Meleemancers guide v 1.01 - ish ****************** -3. Disclaimer ****************** This is a warning that GOOD MELEEMANCERS ARE DIFFICFULT TO MAKE, i.e. GOOD MELEEMANCERS ARE VERY HARD TO MAKE. Harder than most commandoes (the really hard ones that can save battle ships underseige, for example). You can make one mistake and take ages getting them back on track, that said, One thing can easily change a Meleemancer for the better. This could be anything from a few stat points a few extra levels or better equipment. Of course this can happen to any character, but it seems to affect meleemancers to an even greater extent. Next point is that: GOOD MELEEMANCERS ARE BRILLIANT, i.e. GOOD MELEEMANCERS ARE PRETTY COOL. They can help others excel especially when entering new areas or acts. They can also offer some more unconventional assistance from the spells they use. The amount of times i've had heard good responces to the support i've offered to others is part of what compelled me to write this faq/guide. ****************** -2. Contents - Just so you know which bit to skip to ****************** 0. Introduction, why does this text exist -2. Contents, for navigation and what. ----- The bit about how to play ------ 1. Curses, what to use and why 2. Poison and Bone spells, the other stuff, you know the ones 3. Summonings, the bits you might use. 4. Tactics, what to do 4.1 Distraction, the first bit 4.2 Killing, the important bit 4.3 Running away, this bit doesn't exist because you basically back off. 5. Others, what do others say? ----- The other bits that are there for whatever reason ------ 6. Gear, what equipment you can get that might be nice. 7. What's been done? What's been done by others and myself. -1. Stuff, just bits and pieces about legal stuff and contact stuff -Pi. Thanks and credits. ****************** 0. Introduction ****************** This Faq is written primarily for the Diablo 2 expansion: Lord of Destruction, hencforth refered to as LOD. Whilst some of this guide will apply to players of Normal Diablo 2 (D2), there are significant changes made in LOD that make some of the advice contained within unsuitable. This guide was written by someone who has many names, but on the Gamefaqs internet site is commonly known as Snuffkin. You should only be able to find this guide on the Gamefaqs website, or my HD. If you find this file on my HD then you probably shouldn't be, so go to www.gamefaqs.com and get it from there. This guide is of course protected by International Copyright (c) of Snuffkin (Me) E-mail address to come later. This guide is genrally based at Necromancers that don't rely overly on summoned monsters. That is to say they don't summon 20 or so monsters to fight for them. They mainly use them for protection, distraction or other tactics. They usually aren't as physically weak as most normal Necro's or as mana intensed. In a way they are more like a druid but without shapeshifting or a lame selection of elemental skills. Infact, Druids look alot like Necro's, except they're ginger and more furry, oh and less evil. Most people would then go on to ask, why not just play as a Druid? Well the obvious answer to that is "Because we want to" or "They're gingers and I don't like gingers" or "They're not as evil or sinister". However a better answer would be a list of skills and variences that exist, such as the curses, the spells such as Corpse Explosion and... because we want too. Actually the point of curses is quite significant because it can help others in a number of ways, more of that later, but if everyone that wanted to be a more fighting based Necro selected a druid they'd be no one to cast Amplify Damage or Lower resist or Iron Maiden, etc. It's the same for making any character that is different from the norm, others get extra benifits. For example, someone may be slated for making a Paladin using defiance, until the point when another Paladin comes in using Fanaticism (like so many others) and you get the benifits of both. Note that a number of Paladins using Maxed Prayer is quite useful, especially when backed up by Act 2 Mercs using the prayer aura. *Bit you may want to read* Anyway, Meleemancers are quite competent when made correctly, and absolutely rubish when they aren't. This guide is here to advise you on what works and what doesn't. The variety you can get out of a Meleemancer is great, one of the many reasons Necro's are among my favourite chars. *Semi important bit* One of the things you should remember when you play as any kind of Necro is that you need to stop people from killing you. Okay so that's a good idea with any class, but with a Necro, you need to find a way to distract attention away from you. If the attention of monsters is aimed at you, you probably won't survive that long, unless you're in somewhere easy. There are many ways to do this with a Necro, but we're looking for ways that don't involve summoning your own army and have you stand around watching. I would have to say that distraction is the key to any Meleemancer who wants to be succesful, or at least have an easy life. What will follow are a number of tactics you can use, looking at curses and what they can be used for, looking at ways to distract monsters, looking at poison and bone spells and seeing how they can be used to your advantage. Also looking at summonings, how you can use them and