{{{---((--$ THE AMAZON'S GUIDE TO DIABLO II $--))---}}}
     {{{---((--$ THE AMAZON'S GUIDE TO DIABLO II $--))---}}}
          {{{---((--$ THE AMAZON'S GUIDE TO DIABLO II $--))---}}}



version 1.23
07-18-00
by Nicholas Yu
azif@hotzp.com
http://www.hotzp.com/
http://www.hotzp.com/badboys/



**---------------------------------------------------------------------------**
* DISCLAIMER: This FAQ is Copyright 2000 Nicholas Yu under the international  *
|             Copyright laws.  Please contact the author via e-mail if you    |
|             wish to publish or reprint this work.  Anyone attempting to     |
|             pass this work off as his own will be sent to bed without       |
|             dinner and laughed at, because really, who would be lame enough |
*             to pretend to have written a game FAQ?                          *
**---------------------------------------------------------------------------**



The Amazon's Guide to Diablo II

Contents:

  I. FAQ
      A. General Information
            i. Introductory Ramblings
           ii. Why Choose the Amazon?
          iii. Starting Statistics
           iv. Recommended Growth
                  a. Bowazon Sample
                  b. Javazon Sample
                  c. Spearazon Sample
      B. Skills
            i. Bow and Crossbow
           ii. Passive and Magic
          iii. Javelin and Spear
      C. General Strategy
            i. Bowazon
           ii. Javazon
          iii. Spearazon
 II. Walkthrough
      A. Act I
            i. Den of Evil
           ii. Sisters' Burial Grounds
          iii. The Cairn Stones
           iv. The Forgotten Tower
            v. Tools of the Trade
           vi. Sisters to the Slaughter
      B. Act II
            i. Radament's Lair
           ii. The Horadric Staff
          iii. Tainted Sun
           iv. The Arcane Sanctuary
            v. The Summoner
           vi. The Seven Tombs
      C. Act III
            i. The Golden Bird
           ii. Blade of the Old Religion
          iii. Khalim's Will
           iv. Lam Esen's Tome
            v. The Blackened Temple
           vi. The Guardian
      D. Act IV
            i. The Fallen Angel
           ii. The Hellforge
          iii. Terror's End
      E. Cow Level
III. Miscellany
      A. Stress Test Thoughts
      B. Props and Slops
      C. Other FAQs


07-18-00: Version 1.23  -Minor revisions
                        -Many reader strategies added

07-13-00: Version 1.22  -Minor revisions
                        -New key mapping tips added to General Strategy section
                        -Spearazon strategies added for Duriel and Diablo

07-13-00: Version 1.21  -Minor revisions
                        -Cow Level added to the Walkthrough Section

07-13-00: Version 1.20  -Minor revisions
                        -Spearazon variant added
                        -Acts III and IV added to the Walkthrough section

07-12-00: Version 1.10  -Minor revisions
                        -Acts I and II added to the Walkthrough section

07-11-00: Version 1.00  -FAQ released



I. FAQ   FAQ   FAQ
      FAQ   FAQ   FAQ
         FAQ   FAQ   FAQ



A. GENERAL INFORMATION



i. INTRODUCTORY RAMBLINGS

First of all, let me explain why I'm partitioning this walkthrough into five
different ones.  Each of the classes in Diablo II is so different from the
other that they each warrant their own FAQ and walkthrough.  I'm not ambitious
enough that I'd attempt to write an all-encompassing guide for all of them at
once.  Instead, I'll tackle it piecemeal and complete the game with one
character at time.  Also, this guide will not address too many things which I
consider information minutiae; I'll just address the larger issues of playing
strategy where applicable.  Sometimes I'll need to discuss the nitty gritty
details such as when dealing with skills, but I'll leave the other bare facts
to the other guides which are likely to spring up around this game and the
excellent Diablo II Official Strategy Guide by Bart Farkas which is probably
available at your local gaming or electronics store.

Now as far as e-mailing me goes, I enjoy reading e-mail and make as great an
attempt as humanly possible to answer each and every e-mail I receive. 
Unfortunately, I learned this was simply not possible after getting literally
thousands (!) of e-mail about my Planescape: Torment FAQ.  So if you send me e
mail and I don't reply, don't take offense, or even worse send me several other
e-mail asking why I haven't replied yet.  I will hopefully get around to
answering your query, but keep in mind that we're dealing with a popular game
and that I will be bound to receive a hefty amount of e-mail.  I list my e-mail
address because I do truly want you to e-mail me with pertinent information or
sound questions, but please try to limit the spam.  Using the following
examples, please evaluate into which category your potential e-mail falls.

GOOD e-mail example:

"While I thoroughly enjoyed your guide and consider you to be the greatest FAQ
writer ever, perhaps with the exception of the ever prolific Kao Megura, I
strongly disagree with your assessment of the Pierce skill.  I have found it to
be useful on many occasions, examples being ..."

BAD e-mail example:

"d00d!  |-|0\/\/ d0 j00 |-|4X0r b100D r4\/3|\|?"

There will be many spoilers in this guide, especially in the Walkthrough
section; so I suggest skipping over that area if you don't want to ruin all the
surprises for yourself later.



ii.  WHY CHOOSE THE AMAZON?

Quite frankly, I believe the Amazon to be the best single player character in
the game.  That being said, she is arguably the weakest in multiplayer.  Not
that she's a bad character to have in multiplayer, but she really doesn't have
the teamwork skills that the other character classes have.  She has very few
and relatively weak skills to contribute in a team effort, but is totally self
reliant and can zip through the single player mode without too many bumps in
the road.

STRENGTHS:

- Ranged Attack: Always a plus.

- High Dexterity: And consequently high Attack and Defense Ratings as well. 
She does less damage per hit but is more likely to hit and hits more often,
especially with a bow.

- Decent Fighter: Not as good in melee as the Barbarian or Paladin, but
stronger than the Necromancer and Sorceress.  This is not her main strength,
but she won't embarrass you if you need to engage enemies in close quarters.

- Good High Level Skills: The Amazon becomes a scourge of the Nine Hells after
reaching level 18.  Very powerful and always useful skills will be made
available to you then and at the subsequent tree levels.

- Low Mana Usage: Many of the Amazon's best skills are Passive and many of the
skills you'll be using the most have relatively low Mana costs.

- Most Balanced Character: These always tend to be the best in the single
player mode.  The Amazon has no glaring weaknesses.

WEAKNESSES:

- Worst Multiplayer Character: Again, this is worst in terms of what she can
lend to your party, not any individual weakness.

- Low Damage Potential: Unless you focus exclusively on Dexterity to get that
ranged damage up, the Amazon is not going to be the damage-dealing whirlwind of
death that the Barbarian is or be able to lay the smack down to multiple
enemies at once like the Sorceress.  Fortunately, she makes up for this in many
other ways.



iii. STARTING STATISTICS

As we can see below, the Amazon has very balanced beginning statistics, except
for a slight bonus in Dexterity and an equally slight penalty in Energy.  This
will give you a lot of control in terms of molding your character to your
liking.  I like to pump a lot of points into Strength so that she can wear the
best armors in the game, but some people will no doubt prefer a more nimble or
more Mana-based warrior.  The Strength needed for better armors is less
necessary for Javazons as they will be utilizing shields as well, but I was
able to skimp out on Vitality somewhat by making my Amazon harder than heck to
hit.

Strength: 20
Dexterity: 25
Vitality: 20
Energy: 15

Strength is the attribute you'll want to focus on to raise your melee damage
for Spearazons, but Dexterity is what you want to raise the ranged attack
damage.  Dexterity will also help out with Attack and Defense Ratings, so it's
the most critical attribute for any ranged Amazon.  Take a care not to ignore
Vitality or Energy, either.


iv. RECOMMENDED GROWTH

There are two fairly straightforward paths to take when becoming an Amazon. 
Either you specialize in the Bow or Javelin skill trees but not both.  Trying
to take such diverse skills in two diametrically opposed trees will only result
in a watered-down Amazon who is not very proficient with either the bow or
javelin.  They are opposing trees in that the Amazon will either be using a bow
or a javelin, but never both at once.  I heartily recommend choosing one of the
paths when creating the character and then sticking with it, no matter what
cool item you may find.  If you switch very early on, you may have some time to
recover.  The further you progress, the more skill points you'll be dumping
into a particular tree; and you don't want to waste all those points that you
spent later on by switching into another skill tree.

Having played both extensively, I found that I liked the bow version of the
Amazon better (Bowazon) better than the javelin-based Amazon (Javazon).  The
Javazon does more damage, but runs out of ammunition more frequently and does
not attack as quickly.  On the other hand, she is much better equipped for
melee combat and will typically have a better Defense Rating as she can wield
javelins and wear a shield simultaneously.  I liked the Bowazon skill tree
slightly better, but they are both quite good.  The third skill tree, Passive
and Magic Skills, is also full of tasty goodness.

Here are two sample Amazons, made with the excellent Character Planner utility
written by Basilisk and Silver the Paladin.  It's available at DiabloII.net
(http://www.diabloii.net) -- an excellent resource for all of you information
junkies out there.  This is a good tool to plan out your characters from the
get-go so that you don't waste skill points.  The sample characters use up 29
points, as that is the number of skill points you'll acquire if you finish the
game as a level 30 character.  Clvl stands for Character Level and Slvl for
Skill Level.  You will also acquire 4 skill points to divvy up as you see fit
after completing certain quests in the game.  You will be around the levels 5
(+1), 15 (+1), and 25 (+2) when you receive the rewards for those quests.  This
is a pretty good progression of a fairly standard Bowazon, but there is always
room for great variation; and that's what makes Diablo II so great a game.  (In
fact, why am I writing this and not playing?)  Also, you'll note that the Beta
skill names are being used here and not the final (Dopplezon = Decoy, et al).

