Diablo II Lord of Destruction Diablo II Lord of Destruction Diablo II Lord of D

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Beginner's Guide- a guide to Diablo II: Lord of Destruction
Copyright 2003-04- MonkeyPooo4U
Version 2.4
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TABLE OF CONTENTS:
I. Legal Stuff
II. Version History
III. Introduction
IV. Characters
  A. Paladin
  B. Sorceress
  C. Barbarian
  D. Amazon
  E. Necromancer
  F. Druid
  G. Assassin
  H.Suggested Builds
V. Mercenaries
VI. Walkthrough
VII. Hints and Tips
VIII. Boss Strategies
 Act I
  A. Blood Raven
  B. The Countess
  C. Andariel
 Act II
  A. Radament
  B. Fangskin
  C. The Summoner
  D. Duriel
 Act III
  A. Witch Doctor Endugu
  B. Council Members
  C. Mephisto
 Act IV
  A. Izual
  B. Helphasto the Armorer
  C. Diablo
IX. Unique and Champion Monster Guide
X. A Brief Glance at Items
XI. Gems and Runes
XII. Notable Equipment
XIII. Shrines
XIV. Frequently Asked Questions
XV. Closing Comments
XVI. Future Plans
XVII. My Thanks
XVIII. How to Contact Me

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I. LEGAL STUFF

This may not be reproduced under any circumstance except for personal or
private use.  It may not be placed on any web site or otherwise distributed
publicly without advance written permission.  Use of this guide on any other
web site or as a part of any public display is strictly prohibited,  and a
violation of copyright.
And I do realize that is the exact words the GameFAQs people recommend, but hey,
I'm not using my own words for this kind of legal stuff.

Also, if you wish to make a suggestion for me or point out some horrible error,
you can e-mail me at monkey_pooo4u@yahoo.com.  I check my e-mail every day or
two.  Also, if you're going to be a jerk and go off on me about something in my
guide, I will simply disregard your e-mail.  The moral of the story... don't
be a moron.

The following sites have to permission to post this guide:
gamefaqs.com and DLH.net

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II. VERSION HISTORY

Version .10 - Started the guide.  Finished Paladin and Sorceress.
Version .50 - Finished the characters.  Finished the tips section.  Did
Act I Bosses
Version .60 - Finished Act II bosses.
Version .90 - Finished sections VII-IX.
Version 1.0 - Made some final touchups.  The guide is now ready.
Version 1.2 - Added Act III bosses.  Added Mercenary info.
Version 1.3 - Added Unique and Champion monster guide.  Added Shrines.  A few
other minor changes.
Version 1.5 - Added a look at every Sorceress and Paladin skill.
A few other minor changes.
Version 1.51 - Fixed an error in the shrines section.
Version 2.0 - Added a lot of stuff: a look at every skill, the ratings system,
the walkthrough, and the look at items.
Version 2.1 - Got beta of 1.10 and started updating.  Added Gems and Runes
section and fixed a few things.
Version 2.11 - Finished my 1.10 beta update for each character.  Made a few
random changes.
Version 2.2 - Made a big tune-up.  I've added a lot here and there and fixed
a few things.
Version 2.3 - Added the notable equipment and fixed some stuff here and there.
Version 2.31 - Added FAQ's and fixed some stuff.
Version 2.4 - Added a lot of stuff, fixed a lot of stuff, and made a lot of
changes.

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III. INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Diablo II: Lord of Destruction.  This guide is
jam-packed with information.  I've taken a look at each character and their
skills to give you an idea of who to choose.  You can find out which merc is
right for you, you can learn what that shrine will do if you touch it, and you
can even learn how to put the smackdown on Mephisto.  I've tried to compile an
encyclopedia of Diablo II information.  Naturally, I won't be able to go
extremely in-depth, or this guide would be twice as long as it is and would
take me 10 years to write, let alone update for a patch or something.  This
started as a guide for beginners and still pretty much is, but there's something
here everyone can use.  I'm working on the walkthrough, but other than that
you should be able to find out just about anything you want to know.  Seek and
ye shall find.  If I can keep just 1 person from putting 20 points in Frost
Nova, I know I've done my job.

By the way, do not think everything I say is right.  Feel free to experiment for
yourself.  Maybe you can have success with a skill I thought was useless.  Really,
it's all up to you.

Also, I do not know everything.  If you know a really good and easy character
build I didn't list, have a really good boss strategy, or have anything else
you would like to contribute, feel free to e-mail me suggestions.  My e-mail
address is shown above in the LEGAL STUFF and in the HOW TO CONTACT ME section at
the bottom of the FAQ.

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IV. CHARACTERS

Choosing a character is the key part of Diablo II.  What character you use determines
how you will play the game.  There are 7 characters in the Lord of Destruction
expansion set:  Paladin, Sorceress, Barbarian, Amazon, Necromancer, Druid, and
Assassin.  Each on is completely unique.  I'm going to discuss the different
characters, their skills, and good stat point distributions.  Also, all the skills are
rated on a scale of 0 to 10, 0 being worst, 10 being best.  Here is a description of
what each rating means:

0: This skill is useful to no one and for nothing
1: This skill sucks
2: This skill gets some use early on
3: This skill gets some use in mid-normal difficulty
4: This skill has some potentail, but is just too weak
5: An average skill, but not something to base a character on
6: A slightly above average skill, but there are better ones
7: A pretty good skill, but once again its not quite good enough
8: A very useful skill.  This one can probably be used throughout the entire game
9: An excellent skill.  Almost perfect if not for a slight flaw.
10: A core skill.  Everyone should invest in it.

Also, I've added in some info on the passive bonuses to skills that have been
added in v 1.10.  The skills are rated by potential, not the skills themselves.

For each character I've only included the builds I can recommend as fun and fairly
easy to do.  There are a ton of builds out there and some are a lot better than
others.  Also, in some cases, I'm pretty much pulling the stats out of my butt.
I haven't played every possible build, but I can make guesses.  If you're a
particular build master and have a better stat distribution, send it to me.

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 A.  PALADIN
The Paladin is a holy warrior who fights not for money or fame, but to assure
the the forces of evil are driven from the land.  The Paladin is a capable
fighter whose auras can benefit an entire party.  The Palain is one of the few
characters who will almost always carry a shield, thus they are skilled in
offense and defense.  The Paladin's unique equipment is an assortment of Paladin
shields.  They usually come with a certain number of resistance to all elements
and can come with +skill level additions.  Also scepters, while not unique to
Paladins, can have +skill levels to Paladin skills, thus make ideal equipment
for most Paladins.  Paladin's skill trees are: Offensive Auras, Defensive Auras,
and Combat.  Combat skills are skills you use in combat,  Offensive Auras are
meant to increase damage abilities, Defensive Auras are meant to provide
defense or healing.  A Paladin can have one Aura active at a time, however,
except for Prayer, the auras do not cost mana.  Every Paladin should specialize
in at least one aura.  Holy Shield is understood in pretty much all Paladin
builds as an amazing backup skill.

Good Paladin Builds (Note: there are others, these are just the ones I feel are
easy to do and fun):

1. The Zealot-  Put points into Zeal, so you can quickly deal out damage to
multiple enemies in one click.  The Zealot build can be taken in two ways:
Physical and Elemental.  They Physical damage Zealot uses Fanatacism to boost
damage, AR, and attack speed.  This works great for physical damage but needs
Vengance for backup against physical immunes.  The Elemental Zealot uses Holy
Shock or Holy Freeze and synergies to do large elemental damage.  Both have the
weakness of using only 1 element, and hybridizing Holy Shock/Freeze would make
them way too weak.  For Hell survivability, you may want to look elsewhere, but
for cookie cutting fun, look to the Zealot.

2. The Avenger- Specializes in Vengeance.  It's a good skill, so this is also a
good build.  This can be used with either the Fanatacism aura or the Conviction
aura.  The single hit damage when you use conviction can get really high, but
you have to got without Fanatacism's increased attack speed and attack rating
boost.  Either aura is a good pick.

3. The Chargeadin- Specializes in Charge.  This skill does tremendous amounts of
damage, and even more so when combined with Fatatacism.  Charge is great for
dueling, but not that good in PvM because the character has to be a certain
distance from the monster for it to work.  Also, you should get backup skills
like Vengance and Salvation just in case.  Vengance is vital for your ability to
kill physical immunes.

4.  The Hammerdin- Specailized in Blessed Hammer.  For this build you have to max
the Blessed Hammer synergies or its pretty much useless.  A point in redemption
gives you a pretty good supply of mana.  This build also relies on the backup power
of Holy Shield and + to skill levels.  Concentration boost Blessed Hammer damage,
but only at half capacity.  Between Blessed Hammer and Concentration, you can get
some amazing damage and do great in PvP and PvM.

Starting Stats:
Strength- 25
Dexterity- 20
Vitality- 25 (each point gives 3 to life and 1 to stamina)
Energy- 15 (each point gives 1.5 to energy)
Life- 55 (2 at each level up)
Mana- 15 (1.5 at each level up)
Stamina- 89 (1 at each level up)

Goal Stats for Zealot or Avenger:
Strength- 170
Dexterity- 170
Vitality- 200+
Energy- 15

After this pump vitality mostly and just pump strength and dex if you need to.
Early on you'll want to pump up stength, giving it 2 or 3 points a level.
After that you can move more towards dex and vitality.  Also, you may need more
dex to keep up your block level.  You need to put 2 points per level in Dex to
keep your chance to block matching what your shield says.  If you are an Elemental
Zealot, you may want even more Dex to make up for the lack of an AR boost from
Holy Shock.  If you need more Dex, a Ravenfrost ring can give you +20 dex and the
handy 'Cannot be frozen' mod.

Goal Stats for Chargeadin:
Strength- 200+
Dexterity- 120
Vitality- 180+
Energy- 15
With a Chargeadin you want to do a lot of damage in one hit, so the high strength
will let you hold high end swords or mauls for a ton of damage and you can get some
pretty sweet armor.  You don't need as much dex since you don't hold a shield and
Fanatacism and Charge give attack rating bonuses.  Vitality still needs some points,
but it won't get as much since you need a lot more stength.  Energy doesn't need
any points.

Goal Stats for Hammerdin:
Strength - 120
Dexterity - 120
Vitaliy - 240+
Energy - 15+
Since the Hammerdin's weapon of choice is the Wizardspike dagger, you don't need much
strength.  High Dex is also not needed if you get a good shield (Herald of the Zakarum)
and combine it with Holy Shield.  Mana points are allowed, but not many, since you'll
be using a magic attack and the mana intensive Holy Shield.

An overview of Paladin skills:

 1. Combat

-Sacrifice-
Pros- Improves damage
    - Improves attack rating
Cons- Costs 8% of health
Bonuses- 12% damage to Zeal
       - 7% damage from Redemption
       - 4% damage from Fanaticism
Verdict-  Don't use it.  You'll kill yourself.  The skill is great for any
Zealot, however, because of the bonus to Zeal's damage
Rating- 1/10

-Smite-
Pros- Knockback
    - Stun
Cons- Damage higes on you shield, not your weapon
    - The stun isn't that good
Verdict-  This is a... uniqe skill.  I have heard tell of the occasional Smiteadin.
They use that stun from Smite + Holy Shield + Fanatacism.  Smite never misses, so
you can stun-lock your enemy into an inescapable death.  The problem is that Smite
damage is pathetic, so killing is painfully slow.  There aren't many Smiteadins, but
those that try it seem to like it.
Rating- 4/10

-Holy Bolt-
Pros- Good damage at low levels
    - Can heal party memebers
Cons- Only works on the undead
    - The healing isn't that good
Bonuses- 50% damage from Blessed Hammer
       - 50% damage from Fist of the Heavens
       - 7% healing from Prayer
       - 15% damage to Fist of the Heavens Holy Bolts
Verdict-  At first look one would think that this skill was pathetic, and they'd be
mostly right.  The Holy Bolts only work on undead, a theoretical 1/3 of the monsters
you fight.  But then you look at the massive 50% damage per level from Blessed Hammer
and FOTH.  After that the undead are your playthings.  This is really only worth it
if you are a Hammerdin or are using FOTH, so if you are, Holy Bolt can blast through
some undead for you.
Rating- 4/10

-Zeal-
Pros- Attack Rating Bonus
    - Attacks multiple enemies
    - Doesn't cost much mana
Cons- ?
Bonuses- 12% damage from Sacrifice
Verdict-  This is a great skill.  Zeal has great speed an crowd control ability.
If you want to use it as your main attack you definately want to put points into
Sacrifice for a damage bonus.
Rating- 10/10

-Charge-
Pros- Massive damage potential
    - Attack rating bonus
Cons- You can't use it on an enemy right next to you
Verdict- This is a pretty good skill if you use it right.  You can't use it on
enemies right by you, they have to be a few feet from you, but when you charge
them, it hurts.  The Chargeadin is a pretty good Paladin build for dueling.
Charge isn't that great for player v. monster.
Rating- 8/10
NOTE:  I got an email that told me I forgot this one originally, but I didn't
look to see who sent it so I could give them some credit, so thanks phantom
person, whoever you are.

-Vengance-
Pros- Attack Rating Bonus
    - Great Damage
    - Elemental Damage for fighting Physical Immunes.
    - Cold Damage adds a slowing effect
Cons- ?
Bonuses- 5% elemental damage from Resist Fire, Cold, and Lightning
       - 2% elemental damage from Salvation
Verdict-  Another great skill.  It doesn't have Zeal's crowd control ability,
but it makes up for that in damage.  Great when fighting one powerful enemy.
Also great for killing Physical Immunes.
Rating- 10/10

-Blessed Hammer-
Pros- Magic damage
    - Extra damage to undead
Cons- Low damage
Bonuses- 15% damage from Blessed Aim
       - 15% damage from Vigor
Verdict-  Blessed Hammer is a great skill for PvP and it works amazingly in
PvM.  Combined with Concentration (the only aura that works for BH damage) you
can do amazing damage.  Also, very few enemies can be immune to Blessed Hammer
since it pierces the immunities of Undead and Demons.
Rating- 10/10

-Conversion-
Pros- Converts enemies
Cons- Low success rate
    - Low duration
Verdict-  I don't suggest this skill.
Rating- 1/10

-Holy Shield-
Pros- Extra defense
    - Better blocking
    - Pretty good duration
    - Extra... Smite damage
Cons- Steep mana cost
Bonuses- 15% defense from Defiance
Verdict-  Holy Shield is great as a supplementary skill.  The mana cost is
high, but it doesn't have to be cast often.  Its a bit out of the way for
many players on the skill tree, but its worth it.  The added chance to block
and defense will greatly increase your ability to survive.
Rating- 10/10

-Fist of the Heavens-
Pros- Cool name
    - Crowd control potential
    - Ranged attack
    - Magic damage
Cons- Sucky damage for a high level skill
    - Costs a lot of mana
Bonuses- 15% damage to holy bolts from Holy Bolt
       - 7% lightning damage from Holy Shock
       - 17% damage to Holy Bolt
Verdict-  This would be a great skill if the damage were better.  A lot
better.  I wouldn't suggest any points in this skill.  It is too weak and has
too many prerequisites.  If you happen to be using the Holy Shock Aura,
investing points in Holy Bolt wouldn't be too much of and inconvenience and
you could make this skill pretty good.  This is pretty good in PvP though.
Rating- 8/10

 2.Offensive Auras

-Might-
Pros- Increased damage
Cons- No increased Attack Rating
Bonuses- 16% damage to Holy Fire
       - 8% damage to Charge
Verdict-  Patience grasshopper.  There are much better things to come.  Put only
one point here.
Rating- 4/10

-Holy Fire-
Pros- Damage to surrounding enemies
    - Fire damage added to attack
Cons- Very low damage to surrounding enemies
Bonuses- 16% damage from Might
       - 5% damage from Salvation
Verdict-  In 1.10 it now adds Fire damage to your attack.  With all the passive
bonuses it gets the damage potential is decent, but its not as good as Holy Freeze
in damage and you go without the freezing effect, putting it out of the running as
far as your main aura goes.
Rating- 5/10

-Thorns-
Pros- Damage returned gets insane.
Cons- Only works on physical attacks
Verdict-  A character with max Thorns can at least get through normal difficulty.
After that, they will run into some serious problems.  I don't think it is wise
to put points here.
Rating- 6/10

-Blessed Aim-
Pros- Increased Attack Rating
Cons- No increased damage
Bonuses- 15% damage to Blessed Hammer
Verdict-  This skill is pointless.  No points here unless you need one, or if
you're a Hammerdin.
Rating- 3/10

-Concentration-
Pros- Increased damage
    - Chance for uninterruptable attack
Cons- No increased attack rating
Verdict-  Patience.  This is not the one.  Concentration, though it doesn't say,
boosts Blessed Hammer damage along with attack damage.  However, it only boosts
the damage at half power.  For example, if it increases attack damage by 100%,
it increases Blessed Hammer damage by only 50%.
Rating- 6/10, 10/10 for Hammerdins

-Holy Freeze-
Pros- Slowed enemies
    - Adds cold damage to attacks
Cons- Small radius
Bonuses- 14% damage from Resist Cold
       - 7% damage from Salvation
Verdict-  This skill is much improved in 1.10.  The damage to surrounding
enemies with the slowing effect make it pretty powerful.  The damage just
doesn't match up to that of Holy Shock, but the slowing is a nice addition.
I think it would be better for a Paladin to have Holy Shock and a Holy
Freeze merc.  Also, with this skill you could have a pretty effective
bow using Paladin, but then you miss out on the best part of a Paladin, the
shield.  With either this skill or Holy Shock you could easily have a Paladin
with a Shield/Sword in one weapon set, and a Bow/Crossbow in the other.
Rating- 10/10

-Holy Shock-
Pros- Added elemental damage to attacks
    - Elemental damage to nearby monsters
Cons- Small radius
Bonuses- 12% damage from Resist Lightning
       - 4% damage from Salvation
Verdict-  This skill is also improved.  The damage potential with the bonuses
is extremely high.  The raw damage is much better than that of Holy Freeze,
but very undependable.
Rating- 10/10

-Sanctuary-
Pros- Damages and knocksback the undead
Cons- Only works on the undead
Bonuses- 7% damage from Cleansing
Verdict-  This skill has very limited use.  NO POINTS!!!
Rating- 2/10

-Fanaticism-
Pros- Increased damage
    - Increased attack rating
    - Increased attack speed
Cons- Small radius
Verdict-  Fanaticism is a great aura, but seems to be used less these days.
Physical Zealots can get massive damage and rediculous attack speed.  This
works great to help out your melee partymembers, but spellcasters will
resent you a bit.
Rating- 10/10

-Conviction-
Pros- Lowers enemy defense
    - Lowers enemy resistances
Cons- Doesn't increase attack rating
Verdict-  This is a good skill, but Fanaticism is better.  Sorceresses will
flock to you if you use this skill.  A few points here could be nice just to
satisfy a party of mages.  This is the skill for the party - pleaser, but also
makes a nice aura for an Avenger.
Rating- 10/10

 3. Defensive Auras

-Prayer-
Pros- Heals you
Cons- Not very effective
    - Costs mana
Bonuses- 7% healing to Holy Bolt
Verdict-  This is the suckiest of the auras.  Don't use it.
Rating- 0/10

-Resist Fire, Cold, Lightning-
Pros- Lots of elemental resist
    - For every 2 points, you get a passive bonus of +1 max resists
    - While the aura is active, you get +the aura's level to max resists
Cons- Only works for one element
Verdict-  Everyone should put a few points here if they have them for the
addition to your max resists, especially Resist Lightning.
Rating- 10/10

-Defiance-
Pros- Increased defense
    - Makes it harder for enemies to hit you
Cons- Doesn't make your attacks any better
Bonuses- 15% defense to Holy Shield
Verdict-  Good for a merc to use, but not you.
Rating- 5/10

-Cleansing-
Pros- Reduced poison and curse duration
Cons- Very esoteric
Bonuses- 7% damage to Sanctuary
         1 life healed every 2 seconds from Prayer
Verdict-  This is a good skill, but not a great skill.  If you have a spare
point, I guess you could put it here.
Rating- 5/10

-Vigor-
Pros- You run faster
    - You run longer
Cons- That doesn't matter much
Bonuses- 15% damage to Blessed Hammer
       - 8% damage to Charge
Verdict-  Not much of a point in investing here, even with the bonuses unless
you are a Hammerdin.  Kind of nice for quick travel.
Rating- 2/10

-Meditation-
Pros- More mana
Cons- Most Paladins don't have mana problems
Bonuses- 1 life healed every 2 seconds from Prayer
Verdict- Meditation is another skill that can be used to make the spell-slingers
happy.  Also, it can be nice for Hammerdins to make up mana after spamming
hammers.  But if you need a healing aura, Redemption is best for you.
Rating- 7/10

-Redemption-
Pros- Restores health and mana
Cons- Doesn't work all the time
Verdict-  A good skill on a sucky skill tree.  I suggest after you have maxed
out all your core skills, you use whatever points you don't need to get this
skill.  You can use it after battle to restore health or use it mid battle to
get rid of corpses.  It's not very party friendly however, and will anger
Summonmancers who need the corpses.
Rating- 10/10

-Salvation-
Pros- Resist to Fire, Cold, and Lightning
Cons- No Poison resist
Bonuses- 5% damage to Holy Fire
       - 7% damage to Holy Freeze
       - 4% damage to Holy Shock
       - 2% damage to Vengance
Verdict- Salvation may seem really useful, but by using it to bolster your resists
you loose a lot of power from a more practical combat-oriented aura.  Also, it
does not resist poison.  So save it for synergies, not for main investment.
Rating- 7/10

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 B.  SORCERESS
The Sorceress is very hard to start out with, and even harder to do correctly,
but a well built Sorceress is a force to be reckoned with.  Sorceresses are not
for beginers, but skilled players can make great Sorceresses.  Sorceress's skill
trees are: Cold, Lightning, and Fire.  Cold skills do less damage, but can freeze
opponents so they move slower or stop moving completely.  Fire skills do lots of
damage, but fire immune monsters are the most common.  Thunder skills have very
high maximum damage, but usually keep a minimum damage of 1. It's not uncommon to
see a Thunder skill doing 1-2000 damage.  The class specific weapons for Sorceresses
are orbs.  They are one handed sorceress weapons, so a sorcerss can have a shield
and still get +skills.  Also most orbs come with additions to life and/or mana.
Also, staves can have +skill levels for sorceress skill, but they must be held
in two hands, not allowing you to hold a shield.

Good builds for Sorceresses:

1.  Meteorb Sorceress- This is the most common Sorceress build.  Uses Meteor with
backup from Frozen Orb.  There are lots of detailed guides for this one.

2.  Blizzard Sorceress- The second most common Sorceress.   Max Blizzard and its
synergies for a powerful spell.  Some choose to be pure ice, some look for backup
in another skill tree.

Starting Stats:
Strength- 10
Dexterity- 25
Vitality- 10 (each point gives 2 to life and 1 to stamina)
Energy- 35 (each point gives 2 to mana)
Stamina- 74 (1 point gained each level up)
Life- 40 (1 point gained each level up)
Mana- 35 (2 points gained each level up)

Goal Stats for Sorceress
Strength- 95
Dexterity- 25
Vitality- 260+
Energy- 50-150

You should put at least 2 points per level into strength early on and reach the goal
of 100 strength before the end of nightmare difficulty.Dexterity is useless for
Sorceresses because a Sorceress doesn't ever use her weapon, instead relying on spells.
Energy have a large range based on your preferences in playing style.  If you want an
unending and sure supply of mana with out chugging potions you can go as high as 150.
However 100 is generally safe.  50 is for those who are going to use 2 SOJs and
Frostburns to boost their maximum mana.