what to look out for. What will not follow is a list of skill statistics, listing how they progress each level. If I were to include them in this guide I would just have to copy them from another source, to which there is no point and you may as well get that information yourself if you want exact figures. I will recomend how much to shove in each skill however, note that 6 is enough for most curses. Also note that this is not strictly speaking a Faq, although it does cover some frequently asked questions, it is more of a guide, here to offer advice and GUIDEance not tell you the radius of Dim Vision at skill level 24. However if there is enough request then these may be included. ****************************** 1.CURSES ****************************** All the useful curses, and what they can be used for. 1. Amplify Damage Of course used to increase the phsyical damage done to a cursed monster. Very useful, especially when you want to do more damage to things when you hit them. Recomended that you put around 6 or 7 points in this as it will give you good enough range. 6 or 7 points is about right for any curse your'e going to use, although in some cases you may wish to put more in. A good curse, can be stacked with other curses too. May not want to invest to much in it though. 2. Weaken Only good against bosses or things that just hit too hard and your'e not having much luck distracting them. I'd put 1 point in it, and save it for those rare moments. Not one you'd commonly use unless you were in a bad area. 3. Dim Vision The first of the direct distraction curses (DDC). Useually works, but some monsters will still continue to attack you. Again i'd say around 6 or 7 points but it's up to you if you want to use it. 4. Terror This spell saves lives. A DDC curse, but mainly used to save your life. Stacks with other curses too, best used with attract or confusion. Invest well or don't invest at all, just remember it's great for easing preasure given by hoardes. 5. Confuse Great when stacked with Iron Maiden or Amplify/Lower Resist. Perhaps less reliable than Dim Vision, generally unreliable. Great for Unique monsters, watching the minions all turn arround and beat on the Unique is a great laugh, especially when you poison a bunch of them. A reasonable DDC but cast another curse first, like Amplify, so you can kill any that come to you anyway. 6. Iron Maiden This skill works with Blood Golem, dispite what they say, this skill still works with Blood Golem. You can effectively deal with any melee attack that isn't Physical Immune with this spell and blood golem. One of the curses that you may want to ram up to 20, but you can still settle for less. Only works on melee fighters, so do something else to the rest, like Dim Vision. 7. Life Tap This spell saves lives, but only if you can hit the enemy. Other fighters in your company will love this curse. May even be the only thing keeping them alive, and rather sadly they may not even know it. Needs again around 6-7 points to be worthwhile as the radius for it is quite small. Only works with physical attacks, not spells or anything. 8. Attract Cannot be used on Unique monsters. Best cast on something with lots of health and combined with Iron maiden or Amplify/Lower Resist. More reliable than confuse and more costly. Don't need to many points in this to make it effective, but you may want to shove some in just to get the duration up. 9. Decreprify A great curse, but it costs loads to cast and the radius and duration aren't too good. Probably have to max this one if you intend to use it instead of Amplify. Slows considerably and Lowers Physical resist (but less than Amplify), apparently also weakens but again to a less extent than Weaken does. Mainly used by Necro's that get involved in dueling or PKing. A good curse but the mana cost and ammount of skill points you need can make it to expensive. 10. Lower Resist Great for Physical Immunes. Sorcs love it, as does anyone who doesn't use Physical attacks primarily. A good one to max, but you may not be able to afford to, so just stick around 6 or 7 maybe more. Useful when combined with poison too, but you may find a use for this one to rare to put points on. If you use Corpse Explosion however, I would recomend this over amplify. As recently pointed out, Lower Resist also also amplifies the damage done by Elemental effects on weapons and of course, Berserkers, and lets face it, Berserkers are great. ****************************** 2. Poison & Bone Spells ****************************** A mixed bunch, but still some useful stuff. 1. Teeth Sounds like Keith, which reminds me of Psychic Force, which directs me to Setsuna, which then goes to his Dark Knives move, which is more useful than this skill. Fairly useless after a point. If you start using this from the beggining and shove everything you can into it till you max it, it'll last you till about act 3 normal. After it's a bit weak but still viable. If it did beter damage it'd probably be his best offensive spell. Sadly it isn't. 2. Bone Armour Some people love this skill, I think it's a waste of mana. Only absorbs phsyical attacks but only 120 points worth, which is fairly useless later on. Better for summoners that just sit back, or anyone that doesn't get too close. Too costly early on though, unless you have loads of mana spare. For me this is a waste of mana for a meleemancer. 