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Diablo Minimal and No Reload Thread (spoilers)



  • haidukhaiduk Member Posts: 16
    The atmosphere in D1 is particularly dark & morbid - something lacking in D2 & D3. Crucified corpses, dead children, dismembered body parts...

    The 'gothic' art/design style is just timeless. Levels 1-4 have the best graphics. And, as @jjstraka34 said, the brilliant music really helps complete it.

  • O_BruceO_Bruce Member Posts: 2,761
    Chisaki the Poison Nova necromancer, Maxima the Immolation Arrow amazon and few others...

    Honestly, probably playing hardcore is just not for me. No matter, I still did it with Bart and with no-grinding rule anyways. The goal is complete.

  • GodGod Member Posts: 1,150
    Been digging through the depths of this thread to find the exact date I started working on D2EE...
    and I stumbled upon this old statement of mine:
    God wrote: »
    From a marketing viewpoint, a much more efficient strategy would be to create a F2P or subscription-based sequel right away.
    Well they're working on an interquel rather than a sequel, alright...
    But, other than that, I knew exactly what Acti-Blizz was doing, 2 bloody damn years ahead of time

  • O_BruceO_Bruce Member Posts: 2,761
    I would change your statement to "financial viewpoint", because marketing-wise Immortal (I reckon you are referring to it) is a disaster.

  • lolienlolien Member, Moderator, Translator (NDA) Posts: 3,083
    Vanessa the trapsin

    Let me introduce Vanessa, the assassin who would be a bounty hunter in BG.

    Hardcore game without mods, i plan to go through it without grinding. Main goal is reaching guardianship however.

    Vanessa started off with the now well-tried route at the start, which means tagging Cold Plain WP, then going back to clear Den of Evil. One of the first loot was a rare Katar,
    with decent mods for our first weapon.
    V' reached level 6 in the Den.
    Fire Blast has this rare nice early AoE damage.
    Vanessa followed one of the pathway at Cold Plain, and it lead to the Stony Field, so she searched for the waypoint before going back to the other path leading to the Burial Grounds.

    First real opponent was Blood Raven, Fire Blast was very handy again against the undead with it's AoE damage and Burst of Speed let me catch BR in melee.
    Aliza joined to our cause.

    Nessy levelled to 12 just before confronting Treehead, choosing Cloak of Shadows for her first lvl12 skill. T put up good fight, but Nessy and Aliza were even deadlier.

    We freed Decard and put an end to Griswold's misery.

    Nessy fought toe to toe with Griswold, which i think is nice.

    Bought this nice Stealth base by Charsi,
    and found the Tower, where we left a portal to revisit after finding the WP.
    That process turned out to be unnecessary however, because of a misclick i exit the game, so some trekking followed.
    V' bought a superior Wirst blade, the WP was found succesfully and 2 jewel of Ire was putted in our new weapon.
    In the Tower Cellars a dark rogue pack let V. reach lvl15.

    At FT lvl 5 there was a tight packed dark archer horde. with heavy use of CoS it still needed one town visit.
    The Countess dropped an Ith.
    A mixed pack dropped me two small charm and a level.

    The Smith was a tough guy at this point, Nessy had to visit town two times to resurrect Aliza.

    Vanessa reached lvl18 right before entering inner cloister

    Double Tainted boss pack at lvl2 catacombs , V performed good. Finding the stairs easy at Catacombs is always a boon. Also a nice rare WB with IAS, ED and some other extras.

    Nessy reached lvl19 before entering Andy.

    Than V. shopped some antidotes by Akara, and dropped some potions to the floor for preparing a long fight.

    The fight with Andariel went smoother, than i expected.

  • O_BruceO_Bruce Member Posts: 2,761
    Me seeing an update on this topic:

    Though a question... are you using /players command? Because level 19 when reaching Andariel without grinding seems inprobable.

  • lolienlolien Member, Moderator, Translator (NDA) Posts: 3,083
    edited July 2019
    Yea, with Vanessa i go with player 8 setting exclusively till we enter Hell difficulty. So no rune-grinding at Countess at player 1, and the boss fights will be done on p8 too (at least until Hell).