An overview of Sorceress skills:

 1. Fire

-Fire Bolt-
Pros- Low mana cost
Cons- Pathetic damage
Bonuses- 16% damage from Fire Ball and Meteor
       - 14% damage to Fire Ball
       - 3% damage to Hydra
       - 5% damage to Meteor
Verdict-  Put only one point in low level skills like this one.  Save your points
for something better.  It has some useful bonuses if you want to use Meteor or
Hydras.
Rating- 1/10

-Warmth-
Pros- Increased mana recovery
Cons- ?
Bonuses- 9% damage to Enchant
       - 12% damage to Inferno
Verdict-  This is a vital skill for any sorceress.  I recommend 5-10 in this skill.
Rating- 10/10

-Inferno-
Pros- ?
Cons- ?
Bonuses- 12% damage from Warmth
       - 3% damage per second to Meteor
Verdict-  This has been changed slightly to do more damage and cost less mana.  Now
its just an average skill.  I can't think of any real reason to use it.  You might
want points here for the passive to Meteor.
Rating- 5/10

-Blaze-
Pros- You can run away while doing damage
    - At high levels, the fire lasts quite a while
Cons- Enemies have to chase you for it to work
Verdict- Don't invest here.  Firewall is better.
Rating- 5/10

-Fire Wall-
Pros- Insane amounts of damage
    - Covers large area
Cons- You can only have one at a time
    - Mana cost gets pretty high
Verdict- You can make a pretty strong build centered around Firewalls.  The only problem
is the backup skill.  You have to have something to deal with fire immunes.
Rating- 10/10

-Fire Ball-
Pros- Good damage
    - Damage radius
Cons- ?
Bonuses- 14% damage from Fire Bolt and Meteor
       - 16% damage to Fire Bolt
       - 5% damage to Meteor
       - 3% damage to Hydra
Verdict-  If you are using Meteor, combining it with Fireball makes for a very effective
attacking strategy.  Since they are synergies for each other, its a good move to make.
Rating- 10/10

-Meteor-
Pros- Initial meteor damage is very high
Cons- Big casting delay
Bonuses- 5% damage from Fire Bolt and Fire Ball
       - 3% damage per second from Inferno
       - 16% damage to Fire Bolt
       - 14% damage to Fire Ball
Verdict-  This is most effective when combined with a freezing skill to hold
enemies in place.  It can get a ton of bonuses making it a potentially very powerful
skill.
Rating- 10/10

-Enchant-
Pros- Added elemental damage
Cons- Fire damage is highly resisted
Bonuses- 9% damage from Warmth (Sadly, Warmth is a skill no melee Sorceress needs)
Verdict-  This skill has a little hidden use.  It can be casted on party members,
summons, and hirelings for some niced added elemental damage.  While its not the
best skill for a sorceress, if you already have points in warmth, a few spare points
into Enchant makes it a good party-friendly skill.
Rating- 5/10
NOTE:  A thanks to darkteal for "showing me the light"

-Hydra-
Pros- They are good for a very cheap way of player killing
Cons- They are not that good in player vs. monster
Bonuses- 3% damage from Fire Bolt and Fire Ball
Verdict-  Unless you want them to do a cheap player killing trick, in which case I
say shame on you, you shouldn't use them.  These are something good to come back to
when you get everything else you want.
Rating- 6/10

-Fire Mastery-
Pros- Increased damage to fire skills
Cons- ?
Verdict-  This skill is a necessity for all fire users.
Rating- 10/10

 2. Cold
-Ice Bolt-
Pros- Low mana
    - Slows enemies
Cons- Pathetic damage
Bonuses- 15% damage from Frost Nova, Ice Blast, Glacial Spike, Blizzard, and Frozen
         Orb
       - 8% damage to Ice Blast
       - 5% damage to Glacial Spike
       - 5% damage to Blizzard
Verdict-  Save your skill points.  Don't put more than one point here.  This gets
and recieves a lot of passives so if you are mainly a cold Sorceress you will
probably want to put some points here eventually.
Rating- 1/10

-Frozen Armor-
Pros- Defense bonus
    - Freezes enemies that hit you
Cons- ?
Bonuses- +10 seconds duration from Shiver Armor and Chilling Armor
       - 5% freeze length from Shiver Armor and Chilling Armor
Verdict- This is nice, just for the freezing effect.  The defense bonus won't do
much except at lower levels.
Rating- 8/10

-Ice Blast-
Pros- Freezes enemies
Cons- Low damage
Bonuses- 8% damage from Ice Bolt, Glacial Spike, Blizzard, and Frozen Orb
       - 15% damage to Ice Bolt
       - 5% damage to Glacial Spike
       - 5% damage to Blizzard
Verdict-  This skill is just a place holder.  Ignore it unless you're a
Blizzard Sorc.
Rating- 4/10

-Shiver Armor-
Pros- Increased defense
    - Freezes and damages attackers
Cons- ?
Verdict-  This is a pretty useful skill, but don't invest in it too heavily.  I'd
pick Frozen Armor over this one though.
Rating- 5/10

-Frost Nova-
Pros- Ring of damage
    - Slows enemies
Cons- Very low damage
Bonuses- 10% damage from Blizzard and Frozen Orb
       - 15% damage to Ice Bolt
Verdict-  I don't suggest more than one point here.  The damage is just too low.
It's good to have on "chance to cast" equipment though, since it freezes large
groups.
Rating- 3/10

-Glacial Spike-
Pros- Damage radius
    - Freezes enemies
Cons- Low damage
    - High mana cost for a low level character
Bonuses- 5% damage from Ice Bolt, Ice Blast, and Frozen Orb
       - 3% freeze duration from Blizzard
       - 15% damage to Ice Bolt
       - 8% damage to Ice Blast
       - 5% damage to Blizzard
Verdict-  Once again, just a place holder skill.  Only good for its synergies.
Rating- 6/10

-Chilling Armor-
Pros- Increased defense
    - Fires back at ranged attackers
Cons- Pathetic amount of damage
Bonuses- +10 seconds duration from Frozen Armor and Shiver Armor
       - 9% damage from Frozen Armor and Chilling Armor
Verdict-  If you want some armor, go with Frozen Armor
Rating- 4/10

-Blizzard-
Pros- Slows enemies
    - Good damage
Cons- Mana cost gets pretty high
Bonuses- 5% damage from Ice Blast, Ice Bolt, and Glacial Spike
       - 15% damage to Ice Bolt
       - 8% damage to Ice Blast
       - 10% damage to Frost Nova
       - 3% freeze lenght to Glacial Spike
Verdict-  A good skill for cold users.  It gets and give a lot of passive bonuses.
The damage gets very high, but I've found it fairly unreliable.  However, this
is definately a skill you can build a character around.
Rating- 9/10

-Frozen Orb-
Pros- Sprays a wide area of damage
    - Slows enemies
Cons- Mana cost gets pretty steep
Bonuses- 2% damage from Ice Bolt
       - 15% damage to Ice Bolt
       - 8% damage to Ice Blast
       - 10% damage to Frost Nova
       - 5% damage to Glacial Spike
Verdict-  Another good skill for cold users.  It's a good way to slow a lot of
enemies.  This skill combines damage and crowd control into what is downright
amazing.  Don't be repulsed by the small damage numbers, you should have no
problem connecting several bolt on one enemy, and you get the unseen but
definately working Cold Mastery.
Rating- 10/10

-Cold Mastery-
Pros- Pierces enemy cold resistance
Cons- ?
Verdict-  A must for any cold user.  The fact that it pierces resistances is
unique, but it can't eliminate cold immunity.  Makes cold best for PvP, since
dropping resistances 100% is enough to make even someone with max Cold
resist and dual Ravenfrosts take some damage.
Rating- 10/10

 3. Lightning
-Charaged Bolt-
Pros- You can release a lot of bolts
Cons- Low damage
    - They go in random directions
Bonuses- 6% damage from Lightning
       - 8% damage to Lightning
       - 4% damage to Chain Lightning
Verdict-  Save your skill points.  Only one point here.
Rating- 2/10

-Telekinesis-
Pros- Knockback
Cons- Not very useful
    - Rediculously small damage
Bonuses- Brings the ratio of mana to health exchanged from Energy Shield closer
to an even 1 to 1
Verdict- Ignore it
Rating- 1/10

-Static Field-
Pros- Cuts of 25% of enemy health, not matter how high it is
Cons- You can't actually kill a monster with it.
Verdict-  You must put a point in here, but that's all it needs to work.  Most
people overlook Static Field, don't you be that person.  That health cutting
power, though greatly nerfed in Nightmare and Hell, can't be ignored.
Rating- 10/10

-Nova-
Pros- Ring of damage
    - Damage actually gets pretty good
Cons- The mana cost is too high for it to be your main attack
Bonuses- 8% damage to Lightning
       - 4% damage to Chain Lightning
Verdict-  Some people center their whole character on this skill, but it doesn't
seem like a good idea to me.  I don't recommend investing in this skill.
Rating- 5/10

-Lightning-
Pros- Cuts through enemies
Cons- Damage is very unreliable
Bonuses- 8% damage from Charged Bolt, Nova, and Chain Lightning
       - 4% damage to Chain Lightning
       - 6% damage to Charged Bolt
Verdict-  Good at low levels, but doesn't need more than one point.  With passive
bonuses, that damage gets pretty impressive, but the minimum damage is too low
for it to be very reliable.  For pure lightning users, the damage can get
higher than Chain Lightning, so you may use Lightning instead.
Rating- 9/10

-Chain Lightning-
Pros- Archs through several targets
Cons- Damage is very unreliable
Bonuses- 4% damage from Lightning, Charged Bolt, and Nova
       - 8% damage to Lightning
Verdict-  This is a decent skill but not that good.  It does look pretty cool.
Damage is not as good as Lightning, but the arc thing makes a nice effect.
Rating- 9/10

-Thunderstorm-
Pros- Damage gets pretty good
    - Mana cost stays low
Cons- Only shoots out lightning bolts occasionally
Verdict-  This skill is good for backup damage, but not for a main attack.  You
can easily ignore it.
Rating- 7/10

-Teleport-
Pros- You can teleport all over the place
    - It's plenty effective at level 1
Cons- The mana cost is pretty high... but it's worth it
Verdict-  Teleport only needs 1 point do work.  Putting further points in it is
not a good idea since it only lowers mana cost.  I guess you could put points here
if there was absolutely nothing else to put points into.  Teleport is great for
PvP or for finding boss monsters quickly when doing runs on PvM.
Rating- 10/10

-Energy Shield-
Pros- A percentage of your damage goes to mana instead of vitality
Cons- You have to get hit for it to work
Bonuses- Points in Telekinesis lower the amount of damage that goes to mana
Verdict-  Another change, and hopfully this one is right...
What energy shield does is take some physical damage and convert it to mana damage.
To start out the ratio of physical:mana damage is around 1:2.  So if you took 100
damage and Energy Sheild was at 50% you would take 50 physical damage and 100 mana
damage (50x2).  However, putting points in Telekinesis moves the ratio closer to
a 1:1 exchange.  At 1:1, a 100 damage attack at a 50% Energy Shield would take
50 physical damage and 50 mana damage.
Rating- 8/10
Thanks to Chad Pautler, and some other random people who have helped me clear up the
confusion around this skill.

-Lighning Mastery-
Pros- Increased lightning damage
Cons- ?
Verdict-  A must have for all lightning users.
Rating- 10/10

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

 C.  BARBARIAN
Barbarians are the thick skinned, thick skulled warriors.  They run into battles
with various types of weapons, swinging like crazy.  Barbarians are probably the
easiest characters for beginners, but it is requires lots of luck an skill to
truly master the Barbarian.  The Barbarian skill trees are:  War Cries, Combat
Masteries, and Combat Skills.  The Barbarian's class specific item is their own
line of special helms.  Each one, in addition to being pretty cool looking,  can
add to Barbarian skill levels.  There are many different Barbarian builds: dual
wielding, single wielding, or throwing, each with a different weapon mastery.
You really can't go wrong.  It's hard to have a barbarian that won't get you
through at least Normal.  Surviving in Hell difficulty is what sets a real
Barbarian apart from an inferior one.

Good Builds for Barbarians:

1.  Dual Wielding- Holding two weapons.  Swords are most common.  You focus on the
skill Frenzy, which is designed for dual wielders.  Also you need more points in
Iron Skin and Natural Resistance to make up for the loss of a shield.

2.  Whirlwind (Cookie Cutter attack)-  Whirlwind is a very powerful crowd control
skill and can do tons of damage even to a single monster.  The down side is it
costs tons of mana.  This can be okay if you have a lot of mana leech since you
get so many hits you can just leech it back.  I've never done this build, but I'd
imagine you'd want 1 very powerful weapon instead of two.

3.  Concentrator- Uses sword and shield.  Concentrators stress defense over offense.
By using concentrate along with warcries, you character becomes near invincible.
Gamefaqs.com has a really good Concentrator guide if you want to try this build.

4. Berserker- This build is for those who love to get beaten like a punching bag.
Berserk lets you deal out insane damage with a good AR boost that is pure magic,
almost unresistable.  The down side is than defense drops to 0.  Pretty much every
attack will hit you.  I think blocking from a shield still works normally, so given
a shield you have a chance to survive.  Start pumping that vitality.

Starting Stats:
Strength- 30
Dexterity- 20
Vitality- 25 (each point gives 4 to life and 1 to stamina)
Energy- 10 (each point gives 1 to mana)
Life- 55 (2 points at each level up)
Mana- 10 (1 point at each level up)
Stamina- 91 (1 point at each level up)

Target Stats for Barbarians:
Strength- 200+
Dexterity- 150
Vitality- 200+
Energy- 10

Early on you should pump strength, but once you get to where you can hold pretty
much all equipment, you should start putting more into Dexterity.  Once your
dex gets where you want it just pump strength and vitality all you want.  Energy
points are not necessary, you should instead rely on mana leech.  The stats are
similar for a Whirlwind Barb, unless you want to go up to about 30 on Energy, but
that really is pretty much a waste of points.  A Sword and Shield Barb doesn't
need as much strength or vitality and should but some more points in dex to assure
that the chance to block stays high, since that is the point of the shield, is it
not?

An overview of Barbarian skills:
 1. Warcries

-Howl-
Pros- Sends enemies running
Cons- ?
Bonuses- 6% damage to Warcry
       - 10% damage to Berserk
Verdict-  A good skill, but not a great one.  It does its job with 1 point.
Rating- 5/10

-Find Potion-
Pros- You can get more potions
Cons- Chance starts very low
Verdict-  You don't have to put points here, but you can if you want to.  Most of the
other level 1 skills are a lot more useful, so you may not have a skill point to put
here.
Rating- 3/10

-Taunt-
Pros- Can bring ranged and fleeing enemies to you
    - Damage and defense reduction
    - Can pull enemies off party member taking a beating
Cons- Doesn't lower attack and defense rating much until higher levels
Bonuses- 8% damage to Frenzy
       - 6% damage to Warcry
Verdict-  Do you really want more enemies to beat up on you?  I don't advise anyone
to invest heavily in this skill.  It has its uses, so if it happens to be a pre-req
for something else, you may get some enjoyment from it.
Rating- 4/10

-Shout-
Pros- Improves defense
Cons- Short duration
Bonuses- +5 seconds duration from Battle Orders
       - +5 seconds duration from Battle Command
       - +5 seconds duration to Battle Orders
       - +5 seconds duration to Battle Command
Verdict-  The duration is really short but it improves you defense a lot (100% at level
1, 290% max).  A few points in here will help you out when you're surrounded by enemies
or going into a boss fight.  In 1.10, points into Battle Orders and Battle Command can
boost the duration, making the skill much more useful.
Rating- 10/10

-Find Item-
Pros- More items
Cons- Low chance to succeed until higher levels
Verdict-  Once again, you may want to invest in here, but you don't have to.  Once you
don't have anything else to put points into, you can but them here.
Rating- 4/10

-Battle Cry-
Pros- Lowers enemy's defense
    - Lowers enemy's damage
Cons- Short duration
Bonuses- 6% damage to Warcry
Verdict-  Another pretty useful skill.  The duration does max out at just under a
minute, but who says you have to max it?  Five points gives it a duration of 21.6
seconds, which is plenty of time to get a lot of use out of it.
Rating- 7/10

-Battle Orders-
Pros- More life
    - More mana
    - More stamina
Cons- ?
Bonuses- +5 seconds duration from Shout
       - +5 seconds duration from Battle Command
       - +5 seconds duration to Shout
       - +5 seconds duration to Battle Command
Verdict-  Battle Orders is EXTREMELY useful in improving your Hell survivability.
With it you can increase your health and mana by rediculous levels, and with
enough points in the synergies it can last a very long time.  A must have for all
Barbarians.
Rating- 10/10

-Grim Ward-
Pros- Repels enemies
Cons- You need a corpse
Verdict-  It's not that good of a skill.  I say you could just use Howl, a level
1 skill, and get the same effect.
Rating- 4/10

-Battle Command-
Pros- Higher skill levels
Cons- Low duration
Bonuses- +5 seconds duration from Shout
       - +5 seconds duration from Battle Orders
       - +5 seconds duration to Shout
       - +5 seconds duration to Battle Orders
Verdict-  This is a great skill for partys.  It only needs one point to max
effectiveness, then it can grow off of duration bonuses from Shout and
Battle Orders, which you probably have points in already.
Rating- 10/10

-Warcry-
Pros- Stuns
    - Magic damage
Cons- Low damage
Bonuses- 6% damage from Howl
       - 6% damage from Taunt
       - 6% damage from Battle Cray
       - 5% stun duration to Stun
Verdict-   This skill is not used very often.  Most people don't have the spare
points.  If guess if you wanted to you could invest here.
Rating- 5/10

 2. Combat Masteries

-Masteries-
Pros- More damage
    - More attack rating
    - Chance for critical hits
Cons- Only works for a specific weapon
Verdict-  There are six masteries:  Sword, Axe, Mace, Pole-arm, Throwing, and Spear.
Sword mastery is the best since there are more kinds of swords, they have good
damage and speed, and the unique swords are much better.  I don't suggest going with
Spear, Pole-arm, or Throwing mastery since you can't get them for level six, and they
aren't very good weapons.
Rating-Sword- 10/10
      -Axe- 9/10
      -Mace- 7/10
      -Throwing- 6/10
      -Spear/Pole Arm- 5/10

-Increased Stamina-
Pros- More stamina
Cons- ?
Verdict-  Barbarians already have a lot of stamina, but a point here won't hurt.  No
more than 1 point is necessary.
Rating- 10/10

-Iron Skin-
Pros- More defense
Cons- ?
Verdict-  This skill should definately get some points.  Put a point in here when you
just can't take all the damage.
Rating- 10/10

-Increased Speed-
Pros- More speed
Cons- ?
Verdict-  This is useful, but not that useful.  It gets some serious diminishing returns.
More than 4 points in here is a complete waste.  1 point, however, is highly suggested.
Rating- 10/10

-Natural Resistance-
Pros- More resistance
Cons- ?
Verdict-  This is great if you don't hold a sheild, and if you do you should be able to
max you resistances pretty easily.  Five points gives you +40 resist all, which is plenty.
Rating- 10/10

 3. Combat Skills

-Bash-
Pros- More damage
    - More attack rating
    - Knockback
Cons- ?
Bonuses- 5% damage from Stun
       - 5% attack rating bonus from Concentrate
       - 10% damage to Double Swing
       - 8% damage to Stun
       - 5% damage to Concentrate
Verdict-  There are much better skills to come.  Put in 1 point and you might use it when
you're in a pinch.
Rating- 5/10

-Leap-
Pros- You can get in or out of a crowd of monster
Cons- ?
Bonuses- 10% damage to Leap Attack
Verdict-  One point makes it plenty useful.  Leave it at that.
Rating- 5/10

-Double Swing-
Pros- You get two quick attacks
    - Better attack rating
Cons- No increased damage
Bonuses- 10% damage from Bash
       - 8% damage to Frenzy
       - 8% damage to Double Throw
Verdict-  There are better things to come. One point here.
Rating- 6/10

-Stun-
Pros- Stuns
    - Adds to attack rating
Cons- No increased damage
Bonuses- 8% damage from Bash
       - 5% Attack Rating from Concentrate
       - 5% stun duration from Warcry
       - 5% damage to Bash
Verdict-  Just good as a synergy.  Leave it alone.
Rating- 5/10

-Double Throw-
Pros- You can throw two weapons
    - Better attack rating
Cons- No increased damage
Bonuses- 8% damage from Double Swing
Verdict-  Good if you are a thrower, pointless if you're not.
Rating- 10/10 for a thrower

-Leap Attack-
Pros- Much better damage
    - Better attack rating
    - Works from a distance
Cons- High mana cost for a barb
Bonuses- 10% damage from Leap
Verdict-  For those who insist on making a Leaper, this really is a very powerful skill.
It works a bit awkwardly, but otherwise you can make a character with it.
Rating- 10/10

-Concentrate-
Pros- Increases damage
    - Increases attack rating
    - Increases defense
Cons- ?
Bonuses- 5% damage from Bash
       - 10% damage from Battle Orders
       - 1% magic damage from Berserk
Verdict-  This is good because it is both offensive and defensive.  A Concentrator can
become very powerful with good equipment.
Rating- 10/10

-Frenzy-
Pros- Increased damage
    - Increased attack rating
    - Increased attack speed
    - Increased walk/run speed
Cons- The increased walk/run speed makes you insanely fast, sometime getting kind of
annoying
Bonuses- 8% damage from Double Swing
       - 8% damage from Taunt
       - 1% magic damage from Berserk
Verdict-  This is a key skill for a dual wielding Barbarians.  It should replace the
basic attack as your main form of offense.  Also, you can gain a small amount of
magic damage from Berserk, which is fairly helpful.
Rating- 10/10

-Whirlwind-
Pros- Hits enemies a lot, usually dicing through crowds
    - At level 2 and above, improves attack rating
    - At level 8 and above, improves damage
Cons- Starts out with lowered damage
    - Mana cost is extremely high, far too high to have this as your only attack.
Verdict-  The mana cost is just to high.  You really need to back this up with
another skill like Concentrate or Frenzy.
Rating- 10/10

-Berserk-
Pros- Increased attack rating
    - MAGIC DAMAGE!!!
Cons- Lowers defense to zero.  That's right, zero.
Bonuses- 10% damage from Howl
       - 10% damage from Shout
       - 1% magic damage to Concentrate
       - 1% magic damage to Frenzy
Verdict-  This is a GREAT way for a Barbarian to get some magic damage.  Magic
damage is much needed for Barbarians as a way to deal with physical immunes.
You defense is lowered to 0, but it only lasts a few seconds.  Defense only
effects chance to hit, not actual damage, so a Barbarian with high vitality
will be fine.
Rating- 10/10
NOTE:  Thanks to Laureate D for the info.

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

 D. AMAZON
The Amazon is a character that can be made in two entirely different ways:
the Bowazon, and the Spearazon/Javezon.  Both require different skills and
stats.  The skill trees for the Amazon are:  Bow and Crossbow, Spear and
Javelin, and Passive and Magic.  The Bow and Crossbow tree can add fire and
ice to your arrows, as well as fire some special arrows.  The Spear and Javelin
tree adds thunder and poison to your attacks and has some power attacks.
The Passive and Magic tree contains some staple skills for all Amazons.
The class specific weapons for Amazons are special, cool looking bows,
javelins, and spears.  They usually come with +skill levels to an entire
skill tree.

Good builds for Amazons:
1. Bowazon- Uses bows or crossbows.  My personal favorite.  Strafe is the best
offense, along with backup from Freezing Arrow, Multiple Shot, and Guided Arrow.
2. Javazon- Uses javelins.  Javelins can be used in both ranged and melee
combat, but the damage is usually much better ranged.
3. Spearazon- Uses spears or polearms.  They fall almost into the same class
as Barbarians in that they focus on physical damage, but they lack the cool
combat skills.  These aren't used very much.

Starting stats:
Strength- 20
Dexterity- 25
Vitality- 20 (each point gives 3 to life and 1 to stamina)
Energy- 15 (each point gives 1.5 to mana)
Life- 50 (2 points per level)
Mana- 15 (1.5 points per level)
Stamina- 84 (1 point per level)

Goal stats for Bowazons:
Strength- 110, or 134 if you honestly think you can get a Windforce
Dexterity- 250+
Vitality- 150+
Energy- 15
Dexterity is very important for Bowazons since bow damage is determined by you
dex.  Vitality isn't that important since you don't get hit that much.  You just
need enough to soak up a few hits.  You can get more vitality if you need it by
finding items with +life.  110 strength will get you the Buriza-do Kyanon which
is a plenty good bow for anyone, but if you really think you can get a Windforce
then go on up to 134.

Goal stats for Javazons:
Strength- 110
Dexterity- 170+
Vitality- 200+
Energy- 15
Javazon's don't need that much strength either, but 110 should let you wear some
pretty good equipment.  You should pump dex so you can hit things more accurately
and vitality need to be high since you have to go melee sometimes.

Goal stats for Spearazons:
Strength- 170+
Dexterity- 150
Vitality- 190+
Energy- 15
The Spearazon has more Barbarian styled stats, but you need more dex because none
of your skills give that good of a dex bonus and because the Amazon specific spears
and pikes have higher dex requirements.

An overview of Amazon skills:

 1. Passive and Magic

-Inner Sight-
Pros- Lights up enemies
    - Lowers defense
Cons- It lowers by a number of points, rather that a percent of the defense, so
      the defense drop becomes pointless after Act I.
    - Starts with a low duration
Verdict-  This is a pretty bad skill.  More than 1 point here would be a waste.
Rating- 2/10

-Critical Strike-
Pros- More critical hits
Cons- ?
Verdict-  This is a great skill no matter what kind of Amazon you are.  Put enough
points here to put it around 50%.  Doing double damage on half of your attacks
is very useful.
Rating- 10/10

-Dodge-
Pros- You can dodge attacks
Cons- You have to be standing still
Verdict-  This is a good skill to have.  I don't recommend a ton of points, though.
Two will be plenty for a Bowazon, Javezons and Spearazons could go up to 5 if they
really wanted to, but I'd still stay stick with 2.
Rating- 8/10

-Slow Missile-
Pros- Slows enemy missles
Cons- You still have to dodge them
Verdict-  This is a great skill for Bowazons, since missles are about the only thing
that hit you a lot.  Whenever you're surrounded by spell slinging monsters or some
archers, this makes them a lot less dangerous.
Rating- 7/10

-Avoid-
Pros- You can aviod ranged attacks
Cons- You have to be standing still
Verdict-  This is more useful for Bowazons then for Spear and Javazons, since ranged
attacks are about the only thing a Bowazon has to worry about.  Two or three points
is enough, though.
Rating- 8/10

-Penetrate-
Pros- More attack rating
Cons- ?
Verdict-  Put at least 1 point in here for an immediate 35% increase in Attack
Rating, and you can put more if you find yourself having trouble hitting monsters.
Rating- 10/10

-Decoy-
Pros- Distracts monsters
Cons- It has the same amount of health as you, so it dies pretty quick.  It nice
to invest in to increase the tanking power of your Valkyrie.
Bonuses- 20% life to Valkyrie
Verdict-  Save the points for Valkyrie.
Rating- 5/10

-Evade-
Pros- Cance to dodge just about everything
Cons- ?
Verdict-  This is much better than the other two evasion skills.  You can dodge
just about anything, standing still or moving.  You can even jump out of the way
of things like firewalls and poison clounds.  Two to four points is good enough
here, since the returns go way down after that.  Just let stuff with +skill
levels take it up higher.
Rating- 10/10

-Valkyrie-
Pros- Has a ton of life
    - Gets an attack rating, damage, and defense bonus
    - Gets your bonuses from Dodge, Evade, Avoid, and Critical Strike
Cons- ?
Bonuses- 20% life from Decoy
Verdict-  You may not want to max it, just to keep the mana cost in a low range
so you can recast it in battle if you have to, but at least 5-10 points would
be ideal.  Also, the Valkyrie has gotten stronger in v 1.10 and the mana cost
is lowered.  I am also pretty sure she uses the damage from your weapon in
addition to the damage bonus, so she can actaully help you out in battle more.
I shudder to think of the power of a great Spearazon's Valkyrie.
Rating- 10/10

-Pierce-
Pros- Lets your arrows go through targets
Cons- Some bows do this already.
Verdict-  This can be very important or pointless, depending on what bow you
use.  The Buriza, for example, already does that 100% of the time.  If you use
any other bow, however, you'd want about 5 points or more.
Rating- 10/10

 2. Bow and Crossbow Skills

-Magic Arrow-
Pros- Fires and arrow without taking one from your stack
    - At level 13, they cost no mana
Cons- They suck
Verdict-  They are barely better than a regular arrow, and they cost mana
at lower levels.  More than one point here would be pointless.
Rating- 1/10

-Fire Arrow-
Pros- Adds fire damage
Cons- Doesn't add much damage
Bonuses- 12% damage from Exploding Arrow
       - 12% damage to Exploding Arrow
       - 5% average damage/second to Immolation Arrow
Verdict- If you want a fire arrow, save the points for Immolation arrow.
Rating- 2/10

-Cold Arrow-
Pros- Adds cold damage
    - Slows enemies
Cons- Arrows do half damage
Bonuses- 12% damage from Ice Arrow
       - 8% damage to Ice Arrow
       - 12% damage to Freezing Arrow
Verdict- There are much better cold arrows.  Save your points.
Rating- 2/10

-Multiple Shot-
Pros- Hits enemies in a 120 degree arch in front of you.
Cons- Only hits an enemy once
    - does 3/4 normal damage
Verdict-  This is a good skill but not quite as good as Strafe.  You can
use it if you want but you should stop at about 5-10 points if you do because
after that the mana cost gets to high and you'll shooting more arrows than
you really need to.
Rating- 8/10

-Exploding Arrow-
Pros- Adds fire damage
    - Has an explosion radius
Cons- The fire damage isn't that good.
Bonuses- 12% damage to Fire Arrow
       - 12% damage from Fire Arrow
       - 10% damage to Immolation Arrow
Verdict-  Once again, if you want a fire arrow, wait for Immolation Arrow.
Rating- 4/10

-Ice Arrow-
Pros- Adds ice damage
    - Slows target
Cons- The cold damage isn't that good.
Bonuses- 12% damage from Cold Arrow
       - 8% damage to Ice Arrow
       - 5% freeze length to Freezing Arrow
Verdict- Save those ice arrow points, because you'll need them for Freezing
arrow.
Rating- 4/10

-Guided Arrow-
Pros- Seeks out enemies
    - Gets a damage bonus
    - Mana cost goes down with more points
Cons- Has limited use
Verdict- This is a great skill for certain times.  You only really need this
when you're fighting teleporting imps or quick enemies like Fetishes.  The mana
cost goes down as you add points, so eventually this can become your main
form of attacking.
Rating- 9/10

-Strafe-
Pros- Attacks all the surrounding targets
    - Can hit a monster more than once, but only if you are aiming at another
      monster directly behind it
Cons- 3/4 damage
Verdict-  This is great when you have monsters coming at you from all sides,
because it shoots arrows all over the place.  After 6 points you just get
increased damage.
Rating-  10/10

-Immolation Arrow-
Pros- Adds fire damage
    - Adds a burning explosion
Cons- High mana cost
Bonuses- 5% damage/second from Fire Arrow
       - 10% damage from Exploding Arrow
Verdict-  Freezing arrow is a lot stronger and has the freezing effect, so if you
want an elemental arrow, I'd suggest going with Freezing Arrow instead.  Don't
invest in this skill unless you just really want it.
Rating- 7/10