NEW TO V. 1.20: Due to a massive amount of reader input, I have decided to
include a third Amazon variant, the Spearazon.  She's the melee intense version
of the Javazon who concentrates more on close quarters combat and largely
forgoes the use of ranged attacks.  This variant is said to be able to hold her
own against even the Barbarian when it comes to in-close fighting due to the
strength of the Passive and Magic skill tree.  Vitality will be more important
for her than the other Amazon types as she will be in close quarters more
often, though Energy cannot be overlooked.  More discussion will follow in the
General Strategy section.



a. BOWAZON SAMPLE

Bowazon Sample
Class: Amazon
Level: 30
---------------------------------------------

Clvl 1 Slvl 0: Starting Level
Clvl 2 Slvl 1: Critical Strike
Clvl 3 Slvl 1: Fire Arrow
Clvl 4 Slvl 1: Magic Arrow
Clvl 5 Reserved For Later
Clvl 6 Slvl 1: Dodge
Reserved Slvl 1: Cold Arrow
Clvl 7 Slvl 1: Multi-Shot Arrow
Clvl 8 Slvl 1: Inner Sight
Clvl 9 Slvl 2: Critical Strike
Clvl 10 Slvl 2: Dodge
Clvl 11 Reserved For Later
Clvl 12 Slvl 1: Avoid
Reserved Slvl 1: Exploding Arrow
Clvl 13 Slvl 1: Slow Missiles
Clvl 14 Slvl 3: Critical Strike
Clvl 15 Slvl 2: Exploding Arrow
Clvl 16 Slvl 3: Dodge
Clvl 17 Reserved For Later
Clvl 18 Slvl 1: Penetrate
Reserved Slvl 1: Ice Arrow
Clvl 19 Slvl 2: Penetrate
Clvl 20 Slvl 4: Critical Strike
Clvl 21 Slvl 2: Avoid
Clvl 22 Slvl 5: Critical Strike
Clvl 23 Reserved For Later
Clvl 24 Slvl 1: Dopplezon
Reserved Slvl 1: Immolating Arrow
Clvl 25 Slvl 1: Evade
Clvl 26 Slvl 2: Immolating Arrow
Clvl 27 Slvl 2: Dopplezon
Clvl 28 Slvl 2: Evade
Clvl 29 Reserved For Later
Clvl 30 Slvl 1: Valkyrie
Reserved Slvl 1: Freezing Arrow

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

You'll no doubt notice that I skipped a few high levels skills in favor of a
few others, but there are plenty of options; and the ultimate choice is in the
hands of the player who's spending all of that time earning those experience
points.



b. JAVAZON SAMPLE

Javazon Sample
Class: Amazon
Level: 30
---------------------------------------------

Clvl 1 Slvl 0: Starting Level
Clvl 2 Slvl 1: Critical Strike
Clvl 3 Slvl 1: Jab
Clvl 4 Slvl 1: Inner Sight
Clvl 5 Reserved For Later
Clvl 6 Slvl 1: Poison Javelin
Reserved Slvl 1: Dodge
Clvl 7 Slvl 1: Power Strike
Clvl 8 Slvl 2: Critical Strike
Clvl 9 Slvl 2: Dodge
Clvl 10 Slvl 3: Critical Strike
Clvl 11 Reserved For Later
Clvl 12 Slvl 1: Lightning Bolt
Reserved Slvl 1: Avoid
Clvl 13 Slvl 1: Slow Missiles
Clvl 14 Slvl 1: Impale
Clvl 15 Slvl 2: Lightning Bolt
Clvl 16 Slvl 4: Critical Strike
Clvl 17 Reserved For Later
Clvl 18 Slvl 1: Plague Javelin
Reserved Slvl 1: Penetrate
Clvl 19 Slvl 1: Charged Strike
Clvl 20 Slvl 2: Penetrate
Clvl 21 Slvl 3: Dodge
Clvl 22 Slvl 2: Avoid
Clvl 23 Reserved For Later
Clvl 24 Slvl 1: Fend
Reserved Slvl 1: Dopplezon
Clvl 25 Slvl 1: Evade
Clvl 26 Slvl 3: Penetrate
Clvl 27 Slvl 2: Evade
Clvl 28 Reserved For Later
Clvl 29 Reserved For Later
Clvl 30 Slvl 1: Lightning Strike
Reserved Slvl 1: Zeus Bolt
Reserved Slvl 1: Valkyrie

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

Again, there's great room for variation here.  For even more specialization,
you can focus on a Javazon who is great at melee or one who focuses on thrown
javelins.  Again, the final decision rests with you in terms of what type of
character you'd like to create.  Obviously, this will affect where you will
place your attribute points as well.



c. SPEARAZON SAMPLE

Spearazon Sample
Class: Amazon
Level: 30
---------------------------------------------

Clvl 1 Slvl 0: Starting Level
Clvl 2 Slvl 1: Jab
Clvl 3 Slvl 1: Critical Strike
Clvl 4 Slvl 1: Inner Sight
Clvl 5 Slvl 2: Critical Strike
Clvl 6 Slvl 1: Dodge
Clvl 7 Slvl 1: Power Strike
Clvl 8 Slvl 1: Poison Javelin
Clvl 9 Slvl 2: Jab
Clvl 10 Slvl 2: Dodge
Clvl 11 Slvl 3: Critical Strike
Clvl 12 Slvl 1: Avoid
Clvl 13 Slvl 1: Impale
Clvl 14 Slvl 1: Lightning Bolt
Clvl 15 Slvl 1: Slow Missiles
Clvl 16 Slvl 4: Critical Strike
Clvl 17 Slvl 3: Dodge
Clvl 18 Slvl 1: Penetrate
Clvl 19 Slvl 1: Charged Strike
Clvl 20 Slvl 1: Plague Javelin
Clvl 21 Slvl 2: Penetrate
Clvl 22 Slvl 2: Avoid
Clvl 23 Reserved For Later
Clvl 24 Slvl 1: Evade
Reserved Slvl 1: Dopplezon
Clvl 25 Slvl 1: Fend
Clvl 26 Slvl 5: Critical Strike
Clvl 27 Slvl 2: Evade
Clvl 28 Slvl 6: Critical Strike
Clvl 29 Reserved For Later
Clvl 30 Slvl 1: Valkyrie
Reserved Slvl 1: Lightning Strike

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

This sample is based off of the e-mail input I've received, and from all
accounts, you'll want to put the Quest skill points you receive into Jab (which
has been re-evaluated and re-graded) or use them to shore up whatever
weaknesses you have in the Passive skill tree.  This example uses some of the
distance attacks so that you have something to fall back on, but you may want
to ignore them entirely so that you have more points to dedicate to your melee
combat skills.



B. SKILLS

And here is where I'll list and evaluate the skills as I see them.  Obviously,
not everyone will agree and you are quite welcome to hold the opposite opinion
so long as somewhere in the dark recesses of your mind you acknowledge the
superiority of my wisdom.  ;)  I'll only go so far as to list the effects of up
to 5 Slvls of any particular skill as I think it exceedingly unlikely that
anyone will dump too many more levels than that into any one particular skill. 
If you really want to know, then you should snag a copy of the Official
Strategy Guide or look at the comprehensive Diablo II FAQs.  Also, it's pretty
easy to extrapolate the necessary data as the skills follow pretty linear
trends.

These numbers are not exact as the game went through some tweaking in the final
version, and even the Official Strategy Guide is wholly inaccurate with regards
to certain skills.  Feel free to e-mail me if you've compiled the correct
information and I'll make you get properly credited in the next version of the
guide.



i. BOW AND CROSSBOW



MAGIC ARROW (Clvl 1)

Skill Level     Mana Cost     Damage Modifier

Slvl 1:         1.5           0
Slvl 2:         1.3           +1
Slvl 3:         1.2           +2
Slvl 4:         1.1           +3
Slvl 5:         1.0           +4

Grade: F

As the grade indicates, I believe this is a pretty worthless skill to take as
you should never run out of arrows as a Bowazon.  Paying Mana for them is just
ridiculous and you have to dump an exorbitant amount of skills into it to make
it worthwhile.  You will take one level of it, though, just to get access to
the later skills in the tree.



FIRE ARROW (Clvl 1)

Skill Level     Mana Cost     Fire Damage

Slvl 1:         3             1-4
Slvl 2:         3.2           3-6
Slvl 3:         3.5           5-8
Slvl 4:         3.7           7-10
Slvl 5:         4             9-12

Grade: C

This is a fairly decent introductory level skill, but I wouldn't spend more
than one, at most two, skill points in it as you will soon get access to more
beefy goodness at later levels.



COLD ARROW (Clvl 6)

Skill Level     Mana Cost     Cold Damage     Cold Duration (s)

Slvl 1:         3             3               4
Slvl 2:         3.2           5               5.2
Slvl 3:         3.5           7               6.4
Slvl 4:         3.7           9               7.6
Slvl 5:         4             11              8.8

Grade: B-

This is a solid skill to have if your bow doesn't inflict any type of cold
damage on its own and it wouldn't be a bad idea to reinforce this skill with
one or two levels if you're not lucky enough to have a bow that deals cold
damage.  Slowing down your enemies is a vital aspect to playing the Bowazon. 
The longer it takes to close the distance, the more time you have to pepper
them with arrows.  They will also attack less frequently; add to this your high
Defense Rating and Passive evasive skills, and you just won't get hit very
often.  However, if you have a bow with a natural cold attack, then you won't
need to put in more than one skill level here.



MULTIPLE SHOT (Clvl 6)

Skill Level     Mana Cost     Number of Arrows

Slvl 1:         4             2
Slvl 2:         5             3
Slvl 3:         6             4
Slvl 4:         7             5
Slvl 5:         8             6

Grade: C+

Although the Official Strategy Guide seems to swear by this skill, it just
didn't toot any of my proverbial whistles.  It works quite well when you have a
powerful bow with magical properties, but I thought the Mana cost was a bit
high for the effect.  I believe there are better skills to come later and in
the Passive and Magic tree where the points may be better spent.

NEW TO V. 1.23: A lot of readers have also written in about the wonders of this
skill, and I'll quote David Brady here who wrote in one of the best e-mails
I've received in regards to any of my FAQs.  I've quoted the e-mail in its
entirety so as not to spoil its wondrous beauty.

--- BEGIN BLOCKQUOTE ---

NYu,

While I thoroughly enjoyed your guide and consider you to be the greatest FAQ
writer ever....

Hey, loved the FAQ.  It's helped me re-evaluate my character and my strategy. 
I have a suggestion, however.  I'm playing D2 for the first time, and am not
even through Act II yet, so I'm hardly an authority, but I find Multiple Shot
far more useful than your FAQ suggests.

How much more?  If Multiple Shot was an ugly man, I'd sneak out on my wife and
let him bugger me every night.  And I'm FROM Utah.

Here's the deal.  I call Multiple Shot the "streetsweeper" of Diablo II.  When
you're getting mobbed by a swarm of low-level bad guys, Multiple Shot lets you
shoot at several of them at once.  Be aware that MS does NOT let you shoot a
single monster more than once; the trick is to stand where you can see all of
the monsters at once, then shoot a spread of arrows into the crowd.

Multiple Shot is controllable!  ...but there's a trick to it.  You don't want
to actually right-click on a monster.  You want to hold down shift, then right
click on the ground in the direction of the swarm.  If you click far away, your
arrows will fly out in a tight grouping.  If you click on the ground at your
feet, the arrows will fly out in all directions, almost in a 180-degree arc.

It absolutely rules to be able to carry on a two-way firefight with ALL of the
horror archers in the room at once....

Now, couple that with a bow of frost and your critical strike skill (each
target has the chance of x2 damage) and you can clear out a mob of bad guys in
a hurry.

...disclaimer: my Amazon is 20th level, and doesn't have immolation arrow or
freezing arrow.  And I got good at Multiple Shot by virtue of the fact that I
never really could get the hang of exploding arrow, the skill which you claim
is pretty great.  My guess is that they both take a little bit of work to get
right.

Hope you find this useful.

Enjoy!

-dB

--- END BLOCKQUOTE ---

I'm going to stick by the current grade, but I will agree that it can be a
useful skill.  Some people like it, some people don't, so go ahead and test it
out for yourself.



EXPLODING ARROW (Clvl 12)

Skill Level     Mana Cost     Fire Damage

Slvl 1:         5             2-4
Slvl 2:         5.5           7-9
Slvl 3:         6             12-14
Slvl 4:         6.5           17-19
Slvl 5:         7             22-24

Grade: B

This is a fairly useful skill and you get it early on in your career, too. 
This will probably become your primary right-click skill for a few levels as it
is great tool to use to give a warm reception to thhe rushing hordes of
Diablo's minions.  You'll most likely want to invest an additional skill level
or two here.