    Vanessa the "gamblemaster"

    Andy dropped a Blood Crescent, a rare caster ring and some rare weapons.
    One was a spear with amp curse,
    i switched Aliza to a town guard at Luth Golein, the spear went for him.
    In the Dry Hills V. got three grand charm drop in a row, one with a badass +5 strenght and some fire res.
    A weird bug happened in the Halls of Dead, so had to exit and retrace to the hall.
    On the way a unique ring dropped.
    An almost perfect Nagel!

    Halls of the Dead went well with Cloak of Shadow and Fire Blast.
    Besides the Horadric Cube one Small Charm with life and another with +7 lightning resistance dropped.
    After finding the Horadric Cube Nessy went for Radament and the bonus skill point. It was easy as pie.
    Back to the desert, Maggots lair was searched and found.
    Coldworm went down easily, dropped a rare ring, Beetleburst not much after a rare jewel.
    Entered the lost city, but burst through it within seconds.
    Fangskin managed to kill the merc, so V returned to the town for res. Now that she was there she gambled some skull caps (in the hope of a Tarnhelm) and a plated belt for moar drinking.
    Fangskin dropped wirst blades, but V use his bombs almost exclusively.
    Fire Eye was hunted down, then the library awaited.
    First Vanessa followed the North path, which turned out to be a dead end.
    Next path was East, and it turned out to be a dead end along with the South one.
    West one must have been lead to the Summoner then, who took some more punch on P8,
    and shoots some solid cold cones. Still, Vanessa deal with him without much problem and the way to Tal Rasha's tomb is clear.

    Now nothing holds back Vanessa from the tomb.

    Duriel gave a good fight, still Vanessa's win was not a question.
    Onward to Kurast.

  • avensisavensis Member Posts: 7
    edited August 2019
    Very good video and very good fight.

    VPN Sai Mannat AnyDesk

    Post edited by avensis on
  • lolienlolien Member, Moderator, Translator (NDA) Posts: 3,083
    edited July 2019
    Edit: Thanks @avensis !

    Vanessa the cheater

    Vanessa maxed Fire Blast at lvl26, the next four levels will be enough to learn Death Sentry's prerequisits and learn Death Sentry at lvl30.
    At the Spider Forest the well named Doom Bang gave us the Jade Figurine,
    Vanessa Found the first waypoint in the first umpa-camp,
    and entered the Flayer Jungle after that immediately, leaving the Spider Cave for later and leaving out Death Marsh entirely.
    A third Ith rune dropped in the jungle, so Vanessa could make her Stealth armor, increasing her speed massively.
    In the Flayer jungle the first clearing was a dead end, but at second try Vanessa found the Giddbin.
    The umpa pack spawned right on V, fortunately on Normal this was not near lethal, and Cloak of Shadows lowered the risk at minimal too.
    Ormus gave a semi useful ring with +5 strenght, +1 dex and +30 poison resist.
    Then i thought V should shop a teleport staff, because her offhand eqipment was meh, and in the Flayer dungeon (esp on the 3. level) it will be useful.
    Second or third visit provided the perfect teleporting staff.
    No extra mods, best price.
    So back to the Flayer Dungeon entrance.
    The teleport staff was put in good use immediatly, Dr. Endugu's hall was just beside the stairs, and the staff gave a convenient way to that.
    Now to reach LK waypoint and a little backtrack for Khalim's eye (or whatever body part is in the Spider Cave).
    Reached level 27, so V. can use now her first sentry trap.
    Stormtree dropped a Ral,
    and some monsters in Lower Kurast Cleglaw's Pincers.
    Nice Gloves, but not useful for Vanessa.
    Visited the ruined temple for Lam Esen's book.
    There were some togh boss packs in the temple, and a Cathan ring.
    We tried to roll a Partizan with five diamond, but no luck this time. The savage halberd was an upgrade for the merc weapon nonetheless.
    Back in the Spider Forest we met with a tough Thorned Hulk pack, the boss has big hp pool with high regeneration, and gave us a fight like a real boss.
    The Spider Cavern was in the most hidden corner of the forest, but Vanessa had found it at long last.
    Szark gave us an ethereal Spire of Lazarus beside Khalim's eye and some tasty xp. Sadly, tha staff has no use for us.
    Kurast sewers next. We found the stairs to level 2 in the sewers pretty fast.
    Khalim's heart is ours, we can face the Council now.
    We found a Cathan mask in upper Kurast, and our current helm is so humble , that it's still an upgrade.
    Geleb Flamefinger was generous enough to drop an Ort rune to us.
    The way to Mephy is open now.
    Vanessa reached level 29. This time we store our skill point for the next level, Death sentry and shadow master both can be learned that way on level 30.

