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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. 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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    I didn't restart the game with the ancients, just paid to revive the merc and went back in. I figured the spawns I got were pretty innocuous and I wasn't going to risk restarting and getting cursed or extra fast/strong or something equally horrible.

    I have absolutely no leanings in any regard with the Druid. I have a Jalal's and a Cerberus Bite, I have my usual stash of goodies to lend, including enigma and CoH, Mara's, Arachnid Mesh, etc. As you know, I've done a Freezalot, a Skellimancer, a Meteorb, a Whirlwing Barb and this Javazon.

    I could do a summoner or a melee oriented build or whatever, I'm not partial right now to anything. I'm just kinda looking for ideas. I've used characters with emphasis on all damage types except poison. I have several rainbow facets of each type if that matters. I just found a superior phase blade with no sockets, so I could use a socket quest to get 6 sockets in it if it would make a good runeword. (For some reason, I like Silence and think it would work in that sword.)

    I looked at the ladder words. Who the hell could ever make a Last Wish!!?? Give me a break. Jah + Mal + Jah + Sur + Jah + Ber. Please. (Nice weapon though.)
     
  2. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    I found the mother lode of druid guides - and all of them are from version 1.10 or later, so they should still be viable. The werewolf does have a poison based attack - rabies. It synergizes with poison creeper.

    There's about 20 different guides here.
     
  3. Cap'n CJ

    Cap'n CJ Arrr! Veteran

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    My build matches none of those. Eek?
     
  4. 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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  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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    Finished Baal. Yay. Got a few things that I didn't have, most notably the Griswold weapon.

    Going to kill some cows next.
     
  6. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    Congrats dmc - look forward to cow running. While hell cows are not level 85 monsters, the sheer numbers of enemies you encounter make it an excellent XP and item finding area. (Note though that once you beat the same on Hell difficulty, leveling is not too big of a deal.) Most people who run hell cows do so for one of two reasons: 1) to get the cow king set (it's not that great, so it's more of a novelty thing and to be able to say you did it) and 2) they play PvP, and it's the best source of XPs in the game to level their characters even further.

    Onto the two druid builds: I have played variant of the Junkyard Bear a few ladder sessions back. However, I did not have access to a lot of the top gear selections, so I did it on a budget. I used the Smoke runeword instead of Chains of Honor and I used a Dark Clan Crusher instead of a Heart of the Oak. (I lacked the runes necessary for the other options.) I had Jalal's, but I didn't have Mara's.

    The one thing that was not mentioned in the guide (which I found very odd) was that when you use IK set items, each and every item equipped beyond the first gives a partial set bonus to attack rating. All of the partial set bonuses are cumulative. So a 2nd piece gives you +50 AR, and the third piece gives you +75 AR, for a total of +125. They get bigger and bigger the more pieces you equip. The reason IK barbs never worry about AR is that by the time you get the complete set (which you obviously won't be able to do with a druid), the last AR bonus is +450 IIRC (again, cumulative with all the other ones you got). So even though you won't be spending anything in dexterity, it is a viable build.

    However, I was less than pleased with the overall power of this build, and it comes down to a basic weakness of the main skills - both Maul and Hunger are one-at-a-time killers. Of course, you do have a merc and three wolves running around to help you, and the build is solid in terms of overall survivability, it just isn't particularly fast. Assuming you have CoH and HotO (and I know you have a Mara's), maybe this would improve the build. You'd have an additional +4 to all your main attacks and +6 to your summoning skills, so perhaps that improves the killing speed, although that won't change the one-at-a-time nature of Maul.

    Shockwave is a very useful skill. In my Fury/Fire Claws Druid I made a while back, whenever I ran into physical immune/mana burn enemies, I exploited the hell out of that skill. I had 10k fire damage on my fire claws in bear form, so I would change to a bear, shockwave to stun them, fire claws to kill them, and it worked beautifully. I would actually advocate setting up Shockwave instead of Hunger on your right click, as if you're using most of the suggsted equipment, life and mana leeching won't be a problem.