-Freezing Arrow-
Pros- Adds a lot of cold damage
    - Has a damage radius
    - Freezes targets
Cons- High mana cost
Bonuses- 12% damag from Cold Arrow
       - 5% freeze length from Ice Arrow
Verdict-  You don't have to have an elemental arrow, but if you want one, this
is the one to go for.  The mana gets to high to use a lot, but it can kick in
in the clutch.  In v. 1.10 the mana cost has been lowered so you definately
want points in this skill.
Rating- 10/10

 3. Javelin and Spear Skills

NOTE 2:  Just to save time and space, I'll go ahead and say that the 5 Lightning
Javelin skills:  Power Strike, Lightning Bolt, Charged Strike, Lightning Strike,
and Lightning Fury, all give each other bonuses.  Here is how they work out:
Power Strike- 10% damage from Lightning Skills
Lighning Bolt- 3% damage from Lightning Skills
Charged Strike- 10% damage from Lightning Skills
Lightning Strike- 8% damage from Lightning Skills
Lightning Fury- 1% damage from Lightning Skills

-Jab-
Pros- Strikes several times
Cons- Damage decreases with each strike
Verdict-  Jab is an efficent form of physical attack for Javazons.  It attacks
much quiker, increasing your damage potential.  Good for anyone who needs a
standard attack
Rating - 9/10

-Power Strike-
Pros- Adds lightning damage to your attacks
Cons- Doesn't add much damage
Verdict-  The lighning spells get much more powerful.  Save those points.
Rating- 3/10

-Poison Javelin-
Pros- Adds poison damage to the javelin
    - Leaves a cloud of poison behind it
Cons- The poison damage isn't that good
Bonuses- 12% damage from Plague Javelin
       - 10% damage to Plague Javelin
Verdict-  The poison spells get better too.  Don't invest here.  The massive
bonuses it get from Plague Javelin make for impressive damage.
Rating- 7/10

-Impale-
Pros- Increases damage
    - Increases attack rating
Cons- Tears up your weapon
Verdict-  This skill is good... for me to poop on!  Nah, just kidding.  It can
be okay if you've got the durability to spare and want some major damage.  Don't
use it all the time, though.  If you have an ethereal Breath of the Dying Elite
Spear sitting around, or anything else that is indestructible, you can use impale
without fear of breaking the weapon.  Therefore you can do rediculous amounts of
damage, but only at high levels with very elite equipment.
Rating- 5/10

-Lightning Bolt-
Pros- Lightning dmaage
Cons- Low damage
Verdict- Its like Power Strike, but for thrown Javelins.  In other words, it sucks.
Rating- 4/10

-Charged Strike-
Pros- Adds lightning damage
    - Releases charged bolts on striking
Cons- Lightning Fury is better
Verdict-  This can be good for crowd control, but better skills are coming.
Keep your points.
Rating- 5/10

-Plague Javelin-
Pros- Adds a lot of poison damage
    - Puts a trail of poison behind it
    - Explodes on impact
Cons- The mana gets pretty high
Bonuses- 12% damage to Poison Javelin
       - 10% damage from Poison Javelin
Verdict-  This seems like a sweet skill, but there has to be something I'm
missing or this wouldn't be a level 18 skill.  I'm suspicous, but it still does
seem like a darn good skill.  Lightning Fury looks better, though.  Damage with
the bonuses from Posion Javelin gets pretty nice.
Rating- 8/10

-Fend-
Pros- More damage
    - More attack rating
    - Attacks all surrounding targets
Cons- ?
Verdict-  This is a skill for the more spear oriented Amazons, but still is
pretty sweet looking.
Rating- 9/10

-Lightning Strike-
Pros- Adds chain lightning
    - The lightning can jump all over the place
Cons- Lightning Fury is better
Verdict-  This is okay, and pretty cool looking with the lightning jumping
everywhere.  You probably want to max this and Lightning Fury for extra damage
to melee and thrown Javelins.
Rating- 10/10

-Lightning Fury-
Pros- Adds lightning damage
    - Releases charged bolts on impact (Maxes at 21!)
Cons- Mana cost to high for it to be your main attack
Verdict-  This seems to me that this is the best Spear/Javelin skill, and also
it seems that the tree is much more in favor of Javelin users.  If you are a
Javazon, this is the skill to have.
Rating- 10/10

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 E.  NECROMANCER
Necromancer, the dark mage.  His powers are derived from dark magic and
usually involve dead things.  Necromancers are potentially
very powerful.  They are, in my opinion as well as the opinion of many
others, the hardest character to use, however in v 1.10 I think that title
has shifted to the Sorceress.  His skill trees are:  Poison and Bone,
Summoning and Control, and Curses. The Poison and Bone skill tree uses
(SUPRISE!!!) poison and bones to attack your foes.  The Summoning and
Control tree lets him summon his minions.  He has two main types, golems
and skeletons.  The Curses tree uses a variety of curses to lower your
enemy's effectiveness in battle.  His class specific equipment is a
Necromancer line of shields.  The defense isn't that great, but they
usually have some cool additional magic abilities, as well as the fact
that they are shrunken heads.  Also, wands can come with +skills for a
Necromancer.  Most Necromancers hold a wand, however a dagger is more useful
for the Poisonmancer since it lets them use Poison Dagger

Some good builds for Necromancers:
1. Bonemancer- This build comes to light in v 1.10.  Combining the bonuses
from Bone Wall, Bone Prison, Bone Spear, and Bone Spirit, these skills
become extremely powerful.  Teeth also grants a bonus, but it should be
pumped last, if at all, because it has little practical use in combat.  Also,
as a side effect, Bone Armor absorbs hundreds of damage with only 1 point.
Bone Spear is the offense of choice since it's cheaper, pierces, and can get
much stronger than Bone Spirit because of larger synergy bonuses.

2. Poisonmancer- This also is created as a result of v 1.10.  With the
bonuses from Poison Dagger, Poison Explosion, and Poison Nova, these three
skills do a ton of damage for only 60 skill points.  There is a lot of
equipment that increases poison damage and lowers poison resists that you
can exploit.  Combine that with a maxed Lower Resist and you can do some
damage.  The main worry is that there are a LOT of poison immunes.  Good
luck.

3. Summoner- Summoners use the power of summoned creatures to do their
fighting.  Combining Skeleton Soldiers and some Skeleton Magi makes for a
numerous and powerful army.  My choice of golem is Clay Golem since it has
the highest health potential and can slow surrounding enemies.  You can
combine your minions with a Might aura merc and Amplify damage, or you can
go for Thorns and Iron Maiden.

Starting stats:
Strength- 15
Dexterity- 25
Vitality- 15 (1 point gives 2 to life and 1 to stamina)
Energy- 25 (1 point gives 2 to mana)
Life- 45 (1.5 per level)
Mana- 25 (2 per level)
Stamina- 79 (1 per level)

Goal stats for Bonemancer:
Strength- 110
Dexterity- 25
Vitality- 200+
Mana- 150+
110 strength is enough to wear the entire Trang-Oul's set that lets a
Necromancer turn into a vampire.  Dexterity is pointless since you don't ever
use your weapon.  High mana is necessary since Bone Spears can suck down your
mana points.

Goal stats for Poisonmancer:
Strength- 110
Dexterity- 75+
Vitality- 220+
Mana- 100+
Poisonmancers take less mana but need a lot more dexterity if they plan to
use Poison Dagger at all.  Since they will have to get close to enemies more
they also need more vitality.  The Wizardspike  is the weapon to have and it
takes 75 dex to hold.

Goal stats for Summoner:
Strength- 110
Dexterity- 25
Vitality- 240+
Mana- 80+
Summoning doesn't take that much mana.  Especially when combined with +mana
items, you should have little problems with a lower energy value.  Strength
is enough for Trang-Oul's.  The rest can go into vitality.

 1.Summoning Spells
NOTE:  All golems give bonuses to the other golems.  To save time and space
I'll go ahead and list them:
Clay Golem: +20 to Attack Rating to golems
Blood Golem: +5% life to golems
Iron Golem: +35% defense to golems
Fire Golem: +6% damage to golems

-Raise Skeleton-
Pros- You get someone to help you out in battle
    - You can get a whole lot of them
Cons- They are inherently disposable and only strong in numbers
    - They require a corpse to cast
Verdict-  Skeletons have gotten a beef up in v 1.10.  With good +skill equipment
your army of the undead can be composed of powerful killing machines.  While
skeletons are inherently disposable, a Summonmancer is probably one of the most
powerful PvM builds if you don't mind VERY slow killing.
Rating- 10/10

-Skeleton Mastery-
Pros- More life for skeletons and revived monsters
    - More damage for skeletons and revived monsters
Cons- ?
Verdict-  You need this one or your skeletons will suck bad.  It also benfits
revives.
Rating- 10/10

-Clay Golem-
Pros- Highest life of all the golems
    - Slows enemies
Cons- His damage is really low
Verdict-  For a tank this is the golem you want.  He has much better life and
slows enemies.  Damage is sad though...
Rating-  10/10

-Golem Mastery-
Pros- Increases golem life
    - Increases golem speed
Cons- ?
Verdict-  A great one for all golem users.  The walk/run speed increase is no
big deal, but the health increase maxes at 400%.
Rating- 10/10

-Raise Skeletal Mage-
Pros- Have elemental damage
    - If it is a cold mage, it can slow your enemies
Cons- Very low defense
    - You need a corpse to summon one
Verdict-  Mages are a nice way to add magic damage to your army.  Though you
do not actually see how strong their attacks are, I've seen a chart and its
not that much.  But elemental damage is elemental damage.
Rating- 7/10

-Blood Golem-
Pros- Can steal life for him and you
Cons- If he gets hurt, you get hurt
Verdict-  I'm not sure if the Blood Golem/Iron Maiden bug/bonus (whatever)
got fixed, but even so Blood Golems suck.
Rating- 5/10

-Iron Golem-
Pros- Can be extremely powerful
Cons- He is only as good as the item you give up to summon him.
Verdict-  He is kind of a mixed bag.  He can be really strong, but you only
get what you give.  I guess if you find some cool power weapon you can't use
you could make a pretty sweet golem.  Also, Iron Golems have a natural
Thorns ability, so they return physical melee damage, maxing out at
returning 420%.  These can be the best golems, but its really all about
what item you give up to summon them.
Rating- 8/10

-Summon Resist-
Pros- More resistance for summoned monsters
Cons- ?
Verdict-  You should put about 6 points in this skill just to give them an even
+50 resistance to all elements.
Rating- 10/10

-Fire Golem-
Pros- Absorbs fire damage
Cons- Costs a ton of mana to summon
Verdict-  Iron Golem always seemed better to me, but I can think of some times
when a Fire Golem would have its uses, such as against Flayer Shaman and their
Inferno breath.  Its health is slightly better than Iron Golem's but its damage
is no where near what an Iron Golem could do if made out of a halfway decent
weapon.  Also the mana cost maxes at 240.  I doubt you'd be able to recast him
a lot in the heat of battle.
Rating- 9/10

-Revive-
Pros- Revives monsters you've killed to fight for you
    - Monsters can become much stronger than the original version
Cons- They only last 3 minutes
    - They tend to be "dumber" than your other summons
Verdict-  Revives are not as smart as skeletons and golems, but they can
definately turn the tide in battle.  Only put enough points in Revive for
the number of Revives your mana pool can support.
Rating- 10/10

 2. Curses

-Amplify Damage-
Pros- You do 100% more damage to enemies
Cons- ?
Verdict-  This is actually one of my favorite curses.  More damage is always
welcome.  It does stay at 100% more damage, but with more points you can
increase the radius and duration.  Like most curses, if you choose to use
it it only needs 2-4 points to be fully effective.  However, if you're
using the Bonemancer or Poisonmancer it won't work since it only amplifies
non-magic damage.
Rating- 10/10

-Dim Vision-
Pros- The monsters can't see you
Cons- I think it only works on monsters who haven't seen you already
Verdict-  This is a good curse to distract the monsters.  It can really get
some monsters off your back.  I think this is a good curse to have.  Two
to four points here if you want them.
Rating- 6/10

-Weaken-
Pros- Lowers target damage by 33%
Cons- If you want to use Iron Maiden, it won't be as effective since the
monsters do less damage
Verdict-  This one really isn't that useful for a Necromancer.  One point
here will be good to take the bite off some really powerful monsters, like
Hephasto the Armorer, or any other Cursed/Extra Strong unique.
Rating- 7/10

-Iron Maiden-
Pros- Monster return damage to themselves
Cons- Only works with physical damage
    - They have to do damage to recieve damage
Verdict-  This is a pretty sweet skill.  Iron Maiden is one of the more
useful curses in the game.  I'd suggest it for anyone.  It can work for
when enemies hit Bone Walls/Prisons/Armor too, letting them damage themselves
without actually hurting you.
Rating- 9/10

-Terror-
Pros- Makes enemies run away
Cons- ?
Verdict-  This will get some enemies off your back.  This is a good curse
to use when you're in trouble.  One point will make it good for casual
use.
Rating- 9/10

-Confuse-
Pros- Causes monsters to attacks the closest target
Cons- That target can still be you
    - Doesn't always work right, but still it messes up the monster's AI
Verdict-  This is another good skill to distract monsters and make them
hurt each other.  There are better curses, but you can use this one if you
want.
Rating- 7/10

-Life Tap-
Pros- You can get health back for all the damage you do
    - This can heal your minions
Cons- ?
Verdict-  This is a good way to keep you and your minions healthy.  Invest
in this curse for when you need some healing.
Rating- 7/10

-Attract-
Pros- Makes monsters beat up some other monster
    - Pulls monsters off you
Cons- ?
Verdict-  This is another good distraction curse.  Use this and the monsters
will do the work for you.  Fun when you combine it with Amplify Damage or
Iron Maiden
Rating- 10/10

-Decrepify-
Pros- Slows enemies
    - Has the effect of Amplify Damage and Weaken
Cons- Doesn't last long
Verdict-  This is a pretty sweet curse, but it has a very short duration.
Slowing down enemies make them easier targets for Bone Spirits and the
Amplify Damage and Weaken effect isn't too bad either.  The only down side
is the very short duration.
Rating- 10/10

-Lower Resist-
Pros- Lowers enemy resistance
    - Your poison skills do tons of damage
Cons- ?
Verdict-  This is a useful curse for most Necromancers.  This will increase
the damage of Bone Spirits and Fire Golems.  With 5 points, the spell
covers a radius of 7.3 yards, lasts 28 seconds, and lowers all resistances
by 47%.  That can really let you dish out some magic damage.
NOTE:  I'm not sure, but in v 1.10 Lower Resist might not work for magic
damage like Bone Spear and Bone Spirit.  This makes it a lot less useful
for the Bonemancers, but it is still very good for a Poisonmancer
Rating- 10/10

 3. Poison and Bone

-Teeth-
Pros- Can fire a lot of teeth (max 21)
Cons- They do very low damage
Bonuses- 15% damage from Bone Wall, Bone Spear, Bone Prison, and Bone
         Spirit
       - 7% damage to Bone Spear
       - 6% damage to Bone Spirit
Verdict-  It may seem to have potential, but it really is a poor skill.
It can do good damage if every single tooth hits, but that would only
happen sometimes if you're lucky and dangerously close to the enemy.
Rating- 3/10

-Bone Armor-
Pros- Takes some damage for you
Cons- When you get further along in the game, the absorbed damage is
pointless
Bonuses- 15% damage absorbed from Bone Wall and Bone Prison
       - 10% life to Bone Wall
       - 8% life to Bone Prison
Verdict-  This is a great skill at lower levels.  You effectively become
invincibe unless a Fallen Shaman launches a fireball at you.  But after a
while it gets less and less effective.  The max of 210 absorbed damage may
seem high, but its really not worth all the skill points.  One point here
is enough.  However, with the passive bonuses you get to Bone Armor from
skills like Bone Wall and Bone Prison that Bonemancers must max, you get
hundreds of damage absorbed for only 1 point in Bone Armor, making it
extremely useful.
Rating- 10/10

-Corpse Explosion-
Pros- Destroys corpses
    - Can do large amounts of damage
    - 1/2 phsical and 1/2 fire damage
Cons- You need a corpse
    - Damage is based on monster's health
Verdict-  This is a great skill for any Necromancer.  It used to be a lot
stronger, but now it's still a powerful skill.  I'd suggest about 5 points
here for anyone, if you can spare them.  After that, it just gets excessive.
If you use Poison Explosion, you don't need this skill.
Rating- 10/10

-Poison Dagger-
Pros- Large and much needed attack rating bonus
    - Poison Damage
Cons- It still can be difficult to hit things.
    - Only works with daggers
Bonuses- 20% damage from Poison Explosion and Poison Nova
       - 15% damage to Poison Explosion
       - 15% damage to Poison Nova
Verdict-  V 1.10 has ushered in a new era for the Daggermancer in the form of
the great Poisonmancer.  With maxed synergies, this skill can do a lot of damage
and has a nice AR bonus.  Standing alone, it is pretty sorry, but with the
other posion skills, it can do great things.
Rating- 3/10 alone, 10/10 for the Poisonmancer

-Bone Wall-
Pros- Puts a barrier between you and the monsters
Cons- Has low life
Bonuses- 10% life from Bone Armor and Bone Prison
       - 15% damage to Teeth
       - 7% damage to Bone Spear
       - 6% damage to Bone Spirit
Verdict-  This skill works alright.  At low level it gets knocked down pretty
quick, and even at max it's only decent, but it is still a good way to get
space between you and monsters.  It works very well in narrow spaces and can
be a lifesaver against enemies with no ranged attacks.  Its one of those things
that has limited uses, but very good ones.
Rating- 6/10

-Bone Spear-
Pros- Passes through enemies
    - Magic damage
Cons- ?
Bonuses- 7% damage from Teeth, Bone Wall, Bone Spirit, and Bone Prison
       - 15% damage to Teeth
       - 6% damage to Bone Spirit
Verdict-  This is a good skill, but don't put a lot of points into it.  Bone
Spirit is a lot better for offense.  It's still a good way to keep your
Necromancer alive for that long road from level 18 to level 30.  Its better
for crowds than Bone Spirit, but not near as much damage.
Rating- 9/10

-Poison Explosion-
Pros- Not dependent on monster health to do damage
    - Low mana cost
    - Can do tons of damage
Cons- Needs a lot of synergies to be good
Bonuses- 15% damage from Poison Dagger and Poison Nova
       - 20% damage to Poison Dagger
       - 10% damage to Poison Nova
Verdict-  For a Poisonmancer, this is the skill you want.  If you just make one
corpse, its Apocolypse time!  Bonemancers should stick to Corpse Explosion unless
they're miserable little mana misers.  The damage potential for a Poisonmancer is
above 20k with good +skill equipment.
Rating- 10/10

-Bone Prison-
Pros- Holds an enemy
    - Mana cost goes down with more points.
Cons- ?
Bonuses- 8% life from Bone Armor and Bone Wall
       - 15% damage absorbed to Bone Armor
       - 10% life to Bone Wall
Verdict-  Arguably better than Bone Wall.  It's a good way to get a momentary
break from an onslaught of monsters.  Make sure you don't cast one around your
merc or minions because they can't get through it and you can't break it
yourself, so they're caught there until the timer expires or a monster breaks
it.  It can also really annoy party members.  If you cast it around some tank
Barb, they're gonna be pretty mad that they can't fight until your bone wall
breaks.
Rating- 6/10

-Bone Spirit-
Pros- High amount of magic damage
Cons- High mana
Bonuses- 6% damage from Teeth, Bone Spear, Bone Prison, and Bone Wall
       - 15% damage to Teeth
       - 7% damage to Bone Spear
Verdict-  Bone Spirits are the heat seeking doom of PvP.  Since their pure
magic damage cannot be resisted, this is a great skill for all modes of play.
Combine this with Bone Spear for great damage to crowds and bosses.
Rating- 10/10

-Poison Nova-
Pros- High damage
    - Good for crowd control
Cons- High mana cost
    - Poison damage doesn't stack
Bonuses- 10% damage from Poison Dagger and Poison Explosion
       - 15% damage to Poison Explosion
       - 20% damage to Poison Dagger
Verdict-  This is a pretty cool skill.  It is very useful for crowd control.
The mana cost stays at an even 20, so it's not too high to use.  The down
side is that poison damage doesn't stack, so if you cast the spell again and
it hits a monster who is already effected, instead of doing the damage for
both the spells, it will just reset the 2 second timer.  Wait before the
effect expires to cast again to get the max effect for the least mana.
Rating- 10/10

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

 F.  DRUID
The Druid derives his power from nature.  He is the "hippie" of the Diablo
II world, only this hippie can turn into a werewolf or summon fire and
brimstone.  He is also my favorite character.  His skill trees are:
Elemental, Shape Shifting, and Summoning.  The Elemental skills either
use fire or hurricanes.  The Shape Shifting tree lets you turn into a
Werewolf or Werebear(?) and has some skills to use while in those forms.
The Summoning tree has animals, spirits, and vines to summon.  The class
specific Druid equipment is some cool animal helms.  They aren't as good
defensively, but can add +skill levels.  A Druid wouldn't be the best
choice for a first time player, but it's your call.

Some good builds for Druids:
1. Werewolf-  Uses the werewolf skill.  The main attack for the werewolf
is Fury, which is very similar to the Paladin's Zeal.  Also you can use
summoning skills.  You can choose between a the one extremely powerful bear,
or the 3 moderately powerful dire wolves.  It is unwise to use elemental
skills with any shapeshifer because you can only use elemental skills in
human form.
2. Werebear-  Uses the werebear skill.  With this you become more of a
tank.  Werebears focus on sheer power rather than speed like the werewolf.
Also you can use and animal companion.  With the summoned bear and an
Act V barbarian mercenary, you become a triple tank team.
3. Windy Druid- Uses Hurricane with backup from Tornado.  Either 3 Dire
wolves or a Bear can tank for you, with a health boost from the Oak Sage.
All in all it makes for a powerful build, but you are horrendously weak
until you get Tornado.

Starting stats:
Strength- 15
Dexterity- 20
Vitality- 25 (each point gives 2 to life and 1 to stamina)
Energy- 20 (each point gives 2 to mana)
Life- 55 (1.5 points per level)
Mana- 20 (2 points per level)
Stamina- 84 (1 point per level)

Goal Stats for Werewolf:
Strength- 225
Dexterity- 120
Vitality- 150+
Energy- 20
The Werewolf skills give big attack rating bonuses so you could go a little
lower that 100 for dex if you wanted to.  The strenght is so high because
the best weapon for a Werewolf/Werebear Druid is the Immortal King's Stone
Crusher Maul which takes 225 strength to hold.  You'll want to pump strength
like crazy at lower levels.

Goal Stats for Werebear:
Strength- 225
Dexterity- 150+
Vitality- 120+
Energy- 20
As you can see its pretty much the same but since the Werebear gives a life
bonus instead of an attack bonus, you need more dex and less vitality.  Once
again the Immortal King's Maul is the weapon of choice.

Goal Stats for Elementalist:
Strength- 115
Dexterity- 20
Vitality- 230+
Energy- 100+
Strength at 115 is good enough to wear the Aldur's Watchtower set, which is
designed for Druids.  Dexterity is useless since you are a spellcaster.
Vitality needs to be high to keep you alive.  Energy is a necessity, but it
doesn't need to be as high as most other spellcasters since most of the better
spells have a long time of effect, giving you some time to restore mana.

An overview of Druid skills:

 1. Elemental
NOTE:  It seems I must withdraw my earlier opinions on the supreme suckiness of
the elemental tree.  V 1.10 has been kind... so very kind...

-Firestorm-
Pros- Low mana cost
Cons- Low damage
Bonuses- 20% damage from Molten Boulder and Fissure
       - 8% damage to Molten Boulder
       - 12% damage to Fissure
       - 7% damage to Armageddon
Verdict-  This skill is pretty sad, but nice for the levels that you'll use it.
With the possible synergy bonuses, damage soars to the realms of decency.
Rating- 5/10

-Molten Boulder-
Pros- Knocks back opponents
Cons- Low damage
Bonuses- 10% damage from Volcano
       - 8% damage from Firestorm
       - 20% damage to Firestorm
       - 12% damage to Volcano
       - 7% damage to Armageddon
Verdict-  Only a moderately useful skill.  It explodes instantly when it hits
a unique monster, instead of knocking them back.  You can use this whenever
you want enemies to get off your back.  This also has some good bonuses to
give, so this is a great choice to come back to and put some points in.
Rating- 5/10

-Arctic Blast-
Pros- Slows enemies
Cons- Burns up mana
    - Low damage
Bonuses- 15% damage from Tornado and Hurricane
Verdict-  I can't imagine why people seem to like this skill.  It sucks big
time.  Don't waste your time.  Necessary for the low level Windy Druid.
Rating- 3/10

-Fissure-
Pros- ?
Cons- Low damage
    - You can't really aim the fissures
Bonuses- 12% damage from Firestorm and Volcano
       - 20% damage to Firestorm
       - 12% damage to Volcano
       - 1 second to Armageddon
Verdict-  This skill is insanely stupid.  The fissures just seem to open up
randomly, rarely doing you any good.  The 1 second bonus to Armageddon is
very notable, however.
Rating- 3/10

-Cyclone Armor-
Pros- Absorbs magic damage
Cons- Doesn't work for poison
Bonuses- 7% damage absorbed from Twister, Hurricane, and Tornado
       - 1 second to Hurricane
       - 15% damage to Arctic Blast
Verdict-  This is one of the few useful elemental skills.  This is a good way
to soak up elemental damage.  This works best for those using the Hurricane sub-
tree, but the Armageddon sub-tree people can get some use too.  Also notable
is the 1 second bonus to Hurricane
Rating- 10/10

-Twister-
Pros- Stuns enemies
Cons- The stun length is very short (.4 seconds)
    - Pathetic damage
Bonuses- 10% damage from Tornado and Hurricane
       - 7% damage absorbed to Cyclone Armor
       - 9% damage to Tornado
       - 7% damage to Hurricane
Verdict-  .4 seconds?  .4 SECONDS!?!  That's just sad!  How can that possibly
be useful?  The damage is laughable also.  This pathetic attack will be the
main offense for a Windy Druid until they get Twister.
Rating- 1/10

-Volcano-
Pros- ?
Cons- Doesn't work very well
    - Low damage
    - High mana cost
Bonuses- 12% damage from Molten Boulder, Fissure, and Armageddon
       - 10% damage to Molten Boulder
       - 12% damage to Fissure
       - 7% damage to Armagedon
Verdict-  This is a pretty sad skill.  It can work to your advantage, but usually
not.  Good for synergies.
Rating- 5/10

-Tornado-
Pros- ?
Cons- ?
Bonuses- 9% damage from Twister and Hurricane
       - 7% damage absorbed to Cyclone Armor
       - 10% damage to Twister
       - 7% damage to Armageddon
Verdict-  There is nothing notable about this skill, but there is also nothing
notably bad.  With synergies it gets decent damage, and since it does physical
damage, it can be used by Windy Druids to combat cold immunes.
Rating- 7/10

-Armageddon-
Pros- Good damage
Cons- The fireballs fall randomly
    - High mana cost
Bonuses- 1 second duration from Fissure
       - 7% damage from Firestorm, Molten Boulder, and Volcano
       - 12% damage to Volcano
Verdict-  Armageddon is a very impressive skill.  However, the only way to make
it useable in Hell is to be fire only.  That means you're screwed against the
plethora of fire immunes.  I'd say stick with the Cold end of the Elemental tree.
Rating- 10/10

-Hurricane-
Pros- Can do good damage
Cons- High mana cost
Bonuses- 1 second duration from Cyclone Armor
       - 7% damage from Twister and Tornado
       - 15% damage to Hurricane
       - 7% damage absorbed to Cyclone Armor
       - 10% damage to Twister
       - 9% damage to Tornado
Verdict-  This is the favored skill of the Windy Druid.  The massive cold damage
it causes backed up by the physical damage Tornadoes make for a powerful build.
Rating- 10/10

 2. Shape Shifting

-Werewolf-
Pros- More life
    - More stamina
    - Attack rating bonus
    - Attack speed bonus
Cons- ?
Verdict-  This is the form of choice if you want to focus on speed.
Rating- 10/10

-Lycanthropy-
Pros- More life when shapeshifted
    - More duration for shapeshifting
Cons- ?
Verdict-  This is a core skill for shapeshifers since it keeps you from reverting
mid battle and gives you more life.  At max it adds 420 seconds transformation time
and along with the standard 40 seconds you can max at over 7 minutes in transformed
state per cast.