    At Meph level the Council members in the middle managed to give some fright for us, but then we reached Meph for good.
    Mephisto was deadly and on first try almost ended Vanessa's run prematuraly. Had to quit and retrace our way to Meph from Travincal, because we did not hit the last waypoint.
    We reached level 30 this way and approached Mephisto with more caution this time.

    Uncle Meph killed the Shadow Master frequently, but otherwise the battle went smooth.

  • lolienlolien Member, Moderator, Translator (NDA) Posts: 3,083
    Vanessa: El Diablo Suelto

    In hell everything went well, Death sentry did it's work now, the gates were on the regular locations, and Izual greeted us with a long but uneventful fight.
    Junks was plenty, so we stopped to cube away some gems.
    Rolled some Katar's for skiller mods without success, but then rolled diamonds for savage Partizan, and the last one was that.
    The Partizan will be good for the merc, until then Vanessa can use it for Blade fury (she will learn it next level).
    Two handed damage is halved by Blade Fury, but the Savage Partizan still offer a good damage at this point.
    The stairs from the city to the River was near, but Vanessa visited first the chatedral.
    By the river of Flame first the waypoint was discovered, than Hellforge. level 31 was reached, and with thus Blade Fury was learned and all the necessary skills opened.
    The Hellforge dropped an Amn, which is good.
    Vanessa made way to the seals and got rid all of the guardians. Neither Bosses proved to be too difficult.
    Blade Fury worked very good with the Partizan, it was especially good against fire resistant unique monsters like the wraiths by one of the seals.
    Before facing Diablo it occured to me that i should make a Strenght weapon, the crushing blow should come handy against Diablo. I made it in a Brandistock (shopped by Fara), the merc can use that in the future, it seems that it's better than Bloodthief, his current unique Brandistock.
    And now, facing Diablo! It's p8, Vanessa has limited lightning resistance, so it will be an interesting battle probably :I

    Huh, there was a fright there when Diablo caged Vanessa in that bone prison, fortunately town portal worked.
    Well that was some adrenalin rush!

    Onward to Harrogath!

  • lolienlolien Member, Moderator, Translator (NDA) Posts: 3,083
    edited August 2019
    Vanessa the Destroyer

    Bloody foothills was still rushed through till we found Shenk and Eldritch,
    but then we slowed down and made full map clears, to gather xp and make some better runes to drop.
    And an early Sol find it's way to our pocket.
    Frigid Highlands and Arreat Plateau went down slowly, along with Abaddon and Pit of Ancheron.
    Aside from the Sol nothing really interesting dropped, but we shopped a sturdy ancient armour with frost nova procs for the merc.
    Finally reached Tresh Socket, who gifted us with this lovely pair of plated shoes:
    We cleared all maps till we found Anya. Frozenstein and his band went down without problem.
    All in all, Vanessa and co. are strong enough now to enter Nightmare, they don't really found much opposition nowtimes.
    We procastrinate Anya's quest and go further to Bhaal to gather experience and level for the class specific item-reward.
    We are clearing all the maps till the Arreat Summit without surprises, somehow the Frozen Tundra waypoint eludes us, but nothing much else to report.
    The Ancients does not put much a fight, however Vanessa must consume some mana potion till they all give in to the fire bombs.
    Then we cleared the WSK level 1 and 2. We couldn't get a decent helm for our Ort and Sol runes, we keep getting one socketed or plain white/ ethereal ones.
    We check in at level 45 by Anya, when we found the level 2 waypoint.
    We got a lousy blade talon, but shopped a magekiller katar at once as a compensation.
    Clearing fully Nihlathak's domain was a tedious and ungrateful work.
    Halls of pain has an Amn rune and an interesting blue amulet, but not much else.
    Halls of Vaught provided us Nilly, who gave us good xp and another Amn.
    We found old Nilly in the first tunnel, but visited the others out of curiosity.
    Nothing interesting came from the other tunnels however.
    We went on to the Throne of Destruction. Built the Lore runeword in a full helm before facing the minions of Bhaal.
    And finally the Worldsone Chamber. And i managed to turn on the sound this time (after some delay).