    Having said all that, I do not think you are going to find this build fun to play. I would advise against this build for the same reason I advised against playing a Concentrate Barbarian - it gets the job done in terms of keeping you alive, and it will allow you to beat the game on Hell difficulty, but it doesn't do a hell of a lot else. You deal huge damage with each hit, but there's nothing there for a mass attack. A conc barb uses Howl and Taunt to control packs, while the Junkyard Bear uses Shockwave to stun crowds. The build works, it just didn't do anything for me - if I wanted to play that kind of character, I'd rather have a Concentrate Barbarian.

    IMO, the Earth Shifter build looks far more entertaining. This will also be a no dexterity build, but your primary attack is Fury, which gives a serious boost to AR. Additionally, I do agree with the author's recommendation to have a Demon Limb on switch. That should solve any AR problems, especially since I see no reason why one of your two ring slots wouldn't be devoted to a Raven Frost. I would combine the Earth Shifter with either Gore Riders or Goblin Toes to get your crushing blow over 50%, combined with the big base damage on the weapon itself, and you should be fine with your melee attack.

    The one aspect a lot of players don't like about Fury is it gets synergies from nothing and it synergizes nothing. However, I view that as an advantage more than a disadvantage for two reasons: 1) The attack does massive damage on it's own, so it's a perfectly hell-viable skill just with the 20 points spent. 2) Because you aren't bound by synergies, it opens up a lot of different options for what you want to use as a secondary attack. As I already mentioned, my Fury/Fire Claws druid had a very powerful second attack. Armageddon is basically a mass attack Fire Claws, so I don't see any reason why it would not work on this build.

    The only real downside I see with this build is that you are going to need nearly all of the premium items listed to make it work. You're only spending a point each in Werewolf and Lycanthropy, so +skills are going to be crucial to increase your life, your attack speed, attack rating, and most importantly, the duration you can stay in wereform. Jalal's will give you +4 to Shapeshifting (+2 to all, another +2 specifically to shapeshifting). You'll get +2 from both Mara's and Chains of Honor, getting you up to +8.

    If you go the Demon Limb route on your switch, then it would make sense to get a +skill on your shield. He recommended Spirit shield for +2 to all skills, but it's ladder only. Moreover, you need a shield with 4 open sockets, and there's only three shields that can get that many. The author recommended going with a Monarch as the base item, as that has the lowest strength requirements. However, since you're taking your strength all the way up to the stratosphere anyway, a Ward or an Aegis can also get four sockets. You hardly ever see anyone using those two shields because of strength requirements (over 200), but for you, that's not an issue. A cheap alternative, Lidless Wall, gives +1 to all skills, and I would go with that if you don't feel like downloading the mod and/or you don't have a 4-socket shield handy (it would probably be easier to burn a socket quest on one of these shields rather than trying to find one). A difference of one less +skill is not going to make or break the build. Assuming you don't get a Spirit, you'll still have +9 to your shapeshifting skills, plus any grand charm skillers you may have. A level 10 Werewolf and Lycanthropy is workable, but I wouldn't go much lower than that.

    Other than that, the only potential sticking point with this build is you don't have a means of dealing with a dual physical and fire immune. I had that same issue with my fury/fire claws build. What I did (since only the boss is dual immune) is kill the rest of the pack, use shockwave to stun the boss (it doesn't work automatically on bosses so it may take a few castings), and run away while the boss was stunned. The stunning is necessary so he doesn't follow you. However, you may not want to spend the points on Shockwave, as it has prerequisites of werebear and maul. I do not think spending three points on a skill that does nothing other than allow you to deal with one very specific type of situation is worth it. Running away is always an option, or even having a high elemental damage weapon in your stash that you can equip seems far more reasonable than spending 3 skill points.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2010
  7. 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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    Food for thought. For the second type, would something like Barana's do the trick with its multiple damage types (I know it also has cold and lightning, on top of more useless fire at that point)? I would think dual PI/FI types are not going to be all that common, so if I slow down every now and again, big deal. I could even keep the extra weapon in town, TP back to get it, and go back to finish the boss.

