***********************************************************************
Diablo II: Lord of Destruction (D2X)
Assassin Guide v1.1
by iLuvMomo (Lee Kian Chong)
dated: 2/08/2K1
based on: Diablo II: LOD patch v1.08
email: helsmley@yahoo.com
***********************************************************************

This FAQ is written using Wordpad with Courier New (Western) Size 10 
font.

1234567890
..........
 
If the dots are align you are set.


************ 
Legal Stuff
************

Diablo II, Diablo II: Lord of Destruction, Assassin and all other 
characters mentioned in this FAQ is the property and creation of 
Blizzard Entertainment. This is an unlicensed FAQ which is written and 
to be distributed free of charge in is unaltered state, even with typo, 
grammatical errors as well as the occasional incorrect fact. This FAQ 
belongs to the author, Lee Kian Chong. If you wish to distribute this 
FAQ or have this published on your webpage, please get written 
permission (through e-mail or otherwise). Please give credit where 
credit is due.

********
Contents
********
What's New Here?
Why Assassin?
Benefits of playing Assassin
Double Claw vs Claw and Shield?
What kind of Assassin?
Hotkey Mania
Charge Up? Finishing?
Plan Ahead
Skill Overview
General FAQ
Build Tree
My Assassin Rig
Dream Rig
On Multiplayer
Websites of Interest
Download This!
Credits
Conclusion


***************
What's new here?
***************
FAQ v1.1 
I think this update is long overdue. When I released v1.0, it was really 
a rush job. At that time, there were 2 other Assassin FAQs already out 
(though I began work on this since day 1 I got D2X) Fearing that there 
would be a flood of Assassin FAQs, and CJayC would not want to publish 
this, I quickly finished an FAQ which had more errors and a missing 
information than the moon has holes that I had to immediately begin work 
on correcting it. The update would have came out much MUCH earlier had I 
not spent 10 hours a day playing D2X addictively (both online and 
testing out skills) I also received loads of emails of critism and 
praise (even more than all the emails I received for my TTT FAQs) and as 
such am working hard to improve this FAQ and make it one of the best 
Assassin FAQs around. Here is a laundry list of the changes made in the 
new revision of the FAQ.

- added the 'Plan Ahead' section
- added Skill stats from Calvin Schneider's FAQ
- added 'My Assassin Rig' Section
- added 'Dream Rig' Section
- added 'General FAQ' section
- added a 'Content' Section
- added a 'On Multiplayer' Section
- added a 'Websites of interest' Section
- added a 'Download This!' Section
- added Build tree for Claw and Shield Assassin
- added Build tree for Heavy Weapon Assassin
- added some info submitted in by Nicholas Vu
- added the all important 'Credits' section
- renamed 'My Assassin' section to 'Build Tree'
- updated discussion on dual claw vs claw and shield
- updated 'What kind of Assassin?' section
- updated info on skills discussion e.g. WOI, Psychic Blast
- updated 'My Assassin' section after completing Hell mode
- corrected a few typos here and there.

v1.1 of the Guide is written based on Diablo II: Lord Of Destruction 
patch v1.08 and is tested both on single player and multiplayer mode 
(battle.net as well as TCP/IP game)


*************
Why Assassin?
*************
Why not? I must admit that the main reason why I chose to play as an 
Assassin was because she was a new character in the expansion. I wasn't 
bothered about continuing my level 60+ sorceress seeing as how so many 
spells in the 1.08 patch got nerfed badly. Besides I found that playing 
as my ice sorceress was extremely boring... what else do you actually do 
but run around and cast blizzard after blizzard after... well you get my 
point.
I had no idea whatsoever about the Assassin's game play but thought 
"what the heck?" So I gave her a try and found her to be quite 
interesting to play with.  
First off, she changes the boring gameplay of Barbarian, Paladins and 
Jabazons (amazons who use the Jab attack) of continuos clicking to a 
more satisfying combo attack. The Assassin gets charge up skills and 
finishing moves to be used which deals quite some damage and will put 
some of the toughest bosses down in a few hits.


****************************
Benefits of playing Assassin
****************************

- Two handed fighting style (on Barbarian is the other character out of 
  a total of 7 characters who also can use two handed fighting style)
- Lockpicking, being a thief class, the Assassin benefits from not 
  needing to carry keys around. She can open all locked chests.
- Balanced for Single player mode. She has it all, physical attacks and
  magical attacks (traps) to deal with all kinds of creatures 
  especially those pesky creatures in Hell mode with Physical Immune 
  (PI)
- Interesting and refreshing gameplay... no more just click click click 
  click. Helps keep your interest so that you can achieve Lvl99.
- Very quick with claws, and even quicker with burst of speed and a 
  certain claw....
- Temporary physical immunity with Fade, which helps a lot in Nightmare
  and Hell mode, especially if you aren't fortunate enough to get your
  hands on resistant items.
- Tiger Strike + Claw Mastery + Venom means thousands of points damage
  which easily helps overcome the pesky 50% Physical Immunity in 
  Hell mode.
- mana and life leech move available so she can look for one less 
  criteria in her weapons. Mana leech is very versatile since you can 
  sacrifice a lot of points of energy for your assasin and still end up 
  with an endless supply of mana when you want to cast traps.
- fun to play and very versatile (able to adapt to all situations 
  quickly)
- she is the jack of all trades, master of some (lol!) The Assassin has 
  a few traits from the other classes, notably spells like meteor and
  chain lightning (sorceress), dual wield, claw mastery (barbarian),
  corspe explosion death sentry (necromancer) and Shadow Warrior/ Mas-
  ter (Amazon)

************
Starting Off
************

Your Assassin starts off one claw, one buckler, a few minor potions and 
a base stat of:

Str - 20
Dex - 20
Vit - 20
Ene - 25

Hit Points - 50
Stamina - 95
Mana - 25

On character level up she gains these bonuses:
 
Life +2
Stamina +1
Mana +1.5

For every skill point she invests she also gains these bonuses:

1 Vitality Point gives +3 Life
1 Vitality Point gives +1.5 Stamina
1 Energy Point gives +1.5 Mana


********************************
Double Claw vs Claw and Shield?
********************************
This is usually a hot debate for Assasins. I will give a pro-con debate 
from the Double Claw perspective.
 
Pros:
- this is assasin with dual wielding ala barbarian 
- claws are assasin only weapons, and can have +1-3 to special skills, 
  as well as +1-2 to Assasin skills at higher Clvl. This helps a lot if 
  you have 2 claws instead of 1.
- some double claw only skills e.g. Dragon Claw, Weapon Block
- Using a lot of skills will give you more bang for your buck if your
  mana if you use double claw (e.g. Venom)
- Highest damage possible

Cons:
- Using 2 claws means you will be lowering your defense. While this is 
  exceptable in Normal mode, the damage you will be taking will add up
  to quite a lot in Nightmare/Hell mode. 
*pro rebutal* But with since the claws are very fast attack, most of 
              the time you will be hitting your opponent before he hits 
              you. Moreover, with those exceptional/ elite set and 
              unique items especially armor, your defense alone can get
              quite high without double claws?
*con response* And what if you are facing a boss whom is very hard to 
               hit? And it would be higher with a shield!
*pro rebutal* Its stupid to say that dual wield Assassin is lousy. Its
              the same like saying Dual wield Barbarian sucks.
*con response* Barbarian has frenzy, whirlwind... uber skills which 
               even in v1.08 after nerfing is still very powerful.
               Assassin's Dragon Claw can't even be considered an
               uber skill.

- Do you really need the Weapon Block skill? Shields give you a 
  good blocking percentage and can get as high as 75% (though that 
  shield is very very hard to find) With a shield you need to even 
  spend points on getting your weapon block skill to a respectable 
  level. Thats 5 big points at least (more if you are in Nightmare or
  Hell mode) which could have been used for other skills like WOI.