-Werebear-
Pros- More life
    - More damage
    - More defense
Cons- ?
Verdict-  This is more for someone who wants to become a tank.
Rating- 10/10

-Feral Rage-
Pros- More damage
    - More attack rating
    - More walk/run speed
    - Steal life
Cons- Only works for werewolfs
Verdict-  This works kind of like an assassin's charge up skill.  The more
hits you make with it, the more life you can steal.  The globe will continue
to circle you for 20 seconds after your last Feral Rage attack, so you can
continue to steal life with normal attacks and even Fury.
Rating- 10/10

-Maul-
Pros- More damage
    - Attack rating bonus
    - Stuns enemies
Cons- One works for werebears
Verdict-  The damage and stun length increase as you get more charges, making
this a very powerful attack for werebears.  In fact, most werebears use this
as their main attack.
Rating- 10/10

-Rabies-
Pros- Poison damage
    - The damage spreads through monsters
    - Attack rating bonus
Cons- High mana cost
    - Only works for werewolves
Verdict-  This is a good skill but don't invest in it.  There is a better one
to come.
Rating- 7/10

-Fire Claws-
Pros- Fire damage
    - Attack rating bonus
Cons- ?
Bonuses- 20% damage from Firestorm, Molten Boulder, Fissure, and Volcano.
Verdict-  You don't NEED this skill, but you can get it if you want it since
eventually you'll have to deal with physical immune monsters.
Rating- 8/10
NOTE:  I didn't mention these bonuses in the elemental tree since it doesn't
really matter that much to an Elementalist.

-Hunger-
Pros- Big life steal
    - Big mana steal
    - Attack rating bonus
Cons- -75% attack damage
Verdict-  This is another skill you don't NEED, but it's nice to have.  You
definately want a point in here if you already have fire claws.  You only need
1 point to get full use of the mana and life stealing ability.
Rating- 8/10

-Shock Wave-
Pros- Stuns enemies
Cons- Low damage
    - Only works for werebears
Verdict-  This skill isn't for the damage, so that doesn't even really matter.
At max the stun length is fabulous (13 seconds).  You can stun a crowd of monsters
and then pick them off one by one before they even know what happened.
Rating- 10/10

-Fury-
Pros- Attack Rating bonus
    - Damage bonus
    - Hits multiple targets (max 5)
Cons- ?
Verdict-  This is the werewolf form of the Zeal attack.  This is the core werewolf
skill.
Rating- 10/10

 3. Summoning
NOTE:  Druid summons don't get used much, and for good reason.  They take a lot of
points to be effective, seriously detracting from your investments in the
Shapeshifting or Elemental tree.
-Raven-
Pros- Cannot be hit by anything
Cons- Cannot take damage for you
    - Low damage
    - Disappear after a certain number of hits
Vedict-  These really suck.  I've never seen much use for them.  Their damage is
just so low its pathetic.
Rating- 1/10

-Poison Creeper-
Pros- Poisons enemies
Cons- Low damage
    - Low life
Verdict-  These are pretty sad.  Only put a point here if you want a Carrion Vine.
Rating- 0/10

-Oak Sage-
Pros- More life for your party
Cons- The spirit has low health
Verdict-  This is a very useful spirit, but I usually go with Hearth of Wolverine
simply because it has a lot more health.  This is the best choice for an
Elementalist.
Rating- 10/10

-Summon Spirit Wolf-
Pros- You can summon up to 5
    - They can teleport
    - Passive attack rating and defense bonus to all wolves and bears
Cons- Low life
    - Low damage
Verdict-  Dire Wolves or a Grizzly would be a much better choice.  Even if you
don't use them, you should put about 5 points here to give your wolves or bear
a defense and attack rating bonus.
Rating- 4/10

-Carrion Vine-
Pros- Eats corpses
    - Gives you back health
Cons- Low life
    - Doesn't heal much
Verdict-  This is only useful to get rid of corpses and get a little bonus out
of it.  Just summon one after you clear up an area and let the healing begin.
Rating- 6/10

-Heart of Wolverine-
Pros- More damage for the party
    - More attack rating for the party
Cons- ?
Verdict-  This is my spirit of choice.  Most people argue wether it is more
important to have more life from Oak Sage or more damage from HoW.  I say they're
equally important.  The clencher for HoW is that it has much more life than
Oak Sage, so it is much more useful.  However, if you are an elementalist, you
should probably go with Oak Sage since you don't actually attack anything.
Rating- 10/10

-Summon Dire Wolf-
Pros- You can summon 3 at a time
    - Passive life bonus to wolves and bears
    - Eat corpses and go into a blood spurred frenzy
Cons- Average life
    - Average damage
Verdict-  They are average fighters, but their strength is in numbers.  Also,
they can eat corpses and get a short power boost.  I like the bear better,
but it's really up to you.  Also they give a passive life bonus to wolves and
bears, so you should but about 5 points here even if you don't use them.
Rating- 8/10

-Solar Creeper-
Pros- Replinishes your mana
Cons- Doesn't give back much mana (maxes at 6% per corpse)
Verdict-  The mana returns are just sad.  It's a waste of mana to summon one
of these things.
Rating- 1/10

-Spirit of Barbs-
Pros- Returns damage
Cons- It's nowhere near as good as Iron Maiden or Thorns
Verdict-  The damage returned maxes at 240%.  The Paladin's Thorns aura maxes at
1010%.  Thorns returns 250% of damage at level 1.  See the difference.  Just
skip on this spirit.
Rating- 2/10

-Summon Grizzly-
Pros- Lots of life
    - Lots of damage
    - Passive damage bonus to wolves and bears
Cons- You can only summon 1
Verdict-  Who cares if you only get 1.  You only need 1.  And for such a powerful
summon creature he's a bargain 40 mana.  Go with the bear unless the wolves
really appeal to you.  Even if you don't use hit, you'll want points here for
the damage bonus.
Rating- 10/10

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

 G.  ASSASSIN
The Assassin is another one of the dark characters.  They work under cover
of shadow and can kill you before you know you're dead. You actually meet one
in Act III, even if she serves no purpose at all.  Assassins are probably my
second favorite character.  Their skill trees are:  Martial Arts, Shadow
Disciplines, and Traps.  The Martial Arts tree is composed of charge up and
finishing moves.  When you use a charge up skill is makes a little glowing
circle fly around your Assassin, up to a max of three.  Once you use a
finishing move, it adds the bonuses of any charge up skills you use.  A normal
attack is also considered a finishing move.  The Shadow Disciplines contain a
variety of skills that are core to your strategy not matter what play style
you choose.  Traps are, as the name implies, traps.  They set up stationary
traps that use either fire or lightning damage for a certain number of shots,
and then disappear.  The Assassin's class specific equipment is a whole line
of claws that can be dual wielded and are very fast.

Some good builds for Assassins:
1. Martial Artist-  Uses the various charge up and finishing moves from the
Martial Arts tree.  The main charge up skills are Tiger Strike and Cobra
Strike, and you may choose to get Phoenix Strike.  The choice finishing move
for dual clawed Assassins is Dragon Claw, while single clawed Assassins use
mainly Dragon Flight.
NOTE: The max Tiger Strike/ Dragon Flight combo makes for extremely powerful
single hits, but lacks crowd control.  Great for bosses!
2. Trapassassin-  I know little about the style of the trapassassin, so for
this you may consult a trapassassin specific guide.

Starting Stats:
Strength- 20
Dexterity- 20
Vitality- 20 (each point gives 3 to life and 1.5 to stamina)
Energy- 25 (each point gives 1.5 to mana)
Life- 50 (2 per level)
Mana- 25 (1.5 per level)
Stamina- 95 (1 per level)

Goal Stats for Assassins:
Strength- 150
Dexterity- 120+
Vitality- 200+
Energy- 25
At first you should put 2 strength, 2 dex, and 1 vitality per level until you
get to 118 strength/dex. At that point you can hold the best assassin claw,
the Scissors Suwayyah.  Then pump stength and vitality until you have 150
strength and then just pour into vitality and put in strength and dex only if
you need them.  The stats for Trapassassins are pretty much the same.

A Breif Look at Assassin Skills:

 1. Traps
NOTE:  This is another tree greatly boosted by 1.10.  I never would have guessed
I'd see Trapassassins and Elementalists...

-Fire Blast-
Pros- Does some fire damage
Cons- The damage is pathetic
Bonuses- 9% damage from Shock Web, Charged Bolt Sentry, Wake of Inferno,
         Lightning Sentry, Wake of Fire, and Death Sentry
       - 1 missle every 3 levels to Shock Web
       - 6% damage to Shock Web
       - 6% damage to Charged Bolt Sentry
       - 1 shot every 3 levels to Death Sentry
       - 8% damage to Wake of Fire
       - 10% damage to Wake of Inferno
Verdict-  1 point here is almost a waste.  It now gives and gets a ton of
bonuses, though.  Most notable is the extra shots to Death Sentry.
Rating- 1/10

-Shock Web-
Pros- Does some lightning damage
Cons- The damage is very low
Bonuses- 9% damage to Fire Blast
       - 1 missle every 3 levels from Fire Blast
       - 11% damage from Charged Bolt Sentry, Lightning Sentry, and Death
         Sentry
       - 1 shot every 3 levels to Charged Bolt Sentry
       - 12% damage to Lightning Sentry
Verdict-  Good for small areas, but even then it still sucks.
Rating- 1/10

-Blade Sentinel-
Pros- Can do decent damage, it now adds 3/8 of your weapon's damage
Cons- Not very useful
Verdict-  This just doesn't seem like a very useful skill to me.
Rating- 3/10

-Charges Bolt Sentry-
Pros- Shoots charged bolts
Cons- The bolts don't do much damage
Bonuses- 1 shot every 3 levels from Shock Web
       - 1 shot every 4 levels from Lightning Sentry
       - 6% damage from Fire Blast, Lightning Sentry, and Death Sentry
       - 9% damage to Fire Blast
       - 11% damage to Shock Web
       - 12% damage to Lightning Sentry
Verdict-  Due to the random nature of charged bolts, you can't really count
on the trap, but it can be useful at low levels.
Rating- 3/10

-Wake of Fire-
Pros- Shoots waves of fire
Cons- Very low damage
Bonuses- 8% damage from Fire Blast and Wake of Inferno
       - 9% damage to Fire Blast
       - .5 yards to Wake of Inferno
       - 7% damage to Wake of Inferno
Verdict-  The damage is very low.  Very, very low.  It's a waste of mana to
use this.
Rating- 1/10

-Blade Fury-
Pros- You can do ranged damage
    - Very low mana cost at low levels
    - Adds 3/4 of weapon damage
Cons- Mana cost gets pretty high
Verdict-  Blade Fury is also greatly improved in 1.10.  This is now a pretty
good skill that could possibly deal you out some good damage.  I got owned
by a Blade Fury Assassin who used a claw with knockback.  They hit a lot and
you can't get near them...
Rating- 10/10

-Lightning Sentry-
Pros- Shoots out lightning
    - Passes through enemies
Cons- ?
Bonuses- 12% damage from Shock Web, Charged Bolt Sentry, and Death Sentry
       - 9% damage to Fire Blast
       - 11% damage to Shock Web
       - 1 shot every 4 levels to Charged Bolt Sentry
       - 12% damage to Death Sentry
Verdict-  With maxed synergies and godly equipment you can own PvP characters
who aren't specifically build to fight Trapassassins.  You can also own any
non lightning immune monsters.  After that you're on your own.
Rating- 10/10

-Wake of Inferno-
Pros- Does good damage
Cons- Enemies have to be at close range
Bonuses- .5 yards from Wake of Fire
       - 7% damage from Wake of Fire
       - 10% damage from Fire Blast and Death Sentry
       - 9% damage to Fire Blast
       - 8% damage to Wake of Fire
Verdict-  This trap has gotten a lot better with all the possible bonuses.
Now it's actually worth using.
Rating- 8/10

-Death Sentry-
Pros- Can explode corpses
    - Shoots lightning
    - Passes through enemies
Cons- Only shoots 5 times
Bonuses- 1 shot every 3 level from Fire Blast
       - 12% damage from Lightning Sentry
       - 9% damage to Fire Blast
       - 11% damage to Shock Web
       - 6% damage to Charged Bolt Sentry
       - 12% damage to Lightning Sentry
       - 10% damage to Wake of Inferno
Verdict-  Death Sentry is good for the corpse explosion it does.  Since a
corpse explosion is half physical and half fire, is almost like you have
another form of elemental attack... almost...
Rating- 9/10

-Blade Shield-
Pros- Cuts up enemies close to you
    - Adds 1/4 of weapon's damage
Cons- Costs a lot of mana
Verdict-  Pretty good, but costs too much mana to be really good.
Rating- 7/10

 2. Shadow Disciplines

-Claw Mastery-
Pros- More damage
    - More attack rating
Cons- ?
Verdict-  Claws were made for assassins.  It seems sad not to use them.
Rating- 10/10

-Psychic Hammer-
Pros- Knocks back enemies
Cons- Very low damage
Verdict-  The skill has kind of a jedi feel to it.  I can't say I've ever actually
used it, though.
Rating- 2/10

-Burst of Speed-
Pros- More movement speed
    - More attack speed
Cons- Can't be used with Fade or Venom
Verdict-  Every Assassin should have 4 or 5 points in this skill.  With BoS and
some claws you can cut through enemies like butter.  Diminishing returns make
more than 5 points kind of a waste.
Rating- 10/10

-Weapon Block-
Pros- Can block without a shield
    - Gives a straight forward chance to block
Cons- You have to have 2 claws
    - Can degrade your weapon
Verdict-  This is vital for any dual claw assassin.  After 5 points the returns
get very low, but you may want to take it all the way up to 10 to get an even 50%
chance to block.
Rating- 10/10 for dual clawers

-Cloak of Shadows-
Pros- Lowers enemy defense
Cons- Lowers your defense
    - Doesn't work on enemies off screen
    - Greatly lowers your light radius
Verdict-  This is much more useful for the Trapassassins.  I can't honestly say
I've used it more than once.
Rating- 4/10

-Fade-
Pros- Adds resistances
    - Lowers curse duration
Cons- Can't be used with Burst of Speed or Venom
Verdict-  This is a good skill to have for a tough spot, but Burst of Speed is
beter for general use.
Rating- 8/10

-Shadow Warrior-
Pros- Helps you in a fight
Cons- Doesn't help much
Verdict-  The Shadow Warrior is decent, but you really only want 1 point here.
Save up for the Shadow Master.
Rating- 5/10

-Mind Blast-
Pros- Can convert monsters
    - Stuns
Cons- Low damage
    - Low chance to convert
Verdict-  Most Trapassassins use Mind Blast to keep their foes stunned while the
traps do their work.  The chance to convert means that monster will either be
stunned or start fighting for you, making it an unexpectedly good skill.
Rating- 10/10

-Venom-
Pros- Poison damage
Cons- Can's be used with Fade or Burst of Speed
Verdict-  This is a nice 'fluff' skill.  You don't really have to have it, but you
can come back to it if you honestly have nothing else to but points in.  If you
want the elemental damage, go with Phoenix Strike.
Rating- 8/10

-Shadow Master-
Pros- Lots of life
    - Gets lots of bonuses as she levels up
Cons- ?
Verdict-  This is a much more dependable pal.  She can use any skill you have
which can save Trapassassins some mana.
Rating- 10/10

 3. Martial Arts
-Tiger Strike-
Pros- Can do lots more damage
    - Attack rating bonus
Cons- ?
Verdict-  The damage bonus gets insane (1440% maxed with 3 charges).  You can do
extreme amount of damage in one hit with this skill.  Bosses will fall before you.
Rating- 10/10

-Dragon Talon-
Pros- Can get multiple kicks
    - Damage bonus
    - Attack rating bonus
Cons- ?
Verdict-  This is a good skill, but not the best.  With the new multiple kicks
it can get pretty awesome damage.
Rating- 8/10

-Fists of FIre-
Pros- Attack rating bonus
    - Fire damage
Cons- Weak compared to Phoenix Strike
Bonuses- 12% damage from Phoenix Strike
       - 10% fire damage to Phoenix Strike
       - 6% burning damage to Phoenix Strike
Verdict-  Save those points!
Rating- 5/10

-Dragon Claw-
Pros- Attacks twice
    - Attack rating bonus
    - Damage bonus
Cons- Only works with 2 claws
Verdict-  This is the best charge up for dual clawed Assassins.  Its useless
for everyone else
Rating- 10/10 for the dual clawers

-Cobra Strike-
Pros- Attack rating bonus
    - Steals a ton of life and mana
    - Works instantly
Cons- ?
Verdict-  This skill is too often overlooked.  This can keep any Assassin in
the fight a long, long time.  Any time you need some health or mana, Cobra Strike
can fill up those orbs before you know it.
Rating- 10/10

-Claws of Thunder-
Pros- Attack rating bonus
    - Thunder damage
Cons- Weak compared to Phoenix Strike
Bonuses- 8% damage from Phoenix Strike
       - 13% lightning damage to Phoenix Strike
Verdict-  Save up.
Rating- 6/10

-Dragon Tail-
Pros- Fire damage
    - Explosion on contact
Cons- No attack rating bonus
Verdict-  This is good for hitting a lot of enemies at once, but there are better
finishing moves.
Rating- 8/10

-Blades of Ice-
Pros- Cold damage
    - Attack rating bonus
    - Can freeze/slow enemies
Cons- Phoenix Strike is better
Bonuses- 8% damage from Phoenix Strike
       - 10% cold damage to Phoenix Strike
Verdict-  Be patient.  Phoenix Strike is coming.
Rating- 7/10

-Dragon Flight-
Pros- Big attack rating bonus
    - Big damage bonus
    - Can teleport you to the monsters
    - Great in PvP
Cons- ?
Verdict-  This is a great skill.  You can use it to take out a leader in a group,
or to get near your corpse.  Every Assassin should have this skill.  With maxed
Dragon Flight/ Tiger Strike the damage potential to a single enemy is just
rediculous.
Rating- 10/10

-Phoenix Strike-
Pros- Elemental damage
    - Attack rating bonus
Cons- ?
Bonuses- 8% damage to Fists of Fire, Claws of Thunder, and Blades of Ice
       - 10% fire damage from Fists of Fire
       - 6% burning damage from Fists of Fire
       - 13% lightning damage from Claws of Thunder
       - 10% cold damage from Blades of Ice
Verdict-  This is a good way for an Assassin to get some elemental damage.  You
don't have to have it, but it is a good idea to get it just in case.  It has been
powered up in 1.10 and the animation has gotten cooler.
Rating- 10/10

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

H. SUGGESTED BUILDS

Here is a fairly comprehensive look at some introductory character builds.  Most
don't require a lot of skill to do, and are therefore excellent for beginners.
For the skills, 1 point in all prerequisites is understood.

1. The Concentrator Barbarian
Skills:
20 Concentrate
20 Bash
20 Battle Orders
5 Shout
1 Battle Command
20 Sword Mastery
1 Increased Speed
1 Increased Stamina
5 Iron Skin
10 Natural Resist
Stats:
Enough Strength for high-end equipment (generally around 200, at least 190)
Enough Dexterity for maximum block rate, at least 110
Rest into Vitality
None into Energy
Equipment:
You will want to use a fast sword to combine speed and strength, and carry a
shield.  High defense equipment combined with Shout, Iron Skin, and the defense
bonus from Concentrate should make you fairly impervious in melee combat.  A
beginner with shrewd trading skills can go far with this build, and an expert
can make him almost invincible.

2. Zealot Paladin
Skills:
20 Zeal
20 Sacrifice
20 Fanatacism
20 Holy Shield
10 Resist Lightning
8 Resist Fire
5 Vengeance
Stats:
About 150 Strength
Enough Dexterity for maxiumum block
Rest into Vitality
None into Energy
Equipment:
Either use a powerful one handed weapon or a scepter with lots of +skills.  Attack
rating bonus shouldn't be too much of a problem since you get lots of bonuses.

3. Werewolf Druid
Skills:
20 Werewolf
20 Lycanthropy
20 Feral Rage
20 Oak Sage
20 Fury
8 Cyclone Armor
Stats:
Enough Strength for high end mauls (232 for the best maul)
Enough Dex for a reasonable AR (probably no more than 150)
Rest into Vitality
None into Energy
Equipment:
To maximize damage you should go with a high end maul.  Your attack speed bonus
in werewolf form should counter their slow attack speed.  You should have ample
life as a result of your Werewolf life bonus combined with your Oak Sage.  Also,
Fury's Damage bonus of 423% is nothing to scoff at.  Fury Druids are very good
at putting out melee damage, but elemental damage is hard to find.  Putting
together most of the Immortal King's set gives the Immortal King's Maul some
good elemental damage, but beginners shouldn't count on getting a bunch of
IK stuff.

4. Frenzy Barb
Skills:
20 Sword Mastery
20 Double Swing
20 Frenzy
12 Natural Resist
10 Shout
10 Battle Orders
5 Iron Skin
5 Berserk
1 Increased Speed
1 Increased Stamina
1 Battle Command
Stats:
190 Strength lets you hold any sword, but you may want more
110 Dexterity lets you hold any sword, but you may want more
Rest into Vitality
None into Energy
Equipment:
You want to use two swords and the Frenzy attack.  Frenzy gives you insane attack
speed, damage, attack rating, and movement speed bonuses that make you a powerful
tank.  You have no shield, but the points in Natural Resist should compensate
for a lack of resistances.  5 points in Berserk give you a 5% magic damage bonus
that will be very useful.  Between Shout, Iron Skin, and some good equipment, you
should be able to take damage as well as dish it out.  All in all, this makes for
a powerful and simple build to do.

5. Dual-Claw Martial Arts Assassin
Skills:
20 Claw Mastery
20 Tiger Strike
20 Dragon Claw
20 Dragon Flight
10 Weapon Block
5 Burst of Speed
5 Fade
4 Cobra Strike
1 Blade Fury
Stats:
At least 118 Str for best claw, but preferably about 150
At least 118 Dex for best claw, but preferably about 150
Rest into Vitality
None into Energy
Equipment:
You want to use two claws for maximum damage.  Claws attack very quickly and have
good damage, and at higher levels will have +skills for Assassins. Burst of Speed
will make you extremely fast.  The true stength of this build comes from Tiger
Strike.  At level 20, a finishing move with all 3 charges gets 1440% enhanced
damage, along with the 111% from Claw Mastery, and the 145% from Dragon Claw
or 575% from Dragon Flight, you can get damage far above any other character.
Cobra Strike should take care of life and mana problems.  Blade Fury is just a
fun and cheap attack that, depending on your claw damage, can be a very powerful
ranged offense.  Its really fun for dueling.

=================================================================================

V.  MERCENARIES

A mercenary can be your best friend.  Mercenaries can be hired in all acts except
Act IV.  They can be equipped with some armor and weapons and have different skills
that can help you in combat.  Each act has a unique mercenary.  Everyone should
have a mercenary as they provide assistance that you will probably need.
Sorceresses, Necrmancers, and Bowazons can get the most use from mercs because they
can keep the monsters busy while you provide backup fire.

Act I - The Rogues
Rogues are archers from the Rogue Camp.  They can be equipped with a helm, body
armor, and a bow, but not a crossbow.  They either use fire or cold arrows.  Cold
arrows are much more useful since they can slow opponents.  Also, it has been
recently discovered that if they can get equipment giving them a total of +3 to
all Amazon skills, they can do a short ranged but very powerful "Lightning Hose"
attack.  This is difficult to do, so it doesn't make them much better.  They are
the most useful for characters like Barbarians and Paladins who melee a lot.  If
you really want the backup fire, however, I would go with an Iron Wolf from Act III.
NOTE:  The Lightning Hose thing is considered a bug and I think it got fixed in
v 1.10 so that it no longer works.

Good for: Barbarians, Paladins, other melee characters

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

Act II - Desert Mercenaries
These guys are probably the most useful hirelings.  They can be equipped with a
helm, body armor, and or spear or polearm.  They come in three types, Combat,
Offensive, and Defensive, each with a different aura they can use.  In Normal and
Hell difficulty they use weaker auras, but in Nightmare difficulty they use really
cool and powerful ones. Here's the list:

Normal and Hell:

Combat- Prayer - Prayer is fairly useful.  It provides a constant flow of healing
that greatly increases your longevity.  Prayer is especially good for Summoner
Necros since it heals their minions.
Good for: Everyone

Offensive- Defiance -  This is most useful for characters who melee a lot like Barbs
and Paladins, but everyone can get some use from it.  A Sorceress with Barbarian
level defense is a lot less likely to die.
Good for: Everyone, but mainly melee characters

Defensive- Blessed Aim -  Not too bad.  No good for Sorceresses and other magic
users.
Good for: Bowazons, Barbarians, Paladins, other melee characters

Nightmare:

Combat- Thorns - Not near as good as the others, but can have some use for Summon
Necros who see their minions more as fodder than an army...
Good for: Summon Necros

Offensive- Might - Increased damage.  Not too shabby.  No good if you don't do
do hand to hand combat.
Good for: Barbarians, Paladins, Melee characters

Defensive- Holy Freeze -  THIS IS WHERE IT'S AT!  It slows down all the mosters in
the effect radius.  Good for anyone.  In v 1.10 the Holy Freeze aura is improved.
Now it does damage to surrounding enemies and adds cold damage to attacks, making
this an even better choice.
Good for: Everyone

Basically you need to choose between Offensive and Defensive.  I like the Offensive
merc's ability in Normal and Hell, but the Defensive merc's ability in Nightmare is
the stuff.  These are, in my opinion, the best mercs.

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

Act III - Iron Wolves
These guys are pretty cool.  They can be equipped with a helm, body armor, one hand
swords only, and a shield.  However, their strength is not in their sword.  They
rarely even swing it.  The true power is in their ability as mages.  They come in
three types: Fire, Lightning, and Cold.  Mercs also have an unlimited supply of mana,
so they can cast the spells all day.  Here are the skills they use:

Fire- Inferno and Fireball (Not that good)
Lightning- Lightning and Charged Bolt (Okay)
Cold- Ice Blast, Glacial Spike, and Frozen Armor (YEAH!!!)

The Cold one is the most useful.  These mercs are best for melee characters, but I
still suggest the Act II mercs just for their auras and the fact that they are
much better in combat.

Good for:  Barbarians, Paladins, Melee characters

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

Act IV
There are no mercs here, but you can bring in any merc from another act.  Tyrael will
resurrect them for you if they die.

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

Act V - Barbarians
Barbarians come in in Act V.  They can equip armor, a helment (even a barbarian
specific one) and a one or two handed sword, but no sheild.  The Barbarians have one
major drawback: a suicidal death wish.  They rush into fights like crazy and usually
loose.  They die far too often for my tastes.  They can use Bash and Stun, bunt don't
use them much.  They are a lot faster than the desert mercs, but not as realiable.
They are only really good for someone with very deep pockets who can afford to give
them Arkaine's Valor, Arreat's Face, and a Grandfather. (For the people not familiar
with equipment, all that stuff is really hard to find, legitimate at least)  I got
one of these for my Bonemancer and I've regreted it ever since.