    Vanessa visited the cows to finilize her work in normal mode.
    We decided not to visit back to Normal from Nightmare, so we used the socket, imbue and personalize quests.
    We had to gather the Horadric Malus, because we forgot that earlier.
    We give Carsi a circlet to imbue and she gives us a decent one with teleport charges, life leech and resistances.
    The merc can use it for good, and the teleport Vanessa can use instead of her current teleport staff. Some levelling is needed for it however, it has level 48 requirement, V. is with 1, merc is with 2 level short for it.
    We didn't found any decent gear for the socketing quest. First we try to shop a magekiller blade talon by Anya (preferably with some ias), but the red portal is closed, and with no luck we decide to gamble our money away.
    We go for blade talons (for the above mentioned affixes) and skull caps for Tarnhelm.
    We got a pair of nice rare magekiller talons with +20 IAS. We socket it and personalize it by Larzuk.

    Time to go Nightmare.

  • lolienlolien Member, Moderator, Translator (NDA) Posts: 3,083
    Vanessa the cleaner

    And Nightmare is here!
    We cleared slowly the Den of Evil and Blood Moor.
    Cold Plains was plain and cold, and we visited the crypt, what we have not done in ages.
    We almost left our favourite Grand Charm on Cold Plains, fortunately it doesn't diminish before we retrieve it.
    Blood Raven tries her best to stay alive (or a...undead), but we wear her down slowly. I let her recruit some zombie horde and kill our merc and Shadow for xp.
    If i would use Ladder runewords and if i would play with a paladin this shield would be a nice Spirit base.
    Bone Breaker, the long-not-visited chap.
    Almost got an upgrade for our Stealth armour.
    Looking at V-s character sheet, we shall work on our fire and cold resistance in the future. it's not a problem at this point however.
    Mausoleum was uneventful, it contained better monster density than Crypt however and Vanessa reached level 48. Now another long not visited place, The Cave.
    It was a somewhat exciting place actually, Coldcrow almost even managed to kill our merc.
    Stony Field,
    Underground Passage.
    We surfaced into the Dark Wood just right beside the Tree of Infuss,
    so we went back and rescued Cain.
    At Tristram the merc reached level 48, and could equip the nice Circlet instead of that ugly berserker helm at last. In the Spirit of full map clears we went back to purge the second level of the Underground passage.
    A gold wand after the green one.
    But the more useful item was the partizan laying besides it with two socket.
    Black Marsh,
    The Countess
    and The Hole.
    We found nothing interesting in the Forgotten Tower, but got a nice Shael in the Hole.
    A sweet grand charm dropped by the entrance of the Tamao Highlands,
    sadly, it has not much use for Vanessa.
    Found two decent jewel on the Tamao highland,
    the one with higher cold res. went into our personal talons.
    In the Pit an Amn dropped.
    With that, a perfect sapphire and an Ort we could upgrade our blade talons to greater talons.
    It's not a huge upgrade, but it has somewhat better attack speed with the traps.
    We cleared the Pit, then entered the Outer Cloister. In the barracks we met an extra fast black hunter boss pack, wich made me scare. They were really fast, killed our shadow in seconds and Vanessa could not escape from their boss.
    Fortunately it's Nightmare, and we could handle the problem without accident. The Smith came to us like a blue-skinned marvel boss, but had little success in opposing us.
    We reached the next level, death sentry is maxed, so we have to choose another skill. We choose Lightning sentry, we will need shear damage without grinding.
    Clearing Jail level 2 gives it's reward in a Hel rune.
    Level 3 is down, and we reached the Inner Cloister.
    Catacombs level 2 upped it with an Io and an ethereal Trellised armor.
    We got two socket and upped defense with the cube recipe, so we have a new Stealth armour now.
    Catacombs level 3 gave us a Sol and a Cathan amulet,
    then soon we were at Andariel's doorstep.
    Now, against P8 Andariel we are a little bit underpowered, but that's the fun, and fire damage should work against her. Vanessa buffed with a Skill shrine before fight for extra boost.