- Why use dragon claw when you have other skills you can put points 
  into? Surely dragon claw can be offset by other higher level skills.
*pro rebutal* Take a look at the other FINISHING move skills. There 
              are 4 of them. Dragon Kick has a very low + to damage.
              Dragon Tail is a whopping 10 mana and the additional
              damage is fire damage. At Nightmare/Hell mode, creatures
              more than likely have fire resistance. If you are going 
              to rely on this move alone then you are going to be very
              sorry. Dragon flight while useful is 15 mana per use AND
              has a short lag time after each teleport.
*con response* Dragon kick at lvl 20 has higher + to damage than Dragon
               Claw at lvl 20. With so many skill points savedby not 
               putting into Weapon block, you can easily pump this 
               skill to a decent level. Moreover, this is a kick attack
               so your weapon durability will last longer. If your
               enemy is resistant to fire attacks, then just use poison
               claw.
*pro rebutal* Weapon durability doesn't really matter much since you 
              can always repair the weapon. Besides, the Dragon Claw is 
              the most damaging finishing move possible (since it is 
              both stat and equipment dependent) among all at the 
              lowest mana cost.
*con response* Being equipment dependent, needless to say that to do
               a lot of damage, you need equipment with high damage,
               which needless to say are hard to obtain. Even elite
               items do a base damage of up to 40+. You need to get
               lucky and hope that during your imbue/ crafting of item
               a good damage mod appears. Also the only weapon doing  
               100+ damage is Natalya's Mark which is a Set of an 
               elite item, thus making it next to impossible to find.

- using a shield enables you to up your resistance. In Normal and even
  Nightmare mode, resistance doesn't seem to be a problem, but that 
  certainly changes in Hell mode
*pro rebutal* There are loads of charms which offer resistance. Also
              lets not forget Amulets, rings, boots, armor, gauntlets. 
              Certainly leaving out ONE field is acceptable. Completing
              Natalya's Odium Set gives you an additional +50% bonus 
              above the inherent bonuses of the items themselves.
*con response* But technically shields offer you the most possible
               resistance. A triple perfect diamond shield gives you
               almost +60 to resistance. That leaves one less criteria
               to search for in your other equipment. 
*pro rebutal* Wrong. The constriction ring offers +100 resistance.
*con response* ... at the price of -10 Life drain....and only at lvl95



Nicholas Vu had some things to comment on with Claw & Shield Strategy:
" Just wanted to give my opinion on the "claw and shield" Assassin. I 
think that she is *very* good. Basically, if you are going to play this 
type of Assassin, you will definately need to rely upon high levels of 
Tiger Claw and her kick Finishing Moves a lot - especially Dragon Tail.
The problem with claws is their low min-max damage range:-  they do not 
fully take advantage of Tiger Claw. To maximize Tiger Claw's bonuses, 
you A) need to use a heavy weapon (like a Maul or something) or B) use 
the Assassin's kick Finishing Moves. My Assasin is lvl 25 with roughly 
80-90 in STR and DEX (after item bonuses). Using a slvl15 Tiger Claw and 
a slvl1 Dragon Tail, my Assassin can easily do 400-500 damage! That's 
enough to drop most uniques in 1 hit (except the Extra Strong type). "

In conclusion, I'd suggest trying both styles out and figuring which 
style you prefer. Best yet, have both styles equiped since there is of 
course the 2 weapon set system in Diablo II. Personally though, I prefer 
the double claw style over the claw and shield combo. 

It is common belief that Claw and Shield is a necessity when playing 
Nightmare or Hell mode. Well all I can say is, my Assassin is living 
well and Healthy in Nightmare mode using double Claws. She may find some 
areas tougher than others, but with proper use of her skills, I could 
breeze through most of Nightmare without dying much.


*********************
What Kind of Assasin?
*********************
Basically there are a few variants for the Assassin Class. There is the 
Dual Claw Assassin, Claw and Shield Assassin and *gasp* Powerful Heavy 
Weapon Assassin. 
For the first play through, I played as a Dual Claw assassin. I must 
admit she is the weakest of all the variants. The second time I created 
a Claw and Shield Assassin, she was pretty strong and quick but did not 
do as much damage as that of the Heavey Weapon Assassin. So basically 
here are the general play idea of the various Assassins.

Dual Claw Assassin
------------------
She will be somewhat like a dual wield barbarian except that she doesn't 
have such skills like Frenzy and Whirlwind (which makes the barb such a 
beast) She will spend a lot of points on Claw Mastery and Weapon Block 
generally, while maxing out Tiger Strike. Therefore she does not have 
much skills to spend on other skills. IMO the best way to tackle PI 
monsters in Hell for this Assassin class is to go Death sentry and 
Venom. She can potentially do a lot of damage if she gets a good claw 
with 100+ damage and Deadly strike (by means of socketing a rune or 
otherwise) though those claws are hard to find. IMO this type of 
Assassin is too equipment dependent and probably the weakest. This is a 
good challenge for experienced players though.


Claw and Shield Assassin
------------------------
This is the most popular kind of Assassin. Sacrificing the use of a 
second claw, she gains the automatic benefits of weapon blocking (which 
supersedes that of weapon block when maxed) resistance bonuses at the 
cost of a little more attack. As such she will save a lot of skill 
points that would otherwise have to be put in Weapon Block and Fade. The 
down side is that she will have to use a kick finishing move, and for 
that to do great damage, a lot of points on Dex and Str has to be spent 
to do insane damage. Players who do not know how to balance between 
pumping the two stats and adding points into vitality will soon find out 
in Hell mode their wrongs when they get killed in a single hit by the 
Moon Lords. To tackle monsters in Hell mode with PI, the Claw and Shield 
Assassin has a wide choice with the abundance of skill points available. 
She could go Venom, Phoenix Strike or my favourite, Wall of Inferno, all 
of which are very strong, with Death Sentry as a backup. Moreover, she 
can max out her other skills (Tiger, Claw Mastery, Shadow Master) before 
the Dual Claw Assassin Can. 


Heavy Weapon Assassin
---------------------

(thanks to Kyle Summers, Nicholas Vu for giving me this idea)

One major beef about the Assassin is she doesn't do much damage with her 
weapons. Even the elite claw does a maximum of 47 damage (if im not 
mistaken) which even with slvl20 Claw mastery isn't a lot. Therefore, a 
dual Claw assassin though quick isn't really effective damage wise AFTER 
slvl20 Tiger and slvl20 Claw Mastery is added in. A 100+ damage Claw 
with both Tiger and Claw maxed would do somewhere around 2880 damage. So 
why not make full use of her Tiger Strike charge up and use a heavy 
weapon (e.g. Maul, Lance, Axe)??? The idea is to pump up Burst of Speed 
and Tiger strike as quickly as humanly possible and forgoing all other 
skills early on. Burst of speed will help negate the slow attack speed 
of heavy weapons while Tiger strike at slvl20 will just magnify how 
powerful she is. So technically if you get a weapon which does 500 
physical damage, she will be able to do 7200 damage on a charged up 
slvl20 Tiger before other bonuses are added in! To tackle monsters in 
Hell with PI, she can use WoI, Death Sentry or Phoenix strike (no Venom 
though). Since she does not need points in so many skills, she can max 
out any two of these skills really quickly and make Hell PI a cakewalk. 
Also, since she does not need to toggle between finishing moves, this 
makes her less of a hotkey workout.


************ 
Hotkey Mania
************
Playing an Assasin requires more skill, strategy and finess than playing 
a mindless character like a whirldwind barbarian. With so many useful 
charge up skills and finishing moves as well as those skills which 
temporarily boost your character, you will have a nightmare if you do 
not assign hotkeys. Even the preset hotkeys (F1-F12) is pretty hard to 
use since they are located quite "far" away from your Alt, Ctrl and no. 
Keys.
 