Good for: Sorceresses and other spellcasters

================================================================================

VI. WALKTHROUGH

Act I - Rogue Encampment

-Non Playable Characters (NPC's)-
-Akara- She is the spiritual guide of the Rogues.  She is the person to talk to if
you need healing.  She sells scrolls, keys, staves,
-Kashya- She leads the rogues in battle.  She will let you hire a mercenary once
you beat Blood Raven, or when you reach level 8.
-Charsi- Charsi is the blacksmith of the camp.  She seels all kinds of armor and
weapons, and is the person to talk to if your weapons or armor need repairing.
-Gheed- He is a greedy merchant who will also sell you weapons and armor.  You
can also gamble for some good  items if you talk to him.
-Deckard Cain- Once you save him from Tristram, he will identify  items for free
as well as give you lots of good advice.
-Warriv- He will take you to Act II when the time comes.

Quest I- Den of Evil- Akara
To complete this quest you will have to kill every monster in the Den of Evil.
It is an easy quest with the nice reward of a skill point, and it will make
Akara trust you.  To find the Den of Evil, just step outside into the Blood
Moor.  The cave entrance will be very obvious on your map.  You should be at
level 2 before you go in.  Once inside, kill everything in sight.  A quest thing
will pop up and tell you when you have 5 monsters to go.  You will run into
Super Unique monster: a zombie named Corpsefire.  He's really no big deal.
Once you kill all the monsters, light will pour into the Den.  Return to Akara
to collect your skill points.

Quest II- Sisters' Burial Grounds- Kashya
Kashya will tell you that one of the rouges, Blood Raven, has been corrupted by
Andariel.  She is in the Graveyard raising the dead as zombies.  To find the
Graveyard you will have to go into the next area, the Cold Plains.  You should
kill off all the monsters in the Cold Plains first, and even the ones in the cave
that can be found there.  Once you've dont this you should be level 6.  This
will give you a better chance to survive Blood Raven, since she's pretty tough.
Now head to the Burial Grounds.  You'll run into a few skeletons and zombies.
Go to the center area where you'll find Blood Raven.  She is probably the
hardest monster you'll face for a while.  Once you beat her, return to Kashya
for a free merc.  Also, it is a good idea to go to the Crypt and Mausoleum that
can be found on either side of the Graveyard.  You can fight a few unique
monsters here and get some really good items.

Quest III- The Cairn Stones- Akara
Akara tells you the only person who could help you is Deckard Cain.  Too bad
he's in Tristram.  It's your job to figure out how to get into Tristram.  Your
first task is to reach the Tree of Inifuss.  To get there you must first go
through the Stony Field, then through the Underground Passage, and finally
into the Dark Wood.  In the Dark Wood you will find the Tree of Inifusss, but
it will be guarded by the Gargantuan Beast, Treehead Woodfist.  Take him out
then touch the tree to get the Scroll of Inifuss.  Take the Scroll to Akara.
She will translate it into a way to touch the Cairn Stones that will let you
into Tristram.  Go to the Cairn Stones in the Stony Field and you will find
them guarded by Rakanishu.  This guy may be the first lightning enchanted monster
you face.  Once you've cleared the area, touch the stones.  Lightning will fly
everywhere and a portal will be opened.  In Tristram all you really have to
do is rescue Cain, but there is a lot more cool stuff you can do.  You
definately want to go find Wirt's Body.  It is on the complete opposite side
of Tristram.  Touch it and it will spit out some gold as well as Wirt's Leg.
Keep this leg.  It is a really, really good idea to keep this in your stash,
and I'll go over why later.  Once you rescue Cain, he will identify items for
free and Akara will give you a magic ring.

Quest IV- The Forgotten Tower
This is a very cool quest that you won't get from any NPC.  The Forgotten
Tower can be found in the Black Marsh, which is just past the Dark Wood.  Go
into the tower and prepare for the descent into hades if you're unprepared.
You should be at least level 8.  You will have to through 5 levels, and each
level will probably have a unique monster.  Finally you'll get to the Countess.
You'll find tons of gold everywhere and a couple of chests.  Make shure you
aren't holding the gold when you fight here, because you could die and loose
it all.  Once you beat her she drops some pretty good items, and the first
time you beat her a chest opens that shoots out a bunch of gold and some other
random stuff.  You can also save and exit the game, then go to the tower and
beat her over and over again to keep getting the cool rewards.  She may drop
some good runes.

Quest V- Tools of the Trade- Charsi
Charsi gives you this quest when you get closer to the Barracks.  She will ask
you to recover her hammer, the Horadric Malus.  If you do she will imbune an item.
This turns a regular item into a rare one.  To get to the hammer you will have
to go through the Black Marsh, into the Tamoe highlands, then into the Outer
Cloister of the Monastery.  From there you can reach the Barracks where the
Malus is held.  You should be at level 12 by this point.  When you find the Malus
it will be guarded by The Smith.  He has powerful attacks and a lot of health.
Once you beat him, pick up the hammer and take it to Charsi.  She will take
any non-magic, non-socketed, non-jewelry item and make it a rare item.  She only
does it once, so its best to save it until you really need it.  A good time to
use it is when you're in Act IV and need a little boost before you take on
Diablo.  It is best to get Charsi to imbune a weapon or some armor.  If you get
it done at low levels, you will probably get some sorry modifiers.  Since the
mods are based on level, at higher levels you get better stuff.

Quest VI- Sister to the Slaughter- Cain
This is the final quest of Act I.  Deckard Cain will give it to you once you
complete the other five.  To get to Andariel you will have to do a long descent
into the Monastery.  First you will go from the Barracks into the Jail.  After
3 Jail levels you will reach the Inner Cloister.  From there you will go into
the Catacombs.  You will find Andariel in Catacombs level 4.  Beat her to
finish this quest.  She will drop some very good items.  Once you beat her,
talk to Warriv.  He will take you to Act II in Lut Gholein when you are ready.

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

ACT II - Lut Gholein

-NPC's-
-Deckard Cain- He has come with you to Lut Gholein.  He serves the same purpose
from before: giving quests and identifying items.
-Fara- Fara is a former Paladin.  She will heal you when you speak to her and fix
your weapons and armor.
-Drognan- An old, wise sorcerer.  He gives you some useful information and advice
and sells scrolls, scepters, wands, staves, and the occasional crystal sword.
-Elzix- This former bandit sells mostly lower quality equipment.  He is also the
guy to talk to if you want to gamble.
-Griez- Griez is the leader of the city guard.  You can hire mercenaries from him,
as well as resurrect the ones you have already.
-Jerhyn- The leader of the people in Lut Gholein.  He will speak to you when you
arrive and come out for conversation after you complete a few quests.
-Atma- She gives you the Radament's lair quest and not much else.
-Geglash- he's just a drunk man in the bar.  There's not much of a point in talking
to him.
-Warriv- He will take you back to Act I if you want him to.
-Meshif- His ship will take you to Act III when the time comes.
-Lysander- He sells a few potions and that's about it.  You can go the entire act
without even speaking to him.

Quest I - Radament's Lair - Atma
Atma will ask you to kill the town menace known as Radament that lives in the
bottom of the sewers to avenge her family's murder.  Go into the either entrance
into the sewers: one is by Greiz, the other is down by the docks.  Once there go
down to Sewers level 3, but don't forget the waypoint on Sewers level 2.  On
level 3 you should find Radament.  You will get a notice when you get near him.
Kill him and take the book of skill, which will give you 1 skill point.  Make sure
you open up the shiny chest near him and take the Horadric Scroll.  Now go speak
to Atma who will thank you by getting everyone to sell you things at a lower price.
Quite a nice reward!

Quest II - The Horadric Staff - Cain
This quest covers the whole act.  All you have to do is find Tal Rasha's tomb.
To get into the tomb you have to find a Horadric Staff.  The Staff is broken into
to pieces which must be re-united by a Horadric Cube.  So it's your job to find
the 2 pieces of the staff and a Horadric Cube first.  So ventrue out into the
Rocky Waste and on into the Dry Hills.  In the Dry Hills you will find your first
stop, the Halls of the Dead.  Go to the Halls of the Dead level 3.  There you will
face Bloodwitch the Wild who guards the chest containing the Cube.  That's one
piece for you.  Now head through the Dry Hills to the Far Oasis where you will find
your next stop, the Sand Maggot Lair.  It's a long way down and it would be a good
idea to grab a few Antidote Potions.  Once you get to the fourth level you will
find the huge Sand Maggot known as Coldworm the Burrower.  Kill her and then
administer some antidote potions to get rid of the horrible poison she releases
when she dies.  Now open up the chest near her to find the Horadric Shaft.  Now
for the final piece you must go from the Far Oasis through the Lost City to the
Valley of the Snakes.  Here you will find Claw Viper Temple.  Level 2 of the
temple will be a small room with an altar in the middle.  The altar is guarded by
Fangskin.  Kill him off and then smash the altar for the Viper Amulet.  Transmute
it in the Cube with the Horadric Shaft and BAM! you have a Horadric Staff.

Quest III - The Tainted Sun - Drognan
After a while of roaming in the desert everything will suddenly get really dark.
This starts the Tainted Sun quest.  To get rid of the darkness you have to smash
the altar in the Claw Viper Temple.  Guess what?  You probably did it already
since that's where the headpiece for the Staff is.

Quest IV - The Arcance Sanctuary- Drognan
Dragnan tells you how you could locate Tal Rasha's tomb.  The summoner Horazon
kept a very close eye on world events and would have undoubtedly recorded the
location of the tomb.  He also believes that the Palace was build on the entrance
to his Sanctuary.  Thus, you begin your descent into the Palace.  Travel through
the Harem level 1 and 2, then through 3 level of the Palace Cellar.  At the bottom
you will find a portal.  Activate this portal to get into the Arcane Sanctuary.

Quest V - The Summoner
This quest appears when you approach the Summoner in the Arcane Sanctuary.  He
will attack you and you have to kill him.  Talk to some townspeople to complete
the quest.

Quest VI - The Seven Tombs - Jerhyn
Jerhyn basically tells you what you aleady know: you have to find Tal Rasha's
tomb.  The problem is that you don't know where the tombs are, and that there are
several tombs to choose from and you have no idea which one is the right one.
Horazon helps you with both when you read his Journal.  You can see the true
symbol every time you look in your quest log at this quest, and he kindly opens
you a portal to the tombs.  Now just match the symbol in your journal to the
symbol on the tombs.  Go into the correct tomb and prepare for a fight.  The tomb
is huge and you may begin to doubt you're even in the right place.  You are looking
for a room with a Circle of Seven Symbols.  Usually a good sign that you're getting
close is some stair going up or down.  Once you get to the room, there will be a
place in the center that you can put your Horadric Staff.  Do that and the door
to the true tomb will be blasted open, but the run has just begun...
When you go into the tomb you will find Duriel.  Check the boss strategy part if
you have trouble beating him.  Once you beat him the door to the inner sanctum
will open.  Here you will find Tyrael who has been greatly depleted of power.
He will open a portal back to Lut Gholein.  Speak to Jerhyn and Meshif and you
can now go to Act III in Kurast.

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

Act III - Kurast

-NPC's-
-Deckard Cain- he does what he usually does, identifies items and gives quests
-Alkor- Gives a few quests and sells a few potions.  This is the man to talk
to for gambling
-Asheara- Runs the Iron Wolf Corp, the local gang of mercenaries.  You can hire
Iron Wolves from her or have your old merc resurrected.  She also sells various
equipment
-Ormus- he will heal you and sells some armor, along with staves, wands, and
scepters
-Hralti- a sorcerer/armorer.  He can fix your stuff and sells a wide range of
equipment
-Natalya- don't know what's up with her.  I think they removed her in v1.10.
She doesn't do anything and I don't recall talking to her much at all.

Quest I - The Golden Bird - Alkor
No one specifically gives you this quest.  Just ventrure out into the jungle.
You'll first see the Dark Wanderer, whom you can't attack, but the will disappear
and leave some little demon spawn to attack you, but they're pretty easy to
take care of.  You should run into a unique monster close to town, and he should
drop a Jade Figurine.  Take this figurine to Meshif and he will trade it for a
Golden Bird.  Take the bird to Alkor.  Talk to him again and he will have made
you a potion from the ashes inside.  Drink it and you get a permanent +20 to
your max life.

Quest II - Blade of the Old Religion - Hralti
Hralti needs you to find an old blade called the Gidbinn that could strenghten
the enchantment guarding the docks from demons.  Its your job to find it.
For this one you need to go into the Flayer Jungle.  This trip cooincides with
Quest III, so I'll describe it there.

Quest III - Khalim's Will - Cain
This is the big quest of the act.  You need to collect the pieces of Khalim in
order to form the flail called Khalims Will.  With it you can smash the Compelling
Orb and free Kurast from Mephisto's influence.  Step one is to go into the Spider
Cavern (not to be confused with the Arachnid Lair) in the Spider Forest.  The lair
is pretty small and eventually you should run into a superunique spider called
Sszark the Burning.  Nearby you will see a chest that contains Khalim's eye.
Now you need to go into the Flayer Jungle.  You generally can bypass the Great
Marsh area, but sometimes you have to go through it to get to the Flayer Jungle.
Once you are there, find the waypoint and the pygmy village.  In the pygmy village
you will see an altar labeled Gidbinn.  Click on the altar and it will catch on
fire.  Soon you will find a unique Flayer and some minions.  Kill him for the
Gidbinn, then take it back to Ormus and Asheara for a magic ring and free merc,
respectively.  Now its time to go into the Flayer Dungeon.  This place is very
hazardous, so be careful.  The third level of the dungeon is a heavily trapped
maze.  Eventually you should run into super unique Witch Doctor Endugu.  Nearby
you should see a chest containing Khalim's brain.  Now, fight through the jungle
until you get to Lower Kurast and hit a much needed waypoint.  Head through
to the Bazaar and check Quest IV for some further info.  But for this quest you
will need to go into the sewers, whose entrance can be found in the Bazaar or
in Upper Kurast.  The sewers are quite large, so just go exploring.  The enemies
here are very similar to those in an Act II tomb.  Once you find the superunique
Icehawk Riftwing Gloombat, you know you're in the right place.  You should see
a level that opens a very small level 2.  There you should find a few enemies
and a chest that contains Khalim's heart.  Now you go on through Upper Kurast
to Travincal.  Make sure you hit the waypoint that is always on the left side of
map.  Now approach the temple in the middle of the map.  A good sign that you're
there is Hydras coming out of the ground.  If you have good fire resistance or
magic damage reduction you should be able to ignore Hydras.  Info on the council
is in Quest V info, so refer to that.  Once you kill the council, pick up the
flail one should have dropped.  Transmute that in the Horadric cube along with
Khalim's eye, brain, and heart to make Khalim's Will.  Now equip it and smash
the compelling orb (it always takes 2 swings).  The quest is finally complete.

Quest IV - Lam Esen's Tome - Alkor
Alkor asks that you find an ancient tome lost when Mephisto took hold of the
land.  There are 6 temples, 2 in the Bazaar, Upper Kurast, and the Causeway.
Each one has an altar that, when clicked, opens into a stair.  Keep opening
altars until you find the "Ruined Temple".  The temple itself has only a few
rooms.  One of which is guarded by the super unqiue Battlemaid Sarina.  She
can be a pain to beat since she and her minions are extra fast, usually rushing
in and surrounding you.  If you die, it is VERY difficult to retrieve your
corpse.  Clear your way to an altar, where you should find Lam Esen's tome.
Bring it to Alkor for 5 extra attribute points.

Quest V - The Blackened Temple - Ormus
Ormus tells you that the time has come to destroy the Zakarum high council.
If they can be killed, Mephisto's influence over Kurast will be broken.
Go to Travincal for the big showdown.  The council is composed of 3 super
uniqe monsters along with 1 or 2 minions per councilor.  Each can cast an
annoying Hydra spell.  With fire resistances and magic damage reduction work
wonders.  The high council has several enchantments, so do what you can to
stop them.  Isolate them if you can, as this fight can be very difficult.
Once they are dead, the quest is done.

Quest VI - The Guardian - Ormus
Once you smash the Compelling Orb, the Durance of Hate opens for you.  This is
the lair of Mephisto, Lord of Hatred, who has manifested himself through the
body of the Que-Hegan of the Zakarum High Council.  Yeah, its that bad.  The
lair itself can be a pain to get through, especially because of the Undead
Stygian Dolls who explode when they die, taking large chunks of your health
with them.  Make sure that you hit the waypoint on level 2.  Level 3 is wher
Mephisto himself resides, along with several Blood Lords and 3 more High
Counil members.  For info on this fight, check the bosses section.  Once
Mephisto is dead, do some serious looting, then cross the bridge and take
the portal to Hell (literally).

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

Act IV - Pandemonium Fortress

-NPC's-
-Deckard Cain- Yes, he's still with you.  And he still can identify stuff.
-Tyrael- Well, the big angel himself is here to meet you.  Tyrael will
ressurect you dead mercenaries, but offers none for hire.
-Halbu- he repairs your armor, as well as selling some of his own
-Jamella- she can heal you and sells scrolls and potions, a variety of armors,
and has a large supply of staves, wands, and scepters.

Quest I - The Fallen Angel - Tyrael
Tyrael sends you out to kill Izual, a fallen angel who was condemed to roam
the plains of Hell, his spirit bound into a beast from the abyss.  Izual can be
found wandering the Plains of Despair.  He has more health than even Diablo and
some nasty cold attacks.  Once he falls, talk to his spirit and then return to
Tyrael for two free skill points, a hefty reward.

Quest II - The Hellforge - Cain
Cain tells you that you must destroy Mephisto's soulstone.  If you didn't pick
it up when you fought Mephisto, it turns out Cain picked it up for you.  Go
through the Plains of Despair to the City of the Damned.  You should find a
large staircase to the River of Flame, with a waypoint you should hit nearby.
Now wander the River of Flame until you find the Hellforge.  The quest icon
should pop up when you get close.  The Hellforge is guarded by Hephasto the
Armoror, who looks similar to the Smith of Act I, or the Butcher of classic
Diablo.  Hephasto is pretty powerful and usually has an impressive number of
backup troops around the Hellforge.  Once you kill Hephasto he drops the
Hellforge Hammer.  Click on the Hellforge with the soulstone in you inventory
to place the stone on the Hellforge.  Then swing at the forge with the Hellforge
Hammer equipped to get its large bounty.  Several high quality gems and a
decent rune or two will come out as your reward.  Not too bad.

Quest III - Terror's End - Tyrael
Continue down the River of Flame until you come to a waypoint and an angel
named Hadriel (I think).  Hadriel will explain to you what must be done to
draw out Diablo.  Inside his Chaos Sanctuary, you will find 5 seals.  You must
break all 5 seals to release Diablo.  Also, a random 3 of the seals will spawn
a unqiue monster and minions.  You will see:
The Grand Vizier of Chaos (Burning Soul)
The Infector of Souls (Venom Lord)
Lord De Seis (Oblivion Knight)
But getting to the seals themselves is a problem.  First you have to undergo a
long mazelike walkway, which was left well guarded.  Then you will get to
Diablo's Chaos Sanctuary.  This is by far one of the most difficult areas of
the game.  Oblivion Knights, Venom Lords, and Burning Souls make for a rather
impressive defense.  Melee fighters should beware of the Iron Maiden curse
which will kill you rather quickly.  Once you clear out the sanctuary, break
the 5 seals, and kill the 3 superunqiue monsters that appear, Diablo emerges.
The whole sanctuary turns red and the groud quakes.  Diablo announces "Not even
death can save you from me."  The fight is on.  Check the bosses section for
specifics.  Once you kill Diablo, talk to Tyrael who opens the way to Act V in
Harrogath.

================================================================================

VII. HINTS AND TIPS
Here is a list of tips that will help out in your quest to defeat Diablo:

-Try to take on the Countess more than once.  I doubt the loot will be as
good as the first time, but it is a good place to get equipment at low levels.

-Go in all side areas.  These are good places to level up and get some good items
while you're at it.  Each side area has a glowing chest that will spit out a lot
of good stuff.  Specifically, I suggest the Crypt and Mauseleum that are on either
side of the graveyard where you fight Blood Raven.  They are very short and can
give low level characters some good loot.

-Repair your equipment every time you go into town.  You don't want it to
break.

-If playing online, you may want to hold on to some of the class specific
items you find for other classes.  Just because they are of little use to you
doesn't mean some other person wouldn't sell their soul for one.

-Keep all your gems and runes.  They are all very useful.  If you have three
of the same kind you can transmute them in the Horadric Cube to upgrade them.
There is an exception once your stash starts getting full.  Then you can just
throw out some low quality gems and runes or give them to some happy noob.

-Go straight for Shamans and Greater Mummies that can resurrect other
enemies.  That way your aren't killing off a horde of Fallen or Skeletons in
vain.

-Know what kind of character you want to make before you ever step out of the
Rogue Camp.  This will help you know where to put your skill and stat points.

-Don't neglect your mercenary's equipment.  Remeber to consider them before
you make trades.

-Gamble with money you have that exceeds the stash limit.  It is expensive
to gamble but you can get some very good magic and rare items.  If you
don't like to gamble, at least don't walk around with 15,000 gold in your
pocket.  If you die you loose all your gold.  Don't keep any gold on hand if
you can help it.  If you want to save your gold you can drop it on the ground
in the city in a single player game.  However, make sure you pick it up before
you quit the game or it will disappear.

-Pick up and identify and staves, orbs, wands, scepters, barbarian helms,
circlets, and animal helms you see.  These things commonly come with +skill levels
and, if so, can be sold for quite a bit of money.  Paladin shields, claws, and
Amazon unique weapons can have +skill levels, but they usually don't until higher
levels so probably aren't worth your time and space.

-Try to find a belt that will hold more potions.  Without a belt you can only
hold 4, with some belts you can hold 8, some belts hold 12, and some belts hold 16.
Sixteen potions are ideal, but 12 will suffice if it must.

-Try to get equipment with good resistances.  Fire and Lightning are among
the most damaging.  It is also a good idea to have high poison and cold resistance.
In Nightmare resistances are at -40 and in Hell they are -100.  It is possible to
get that high, but it takes good equipment, and a lot of luck.

-Once you get the Horadric Cube, keep it with you all the time.  Though it
takes up four spaces, it has twelve inside of it, so having it adds eight spaces
to your carrying ability.

-If you need better equipment and are further along in the game, take on Mephisto.
He can drop a lot of different items, and will usually drop a rare, set, or unique
item.  Getting to him can be difficult, but the prize is usually worth it.

-Don't let your health get low.  You should see a lot of potions drop, especially
when you beat a unique monster.  Use them!  Potions used in battle take time to
have their full effect.  You may die before you get full use of them.

-Use items that add to skill levels.  At lower levels, most of the skills you
learn are very crappy, but you need some added power.  Items such as Sigon's
Shield and Tarnhelm offer +1 all skills at low levels.  Scepter can spawn Paladin
+skills, staves can spawn Sorceress +skills, and wands can spawn necro +skills.
It is not very difficult to get an amulet with +1 to a skill tree or +1 to a
character's skills.  Theses put together can give you the edge you need at lower
and higher levels.

-Don't underestimate act bosses.  Be aware that if you die, you will loose a lot of
gold, seriously dampening your ability to resurrect hirelings, but mundane supplies,
etc.  Also you can set up a Portal just outside where you fight them to let you
get back into the battle more quickly if you die.

-Don't keep all the charms you find.  A lot of the charms you find are crap.  Don't
keep a grand charm that gives you +3 to life.  It is a waste of space.  Also,
don't sell all the charms you find.  Some of them are extremely valuable.  Some
people will sell their soul for a charm that adds a lot to magic find.  Charms with
+1 to a skill tree and another decent mod are like solid gold.

- Don't be a jerk to people.  Not only will people like you more, but it's just a good
idea for life in general.  Also, don't ask people for stuff, because it's
annoying.  Remember, people on battle.net are real people too, so treat them the way
you would want to be treated.

- Don't try to use all three of your character's skill trees.  The magic word is
SPECAILIZATION!  Focus on a few key skills and only put points in those.  You
just can't be a Werebear/Werewolf/Summoner/Elementalist Druid.  You can, however,
be a Werebear/Summoner, Werewolf/Summoner, Elementalist/Summoner, Pure Werewolf,
Pure Werebear, or Pure Elementalist, or some others.

- Don't try to make a Necromancer or Sorceress if you are an unexperienced player.
They are the hardest to start out with.  You will probably mess up.

- Make certain that you hit most waypoints.  They are much easier than traveling
on foot.

- A nice Horadric Cube recipie is one that makes you a prismatic amulet.  With an
amulet and 1 perfect gem of each type (skulls don't count) you can make a Prismatic
Amulet with about 20 resistance to all and another random mod.  You should be able
to do this by the time you beat Normal difficulty, giving you a nice head start into
Nightmare.

- Battle.net is full of jerks.  Don't be one of them.  Give stuff away every once
in a while, even if most nOObs don't thank you.  Don't insult people just because
they are new.  People will like you more if you are nice to them.  In fact, I've
had appreciative party members give me stuff they've stashed away.

=================================================================================

VIII. BOSS STRATEGIES
This will cover some of the Act I- Act IV bosses.  I won't cover every one, just
some of the main ones.  Also, with each of the characters, I will cover some of the
basic strategies, and try not to get to into a specific build.

ACT I

 A. Blood Raven - Burial Grounds
-Amazon-
If you use a bow, stay on the move to avoid her arrows.  Try to take out some of the
minions, as they can block your shot at her, but mainly focus on her.  If you
have a point in a cold arrow, use that to slow her down.  Slow Missle will make her
much easier.  Spearazon and Javazons can just rush her and get it over quick.
-Assassin-
This should be an easy fight.  Slash through the minions with your claws, charging
up Tiger Strike.  Once you get to her one fully charged attack should take down
almost all of her health.
-Barbarian-
Cut through her minions first. Use double swing if you have it.  Don't worry about
all of them, they die automatically when she does.  Just keep moving to avoid her
arrows, and hack away until she dies.
-Druid-
Just transform and use whatever skills you have.  Elementalists can use Molten
Boulder to clear away minions, and Firestorm to lay down a little area damage.
Boulders explode on contact with Blood Raven, putting out good damage to any
surrounding enemies.
-Necromancer-
Let your minions take out hers.  A golem can stay alive long enough to get the job
done.  Should she wander near a corpse, use Corpse Explosion to get in some extra
damage.  Using Bone Armor can help you stay alive.
-Paladin-
You should buy a scepter.  They do great damage.  With a scepter and Might or Holy
Fire active, you should cut through the minions like butter.  Blood Raven shouldn't
be too bad either.
-Sorceress-
This can be hard if you followed my advice and didn't put more than one point in
low level skills, but believe me, you can do it.  Just wail away with whatever low
level skill you have.  You may need some mana potions, but eventually she will
fall.


 B. The Countess - The Forgotten Tower, Level 5
-Amazon-
Don't stand in the doorway.  She casts firewalls in them so standing there will
burn you up pretty quick.  Once again, this is not a hard fight, so just rush
the minions, then take her out, and it should be over pretty quick.
-Assassin-
Use the same tactic you did with Blood Raven.  Get your charge ups for Tiger
Strike on the minions, and then use the full power on The Countess.  She should
fall quickly.  With Burst of Speed and some decent claws, this battle should take
a few seconds.
-Barbarian-
Use your hack and slash tactics.  No major trick other than to come in swinging.
-Druid-
Just transform and slash away.  Low level druids don't have problems tanking.
Kill archers first.  Elementalists can do whatever... don't really know...
-Necromancer-
Seeing as how the minions aren't really good about sensing danger, they may also
may stand in the firewalls.  Rush into the room she's in to prevent this from
happening.  Your minions can take on hers.  Since it's a small area, use Corpse
Explosion on any corpses you create to deal out a lot of damage.
-Paladin-
You should still have that good scepter.  Go in there and start killing.  It
shouldn't take long.
-Sorceress-
This also can be a hard fight.  Use whatever level six attack you've learned,
unless you're at level twelve, then you have a much better selection and it should
be easy.  Fire Sorceresses can use Inferno, but make sure you use it right
because it costs a lot of mana.  If you are using Electricity, use Static Field
at lot until Charged Bolts take chunks out of their health.  Your mercenary will
help you out a lot here.