ICE ARROW (Clvl 18)

Skill Level     Mana Cost     Cold Damage     Freeze Duration (s)

Slvl 1:         4             6-10            2
Slvl 2:         4.2           10-14           2.2
Slvl 3:         4.5           14-18           2.4
Slvl 4:         4.7           18-22           2.6
Slvl 5:         5             22-26           2.8

Grade: B+

Now this is quite a nice skill in that you can totally freeze an enemy (merely
slows down Champions and Uniques) and then pick it off at your leisure.  Great
for one-on-one fighting or just buying yourself some time.  The Mana cost is
quite low for such a good effect which is why I give it such a high grade. 
This skill is worthy of perhaps an additional skill level or two.



GUIDED ARROW (Clvl 18)

Skill Level     Mana Cost     Damage Modifier (+%)

Slvl 1:         7             0
Slvl 2:         6.5           5
Slvl 3:         6             10
Slvl 4:         5.5           15
Slvl 5:         5             20

Grade: C-

I didn't care for this skill much at all.  Basically I think it's paying an
exorbitant Mana cost to do a trick shot.  It's kind of a nifty skill to have in
certain situations, but I don't think it stacks up well against the other Clvl
18 skills.  People have written in and told me of its usefulness against
Uniques in certain situations and how it could be used to theoretically clean
out the Arcane Sanctuary with ease, so I've upgraded its grade from D+ to C-.

NEW TO V. 1.23: Kevin Goding wrote in and told me how he used Guided Arrow to
kill Mephisto before he was even "activated" in a multiplayer game.  Another
character scouted ahead while the Amazon stayed back and fired Guided Arrows
when Mephisto's glow came on-screen.  Other people have written in expounding
upon the virtues of Guided Arrow, forcing me to re-evaluate the skill slightly.
 It's still not one of my favorite skills, and I wouldn't invest too many
points here (if any); but it definitely has its advantages in certain
situations.

New Grade: C+



STRAFE (Clvl 24)

Skill Level     Mana Cost     Damage Modifier (+%)     Max. Enemies Attacked

Slvl 1:         11            5                        5
Slvl 2:         11            10                       7
Slvl 3:         11            15                       9
Slvl 4:         11            20                       11
Slvl 5:         11            25                       13

Grade: C+

This really isn't such a bad skill, and the steady Mana cost is certainly nice;
but I'm not sure how worthwhile it is to acquire this spell because you have to
largely waste a point in Guided Arrow first.  Also, Immolation Arrow is so good
that any extra points you have will be better spent there.



IMMOLATION ARROW (Clvl 24)

Skill Level   Mana Cost   Explosion Damage   Fire Duration (s)   Average Fire
Damage

Slvl 1:       6           4-10               4.6                 8-10
Slvl 2:       7           10-16              5.6                 14-16
Slvl 3:       8           16-22              6.6                 19-22
Slvl 4:       9           22-28              7.6                 25-28
Slvl 5:       10          28-34              8.6                 31-33

Grade: A

If Immolation Arrow was an attractive woman, I'd marry her.  That's how much I
love this skill.  Never mind the fact that I'm already engaged, I'd just move
to Utah.  Immolation Arrow kills Uniques dead.  It also works hand-in-hand with
Decoy and Valkyrie.  Just let your Decoy or Valkyrie/Hireling do the
distracting while you let loose with a few choice Immolation Arrows.  It'll
take down a crowd or a Unique in a hurry.  Well worth any additional skill
points you choose to place.



FREEZING ARROW (Clvl 30)

Skill Level     Mana Cost     Cold Damage     Freeze Duration (s)

Slvl 1:         9             6-10            2
Slvl 2:         10            12-16           2
Slvl 3:         11            18-22           2
Slvl 4:         12            24-28           2
Slvl 5:         13            30-34           2

Grade: A

If Immolation Arrow was an attractive woman and I married her; and if Freezing
Arrow was also an attractive woman, she'd be the one with whom I'd ultimately
end up having a torrid affair and running away to the Bahamas.  This skill will
probably become your semi-permanent right-click skill.  It does significant
damage (for the Bowazon), can freeze a large group of 5-6 enemies if placed
correctly, and doesn't cost much Mana compared to equivalent skills.  It even
does windows!  This skill also works pretty well in conjunction with other
Amazon skills, notably Valkyrie.  Basically, you set 'em up and she knocks 'em
down.  Unfortunately, they won't take Immolation Arrow damage when frozen, but
it gives you a good opportunity to create some space if needed and set up your
next flurry of attacks.



ii. PASSIVE AND MAGIC




INNER SIGHT (Clvl 1)

Skill Level     Mana Cost     Radius     Duration (s)     Enemy Defense

Slvl 1:         5             13.3       8                -46
Slvl 2:         5             13.3       12               -50
Slvl 3:         5             13.3       16               -54
Slvl 4:         5             13.3       20               -57
Slvl 5:         5             13.3       24               -60

Grade: C-

This is a fairly average skill.  It's okay to have one level in it, but it
doesn't improve that significantly when you dump skill points into it.  It's a
must-have, though, as it leads to some pretty good stuff later on.  This skill
will either be used often or not at all, depending on how your Amazon develops.
 This is one of the few Amazon skills which can be useful in multiplayer.



CRITICAL STRIKE (Clvl 1)

Skill Level     2x Damage Chance (%)

Slvl 1:         16
Slvl 2:         25
Slvl 3:         32
Slvl 4:         38
Slvl 5:         42

Grade: A+

Personally, I think this is one of the better skills in the game overall.  You
won't ever go wrong with a point in this skill until you get at a level where
the difference between skill levels is miniscule.  This is one of the few
skills in which I'd consider adding more than 5 levels.  If Immolation Arrow
was an attractive woman and I married her; and if Freezing Arrow was also an
attractive woman and I had a torrid affair and ran off to the Bahamas with her;
and if Critical Strike was an attractive man, I'd fly to some random Nordic
country to get a sex change operation so I could bear his child.  (Okay, that's
probably as far as I can take that joke.)



DODGE (Clvl 6)

Skill Level     Dodge Melee Chance (%)

Slvl 1:         18
Slvl 2:         24
Slvl 3:         29
Slvl 4:         34
Slvl 5:         37

Grade: B+

Since you're almost always fighting or standing still, this is a great skill to
take.  Coupled with a good Defense Rating, a good mix of Dodge, Avoid, and
Evade can make the Amazon a very slippery target indeed.  I'd recommend taking
at least 3 skill levels of Dodge.



SLOW MISSILES (Clvl 12)

Skill Level     Mana Cost     Radius     Duration (s)

Slvl 1:         5             13.3       12
Slvl 2:         5             13.3       18
Slvl 3:         5             13.3       24
Slvl 4:         5             13.3       30
Slvl 5:         5             13.3       36

Grade: C+

This is another one of the select few Amazon skills which are useful in
multiplayer.  It's nice to have one skill point, but I never really desired
investing more.  In fact, I always forgot I had this skill and it consequently
never saw much action.  There's nothing wrong with this skill, but the Amazon
typically doesn't have any problems with ranged attackers, as that is her
forte.



AVOID (Clvl 12)

Skill Level     Dodge Missile Chance (%)

Slvl 1:         12
Slvl 2:         18
Slvl 3:         24
Slvl 4:         30
Slvl 5:         36

Grade: B

This isn't quite as useful as Dodge or Evade, but it's still very worthwhile to
invest several skill points here.  This will just make it that much harder for
ranged attackers to threaten you in any way whatsoever.



PENETRATE (Clvl 18)

Skill Level     Ranged Attacks Attack Rating (+%)

Slvl 1:         35
Slvl 2:         45
Slvl 3:         55
Slvl 4:         65
Slvl 5:         75

Grade: A-

A very sound skill in which just taking one level helps tremendously, but
taking several rewards you greatly.  This is one of the few skills in which I
don't object to having more than 3 skill levels.  The Amazon needs to connect
with as many attacks as possible as hers do typically less damage.  This is
also an important skill against Uniques as they are much harder to hit and have
many more hit points.



DECOY (Clvl 24)

Skill Level     Mana Cost     Duration (s)

Slvl 1:         19            10
Slvl 2:         18            15
Slvl 3:         17            20
Slvl 4:         16            25
Slvl 5:         15            30

Grade: A+

This is an absolutely essential skill in the Amazon's awesome arsenal of
advanced abilities (alliteration!).  It makes fighting Uniques a snap.  By the
time you get it, you'll probably be in Act IV and you'll find that you're using
it constantly in concert with Immolation Arrow.  This is a sound strategy both
against large mobs and boss characters.  Izual and Hephasto the Armorer will
both fall like ... I don't know, something that falls, or whatever ... before
the might of the Decoy/Immolation Arrow combination.



EVADE (Clvl 24)

Skill Level     Dodge Chance (%)

Slvl 1:         18
Slvl 2:         24
Slvl 3:         29
Slvl 4:         34
Slvl 5:         37

Grade: A-

Another eminently useful skill.  Having 3 or 4 levels of Evade will you let you
dodge attacks on the run, so that you don't have to worry about things as you
retreat ... er ... regroup for your next attack.



VALKYRIE (Clvl 30)

Skill Level   Mana Cost   Hit Points   Damage (+%)   Attack (+%)   Defense (+%)

Slvl 1:       25          377          0             0             0
Slvl 2:       29          453          25            25            25
Slvl 3:       33          528          50            50            50
Slvl 4:       37          604          75            75            75
Slvl 5:       41          679          100           100           100

Grade: B+

These numbers are not correct even though they were pulled from the Official
Strategy Guide.  Evidently, the Valkyrie was too powerful in this form and was
drastically weakened in the final release of the game.  She has fewer hit
points than listed here and also smaller bonuses to her Damage, Attack, and
Defense Ratings.  Weakened as she is, the Valkyrie is nonetheless a mighty
ally, especially in Act IV where you cannot hire any people to serve the
function of the redshirts on Star Trek (namely, die in your stead).  And no,
I'm not a big Trek fan, I just thought I'd make that joke.  And no, I don't
know why I'm getting defensive about the possibility of being a Trek fan,
either.



PIERCE (Clvl 30)

Skill Level     Pass Through Chance (%)

Slvl 1:         16
Slvl 2:         20
Slvl 3:         24
Slvl 4:         27
Slvl 5:         30

Grade: C-

I've heard some pretty bad things about this skill, so I didn't really invest
in it.  Basically, it's good for your regular attacks but it can really muck up
your special ones.  If an arrow pierces through an opponent on a special arrow
attack, the special attack won't trigger.  Instead, it'll travel through until
it hits an opponent that it does not pierce through.  In other words, that
Freezing Arrow you meant to use as crowd control might pass through relatively
harmlessly instead and detonate on a straggling enemy far behind the crowd.  In
the Beta it was said to be too powerful as it would always trigger the special
arrow whenever it struck an enemy, that way you could get multiple shots of
Immolation or Freezing Arrow with this skill.  Now, though, the ability seems
rather weak, especially compared to the rest of the level 30 skills.  The
numbers here are wrong as well, as the skill starts at 23% in the game.



iii. JAVELIN AND SPEAR



JAB (Clvl 1)

Skill Level     Mana Cost     Attack Rating     Damage Modifier (+%)

Slvl 1:         2             +10               -15
Slvl 2:         2.2           +15               -12
Slvl 3:         2.5           +20               -9
Slvl 4:         2.7           +25               -6
Slvl 5:         3             +30               -3

Grade: C

This is a nice starting skill for your right-click attack, but you'll forget
about it after you get Power Strike at clvl 6.  Nothing fancy here.