    As far as equipment goes, you forget that I made a HOTO for the sorc. So that's covered.

    I have most of the gear he recommends: Earth Shifter, Demonlimb, Jalals (Guillaumes too), Laying of Hands and/or Steelrend (no Dracs though) and also some crafted gloves that might help here (need to look to see if there are any with +druid skills), CoH/Enigma, Arachnid's (and, for that matter, every other belt listed), all boots listed, Mara's (I don't see the appeal of any other ammy listed), Ravenfrost (NO FREAKIN' SOJ THOUGH!!!!), and I know I have a few druid skillers socked away, although I can't remember which trees they are for. Obviously, no anni or torch.


    Also, I have a couple of ribcrackers, so I could ditch these builds and go that route as well. I won't start a new character for a few days anyway, so it will give me time to think. (I plan on watching a LOT of basketball in the next couple of days.)
     
  8. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    Baranar's Star would definitely work. Or Nord's Tenderizer, or heck, even Schaefer's Hammer. There are many options. You can have a weapon switch for your merc too to speed the process, although there you are probably looking for a rare with elemental damage. The only polearms/spears I can think of that come with non-fire elemental damage are Arioc's Needle and Stormspire, neither of which provide a lot.

    They aren't common, and yeah, I'd definitely advise keeping it in your stash in town. No need to go into ATMA every time you need it.

    I'd still take Demon Limb over HOTO for the Earth Shifter build. For the Junkyard Bear that's great. Also, as an alternative that you can use about 20 levels earlier, do you have a Fleshrender? It gives +1 to all Druid Skills and an additional +2 to Shapeshifting. So it's the equivalent of the HOTO in terms of boosting your bear form, although it would only be +1 to your summons. (Yeah there's lots of other differences too, but since it's a switch, we're only concerned with the +skills.)

    I thought you did, which is another reason I suggested that build. There's no way you'd use Guillaumes over Jalal's though - the +skills and boost to life, mana, and resistances are too much to ignore. You already will have a significant amount of CB, which would be main reason to go with Guillaumes.

    Regardless of which build you go with, any of them would be potentially useful. Both builds would benefit from Shapeshifting skillers. The Junkyard Bear would benefit from summoning skillers, and the Earth Shifter from elemental skillers.

    :confused: What route would that be? What build uses a Ribcracker as a base weapon? I don't have the stats in front of me, but I'd have to think that Bonesnap would be the superior choice to Ribcracker in almost every way. They both have heaps of CB, but Bonesnap does more damage, and comes with +30% resistance to fire and cold.

    EDIT: Found it.

    Ribcracker
    Two-Hand Damage: (54-62) to (143-169)
    Required Level: 31
    Required Strength: 25
    Staff class - Normal Attack Speed
    +200-300% Enhanced Damage
    Adds 30-65 Damage
    +50% Damage To Undead
    50% Chance Of Crushing Blow
    50% Increased Attack Speed
    50% Faster Hit Recovery
    +100% Enhanced Defense
    +100 Defense
    +15 To Dexterity

    Bonesnap
    Two-Hand Damage: (90-120) To (129-172)
    Required Level: 24
    Required Strength: 69
    Mace Class – Slow Attack Speed
    +200-300% Enhanced Damage
    +100% Damage To Undead
    40% chance of Crushing Blow
    Cold Resist +30%
    Fire Resist +30%

    Bonesnap does have better damage, mostly due to the significantly higher minimum damage, has a lower level requirement, and comes with resistances. Ribcracker provides a big defense boost (not sure how useful that is), has a little bit more CB (although 40% is still a lot), and likely would make up the damage gap with the 50% IAS speed. It's a lot closer than I originally thought. If you didn't need the resistances, Ribcracker may indeed be the better choice. Although I still don't know which build you'd be using it.
     
  9. 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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  10. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    It sounds like the Ribcracker build would work great against the Ubers, but FIIK, as I've never fought them. I'm not sure I like that build overall though - it's all physical damage. He makes no mention of how he leveled his character up, and how he dealt with PIs. And on single player you cannot even fight the ubers.
     