3. Poison Dagger Right now, all Poison is a dodgy investment. Poison damage seems to keep changing with each patch. It does work as a skill, the AR bonus is great for a melee mancer. Daggers are good weapons if you can find one, and a zod rune to deal with low durability. If you can get the right equipment then this is a good support skill, wouldn't rely on it to do everything though. Like all poisons, works best when the target won't be doing anything to attack you, or when you can damage them through other means. 4. Corpse Explosion Great but costly. Does half Fire damage and half Physical, great for killing PI monsters, which is why I prefer to use it with Lower Resist, as Fire Immunes can be killed easily with other means. All you need is one corpse and you can kill loads others. Points only increase the range, so if it's your main offensive then max it, otherwise just put enough to make the mana cost manageable. Note that in recent patches this has had the range and therefore effectiveness changed so be wary as it's best on closely bunched groups. 5. Bone Wall Bone Prison is better, even if this does have more health. If you want one earlier though, this is a better choice, but really it's better to use Prison. 6. Bone Spear If Teeth fired 20 odd of these, then it would be a great spell, but then you could say the same thing for teeth firing Frozen Orb. Good but some still prefer Bone Spirit dispite Spears greater distructive power. Upto you as they have similar Mana cost, but Bone Spirit has safer boss killing potential. 7. Poison Explosion Only ever costs 8 mana, which is great for a meleemancer. Doesn't rely on enemy health for damage either, which is good and bad depending on what your'e fighting. Again best used with lower resist. Only does one type of damage which works against it. Does increase in radius as you put more skill points in it so max it if your'e gonna use it, but don't if your'e not. 8. Bone Prison If you're gonna use Bone tactics then this is the one to use. Monsters act odder to this than bone wall so it's just best to use this, especially as your'e gonna cast it less with this, probably. As with Bone Wall, this skill increases in health with the skill level. 9. Poison Nova Constant Cost as with Poison Explosion. Better damage and it spreads out like the other Nova spells. A good offensive spell, one to max if you use it. Will only be good for as long as poison is. Note that although it has fairly low damage, it's still best used as most poison should be, whilst the enemy is distracted. 10. Bone Spirit The weapon of choice for many a Necro. Useful fall back spell. Great for taking out bosses if you got the mana. Some prefer Spear as this skill doesn't go through people, so only one target. Great though for picking of other resurecters though. Best to max if you're gonna use it, but if you can't then it might not be worth even starting in this. ****************************** 3. Summoning ****************************** You might want one of these, or two, maybe three or four, maybe none if your'e brave, or good. 1. Skeletons Possibly worse than teeth. Useless without heavy Investment in Skeleton Mastery. Pretty much useless for a Meleemancer too, might want 1 at the begining, unless you really need 1 gold from the starting wand (probably a better investment). 2. Skeleton Mastery Essential for Mages and Skeletons. Not so important for Revived though. Don't need to max if you're gonna use Revived, Mages need it though. Not overly useful for most Meleemancers. 3. Clay Golem The first Golem you get, unfortunately low on health, damage, defence and anything really. Unfortunately Golem Mastery increases health based apon the initial value of 100, so unless this is fixed, not much point in using these. 4. Skeleton Mages Better than skeletons, but still require a large investment in Mastery to do damage, and they don't do too much. Best again with Lower Resist but not really that effective later on. If you plan to use revived then you'll need one point, which is really enough. 5. Golem Mastery Most golem users just max this so they can use any golem they want. Most golems aren't used for the Damage, just the Health. The increase in speed is useful too. 6. Blood Golem Great with Iron Maiden, with that combo you can take on pretty much any Melee fighters. My personal fav, but you should be wary of taking damage that it takes, possibly even double damage as you can take damage from an attack and added damage transfered to you from the golem. Risky but sometimes definately worth it. 7. Iron Golem Natural thorns plus some great attack potential makes this a recent popular choice. Works with Life Tap and if you didn't lose the item you used to make it then I would like it better. Upto you if you think you can afford to use it. Good though, very good, If you can find the right item constantly. 8. Fire Golem Most Health, Good Damage, Fire Aura and Explosion on Death. VERY costly, if you max this you probably won't have enough mana to summon it for ages. Good for Physical Immunes but so is Corpse Explosion and Bone Spirit. Use at own Mana risk. 9. Summon Resist I almost thought I'd forgot something, then I remembered this skill. Might want to put something in it, just in case it makes a difference. Don't Max it though. 