NEW TO V. 1.20: Okay, based on what everyone tells me about Jab and further
testing on my part (taking a new Amazon through most of Act I), I have a
newfound respect for Jab.  It's a lot more solid and carries over surprisingly
well into the later stages of the game, something I simply assumed (and, in
retrospect, rather hastily at that) it wouldn't do.  It's fantastic for the
Spearazon variant, though it's not quite as useful for the ranged Javazon.  Jab
also makes up nicely for a normally slow attack speed on some of the heftier
Spears in the game.

New Grade: A-

Not a full-on A because it's not always useful, but I'd say this skill needs a
couple of points for any Amazon who envies the Barbarian's ability to engage
enemies up close and personal.  I'm not too proud to say that I was wrong about
this skill, so thanks to everyone who wrote in.  Hats off to Ty Hansen and Mike
Hoeder especially for writing in with an amazing amount of depth, providing
some nice hardcore numbers and facts (and written with such glowing courtesy, I
might add), about the crucial nature of Jab to the Spearazon.  I also wanted to
toss in here as a side note that I had received 10 e-mail about this FAQ before
it had even been up for a full day and the requests to post the incomplete FAQ
started popping out of the woodwork.  Not quite Planescape: Torment numbers
(which is a far more Walkthrough-oriented game), but not bad, not bad at all. 
All the attention has also rocketed me to being the 8th Most Popular FAQ
Contributor over at GameFAQs (http://www.gamefaqs.com).  Boo-yah.

NEW TO V. 1.23: Okay, now having played a Spearazon all the way through the
game has given me yet another perspective on the Jab skill.  It owns you. 
That's how much I've fallen in love with it.  I've heard of some amazing
Spearazon characters who've invested 20 points in it.  That's just crazy, but
it is definitely an excellent skill.  You don't need more than a couple of
points in this skill, really, to be successful.  Also, as Dan "DemonBite"
wrote, the speed of Jab attacks is unaffected by your character being frozen,
so it's just another extra bonus.

New Grade: A+



POWER STRIKE (Clvl 6)

Skill Level     Mana Cost     Lightning Damage     Attack Modifier (+%)

Slvl 1:         2             1-8                  10
Slvl 2:         2.2           4-11                 15
Slvl 3:         2.5           7-14                 20
Slvl 4:         2.7           10-17                25
Slvl 5:         3             13-20                30

Grade: C+

Again, a good early level skill that will serve you until the next branch in
the tree comes along.  This should immediately replace Jab when you decide to
chose this skill.



POISON JAVELIN (Clvl 6)

Skill Level     Mana Cost     Poison Damage     Duration (s)

Slvl 1:         4             9-14              3
Slvl 2:         4.2           14-18             3
Slvl 3:         4.5           18-23             3
Slvl 4:         4.7           23-28             3
Slvl 5:         5             28-32             3

Grade: B-

A decent skill which will be your primary thrown javelin attack until clvl 12,
but will still see some usage then.  Sometimes you may want to intentionally
miss your target with this skill so that the poison trail hits several enemies.
 This skill is not particularly good against the undead (and there are a lot of
them in the game) as they are resilient against poison in general.



IMPALE (Clvl 12)

Skill Level     Mana Cost     Attack Modifier (+%)     Weapon Durability (%)

Slvl 1:         3             25                       50
Slvl 2:         3             32                       51
Slvl 3:         3             39                       52
Slvl 4:         3             46                       53
Slvl 5:         3             53                       54

Grade: C+

This is not a bad skill, but I personally prefer Power Strike as I found the
constant repair costs to be annoying.  If you always equip a thrown javelin
type, though, then you won't need to worry about repairs.  However, if the
weapon degradation occurs, then you will lose one of the javelins you're
equipping.



LIGHTNING BOLT (Clvl 12)

Skill Level     Mana Cost     Lightning Damage
Slvl 1:         6             1-40
Slvl 2:         6.2           1-48
Slvl 3:         6.5           1-56
Slvl 4:         6.7           1-64
Slvl 5:         7             1-72

Grade: B

This is where the Javazon really starts to take off.  I would give this skill a
much higher rating due to its excellent damage, but it tends to chew through
the Amazon's Mana very quickly, and she will typically not have a lot of it to
spare in the first place.



CHARGED STRIKE (Clvl 18)

Skill Level     Mana Cost     Lightning Damage
Slvl 1:         4             1-15
Slvl 2:         4.2           6-20
Slvl 3:         4.5           11-25
Slvl 4:         4.7           21-35
Slvl 5:         5             26-40

Grade: B

At this point in your character's career, this skill is basically a no-brainer.
 It will replace Power Strike or Impale as your standard right-click if you're
a melee-oriented Javazon.  Good for taking out bunched-up crowds in a hurry. 
Ranged attack Javazons will probably want to invest more in Plague Javelin,
though.



PLAGUE JAVELIN (Clvl 18)

Skill Level     Mana Cost   Poison Damage     Duration (s)
Slvl 1:         7           9-14              3
Slvl 2:         8           14-18             3
Slvl 3:         9           18-23             3
Slvl 4:         10          23-28             3
Slvl 5:         11          28-32             3

Grade: B+

This skill will you be your standard right-click ranged attack until level 30,
so you might want to start dumping points into it and making sure you have
enough Mana to last it out.  I'd give it a higher rating but poison attacks
just aren't as effective against the undead as they are against others.  This
is a very powerful skill, though, and nails various and sundry enemies with the
poison trail and the explosion upon impact.



FEND (Clvl 24)

Skill Level     Mana Cost     Attack Modifier (+%)     Damage Modifier (+%)
Slvl 1:         5             10                       25
Slvl 2:         5             15                       28
Slvl 3:         5             20                       31
Slvl 4:         5             25                       34
Slvl 5:         5             30                       37

Grade: B-

I consider this skill to be pure gravy.  It's a nice skill to have, but I think
the Javazon is most powerful when you concentrate more heavily on her ranged
attacks.

NEW TO V. 1.23: A few people wrote in defending the Fend skill, but none more
eloquently than Illusion:

--- BEGIN BLOCKQUOTE ---

Primarily, this conflict comes with fend.  A B-?!  As a level 32 Spearazon,
this is ALL I use.  First of all, I had played several amazons, so this one I
streamlined (i.e. I wasted no points to help me in earlier levels).  Also, I
largely neglected mana since jab was so cheap and really only necessary against
bosses.  So, when level 24 came around, fend proved immensely useful.  The mana
is constant at 5, which compared to everything else, is so cheap that fend can
almost become your left-click attack.  Furthermore, when you get this skill,
you should be on your way to using a pike, if you don't already have on in your
possession.  Pikes, as you know, along with dealing incredible damage, also
have a slow attack.  Paired with fend, the attack speed can be quickened to at
least normal levels.  And its not like you don't need an area attack like this
in hell...I don't see how spearazons utilizing charged strike can actually be
effective vs. the spawning capability of some of hell's minions.  With my level
32, I just run into the center of a group of guys and start right clicking like
a madman.  In the space of 1 or 2 regular attack lengths I'm dealing about
150-175 average damage to EVERY monster surrounding me..compare this to charged
strike which does a lucky 40 max damage to surrounding enemies and will still
have a slow attack (not to mention it has to deal with resistances).  Finally,
you rated Jab an A-...well, if you can manage to save any points you were going
to waste on jab for fend, fend will add more damage and more attack rating per
level than fend will.  With my personal experiences, fend deserves at least the
same grade as jab...I would give it an A or an A+, its my "Critical
Strike"...Lastly, using fend and decoy exclusively, my amazon was able to clear
hell and the cow level with no problems, even in her early/mid 20s...as
compared to the barbarian and paladin I played with who either experienced
problems, or took far too long to clear a group of enemies.

Oh well, thanks for listening to my fend rant.

I||usion

P.S. Using the fend approach, a large amount of mana/energy is NOT needed, and
the points would be much better applied to any of the other 3 attributes.  My
amazon, however, has still not made much use of lightning strike...and this
might require much more mana for her to use efficiently.

--- END BLOCKQUOTE ---

I tested it some more and found it slightly more useful than I had originally
written, but it's still a bit too slow for my tastes, especially when you
compare it against Jab.  Nonetheless, the original grade was too low.  As
always, the grades are subject to my individual leanings and open to
interpretation depending on your own slant.

New Grade: B



LIGHTNING STRIKE (Clvl 30)

Skill Level     Mana Cost     Lightning Damage     Bolts     Bolt Damage
Slvl 1:         9             1-14                 2         5-25
Slvl 2:         9.5           1-16                 3         15-35
Slvl 3:         10            1-18                 4         25-45
Slvl 4:         10.5          1-20                 5         35-55
Slvl 5:         11            1-22                 6         45-65

Grade: A-

This is a nice skill to use when you're up close and personal with the enemy. 
It does massive damage to the enemy that gets hit with the main strike and does
decent damage with the bolts that shoot out.  The main damage also powers up
considerably with each level and the addition of an extra bolt is nice, too. 
Good for crowd control in melee, but you'll want to stick additional points
into Lightning Fury.



LIGHTNING FURY (Clvl 30)

Skill Level     Mana Cost     Lightning Damage     Bolts      Bolt Damage
Slvl 1:         10            1-40                 2          1-40
Slvl 2:         10.5          1-44                 3          11-50
Slvl 3:         11            1-48                 4          21-60
Slvl 4:         11.5          1-52                 5          31-70
Slvl 5:         12            1-56                 6          41-80

Grade: A+

This skill is obscenely powerful, although it does suck up your Mana like
something that sucks very quickly, and I'm trying very hard not to make a
ribald joke here.  At slvl 3 and higher, you will be able to wreck hordes of
enemies with a single javelin.  Just make sure to invest some points into
Energy or you won't be able to use this ability very frequently.



C. GENERAL STRATEGY



i. BOWAZON

Basically, the Bowazon is the master of hit-and-run tactics.  Make sure you
have a Fast Run/Walk item so that you can beat feet when you're being
pressured.  Also, it's not such a bad idea to invest a hefty amount of points
into Strength so you can wear the better armor types; that, in combination with
3 or more skill levels in Dodge, Evade, and Avoid, will you make you a slippery
target.  Don't be too proud when playing this character: When the time comes to
run, it's the time to run, damn it.  You will probably want to hotkey Town
Portal and will burn them up at a tremendous rate when fighting the more
difficult Uniques.  You can skimp out on adding points to Vitality as she
shouldn't be hit that often and Energy as her skills are less Mana-intensive. 
Dexterity should always be your most prized attribute, though.