  11. 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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    Last edited: Mar 20, 2010
  12. Shrikant

    Shrikant Swords! Not words! Veteran

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    Its funny how a weapon can change your fighting style. I found a rare Club that gives 46% bonus to damage v/s demons, along with the normal 50% v/s undead, but also gives 4% life steal & 4% mana steal. So that with the big shield and conc on left click fills up my mana pretty quickly with little danger.
    Switch to a Malice Bastard Sword & a rare Flamberge that has 5% Amp damage on striking means that I can WW crowds pretty easily.
    Thats making me think of hiking both conc & WW.
    Baal went down to L35 Barb with this setup quite easily. That Act2 boss was the only boss that I died to.
    Im thinking I should work towards a Kingslayer Zweihander.
    Can Set or Craft items be socketed and stuffed with gems, I know cant make rune words with them.

    Is Myth a good Armor Rune Word for now or should I wait a while to make any? Right now wearing Sigon's Shelter
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2010
  13. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    It's going to be hard to max out both WW and conc. If you can only do one, I'd recommend maxing WW. (By the way, any "chance to cast" mods like the one you have on your Flamberge will not work with WW.) The reason I say max WW is that concentrate receives a 10% bonus damage synergy from Battle Orders, and you're going to be maxing that no matter what way you go. So your Concentrate skill will have a considerable damage bonus with it, even if you invest just a single point in the skill.

    I see two general options for your skill points. No matter what, you're going to want to spend 20 points in WW and 20 points in Battle Orders. If you are going to be using the same weapon type for all of your attacks, I'd also put 20 into the appropriate mastery (because that improves the attack rating and damage of both WW and concentrate) and just a single point into concentrate. On the other hand, if you're using different weapon types, then I'd put just a point in each mastery and sink 20 points into Concentrate.

    OK, I lied. There is a third option. If you get this guy leveled to around 80, there's enough points to max both one weapon mastery and Concentrate. That's a viable option only if you're using the same weapon type for both WW and Concentrate. However, doing this would force you to bypass Shout. I always stick 20 points into shout, because in addition to the huge defense boost it gives to both you and your mercenary, it provides a time synergy to Battle Orders and Battle Commands, greatly extending their duration, and also a damage synergy to Berserk, which is always useful as a means of killing physical immune monsters.

    If you give Larzuk a set or unique item to add sockets to, he will add a single socket, provided that the item doesn't already have a socket(s) (there's a few sets and uniques that come with sockets). Crafted items cannot be socketed, so whatever you get is a finished product. While you did not specifically ask, a blue item can get either one or two sockets (50% chance of each), while a white item will receive the maximum number of sockets that item type can possibly receive. Generally, the only reason to socket a white item is if you are trying to make a runeword in an item type that requires a lot of sockets. For example, if you're going to make a runeword requiring four runes, it's probably a lot easier to socket a good white armor that you find than trying to find a armor of that type with exactly four sockets.

    It could be, although I don't know based on what you've told me. If it fills in holes that are currently lacking in your character, then sure. Although, if you're only level 35, then you probably do not have access to a good base item with the right number of sockets to make it. You're going to want a high defense armor on a barbarian, so you need good base armor with the right number of sockets to do it.

    I like to Kodiak better than the Junkyard Bear, but I still like the Fury/Armageddon build the best. Armageddon combined with using the Earth Shifter as your main weapon type = coolness.

    Thinking about the Earth Shifter build, you may also want to consider a single point in Fire Claws. With my druid, I maxed Fire Claws (level 31 with +skill items) and one of its synergies, and it did about 10,000 damage. Your single point with +skill items will give you a skill a level 10, which won't be much on its own. However, if you're spending all of those points on synergies to Armageddon, those are also synergies to Fire Claws. Each point spent in one of those synergies give Fire Claws a 22% damage boost. So 60 points * 22% = 1,320% damage! That can't be bad, and will give you a second means of dealing with physical immunes.