What I did was reassign most of my keyboard hotkeys.  
Basically I relied on 3 charge up Attack, 3 finishing moves and 4 shadow 
skills. Therefore I mapped the keys as follow
Q - Charge Up Attack 1
W - Charge Up Attack 2
E - Charge Up Attack 3
R - Normal Attack
A - Shadow Skill 1
S - Shadow Skill 2
D - Shadow Skill 3
F - Trap
Z - Finishing Move 1
X - Finishing Move 2 
C - Shadow Skill 4
F1 - Shadow Skill 5

Basically the charge up attacks were assigned to my left mouse button 
(since I would be clicking that the most) and the other skills were 
assigned to the right moust button. So by level 30 after obtaining all 
possible skills it was something like: -
Q - Cobra Strike
W - Phoenix Strike
E - Tiger Strike
R - Normal Attack
A - Fade
S - Burst of Speed
D - Venom
F - Death Sentry
Z - Double Claw
X - Dragon Flight
C - Cloak of Shadows
F1 - Shadow Master



So what about the other hotkeys? Well most of them weren't very 
important (when compared to your combat hotkeys), So I just reassigned 
them to the F5-F8 keys.
As you can see I put Shadow Master as F1. Why? Because I wasn't going to 
cast a her very often. It'd be pointless of me to put the Shadow Master 
on say Z key and having to reach further away to change to Double Claw. 
In essence, at higher levels, you won't have that much time to change 
with monsters pounding relentlessly on you.
Of course this is my preference, and you can (and should) come up with a 
set of hotkeys which suits your style. Whatever it is though, hotkeys 
ARE a necessity to playing an Assasin to her fullest potential, unless 
of course you prefer to use the same skill over and over again (and get 
killed in the process)

 
*********************
Charge Up? Finishing?
*********************

As said before, playing an assasin is quite complex with those charge up 
and finishing moves. Let me break down all the details to you in a Q & A 
format. Most of the information was taken from www.diabloii.net

Q: Whats Charge Up And Finishing move?
A: Basically a Charge Up move is when you store charges when a move 
   succesfully connects. When you hit your opponent with a charge up
   move you will see a glowing orb surrounding your character. 
   A finishing move on the other hand will cause all the charges 
   surrounding your character to be used up. You will see a flash 
   according to the colour of the glowing orb if you succesfully 
   use a charge with a finishing move.

Q: How many charges can I store?
A: You can store a maximum of 3 for each charge-up skill. You can stack 
   the charges with other charge-up skills however for a potential of
   18 total charges. For example, you hit your opponent 3 times with
   Tiger Strike and obtain 3 white orbs. You then switch to Cobra 
   Strike and hit your enemy 3 more times. You should see 3 white orbs
   as well as 3 green orbs circiling your character.

Q: How long does each charge last?
A: It last for 8 seconds (give or take) if your character does not 
   attack an enemy. However if you continue hitting an enemy with 
   a charge-up skill (of the same or different kind) the orbs will
   last indefinitely until you stop for 8 seconds or use a finishing
   move. Remember however that even if you can hit your opponent
   more than 3 times using the same charge up skills, you can only
   store a maximum of 3 orbs.

Q: Can I use Chargeup Skills if I don't use claws?
A: Definitely. However you won't be able to use the full selection. 
   There are two charge up skills which require claws that is 
   Blades of Ice and Claws of Thunder.

Q: Can I use finishing move if I don't use double claws?
A: Yes. In fact you can use a finishing move even if you don't use 
   claws. However, you are limited to only 3 finishing moves. You 
   can't use Dragon claw if you choose not to use double claw.

Q: Tiger strike gives +Attack % bonus. Does that mean I gain the attack
   bonus for the finishing move?
A: Yes, well at least it is in v1.08 which I am currently writing on. 
   So technically you could stack all your attack bonuses for your 
   charge up skills and watch your attack rating go up.


Q: Dragon claw states it is a double claw attack where you hit your 
   opponent seperately with two claws. How does the damage modifier  
   apply?
A: The modifier only applies to the FIRST hit. You only do normal 
   damage for the 2nd hit, unless of course the first hit missed. 
   The same applies for Dragon Kick since you get up to 3 kicks, only
   the first kick applies. Therefore it is wise to have the most
   powerful weapon assigned to your first attack if you plan to use
   Dragon Claw.

Q: How much damage does a kick do?
A: Look at your boots... LOL. Actually, the damage each kick does is
   dependent on your Character's Str and Dex Rating.
   Minimum Damage: (Str/4)+(Dex/4)
   Maximum Damage: (Str/3)+(Dex/3)
   For example, BladeDagger has a Str and Dex Score of 60. She will
   do a minimum of 30 points of damage and a maximum of 40 before 
   damage modifiers are added in. If you are planning to go the 
   sword & claw route, it would be wise for you to pump up on your
   character's Str and Dex. 

Q: Which is the best Charge-up and Finishing move?
A: There is no "best" move in the game. Each move complements each 
   other. However for the record, my favourite charge-up move is 
   cobra strike and fave finishing is Double Claw. Even if they 
   are my favourite attacks, however, I still use ther other 
   charge ups and finishers all the time to complement these moves.

**********
Plan Ahead
**********

There is nothing worse than playing Diablo II and have your character 
reach Level 30 only to realise that you have put points in the wrong 
skills and thus render your Assassin completely useless even before she 
reaches Nightmare mode. Putting 20 points into a skill like Psychic 
hammer and none into something like say Death sentry will only cause 
your Assassin to be undeveloped and unplayable. 

But that does not stop there. Some people create characters with skills 
which are sufficient to overcome normal mode. But once they enter 
Nightmare/Hell mode they have a lot of problems. Here are some things 
you need to remember.

In Nightmare mode, each enemy gains more HP, attack rating, defense and 
power. In general they are much tougher, hit harder and can be harder to 
hit. Their Skill goes up by +3. Resistance of each monster increases.
Also Monsters in Nightmare start to gain regeneration. 
Uniques in Nightmare gain 1 extra special ability other than their fixed 
special ability.

In hell mode, and in Diablo II: LOD, all monsters will gain a 50% 
physical immunity bonus. Almost all monsters will be immune to one type 
of elemental damage. Not to mention they are much tougher etc.
Also remember that your resistance drops in each mode.


Pick skills with Nightmare and Hell mode in mind
------------------------------------------------

With that in mind, it is vital that a player creates his Assassin with 
these facts in mind. For example, with a good player will consider the 
50% physical immunity of the monsters in Hell mode, and thus will invest 
at least a few points (if not more) in Venom. This can be overcome (at 
least in v1.08) by stocking up charms which add poison damage. 


Equipment affects your skill point distribution
-----------------------------------------------
It could be stupid if you put 20 points into venom if you have loads of 
charms and weapons which add poison damage. (say a military pick with 6 
perfect emeralds socketed to it) Save a few points! Put that into other 
skills. In an extreme case, say if you want to go claw and shield route, 
it would be ABSOLUTELY stupid of you if you are going to put 20 points 
into Dragon claw, a skill which require the use of double claw.
If you are unsure of putting skill points into a certain skill, it would 
be wise of you to obtain a claw which has +1-3 points in a certain 
skill. Of course, in some cases, such claws are rare, so be on a look 
out for them. Not sure whether Phoenix Strike is your cup of tea? Get a 
Claw with +2 in Phoenix strike and see for yourself.


Be diverse... don't concentrate on one skill only
-------------------------------------------------
When v1.08 was released, and elemental immunity was introdued, a lot of 
sorceress players complained that the sorceress had been nerfed badly. 
Was it such a case? IMO, no! Sorceress is still one of the most badass 
class around. In fact it is the other classes which relied a lot on 
physical attacks (barbarians, amazons) who suffered more because of the 
50% physical immunity. So why such comments? Many sorceress focused 
solely on one skill (ice being very common) Sure they were very powerful 
in pre v1.08, but they found that their sorceress had been totally 
shafted with the introduction of elemental immunity.
The lesson here is do NOT concentrate on any one skill solely. For 
example, Tiger strike is very good (+1440% damage on C3 at Slvl20) but 
putting 20 points into that early on and none into Venom will cause you 
loads of headaches if you face a Unique with Physical Immunity if you 
don't have any poison damage items. 

That does not mean you should specialize in a skill. Skills like Tiger 
strike, Claw Mastery and Shadow Master is worth pumping 20 points into.


Do not waste skill points!!!!
-----------------------------
This is the worse thing a Diablo II player can do. Lets say you just 
reached level 5 and have one point in all Level 1 skills. What do you do 
with the new skill? Put that into Psychic hammer? I always tell my 
friends, if you have skill points and don't know where to put them to, 
save it! Put the skill into a higher level skill.
If your Assassin is cruising in the game and you are able to save 5 
skill points, its OKAY! There are better skills which require a higher 
level (e.g. Weapon Block, Venom, Death Sentry), so don't waste your 
skill points on low level skills which will prolly become useless later 
on. Note though that Tiger Strike is by far the best level 1 skill 
because it is used a lot. Put skill points as necessary.