10. Revived Some love this skill, I always mantain that it is only as good as the Monsters you kill. Costly, but if you don't summon too many, often worth it. Alot better than Anything the Skeletons can do. A good investment but don't Max it, or Mastery. ****************************** 4. Tactics ****************************** In my own experience, A succesful Meleemancer does 3 things:- 1. Distract the Enemy 2. Kill The Enemy 3. Back off effectively You may not need to Distract the enemy if your'e a very powerful Fighter with optimum gear, but that's not most people. You can make a succesful Meleemancer without distracting the enemy, but this leads to a very hard time and you'd find it easier if you did. So first I'm going to look at the ways you can distract the enemy. ****************************** 4.1 Distraction ****************************** Dim Vision, Confuse, Attract and to an extent Terror are all Direct Distraction Curses, or DDCs. That is to say, if you use these curses on monsters they will probably not attack you. I say probably not because there is always the chance that the curse will not work or that various conditions will lead to the enemy still attacking you. If they do suceed to curse a monster, and they usually do, then they will ease up the preasure on you. Bone Wall and Bone Prison will usually result in everything trying to destroy these barriers, or in the case of Bone Prison, sometimes even making them stop doing everything no matter what you do. They will of course get in your way, but that can be avoided using Radius attacks and Bone Spirit, or Bone Spear if you don't mind doing minor damage to them. Bone Prison really does mess with monster AI as it can lead to them completely ignoring you. Otherwise they'll probably just hit the wall till it breaks, unfortunately your minions will be doing the same thing, which is bad. Like the 3 main DDCs Bone Wall and Bone Prison work by giving monsters a more interesting target. Any summoned creatures will be targeted by other monsters, They are however more useful in the later part of Falling Back. Of course anything that means they aren't directing their attacks at you is what you're looking for. So Summoned minions do this, but only if you don't get personal with the killing. Which kind of defeats the purpose of being a Meleemancer. Of course they can help you in the second part, of actually killing monsters. ****************************** 4.2 Killing ****************************** 3 ways to kill things, you do it, they do it, or others do it. I'm going to be looking at the first two as the last implies not actually doing anything and just watching. If you intend to do it, then you can either Hit them with a powerful weapon till they all die, or you can kill one and use corpse explosion, or poison explosion if your'e feeling sadistic or mana conservant. If you use a DDC, then killing one then using an explosion to kill the rest is easy, but remember that they can stack with other curses, so... 1. Amplify/Lower Resist/Iron Maiden 2. Confuse/Attract/Dim Vision 3. Kill one 4. Explode one and kill/badly damage the rest. If you poison them, or maybe even poison them then explode them, then feel free to pick off any Distracted straglres, unaware of how close to death they really are. You can of course skip poison and bone spells altogether and go for them killing themsleves, with the use of Iron Maiden or Amplify/Lowerresist. Life Tap is not a good curse to use with Confuse or Attract. Simply... 1. Iron Maiden or Amplify/Lower Resist 2. Confuse/Attract 3. Watch and laugh, or concentrate on another potential threat. Iron Maiden works best in this senario, of course you can kill one and explode them whilst they continue to kill each other. Using Attract/Confuse and IM works great on Unique monsters and if you corpse explode or revive from the remains then you'll do well too. This tactic doesn't work against Physical Immunes, unless they're using attacks that don't do Physical Damage, but I don't think any such circumstance arrises. Bone Prison or Bone Wall to a lesser extent can work wonders for your'e killing abilities. I once took a level 3x necro into act 4 hell and killed Izual easily, okay so I had a little help getting to act 4 hell but I could still hold my own in most areas. Still, taking advantage of enemy AI when encountering Bone Prison is great. Simply use Iron Maiden or other attacks to kill some off. Then Use Explosion to kill of the rest or weaken them. Fairly simple tactic, but you'll need to cast the Bone spells many times before you succesfully contain everything, this can lead to passageways being blocked, often more annoying then hoardes of Skeletons. Whatever you do, you'll probably want to give yourself respectable fighting ability, not that you match a Paladin or Barbarian, but so that if the need arrises, you can hit things with a weapon. Use whatever you want, just remember that you gotta have some way of dealing with a Physical Immune Monster. High elemental damage weapon is good. Don't go looking for stuff that helps entirely for hitting things, or vice versa, don't get equipment that helps you solely cast spells better. Your'e a meleemancer, you can do both effectively. A bow can be a good option as then all you need to is focus mainly on Dexterity to get damage, only getting strength to a reasonable level so that you can equip good enough armour. 