    Of course, if you're going to spend a point in Fire Claws, that also means you're going to have to spend a point in Werebear and Maul, which means you probably also want a point in Shockwave and switch to Werebear form when you're up against physical immunes. You'll still be able to cast Armageddon, and Shockwave is one of the most powerful skills in the game, as it even works against champions, uniques, and superuniques. Heck, Shockwave even works against Baal's minions and the Ancients.

    It will cost you five skill points to go this route, but it will result in a lot more versatility for your character.

    ---------- Added 1 hours, 5 minutes and 35 seconds later... ----------

    EDIT: My conc barb is now level 30 in Kurast. I am still awed by the levelling difference. I'm half way through Act III, and I'm already a higher level than what I'm normally at when I finish Act IV. (Generally, I face Diablo when I'm level 27 or 28).

    I was not imagining things when I said that chests appear to drop more stuff on higher player settings. A popped a golden chest this weekend that dropped three rares - that's never happened before. Gold chests work differently than other drop types. There is a % chance that the gold chest will drop a rare, set, or unique item, and if the roll comes up that way, all the items dropped will be rare, set, or unique. Otherwise, they'll all be blue. So you never get a combination of items from a gold chest. Evidently, the number of players has a great effect on the number of items dropped, as I never have received more than two rare/set/uniques from a gold chest before now.

    My equipment is almost exclusively rares. I currently have a big ass maul as my weapon for it's superior damage. It's slow as balls, but considering it does about triple the amount of damage than anything else I have access to, it's a necessary sacrifice. At my next level up, my strength will hit 99, which will enable me to equip great mauls, so if I can gamble a rare one of them I'll start using another slow, but bigger beat stick.

    Magic find is right around 100% right now, and the finds have been about what you'd expect on normal. I found a Gnasher (unique hand axe). While the base damage on it is ridiulously small (4-9) it has a fast attack speed and does come with a 20% chance of CB, so it may be viable against bosses, even if it would require me to switch back to the maul once I get a few CBs to activate. It also has +66% damage, so upped it may actually be OK. I also have a couple of pieces of Isenhart's set (which is almost always the first set you complete - the only thing even remotely hard to find is the shield), and a couple pieces of the Berserker set (missing the helm) and one piece of a bunch of other sets.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2010
  14. 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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    Doesn't the Gnasher also carry open wounds at a decent level?
     
  15. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    Yes, it does come with OW - forgot about that. I currently have it over in ATMA, as the weapon is near-useless against most stuff I'm fighting right now. Most stuff dies with two or three whacks from my maul, so the low base damage on Gnasher would only slow me down. Now upped, I might have something there. Ideally, it could be upped twice, but that's not going to happen for a long time, as I simply don't have the runes. Upping it once though should be able to be done relatively quickly (possibly as early as late Normal if I get a little lucky with the runes).
     
  16. 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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    I doubt you are really going to need Gnasher. I would imagine that it might be a good OK killer on Normal and even NM if they cause problems, but not for a barb, as he has zerk.

    On my build, I'm just wondering if I want my first Druid build to be so specialized as the Earthshifter guide provides. The Kodiak guide looks like it has more room to experiment with the class.


    Edit - Heh, I am a dummy - don't have an Earthshifter, have several Earthshakers (Definitely not the same thing), so unless I find one in a hurry, not doing that.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2010
  17. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    The non-upped version is virtually worthless, even in normal difficulty. Even against Act bosses on players 8, they don't have so much life that you cannot kill them off in a minute or so. The only thing that it has going for it is the Crushing Blow, which, IMO, is an essential attribute to have on a barbarian. You don't need a ton of it because you hit so often, but you need some source on your equipment. However, I'm almost certian to find something else with a higher base damage by the time I get to hell difficulty.

    Even if I were to up it to the exceptional version, it would only serve as an adequate normal and nightmare weapon. It would have to be upped to the elite version for it to have any practical usefulness on hell difficulty - the base damage of the weapon type is simply inadequate otherwise.