Level 6 Bowazon:
Left-click: Attack
Right-click: Fire Arrow, Cold Arrow, Multiple Arrow

Level 12 Bowazon:
Left-click: Attack
Right-click: Exploding Arrow, Cold Arrow, Multiple Arrow

Level 18 Bowazon:
Left-click: Attack
Right-click: Exploding Arrow, Ice Arrow, Strafe, Decoy

Level 24 Bowazon:
Left-click: Attack
Right-click: Immolation Arrow, Ice Arrow, Strafe, Decoy

Level 30 Bowazon:
Left-click: Attack
Right-click: Immolation Arrow, Freezing Arrow, Decoy, Valkyrie

GENERAL PLAYING TIP: I received a great tidbit from Eli White that I'll just
place here verbatim as he explains it more clearly than I probably could:

--- BEGIN BLOCKQUOTE ---

Your 'clicking scheme'.  You might want to offer an alternative way.  I
personally assign all my attack skills to the left click, and 'other
skills' to the right click.
So:
left-click: Attack, exploding arrow, ice arrow, Multiple Arrow, (etc)
Right-click: Inner Sight, Decoy, Valkryie, Town Portal (etc)

This way first of all it works great for using inner sight all the time
(might as well, it helps ya hit), and quickly hitting the decoys, valkyries,
etc.

Secondly, having all your attack skills in the left mouse, gives you
something GREAT.  switching ammo types without having to re-aim!  If you
have 'clicklocked' onto a creature with the left button, and then have to
switch to the right button for a new skill - but the creature has left the
screen, you can't re-aim ...

BUT, with all attack skills on the left mouse, you just hit the appropriate
F-key, and the new type of ammo starts flying at the same creature, then
just f-key back to normal arrows if the mana runs low.  Get fun for
all!  Get locked on, be shooting from 3 screens away, and still hitting
with different ammo types :)

--- END BLOCKQUOTE ---

Obviously, this tip applies for the Javazon as well, though not so much for the
Spearazon.

Recommended Equipment:

- Weapon: A good bow (duh), preferably something with a cold attack to slow
down those pesky enemies.  The best bow you use will probably be something
gemmed.  Make sure one of those gems you socket is a sapphire, and one of the
others should probably be a skull.

NEW TO V. 1.23: A quick quote from our old friend Eli White:

--- BEGIN BLOCKQUOTE ---

I've found that the difference in attack speed between a Heavy Crossbow (Very
Slow), a Crossbow (Slow), and a Light Crossbow (Normal), is negligible when
compared to the dmg difference!!

Through timing myself, for example, I found that I can get off 46 shots in 30
seconds with a Crossbow (Slow), but can get off 42 shots with a Heavy (very
slow) ...

That's only 8 shots slower per minute!  And at the fairly MASSIVE dmg
difference, it is WELL worth it.  Plus the higher chance of one-shoting
something is all good :)

--- END BLOCKQUOTE ---

This applies also to regular bows as well, so go ahead and get that big ol' bow
of maximum damage inflicting potential.

- Armor: Try to get your Bowazon to wear whatever the best armor for that Act
is.  That'll let you know that you're on the right track in terms of where your
Strength level should be.

- Jewelry: What you want here is anything that adds to Strength, Dexterity, or
Attack Rating.  Any Life Replenish or Mana Regen is a plus.

- Helm: The ideal item here would be a gemmed crown or great helm with a
socketed amethyst and skull.

- Boots: Something with Fast Run/Walk or better.

- Other: Make sure at least one of your items grants Fastest Hit Recovery.



ii. JAVAZON

The Javazon will be in close quarters more often than the Bowazon so you need
to make sure you have a little more Vitality.  Also, she'll be frequently
employing the use of a shield, so the requisite Strength to wear the best
armors in the game is not necessarily a priority.  You will have to put
considerably more points into Energy, though, to accommodate the Javazon's fast
Mana burn rate.  Dexterity is always your most important asset, though.

Level 6 Javazon:
Left-click: Attack, Throw
Right-click: Power Strike, Poison Javelin

Level 12 Javazon:
Left-click: Attack, Throw
Right-click: Impale, Lightning Bolt, Poison Javelin

Level 18 Javazon:
Left-click: Attack, Throw
Right-click: Charged Strike, Lightning Bolt, Plague Javelin

Level 24 Javazon:
Left-click: Attack, Throw
Right-click: Fend, Charged Strike, Lightning Bolt, Plague Javelin, Decoy

Level 30 Javazon:
Left-click: Attack, Throw
Right-click: Lightning Strike, Lightning Fury, Decoy, Valkyrie

Recommended Equipment:

- Weapon: You'll want a nice supply of thrown javelins, whether they be pilums,
short spears, or whatnot.  They are dropped fairly frequently, but you'll have
to keep your eye open for them.  Every now and then you'll just have to bite
the bullet and buy some for a high price.  You may also want to keep a good
Spear item around for melee use.  The annoying thing about that, though, is
that they are 2-handed weapons, so you'll have to pull a switch with your
shield as well.

- Armor: Since you'll be using a shield most of the time, you don't necessarily
have to be able to wear the best armor in the Act.  Just make sure your Amazon
is decently clothed and you'll be set.  Armor and Strength will be more
important if you want to focus on the Amazon's melee skills.

- Shield: You should pick up a nice socketed shield.  Diamonds and skulls make
good companions for such shields.

- Other: Same as the Bowazon.



iii. SPEARAZON

The Spearazon is a little different in that you want to concentrate on her
melee abilities and not her ranged proficiencies.  Strength is important not
only for the ability to wear better armor, but also to raise up that melee
damage.  Vitality is more important for the Spearazon as she will be right in
the thick of things and will absorb more damage on average than the other
Amazon types.  Energy is important so that you don't drain your Mana with your
constant Jab usage; but as always, you should never ignore Dexterity, though
it's not quite as important to the Spearazon as it is to the other Amazons. 
Also, you'll have to decide whether or not you want to employ any ranged
attacks at all or concentrate exclusively on skills such as Jab, Impale, Fend,
and Lightning Fury (as well as the Passive tree).

Level 6 Spearazon
Left-click: Attack, Jab
Right-click: Power Strike

Level 12 Spearazon
Left-click: Attack, Jab
Right-click: Impale, Lightning Bolt

Level 18 Spearazon
Left-click: Attack, Jab
Right-click: Charged Strike, Lightning Bolt, Plague Javelin

Level 24 Spearazon
Left-click: Attack, Jab
Right-click: Fend, Charged Strike, Lightning Bolt, Plague Javelin, Decoy

Level 30 Spearazon
Left-click: Attack, Jab
Right-click: Lightning Strike, Lightning Fury, Decoy, Valkyrie

Recommended Equipment:

- Weapon: You'll want a nice two-handed spear item which will preclude the use
of a shield.  There will be some nice magic items of this type, but you may
want to socket your own weapon.  Important gems for this include sapphires (for
cold damage) and skulls (for the Mana drain).

- Armor: The Spearazon will likely have high Strength, so you'll be able to
wear the best armors in the game

- Other: Mana drain is critical to the Spearazon's success.  Unless you want to
pour an exorbitant amount of points into Jab so that it becomes free, a good
amount of Mana drain will be critical so that you can use the special attack
like it's virtually free.

Key contributors to the Spearazon strategy segment are Ty Hansen, Kevin Murphy,
Michael Braude, Mike Hoeder, and Oliver Della-Valle.  Mr. Della-Valle gets a
special mention for being the first one to bring the Spearazon to my attention
as more than just a melee-oriented Javazon and a true variant in and of
herself.



II. WALKTHROUGH   WALKTHROUGH   WALKTHROUGH
       WALKTHROUGH   WALKTHROUGH   WALKTHROUGH
          WALKTHROUGH   WALKTHROUGH   WALKTHROUGH

In general, this Walkthrough will not deal with issues such as how to obtain
the quest and where you must go to solve it.  That, I'll leave to the Official
Strategy Guide and the other Walkthroughs for this game.  Also, the Diablo II
quests never deviate from the "Kill this monster" or "Find this artifact"
quest, and I won't insult your intelligence by walking you through that kind of
quest step by step.  Instead, this Walkthrough will concentrate on specific
playing strategies for the Amazon.



A. ACT I



i. DEN OF EVIL

If you need help with this quest, then you need to send me your home address so
I can go over there and kick your sorry ass.  Just keep your distance from
Corpsefire and the other nasties down there and pick them off at a distance.

GENERAL PLAYING TIP: If any of the Uniques you face have the ever-annoying
Lightning Enchanted aura about them, never fear!  The Amazon has the easiest
time of all the classes dealing with them, namely due to the nature of her
ranged attack.  When you encounter them, just pepper them with projectiles from
a safe distance.  The lightning that shoots out after they're damaged disperses
after awhile and they arc outwardly, so there will be "blind spots" you can
stay in where the lightning will miss you.  Just shoot them a few times and
then retreat into an area you've already cleared of other monsters.  If you're
forced to, you may have to run into an area populated by other monsters, but
the Amazon is pretty good at staying ahead of the pack.  Stick and move, stick
and move, that's the way to go.



ii. SISTERS' BURIAL GROUNDS

General tip: You might want to walk around the corners of the cemetery before
heading in to clear out the extra undead who are shambling about.  The Amazon
doesn't face the frustration that some of the other classes experience against
Blood Raven as you can keep up with her and return fire projectile-wise.  Just
make sure you're around level 5 before trying to tackle her, otherwise you
might have to bring a belt full of Health Potions.



iii. THE CAIRN STONES

You'll have to fight a couple of Uniques before getting to Tristram, but they
really shouldn't be a problem.  As stated before, the Amazon can usually pick
out a Unique at a distance and single it out for death.  Your Fire and Cold
Arrows will come in useful here.  When you make your way into Tristram, make
sure to edge slowly into new areas of the map.  Don't release too many enemies
at once, else you'll get swarmed and you probably won't have a good area attack
yet.  Griswold is tough, but slow him down with Cold Arrows or other cold
attacks.  Hit and run tactics are ideal against him as he has a full metric ton
worth of Hit Points.



iv. THE FORGOTTEN TOWER

This is a fairly standard dungeon crawl.  The Ghosts aren't that dangerous to
the Amazon as she can function quite well without Mana and the only thing you
may need to worry about is the Countess herself.  When you get to the top floor
(you'll know it when your Quest Log changes), make sure to open each door very
slowly.  When the evil Rogues start pouring out in force, you'll know you've
found the right room.  Pick them off one at a time.  By this time, you should
have a good distance attack like Exploding Arrow, Lightning Bolt, or Poison
Javelin.  Use those skills to get rid of the Countess' Minions and then move in
for the kill.  As with Griswold, keep your distance and utilize hit and run
tactics.  Any cold damage you can inflict to slow her down is a bonus as
always.



v. TOOLS OF THE TRADE

Just a note of caution here: When running around inside buildings, make sure to
never trap yourself in a corner as the Amazon.  Always check to make sure you
have some kind of escape route if something goes drastically wrong.  Also, if
you spy a Well or Refilling Shrine, remember its location so you can hurry back
to it if need be.  You should also have a fair bit of gold at this point, so
don't be cheap about Town Portals.  The Waypoint shouldn't be too far away,
either.  If you need to run away, run away.  Spending 100 gold on one scroll is
better than losing several thousand due to a death.  The Smith isn't too tough
an opponent.  He has many Hit Points, like Griswold, but is quite a bit faster.
 The same hit and run tactics you've been practicing should pay off now,
though.