 C.  Andariel - Catacombs, Level 4
PRE-FIGHT ADVICE-  Here is the layout for where you fight her:
     |---|
     | A |  d
     |   |  o
     |   |--o---|
|----|   |  r   |
|    3   |      |
|---- ---|      |
|        |  1   |
|    2          |
|________|______|
The rooms are labeled 1,2, and 3, and Andariel is marked with an A.  Clear out
rooms one and two, and the opening part of three before you fight her.  This
gives you an empty battlegound.  Set up a Townportal by the stairs in Catacombs
level 3, so you can get back into the battle quickly.  Also, she usually starts
the battle by casting a Poison Nova, so an antidote potion or two, as well as
some posion resistance, would help.  Also, Andariel always has a -50 fire
resistance, so fire skills will do a ton of damage.
-Amazon-
Keep on the move and lead her out of room 3, because it's full of minions.  If
you have cold arrows, use those to slow her down.  Just keep firing until she
falls.
-Assassin-
If you have Cobra Strike, use that.  If you hit her with all three charges, you
should get back all your life, and, unlike a potion, this works immediately.
Just hit her with all you've got and keep stealing back life until she dies.
-Barbarian-
Once again, charge in and slash away.  Double Swing will make this easier since
it can make two hits really quickly.  It can help you take care of minions
without drawing all your attention from Andariel.
-Druid-
Feral Rage is great for Werewolves to keep a positive life flow.  If you can
put together Sigon's, 10% life leech from a few of the pieces will go far.
Elementalists are probably struggling at this point, but just tough it out.
-Necromancer-
Minions do less damage to act bosses and the bosses do more
damage to them, so if you have skeletons, they won't last long.  The Golem can
take a beating better.  Just send your minions to clear out the zombies,
skeletons, and shamans.  Corpse Explosion won't help you much here.  Use your
curses to keep you in the fight.
-Paladin-
Charge on into the battle.  Lead her out of room 3 and into room 2.  This will
let you take her one on one.  Just keep swinging and she should die first.
-Sorceress-
This is suprisingly the easiest fight yet if you have the Blaze skill.  First,
let Andariel charge you.   Cast Blaze, then RUN AWAY!  Keep running.  Andariel
should follow you.  She may take out your mercenary first, but that can be
helped.  Anyway, Andariel will follow you, stepping right into the wake of
fire you left behind you.  She should die eventually, but you might want to
take in a stamina potion or two in case that takes longer than you thought
it would.  If you don't have Blaze, all I can say is GOOD LUCK!  Run and blast
her with what you've got.

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

Act II

 A. Radament - Sewers, Level 3
-Amazon-
This guy's minions are the worst because he can resurrect them.  Let your
desert merc cut through them while you focus on Radament.  Watch out for his
poison breath.  Poison resistance or reduce poison duration helps.
-Assassin-
Cut through his minions, building your charges for Tiger Strike.  Once you get
to him, you should be able to take off a chunk of his health in one hit.  Use
Cobra Strike if your health gets low.
-Barbarian-
Take out most or all of his minions.  You should be able to kill them faster
than they resurrect.  Then charge him.  He can either waste his time and
summon back a minion, or not summon back his minions and make himself the
only target.  Either way, you win.
-Druid-
Molten boulder can still be used to clear away minions.  I guess you could  use
your pathetic Twister and its .4 second stun length... sorry...
Werepeople should just be able to tank it through with the help of a trusty
desert merc.
-Necromancer-
A golem should be able to distract his skeletal minions.  Use Corpse Explosion
to your advantage here.  Not only will it do damage, but it will also destroy
the corpses so he can't bring them back.  Use your curses also.
-Paladin-
Zeal away!  The multiple hits should let you cut through the skeletons.
Once again, try to take out as many as you can.  Then Radament will have to
take time out of attacking to resummon his minions, giving you the advantage.
-Sorceress-
If you use Lightning, you should be able to hit multiple skeletons with one
blast, and kill them pretty quickly.  Your mercenary will still do a lot of
the work.  Just don't get too close to Radament, because he has some powerful
attacks.

 B.  Fangskin - Claw Viper Temple
-Amazon-
AHHHHHH!!!  This may the first good lightning enchanted monster you face.
If you have a bow, let your merc charge in and massacre them, while you fire
support from far away.  He should be able to live through the coming volley
of charged bolts.  Otherwise, charge him and hope it only takes a few hits
to bring him down.
-Assassin-
A powerful hit is key here.  If you kill him in one hit, that's less charged
bolts for you.  Charge up Tiger Strike, then let him have it.  The worst
case is your merc finds him first and can't kill him quickly enough, getting
you both killed with the volley of charged bolts.
-Barbarian-
You are made to take the hit!  Charge him and hope he dies quick.  Tough
it out.  Lightning resistance helps.
-Druid-
Range is nice if you can get it.  Charged bolts are not fun.  This is probably
the first real lightning enchanted boss you face.  Just do what you can.
Wolves and bears with decent equips and attack speed should have little problem.
-Necromancer-
Once again, you don't want a weak minion to attack him, except maybe a golem
because they can take pain.  Use curses like Amplify Damage and Life Tap to
keep yourself alive.  Also Corpse Explosion should have some use.
-Paladin-
If you have Charge, use that.  It is made to do a lot of damage in one hit.
Otherwise, Zeal away and hope he falls quickly.  Lightning resistance
helps.
-Sorceress-
You have an advantage some don't have: range.  Let your merc rush in.  You
sit back and blast the minions so the merc knows just where to go.  The
bolts should be very spread out by the time they reach you, so you can
dodge them easily.

 C.  The Summoner
-Amazon-
Don't mess around with this guy.  His spells can kill you faster than you
can say, "Hey, I'm dead!"  Run through the other monsters around him.
Once you actually get to him, he should die really quickly.  To help you
dodge his spells you can use Slow Missile.
-Assassin-
Ignore any other monsters.  Go straight for him.  He shouldn't take long to
kill.  Once you do you can turn your attention to everything else.
-Barbarian-
Only attack the enemies in your way.  Once you get to him he should die in
a hit or two.  Then take out the rest of them.
-Druid-
Use a vine or spirit to distract other monsters if you can.  Elementalists
can still use molten boulder to push the monsters around.
-Necromancer-
Use your ranged attack like Bone Spear to take him out quickly.  Your
merc should keep the other monsters busy so you can focus on the Summoner.
-Paladin-
Hack through the other monsters quick.  Don't let him hit you.  Once you
get to him he will die quick.  This can be easy or hard, depending on how
well you use this strategy.
-Sorceress-
If you can see him, you should be shooting him.  Don't focus on the
other monsters.  Let you merc defend you while you go straight for the
Summoner.

 D. Duriel - Tomb of Tal Rasha
PRE-FIGHT ADVICE:  Duriel is a tough guy.  Use a Scroll of Townportal in
the room where you placed the Horadric Staff so you can get back to the
battle quickly if you die, but you don't get put right in the middle of
it.  Duriel will charge you when you enter the tomb.  Be ready.  He always
charges you and always comes from the left. He also has a cold aura that slows
your movement and attacks drastically.
-Amazon-
This is not an easy fight.  Fortunately for you, you can focus all your
attacks on Duriel.  He has a cold aura, so match that with an ice arrow.
Let your merc take the hits while you fire away.
-Assassin-
Cobra Strike!  He hits you for a lot, you steal it back.  Repeat until he
is dead.  If he goes for your merc first, even better for you!  It may
sound easy but it's still a hard fight.
-Barbarian-
You and your merc should be a dual tank team.  Both of you slash away until
Duriel falls.  Watch out though, because Duriel can hit you pretty hard.
-Druid-
For elementalists, get in a party with some tanks.  Werewolves can use Feral
Rage to suck back some life, and hopefully you can compensate his slowing with
your IAS.  Werebears have it a bit tougher.  Just tank like you were made to do.
-Necromancer-
Summon the golem again if he dies.  You won't be able to take much from
Duriel, and there are not corpses for skeletons or Corpse Explosion, except
your own, which doesn't count.  Use your curses and hope you don't die.
MY PLAN:  You may die using this plan, but if you follow my advice and put a
portal just outside of the Tomb, you shouldn't have too much of a problem.
First, let your merc go up against Duriel.  You run to the far side of the
room.  Once you are there cast Iron Maiden on Duriel, then fill the room with
Bone Walls.  Once you do that, either use a mana potion, or zap back to town
and get healed.  Then blast away with Bone Spear until he gets to you.  By
then you may have died, but it's really no big deal.  Just use the portal
you set up to get back into the tomb, and repeat the process until he's dead.
-Paladin-
Zeal!  I know it gets repetitive, but Zeal is a good skill.  Between you and
your merc attacking him, you should be able to do some damage.  Hopefully
your shield will be taking hits instead of you.
-Sorceress-
You definately need to find a way to slow down Duriel.  Try to stay out of
the range of his Holy Freeze aura, which will cripple your combat ability.
Firewalls are fairly effective in this small area.  If you have cold spells,
keep using them as the chilling effect wears off.  With a decent merc to
tank and a little luck you should come out okay.

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

Act III

 A.  Witch Doctor Endugu
He used to be in here, but now he's out.  But another chance for v 1.10.  He
used to be a lot harder since all his minions were Shamaans too.  Now only he
is a Shamaan and the minions are the standard Flayers.  In the v 1.09 days, he
and his minions could deep fry you in seconds with their inferno breath.  Now
he is weakened, and not even mentionable, but I'll still keep in this little
rant.

 B. The Council Members
I have no specific advice for these guys, but just a few general tips.  You
will fight a total of 6 unique council members: 3 outside the Durance of
Hate, and 3 more just before you face Mephisto.  Each one has his own unique
abilities.  They are:

Ismail Vilehand:  Extra Fast, Cursed
Celeb Flamefinger:  Extra Strong, Fire Enchanted
Toorc Icefist:  Cold Enchanted, Stone Skin
Wyland Voidfinger: Mana Burn, Teleportation
Maffer Dragonhand:  Extra Fast, Extra Strong, Teleportation
Bremm Sparkfist:  Aura Enchanted, Lightning Enchanted

These guys can be pretty tough, and are easiest when taken one on one.  It
is important to get rid of any minions and surrounding annoyances, such as
Blood Lords, who can really get in the way.  They have some fierce melee
lightning attacks.  They will usually summon Hydras, which can deal out a lot
of damage.  Bremm Sprakfist is probably the worst because of his Hydras and
Lightning enchantment.  Just try to take them down one by one.  High resistances
are key.

 C. Mephisto, Durance of Hate, Level 3
PRE-FIGHT ADVICE:
Here is a general layout of Mephisto's chamber:
|-------------|
|O         O  |
|     D       |
|---|    |----|
| O        O  |
|   |-  -|    |
| C | <> | B  |
|   |----|    |
|O   O A    O |
|-----  ------|
|  O         Door
|_____________|

At A, B, and C, you'll find a unique council member.  At each O you may find
some Blood Lords.  D is Mephisto himself.  The <> is the portal to hell
which opens once you beat Mephisto.  Try to kill everyone in A, B, and C
before taking on Mephisto.  Don't even go near him until you've done that.
The worst that could happen is you run into a unique Blood Lord, which can
happen from time to time.  If the unique one is close to another spot where
Blood Lords spawn, you could be in for a rain of death by fire.  Once you've
beat Mephisto, search the whole area for treasure.  You can get some really
good stuff.   Mephisto is the true test of your skills.  He uses Lightning,
Poison, and Cold attacks, while all the Blood Lords and Council Members have
some brutal Fire attacks, you your resistances need to be as high as possible.
This probably won't be a walk in the park.
-Amazon-
Mephisto has some very nasty attacks.  If you have an Ice Arrow, use that to
slow him down.  Watch out for all his attacks.  Try to stay on the move, while
pummeling him with arrows.  Watch out for any Blood Lords you run into, as
they make the fight even harder.  You definately want to get out of the way
of his chilling ball.  If you have low vitality you could be in for a 1 hit
kill, or at least about 75% of your health going bye-bye.
-Assassin-
I remember the first time I did this I thought it was kind of a joke.  If you
have good resistances, Cobra Strike can steal back any damage he does to you.
It's not very hard, unless for some reason you don't have Cobra Strike.  Rush
him to avoid his Chilling Ball and you're in the clear.
-Barbarian-
Watch out for some of his more severe attacks like his Chilling Ball, but
other than that, hack away with whatever skill you use.  Frenzy will let you
deal out damage quick.  He probably will just swing at you and do a poison
attack if you go close range.  I found this battle pretty easy just using
level 1 Concentrate.
-Druid-
Tanks can just follow their standard tanking methods.  Feral Rage is great
to keep Werewolves healthy, and Maul can help out Werebears.  Elementalists
should pay someone to kill Mephisto for them, unless they are just really
special.  You do have your Tornado after all (hopefully).
-Necromancer-
Your merc won't be a very good tank for you, as he will probably die quick.
Just blast him as long as you can, and avoid the chilling ball.  Since you're
probably going to do some dying, you could really use that town portal near
Mephisto's chamber.  Try to get to level 24 so you can use Decrepify.  That
will make Mephisto slow, Weakened, and under Amplify Damage.  Then just recast
as it expires (that happens often) and pummel away.
-Paladin-
It is vital to do this fight without distraction.  Hopefully your shield will
take some hits for you.  Just Zeal him until he dies, using potions as
necessary.  If you have a high chance to block and go in close range, you
should absorb most of his melee attacks, so all you really have to worry about
is his poison cloud.
-Sorceress-
He isn't very fast and is pretty big, so Firewalls work pretty well.  Let your
merc distract him while you lay the smackdown on him with a Firewall.  You
definately want to aviod the Chilling Ball.  Hitting him with a Meteor could
be tough since he can't be frozen.

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

ACT IV

 A. Izual
-Amazon-
Your merc needs so tank for you.  Stand back at a good enough distance to avoid
his Frost Nova.  Fire away while your merc takes the hits.  If your merc is
about to die, just townportal then come back and repeat the process.
-Assassin-
Just charge him and Cobra Strike away.  He has a ton of health, so you should
have no problem stealing some back.  Even if you get slowed, you should be fast
enough with Burst of Speed to steal back the damage he does.
-Barbarian-
Go toe to toe with Izual.  If you have Frenzy, the increasing attack speed
will help you counter his cold damage.  He has a ton of health, but eventually
he should fall.  Concentrators can tank pretty well, but the cold damage gets
really annoying.
-Druid-
Transform and go in for the hack and slash tactics.  Just hit him until he dies
or you can't take any more.  Elementalists probably still won't be able to
go on their own and should team with some tanks.
-Necromancer-
Just keep blasting him as long as your merc can stay alive.  By now you should
do pretty good damage with your Bone Spears, so just keep them coming.  Bone
Walls/Prison can help you out some.  Properly placed Bonewalls can mess up his AI
pretty bad.  I set one once that he just walked around in and didn't try to
break.
-Paladin-
Go in and Zeal away.  If your weapon has no cold damage you may want to switch
to Vengance to slow him, then back to Zeal.  Between you and your merc he
shoud go eventually.
-Sorceress-
Static Field does a ton of damage.  Just get in close and hit him with it a few
times to drastically lower his health.  After that you can blast him with
whatever you want.

 B. Helphasto the Armorer
I don't have any specific strategy, but rather a basic strategy for any character:
DON'T GET HIT!  He can do a ton of damage.  Melee characters without a shield can
have some problems here.  Low vitality characters are in for some trouble.  If you
can, hit him from afar.  You definately want to take out any monsters in the area.

 C. DIABLO
PRE-FIGHT ADVICE:  Diablo is the basic game's final opponent.  He has some
extremely powerful attacks.  You definately don't want to get caught in his
Lightning Hose attack.  The best resistances to have are Fire and Lightning as
well as any 'magic damage reduced by X' gear.  If you need some rest, you can
run towards one of the seals and he won't follow you that far.  You can put
a town portal near one of the seals so you can get back into the Chaos Sanctuary
quickly if you die.  Don't stand still very long.  Wait until he is between
attacks before you attack him.  Standing still is generally a bad idea.
-Amazon-
You may have a hard time hitting Diablo.  It is best to use a Freezing Arrow
which has increased attack rating and can slow him.  Guided Arrows can help,
but Strafe will do you no good.  You don't want to stand still.  When he
starts to but his hands together and yell Dragonball Z style, you definately
want to run because he's about to do his Lightning Hose.  Just keep moving
and shoot when you can.
-Assassin-
Diablo is hard to hit so Cobra Strike is not as useful.  Points in Claw
Mastery help here since that increases your attack rating.  Fill your belt
with the max number of Full Rejuventation potions and pump your resistances.
Then you should be able to go toe to toe with him using Cobra Strike and a
Full Rejuvination potion as you need it.  Up close he will use some melee
attacks which can be blocked/dodged, but don't count on that too much.
-Barbarian-
If you can, get to level 30 or more for Natural Resist.  This will help
you stay alive against Diablo's powerful spells.  Then you can go in with
Frenzy and swing until you/he dies.  Repeat the process until he dies.
-Druid-
This could be pretty tough.  Werewolves should use Feral Rage while
Werebears should use Shockwave/Maul.  If you have Hunger, that could get
you back a lot of life/mana.  Elemetalists, either get to level 30, or get
in a party.
-Necromancer-
Don't expect your minions to tank long.  It is pretty much a waste to resurrect
them all them time because they'll die before you can blink.  Just stay on
the move and blast away with whatever you've got.  Curses like Decrepify are
great.  Sometimes he will charge you for a melee attack.  If you run away
pretty quickly he should stop where you used to be and stand there for a while.
This is the best time to get in some strong attacks.  If you have revive, use
it on the Oblivion Knights you fought to open the last seal.  My best strategy
is to cast Iron Maiden on Diablo, then stand back and summon Clay Golems to
attack him, reviving the Golem as it dies.  This can get pretty mana intensive,
so you'll need some potions, but otherwise its pretty safe.
-Paladin-
You need a shield with good resistances.  If you can get it, the Ancient's
Pledge runeword (Ral, Ort, Tal) can give you a ton of reistances, especially
in a good Paladin shield.  Holy Freeze is good to keep Diablo slowed down.
With the Holy Freeze/Zeal combo, some good resistances, and some smart playing
you should come out the victor.
-Sorceress-
Once again, Static Field saves the day.  With one hit, Diablo looses a ton of
health.  Just keep it up for a few hits.  That should take his health
very low to that point that you can kill him rather quickly.

=========================================================================

IX. UNIQUE AND CHAMPION MONSTER GUIDE

Unique monsters occur randomly throughout the Diablo II world.  They become
more common as you advance in difficulty.  They have two word names, each one
pulled from a random pool of names.  Probably the funniest I've seen is "Puke
Eater".  Their name can also be followed by something like "the Foul" or "the
Hungy".  They are also surrounder by a few monsters of the same type labeled
"minions".  Minions are a little stronger than standard versions of a monster.
Also, when you kill a unique monster they give up a lot better items than a
normal monster would, along with a few potions. Each unique also has a special
attribute listed under their name.  Here is a list of what each attribute does
and some special instructions on dealing with them.

-EXTRA STRONG-
Damage x3, To Hit plus 25%
This makes the monsters deal out a ton more damage.  This is most dangerous when
combined with the CURSED attribute, since then a monster can deal out x6 damage
in one hit.  Try not to charge extra strong monster, but use ranged attacks if
you can.

-EXTRA FAST-
Unique and minions get increased speed,  Unique Attack Rate x2
This can get really annoying if the monster is already strong.  This is almost
pointless on zombies since they are so slow already.  Also a Fetish with this
and EXTRA STRONG or CURSED is absolutely deadly.

-MAGICAL RESISTANCE-
Resist Fire, Cold, and Lightning 75%
The bane of Sorceresses.  If you are a melee fighter, this is no big deal.
Also, Poison resist isn't included so Necromancers can still use Poison
attacks.

-CURSED-
Casts level (Monster level/4) Amplify Damage on striking
The is the worst when combined with EXTRA STRONG.  It is usually on slow zombie
enemies so it's not that threatening for ranged fighters.  Once the Amplify
Damage curse gets to a very high level, it can cast on the whole screen so even
ranged fighters aren't safe if someone with them gets hit.

-FIRE ENCHANTED-
Adds fire damage to attacks, x2 To Hit, 75% Fire Resist, (Monster level) Corpse
Explosion on death.
Try not to kill these guys from close range, or the Corpse Explosion will mess
you up.  Fortunately uniques usually drop some potions on death.

-COLD ENCHANTED-
Adds cold damage to attacks, x2 To Hit, 75% Cold Resist, (Monster level) Frost
Nova on death, Cold length +20
Once again, range is your friend.  The damage from the Frost Nova isn't the
problem, but it's that at higher levels, the cold length gets rediculous.  Make
sure you have some health left when you kill these or you could find yourself
going down with them.

-LIGHTNING ENCHANTED-
Adds Lightning damage to attacks, To Hit x2, Lightning Resist 75%, (Monster
level) Charged Bolt when struck
This is the worst of the enchantments.  It is vital to take the monster down
in as few hits as possible, as a high level Charged Bolt can end your game
pretty quickly.

-MANA BURN-
Hits also damage Mana, To Hit x2, Magic Resist 75%
This is really annoying for magic focused characters, but fortunately for them
they rarely get hit by the monster's attacks.  This can mess up a mage if
combined with EXTRA FAST, since the fast monster can usually keep up with them
when they flee.

-SPECTRAL HIT-
Fire, Lightning, & Cold Resist 20%, To Hit x2, Adds random elemental damage
This can be bad depending on what elemental damage is added.  Otherwise not
much to worry about.

-STONE SKIN-
Damage Resist +80%, AC x3
This is the worst for melee characters.  When combined with LIGHTNING ENCHANTED
it can get really annoying.  Bad news when combined with any other attribute,
since it just prolongs its effects.

-MULTIPLE SHOT-
Two more missiles are fired with each shot.
Absolutely deadly when combined with LIGHTNING ENCHANTED.  My strategy for
with this is... save and exit.  Nah, I'm just kidding, but it may come to that.
Avoid a LIGHTNING ENCHANTED/ MULTIPLE SHOT (LEMS) monster if you can.

-TELEPORT-
Monster can teleport
Probably the least fearsome of enchantments, but it can get really annoying.

-AURA ENCHANTED-
Level 4 Might, Level 2 Holy Fire, Level 4 Thorns, Level 2 Holy Freeze, Level
2 Holy Shock, Level 4 Conviction, Level 4 Fanaticism
A monster can use any one of these auras.  Depending on which one they use this
can be really bad.  Just take out the guy with the aura first and the rest of
them will loose their powers.

-IMMUNITIES-
Monsters can be immune to elements, magic, or physical damage.  For physical
attackers magic immunities are no big deal, and for mages physical immunes are
no problem.  The problem is when it's the other way around.  For magic users,
your hireling can take out the magic immune if there is no way you can.  For
physical attackers, you need to find a skill or weapon with magic damage to
deal with physical immunes, or get a good Iron Wolf merc.

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

Champion monsters have names that appear in blue.  They also occur randomly
in Diablo II.  Each champion has a word in front of its name that decides what
kind of attributes it gets.  Champions usually come in groups of about 4.  They
drop much better things than common enemies, usually some potions and a lot of
gold.  This is the best on weak monsters like Fallen and Crows that are still
pathetically weak with their champion attributes, but drop really cool stuff.
Here is a list of the champion attributes:

-FANATICS-
Faster Speed, -30% to Armor Class

-BERSERKERS-
Damage x4, To Hit x4, Hit Points x1.5

-GHOSTLY-
Half Speed, 1/5 chance for Cold Damage, Resist Damage 77%

-POSSESSED-
Hit Points x12, Can't be cursed

-CHAMPION-
Damage x2, To Hit x2, Attack Rate +120%, Hit Points x6, Level +4, Experience x3

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

SUPER-UNIQUE MONSTERS

Super-uniques are the boss monsters of the game.  They appear in every game
in the same place, unlike uniques that appear randomly.  Examples are:
Andariel, Coldworm the Burrower, Diablo, Corpsefire, Battlemaid Sarina.
These and many others will always appear in the game and you will most likely
encounter them.  Super-uniques are some of the toughest monsters in the
game.  Also, if you want to go treasure hunting, killing super-uniqes is a
good way to get cool stuff.  They drop some of the best items in the game.

=========================================================================

X.  A BRIEF GLANCE AT ITEMS

Here is a look at the different item types you will find in Diablo II.  I won't
list the items because that changes completely with most patches, and fixing it
would be way too much work for me.

1. Low Quality and Cracked
These are like normal items only suckier.  They do less damage, have less
defense, have lower durability, and sell for a lot less.  Pretty much the only
purpose of these is to upset you.
Examples:  Low Quality Saber, Cracked Sash

2. Regular
This is the standard version of the item.  The names appear in white.  If they
are socketed or ethereal, their names appear transparent.
Examples:  Saber, Sash

3. Superior
This is a slightly better version of an item.  They can have increased damage,
defense, and/or durablity, but usually not much.  The names of these items also
appear in white.  If they are socketed or ethereal, their names appear
transparent.
Examples:  Superior Saber, Superior Sash

4. Magical
This is a regular item with magical qualities.  They are named with a prefix and
a suffix which determine what kind of magical properties they have.  Their names
appear in blue.  If they are socketed or ethereal their names still appear in
blue.
Examples:  Cruel Saber of Winter, Dragon's Sash of Thorns

5. Rare
Rare items have multiple randomly added magical properties.  A rare item's name
appears bright yellow.  They are named from a random pool of names that have no
effect on the magical qualities of the item.  They have a 1 socket max, and if
they are ethereal or socketed their name still appears bright yellow.
Examples:  Corpse Song Saber, Loath Carapace Sash

6. Set
Set items are items come from certain set.  You get all kinds of bonuses for
having part or all or a certain set.  Some of these bosuses can get really
really good, but finding a whole set of some really good items is going to
be extremely hard to do.  You shouldn't keep all the set items you get though,
because some of them really are pretty bad.  Their names appear in green.  They
have a max of 1 socket, and if they are socketed their names still appear in
green.  They also can have unique graphics that make them look different from
normal items.  Also, some set items always come with several sockets, but
runewords only work on items with grey text, so no luck there.
Examples:  Angelic Sickle Saber, Death's Guard Sash

7. Unique
Each item has a unique version of itself.  A unique item has a pre-determined
name and some pre-determined magical properties.  Unique items are the highest
class of items, thus some of the best items in the game.  They also usually have
a cool unique graphic.  Unique items's names appear in a dark yellow color.
For an example look at quest items like the Horadric Malus or the Scroll of
Inifuss.  They are limited to 1 socket.  If they are ethereal or socketed
their names will still appear dark yellow.  Some uniques always come with several
sockets, but this is pretty rare.
Examples:  Skewer of Krintiz Saber, Lenymo Sash

Also, here items can be either ethereal or socketed.  Here is a description of
each:

-Ethereal-
Ethereal items are not exactly like to types of items listed above.  The
ethereal state occurs in 5% of all weapons and armor.  It naturally adds a
50% damage to weapons and 50% defense to armor.  The real problem with this
is that it also makes the item unrepairable, so the item will eventually break
and be of no use to you.  Ethereal can occur on normal, magical, rare, and unique
items, but not on set items.  Also, amulets, rings, bows, and crossbows cannot be
ethereal since they have no durability anyway.  Ethereal items appear faded
in the graphic.  They can be a real downer when you think you've found a
great unique item but it turns out to be ethereal.  The only really good use I've
found if on hirelings, since hireling items don't degrade.  Some items that are
naturally indestructible (Phase Blades, several uniques) and javelins with
replinishing quantity (Titan's Revenge) are worth a lot more if they are ethereal.
NOTE: Set items can be ethereal in v 1.10.