1 handed or two handed, it doesn't matter, as long as you can survive hits, and when you hit them you do damage you'll do alright. My first major Meleemancer sucked until I got him a powerful two handed weapon. Then later on I got him a powerful One handed and a shield to aid in his defence. I'll probably transfer to a really powerful 2 handed sometime later, and then a really powerful 1 handed later still. Again, whatever works for you, and don't be afraid to try something different, you are being a meleemancer after all. ****************************** 5. Others ****************************** Reinhart (Hope i spelt that right, my Internet and gaming P.C's are seperate), told me a bit about what he does with his necro (nothing dodgy mind). Currently using Lower Resist, followed by Poison Nova and using Grim's Burning Dead. He's doing alright with that. However his main point is the use of Barana's Star (unique elite devils star). Which asside from adding 15 to str and dex is pretty nasty on the fire damage front. He also aims to use Hormunculus (unique Hierophant trophy). Although i'd use Tiamats rebuke. It does put elemental damage to good use. So some points on using the elemental damage on weapons. 1. It's not effected by your stats which leaves you to focus on other things when you've got the req for the weapons. 2. Lower resist of course helps with many other spells in the P&B group, so nothing wrong with using it then. 3. Be sure to have a mix of elements at your disposal, as many a sorc cried when immunities where introduced. I'll be looking into "Elemental damage on weapons and their relation to Necromancy" in more detail and give a list of Items that are good for a meleemancer. Zelphi Says: "I've found the runeword malice to be a great weapon when used by characters that aren't normally melee specific. Although it is purely a phsyical damage weapon, it can of course be used in combination with shields like Tiamat's rebuke and skills like Enchant and Poison Dagger. Seeing as this is a faq on Necromancers, I think I should point out that a malice dagger would work well with Poison Dagger." Snuffkin Says: "Indeed" So Runewords and appropriate weapons to come. Although no ones actually dissed what i've said, which is probably a good thing. N.B. To those that know who Zelphi is - Yes it is odd to be talking to him about Necromancers. ****************************** 6. Gear ****************************** This is a list of some of the stuff you should look out for, currently not all stats are shown as trying to translate an odd database filled with odd references is quite difficult. Most have a reason and a note to ones you might want to end up with. Weapons... (for hitting) Blackbogs Sharp, Unique Cinquedeas (Exceptional Kris). ***NICE*** Slows target by 50% +50 Defence Adds 15-45 Damage 30% Faster Attack rate Some poison damage and some other stuff, popular dagger of choice. Notes: Slows target is useful and the extra Poison damage is nice. Does alright Heart Cleaver, Unique Rondel (Exceptional Dirk). Deadly Strike 35% Ignores Target Defence Adds 15-35 Damage 190-240% Enhanced Damage Some other skill stuff Notes: Deadly strike and good damage. Pump Dex even though it has ITD for more damage. SwordGuard, Unique Executioner Sword (Exceptional Great Sword). Various defence boosting stuff but mostly the -50% requirements. I met one Necro that swore by this sword. Said he used Poison Nova and Corpse Explosion for Crowd control. No idea where he got the mana from though. He was Sweedish, but I could Imagine that he had Mana and Life Boosting gear. Schaefer's Hammer, Unique Legendary Mallet (Elite Mallet?) ***spiffy*** 50-200 Lightning damage Cast something on hit +Damage and Tohit each level 100%-130% enhanced damage +50 hp 75% Lit Resist Sweedish guy said he was looking for this as well. Since my first Meleemancer used a big hammer I can guess that this one would work fine. Runeword Malice (IthElEth) ***well i like it*** 33% Enhanced Damage +9 Max Damage +50 Attack Rating 100% Open Wounds -100 defence per hit Prevent monster heal -25% Targets defence -5 Regen(?) Very useful for hitting people. Works great in a dagger and poison dagger just makes it even easier to hit with. Not so good for a big powerful weapon though. Butchers Pupil Islestrike Guardian Naga Warlords Trust The Minotaur Witchwild String (99% Deadly Strike!!! - eventually) ***if your'e that way inclined*** Blackleach Blade Athena's Wrath ***seemed alright*** Husodal Evo Grim's Burning Dead. ***pretty good*** Ribcracker (Because I like it) ColdSteel Eye Ginther's Rift Headstrike (Massive Deadly Strike!!! - even quicker) Plague Bearer (Poison Power!) Bing Sz Wang (Freeze them to death) Todesfaelle Flamme (Nice fire power) ***graham coxon*** Carin Shard (Not for melee, unless you can handle only doing 16 damage) Arm of King Leoric Messerschmidts Reaver (Nice Bonuses) Hellslayer (Just nice really, high str though) Baranar's Star (Elemental damage and Tiamat's!) ***pretty lovely*** Lightsabre (Lightning and Magic damage, ITD, good for all) ***you know you want it*** Doombringer (Good damage, not to hard req) The Grandfather (Might be too high req for what you get) Wizardspike (Near immunities to magics) ***jJ72*** Helms.... Peasant Hat Steal Skull Crown of Thieves (High life leech) Vampire Gaze Veil of Steel (Might work if you can get