GENERAL PLAYING TIP: If you have to retreat to get a quick refresh from Akara,
go ahead and do so.  You may have to do this in a couple of trips if you can't
slow him down with cold attacks.  Just TP (Town Portal) out, run to get full
Health and Mana from Akara and then zip back in.  Rinse and repeat as
necessary.  This will be SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) against the Uniques
who are too tough to take down in one trip.



vi. SISTERS TO THE SLAUGHTER

You'll have to wade through quite a large number of minions before making it to
Andariel herself.  Again, this fight is much easier if you have a cold attack
that can slow her down.  The Amazon is quite good at staying out of her reach,
so you don't have to worry about her annoying poison assault.  Just lead her on
a merry chase around the outside rooms after you clear them.  Do not chase her
into the big room where other monsters await!

SPOILER: Also, there's a bit of a cheap trick I discovered after playing the
game on Nightmare.  Lure Andariel all the way to the stairs and then shoot her
a few times before running up.  Wait for your Mana to come back or TP back to
town to get a refresh.  Run down the stairs, shoot at her with special attacks
very quickly, and then run back up the stairs.  If you do this quickly enough,
she won't heal enough to make up for the damage you're inflicting.  You won't
get damaged at all and you'll nickel and dime her to death.  As I said, this is
a pretty cheap tactic, but it is certainly effective.  I didn't need to do this
on the Normal level of difficulty because I had an easy enough time with her
using a Bow of Frost.  This will also work with any other Unique who happens to
be near a staircase.



B. ACT II



i. RADAMENT'S LAIR

Standard dungeon exploration here until you meet with Radament himself.  Cold
attacks will freeze his underlings and buy you some time, but more importantly,
if you shatter them while frozen, Radament cannot revive them.  Cut a wide
swath through the enemies until you can see Radament himself.  Ice Arrow,
Lightning Bolt, and Poison Javelin are your friends.  I know it's boring to
keep reiterating the same point over and over, but use those darn hit and run
tactics.  Radament is your first priority.  Once you deal with him, you can
take your time dealing with the rest of the enemies on the screen.  Elemental
resistances will figure much more prominently in this Act and the rest of the
game, so don't dismiss those + Resist items.



ii. THE HORADRIC STAFF

This is a long quest and you'll have to deal with a few Uniques before
completing it.  The Saber Cats aren't too bad.  They are very accurate but
can't take too much punishment before going down; they're perfect fodder for
the Amazon who shouldn't have any trouble keeping up with their speed.

The Maggots will be slightly more problematic as they are said to brush off
projectile fire, though I didn't really have a problem with my Bowazon.  The
Javazon will have an easier time here, though, as she can engage the Maggots in
hand-to-hand combat.  Your standard right-click ranged attacks will be very
useful in these cramped quarters.



iii. TAINTED SUN

Going through the Viper Temple will wrap up both The Horadric Staff and Tainted
Sun quests.  You'll want to frequently employ Ice Arrow or Lightning Bolt to
take down the snakes quickly from a safe distance.  You can even fire them into
the darkness to see what's coming ahead as the enemies inside the Temple cover
ground very quickly.  Fang Skin the Unique will give you a run for your money,
so don't hesitate to TP back to town if you need it.



iv. THE ARCANE SANCTUARY

Woo ah!  There are lots of annoying enemies in here.  The Lightning Towers are
a pain in the arse for the Bowazon.  It might not be such a bad idea to get a
temporary melee weapon to use to take the Towers down more quickly.  You'll
also get your first taste of the Vampire enemy type here.  Don't stay still and
let them hit you with their spells and consequently replenish their own life,
and don't let them run away if you can help it.  There's no easy way to deal
with them other than slowing them down with cold and trying to deal as much
damage to them as possible in a short period of time.  However, the Amazon gets
off easy when it comes to picking off enemies from afar who are on other
platforms and can't even reach you.  Talk about easy kills.



v. THE SUMMONER

This is strange.  The very first time I fought him, he cast a spell that killed
me in one hit.  The next time I went in there and killed him with one
well-placed arrow.  When I fought him later, he was just as wimpy.  I don't
know how much of a fluke it was that he killed me the first time, but I never
saw him cast that particular spell again.

NEW TO V. 1.23: Others have written in confirming this, so I don't feel so bad
about getting wrecked by a monster that I later killed with a single shot.  As
Despayre wrote, "Apparently he is just a super weak monster with
an overpowered spell."



vi. THE SEVEN TOMBS

You may want to do the rest of the Tombs just for the experience, but you don't
have to if you want to get on with the progression of the plot.  At the end of
your little jaunt, you'll run into Duriel, a pretty bad ass Lesser Evil whom I
found to be the hardest enemy of the game.  He's not the most difficult in
terms of how many Hit Points he has and how much damage he inflicts, but I
think he's very hard for your strength level.  The Amazon won't have come into
her most powerful attacks yet, so this could be the fight where you die several
times before winning.  There's not very much room to run around in here, and
Duriel's cold attack will slow you down quite a bit.  The best advice I can
offer is to run around as best you can while returning fire and hopefully
slowing him down with a cold attack of your own.  The second you get frozen and
in trouble, zip back to town and talk to Fara.  Half Freeze Duration items and
even Thawing Potions will come in useful for this fight.  A melee Javazon will
have an easier time in this battle.

SPOILER: Uh ... try not to die too often.

NEW TO V. 1.20: Dgoss93181 offers the following sage advice: "Your strategy is
good against Durias..but I found another way..its easier and you don't die as
much..everytime he attacks he takes time to recover..what you need..is a bow
with poison on it and a lot of stamina potions..dodge most of his attack and
fire one of your own at that time..then run around and continue to dodge his
attacks and fire back. Trust me..I spent 2 hours trying to find a way to beat
this guy with a lvl 20 Amazon with a bow..and I finally did it."  I'm too lazy
to go ahead and add the [sic]s in there, and I didn't want to spoil the
integrity of his proffered words of wisdom; but I think he gives some mighty
fine advice.

NEW TO v. 1.22: Henrik from Sweden wants to shout at all the Spearazons in the
house getting down with Duriel.  There's some good general advice here as well.

"First of all, I strongly oppose to running when trying to defeat Duriel. As we
all know, sometimes one single attack from his side is what it takes to kill
you when playing the game at a higher difficulty.

"I realised some time ago that killing Duriel when in nightmare mode wasn't as
easy as in normal (no ****, heh) and I died several times. However, I suddenly
noticed that Duriel won't be able to kill you with that single blow (if your
lifeball isn't full, that is) if you stand right next to him. I soon figured
out that he has some kind of charge attack, possibly well known to many people
but not to me, obviously. The point is that if you buy enough red potions and
see to it that he is always as close to you as can be, jabbing him to death
will be a piece of cake."



C. ACT III



i. THE GOLDEN BIRD

Easy quest.  Just wander out into the wilderness and kill a unique.  No big
deal, though it is annoying running down and exchanging fire with the
dart-shooting Fetishes that populate this area.  An Iron Wolf who casts cold
spells and has the Fast Cast special ability should be a no-brainer in terms of
whom you should employ throughout this entire Act.  Trust me, it'll make your
life a whole lot easier.



ii. BLADE OF THE OLD RELIGION

This quest is not that different than the first, though you will fight a lot
more enemies before finding the proper village.  Cold and poison attacks will
serve you well against the swarms of Fetishes that appear.  The unique is not
particularly difficult, and all of the strategies that you've mastered to this
point will be useful as always.  Stay clear of the Shaman unless you absolutely
have to get in close because their fire attack can drain your health at an
astonishing rate.



iii. KHALIM'S WILL

Same rules apply here as with the first two quests.  You'll face mostly the
same enemies throughout.  I didn't find the Spiders to be particularly
challenging, and the Sewer enemies were nothing new, save for the Tentacleheads
which the Amazon can kill relatively safely from a distance.  Just be careful
about their poisonous spit attack.



iv. LAM ESEN'S TOME

The Flesh Hunters in the Ruined Temple need to be dealt with carefully,
especially the Unique.  They wouldn't be too bad on their own, but it's likely
that there will be Vampires (probably Ghoul Lords) who will compound the
difficulty immensely.  I slowed the Flesh Hunters down with cold attacks and
then concentrated on getting rid of the Vampires quickly.  Then I turned my
attention back on the others and mopped up the rest of the enemies.  It's
probably worth it to explore the rest of the temples as well, even after you've
found the Tome.  There's good experience to be had, though they may be slightly
tough, depending on your level and specialization.



v. THE BLACKENED TEMPLE

Holy crap, the Council Members are harder than all heck, especially the
Uniques.  If you don't have Decoy at this point, delay going to Travincal until
you have it.  I don't see how you're going to accomplish this quest otherwise. 
It'll probably also be worth it to hire some Iron Wolves, though they'll die
quite quickly.  There isn't any secret to this other than rinse and repeat.  I
didn't die during this fight, but I came close a couple of times.  Just make
sure to have possible avenues of escape with a waiting Town Portal.  Ranged
Amazons will probably have an easier time as they can move out of the range of
the fire-spitting Hydras and still be able to retaliate.



vi. THE GUARDIAN

Mephisto is a very powerful enemy, and you can't even fight him before you
bathe in the blood of more Council Members and some ever-aggravating Vampires. 
Again, don't feel craven by going back to town repeatedly to freshen up and
restock on supplies if need be.  There's no shame in going back, and I hear
dying needlessly is somewhat mortifying.  Mephisto is in the room behind the
Portal, so make sure not to get too close before you wipe out the rest of the
monsters.

SPOILER: Ranged Amazons can take advantage of the sometimes stupid pathfinding
AI of the Diablo II characters.  When I fought Mephisto, I found that I could
get him stuck by a doorway.  There is a canyon where the Gate to Hell is
located that separates the north and south ends of the room with rooms on the
side that connect them.  I was running away from Mephisto when I noticed that
he got stuck on the other side of the little canyon, and he wasn't chasing me
through the side rooms.  Even better, he wasn't attacking, either.  I just sat
there on the other side of the canyon and used almost all of my arrows before I
killed him.  So I can say that I beat Mephisto without getting damaged at all. 
It's actually not that hard to get him stuck, as he is a large character and
the doorways are average sized.  If you have Fast Run/Walk you can sprint
around to the other side of the canyon.  If he hasn't made it around to the
side rooms yet and is near the edge of the screen, then there's a good chance
you can get him stuck.  Then you can pound him with ranged fire and he'll just
sit there and take it like a little kobold schoolgirl and not the badass Prime
Evil that we see in the following cinematic.

If you can't get him stuck or are a melee character, then I can only recommend
the normal strategies.  Use a mix of cold and poison attacks to slow him down
and give him some damage while using some fancy footwork and Decoy to stay out
of harm's way.  Lightning Resistance will be fairly important as electrical
attacks seem to make up the bulk of his arsenal.