    And Andy went down with surprising ease, to tell the truth the double ghoul/misshapen boss pack at the entrance gave us more sweat. The way to Luth Golein is free! (Again.)

  • SorcererV1ct0rSorcererV1ct0r Member Posts: 1,671
    Guys, ANY mod who adds necromancer to Diablo 1 without additing cooldowns and with strong minions? I mean Belzebub was interesting. But the late stages, my skeletons was useless. They was with less than half of the damage, hit points, armor class and numbers of enemies. The end game becomes another sorcerer run thanks to that(actually i prefer the regular . And the hell 2, another mod. 5 seconds cooldown on basic spells? Sorry, i respect the hard work of the modder, but i rather play hellfire... At least on hellfire, guardian, nova, etc has no CD...

    I din't finished Belzebub mod because i don't know how to face diablo.



    Soon as i find a good necro mod, i will do a no reload / no gear(naked) run.

  • SorcererV1ct0rSorcererV1ct0r Member Posts: 1,671
    edited November 2019
    I decided to give D3 a chance. Created a seasonal HARDCORE character. I was thinking on playng D3 with a non RPG mindset and maybe the game will be good

    Well, my necromancer looks EXTREMELY androgynous. I was wondering if i really had picked a male necro... And the game is too easy. I literally got a decent weapon and was two hit shooting "rare" enemies. Unlocked corpse explosion. Was sad that it was scaling with my weapon, not with enemy hp who fits more the manipulator of master and death, using the lifeforce of enemies against thenselves. And no progression on range, always hit a specific area.... When i got skeleton mage, i was thinking "why i can't use it and the bone spear?" I an hating more this loadout system

    Literally when i found a little gear, my hit points moved from 150 to 600. That ludicrous number inflation... For almost no gear improvement and few levels... At lv 11, i finally got a decent skill that siphons blood. i found a amazing big and heavy mace, do you know what it means? That i can siphon much more blood from enemy skeletons My skeletons also will become much stronger.

    Leveled a little more, unlocked golem BUT or i have a golem or skeletons since i can only have one skill on the "reanimation" bar... Again this FPS like loadout...

    Then faced the Skeleton King. Faced him on 1x1 but thanks to my heavy club, he was no match for me. I din't even needed to do anything except let my skeletons attack him while i drain all skeleton's blood. Decided to try change the difficulty. I now that the game will just inflate damage/health and will not trow more uniques, let enemies have more spells, give immunities, so skeletons can't be poisoned to death, or anything interesting. But at least will be less boring.

    Now the game is on EXPERT. Was a little more fun, but even by standing in a ultra telegraphed explosion, i only lose half of my health.,,, After leveling i got corpse lance. A cool skill. IMO better than corpse explosion but again. Why i can't have one for single target and another for multi target? I hate this loadout system. On D2 i can have dozens of skills...


    I an thinking D3 on expert extremely more easy than any other isometric ARPG that i played. I an literally playing while watch video lessons, even writing annotations with a hand and editing this post and my health NEVER reached closer to 50%(except when i tried) And the combat? always spam the same rotation, over and over... Generate essence -> Skeleton mages -> get corpses so corpse lance, next encounter, generate essence -> skeleton mage -> corpse lance (...) Looks like i an playing an MMO... The unique encounter who broke this monotony was VS jailers.

    IS not that necromancy is bad. I mean, it is mostly thanks to the D3 mechanics, we can't have a summon like Iron golem, nor curses like attract. but they did a good job considering D3 limitations. Blood skills and frost golem(loved both) but IMO they should drain health based on a percentage of enemy health, like Bone Spirit on D1 but obvious weaker and you should't be able to use this skills on creatures without blood.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 399
    I've been away for the forum for a few weeks, between an internet outage (still ongoing) at my place and having the main laptop in the shop for a swollen battery. So, then, I dusted off the 15-year old machine and got out D2. Inspired by this thread, I decided to give hardcore a go. I had played a bit of it before, but not much; in the "Hardcore" project of my muling program, the highest level character was just barely a Destroyer, and possibly dead.