the str, has 50 res to all) Armour... Spirit Shroud Skin of the Vipermagi Skin of the Flayed One Steel Forge Duriel's Shell Atma's Wail ***Coldplay(not to big a fan but you've probably heard of them by now in America)*** Black Hades (becuase it sounds evil and has 3 sockets) ***magic missile*** Shields... Tiamat's Rebuke (elemental bonuses, etc) ***ash*** Gerke's Sanctuary (good damage resistances) Radament's Sphere Blackoak Shield Hormunculus Boots... Waterwalk Silkweave War Traveler Gauntlets... Frostburn Venom Grip Belts... String of ears (does alright for a low level item) ***mark&lard(don't ask if you don't know)*** Glooms Trap Thundergods Vigor ***sounds good to boot*** Nosferatu's Coil Amulets... Mahim Oak Curio (Stats are nice) Saracen's Chance (Stats and res) Mara's Kaleidoscope (Stats, skills and res) Rings... Stone of Jordan (Good for mana) Ravenfrost (Cold and stuff) Bul Kathos Wedding Band (Possibly better than SoJ) ****************************** 7. What's been done? ****************************** Weapon and Curse or Lower Resist/Poison Nova - The BasherMancer Reinhart and Sweedish Guy came up to me with this. Whilst Reinhart uses the Elemental damage of his weapon with LR and PN. Sweedish Guy (I forget his name, sorry) relies on PN and CE to do his Elemental damage whilst he bashes things with Lifetap and his main weapon. These are essentially fairly basic builds with the idea being to beat anything that gets in your way and using the skills of the Necromancer to boost your fighting ability. This is the easiest of builds to build and use, however you can get in some difficulty if the right equipment doesn't show up. Mana can be an issue but you'll simply have to get some mana boosting gear and some mana leech. Bone Spear/Spirit - The Zappermancer Okay so not usually a meleemancer but it's not a Summoner type and you can try to hit stuff. These basically hit everything with Bone Spirit or Spear. No idea if Amp or LR affect the damage done by either but if you're going to hit stuff then go for Amp or Lifetap. Lifetap helps with Bloodgolem and a thorns merc. This is almost like making a Sorc so it shouldn't be to hard to do, you'll just need some more Necro specific gear to use. Try and get +10 to either Bone Spirit/Spear from your wand and totem and you'll be fine. Bows and stuff - The Bowmancer When the expansion came out, this was the first Necromancer I had that I could call truly succesful. A high Elemental damage bow, Bone Spirit, A few skelly mages and 2 revived A fire golem and a Might merc. LR helped kill things and I found that the bow was doing damage to match Bone Spirit and the mages just helped things along. I did raise Fire Golem a bit and this was the first character I had to reach Act 5 hell (Chaos Sanctuary was nasty for all my chars). Of course Act 5 was easier than Act 4 but this still worked well for me. Although not a meleemancer it is still more fighter than anything. Curses, Curses, Curses - The Curser Mostly using Curses (surprise) to help others in combat. This is mainly a supportative character as Terror is not something you see being cast every day. Act 2 Merc power helps but anything that can do fairly well on the killing front is good. Used Poison Dagger to hit things but had Terror on them so they ran away whilst poisoned and gave some form of protection to the user. LR, Amp, Life Tap, Terror and Sometimes Atract and/or Confuse are good choices. I don't recomend IM as you might not have anything using it. A sugestion - The Blood Drinker This worked wonderfully until they stopped life/mana stealing from skeletons and the like. Works though you'll probably want some other weapon to deal with anything you can't leach off. Amulet - Crescent Moon 7% LS Rings - Manald Heal*2 6% LS and RL+7 Belt - Nosferatu's Coil 5% -String of Ears 8% Gloves - Venom Grip 5% High Poison resist Boots - Wartraveller +10 Str/Vit 100 def Adds 15-25 damage Weapon - Doombringer 6% 2 handed elite and powerful - Spineripper 8% 1 handed dagger low req Shield - Gerke's Sanctuary 20-30% Res RL+15 - Tiamat's Rebuke 25-30% res elemental damage - Moser's Blessed Circle 25% res 2 sockets Armour - Black Hades Looks Cool 3 sockets High Def - Skin of the Flayed One 6% LS RL+20 Helm - Veil of Steel (50% res) - Vampire Gaze Looks Cool 7% L/MS 17% Damage Reduction - Crown of thievs 11% LS +25 Dex High Def As you can see, sugested gear focuses on Life Stealing (LS) and Replenish Life (RL). Main skills being Lifetap and Blood Golem. If you bulk up the Blood Golem then you'll get him draining loads of health for you and you can get a Prayer Merc to keep you health up even more. The only really problem being the low resistances you'll have and dealing with things you can't leach from (though RL will help somewhat with both). You can easily get over 100% Life Stolen each hit, though the distinction between Doombringer and Spineripper is up to choice and you may want to go for Spineripper later on as you can get some bonus to res from a shield then. Note that if you get the right combination of gear, then your character will look as sinister as they are, also giving a list of your gear will sound pretty nasty too, except for Moser's blessed circle and manald heal. ****************************** -1. Stuff ****************************** Legal Stuff. DON'T COPY MY WORK, ALRIGHT. This document is protected