-Socketed-
Sockets are very useful.  A socket can appear on a normal, magical, rare,
unique, set, and crafted item.  Normal and magical items have varying limits
that are based on what kind of item you have.  Rare, unique, set, and crafted
items are limited to 1 socket, however I know some set items and maybe some
uniques alway have sockets in them, but since they're not standard items you
can't put any runewords.  In each socket you can place a jewel, rune, or gem
that will increase the magical properties of that item.  Once you put something
in a socket, you cannot take it out.  In v 1.10 there will be a new horadric
cube recipie that will destroy what's in the socket.  You won't get the items
back, but it does let you put something different in.

=Crafted=
Finally, there is a often overlooked and completely unique version of items
called crafted items.  They do not drop, but rather are created with a
horadric cube recipie.  The basic recipe is:
Magic item + Gem + Jewel + Rune = Crafted Item
You can use various kind of items, gems, and runes that determine what you
get.  A crafted item's name appears in orange.  Each crafted item comes with
a number of pre-set mods and 1-4 random magical mods.  The number of
magical modifiers is determined by the crafted item's 'item level', which
is half the magic item's item level + half the crafting character's level.
Item levels are assigned to all items, but are not listed in this guide.
The item level determines mods thusly:
Item lvl 1-30 - 40% chance of 1 mod, 20% chance of 2,3, and 4 mods
Item lvl 31-50 - 60% chance of 2 mods, 20% chance of 3 and 4 mods
Item lvl 51-70 - 80% chance of 3 mods, 20% chance of 4 mods
Item lvl 71+ - 100% chance of 4 mods

Crafted items can range from very bad (like so):
Blood Mace
+45% enchanced damage
2% life stolen per hit
+12 life
+1 cold damage

To very, very good:
Caster Amulet
10% faster cast rate
Regenerate Mana +10%
+20 Mana
+50 Life
+2 Sorceress Skills
+100 defense vs. missile
+20 Resist all

The above amulet is pretty much a best case.  There are 4 crafted "familys"
which have 3-4 of the mods described below, varying by item type:

- Blood - Created from Perfect Ruby
Generally add +life, life leech, replinish life, and unique damage methods
such as Open Wounds, Crushing Blow, and Deadly Strike.
-Caster- Created from Perfect Amethyst
Generally add +mana, mana leech, mana regeneration, or mana per kill, and
unqiue mods such as faster cast rate and percentage bases mana additions
-Hit Power- Created from Perfect Sapphire
Depending on the item various mods are available such as: chance to cast
Frost Nova when struck, attacker takes damage, faster hit recovery, hit
causes monster to flee, knockback, and extra defense vs. missles.
-Safety- Created from Perfect Emerald
Provide protective measures including enhanced defense, fixed physical and
magical damage reduction, and small resists both specific and to all
elements.

Crafting is used most comonly to make Caster gear.  Caster boots and
gloves, and especially good Caster amulets, like the one described above,
can be very powerful and pricy.  Most of the other crafted familys are
only good at lower levels.

-Item Progression-
Each item follows a level of progression.  There is a standard version, an
exceptional version, and an elite version.  The normal versions are seen all
throughout the game in all difficulty levels.  The exceptional versions
appear in the later acts of Normal difficulty and can be seen from then on.
Elite versions can only be found in Hell difficulty.  As they progess they
improve in damage and rarity.  Take this for example:

Normal Saber- Saber
Damage- 3-8
Durability- 32
Str Required- 25
Dex Required- 25
Character Level Required- None

Exceptional Saber- Shamshir
Damage- 10-24
Durability- 32
Str Required- 58
Dex Required- 58
Character Level Required- 25

Elite Saber- Elegant Blade
Damage- 33-45
Durability- 32
Str Required- 109
Dex Required- 122
Character Level Required- 53

As you can see, the items get much better with each level, and this is just
a look at one of the weakest weapons in the game.  Needless to say it is
very important as you progress in difficulty to seek out higher quality
weapons.  Here is an example with armor:

Normal Sash- Sash
Defense- 2
Durability- 12
Str Required- 0
Character Level Required- None

Exceptional Sash- Demonhide Sash
Defense- 29-24
Durability- 12
Str Required- 20
Character Level Required- 24

Elite Sash- Spiderweb Sash
Defense- 55-62
Durability- 12
Str Required- 50
Character Level Required- 46

Once again, the stats go up a lot with each level.  In Nightmare,
exceptional items will randomly replace the normal ones in the shops, though
some of the items will still be just normal.  In Hell difficulty, exceptional
and elite versions will randomly replace the normal versions in shops.  The
higher level items become more common in shops as your level increases.
I think their rarity goes like this:  In Nightmare exeptional versions
appear 5% of the time.  In Hell version exeptional versions appear 10%
of the time and elite versions appear 5% of the time.

===========================================================================

XI.  GEMS AND RUNES

-GEMS-
Gems come in various types.  Each type can be insterted into a socket on an
item for a bonus.  Gems are pretty valuabe and you should try to save what
you get.  Gems follow a level of progression:
chipped -> flawed-> nomal -> flawless -> perfect
Character level required is:
1 -> 5 -> 12 -> 15 -> 18
Three of one kind can be transmuted in the Horadric Cube to upgrade them to
the next quality level.  As the quality level increases they gem's attributes
increase.  You cannot go higher than perfect.  Here is a look at the stats
of each kind of gem:

Amethysts
           Weapons            Helms and Armor       Shields
Chipped     +40 AR              +3 Strength        +8 Defense
Flawed      +60                 +4                 +12
Normal      +80                 +6                 +18
Flawless    +100                +8                 +24
Perfect     +150                +10                +30

Diamonds
Chipped     +24% dam to undead  +20 AR             +6 Resist All
Flawed      +34%                +40                +8
Normal      +44%                +60                +11
Flawless    +54%                +80                +14
Perfect     +68%                +100               +19

Emeralds
Chipped     8 poison dam/ 3 sec +3 Dex             +12 Poison Resist
Flawed      11                  +4                 +16
Normal      14                  +6                 +22
Flawless    17                  +8                 +28
Perfect     20                  +10                +40

Rubies
Chipped    3-4 fire dam         +10 life           +12 Fire Resist
Flawed     5-8                  +17                +16
Normal     8-12                 +24                +22
Flawless   10-16                +31                +28
Perfect    15-20                +38                +40

Sapphires
Chipped    1-3 cold dam         +10 mana           +12 Cold Resist
Flawed     3-5                  +17                +16
Normal     4-7                  +24                +22
Flawless   6-10                 +31                +28
Perfect    10-14                +38                +40

Topazes
Chipped    1-8 lightning dam    +9% magic find     +12 Lightning Resist
Flawed     1-14                 +13%               +16
Normal     1-22                 +16%               +22
Flawless   1-30                 +20%               +28
Perfect    1-40                 +24%               +40
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Skull          Weapon                          Armor
Chipped  Steal 2% life, 1% mana   Replenish life +2, Reginerate Mana 8%
Flawed         2% life, 2% mana                  +3                  8%
Normal         3% life, 2% mana                  +3                  12%
Flawless       3% life, 3% mana                  +4                  12%
Perfect        4% life, 3% mana                  +5                  19%

Skull continued
                 Shields
Chipped     Attacker takes 4 damage
Flawed                     8 damage
Normal                     12 damage
Flawless                   16 damage
Perfect                    20 damage

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

-RUNES-
Runes are very cool items that can be insterted into sockets.  There is a
variety of runes, some common and some very rare, each with a large assortment
of modifiers based on what rune you use and on what kind of item they go.
Also, if place in a certain order on standard items with a certain number
of sockets, you can make a runeword.  I'm not going to list runewords because
they change so much, but I will list the runes and what each rune does.

RUNE
1 El Weapon: +50 Ar, +1 Light radius
     Armor/Helm/Shield: +15 Defense, +1 Light radius

2 Eld Weapon: +75% damage to undead, +50 AR vs. Undead
      Armor/Helm: -15% stamina drain
      Shield: +7% blocking

3 Tir Weapon/Armor/Helm/Shield: +2 mana per kill

4 Nef Weapon: Knockback
      Armor/Helm/Shield: +30 defense vs. missile

5 Eth Weapon: -25% target defense
      Armor/Helm/Shield: Regenerate mana 15%

6 Ith Weapon: +9 maximum damage
      Armor/Helm/Shield: 15% damage taken goes to mana

7 Tal Weapon: 75 poison damage/ 5 seconds
      Armor/Helm/Shield: 35% poison resistance

8 Ral Weapon: 5-30 fire damage
      Armor/Helm/Shield: 35% fire resistance

9 Ort Weapon: 1-50 lightning damage
      Armor/Helm/Shield: 35% lightning resistance

10 Thul Weapon: 3-14 Cold damage (3 sec cold length)
        Armor/Helm/Shield: 35% cold resistance

11 Amn Weapon: 7% life stolen per hit
       Armor/Helm/Shield: Attacker takes 14 damage

12 Sol Weapon: +9 minimum damage
       Armor/Helm/Shield: -7 damage taken

13 Shael Weapon: 20% increased attack speed (IAS)
         Armor/Helm: 20% faster hit recovery
         Shield: 20% faster block Rate

14 Dol Weapon: Hit causes monster to flee 25%
       Helm/Armor/Shield: +7 Replinish life

15 Hel Weapon: -20% requirements
       Armor/Helm/Shield: -15% requirements

16 Io Weapon/Armor/Helm/Shield: +10 vitality

17 Lum Weapon/Armor/Helm/Shield: +10 energy

18 Ko Weapon/Armor/Helm/Shield: +10 dexterity

19 Fal Weapon/Armor/Helm/Shield: +10 strength

20 Lem Weapon/Armor/Helm/Shield: 50% extra gold from monsters

21 Pul Weapons: +75% damage to Demons, +100 AR vs. Demons
       Armor/Helm/Shield: +30% defense

22 Um Weapon: 25% chance of open wounds
      Armor/Helm: 15 resist all
      Shields: 22 resist all

23 Mal Weapon: Prevent monster healing
       Armor/Helm/Shield: -7 magic damage

24 Ist Weapon: 30% magic find
       Armor/Helm/Shield: 25% magic find

25 Gul Weapon: +20% AR
       Armor/Helm/Shield: +5 max resist poison

26 Vex Weapon: 7% mana stolen per hit
       Armor/Helm/Shield: +5 max resist fire

27 Ohm Weapon: +50% damage
       Armor/Helm/Shield: +5 max resist cold

28 Lo Weapon: 20% chance for Deadly Strike
      Armor/Helm/Shield: +5 max resist lightning

29 Sur Weapon: 20% chance hit blinds target
       Armor/Helm: +5% mana
       Shield: +50 mana

30 Ber Weapon: 20% chance for Crushing Blow
       Armor/Helm/Shield: Damage reduced by 8%

31 Jah Weapon: Ignore Target Defense
       Armor/Helm: +5% health
       Shield: +50 health

32 Cham Weapon: 32% chance to freeze target for 3 seconds
        Armor/Helm/Shield: Cannot be frozen (Doesn't work against Holy Freeze)

33 Zod Weapon/Armor/Helm/Shield: Indestructible

For the first 10, 3 of the same rune transmuted in the Horadric cube turn
into 1 rune of the next level.  After that it takes a gem of varying type
and quality, and eventually goes from 3 to 2 runes needed to upgrade.  I'll
list the upgrade recipies in a later update.

===========================================================================

XII. NOTABLE EQUIPMENT

If you're gonna play in Diablo II, you have to know what to look for.  I think
there is some equipment everyone should know about.  I've compiled a list of
some of the most notable equipment.  This is the stuff that everyone talks
about.  Arm yourself with knowledge, and weapons!

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

=WEAPONS=

-Lightsabre- Elite Crystal Sword
(90-106)-(120-138) 1H damage
Indestructible
25 Str required
136 Dex required
C Lvl 58 required
+150-200% enhanced damage
+10-30 damage
+60-120 magic damage
+1-200 lightning damage
Ignore Target's Defense
Absorb 25% lightning damage
20% Increased Attack Speed (IAS)
5-7% mana stolen per hit
+7 light radius
5% chance to cast level (7-16) Chain Lightning when attacking
-As you can see, this is a fine weapon.  Largely Lightining oriented, and the
added magic damage makes it useful for killing any physical immune monster.
The chance to cast Chain Lightning is kind of an annoyance.  Ignore Target's
Defense makes it guaranteed to hit.  It's good for anyone who needs a 1
handed weapon, or anyone who wants to feel like a Jedi.  Did I mention the
attack speed is very fast, even before the 20% IAS?  Also, Lighning is probably
the most dangerous element in the game, so being able to absorb it makes this
weapon all the better.  Note that Ignore Target Defense doesn't work on bosses,
so you need to keep up a good AR anyway.

-The Grandfather- Elite Great Sword
(65-91)-(165-231) 1H damage
(147-260)-(290-306) 2H damage
Indestructible
189 Str required
110 Dex required
C Lvl 81 required
+150-250% enhanced damage
+2.5 max damage per character level
50% bonus to AR
+80 life
+20 All stats
-This is a great sword if you plan to hold it 2 or 1 handed. (1 only being
an option for Barbarians)  The +80 to life and +20 to stats will give you
a big boost right from the start.  The AR bonus is also welcome.  The only
thing it lacks is elemental damage.  This is great for a Barbarian merc, but
you may want to find a weapon with elemental damage otherwise killing
physical immunes will be a nightmare.  This works pretty well on a Chargeadin
for dueling. (So I'm told...)

-Baranar's Star- Elite Morning Star
132-162 1H damage
172 Durability
189 Str required
C Lvl 65 required
+200% enhanced damage
+200% bonus to AR
+50% IAS
+15 Dex
+15 Str
+100 increased durability
+1-200 lightning damage
+1-200 cold damage
+1-200 fire damage
-Elemental damage reigns supreme with this bad boy.  Great for anyone short
on magic damage and long on physical immunes.  The 50% IAS makes it fast as
lightning and the 200% AR bonus gives you the ability to hit just about anything
assuming your dex is decent.

-The Cranium Basher- Elite Great Maul
(122-135)-(563-635) 2H damage
Indestructible
253 Str required
C Lvl 87 required
+200-240% enhanced damage
+20 damage
+25 Strength
20% IAS
All Resistances +25
75% chance of crushing blow
4% chance to cast level 1 Amplify Damage on striking
-RAW POWER!!!  As you can see, The Cranium Basher isn't easy to hold, but its
worth it.  Pretty much the only people who will take strength that high are
some Barbs, Shapechanging Druids, and Chargeadins.  Once again it lacks
elemental damage.  The attack speed isn't that good unless you're a Druid.
The resistances bonus is kind of out of place, but very welcome.  It almost
makes up for not having a shield.

-Wizardspike- Elite Dagger
23-49 1H damage
Indestructible
38 Str required
75 Dex required
C Lvl 61 required
+2 mana per C lvl
+15% mana regeneration
+15% maximum mana
All resistances +75
50% faster cast rate
-When a Poisonmancer dreams, this is what he dreams about.  With this you're
looking at a ton of mana and extra mana regeneration, as well a faster cast
rate.  The icing on the cake is the +75 resist all.  As far as daggers go,
it just doesn't get much better than this.  If it could use anything its an
AR bonus, but you can do without it... kind of...  Also, pretty much any
mage benefits greatly from this weapon, but the 75 dex requirement its a pain.
A Hel rune is good for taking the requirement down to 60, but you have to
but in the socket yourself, and you waste a space that you could put a
Facet or something.

-Windforce- Elite Long War Bow
38-241 ranged damage
134 Str Required
167 Dex Required
C Lvl 73 required
+250% enhanced damage
+3.125 to max damage per character level
Heal Stamina +30%
6-8% mana stolen per hit
Knockback
20% IAS
+10 Strength
+5 Dex
-This is probably one of the most talked about of all items.  If you see one,
odds are it's duped.  This is the a very sweet bow.  IMO the Buriza is better
(rarity considered).  The Windforce lacks elemental damage, but that's what
Freezing Arrow/Immolation Arrow is for anyways.  The mana steal is very nice.

-Blade of Ali Baba- Exceptional Saber
(27-37)-(57-79) 1H damage
32 durability
25 Str
43 Dex
C Lvl 35
+60-120% enhanced damage
+2.5% gold found per C Lvl
+1% better magic find per level
+15 mana
+5-15 dex
2 Sockets
-This blade is best used for high level magic find oriented characters.  Since
it comes with two sockets, you have a degree of customization to go with.  Most
people put in Ist runes to increase magic find, but note that Topazes will add
lightning damage, not magic find.

-Chromatic Ire- Exceptional Gnarled Staff
11-32 2H damage
35 durability
25 str
C Lvl 35
+20-25% max life
All resistances +20-40
20% faster cast rate
Attacker takes 20 lightning damage
+3 Sorceress skills
+1 Fire, Cold, and Lightning Mastery
-This is probably the coolest staff.  The increased life and resistances can
help make up for the fact that you don't have a shield.  +3 to Sorceress skills
and +1 to Masteries makes this a great staff, but pretty much Sorceress only.

-Buriza-Do Kyanon- Exceptional Heavy Crossbow
(85-102)-(140-168) ranged damage
100 Str
80 Dex
C Lvl 41
+150-200% enhanced damage
+2.5 max damage per C Lvl
+32-196 cold damage
+100% chance of hit piercing target
80% IAS
Hit freezes target
+35 Dex
+75-150 defense
-This is my favorite bow.  It has everything you need.  Hit freezes target
and elemental damage make for some serious power.  Plus there's the +35 Dex
(which improves bow damage) and defense bonus that helps make up for lacking a
shield.  The hit pierces target 100% makes the Piercing skill pointless.  Great
middle to end game weapon.

-Lycander's Aim- Exceptional Reflex Bow (AMAZON ONLY)
(75-85)-(155-176) ranged damage
73 strength
110 dex
C lvl 42
+150-200% enchanced damage
Adds 25-50 damage
20% IAS
5-8% mana stolen per hit
+20 Dex
+20 Energy
+2 Amazon skills
+2 Bow and Crossbow Skills
-This is also a great bow.  It's a little harder to find, but its worth it.
It's like a Windforce in some ways.  Great choice for a bow also, and a lot
less Strength requirements than the others.  The mana steal is nice to see.
Like the Windforce, the bow lacks elemental damage, but the skill bonuses
give +4 to the elemental arrow you use, so that's a nice way to compensate.

-Titan's Revenge- Exceptional Maiden Javelin (AMAZON ONLY)
(72-82)-(140-158) 1H damage
(72-82)-(187-215) Throw damage
140 Stack Size
25 Str
109 Dex
C Lvl 42
+150-200% enchanced damage
Adds 25-50 damage
+20 Strength
+20 Dexterity
30% faster walk/run
+5-9% life stolen per hit
Regenertates 1 Quantity every 3.33 seconds
+60 Increased Stack Size
+2 Amazon skills
+2 Javelin and Spear skills
-This is the best Javelin there is.  I can't stand the Javazon style,
but for those devoted Javazon's out there, this is what to look for.  Amazon
class-specific stuff seems to drop the least of all, and class specific stuff
drops at 1/3 the rate of other stuff (except for Assassin claws that drop at
2/3) so these won't exactly be easy to get, but they're worth it.  If there was
a way to split stacks, one of these could give every single Javazon a full stack
in a day's time. This is also one of the few items that's worth more if its
ethereal, since it replinishes itself anyway, but gets another 50% damage.

-Bartuc's Cut Throat- Exceptional Blade Talons (ASSASSIN ONLY)
(80-91)-(140-158) 1H damage
79 Strength
79 Dex
C Lvl 42
69 Durability
+150-200% enchanced damage
Adds 25-50 damage
+20% bonus to AR
+20 Str
+20 Dex
30% faster hit recovery
+5-9% life stolen per hit
+2 Assassin skills
+1 Martial Arts
-Bartuc's Cut Throat is a pretty sweet claw.  The damage is good, and the stat
bonuses are very nice.  The AR bonus and life steal are very nice additions.
The only thing it lacks is elemental damage, but it makes up for it with the
numerous +skills that can go to elemental claws abilities.

-The Oculus- Exceptional Jared's Stone (SORCERESS ONLY)
18-42 1H damage
No Str
No Dex
C lvl 42
50 Durability
+3 Sorceress skills
+20% Resist All
30% faster cast rate
+20 Vitality
+20 Energy
+5 mana after each kill
+20% enchanced defense
+50% magic find
25% chance of casting Teleport when struck
-This has just about everything you would want.  Skill bonus, resistances,
magic find, faster cast, and resist all, among many others.  This is by far the
best Sorceress weapon.  The only down side is the chance to cast teleport.  You
can't control where you go, so you could go away from the enemies, or right in the
middle of them.  It's just something you have to deal with for using such a
powerful orb.

-The Immortal King's Stone Crusher- Elite Maul
234-321 2H damage
225 Str
No Dex
C Lvl 76
Indestructible
+40% IAS
+200% damage to Demons
+250% damage to Undead
+25-40% chance of Crushing Blow
+200% enhanced damage
-The damage is insane on this thing, and if you're fighting a Demon or Undead
(which is most of the time) you get even more damage.  The IAS is welcome and
I've you're a Druid you can already swing Mauls faster than others characters.
This is the favored weapon of Werebear/Werewolf Druids.  I'll take this time
to explain Crushing Blow.  Crushing Blow takes a cetain amount off a monster's
current HP if successful. Here's how it works:
Normal Mosters- 1/4 melee, 1/8 ranged attack
Others- 1/10 melee, 1/20 ranged attack
Others refers to boss monsters.  As you can see, this will speed up your killing
a bit.  Here's an example:  If you hit a normal monster with 1000 life for 300
damage and crushing blow succeeded he would end up with 700 life from you blow
and then an additional 175 damage (1/4 of 700) would be taken off leaving him
with 525 health.  So all in all this is a massively damaging weapon.  It lacks
elemental damage, but there are ways to get around that.

-Natalya's Mark- Elite Scissors Katar (ASSASSIN ONLY)
123-156 1H damage
118 Str
118 Dex
C lvl 79
68 Durability
+40% IAS
+200% enchanced damage
Ignores Target Armor
+50 Cold Damage
+12-17 Fire damage
+200% damage to Demons
+200% damage to Undead
-This one of the best claws.  It has great normal damage, some elemental damage,
and a nice damage bonus to demons and undead.  Not to mention the 40% IAS
making it insanely fast, even more so if you use Burst of Speed.  The ignores
target's defense makes it pretty much guaranteed to hit.  The only the it lacks
is life or mana steal, but you can get that from other equipment.

-Tal Rasha's Lidless Eye- Exceptional Jared's Stone (SORCERESS ONLY)
18-42 1H damage
20 Str
20 Dex
C lvl 65
50 Durability
+57 life
+77 mana
+10 Energy
+1 Cold Mastery (Sorc only)
+2 Fire Mastery (Sorc only)
+1 Lightning Mastery (Sorc only)
-The only reason you would use this is if you couldn't get an Oculus.  All in
all its a good orb, but the Oculus is a lot better and has a lower level
reqirement.  If you are wearing 2 Tal Rasha set pieces, the Orb get +1 to
Soceress skills.  With 3 pieces it adds -15% to enemy fire resistances. With
4 pieces it add -15% to enemy lightning resistances.  With the complete set
of 5 you get +15% cold skill damage.

-Azurewrath- Elite Crystal Sword
(102-114) - (115-129) Damage
Indestructible
25 Str
136 Dex
C Lvl 85
+230-270% enhanced damage
+30% IAS
Adds 250-500 Magic damage
Adds 250-500 Cold damage, cold length 10 seconds
+1 all skills
+5-10 all attributes
Level 10-13 Sanctuary aura when equiped
Indestructible
+3 Light radius
-This sword is crazy good.  That attack speed is just insane.  Massive
elemental damage is nice to see.  This works well with the Shockadin
since you deal out 4 kinds of damage in large amounts - Cold, Magic,
Lightning, and Physical.  Great for anyone who needs a sword.  Did I
mention the passive Sanctuary aura?  Knocking back undead constantly is
nice...

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

=ARMOR=

-Arkaine's Valor- Elite Splint Mail
1027-1449 Defense
30 Durability
165 Str
C lvl 85
+150-180% enhanced defense
30% faster hit recovery
+1-2 all skill
-(10-15) physical damage taken
+.5 Vitality per character level
-Defense wise, this is a very fine armor.  The other stats are just
little bonuses tossed in.  Its great if you can get it +2 all skill levels.
It lacks elemental resistances, but it does have the very hand -(10-15) physical
damage taken.

-Atma's Wail- Exceptional Gothic Plate
622-789 Defense
55 Durability
125 Str
C Lvl 51
+15 to Dex
+10 Replenish life
+15% mana
30% faster hit recovery
+2 Defense per C lvl
+50 Increased durability
+120-160% enchanced defense
+20% better magic find
-This is great, especially at higher levels when the +defense per level adds
a lot more.  The true gem is the better magic find.  The replinish life is
pretty sweet.  10 will give you about 1 health per second.  All in all not too
shabby.  +15% mana is good for mages, but they probably won't go up to 125
str required to wear it.

-Skullder's Ire- Exceptional Splint Mail
587-732 Defense
90 Durability
97 Str
C lvl 42
+1 all skills
+1.25% magic find per level
+160-200% enhanced defense
+60 Increased durability
Magical damage reduced by 10
Repairs 1 Durability every 5 seconds
-This is in some ways better and in some ways worse than Arkaine's.  The defense
isn't as good but it does have some great mods.  The magic damage reduction is
about as good as some resistances, and it self-repairs so you save some money.
The best part is the +to magic find, making this ideal magic find or anytime
eqipment.  And the Str requirement is pretty low so most characters will be able
to use it.  This is the best magic find armor, so don't count on seeing very
many around.

-Duriel's Shell- Exceptional Breast Plate
490-609 Defense
150 Durability
65 Str
C Lvl 41 required
+15 Strength
+1.25 defense per character level
+1 life per character level
+160-200% enhanced defense
+20% fire, lightning, and poison resist
+50% cold resist
Cannot be frozen
+100 increased durability
-Duriel's Shell is great for someone who needs light and powerful armor.  It
has a lot of defense that gets better with more levels, and it adds +to life.
It has great resistances and to top it all off it has 'cannot be frozen'.
This doesn't work against the Holy Freeze aura, but other that that it works
well.  Duriel's Shell is best for Sorceresses, Necromancers, and Bowazons who
need good defense and life bonuses, but don't have much strength.

-Shaftstop- Exceptional Chain Mail
556-684 Defense
42 Durability
92 Str
C Lvl 38
+250 Defense vs. Missiles
Physical Damage reduced by 30%
+60 life
+180-220% Enchanced defense
-The defense on the Shaftstop isn't great, but the physical damage reduction
makes up for that.  The +250 defense vs missiles and +60 life make it great
equipment for Bowazons and mages, or other fairly low strength characters.
It has no elemental resists, but I'm sure you can make it up elsewhere.

-Skin of the Vipermagi- Exceptional Leather Armor
246-279 Defense
24 Durability
43 Str required
C Lvl 29
+120% enhanced defense
+20-35% resist all
30% faster cast rate (FCR)
Magic damage reduced by (9-13)
+1 all skills
-The Skin of the Vipermagi is great for someone who wants to keep their strength
very, very low.  The armor is geared towards mages, and has some great mods.
The resistances and magic damage reduction go a long way for you, and the +1
all skills is a nice finishing touch.  Not exactly endgame stuff, but good.