D. ACT IV



i. THE FALLEN ANGEL

Before you face Izual, you'll have to face a couple of maps' worth of baddies
from Hell.  With my Bowazon I ran around a lot and created a lot of so-called
"trains" which I slowed down with Decoys and then let them kill themselves as I
fired Immolation Arrows around the Decoys.  I imagine Plague Javelin and
Lightning Fury (if you have it) will serve quite nicely as substitutes.  If you
plan on playing the game on Nightmare level, this is a good time go around
leveling up to 30 or so.

Izual doesn't provide any surprises.  With a ranged Amazon you can stay well
out of his reach and won't be subjected to his annoying Frost Nova.  Immolation
Arrows, with a few Decoys thrown in on the side, will prove a lethal diet to
Izual.  An initial cold attack on Izual will also slow him down so that he
cannot kill your Decoy, leaving it up for the entire duration, thus giving you
and your Immolation Arrow more time to cause him damage.  You may have to
return to town to get a Mana recharge, but Izual doesn't heal particularly
quickly, so don't worry about it in that regard.  Regardless of what Amazon
type you choose, Decoy is the way to go here.



ii. THE HELLFORGE

Decoy is also the way to go against Hephasto the Armorer, whom you'll find near
the River of Flame.  He's a bigger, badder, and faster version of The Smith you
fought in Act I.  Too bad he's stupid, too, as he will be doubtlessly chasing
your Decoy about in vain as you kick his arse across the Nine Hells and back.



iii. TERROR'S END

You may have encountered them already, but you'll see a lot of Oblivion Knights
and Burning Souls guarding Diablo's lair.  They are annoying as sin and can
kill you quickly.  The Burning Souls also have a nasty tendency to drain your
Mana, which is not as big a deal for the Bowazon but can severely crimp the
styles of Javazons and Spearazons.  You will get all the usage out of Decoy
that you can.  Hopefully, you'll also have Valkyrie by this point, though she
will die quickly to the numerous Bone Spirits that will be flitting about. 
Better her than you, though, as she is a renewable resource and can inflict
some decent damage before she's sent back to Valhalla.  (Is it just me, or is
that a weird mixture of Greek and Norse mythology?  Does anyone give a rat's
patootie besides me, though?)  You may just have to do this area very slowly,
one enemy cluster at a time.

When you reach the seals, make sure to only hit one at a time, and don't do it
before the entire area is cleared out.  You'll face 3 special Uniques after
hitting 3 of the 5 seals (selected at random), and you only want to release one
at a time when there are no other enemies present.  The Venom Lord, The
Infector of Souls, is not a big deal.  Just treat him and his flunkies like any
other Venom Lords.  The Grand Vizier of Chaos (Burning Soul) and Lord de Seis
(Oblivion Knight) are entirely different matters.  Before hitting each seal,
send up a TP as you may need to "Exit, stage left!" in a hurry.  The Burning
Souls are manageable but a large group of Oblivion Knights can be tough for the
Amazon.  The Valkyrie and Decoy can help out a lot with them.  Each time you
come back in from town, throw up a TP right as you come in so that you can
escape quickly if necessary.

Before you tag all the seals, free up some space in your inventory.  Everything
in your Stash will follow you after the game ends, so don't worry about that;
but you'll want to snag whatever it is that Diablo drops after he dies.  Once
you've hit all five seals, Diablo will make his grand entrance.  Throw up a TP
before he appears.  You'll need to do this quite a bit.

SPOILER: Okay, I didn't think Diablo was that hard at all.  My Bowazon killed
him without dying once, though he kept knocking my Hit Points to almost nil. 
Diablo basically has three attacks.

Fire Nova - This attack didn't impress me that much, mostly because it didn't
damage me that much.  Playing with a ranged character allowed me to keep Diablo
at a comfortable distance.  (Run when he dashes up close!)  The Nova dissipated
behind me as I ran away every time I saw this attack start up.

Fire Serpent - This attack isn't that impressive, either.  It dies out
eventually, and an Amazon with Fast Run/Walk boots can outpace it so that the
attack trails off before it can hit you.

Lightning Inferno - Holy crap!  This is the attack for which you have to watch
out.  It can kill you if you're not careful as it is a stream of extremely
powerful elemental magic.  I usually got caught in the initial burst and then I
scrambled away as best I could.  The instant you get hit by this attack, quaff
a potion in your belt, because it will flame broil you if you stay in there a
second longer.  Fortunately, he doesn't use this attack all the time, but you
just have to roll with it as it comes.  Watch Diablo's body language, you can
get a split second warning before he unleashes this attack as he will rear back
and stand fully upright before he starts with the hurting.

Also, just because he's the last enemy doesn't mean you can't retreat back to
town if you need it.  As powerful as he is and as staggering an attack as the
Lightning Inferno is, the exact same strategies still apply.  Immolation Arrow
owns Diablo.  Unless he's rushing you to do his physical attacks, Diablo mostly
stands still while his magic attacks go off, so multiple Immolation Arrows will
just rack up the damage against him.  Decoy can be useful, but he can dispel it
in one attack.  I ended up not using it at all in the middle and latter stages
of the battle.  Valkyrie is also wasted against him as he can kill her in one
attack.  Shoot, shoot, run, shoot, shoot, run, shoot, shoot, run, shoot, shoot,
TP.  Diablo may throw up a Bone Cage around the TP as you're trying to escape,
but the key is just not to panic.  The Cage doesn't have very many Hit Points
and can be destroyed quickly and easily.  He doesn't really get frozen or
poisoned, so concentrate more on damage dealing.  If you're level 30-ish and
have a good ranged attack, he shouldn't pose that much more difficulty than
some of the enemies you've already faced.

NEW TO V. 1.22: Henrik from Sweden weighed in on Spearazon tactics versus
Diablo as well which I'll share with you.

"As for Diablo, this method [see his strategy on Duriel] won't do because of
the previously mentioned lightning inferno. Try standing right next to him all
of the time and you will have your ass blown off to Jupiter. The strategy I
found most successful here was to run right up to him, carefully stopping so
that you have him just in range, and the jab away. He will eventually fire his
lightning nova, and this is the point where you run around him in circles,
waiting for him to stop. Go on with this procedure and he will perish in
flames. You might actually do that too, a couple of times, but hell. What can
you do, right? Hehe."

NEW To V. 1.23: The general impression I get from everyone is that Diablo is
way too easy, and that he really hasn't posed too many problems.  Some of this
probably stems from the fact that he doesn't have any followers around as he
did in the first game.  Vivian Lan Zhong had this to say about fighting him up
close:

--- BEGIN BLOCKQUOTE ---

There is an easy way of killing diablo if you are a melee character.  But it
does mean you have to have high enough attack skill to hit the demon.  Around
the centre sanctuary that releases Diablo are the four passage ways.  One is
the entrance.  The left is the entrance to two 'keys' to the sanctuary, the
right also the entrance to two 'keys' of the sanctuary and the top the entrance
to the last 'key'.
It looks like this
        |        |
        |        |
   -----+        +-----
   -----+        +-----
        |        |
        |        |

If you notice at the corners where i have the + sign, this is very similar to
what appears in the game.  Choose one of the + signs and then by sticking to
the walls around the 'plus' sign, you can successfully trap Diablo and avoid
his magic attacks while he gets stuck in one of the corners of that plus sign.
                |    Diablo
    ---------------
                |   You

or

            |
-------------------
     You    |  Diablo

etc.

Let diablo release his elemental attack, then as soon as he releases it, run
around the corner hit him a few times and then run back to where you came from.
 Diablo is too slow to follow you if you hit him and he will retaliate by
trying to hit you back in melee style first (Be careful as if he hits you you
will be frozen and slowed significantly).  After two to three attempts at
hitting you (slow attack) he will release another elemental attack.  Thats why
you run back to your corner.  He can't move when releasing the elemental attack
and he will remain stuck in that corner.  Try it,  I successfully kill Diablo
in Nightmare and normal level this way.   I have found Diablo and his brothers
are easier to kill than some of the bosses in earlier levels  (This is
partially due to elemental resistance etc however)

--- END BLOCKQUOTE ---



E. COW LEVEL

Moo.  If you thought Hell was hard, well, you ain't seen nothin' yet.  The Cow
Level is easily the hardest map in the game.  Most of you will have already
read the recipe to get there somewhere else, but allow me to educate those who
have not.  After you have beaten the game, simply start up a new one (Normal
difficulty unless you're a glutton for punishment).  Place Wirt's Leg and a
Tome of Town Portal inside the Horadric Cube and transmute them.  A Portal to
the Cow Level should then appear.  Only people who have killed Diablo will be
able to enter the Portal and this must be performed inside The Rogue
Encampment.

Don't open up the Portal before you're absolutely ready, either.  And if you're
doing this as a group effort, go in together, one right after the other.  The
reason I say that is the Cows will start swarming the Portal as soon as the
first person steps through.  Once they do that, you will get killed immediately
upon entering unless you get extraordinarily lucky.

The person who has the easiest time in this level is a Javazon with Fast
Run/Walk, though the Bowazon works as well.  The Javazon needs to keep in
constant motion, so Stamina Potions might not be such a bad thing to be
carrying around, and her primary weapon against the ever-fearsome cows will be
Plague Javelin.  Don't stop to watch its effects, just keep circling and
keeping clear of the Cows.  Let loose with Plague Javelins when you can and use
Decoy to keep an effective distance between you and the herd.  It's a difficult
task, but a feat that is well within the Javazon's capabilities.  The Bowazon
will want to use a combination of Immolation Arrow, Freezing Arrow, and Decoy. 
If you're a Spearazon, then I don't really have much advice for you then to
spend all of your gold before you lose it to deaths.  Melee characters have a
really hard time here, though the Amazons will be aided with their Passive
skills such as Dodge, Avoid, and Evade.

The Cows hit harder than heck and can kill you in a few blows.  They are big
and have good range with their weapons, and the level is filled to brimming
with armed bovines.  Whatever you do, don't get trapped in a crowd!  You will
go down faster than Monica Lewinsky.  Be very careful when running around, it
doesn't help to evade the first group of Cows if you run smack dab into
another.  Try to create a large train, one singular group, that you can attempt
to circle strafe.  That Unreal Tournament training will come in handy, as your
reflexes will be put to the test.

There is a Unique here called The Cow King, but he's just like his brethren,
albeit a bit stronger and tougher.  If you've gotten that far into the level,
though, then you're doing just fine.  You'll kill more Cows than they do in
Santa Fe, but if you emerge victorious, then you can truly claim to have passed
the ultimate Diablo II challenge.

If you die inside the Cow Level, it's really up to you whether it's worth it to
keep trying.  The Cows will swarm around your corpse like flies, and you will
have a doozy of a time trying to recover that darn thing.  I will now stop
writing like Ned Flanders and no longer use words like "doozy."  Thank you very
much.  After you die the first time, it might just be best to leave the game
and get your corpse back in town.  Unless you were close to clearing the level,
then I'd have to say that this is the recommended choice of action: Better to
start over from scratch than die umpteen times recovering your corpse.

Good luck, and don't feel embarrassed if you get taken to school by a bunch of
Cows.  It's Moo-tastic!  Or whatever.

NEW TO V. 1.23: Another note from contributor Mike Hoeder.  As this is a
well-written and thoughtful e-mail, I'll quote it completely.