    Honestly, all druids are specialized. No matter which one you end up playing, you end up using the same two skills practically the entire game. The only variation is what two skills you pick, and Druids do offer a wide range of choices. Druids probably have more options of which skills to pick than any other class. Practically every attack skill on the shapeshifter tree is hell-viable, although some require synergies to do so. The summons are particularly strong if you max out dire wolves and grizzly. On the elemental tree, well basically it's Armageddon or nothing there, but that's still a ton of options.

    That said, obviously you cannot make an Earthshifter druid if you don't have an Earthshifter. By definition, it is the one absolutley essential piece of equipment for the build. The +7 to elemental skills is what really makes that shine. It would be hard to replicate the damage output of Armageddon without that item.

    I find it somewhat ironic that the barbarian class (which instantly invokes thoughts of a hulking brute that just slugs away at things) is one of the most diverse classes in terms of the number of skills he uses. Not even counting the masteries as they aren't castable, in a typical game session, I'm certain to use Concentrate, Battle Commands, Battle Orders, Shout, and Taunt excessively, and Find Item, Howl and Berserk somewhat frequently. Once I hit Nightmare difficulty, I'll add Battle Cry to the excessively used skill list, but for now it's just a somewhat frequently used skill, as I don't have any trouble hitting things.

    Seeing as how it looks like you'll be doing the Kodiak, which direction do you plan on taking it? I read through the guide, and while the author says it's not essential, I think it would be foolish to not get Hunger up to as high a level as possible. While it is true that the leech suffers diminishing returns past level 9 or so, the attack rating has a linear increase. Unlike the WW that gets AR boosts from both the WW form and the skill he uses, a WB only has the attack rating of his primary skill. Since you're not going to be investing a ton in dexterity, you're going to need as much +AR% as you can get out of your primary skill. You won't necessarily need to max it early, but I would do so by the end of nightmare difficulty.

    The next question is what weapon are you considering? It is essential with this build that whatever you go with, you're going to need a high amount of elemental damage, as that is not reduced by 75% by Hunger.

    As for the variants, I'll just give my feelings on the four he listed:

    Armageddon: Is only functional on hell difficulty highly synergized. You'll need basically the rest of your skill points in Armageddon and it's synergies. The thing I liked about the Earth Shifter build was the extra +7 you got to Armageddon, which would be further enhanced by synergies. Having a lot of elemental damage on your weapon is less important as you'll have it with this skill.

    Hurricane: I don't get this one. Even fully synergized, Hurricane is not a particularly powerful skill, and won't be able to do much of anything against hell monsters (it will slow them down, but not much else). Getting a high level cyclone armor is nice, but you're going to have a large life pool as a WB anyway, so I'm not really seeing the alure of this variant.

    Summoner: You'll need 40 points to max Dire wolves and Grizzly, and you'll still have skill points to play around with to increase your Lycanthropy and WB skills as desired. Both skills will increase your life, but WB adds defense and damage, so I'd go with WB once you're comfortable with the duration. This variant would require a lot of elemental damage on your weapon though, as all of your main skills are pure physical damage. It could be done with the right equipment.

    Pure Kodiak: Would be an absolute vita and defense monster. Your defense will be dependent on gear, but you're definitely capable of hitting defenses that would put you in league with max-shout Barbs, and max-holy shield paladins. As far as life goes, if you max WB and Lycanthropy, you'll have the highest possible life pool in the game, bar none. With all the +skills you have from gear, I could easily see you reaching a life pool of around 8,000, which seems a bit overkill considering you'll also have an insane defense. The only drawback here is the need to have a high elemental damage weapon, as you're getting nothing in the way of elemental damage from anything else. As with the summoner, you're going to need to be smart with your equipment choices.

    ---------- Added 5 hours, 9 minutes and 10 seconds later... ----------

    1.13 goes live today. I'm looking forward to the changes made to rune drops. From what I've read, rune drops are going to be tied to difficulty level in much the same way that gem drops are tied to difficulty level. In short, it will be rare to get a low rune in hell difficulty, in much the same way that it is rare to get a chipped gem to drop in Hell difficulty. Prior to the patch, nearly 90% of runes dropped in Hell difficulty would be Thul or lower, with nearly 20% being either an El or Eld. That's not to say that it will be very difficult to acquire low-level runes, just that if you need a low level rune it's better to play in a lower difficulty.