by some copyright laws, read someone elses FAQ if you want to know which, it's probably the same except it's my copyright or whatever. Contact Stuff. You can contact me at Snuffkin79@Hotmail.com I WILL get back to you, providing I can find your E-Mail amongst all the junk mail I get (teens doing stuff apparently). This bit will be updated when I can be bothered to go through all this basic stuff ***************************** -Pi. Thanks to ***************************** Snuffkin, for writing this. Reinhart, for his input and giving me ideas again. Zelphi, for his input. Sweedish Guy (He probably knows who he is) for their input. The radio for providing something other than T.V. Steve Lamacq(SP?) for giving me something more to listen to. Everyone that emailed me. Gamefaqs and all involved parties for hosting this Faq. I'll come up with more later. Yes I'm actually saying thanks. ***************************** Final Words ***************************** Why the Meleemancer? Lets look at the necromancer at a whole. It was designed to be a character that summons creatures and supports those creatures with other abilities. Which is fine for solo play, why isn't it so good for multiplayer? The key aspect of multiplayer is the chance to play with others who can supliment your weaknesses or assist you generally or that can gain benefits from going with you. So what does the Necromancer have to offer other characters? Well from the summonings we can see that it has a number of tanks to soak up damage in place of others, how many people want 20 of these things running around. Usually getting in the way and adding to lag problems. The biggest issue being them getting in the way, especially in crowded areas like the Arcane Sanctury/Maggot Lair or the cave sections. Seeing as the only others that need something to hide behide are thoughs that can't take the damage themselves, such as Sorcs and the odd Zon, these are mostly useless for the other classes. Combined with the summons from other Necro's and you've got a problem. So curses, who can't benefit from them? Everyone can benefit from curses. There's a curse for every situation, many don't need to be maxed to benefit from them. So for the best multiplayer support, curses are key. However, it is difficult to kill things with curses alone and you won't beat any of the game bosses with curses alone. Also, you may have to be the one taking advantage of your curses. Especially early on where your curses won't benefit sorc's that much. Then there's Poison and Bone spells. I don't think any necromancer can have problems with Phsyical immunes if they invest correctly in these skills. So they can offer powerful magical support with Poison and Bone spels. So again, alot to offer here. So from that you can see that the best way to support others come from P&B spells and curses. So a combination of curses and P&B skills would be a good combination. Which I am not dismissing. So where does the Meleemancer come into things? Meleemancers are powerful. They may not be able to kill everything with the greatest of ease, but they can sure hold there own. Meleemancers also use a variety of curses, which posess great ability for protection and enhancing the party. Meleemancers offer everything from phsyical powers, magic ability and group support. They can have a golem to tank and a merc to help in whatever way. Concepts and Ideas... To kill things in Diablo II you have to be able to do 2 things :- 1. Do enough damage to kill them 2. Be able to hit them Hitting isn't such a hard thing to acheive. There are numerous modifiers to improve your chances to hit and you can get ITD weapons to improve your chances even greater, you can even lower their defence each hit making it even easier to hit. The only thing to consider is that most fighter classes have 3 ways to enhance their Attack Rating. These come from the weapon themselves (through enchantment), a passive skill (like sword mastery or fanaticism) and a special attack (zeal or fury for example). They can also have outside bonuses like from a summoned creature(Heart of the wolverine) or mercenary with blessed aim. Quick Druid check... Werewolf +AR and Damage Special Attacks +AR and Damage HotW +AR and Damage Weapon +AR and Damage Merc +AR or Damage So that's why Druids where invented, that's ignoring a Fanaticism using Pally supporting, giving an extra boost to AR and Damage. Dispite this, Druids still seem to be a bit rubish. Anyway... Necromancers and Sorcs (the non fighter chars) have... Weapon +AR and Damage Poison Dagger +AR and Damage (Necro's and Daggers only though) Enchant +Damage (Sorcs and it's naff) So 2 at most though Necro's can use curses to Amplify Damage done and other such benificial effects. Sorcs can have some reasonable spell support to help them out as well. To cut it short and get to the point quicker, the non fighter characters don't have as many bonuses to their combat statistics as the other classes. Even paladins are put down a bit as they have to make a choice between damage and defence levels, it's not so much of an issue but it does raise the barbarian above other characters in some ways. *****The Point***** When making and playing as any meleemancer, you will need to check the two things above, that you can hit monsters regularly enough to make a point and that you can do enough damage to get the point across (Generally, I'm going to kill you). Remeber that with the expansion you can easily switch from a one handed weapon and shield to a big nasty two handed weapon so you don't have to rely on one weapon alone, you may want high restance gear on one end and big damage stuff on the other hand. *****End of THE POINT!!!