--- BEGIN BLOCKQUOTE ---

Hi again. Read through the updates to the guide--again, nice job. =)

This is what I've done on the Cow Level so far, as a melee character. I haven't
actually cleared the level using this strat yet, but I chalk that up to the
game crashing every time I play, (that unhandled exception bug that people have
been getting) not the failure of the strategy. It's slow and requires patience,
but every time I've tried it, it's worked fine up until the crash.

Get a nice, strong pike. Magical properties don't really matter, so if you can
find a Superior Pike with increased damage, that'll do. Equip Jab as your
left-click, and either Decoy or Valkyrie on the right click. Either one
works...the point is just to distract the cows. The Valkyrie isn't very
effective against the cows unless it's really pumped up, so you might as well
go with the lesser-cost Decoy. Good armor is important, as are potions, natch.

Create the red portal near Akara...you'll be talking to her right before you go
back through the portal, so it might as well be nearby. When you go through,
don't move. There shouldn't be any cows coming after you right away (I've never
had any), so you're safe until you move. Create a Town Portal close to the red
portal, preferably in the direction you plan to move. Step forward, SLOWLY. A
small group of cows will probably notice you and start coming. Create a Decoy
or Valkyrie ahead of them. It will keep a good majority of the cows busy, and a
few should still come after you. Each will usually go down in one use of Jab.
By the time you kill the ones who came after you, you'll probably have lost the
Decoy. Create another one to distract more cows, and dispose of the ones who
come after you. If you were quick about creating decoys and killing cows, you
should be fine. But if you start getting overwhelmed, go through your Town
Portal, talk to Akara to restore HP and MP, and head back through the red
portal for more bovine slaying.

Once you've cleared the initial attack, believe it or not, the worst is over.
Recreate the Town Portal a little bit further away from the red portal, in the
direction you started moving, so that you have more breathing room if one of
the portals gets swarmed. Repeat the strategy in different directions, killing
the group of 10 or so cows who come at you. It should be easier these times,
because you have the two portals availible...if you ever get swarmed, duck out
through the town portal, and come back through the red. The TP never goes away,
and you can keep the cows dancing back and forth between swarming the two.
Depending on how often you use the portals to return, you might not even use
any potions once you have the strategy worked out. Just keep spiralling outward
from the starting point, engaging the cows a few at a time using Decoy and Jab
liberally.

This strategy has worked for as long as my game has stayed stable, so hopefully
someone out there with a copy of D2 which works better can prove it's success,
or perhaps improve on it. If all else fails for Spearazons out there...buy a
bow. =) It's a good idea to carry a bow or crossbow (preferably a repeating
crossbow--socketed ones are easily obtained in Act 4.) anyway as a backup
weapon, or just for those times when you can shoot at things that can't hit
you. (Arcane Sanctuary, anyone?)

And ther it is--my thoughts on the cow level...now if only Blizz would take
care of that crash. -.-

Mike

--- END BLOCKQUOTE ---



III. MISCELLANY   MISCELLANY   MISCELLANY
        MISCELLANY   MISCELLANY   MISCELLANY
           MISCELLANY   MISCELLANY   MISCELLANY



A. STRESS TEST THOUGHTS

This was just a little something I wrote after participating in the Stress
Test.  There really wasn't anywhere appropriate to put this, but I thought I'd
throw it in here as an extra if anyone is particularly interested in reading
it.

--- BEGIN DOCUMENT ---

I was one of the lucky few (okay, make that lucky one hundred thousand) who
made it into the Diablo II Stress Test.  Fortunately for me, the e-mail was
sent out in the second batch; and by that time, they had already established a
mirror download at fileplanet, so I didn't experience the frustration from
downloading off of ZDNet.  It moved along at a spry 80k/sec, and I was soon
installing the
Diablo II Beta, much to my merriment.

After a quick installation, it prompted me for a video test.  It correctly
detected my 16 MB nVidia Riva TNT and told me to run the game in Direct 3D.  I
obliged and booted up the game.  That was a mistake, as all I got was a black
background covered with insane garbled graphics straight out of Lovecraftian
lore.  This puzzled me as I had both the latest Detonator drivers and DirectX
7.0a.  I was forced to run the game in 2D mode, and I was severely underwhelmed
by the graphics.  They showed the same excellent character design and attention
to detail that is found in all Blizzard products, but the game seemed to use
almost the exact same engine as the first Diablo.

It wasn't until the next day that I e-mailed Blizzard technical support and
inquired about my 3D problem.  The representative contacted me promptly and
gave me clear concise directions on where to get the unreleased beta drivers I
needed (http://www.3dchipsets.com).  Being a computer science major and a
technophile in general, installing and rebooting was a snap; but people who
don't tweak their machines on a regular basis may have some feelings of
trepidations about mucking about with Display settings and drivers.  Hopefully
for the non gearheads, Blizzard will have a more simplistic fix, or at least
draw attention to how to solve the problem.

That being said, I was blown away by the difference between the 2D and 3D
graphics engine.  Don't get me wrong, the game is perfectly playable in 2D
mode.  It just isn't anything special.  I had heard a lot of reviews slamming
the graphics, but I have to disagree with most of them.  There are a lot of
games out there with incredible graphics, but they lack a certain quality of
character.  Quake III: Arena is an excellent demonstration of this point, it
really seemed a blatant exercise in technology to me.  On the other hand,
Diablo II has relatively primitive 3D effects, but they were utilized extremely
effectively and seamlessly with the 2D engine base.  After playing with the 2D
graphics for an entire day, I was quick to pick up on the little differences
that many other stress testers missed, like the parallax background scrolling
and slightly more level and 3-dimensional layout.  I can only imagine how neat
the 3D spell effects must be.  In summary, I'm not awestruck of the graphics,
but I can't really complain about anything that comes out of Blizzard.  They
pay attention to even the smallest of details and it shows.

Moving on to the actual gameplay, the stress test is an incredibly limited
version of the real game.  Testers are limited to the Barbarian class only, and
may not advance past the first level of the Skill tree.  (I'm sick of trees,
anyway, because I finished two semesters of Discrete math and an Algorithms and
Data Structures course and expected to get a little break at least before
encountering them again, but nooooo ... Blizzard has to ruin my summer vacation
by introducing trees in Diablo II.)  There are only two quests included, and I
assume they are the first two offered in the real game.  It only takes one
solid playing session of one-two hours before these quests are completed.  The
quests still seem relatively straightforward and linear, and Diablo II doesn't
really veer off from its hack 'n' slash gaming roots (kill this monster,
retrieve that artifact).

I beat the quests within my first hour of playing, but I've been playing
fanatically ever since.  The game engine is simply fantastic.  I'm addicted
even to this infinitesimally small version of the real game.  It doesn't matter
that my Barbarian can only learn six skills.  He's learning the hell out of
those six skills, baby.  I can only imagine what gaming joy the first batch of
beta testers experienced with a mostly complete version of the game.  I hadn't
really read up on the actual gameplay beforehand, so I was pleasantly surprised
with the interesting weapon sockets and gem system.  The enchanted weapons you
can buy in town are initially more powerful, but you can craft some obscenely
cool weapons with gems.

I even picked up three items of unique sets, but I Managed to trade away the
set of boots that requires 20th level, as I don't expect to get there anytime
soon.  I did keep Vidala's Ambush, though, as I'm only two levels away from
wearing that.  I also picked up some rare and one unique item, and it's really
nice to see some variation and complexity in item rarity.  Item bartering seems
to be a lot more common practice now, as there is no more hacking and
duplicating.  You actually have to * gasp * work to acquire your equipment now!
 In my opinion, this is the best improvement over the first game.  The in-game
trading utility also one-ups the "take each other on trust and drop the items
on the ground simultaneously."  The only time I ever traded in the first Diablo
with someone I didn't know in real life, the item I acquired was a duplicate so
I ended up junking it.  The new trading system also promotes more friendly
interaction between players, and that's always a good thing.

I enjoy the new party system and like the friendly - neutral - hostile options.
 You don't have anymore of the following situation: Random hacked character
crashes your game and kills everyone, then claims he hasn't played before and
is only using his older brother's character.  That's why I started playing
password games exclusively with my friends.  I feel a lot safer under the new
system and have enjoyed many a playing session with people I've never met under
the sun.  You'll still get your rude people, of course: those who won't ally
with you and just run in and fight whatever you've already engaged, and then
pick up the loot off monsters you killed.  The only fix for this is to stab
every rude person you encounter so they don't reproduce and play online games
(not that I'm endorsing that sort of thing ... publicly).  One nice feature is
that you can limit the amount of players in the game and set the amount of
acceptable level deviation.  You can still set your password games, too, once
you find a good group with whom to play.  Also, account names are now tied into
CD-keys and IP addresses, so I think Blizzard will probably have a better
handle on people who will be consistently problematic players.

As for all of the testers reading this who are complaining about the problems
of the Battle.net servers going down on a sporadic basis: Wake up!  This is not
the gameplay test; that was the last beta.  This test is specifically for
testing the Battle.net servers and nothing else.  If you're not enjoying the
experience, then go play Unreal Tournament or something when it's down instead
of staying in the chat room (on a separate server) and complaining about the
server being down all the time.  I, for one, consider it a privilege to be a
tester and am enjoying the game for all it's worth.  Its an excellent game and
the people have been friendly, for the most part.  Battle.net has gone through
some renovations as well, such as little caricatures below the chat screen
representing what game you're playing (really cool ones for Starcraft and
Warcraft II), and a much desired "squelch" feature to screen out that one
annoying 11 year old who types exclusively in Caps Lock.

All in all, by and large, 44-40 or fight, I have thoroughly enjoyed my
experience as a Diablo II stress tester.  I wasn't too enthusiastic about the
game previously: too many delays, too much hype.  But now I'm a true believer. 
I should've known better than to doubt the wizards at Blizzard in the first
place.  I've even downloaded the Character Planner application and am devising
fantasy characters.  Now that's scary.

Graphics: B-
Sound: A
Gameplay: A+
Extras: A-

Overall: A

--- END DOCUMENT ---



B. PROPS AND SLOPS

Props:

- CJayC and GameFAQs (http://www.gamefaqs.com) as always
- My loving fiancée as always
- My friends Andy and Matt for providing much D2 LAN party fun
- All the cool people on Battle.Net
- Blizzard for churning out some of the best and most addictive games
- People who send in thoughtful coherent e-mail

Slops:

- All the lame people on Battle.Net
- Blizzard for churning out some of the best and most addictive games
- People who send in insulting or oft-illegible e-mail


C. OTHER FAQS

I've written other FAQs, and I wrote a song about it.  Wanna hear it?  Here it
goes!  All of these FAQs can be found at http://www.gamefaqs.com.  The
Planescape: Torment FAQ can be found in a ton of places, and often in other
languages.  How crazy is that?  It even got published in some foreign game
magazines.  Crazy, man, crazy.

Planescape: Torment FAQ/Walkthrough
Heroes of Might and Magic III Units FAQ
Heroes of Might and Magic III: Armageddon's Blade FAQ/Walkthrough



Contact Information:

Nicholas Yu
azif@hotzp.com
http://hotzp.com/
http://hotzp.com/badboys/