    So, then, a new necromancer. With only a little hand-me-down equipment, Prebek gets started. He's a classic skeleton build, using players 8 for basically everything and doing single-pass full clears. Ladder-only equipment is enabled, and the muling program ensures all gear is recoverable after death.

    Normal and Nightmare were a breeze; Duriel is scary when underleveled, but Decrepify really takes the fight out of him.
    The most notable items found so far: Skin of the Vipermagi in Nightmare's Underground Passage, Pul from the Nightmare Hellforge, Mal in the Glacial Trail... now we're thinking that the next character will use an Oath. Then some Baal runs, with side trips to Nihlathak's temple to gather the army... Ist from the temple on one run, Vex from the temple on another. Now he's looking for a four-socket flail and a Ko rune- a much better solution to the Hell resistance penalty than switching to a plain 3-diamond shield.
    Prebek has yet to enter Hell, but I have a good feeling about him when he does.

    More to come, preferably when I can do this inside instead of walking over to the library.

  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 19,811
    Good luck! :) Looking forward to hearing more!

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 399
    A brief update: Prebek finally got that Heart of the Oak made. Clearing Hell Act 1 earned a pair of Ko runes, and then he revisited Nightmare for that flail. Clear everything before the monastery, find two three-socket flails... but also two white flails from early in the act. Bring out the cube, apply recipe - four sockets on the first try.

    Then, of course, he personalized it. Any item that takes that much effort to acquire deserves that much. He resumes his trek through Hell with the new flail, bringing him to a total of +10 summoning skills and +5 others.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 399
    I must regretfully inform you all that my HC necromancer Prebek has died. Cause of death? Player error and hubris. Don't run out ahead of your summons when in an area of Hell act 5 overrun with archers. He died with a town portal open and just waiting for him to step in - but he still died. The full story follows:

    Prebek is not quite my first hardcore character, but he's close; no previous character (since I've been tracking) has gone beyond the bare minimum to reach Destroyer. Still, there's enough in the hardcore stash (I keep the items segregated) to get him some nice starter gear. A wand and preserved head with +3 to Raise Skeleton and +5 to Skeleton Mastery between them go a long way toward making the early levels easy. Then in the second session (starting at level 17), he gets more gear including an Eye of Etlich.

    The build plan is fairly simple: base Raise Skeleton level is half of character level (rounded up) until I'm done picking up single points in everything I want. He's playing at players 8 and fully clearing areas, so he stays well ahead of the level curve. Most things get Amplify Damage, bosses (starting with Duriel) get Decrepify. Even most act bosses don't put up much of a fight when under Decrepify, with a Clay Golem whacking at them. The exception to that? Normal difficulty Diablo. He's level 40 (to level 30 for most of the Chaos Sanctuary monsters) so the skeletons have a hard time hitting him, and he has those area of effect elemental attacks that shred the army. Still, he drops a worthy reward: Goldwrap. Prebek puts that on immediately and never takes it off.

    Raise Skeleton is maxed at level 36, in act 5. The next priority, of course, is Skeleton Mastery. Baal goes down at level 48; he got off a few annoying cold waves early, but did very little once he was decrepified. Then it's a few Baal runs (still at players 8) along with the cow level. Prebek only picks up two pieces worth using: a rare +2 summoning wand from Pindleskin and a rare +2 summoning circlet from Baal, both in the first run. The former will soon be obsolete, but the latter will last. He enters Nightmare at level 52.

    Once in Nightmare, the next equipment upgrade comes quickly. A four-socket crystal sword drops from a chest in the Blood Moor, and Prebek has a Spirit runeword. He will never use a wand again. Late in the act, Prebek reaches level 54 and maxes out Skeleton Mastery. The discretionary part of the build is next, and I'll go with a mix of Skeleton Mages and Corpse Explosion, weighted toward the former.

    For Nightmare act 2, a mercenary upgrade is the big deal. Replace the old Prayer with Might, and give him an Insight partizan. It's a dramatic upgrade in killing speed. For act 3, the most notable gain is an item he gambles at the end - a Golemlord's Amulet of the Centaur (+3 summoning, scaling life). Finally, something worth taking off the Eye of Etlich. Act 4 adds a Pul rune from the Hellforge, and Prebek reaches level 67.

