Diablo II and D2: Lord of Destruction (v1.08)
Guide v1.0 by Spider Eternal(tm) (Spider0@Juno.com)
Last Update: 8/2/01
Check next to each title of the section to see the date of the last 
update!

Yay! The Xpack is finally here! =) Sorry for the lack of updates, but 
I've been rather busy with work, so I was unable to play Diablo 2 for a 
long while. Now that I'm back, I hope I can improve this guide 
significantly.

Table of Contents
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I.	Introduction
II.	Imbuement Guide
III.	Common Mistakes
IV.	Side Comments
V.	Credits
VI.	Copyright


I. Introduction
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       Ever get puzzled by what you should imbue? Or when you should 
imbue it? Or why some imbues came out great and others were absolutely 
horrible? Overlooking the fact that you give Charsi better items with 
each difficulty, there is another factor which determines imbue 
quality. And most people think it's the difficulty level that does it. 
That in fact, is wrong.


II. Imbuement Guide
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	The reason most people think imbues are better in higher 
difficulties, is because they are, in a sense, but its not difficulty 
that influences the imbuement, it's the level of the imbuer. If you 
think about it, it makes perfect sense. If a level 10 imbues an item in 
normal (or any difficulty for that matter), the item will be imbued to 
suit his needs. If a character level 20 imbues on any difficulty 
whatsoever, he will get a better item than the level 10 because he 
needs better items. So, the higher your level, the better the 
imbuement, it's that simple.

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A different way of playing can really make a difference, and could save 
you a lot of grief and boredom.
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       The main reason people get not-so-good items from imbues, is the 
fact that a lot of them rush through the game. So being a lower level, 
they might imbue a great item, but will probably be disappointed. 
(Although the increased difficulty in the Xpack seems to solve that) If 
you want to receive better imbues faster, take your time with the game. 
Sounds like an oxymoron, but its not. If you find an area in the game 
where you can level up easily and kill the monsters there with fair 
ease, then stay there. Once the experience starts going down, don't 
leave the area. Instead of rushing to the next area, join or make games 
that will have 8 people join them. For the most part the monsters will 
get a little harder, but they will still be easy to kill, and you will 
get good experience from them. The trick is to stay solo, that way you 
get the maximum experience possible. Try making games that will have 
the 8 people coming in play in a different act than you are. That way 
you will have 8 people total in the game and an entire Act full of 
experience for yourself. Once that area or act doesn't give you much 
experience with maximum players, then its time to move on. Playing in 
this consistent and thorough manner truly makes it an entirely 
different play experience. I've seen level 44 characters in Nightmare 
Act 3, and I've seen level 44 characters starting Act 5 in Normal. I 
myself have stayed in Normal, and found decent experience in act 5 with 
8 people up until I hit level 46. Most people starting Nightmare are in 
their 30s.

***Updated 8/2/01***

       My recommendation is to imbue at least after level 45. If you 
want to get the best of the imbuements, imbue after level 60. Usually 
level 60 or a couple levels above 60 is the optimum time to imbue. 
After that, it becomes rather pointless, since either the items won't 
be good enough for your character, or you'll possess the ones you need 
already. Don't forget that chance still does play a big role in these 
imbuements, but your chances of getting a very good item are extremely 
higher than if you imbue within the levels of 30-45. I do realize that 
doing so deprives you of a rare item during your progression of the 
game. Still, wouldn't it be better to have a great item that you keep 
for a long time, instead of a mediocre item that you use for a little 
while and then sell off? You be the judge. I found that this strategy 
works great for me, imbues are rare and quite far in-between, I made 
the most of them.
	And finally, as to what items themselves you should imbue, that 
is really up to your character class. I recommend imbuing only the 
exceptional (or even better, elite if you have Xpack) types of 
equipment. (Check out the specific stats on exceptional/elite types of 
items at the official Diablo 2 website, or try www.diabloii.net)


Common Mistakes (Updated 12/4/00)
***************

You've all seen them before, people auctioning off exceptional/elite 
superior imbuable items that are sold for sickeningly huge amounts of 
gold or good items. DON'T FALL INTO THIS TRAP!! Items lose all their 
properties once they are imbued, so getting a superior sword imbued, or 
a cracked one makes no difference whatsoever, the item type is what 
determines the imbued item. So an exceptional/elite piece of equipment 
is different from a regular piece of equipment since it's already a 
different type to begin with, and having it imbued will produce a 
higher quality item altogether. I have found that not even wands retain 
skill properties. Sometimes the same skill is added to the item, and it 
is quite confusing.
Another area where people could get misled is when imbues add the 
improved damage/durability/defense. If you gave a superior item that 
contained these attributes to Charsi, and she gave back an imbued item 
that still had those properties, you might be misled into thinking that 
they are kept during the imbue process. That's simply not true, what 
really happened was the item was stripped of its attributes, and then 
those properties were re-added to the item, giving the appearance that 
they were kept. Remember, all superior properties are lost, so avoid 
spending big money on superior items.