Put no. of points according to your stats
-----------------------------------------
Sounds stupid... but some skills increase in mana casting cost with 
additional skill points. If your Assassin has a low mana rating, find 
the comfortable skill level which gives your mana its bang of its buck 
without your mana depleting itself too quickly and leaving you unable to 
use other skills. 


Be certain what path you want to play.. and do so
-------------------------------------------------
I have this friend (my housemate) of mine, who played as a paladin. He 
did not understand the skill system in Diablo II initially. As such, he 
put 1 point into every one of the 30 skills available. Needless to say, 
his paladin was very weak even at Level 52 in Nightmare mode.
When you start a new game, the first thing you do is bring up the Skill 
tree and have a good look at it. Look at all the skills, have a general 
idea of what they do, and then have a rough idea of what kind of game 
you want to play. Do you want to play a corspe explosion type of 
Assasin? If so, you might not want to invest too heavily on Blades of 
Ice, a skill which freezes your enemy and probably shatter them. That 
would leave you with no corpse to trap your enemy with. Or, maybe you 
want to focus purely on melee and group damage with Dragon Tail. In such 
a case, items with loads of ice damage would help a lot.


Do not follow your friends! Be creative!
----------------------------------------

I remember, when Diablo II was released, there were loads of necromancer 
FAQ writers who COMPLETELY dissed Poison Dagger and Poison Explosion. 
The same could be said about Blessed Hammer for Paladin of which some 
even called it the worst skill available. Yet, with a lil 
experimentation, people soon discovered how effective a Poison Dagger 
Necromancer was and how powerful Blessed Hammer+ Concentration combo 
(nerfed in v1.08) was.
I might tell you here in this FAQ that Psychic Hammer is a worthless 
skill, but if you think otherwise, don't be afraid to try and prove me 
wrong! Experiment, experiment, experiment. I can tell you how good Death 
Sentry is, but you might not be good at playing around with traps but 
are much better with melee attacks. Don't let my suggestions control 
you. My FAQ should used mainly as a guideline from which you improve on.


***************
Skills Overview
***************
I have a policy when writing an FAQ not to grade skills. The reason is 
because even if I find a skill totally useless, it is because I don't 
know how to use it correctly. Point in case, Paladin's Blessed Hammer. I 
once thought that skill was sucky and I was right to have that 
opinion... until of course someone came up with the idea of Hammerdins 
where Blessed Hammer + Concentration made Paladins a force to be reckon 
with (unfortunately for Hammerdins, the combo got shafted).Moreover, it 
is very hard to grade skills, considering that there are so many 
variants of the Assassin. Dragon Claw is a good example. It may be very 
good for a dual claw Assassin by useless for a claw Shield Assassin. 
Anyways I will try my best to give my opinion of a certain skill and 
should you disagree, well thats fine because its just that... my 
opinion!

Martial Arts
------------
 
Tiger Strike 
Type: Charge Up Skill
Required Level: 1
Mana: 1

Level	Attack +%	C1 Damage +%   C2 Damage +%  C3 Damage +%
1	40		100			200		300
2	50		120			240		360
3	60		140			280		420
4	70		160			320		480
5	80		180			360		540
6	90		200			400		600
7	100		220			440		660
8	110		240			480		720
9	120		260			520		780
10	130		280			560		840
11	140		300			600		900
12	150		320			640		960
13	160		340			680		1020
14	170		360			720		1080
15	180		380			760		1140
16	190		400			800		1200
17	200		420			840		1260
18	210		440			880		1320
19	220		460			920		1380
20	230		480			960		1440

Comments:
This IMO, is one of the Assassins' best skill... especially since it is 
a Level 1 skill! For the cost of ONE measly Mana, you can charge up your 
weapon up to 3 times. At level 1, 3 charges will nett you +300% 
damage... very useful when you are fighting bosses early on. Later when 
you reach Nightmare and Hell mode, you will want this up to Level 20 
ASAP. Why? Just look at the damage mods man! At level 20, it gives you 
+1440% extra damage. AND not to mention all this comes with a 
complementary + AR. +1440% extra damage is INSANE! Currently my Level 50 
Assasin does an average of 100 points damage per hit. Now charge up 
tiger strike and you will be doing something like 1500 points for your 
finishing move, and thats without adding in all those elemental damage 
bonuses. This is a must for assasins in taking down enemies with loads 
of HP so that you can use corspe explosion cheese tactics. Please note 
that the Tiger strike bonus applies only to BASE damage. Therefore if 
you stack your character up with charms which add elemental damage or 
use a skill (e.g. Venom) the damage will be added onto to your total 
base damage after modification. This can be confusing to a beginner at 
first.
The drawback? The name of this skill is gay! Tiger strike? What is this 
a zoo? Surely a name like Assassination would have been so cool...


Fist of Fire
Type: Charge Up Skill
Required Level: 1
Mana: 2

Level		Attack +%	Fire Damage (on all charges)
1		50			6-10
2		60			11-15
3		70			16-20
4		80			21-25
5		90			26-30
6		100			31-35
7		110			36-40
8		120			41-45
9		130			51-55
10		140			61-65
11		150			71-75
12		160			81-85
13		170			91-95
14		180			101-105
15		190			111-115
16		200			121-125
17		210			141-145
18		220			161-165
19		230			181-185
20		240			200-205

Comments: 
Put one point into this skill, and save the rest for later. This skill 
is okay.... for early goings (level 1 to 6) More hits increase the fire 
explosion radius, but thats besides the point. To get the damage up to 
even a respectable level you need to pump something like 10 points or 
so... and thats only useful in normal mode. By Nightmare mode this skill 
is totally eclipsed. Not to mention the fact that other skills would 
then be so much more stronger. By the way, I never used this skill at 
all. I just put it as a prerequisite to other skills.


Cobra Strike
Type: Charge Up Skill
Prerequisite: Tiger Strike
Required Level: 12
Mana: 2

Level	Attack +%	C1 Life Steal %	C2 Life/Mana %	C3 Life/Mana +%
1	60		40			40			80
2	75		45			45			90
3	90		50			50			100
4	105		55			55			110
5	120		60			60			120
6	135		65			65			130
7	150		70			70			140
8	165		75			75			150
9	180		80			80			160
10	195		85			85			170
11	210		90			90			180
12	225		95			95			190
13	240		100			100			200
14	255		105			105			210
15	270		110			110			220
16	285		115			115			230
17	300		120			120			240
18	315		125			125			250
19	330		130			130			260
20	345		135			135			270

Comments:
This is an excellent skill for the assasin. This is the main reason why 
you can skimp on Energy points for the Assasin's game. FYI, my Assasin 
had only 40 points allocated for Energy, and thats very little 
considering she is a Level 50 Assasin. I use this mainly to leech back 
huge amounts of mana after casting 5 death sentry's which is quite a 
mana drain needless to say. Also its very useful against bosses who are 
hard hitting since a fully charged up skill will help leech back all the 
life you lost. Remember that the life leeched increases instantly like 
using a Rejuvenation potion, and not over time like using a Health 
Potion. This is something bear in mind, as you might want to use a 
health potion, but your enemy hits you before your health can reach a 
safe level. I put only ONE point (which is all you need really) and it 
still has stayed useful right now in Nightmare mode. Please remember 
that some creatures like Skeletons (other Undead too) cannot be leeched 
for health or Mana. Oh... and you get some +AR% too!


Claws of Thunder
Type: Charge Up skill
Prerequisite: Fist of Fire, Claw Weapon
Required Level: 18
Mana: 4

Level	Attack +%	C1 Lightning Dam	  C2 Nova Dam. C3 Charged bolt Dam.
1	80		1-80			      1-20			1-40
2	95		11-90			      1-35			1-60
3	110		21-100			1-50			1-80
4	125		31-110			1-65			1-100
5	140		41-120			1-80			1-120
6	155		51-130			1-95			1-140
7	170		61-140			1-110			1-160
8	185		71-150			1-125			1-180
9	200		91-170			1-150			1-220
10	215		111-190			1-175			1-260
11	230		131-210			1-200			1-300
12	245		151-230			1-225			1-240
13	260		171-250			1-250			1-380
14	270		191-270			1-275			1-420
15	290		211-290			1-300			1-460
16	305		231-310			1-325			1-500
17	320		261-340			1-360			1-460
18	335		291-370			1-395			1-620
19	350		321-400			1-430			1-680
20	365		351-430			1-465			1-740

Comments: 
I put only one point in this skill. The damage done is respectable, but 
if you charge up this move more than once, then the lightning damage 
done will be 1-x (x is maximum damage) Big gamble here. It would be 
quite useful if not for a better skill later on....