    Nightmare act 5 brings new challenges; even the Bloody Foothills require concentration, with piercing slingers and glare from the rare November sunshine. Still, it all goes smoothly enough. Nihlathak was dealt with by exploding all the corpses before he could get to them. The best item found? A Mal rune, in the Glacial Trail. Now I'm thinking Oath...
    This act also marks a milestone, with an Arctic Mitts found in the Icy Cellar completing my first HC set.

    And then, a few loose ends before moving on to Hell. The cow level forces Prebek to retreat the first time; the portal spawns in a corner, and he can't keep the wall of beef from advancing. Returning a second time with some pre-summoned revives to tank, he takes them out and clears the area (still p8). After that, it's more Baal runs, with Pindleskin to gather the army. I drew a short route in Worldstone 2, and the absolute minimum in Worldstone 3. After an Ist rune from Pindleskin's friends in the first run, the jackpot comes in run 7: Vex from Pindleskin's friends, and Tal Rasha's Horadric Crest from Baal. Those boss runs were starting to feel downright routine; I could actually do crosswords while fighting Baal, since Decrepify neutered him so well. The Vex gets me thinking, and I begin the quest for the remaining pieces to Heart of the Oak: a Ko rune and a four-socket flail. So then, the Countess and her tower... no luck. I look some things up... the special rune drop only goes up to Io in nightmare. I wasn't going to find a Ko rune that way anyway. I do one last run of the act bosses and their dungeons, then move on. Prebek enters Hell at level 78.

    Once in Hell, the Ko runes show up. One in the Mausoleum, another in the Jail level 2. Also, he maxes out Skeleton Mages in the Den of Evil and turns his focus entirely to Corpse Explosion. He still needs that four-socket flail, though - so he goes back to Nightmare for a bit. Clearing out act 1 before the monastery - two three-socket flails, two white flails with level below 40. I try the socket-adding cube recipe, and finally succeed. Prebek has his Heart of the Oak, and immediately personalizes it.

    With the new flail, Prebek retires the 3-diamond shield and goes back to his +1 skill, 13 resist rare. He's at a full +10 summoning now, for 12 skeletons and 12 mages. Also, he picked up an ethereal 4-socket Partizan, so the mercenary's Insight gets an upgrade. The Oak Sage dies very quickly if anything attacks it - but with so many other minions, it still lasts pretty well in most areas. At about 1300 gold per charge, it's well worth keeping out.
    There are a couple places in Act 2 where I lower the players count to 1 - the Maggot Lair and the Arcane Sanctuary. The narrow paths just make it too hard to bring the army to bear, and that means exceedingly slow progress if I don't do that.

    And now, on to act 3. Good things come quickly, with the Jade Figurine and Spellsteel dropping practically on top of each other even before I'd finished gathering my army. Level 87 is reached in the Arachnid Lair, and Prebek maxes out Corpse Explosion. Without equipment, its radius is now the whole nine yards. With my current gear, it goes to eleven.
    I soon come on a real challenge - a double boss pack of Sszark the Burning (Extra Strong, Cursed, Cold Enchanted, Holy Freeze) and a random Fiend (Extra Fast, Fanaticism, Stone Skin). They take out half the army and the mercenary before I can retreat to town and regroup. On returning, it's Decrepify all the way, plus letting a narrow space work in my favor. That does the trick.
    The Great Marsh brings Gloams, which are rather hard on the Oak Sages. Still, they're not much danger to Prebek - he's got solid lightning resistance. Later, in the Flayer Dungeon ... a four-socket flail finally drops. Not that I need it now.
    Prebek finds another powerful rune in Gul - but it's not good for much at the moment.
    The sewers come with an annoying combination of Horadrim Ancients (with Horrors), mummies, and undead dolls. Poison-immune enemies that can be resurrected - oh, joy. They're not terribly dangerous, but they can take a while to kill if the army spreads out too much. Icehawk Riftwing manages to single-handedly kill most of Prebek's army, but he doesn't deal a single point of damage to the man himself. Cold Enchanted/Lightning Enchanted/Conviction is a deadly combination.
    The challenge of Travincal is all that healing from the priests. The summoner can find it difficult to deal damage fast enough to take down enemies with healer backup, especially at higher player counts with multiple priests. Then again, one particularly troublesome battle with about three priests catches us a green Spired Helm. It's always nice to be properly rewarded. The council themselves are better at dealing damage, but less resilient without so much healing; less trouble, on the whole. On we go, into the enormous Durance. Clearly, Mephisto's power has run rampant twisting the space here.
    Level 88 comes at the end of level 1 of the Durance, and brings a dilemma - what do we invest in now? I'll pick up the curses I neglected first. Dim Vision gets a point. I manage to explore all of Durance 2 before finding the exit; I would have cleared everything anyway, but as it turns out that was just natural with my choice of paths. Mephisto himself is harmless as usual once slowed to a crawl by Clay Golem and Decrepify.
    The act ends with a gambling spree, for a little under seven million gold. We have a chance at +2 skill amulets, and roll two - a Priest's Amulet (+2 paladin) and a Hierophant's Amulet (+2 druid). Neither has a suffix. On a more productive note, Prebek finally found a second rare ring he deemed worth wearing over a Nagelring.