(Updated 1/18/01)
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Higher is not always better? The common opinion is that imbuing between 
the levels of 30-45 is better than the higher levels because you don't 
get as many damage dealing properties in items (even though Blizzard 
said that more damage adding properties were available), instead they 
would be more geared to resistances and regeneration. Another belief is 
that a higher level simply expands the suffix and prefix pool, so after 
a certain level you'll get more crappy items and chances of a good item 
drop.
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I am not sure if this is correct or not, but I've gotten numerous e-
mails about it. From what I have heard, there are designated levels at 
which imbuing a certain type of item increases. For example it is said 
that imbuing a weapon is best at level 29, because chances of a good 
high damaging weapon increase dramatically. And imbuing for a shield is 
best at level 8-12, that way you get good defense multipliers. I am 
beginning to see a pattern in these e-mails I have gotten from people, 
telling me the best levels to imbue certain items etc. From what I can 
conclude, the game still gives you what you need. If you are at level 8 
and you imbue a shield, the game is going to boost the defense 
significantly because your defense absolutely sucks. When you are at 
level 29 and you imbue a weapon, the game is going to give you a damage 
boost because the weapon you currently have is not going to last you 
very long in nightmare difficulty (unless you have a godly weapon 
equipped). 

Here is what I can derive from all this:

Imbuing a shield at level 29 isn't as good as it is at level 8-12 
because at level 29 your defense is quite decent, it's the damage the 
game is going to worry about since at level 29 the monsters get more 
life, and you need to deal more damage. The imbuement process could 
possibly be based on your stats when you imbue an item. So imbuing a 
shield when you have 600 def armor is probably not going to yield you a 
shield that has a good defense rating, instead its going to give you a 
shield with regeneration and elemental protection statistics. Getting a 
higher level opens up more of the suffix and prefix pool, and most high 
level characters complain that they get shit for items when they imbue. 
That could be because they are already wearing great equipment so the 
game sees no need to boost their damage rating (for example) in an 
imbue. Had they imbued while completely naked, the results could have 
been very different. That would explain the reason why the game 
sometimes gives you items that you can't use based on your base stats, 
but wearing the equipment you have you are able to, whereas if some 
people imbued items they couldn't use at all, they commonly got the -% 
requirements attribute. Getting a higher level expands the 
suffix/prefix pool and allows the game to have more to choose from when 
it comes to giving you what you need at the time. 
       My theory seems very likely to be true, so in addition to 
following the tips mentioned in the guide, see if imbuing while you are 
naked (and have no items in your inventory or possibly your stash) 
makes a difference in the quality of the imbue.

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For those of you curious to find out why you get certain items in 
certain levels read the small section below.
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The Diablo 2 game stops dropping items after a certain monster level. 
What I mean is socketed exceptional items, for example, will not be 
dropped (or very rarely) in the hell difficulty because the game 
considers those items to be too weak to be dropped. So in order to get 
them you have to go back to hell on nightmare difficulty. For this same 
reason you don't see regular cracked items dropped in the later 
difficulties, instead you'll see better item types in cracked+ 
versions. Certain items stop dropping according to difficulty only 
because difficulty is what determines the monsters' levels. So your 
imbue in normal should still be just as good as the one in hell, since 
its based on YOUR level. This does not affect unique items (not in my 
experience anyway, send in comments if you know otherwise people!) so 
don't worry about it not being possible to find any. Although I do know 
that the possibility of monsters dropping better uniques goes up in 
difficulty levels, although I have gotten Wormskull from Duriel in 
normal before...


Side Comments (Updated 12/4/00)
*************

I am a very open minded individual, so if you think I have posted some 
incorrect information here, please let me know so I may update the 
Guide. Provide your name and e-mail and you shall receive credit for 
your help. Also any suggestions about how to improve this Guide, 
feedback of any kind, be it positive, negative, or even neutral; will 
be read and responded to. Basically, ANYTHING that you consider 
worthwhile to send, whether it would be a letter telling me to rot in 
the bowels of hell, a spelling mistake, or a compliment on my work, 
please send it. (No I'm not implying you send me hate mail just for the 
fun of it! Although I do enjoy the occasional chuckle.)


CREDITS (Updated 5/27/01)
*******

At the moment I wish to thank some of the ladder players on the WEST 
Realm whose names I can't remember but nevertheless, your advice helped 
me create this Guide. I also give credit to Andross who helped me 
update the guide in the particular area regarding wand imbuements! I'd 
also like to thank Daniel Farina and Luke Bentson for informing me of 
the unlocking of prefixes and suffixes! I'd also like to thank IEXX of 
the EAST realm in helping be update the section on the best levels of 
imbuement. And thanks to all who sent in your comments! Please, send 
any thoughts you have at all. I'd like to hear them!!! Be sure to send 
me any experience with imbues, patterns, reoccurring attributes, 
anything like that!


COPYRIGHT NOTICE
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This document is copyrighted to Spider Eternal 2000-2001(c). I will grant 
permission to reproduce this guide freely provided you mail me asking 
for it and tell me where you will be posting it. It is also required 
that the document remains whole and unmodified, and the original author 
is credited, along with anyone else that contributed to the Guide.