Blades of Ice
Type: Charge Up Skill
Prerequisite: Fist of Fire, Claws of Thunder, Claw Weapon
Required Level: 24
Mana: 3

Level	Attack +%	C1 Cold Dam.	C3 Freeze Duration (sec)
1	80		15-35			      4
2	95		23-43			      4.4
3	110		31-51			      4.8
4	125		39-59			      5.2
5	140		47-67			      5.6
6	155		55-75			      6
7	170		63-83			      6.4
8	185		71-91			      6.8
9	200		81-101			7.2
10	215		91-111			7.6
11	230		101-121			8
12	245		111-131			8.4
13	260		121-141			8.8
14	270		131-151			9.2
15	290		141-161			9.6
16	305		151-171			10
17	320		171-191			10.4
18	335		191-211			10.8
19	350		211-231			11.2
20	365		231-251			11.6

Comments:
This skill is very useful indeed. You obviously want to charge this 
skill up 3 times for the freezing effect (your opponents can't move, and 
you get a free hit) Increasing the skill points allocated for this would 
not only increase your +AR% and Cold damage, but also the freeze Radius. 
Very important! If you think that Ice is the way for your style (and 
more importantly if you do NOT want to go the Death Sentry Route), then 
pump this skill up since to charge cost one less mana point, but if you 
want a more versatile move then wait somemore....


Phoenix Strike
Type: Charge Up Skill
Prerequisite: Fist of Fire, Claws of Thunder, Blades of Ice, Tiger 
              strike, Cobra Strike
Required Level: 30
Mana: 4

Level	Attack +%	C1 Meter Dam.  C2 Chain Light. Dam. C3 Ice Bolt Dam.
1	70		20-40		      1-40			16-32
2	85		30-50		      1-51			20-36
3	100		40-60		      1-62			24-40
4	115		50-70		      1-73			28-44
5	130		60-80		      1-84			32-48
6	145		70-90		      1-95			36-52
7	160		80-100		1-106			40-56
8	172		90-110		1-117			44-60
9	190		110-130		1-134			52-68
10	205		130-150		1-151			60-76
11	220		150-170		1-168			68-84
12	235		170-190		1-185			76-92
13	250		190-210		1-202			84-100
14	265		210-230		1-219			92-108
15	280		230-250		1-236			100-116
16	295		250-270		1-253			108-124
17	310		280-300		1-278			120-136
18	325		310-330		1-303			132-148
19	340		340-360		1-328			144-160
20	355		370-390		1-353			156-172

Comment:
This is the Assasin's most versatile charge up Skill. For the price of 
ONE skill point, you can dish out fire, lightning or ice damage. This is 
great but has some drawbacks in some cases. First, the meteor (first 
charge) is pretty useless unless fighting huge swarms of enemies in a 
tight corridor. If you played a sorceress I'm sure you'd know by now 
that the meteor takes forever and a day to land, by which time your 
opponent would have ran or teleported away. Second, the damage done by 
the Chain Lightning could have been better.. 1-x damage is horrible as 
always you could easily do 1 damage.. which is a LOT, and even at skill 
level 20, you will only be doing 300+ damage which is an average of 
around 150. Not very good compared to Claws of Thunder. Lastly the Chaos 
Bolts cast may or may not hit a target even if they are in close. This 
can be vital at times when fighting swarms of enemy (especially in 
Nightmare mode) where that freeze could easily mean life or death. That 
compared to Blades of Ice which freezes EVERYTHING in the freeze radius. 
(well not bosses or uniques though) 

The beauty of this skill though is when you go to Hell mode. With 
creatures having 50% PI and Elemental Resistance this skill will help 
tremendously since you have all 3 elementals to play around with. Meteor 
in particular does 370-390 damage at Slvl 20 which is awesome and of 
significant amount even in Hell mode. If you only stick with one 
elemental skill (ie Blades of Ice and Venom) you could be left high and 
dry in some areas especially if your tactics are based on Death Sentry/ 
Corspe Explosion. Moreover, some creatures may be resistant to two types 
of elements and thus, having all elements covered, will leave you 
prepared for any challenge ahead.

However, this skill is a very welcome addition for the Assasin's already 
congested skill lists and proves very versatile in a lot of situations 
since you don't need to change from one skill to another. The main thing 
though when you are going to use this skill is to either to max it out 
or NOT put any skill points in it.


Dragon Talon
Type: Finishing Move
Required Level; 1
Mana: 6

Level	Kicks		Kick Damage +%	Attack +%
1	1		0			40
2	1		7			52
3	1		14			64
4	1		21			75
5	1		28			88
6	2		35			100
7	2		42			112
8	2		49			124
9	2		56			136
10	2		63			148
11	2		70			160
12	3		77			172
13	3		84			184
14	3		91			196
15	3		98			208
16	3		105			220
17	3		112			232
18	3		119			244
19	3		126			256
20	3		133			268

Comments:
One point is all you need. This costs too much mana, and does too little 
damage early on to be of use. Of course, if you actually bother to pump 
it up to at least Skill Level 12, then you get 3 kicks, and a good 
damage modifier... but with that kind of skill points, I'd rather invest 
it in Claw Mastery or Weapon Block. 


Dragon Claw
Type: Finishing Move
Prerequisite: Dragon Talon
Required level: 6
Mana: 2

Level		Damage +%	Attack +%
1		50		50
2		55		60
3		60		70
4		65		80
5		70		90
6		72		100
7		80		110
8		85		120
9		90		130
10		95		140
11		100		150
12		105		160
13		110		170
14		115		180
15		120		190
16		125		200
17		130		210
18		135		220
19		140		230
20		145		240

Comments: 
If you are going dual claw, than this IMO is the best finishing move. 
With a low mana cost, and doing decent damage, this is my favourite 
move. If you find a good weapon with high damage, then this is the ONLY 
finishing move which would be of good use. Why? Kick damage depends too 
much on Str and Dex. So lets say my Level 50 Assasin has Str and Dex of 
115 he would be doing a MAXIMUM of 78 damage. If I get a good weapon 
with Str bonus I could easily do an AVERAGE of 100 base damage. Thats a 
big difference... if you add Tiger Strike Bonus into it. The down side 
of it though is that it requires double claw, and thus you will have to 
invest a lot of points into Weapon block and might not be able to get 
this skill up to scratch later on. Just to note however, my Level 60 
Assasin is Surviving pretty well in Nightmare with only 2 skill points 
allocated to this move (but there is of course skill bonuses from my 
equipment)


Dragon Tail
Type: Finishing Move
Prerequisite: Dragon Talon, Dragon Claw
Required level: 18
Mana: 10

Level		Fire Damage +%	Attack +%
1			50		40
2			60		47
3			70		54
4			80		61
5			90		68
6			100		75
7			110		82
8			120		89
9			130		96
10			140		103
11			150		110
12			160		117
13			170		124
14			180		131
15			190		138
16			200		145
17			210		152
18			220		159
19			230		166
20			240		173

Comments:
Choke! Gasp! 10 mana! Thats a lot. Fortunately Dragon tail is a area 
hitting move, which means it damages all enemies around. If you do not 
go dual claw then this is THE move you should use. If you choose dual 
claw then you might still want to keep one point in this kill if only 
for the knockback properties, which is a lifesaver against swarms of 
enemies. Adding points into this increases the damage done (fire damage 
however) and +AR%. 
The drawbacks are of course in Hell mode should your enemies have fire 
immunity (which unfortunately are a lot) then this move will be very 
weak since you will only be doing BASE physical damage.
 
Nicholas Vu has more to add:
"There is a really interesting bug in v1.08 where the Tiger Claw bonuses 
also apply to the area-of-effect fire blast of Dragon Tail. That means 
that in a fight, I can run straight for the Unique with 3 charge levels 
of Tiger Claw, nail him with Dragon Tail and kill all of his minions in 
the process in just one kick! Needless to say, this skill is probably 
going to get nerfed real bad in the next patch..."

