are as-is. Unsocketed items (be they crafted, set, blue, whatever) can be socketed by Larzuk (provided they are an item type that can get sockets). But a socketed item that cannot be utilized to make a runeword (for example, one with a single socket) is an end-product.
     
  18. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    I've been thinking about my Aldur's build a little more - tweaking skill points a bit. I'm still in Act I Hell with my DS Barb, so it's going to be a while before I get around to actually doing it.

    The initial plan was to max Fire Claws, Grizzly, Dire Wolves, along with a synergy to Fire Claws. Using primarily WW form, I'd have Fire Claws and Fury (1 pt) as my attacks, but I'll have a total of +9 to all skills. But the build requires a TON of skill points (94 for just the base build, and I'm not going to get a lot more than that), and I'll only be able to devote one point to Fury, WW, and Lycanthropy.

    Now I'm not so sure. Maxed Grizzly and Dire Wolves will give me a Grizzly with about 5500 life with +skills, and around 2000 dps. The life is wonderful, the damage is pretty bad. With How, the damage can get up to around 2,500 per second. Throw in a Might merc, and you get about 3,200 dps. I'm thinking if I tinker with the skill points a bit, I'll have some left over points to raise some of those secondary skills, that are currently one-point wonders that I would like to be more than that.

    The only thing is, by using the Aldur's weapon, I'm not sure if redirecting points away from Grizzly into something like Fury is really going to make up the difference. If I just want a tank, a 1 pt grizzly with maxed dire wolves has the exact same amount of life as a 20 pt grizzly and 20 pt dire wolves. If I'm OK with the damage at 3200, a maxed grizzly and 11 hard points in DW would give me 2500 dps and a 4000 life grizzly, and I'm not sure if that extra 1500 life is necessary, as I can always recast it, and grizzlies get 85% resist all in hell.
     
  19. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    I've been sick all week (probably caught something on the plane), so I haven't played much lately. Since returning from vacation the only thing I've done is run the Countess a couple of times, and that probably will be the last time I do so with this character. It's not that the barb cannot run Countess, it's just that my sorceress can do it so much quicker. So if I want to go Countess hunting, I already have a character that is much better at doing it.

    One point I did discover in the Countess tower is that my Berserk skill is underwhelming. I realized that this is because I only have that one point in Shout - most of my previous barb builds have invested heavily into Shout, and got the Berserk synergy. It's totally find for just run of the mill ghosts - they get stunned by War Cry, and they just sit there, so needing an extra whack or two is no big thing. Such is not the case with boss packs, as the boss isn't affected by War Cry.

    This is what invariably happens: Cast War Cry and Battle Cry to shut down everything but the boss, and start attacking with Berserk, because they are physical immune. However, I have no shield, and since my defense is zero when using Berserk, the unstunned boss hits me and drains my mana bulb. Getting mana burned for me is usually no big deal - my DS attack uses no mana so I just keep right on swinging, but Berserk DOES have a mana requirement - albeit a small one - so I'm temporarily SOL without mana. I still attack the boss but instead of every attack being a berserk attack, it alternates between berserk and regular attack (while my mana recovers). The problem is if I don't kill the boss quickly, the War Cry will wear off, and then all the ghosts come after me (and now I have no mana to renew War Cry). So it's slightly problematic.
     
  20. 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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    Can you draw the boss away, go back, restun the pack, and kill off pack members (may need to do it a couple of times) so that you can finish the boss off at your leisure?

    On my front, nothing exciting to report other than I made Infinity and my sorc is a gleaming goddess of death. I've run into a couple of unbreakable bosses whose LI is too high for infinity, but so what? CL kills off their packs and my merc handles the boss with ease. About the only thing that could hold me up would be an unbreakable PI/LI, but I haven't seen one yet.

    The necro is slower, but still pretty effective.

    Both are about to start Act V in Hell. Nothing great found, although my runes have been reasonably good, which is needed as I used up virtually all of my rune wealth to make infinity. Worth it though.
     
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