    High rune drop rates are also vastly improved. Now, when you kill a creature capable of dropping a Zod (which is pretty much limited to level 85 monsters and some super uniques and bosses), it will do so at a rate of about 1 in 6,000. Those are still very long odds, but it is orders of magnitudes better than what it was. Ber runes now drop at a rate of 1 in 1,500. Again a vast improvement. But once again, those are the rates assuming the monster is capable of dropping such a rune. For the sake of comparison, the chance of a monster capable of dropping a Zod to instead just drop an El or and Eld are 1 in 43 for each. The most common rune drops for such a creature are in the range of Io to Um.

    I'm going to take a chance and download the patch, and hope that ATMA still works.

    EDIT: One more thing - now runes will appear orange in color when you hihglight tem on the screen - the same color that runeword items and crafted items get, so it will be easy to identify them when they drop.

    Supposedly, you'll also be able to respecialize your character each time you do the Den of Evil quest, but I'm having difficulty determining if this feature will be available in single player mode. There's no reason the drop rates for runes wouldn't be available in single player though.
     
  18. Sir Rechet

    Sir Rechet I speak maths and logic, not stupid Veteran

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    Essential, maybe, but you DO need to consider the opportunity cost of it, especially on your weapon. ;)

    Considering that Hell Act bosses have around 60k to 100k (Baal 400k, seems odd?) hit points, a CB right at the start of the fight is somewhere between 7.5k and 12.5k damage, halved by their damage resistance to ca 4k-6k. Considering that CB always works off of the monster's current health, an average CB hit during such a bossfight would be half of that, ie. ca 2k-3k.

    Thus we can calculate that one percent of CB is worth 20-30 points of damage per swing on the absolute extreme case. Considering that melee guys usually pack at least +400% enhanced damage from skills (heck, even Might mercenary alone is around +200% at Hell levels) it thus corresponds to "up to" 4-6 points worth of listed damage on the weapon itself.

    Against plain vanilla mobs you're looking at roughly the equivalent of 2-5 points of damage per swing, ie. "up to" 0.4 to 1 listed damage on the weapon.

    TL;DR version: Make sure you don't unnecessarily nerf your main weapon by blindly staring at the CB percentage of it.

    Case in point: My Grief wielding Zealot is such a mean killing machine, despite his grand total of zero percent CB. And I'm comparing him to the old Holy Freeze Zealot with almost 100% CB i had on the Ladder a couple of years ago, whom I then considered being 'extremely competent' at his job...

    Edit: Oh, please inform us if ATMA works with 1.13 patch. I dare not upgrade until then.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2010
  19. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    Sir Rechet, I COMPLETELY agree with your CB analysis. Generally speaking, the more base weapon damage you have, the less important CB becomes. In an extreme case with your Grief wielding zealot, you are almost surely dealing out several thousand points of damage per zeal cycle anyway, which makes CB much less important. My general rule for melee characters is make sure you have a source of CB somwhere on your equipment. (Which is why I say it's essential.) However, even if it's something like Gore Riders that gives just 20%, it's usually sufficient. Furthermore, you only really need CB when going up against high life enemies, like the Ancients or Act bosses. If you built your character correctly, most regular hell difficulty monsters can be disposed of with just a few whacks, even if you have no CB at all.

    Regarding ATMA, I see no reason why it would NOT work, which is why I'm giving it a go. ATMA has nothing to do with what drops, monsters spawns, etc., and since they are not adding new items to the game (well except the essences which can be transmuted for respecs), there's nothing that can drop that ATMA would not recognize.

    ---------- Added 16 hours, 50 minutes and 27 seconds later... ----------

    UPADTE: I downloaded 1.13 last night and played for a while.

    Most importantly, ATMA seems to work just fine with 1.13. I was able to open up my character, and put things into my stash as well as taking things out of my stash with no issues.