???Did You Realise???
That if you have a high enough Burst of Speed/ Attack Rate boost score
and press Dragon Tail fast enough, the Assassin looks like she is doing 
Chun-Li's (of Street Fighter II fame) Infinite Kick.

Dragon Flight
Type: Finsihing move
Prerequisite: Dragon Talon, Dragon Claw, Dragon Tail
Required Level: 24
Mana: 15

Level		Attack +%	Kick Damage +%
1		100		100
2		120		125
3		140		150
4		160		175
5		180		200
6		200		225
7		220		250
8		240		275
9		260		300
10		280		325
11		300		350
12		320		375
13		340		400
14		360		425
15		380		450
16		400		475
17		420		500
18		440		525
19		460		550
20		480		575

Comments:
I seldom regard this as a proper finishing move on its own but rather as 
a tool, and a very useful one indeed. The benefits of this move is too 
great not to be used even if it is costs a hefty 15 mana. This move as 
the description read is a teleport and finishes off with a kick. It 
might not be apparent to you but when you reach Act 5 with those 
teleporting imps, this will be your best friend since you can catch up 
with them teleporting around. Also, it is great say in the Arcane 
Santuary (Act 2, Quest 5) with those pesky Ghoul Lords always hiding 
behind the Goat men (as I call them) casting 10001 firewalls. Very 
useful for breaching their defence (while your shadow/shadow master) 
holds them up especially in Nightmare mode. Also in the Flayer Jungle, 
where you meet those Shamans, the Teleport Kick can be used to kill them 
even before he has the chance to blow fire (and cut your life down by 
half) 

There also some good examples how this move can be used to your 
positional advantage. In Act IV when facing Diablo for example, if you 
should teleport back to town (maybe to get some potions, or get a 
breather) Diablo may cast Bone Prison around your Town Portal. While 
normally it would be easy to knock the Bone prison down, Imagine if 
Diablo is waiting at hand with his nasty Lightning attack! With Dragon 
Flight you can just teleport attack Diablo or the Bone Wall, and in both 
cases, you will be free from your entrapment. The teleport feature also 
adds a lot of mobility as you can save a lot of time, moving across 
platforms, which can be vital if you just touched an Experience shrine. 
Be WARNED though, that sometimes, you may teleport to a part of a map 
which may otherwise be inaccesible, and if no other creatures are at 
hand, you might be stuck there. This happened to me a few times 
especially in Act 5. I would suggest casting a Town portal, entering and 
exiting. If this doesn't free you, then unfortunately you have no other 
choice but to save and exit.

However, as a proper finishing move though, I give it a thumbs down, 
because while it is useful and has good +AR% and +damage bonus even at 
level 1, the 2 sec casting lag can be a killer. As I understand, 
Blizzard created the 2 sec casting lag to reduce the bandwidth load. 
Imagine 8 Assasins teleporting around at will on the same map! What if 
you are down on health, but have 3 globes of Cobra strike just waiting 
to leech back some health? Health potions are too slow, and just at that 
time you don't have full rejuvanation potions at hand. Even if you have 
an exceptional AR score, Dragon Flight may MISS and as such you could be 
killed because of that (if you are hardcore, then too bad for you) The 
maximum to hit an enemy is of cours 95% and lets not forget that some 
enemies have the Evade skill of the Amazon (the Night Slinger in Act 2 
being a good example) 
Unfortunately, the lag of 2 seconds is too great to make Dragon Flight 
your permanent Assassin Finishing move. That is why Hotkey-ing is so 
important, and more still, the investment in at least 2 types of 
finishing moves.


Someone mailed in some useful information about Dragon flight:
(I lost your email so if you would e mail me, I will give you credit
 for this)

Dragon flight is very useful especially when fighting Baal, and as I 
have tested, this works really well even in Hell mode. You can run off 
screen (so Baal can't see you) and attack those tentacles (festering 
something) of his to build up your charges, then teleport in to hit him 
hard. This works very well since you can avoid some of Baal's more 
potent attacks like his Ice Arrow and Flame attack.
Additionally, Dragon flight can be used to attack him when he attempts 
his Ice Arrow attack, evading the arrow in the process. Baal will 
usually try this attack after teleporting away.



Shadow Disciplines
------------------

Claw Mastery
Type: Passive Skill
Required level: 1

Level		Attack +%	Damage +%
1		30		35
2		40		39
3		50		43
4		60		47
5		70		51
6		80		55
7		90		59
8		100		63
9		110		67
10		120		71
11		130		75
12		140		79
13		150		93
14		160		97
15		170		91
16		180		95
17		190		99
18		200		103
19		210		107
20		220		111

Comments:
I really... really... like this skill... You can tell because by level 
40 I already had like 16 points in this skill. Since I was playing 
through the game my first time as an Assasin (without prior knowledge of 
ANYTHING bout Assasin) I decided that my safest bet was to invest points 
in passive skills when I was in doubt (ala Barbarian). In truth, you 
prolly won't need that many points in this skill... at first. But when 
you reach Nightmare and Hell difficulty, and considering that Assasin's 
Claws does puny damage (well compared to elite weapons of say the 
Barbarian) the damage modifier is a must. Remember, this damage modifier 
and AR modifier is added to every hit... not your charge up hit only or 
your finishing move. EVERYTHING that hits with a claw. (sorry Kicks... 
no damage mods though) This is the main reason WHY I went double claw... 
to benefit fully from this skill. By hell mode, have this skill at level 
20. If you don't plan on investing any points on this, then choose 
Necromancer instead.


Psychic Hammer
Type: Offensive skill
Required level: 1
Mana: Increases as Skill Points Increases

Level		Mana		Damage
1		4		2-5
2		4.2		3-6
3		4.5		4-7
4		4.7		5-8
5		5.		6-9
6		5.2		7-10
7		5.5		8-11
8		5.7		9-12
9		6		10-13
10		6.2		12-15
11		6.5		13-16
12		6.7		15-18
13		7		16-19
14		7.2		18-21
15		7.5		19-22
16		7.7		21-24
17		8		23-26
18		8.2		25-28
19		8.5		27-30
20		8.7		29-32

Comments:  
Urh? What is this move? Well... its useful because you can put one point 
into it and then get other skills later. Come on.... at Level 20 you 
will be doing something so pathetic like.... 29-32 damage... for 8.7 
mana! Geez! Even a trap does more damage!


Burst of Speed
Type: Boost-up Skill
Required Level: 1
Mana: 10

Level		Attack Speed +%	Walk/Run Speed +%	      Duration (sec)
1		21			23				120
2		27			29				132
3		31			34				144
4		34			39				156
5		37			42				168
6		41			45				180
7		42			47				192
8		44			49				204
9		44			51				216
10		45			52				228
11		46			54				240
12		47			55				252
13		49			56				264
14		50			57				276
15		51			57				288
16		51			59				300
17		51			59				312
18		52			60				324
19		52			60				336
20		52			61				348

Comments:
This skill is extremely useful... have at least 2-3 points in this and 
for the best skill point investment put around 7-8. You thought the 
Assassin's Claws hit very fast already eh? Well think again! This boosts 
her skills tremendously and should be recharged the second it runs off. 
The additional run/walk speed boost is just icing on the cake and helps 
offset the run/walk speed which has been nerfed in Diablo II v1.08.


Cloak of Shadows
Type: Enemy affecting Skill
Required Level: 12
Prerequisite Skills: Psychic Hammer
Mana: 13
Range: 20 yards
Duration: 8 secs

Level		Enemy Defense -%
1		21
2		27
3		31
4		34
5		37
6		39
7		41
8		42
9		44
10		45
11		46
12		47
13		48
14		49
15		50
16		51
17		51
18		51
19		52
20		52

Comments:
This is one of the most overlooked skill and is darn effective even if 
you put ONE skill point into it. Forget the -def% for your enemy... even 
though that is the benefit if you increase the number of skill points 
for this, the BEST thing about this skill is that it blinds ALL your 
enemies within the 20 yard range (except for Uniques, Champions and 
Bosses of course). Why is this useful? You only got to go into the 
flayer jungle where all those pigmy boys start pelting you with their 
blowpipes before you know why this skill is one of the best. Being 
blinded, your enemy won't be able to see you at all. That means pigmy 
boys won't be able to see you, pelt you with bullets and run away. No... 
you can simply run up to him at your leisure and beat the hell out of 
him before he even knew what had happened. It works very well especially 
with a huge group of enemies.... but by the time you actually need this 
skill badly, you will already have Death sentry and all you actually 
need to do is take out the fattest enemy or two around. With Tiger 
Strike and a full 8 secs, I'm sure your enemies won't be able to stand 
for long...