-The Gladiators Bane - Elite Studded Leather Armor
1255-1496 Defense
135 Durability
111 Str
C Lvl 85
+150-200% ED
+50 defense
Cannot Be Frozen
30% FHR
Poison length reduced by 50%
Attacker takes damage of 20
Damage Reduced By 15-20
Magic Damage Reduced By 15-20
-Wow...  First off, excellent defense.  Then throw in Cannot Be Frozen, a
wonderful mod to have.  Poison length reduction is just a good as poison
resistance to me.  Then add in the damage reduction and magic damage
reduction and you have one fine armor.

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

=HELMS=

-Harlequin Crest- Elite Cap
98-144 Defense
12 Druability
50 Str
C Lvl 62
+2 all skills
+1.5 life per character level
+1.5 mana per character level
+50% magic find
Physical damage reduced by 10%
+2 all stats
-This thing is GREAT!!!  Most people just call it the Shako since it is a
unique shako. (BTW, the hats that we wear in band are shakos and they look
nothing like that)  The life and mana bonus, physical damage reduction, and
+2 all skills come together to make one quality item.  The magic find bonus
just makes it better.  The only thing it lacks is elemental resistances.

-Vampiregaze- Exceptional Bone Helm
122-252 Defense
40 Durability
58 Str
C Lvl 41
+6-8% mana steal
+6-8% life steal
15% slower stamina drain
Physical damage reduced by 15-20%
Magic damage reduced by 10-15
+100% enhanced defense
Adds 6-22 cold damage, 4 seconds cold length
-The Vampiregaze is also an excellent helm.  It has a wide defense range, but
it can get pretty good.  The best part is the dual leech.  These are worth a
ton if the Physical damage and leech is maxed.  The cold damage adds a nice
touch for a great piece of equipment.

-Peasant Crown- Exceptional Cap
92-108 Defense
12 Durability
20 Str
C Lvl 28 required
+20 Energy
+20 Vitality
+1 all skills
15% faster run/walk
+6-12 Replinish life
+100% enhanced defense
-Its no Shako, but its a pretty good helm for lower level characters.  12
replinish life gives you around 1.2 life per second.  The energy and vit
bonuses are nice, but the +1 all skills is what really shines.

-Tal Rasha's Horadric Crest- Exceptional Mask
99-131 Defense
20 Durability
55 Str Required
C Lvl 66 Required
+30 mana
+60 life
+45 Defense
+15% resist all
+10% life steal
+10% mana steal
-Its a poor substitute for the Vampiregaze and hardly a Shako, but it is saved
by its great dual leech.  The life and mana bonuses are nice, too.

-Arreat's Face - Exceptional Avenger Guard (BARBARIAN ONLY)
234-363 Defense
55 Durability
118 Str
C Lvl 50
+2 Barbarian skills
+2 Combat skills
+150-200% enhanced defense
30% faster hit recovery
+20% bonus to attack rating
+20 Str
+20 Dex
+3-6% life stolen per hit
+30% resist all
-Arreats Face is the best of the Barbarian helms.  It has to notch defense, along
with a hefty addition to Strength and Dexterity.  The bonus to AR and substantial
+30 resist all are welcome mods not seen much on helms.  The best part, however,
is the big boost to Barbarian skill levels.

-Jalal's Mane- Exceptional Spirit Mask (DRUID ONLY)
184-297 Defense
20 Durability
65 Str
C Lvl 42
+2 Druid skills
+2 Shape-shifing skills
+150-200% enchanced defense
30% faster hit recovery
+20 str
+20 energy
+5 mana per kill
+30% resistance to all
-Jalal's Mane is just the Druid's take on Arreat's Face.  It manages to keep a low
str requirement and +20 energy and +mana per kill make it useable by the Elementalists.
This is a good general druid helm, but I'd say go with this unless you have full
Aldurs, but then again, who needs full Aldurs?

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

=SHIELDS=

-Stormshield- Elite Kite Shield
136-151 Defense
Indestructible
156 Str
C Lvl 73
+3.75 Defense per C Lvl
Physical Damage reduced by 35%
+30 Str
35% faster blocking
+25% lightning resist
+25% chance to block
+60% cold resist
Attacker takes 10 lightning damage
-This is the mother of all shields.  It has great defense as your level progresses,
has some nice resistances, and the great 35% damage reduction.  The +30 strength
is a nice addition.  All in all this is probably the best of the shields.
However I must give you a word of advice that will save your from a lot of
harassment:  Whatever you do, don't "slap a Zod in that beast".

-Tiamat's Rebuke- Exceptional Kite Shield
143-204 Defense
106 Durability
91 Str
C Lvl 41
Adds 27-53 Cold damage, 6 seconds cold length
Adds 35-95 Fire damage
Adds 1-120 Lightning damage
+25-35% Resist all
+140-200% enhanced defense
5% chance to cast lvl 9 Frost Nova when struck
5% chance to cast lvl 7 Nova when struck
3% chance to cast lvl 6 Hydra when struck
+40 Increased Durability
-This is a great choice for those who don't what their strength to be very high,
but still want to got melee (no class comes to mind...), but other than that its
a great mid-game shield.  The elemental damages make it like Baranar's Star, but
in a lesser shield version.  Its nice to see resistances on a shield, and the
chance to cast stuff is nice, especially Frost Nova.  I have heard of instances
of confused Hydras that attack as if they were casted by some third party and
attack everything, friend or foe, but I'm not too sure of that.

-Lidless Wall- Grim Shield
91-347 Defense
70 Durability
58 Str
C Lvl 41
+1 Light radius
+1 all skills
20% faster cast rate
+3-5 mana per kill
+80-130% enhanced defense
+10 Energy
+10% mana
-This is definately a good pick for mages who have a free hand.  Faster cast
rate, +mana per kill, and the energy and mana bonuses.  It has a huge range
for defense, but it gets pretty darn good, especially for mage equipment.

-Herald of the Zakarum- Exceptional Aerin Shield (PALADIN ONLY)
362-507 Defense
50 Durability
89 Str
C Lvl 42
+2 Paladin Skills
+2 Combat Skills
+150-200% enchanced defense
30% faster blocking
+30% chance to block
+20 str
+20 vit
+20% bonus to attack rating
+50% resist all
-For Paladins, this is the prime pick.  The defense is exquisite, and the other
mods are pretty great.  Str, Vit, AR, and resists, as well as +skills.  The only
thing Stormshield has that the Herald doesn't is the massive physical damage
reduction.

-Griswolds Honor- Elite Crown Shield  (PALADIN ONLY)
290-333 Defense
90 Durability
148 Str
C Lvl 68
65% faster block rate
20% increased blocking
+108 Defense
All Resistances +45
3 Empty Sockets
-As a set, elite, class specific item, you can imagine this is pretty hard to
find.  I, myself, have offered up a few elite uniques and have been turned down.
The potential for resists is very high, what with the three open sockets.
Its not quite Herald of the Zakarum, but it is pretty darn nice.

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

=BELTS=

-Nosferatu's Coil- Elite Light Belt
56-63 Defense
14 Durability
50 Str
C Lvl 51
+15 Strength
+2 Mana after each kill
Slows target by 10%
+10% life stolen per hit
10% IAS
-3 light radius
-Good belts can be hard to come by.  This one is kinda neat, IMO.  It has some
really good mods, but just not in high magnitudes.  It the numbers were a little
higher it would be much better.  The -3 light radius, while not that bad, can
be a little annoying.  This was pretty nice when it had 5% life leech, but in
v 1.10 it was boosted to 10% life leech to make this a darn good belt.

-String of Ears- Exceptional Sash
90-113 Defense
22 Durability
20 Str
C Lvl 29
Magic damage reduced by 10-15
Physical damage reduced by 10-15%
+6-8% life stolen per hit
+150-180% enhanced defense
+15 Defense
+10 Increased durability
-This is a very popular belt.  Its not that rare, but has great mods.  Physical
and magic damage reduction, as well as life steal.  That's nice to see.

-Thundergod's Vigor- Exceptional Plated Belt
109-159 Defense
24 Durability
110 Str
C lvl 47
5% chance to cast Lvl 7 Fist of the Heavens when struck
Adds 1-50 lightning damage
+10% max lightning resist
Absorbs +20 Lightning damage
+160-200% Enhanced defense
+20 Vitality
+20 Strength
+3 Lightning Strike (Amazon Only)
+3 Lightning Fury (Amazon Only)
-This is a great belt, especially for the Javazon since it has the +skills.
It has power over lightning, which is probably the strongest element in the
game, and it adds some lightning damage.  Not to mention the defense is
top notch as far as belts go.  The +20 Vit and Str just make it better.

-Verudungo's Hearty Cord- Elite Belt
108-154 Defense
16 Durability
106 Str
C Lvl 63
+90-140% enhanced defense
+30-40 Vitality
+100-120 Maximum Stamina
10% faster hit recovery
Damage reduced by 10-15%
Replinish life 10-13 (About 1 to 1.3 life per second)
-If you give an item damage reduction, they will come.  Its a simple law of
Diablo II.  This is nice also because of the +30-40 vitality.  Thats a lot
of extra health.  The stamina boost is also very large but not as useful.
The 10% FHR seems like and afterthought, but nice to see.

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

=BOOTS=

-War Traveler- Exceptional Light Plated Boots
99-138 Defense
48 Durability
95 Str
C Lvl 42
+10 Vitality
+10 Strength
+30-50% better magic find
+30 Increased durability
25% faster Run/Walk
+150-190% enhanced defense
Adds 15-25 damage
Attacker takes 5-10 damage
40% slower stamina drain
-These boots definately make running a lot easier.  Most people pick these
for the magic find bonus.  The +10 Strength and Vitality make nice touches.
Too bad they have no resistances.

-Gore Rider- Exceptional Greaves
113-144 Defense
34 Durability
93 Str
C Lvl 47
-25% item requirements
+15% chance of deadly strike
30% faster walk/run
15% chance of crushing blow
15% chance of open wounds
+160-200% enhanced defense
+10 increased durability
+20 stamina
-These are also heavy on your boot-oriented skills (stamina and walking speed
bonuses).  The chance for deadly strike, crushing blow, and open wounds gives
you several ways to cause some damage to your opponent.  They lack magic
defense, however.

-Tearhaunch- Greaves
60-63 Defense
24 Durability
70 Str
C Lvl 29
+60-80% enhanced defense
20% faster run/walk
+10 all resistances
+35 defense
+5 Str
+5 Dex
+2 Vigor (Paladin only)
-I just thought there were worth mentioning since there aren't many other
good boots.  These are very good for a Hammerdin since they give some
nice that boosts and +2 to Vigor, a Blessed Hammer synergy.  Low level
Hammerdins should procure some ASAP.

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

=GLOVES=

-Dracula's Grasp- Elite Heavy Gloves
125-145 Defense
14 Durability
50 str
C lvl 76
+90-120% enhanced defense
+10-15 Strength
+5-10 life after each kill
25% chance of open wounds
7-10% life stolen per hit
5% chance to cast level 10 Life Tap on striking
- These very accurately described gloves are good at taking the life from
your opponent.  Life per kill, life leech, and chance to cast life tap
should prolong your life a good bit

-Venom Grip- Exceptional Leather Gloves
97-118 Defense
12 Durability
20 Str
C lvl 29
+130-160% enhanced defense
+15-25 defense
5% chance of crushing blow
60 Poison damage over 4 seconds
5% life stolen per hit
+5 max poison resist
+30 Poison resist
- This gloves are good for mid game.  They have some good resistance to
poison, which is nice to see.  Some small poison damage and life leech
make for an all around good glove, but not a great one

-Chance Guard- Chain Gloves
27-28 Defense
16 Durability
25 Str
C lvl 15
+20-30% enchanced defense
+15 Defense
+25 AR
+25-40% magic find bonus
200% extra gold from monsters
+2 light radius
- These are the first, best, and only gloves for magic finding.  They're
fairly valuable if they're above 35%, but about worthless if they're below
30%.  I've found 25%.

-Magefist- Light Gauntlets
24-25 Defense
18 Durability
45 Str
C Lvl 23 required
+20-30% enhanced defense
+10 defense
+1 fire skills
20% faster cast rate
regenerate mana 25%
+1-6 fire damage
- Magefists are great gloves for fire Sorceresses.  Faster cast rate, mana
regeneration, and a +1 to fire skills gives you everything you're looking
for.  However, since the +1 to fire skills doesn't apply to Sorceresses
only.  This means Amazon Fire Arrows, Druid Fire Claws and Fire elemental
spells, Paladin Holy Fire, and Assassin fire traps and Fist of Fire also
benefit.

-Frostburn- Gauntlets
47-49 Defense
24 Durability
60 Str
C Lvl 29
+10-20% enhanced defense
+30 defense
+5% enhanced damage
+40% maximum mana
Adds 1-6 cold damage
- Frostburns are most commonly used for their +40% mana to benefit mages.
This along with 2 Stones of Jordan (25% max mana each) can give someone
almost double their natural mana supply.  Frostburns also have some use
for low level characters like Barbarians and Paladins who may have some
mana problems.

-Laying of Hands- Exceptional Leather Gloves
79-87 Defense
12 Durability
50 Str
C Lvl 63
+25 Defense
20% Increased Attack Speed
+350% damage to demons
+50% fire resist
10% chance to cast lvl 3 Holy Bolt on striking
- These gloves are great for any melee or ranged character.  The 20%
increased attack speed, usually unseen on gloves, is very welcome.  They
have an unnaturally high 50% fire resistance, a very good defensive
measure.  The real prize is the +350% damage to demons, which includes
all the act bosses.  This makes your character much better at fighting
demons, the most powerful monsters in the game.

===========================================================================

=RINGS=

-Stone of Jordan-
C Lvl 29
+1 all skills
+25% maximum mana
Adds 1-12 lightning damage
+20 mana
-Stone of Jordan is by far the most popular ring in the game.  It is one
of 2 unique rings that gives +1 all skills and also it has a substantial
boost to your mana supply.  The lightning damage is just a random plus.

-Bul-Kathos' Wedding Band-
C Lvl 58
+1 all skills
+.5 life per character level
3-5% life stolen per hit
+50 maximum stamina
-This ring is pretty popular because of the +1 all skills, but other than
that it doesn't have too much to show.  Life leech and the life bonus are
nice, but it's just not enough.  The stamina bonus, while fairly large,
is pretty pointless

-Nagelring-
C Lvl 7
Magic damage reduced by 3
+50-75 to attack rating
Attacker takes damage of 3
15-30% better magic find
-While the other mods on the Nagelring are just place fillers, the only
thing people really care about is the nice boost of magic find.  A perfect
Nagel is a good find indeed.

-Dwarf Star-
C Lvl 45
Fire Absorb +15%
Heal Stamina +15%
+40 maximum stamina
+40 life
100% extra gold from monsters
Magic damage reduced by 12-15
-I am very fond of the Dwarf Star.  It gives a nice life and stamina boost
and adds some prize fire absorb.  The magic damage reduction is pretty
large and can be very useful.

-Ravenfrost-
C Lvl 45
+150-250 to attack rating
Adds 15-45 cold damage
Cannot be frozen
+15-20 Dexterity
+40 mana
Cold absorb +20%
-Ravenfrost is one of the most useful rings.  It comes with cold absorb
and the valuable Cannot Be Frozen mod.  Also it gives a boost to mana
that is fairly large for low mana melee fighters like Paladins and
Barbarians.  Bonuses to AR and some cold damage give you a littl edge in
combat, while the dex bonus increases your blocking and further adds AR.

-Nature's Peace-
C Lvl 69
Slain Monsters Rest in Peace
Prevent Monster Heal
Poison resist +20-30%
Damage reduced by 7-11
Level 5 Oak Sage (27 charges)
-Nature's Peace is a very unique ring added in v 1.10.  It has the new
mod Slain Mosters Rest in Peace.  This prevents monsters from being
ressurected after they are killed, and the corpses cannot be used for
Corpse Explosion or Raise Minions.  Needless to say, this will upset
the Necros in your party, but for you it can be pretty useful.

===========================================================================

=AMULETS=

-The Eye of the Etlich-
C Lvl 15
+1-5 light radius
+1 all skills
+3-7% life stolen per hit
Adds (1-2) to (3-5) cold damage
Cold duration: 2-10 seconds
+10-40 defense vs. missile
-Even perfect the stats are fairly unimpressive.  The life leech is useful,
but gets to an almost useless range.  The real redeeming of this amulet
comes from the +1 all skills, with you may find useful at low levels.

-Saracen's Chance-
C Lvl 47
10% chance to cast lvl 2 Iron Maiden when struck
+15-25 all resists
+12 all attributes
- At max, the amulet has very nice resists.  By level 47, you should be
able to obtain a good +skills amulet, but otherwise this isn't too bad
of a choice.

-The Rising Sun-
C Lvl 65
+2 Fire Skills
2% chance to cast lvl (13-19) Meteor when struck
+.75 per level fire absorb
+24-48 fire damage
Replenish life +10
+4 light radius
- This is good for a fire sorceress.  The +2 fire skills, however, is
not limited to sorcs, so Amazon fire arrows, Necro fire golem, Paladin
resist fire and holy fire, Druid fire skills, and Assassin fire traps
still benefit.  Fire absorb and fire damage make it decent for melee
characters.

-Highlords Wrath-
C Lvl 65
+1 all skills
20% increased attack speed
+.375% per level Deadly Strike
+35% lightning resist
Adds 1-30 lightning damage
Attack takes 15 lightning damage
- This amulet is another made useful by +1 all skils.  The IAS, lightning
damage, and deadly strike make it useful for combat, and the +35% light
resist is a nice to see defensive measure.

-Mara's Kaleidoscope-
C Lvl 67
+2 all skills
+20-30 resist all
+5 all attributes
- What make Mara's so valuable is the +2 all skills, a great mod to have.
It is supported by a massive boost to resistances and +5 all attributes,
both very useful.  Altogether, this is among the best possible amulets in
the game.

-Seraph's Hymn-
C Lvl 65
+2 all skills
+1-2 Defensive Auras (Paladin only)
+20-50% damage vs. Demons
+150-250 to AR vs. Demons
+20-50% damage vs. Undead
+150-250 to AR vs. Undead
+2 light radius
- While Seraph's Hymn lacks the resistances of Mara's Kaleidoscope, it does
have the amazing skill bonus that makes it very useful for Paladins.
Enhanced damage and AR bonus against Undead and Demons greatly enhance
the abilities of a melee character.

-Tal Rasha's Adjudication-
+2 Sorceress skills
+33% lightning resist
Adds 3-32 lightning damage
+42 Mana
+50 Life
- This is probably the best amulet for Sorceresses, competing only with
Mara's Kaleidoscope and elite crafted Caster amulets.  +2 Sorceress skills
makes for massive damage improvements, and it adds a hefty bonus to
life and mana.  With 4 items from the Tal Rasha set equiped, it gains
10% faster cast rate also.

===========================================================================

-=OTHER=-

=RAINBOW FACET JEWEL=
The Rainbow Facet jewel is extremely useful.  Each jewel provides increased
damage and decreased monster resist for a certain element, as well as
small damage from that element, and a spell casted at either death or level
up.  The variations are:
-Fire Facet-
+3-5% Fire skill damage
-3-5% enemy Fire resistance
+17-45 Fire damage
and either
100% chance to cast level 29 Blaze when you level up
or
100% chance to cast level 31 Meteor when you die
-Cold Facet-
+3-5% Cold skill damage
-3-5% enemy Cold resistance
+24-38 Cold damage
and either
100% chance to cast level 43 Frost Nova when you level up
or
100% chance to cast level 37 Blizzard when you die
-Lightning Facet-
+3-5% Lightning skill damage
-3-5% enemy Cold resistance
+1-74 Lightning damage
and either
100% chance to cast level 41 Nova when you level up
or
100% chance to cast level 47 Chain Lightning when you die
-Poison Facet-
+3-5% Poison skill damage
-3-5% enemy Poison resistance
+37 Poison damage over 2 seconds
and either
100% chance to cast level 23 Venom when you level up
or
100% chance to cast level 51 Poison Nova when you die

All versions require a character level of 49 to use.

=UNIQUE CHARMS=
NOTE: These charms cannot be placed in the trade window.  Only one of
each can go into your inventory.  Multiples will not be picked up.
-Gheed's Fortune-
C Lvl 62
+80-160% extra gold from monsters
Reduces mercheant prices by 10-15%
20-40% better magic find
-Annihilus-
C Lvl 70
+1 all skills
+10-20 all attributes
+10-20 all resists
+5-10% experience gained
-I know, I know, the Annihilus is awesome.  It should be.  The Annihulus
cannot be dropped by regular monsters, but gained through a very special
challenge.  Randomly in Hell games you will get the message "Diablo walks
the earth".  Then is the time for action.  In the place of the next
super unique monster you see (i.e. Andariel, Shenk the Overseer,
Pindleskin) will be the all powerful Uber Diablo.  Uber Diablo is much
better than the standard Diablo.  Here are his stats:

Uber Diablo
Level 110
642700 Hit Points
Melee attack 1 - 130-247 damage, 14043 AR
Melee attack 2 - 143-299 damage, 13064 AR
2940 Defense
50% chance to block
50% physical and magical damage resist
95 all resists
15% drain effectiveness
10% chill effectiveness
Uses Fire Nova, Lightning Hose, Cold Touch, Fire Wall, Firestorm, Bone
Prison, Charge, and Armegeddon

While there are insanely high, he is beatable.  When he dies he drops only
1 Annihilus.  The party that works together to topple the tyrant become
bitter enemies fighting for the only spoil.  So if can do it yourself
that would be for the best.  Uber Diablo's spawn rate is supposedly based
on the number of SOJ's sold to mercheats, a counter that appears whenever
a SOJ is sold on a particular server.  For an easier Uber Diablo kill, try
this little trick:
As soon as you get the "Diablo" message, take the Frigid Highlands
waypoint.  Let Uber Diablo spawn in the place of Eldrich the Rectifier,
who appears above the waypoint.  Then run away quickly to Shenk the
Overseer.  Kill minions, but don't kill Shenk until you can lead Uber
Diablo very close to him.  When you deliver the final blow, the catapult
fire that rains down kills all surrounding enemies, including Uber Diablo.
Its not as easy as it sounds, but its probably safer than real combat.

===========================================================================

XIII.  SHRINES

Scattered randomly across the vast lands of Diablo II are various types of
shrines.  Each on has a different temporary effect on you.  Most of them are
good, but some can have a negative effect.  Here is a description of all the
shrines:

-Refilling Shrine-
Recovers your health and mana to max.  Try to use these only when you need
them.  Don't touch them if you need to get back those 5 health you lost.

-Health Shrine-
Recovers your health to max.  Once again, try and save these for when you
need them.

-Mana Shrine-
Recovers your mana to max.  These are only really useful for spellcasters.

-Armor Shrine-
Doubles your defense.  This means attacks are less likely to hit you and
will do less damage.  These are most useful when you are surrounded by
enemies.

-Combat Shrine-
Increases you damage and attack rating by 200%.  This will really let you
lay down some damage.  These rule if they are near a boss.

-Resist Shrines-
Come in Resist Fire, Resist Poison, Resist Lightning, and Resist Cold.  They
increase your resistance to a specific element.  They can be useful but
usually you won't need them.

-Mana Recharge Shrine-
Increases the rate at which your Mana refills by 400%.  This is very cool
for spell casters.

-Skill Shrine-
This shrine adds +2 to any skills you have already learned.  This is
a pretty sweet shrine.  Good for any time use.

-Stamina Shrine-
Gives you unlimited Stamina.  This is an okay shrine.  It doesn't help you
much in combat, but it makes it quicker to get around.

-Experience Shrine-
Gives 50% more experience per kill.  This shrine is not to be wasted.  Hit
it when you are surrounded by enemies, and don't stop fighting until the
effect expires.

-Monster Shrine-
This one turns the nearest enemy into a unique monster.  This is a mixed
bad since unique monsters are stronger, but they drop a lot better stuff.

-Poison Shrine-
It shoots out a circle of posion damage that hurts both you and surrounding
monsters.  If you run away right when you touch it, you shouldn't get any
damage.  Also, it shoots out some high level throwing gas potions that can
be sold for quite a bit of money.  These are a good source of income at
low levels.

-Exploding Shrine-
Like a Poison Shrine, but with fire damage and exploding potions.

-Fire Shrine-
This shrine sucks.  It sends out a bunch of fire balls in all directions
that damage anything they hit.  It probably won't hit any monsters, but it
probably will hit you.  Leave these alone.

-Gem Shrine-
This is a pretty sweet shrine.  It upgrades a random gem in your invetory.
If you have no gem, it gives you a random chipped gem.  It is much better to
upgrade a gem, so make shure you have one in your inventory when you touch
it.  It only works on one gem, so make shure the one you have is the one
you want to upgrade.  I suggest upgading a skull, since they are the most
useful.  Also, it doesn't do anything to perfect gems.

-Portal Shrine-
This sets up a town portal that won't disappear not matter how many tiems
you use it.

-Well-
Wells are pretty cool.  They refill half your health, mana, and stamina
when you touch them, and can work twice for a full recovery if you need it.
They refill pretty quickly, too.

=Evil Urns=
These are not exactly shrines, but function in the same way.  They only
appear in Act V.  If you activate them they can spit out a pretty cool
item, but they will probably spit out a unique monster and minions.
Either way you can get some cool stuff, so I suggest you activate these.

========================================================================

XV.  FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: Can I have a (Windforce or some other powerful piece of equipment)?
A: Hell no. No way.  Not ever.  I don't distribute items to
beggars.  Go surf free games or something.

Q: You forgot to mention (some random character build).  What's up with
that?  I owned hell difficulty with it.
A: I don't care.  If I want to put a build, I'll put it.  I'm only
putting the more easy to use and common ones.

Q: U R da suXX0rz an I R da r0Xx0rz!!11!1  Gib meh stuf plez.  U r a
n00b.  can u rush meh?
A: I don't care to read messages that don't show at least some kind of
attention to grammar rules.  I mean, come on, 'meh'?  That's not even
a short cut.  That's putting in effort to make sure you are wrong.
Please at least try to write proper English.

Q: What!  You gave (some skill) a 1/10?  I have a character centered
around that skill that destroys everything in its path!  What are you
thinking?  You are stupid!
A: Once again, I don't care.  This is my guide, so my opinions count.
If you want me to see your opinion, make your own guide.

Q: Got milk?
A: There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.
You're one of them.
Try not to be stupid.

=======================================================================

XIV.  CLOSING COMMENTS

After reading this you should have a pretty good idea of how to play
Diablo II effectively.  If you follow these strategies and tips, you
should be able to take down Baal and finish the game on Normal on your
first try, or just generally make a better character.  Remember, this
is just a lamp unto your feet.  I layed down some core strategies, but
you decide where they lead.  Find a character that fits your playing
style and go with it.  Once again, if you have anything to contribute,
email me at monkey_pooo4u@yahoo.com.

=======================================================================

XVI.  FUTURE PLANS

The guide is almost perfect.  From here on out its probably just
going to be some small tweaks from time to time.  Just keep
reading!

=======================================================================

XVII.  MY THANKS

Myself, for taking the time out of my "busy" schedule to write this.
Blizzard, for making this game.
Arreat Summit, for providing lots of free information.
diabloii.net, for providing lots of free information.
The helpful people at GameFAQs for being so helpful.
My spell checker.  Thez wunz fur yoo!!!  Ey luv yoo, mayn!!!
God, for being there for me, and for the word 'smite'.

=======================================================================

XVIII.  HOW TO CONTACT ME
You can currently email me at monkey_pooo4u@yahoo.com.  E-mail me there
if you have anything to contribute or want to point out some glaring error.
END NOTE:  Just so you know monkeypooo4u@yahoo.com was already taken.
I had to add the underscore in mine.

=======================================================================