***** One more final thing, if you thought the above was to involved or maybe you just skipped it, then here's some fun things to try out with Necromancers and the like. The Poison Fetish Soldier... One of my favourite from the past right through to the present, although poison doesn't stack like it used to so they are a bit weaker. The PFS focuses on getting as much poison damage as they can do on their weapon and using that along with distraction curses or lower resist, along with Poison Nova and Explosion to get the initial attacks or just to take advantage of hiding behind others, or when running of course. Again, Tiamat's Rebuke is commonly used to bypass poison immunes and other such nasties that don't want to die. You don't have to use daggers for poison although Poison Dagger can help with hitting as well so it's up to you. I'm actually a barbarian but you can't tell... (Barb) This is based apon my original Wand barb but seeing as you can't get any wands with any great amount of power now, or if you can then they're very rare. So instead of trying to beat up the Chaos Sanctuary whilst dual weilding wands on Hell Difficulty (note that IM wasn't really the problem as with most barbs) you can take the initiative as I did and equip a wand in the left hand and a big nasty two handed sword in the other. You only then need to use one handed attacks like berserk or jump attack, stun, bash or concentrate to do damage with the sword rather than the wand. Wear a grim helm with black armour and some people will automatically assume your'e a necromancer. Have fun with newbies and claim to have a special sword that give you the ability to dual weild weapons and you just wanted to have a wand to support you're necromancy skills. Later claim that Grim ward is in fact terror as it's cast by necromancers. Alternatively claim to have done some special act 5/cow level quest that's given you the chance to multiclass and you picked the Necromancer because you wanted all the curses, get a wand with charges for added effect (lifetap is a good choice). I'm a female necro, honest... (Sorcs) Use a wand or dagger, like the good old days when all sorcs ran around with Spectral shard or Ume's Lament, except replace it with Wizard spike or Suicide Branch (50% faster cast). Use Hydra and claim it's the special version of Flame Golem you get. Maybe get a wand with lower resist on it and extra mana. So you may not get all the bonuses you get from using orbs (which you can equip but the money for the sex change might come through and you don't want to get caught out) and you felt like using a shield rather than a totem for the defensive bonuses. Try not to use the more offensive spells except maybe Galacial Spike and claim it works better than Bone Spirit for you. Remeber the grim helm and the black armour for all your pretending to be a Necromancer antics. I am the Unholy and Almighty Anti Paladin... (Pally) Do your best to look evil and use skills that effect the enemy rather than yourself, skills like conviction, holy freeze (very evil) and holy shock. Or be an anti undead and use sanctuary, redemption (stop resurections) and holy bolt or FotH. On a side note, my favourite Paladin build being the ones that use Smite. There's nothing really more humiliating in PvP than being beaten to death in a corner by some lame Paladin with a broken buckler. For those that don't know, Smite is unavoidable and stuns with knockback so you can trap people against walls with it. Get a Holy Freeze merc and use Holy Shock or Conc/Fanaticism to kill them, you can try charging them to get the initial hit and beat them into a corner from there. Fear the almighty Valkerie, more powerful than a hundred skeletons (not revived) but probably not as good as a blood golem... (Amazon) Use a good bow like Eaglehorn (for damage) and simple skills like Magic Arrow (it does work if you're good) and an elemental damage attack like frozen arrow or flame arrow. Maybe get a bow that casts curses on hit and use multishot to curse pretty much everything that gets in your way (good ones are Amp or Terror). Make sure max Valk too, as this is the whole point of the exercise. You might be able to settle for decoy though and remember to get Necro looking gear for added effect. Evangilion Ultra God Daimyo Spirit:URA - Grand Legacy Final... (Necro) This is basically using teeth till your'e 18, then Bone Spear till your'e 30 and then blowing everything up with all of those when neccisary. You can get a golem for added support but never underestimate the power of lvl 20 teeth, well it's nice if you're rushing someone through act 1-2(maybe). Get a holy freeze or ice merc for added fun and use gear that raises mana, mana regen and poison and bone spells. It is theoretically possible to get a magic wand and head that have +3 to teeth and both BS, +2-3 Poison and Bone spells and +2 to all Necromancer skills, though it's highlt unlikely. Treat this build like a sorc and try to avoid taking damage as you have no Energy shield or teleport to use.