    For the act 4 session, I start with a visit to act 1 to gather the army and hit a couple level 85 areas. Naturally, I lose nearly half the army as soon as I enter the Outer Steppes; they get hung up on the stairs behind a mage shooting at enemies, I run ahead, and they vanish before I can summon them to me with a town portal.
    In hell, I finally start using revives regularly. I prefer aggressive melee attackers such as Doom Knights, Pit Lords, and Urdars. The Izual quest reward is used to pick up Confuse and Attract. Prebek now has points in the whole curse tree.
    Along the way, I recall that Prebek has some imbues stored up, and decide to use on on an item that I can't gamble - a shrunken head. Result... no +skills, so not worth keeping. The Hellforge grants an Um, one of the most useful runes and one I didn't have yet in Hardcore.
    The River of Flame also brings a near-death scare, as I set up a repositioning portal without room to retreat. Prebek drank a fat purple in panic, before retreating far enough that some of his army teleported over to help.
    There's a rare opportunity in the Chaos Sanctuary - a Fire Shrine nearly in sight of where Diablo is summoned. I could take off half his hit points... if I pulled him over there rather than playing it safe, and at the cost of weakening my whole army. Nah.
    Diablo himself is easy; once the fight stabilizes, it's a slow mixture of melee attacks that don't do enough damage to matter, fire rings that sting a little, and lightning hoses that miss completely. Decrepify is really an amazing spell. Prebek didn't level up during this short act; he's still about 45 million XP away from level 89. The act-end gambling spree (about 3 million) doesn't net any +2 skill amulets, but it does pick up two set items and a really nice +1 necro/15 all resist amulet. Prebek would rather keep his +3 summoning amulet, but that's still a really nice piece.

    And now, on to the greatest challenge: act 5. The very first item I find is a good one - a Pul rune. That opens up runewords such as Oath again. A combination of an Oath weapon and a Duress armor looks good for a melee character, doesn't it? Act 5 starts smoother than most others, since there are free corpses in the Bloody Foothills. When you've got a few skeletons up before even entering combat, things get a lot easier for the necromancer. Then it slows down at the barricades, where the minions take the time to batter down every barricade and tower even when there are enemies actively shooting at them.
    It gets so boring that I start doing crosswords... and then it happens. Just as I move around a bend, with my army stuck behind, I cast a town portal to reposition the army, and the Burning Dead archers get me. Dead, at level 88.
    Enemy draws: Bloody Foothills - Foul Crows and Demon Imps. Frigid Highlands - Burning Dead Archers, Lashers with Slayers, and Vile Archers.

    I've been tracking all the items found. In the course of this run, Prebek found 87 set and unique items that I hadn't found in Hardcore before. The next character will be far better prepared ... whenever I get around to playing them. I've been playing a mod (Median) instead.

  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 19,811
    Yehh, level 88. Hexxat was level 82 (only) when she beat Baal. Really sorry to see it end this way! But - you'll get there! A really nice run, @jmerry!

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