Weapon Block
Type: Passive Skill
Required level: 12
Prerequisite Skill: Claw Mastery

Level		Chance to Block +%
1		26
2		32
3		36
4		39
5		42
6		44
7		46
8		47
9		49
10		50
11		51
12		52
13		53
14		54
15		55
16		56
17		56
18		56
19		57
20		57

Comments:
Basically if you play double claw assasin and don't put any points into 
this skill you should consider quitting diablo 2 for good. I love 
playing a double claw assasin (more attacks, better finishing move) and 
as such the Weapon Block is a bread and butter skill. I spent LOADS of 
points early on in normal mode on this skill to get it up to Slvl 10 
(50% blocking) of course the higher is better.  Defense rating only 
helps in soaking up damage, but with weapon block you totally AVOID 
being hit at all. Thats a whole load useful. With an average of 50% 
blocking, thats every other hit you avoid. Currently in Nightmare I have 
it a SLvl 15 which offers 55% blocking. Put as many points as 
possible.... by Hell mode this skill has to reach SLvl20 before 
factoring any other items with skill bonuses.


Fade
Type: Boost-up Skill
Required level: 18
Prerequisite Skill: Claw Mastery, Burst of Speed

Level		Curse Length -%   Resist All +%	Duration (Sec)
1		47			19			120
2		53			27			132
3		58			33			144
4		62			38			156
5		65			42			168
6		67			45			180
7		69			47			192
8		71			50			204
9		73			52			216
10		74			54			228
11		75			56			240
12		76			57			252
13		77			58			264
14		78			60			276
15		79			60			288
16		80			62			300
17		80			62			312
18		81			63			324
19		81			63			336
20		82			64			348
 
Comments:
This skill does two things, give you temporary resists all and reduces 
your curse length. The duration of this skill increases with the 
addition of skill points as well as the resist all and reduction of 
curse length bonuses. This skill does help a bit if you are not lucky 
enough to get the proper resist element like say an Amulet with 25% to 
resist all to offset the resist penalties in Nightmare and Hell mode 
(especially since the Horadric Cube recipe to create said amulet is 
currently disabled) Still, the curse length time reduction isn't all 
that useful, and the loss of speed (when you are not using Burst of 
Speed) really hurts a lot. Put one point in this skill only as that 
should be sufficient.


Shadow Warrior
Type: Summon Ally
Required level: 18
Prerequisite Skill: Claw Master, Weapon Block, Psychic Hammer
Mana: Increases with addition of skill points

Level	Mana		Life		Attack Rating +%
1	27		124		0
2	29		138		15
3	31		153		30
4	33		168		45
5	35		183		60
6	37		198		75
7	39		213		90
8	41		228		105
9	43		243		120
10	45		257		135
11	47		272		150
12	49		287		165
13	51		302		180
14	53		317		195
15	55		332		210
16	57		347		225
17	59		362		240
18	61		376		255
19	63		391		270
20	65		406		285

Comments: 
I put one point in it and never used it. Use Shadow master instead as it 
is more useful later on. 


Mind Blast
Type: Enemy affecting Skill
Required level: 24
Prerequisite Skill: Pyschic Hammer, Cloak of Shadows, 
Mana: 15
Duration: 6-10 secs

Level		Damage	Chance to Convert %
1		10-20		18
2		12-22		21
3		14-24		24
4		16-26		26
5		18-28		27
6		20-30		28
7		22-32		29
8		24-34		30
9		29-39		31
10		34-44		32
11		39-49		32
12		44-54		33
13		59-59		33
14		54-64		34
15		59-69		34
16		64-74		35
17		72-82		35
18		80-90		35
19		88-98		35
20		96-106      36

Comments:
This skill does a bit of damage to your enemy (increases with SLvl) and 
also has a small chance of converting them. I don't see why this skill 
would be useful. Firstly, most of the enemies you can covert can easily 
be killed without much hassles. Second, the duration lasts too short to 
be of much use. I'd say save your skill point for your Shadow Master, 
since she will be able to use this skill (without you even having any 
points in this skill) but even then it can be more of a hindrance than 
of a help.

Nicholas Vu has more:
On another note, I am not sure if you know this, but Psychic Blast (lvl 
24 skill) also stuns enemies briefly (it says 8-10 seconds, but I am 
sure that it's more like 4-5 seconds) and it is an area-of-effect spell. 

Also to add more. I have experimented with this skill a bit and realised 
that any mindcontrolled creatures after returning to hostile are in a 
weakened state and can be easily killed by one hit, no matter if their 
life bar is full or not. Take this into consideration if you are having 
difficulty fighting some monsters. This skill is great if you are going 
Heavy Weapon route as you will most likely not spend any points on 
Dragon Tail. As such this skill will help you a lot when taking out 
groups of monsters who are very quick like the flayers.


Venom
Type: Boost-Up Skill
Required Level: 30
Prerequisite Skill: Claw Mastery, Burst of Speed, Fade
Mana: 12

Level		Poison Damage (2 Sec)	Weapon Poisoned (Sec)
1		37-75				      120
2		50-90				      124
3		62-103				128
4		75-115				132
5		87-128				136
6		100-140				140
7		112-153				144
8		125-165				148
9		143-184				152
10		162-203				156
11		181-221				160
12		200-240				164
13		218-259				168
14		237-278				172
15		256-296				176
16		275-315				180
17		300-340				184
18		325-365				188
19		350-390				192
20		375-415				196

Comments:
Put skill points in this skill as needed. I'd say at least 6 points in 
this skill by the time you reach Hell because of those pesky Physical 
Immune enemies. Note that in v1.08 all poison damage (from Charms, 
poison weapons and this skill) is STACKABLE which means you could do 
possibly over 1000 points of damage if you have the right equiptment. 
It would also be advisable to have a Elite Claw type weapon socketed 
with Perfect Emeralds to help boost up your poison damage. This skill, 
like Fade, is non stackable with other Boost Up skills, so use this 
skill only when needed, otherwise stick with Boost of Speed.

IMPORTANT NOTE: In patch v1.09 which is soon to be released, it is said
                that one of the changes going to be made is to make 
                poison damage from charms, weapons and skills (Venom in
                the Assassin's Case) non stacakable. In other words, 
                poison damage will be nerfed since it is considered too
                powerful in v1.08 (1000++ points?!?) In any case, I 
                will update you on this once the final and official 
                word from blizzard is out.


Shadow Master
Type: Summon Ally
Required Level: 30
Prerequisite Skill: Claw Mastery, Weapon Block, Psychic Hammer, Cloak
                    of Shadows, Shadow Warrior
Mana: 40

Level		Life		Attack Rating +%
1		188		0
2		216		12
3		244		30
4		272		45
5		300		60
6		329		75
7		357		90
8		385		105
9		413		120
10		441		135
11		470		150
12		498		165
13		526		180
14		554		195
15		582		210
16		611		225
17		639		240
18		667		255
19		695		270
20		723		285

Comments: 
If you need an ally this is where you should put your skill points into. 
Not only does it have a FIXED mana cost (unlike Shadow Warrior which 
reahces an abominable cost at higher levels) but your ally has more HP 
(per Slvl) compared to a Shadow Warrior of the same SLvl.
The summon resists and attack rating bonuses are just all icing on the 
cake, but what makes the Shadow Master real strong is the fact that she 
has ALL Assasin Skills available, even those that you do not have any 
skill points in Yet. How can this be useful? Well it simply means you 
won't need to spend points on certain skills which you don't need (or 
don't need yet) For example, I never needed to use much traps during 
Normal mode (which was my first 40 levels) and did not put a point into 
any of the Trap skills till reached Level 35 so the trap setting of my 
shadow master came as a welcome (albeit not necessary) boost for my 
Assasin. Whats more, you can keep casting the Shadow master as long as 
you have mana, compared to hiring a Mercenary which quickly gets 
expensive at high levels to ressurrect. Great Cannon Fodder Late On 
since she can have thousand over points of HP!