    I was playing in Act IV normal last night, and I have to admit, that while it was only a single sample so no real conclusions can be drawn, I found an uncharacteristically high number of runes between the City of the Damned waypoint, and the River of Flame waypoint (the only area I played last night). I found a Tir, Ral, Tal, and Thul. None of them high runes, but certainly better than you'd expect from that area. Of course, the hellforge paid me back by dropping an El. The runes are now colored orange when you highlight them on the ground so you cannot miss them. (The runes themselves are still gray - I mean that the actual words, like "Tir Rune" show up in orange.)

    Some other things in the read me file of the patch that may be of interest. (Note they slightly modified a few of the synergies for just about every class but generally only by 1% in most instances, so if you download the patch read through it, but here are the ones that jumped out at me as significant.)

    1. The necromancer's corpse explosion got beefed up (as if it wasn't already a very powerful skill). Previously, CE dealt 60%-100% of the slain monster's life in damage. It has been boosted to 80%-120%, meaning you have about even odds of killing the rest of the pack once the first one dies.

    2. The amazon had the damage of all of her fire arrow skills boosted by 25% across the board. Fire skills now do considerably more damage than the cold skills per point spent, although obviously, the cold skills still carry the added benefit of freezing enemies.

    3. The sorceress had her Hydra skill turned into a beast. Not only did they boost the damage of each fire bolt by 25%, they also doubled the rate of fire for the hydra (think machine gun), and dropped the cool down period of the spell to 1 second. It may actually be a hell-viable skill now. It is synergized by Fire Bolt, which is also a synergy for Fireball, so perhaps it would replace Meteor in the sorceress arsenal. (Although Meteor and Fireball synergize each other, so maybe not, as you'd have a less powerful Fireball in the end.)

    There were also two significant changes for monsters:

    1. Fire enchanted bosses now only do 2/3 of the damage they used to do on Nightmare difficulty, and 1/2 damage on hell difficulty, which should greatly reduce insta-deaths for killing these monsters. This applies to all monsters that blow up, so stygian dolls and their ilk are also less threatening.

    2. Oblivion Knights no longer have the ability to cast the curse Iron Maiden. Yes, you heard that right. They still have all of their other curses, but no IM. I'm probably going to do the River of Flame and kill Diablo tonight, so I should be able to confirm this by tomorrow morning. Obviously, that's a significant change for any melee class.

    Also the amount of gold that your stash can contain has been raised to 2.5 million, irrespective of what level your character is.

    My character is presently level 33 at the River of Flame waypoint. This is the first act where I did not gain significantly more levels than I did on players 1. I was level 31 when I killed Mephisto, so two is about what I normally gain. Of course, Act IV is a very small Act to begin with. It was even shorter than normal in that I found the stairs from the 1st area of Act IV to the 2nd area (where Izual hangs out) nearly instantly. I probably killed 10 monsters in the first area.

    Still, fighting Diablo with a level 33 (possibly level 34 if I level one more time) character makes him significantly more powerful than with a level 27ish character that I usually have). If nothing else, I have six more levels in Battle Orders for enhanced survivability for me and my merc.

    I forgot how useful the skill taunt was until I started playing a barbarian again. I really think it is one of the most underappreicated skills in the game. Gloams stop firing lightning bolts, Stygians Hags stop spitting out their little critters, Blood Lords stop doing their Fire Breath attack, all Archers of any type stop firing their arrows, and (eventually when I hit Act V) Frenzytaurs stop using their Frenzy attack. All for one skill point!

    I have yet to find a good one-handed weapon, so I'm still walking around with my big-ass, but painfully slow maul. I have two weapons that give +1 to all warcries on switch (which is appropriate, seeing as how I'm still on the junior circuit).
     
  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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    So they completely removed the OK as a dangerous opponent, seriously weakened dolls, and made CE even more powerful??!!

    How is this is a good thing? I get the increase in rune drops and higher rune drops, but the rest seems iffy to me. Not sure I am going to patch up to 1.13.
     
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