Another thing worth noting is that if you are going dual claw, then your 
shadow Master will look almost exactly like you. Great if there is a 
PK'er around. 


Traps
-----
Traps IMO, aren't worthwhile for the first 30 levels or so and in fact 
you don't even need to put ANY points in any trap skills whatsoever and 
STILL get to defeat Normal mode completely. However, the high level 
traps in particular make everything oh so worthwhile and is DEFINITELY a 
worthy addition to the Assasin's arsenal in Nightmare mode onwards. 
IMPORTANT NOTE: Be warned that you can only set up to a maximum of 5 
                traps at one time. After that if you cast a 6th trap 
                the 1st will disappear. Blizzard has reasons for this - 
                to reduce the information on server and thus reduce 
                lag.


Fire Blast
Required level: 1
Mana: Increases with SLvl

Level		Mana		Fire Damage
1		3		3-4
2		3.1		5-6
3		3.2		7-8
4		3.3		9-10
5		3.5		11-12
6		3.6		13-14
7		3.7		15-16
8		3.8		17-18
9		4		21-22
10		4.1		25-26
11		4.2		29-30
12		4.3.		33-34
13		4.5		37-38
14		4.6		41-42
15		4.7		45-46
16		4.8		49-50
17		5		54-55
18		5.1		59-60
19		5.2		64-65
20		5.3		69-70

Comments:  
Useful for the first act or so but save your skill points for other 
traps. I never went the Fire route.


Shock Web
Prerequisite Skill: Fire Blast
Required level: 6
Mana: 6

Level		Spikes	Lightning Damage
1		6		5-6
2		6		6-7
3		6		7-8
4		6		8-9
5		7		9-10
6		7		10-11
7		7		11-12
8		7		12-13
9		8		14-15
10		8		17-18
11		8		19-20
12		8		22-23
13		9		24-25
14		9		27-28
15		9		29-30
16		9		32-33
17		10		35-36
18		10		39-40
19		10		42-43
20		10		46-47

Comments:
Like Fire Blast, almost obsolete by 2nd Act. Put one point just as a 
prerequisite for more powerful traps and save the rest up.


Blade Sentinel
Required level: 6
Mana: 7

Level		Damage
1		6-10
2		9-13
3		12-16
4		15-19
5		18-22
6		21-25
7		24-28
8		27-31
9		31-35
10		35-39
11		39-43
12		43-47
13		47-51
14		51-55
15		55-59
16		59-63
17		64-68
18		69-73
19		75-78
20		79-83

Comments:
This does decent damage, and would prove useful early on, but even at 
SLvl 20 79-83 damage is too little to prove useful especially in Hell 
mode. One point is all you need if you need the later skills.


Charged Bolt Sentry
Required level: 12  
Prerequisite: Fire Blast, Shock Web
No. of shots: 5
Mana: 13

Level		Damage
1		1-7
2		2-8
3		4-10
4		5-11
5		7-13
6		8-14
7		10-16
8		11-17
9		13-19
10		15-21
11		17-23
12		19-25
13		21-27
14		23-29
15		25-31
16		27-33
17		30-36
18		33-39
19		36-42
20		39-45

Comments:
This does decent damage, and is good early on, but really the damage 
even when maxed out is PATHETIC. I mean at Slvl 20 this does something 
like 39-45 damage per shot... which isn't much..... not to mention not 
ALL the shots will hit. You won't need more than one skill point in 
this...


Wake of Fire
Required Level: 12
Prerequisite: Fire Blast 
No. of shots: 5
Mana: 20

Level		Fire Damage
1		5-10
2		7-12
3		9-14
4		11-16
5		13-18
6		15-20
7		17-22
8		19-24
9		22-27
10		25-30
11		28-33
12		31-36
13		34-39
14		37-42
15		40-45
16		43-48
17		47-52
18		51-56
19		55-60
20		59-64

Comments: 
Basically this trap sprays fire in a triangle/arrow head shape ala 
Baal's Ice Arrow if anyone knows. The damage isn't too high, but what 
can be expected from a level 12 skill? Again, if you want to go for Wake 
of Inferno, then just put one point here. No point spending more points 
in this.


Blade Fury
Required level: 18
Prerequisite: Fire Blast, Blade sentinel, Wake of fire
Min. Mana: 3

Level		Mana/Blade	Damage/Blade
1		1		8-10
2		1		11-13
3		2		14-16
4		2		17-19
5		3		20-22
6		3		23-25
7		3		26-28
8		4		29-31
9		4		34-36
10		5		39-41
11		5		44-46
12		5		49-51
13		6		54-56
14		6		59-61
15		7		64-66
16		7		69-76
17		7		77-79
18		8		86-87
19		8		93-95
20		8		101-103

Comment:  
Ninja's are Japanese Assassins... and as such they learned how to throw 
shurikens. IMO, this is an OK skill again in Normal mode, but in the 
long run it just proves too mana intensive at higher levels doing too 
little damage to be effective. Whats worst, the damage dealt is PHYSICAL 
not magical (bug?) which makes this skill even more worthless in Hell 
mode. If you need long range attacks, get a bow, get some arrows and 
just shoot. 


Lightning Sentry
Required level: 24
Prerequisite: Fire Blast, Shock Web, Charged Bolt Sentry
Mana: 20 
No. of Bolts: 10

Level		Lightning Damage
1		10-20
2		15-25
3		20-35
4		25-35
5		30-40
6		35-45
7		40-50
8		45-55
9		52-62
10		59-69
11		66-76
12		73-83
13		80-90
14		87-97
15		94-104
16		101-111
17		111-121
18		121-131
19		131-141
20		141-151

Comments:
Again like other traps this can be useful early on but is totally 
obsolete by the time it reaches Nightmare mode due to its low damage and 
the increase vitality of your enemy. Save skill points the Uber skill.


Wake of Inferno
Required level: 24
Prerequisite: Fire Blast, Wake of Fire
Mana: 20
No. of Blasts: 10

Level		Fire dam/sec
1		8-21
2		16-29
3		24-37
4		32-45
5		40-53
6		48-61
7		56-69
8		63-77
9		73-86
10		83-96
11		92-105
12		102-115
13		112-125
14		121-134
15		131-144
16		140-154
17		153-166
18		166-178
19		177-190
20		189-203

Comments:
While at Level 20 this does 189-203 damage PER BLAST which VERY good... 
you can't afford 20 skill points on this skill alone if you are going 
the dual claw path. 20 mana is a lot... not to mention the range is 
poor. You NEED those precious points for Weapon block, and sadly 10 
points to WOI just won't cut it. 
However if you do max out WOI, 203 damage per blast is insane.... and if 
you stack 5 traps together that would be around 1000+ damage max you are 
doing each time it hits. Don't think many creatures will be able to 
survive that kind of onslaught especially if all 10 blasts hit. If you 
plan to max WOI, make sure to max out Shadow Master since she will make 
a very good cannon fodder and bait for for the trap to connect.


Death Sentry
Required level: 30
Prerequisite: Fire Blast, Shock Web, Charged Bolt Sentry, Lightning
              sentry
Mana: 20
No. of Bolts: 5

Level		Lightning Damage	 Corpse Explosion Radius yds.
1		20-30			      3.3
2		24-34			      3.6
3		28-38			      4
4		32-42			      4.3
5		36-46			      4.6
6		40-50			      5
7		44-54			      5.3
8		48-58			      5.6
9		53-63			      6
10		58-68			      6.3
11		63-73			      6.6
12		68-78			      7
13		73-83			      7.3
14		78-88			      7.6
15		83-93			      8
16		88-97			      8.3
17		96-106			8.6
18		104-114			9
19		112-122			9.3
20		120-130			9.6

Comments: 
Question! What makes the Necromancer the badass overpowered creep that 
he was in v1.0 Diablo II? Corspe explosion of course! And now.... the 
Assassin gets to enjoy some of the benefits of the Assasin, with some 
added bonuses to it. Death Sentry IMO, is the best trap skill and in 
fact one of THE BEST skill for the Assassin. Corspe Explosion here alone 
does 40-80% of the corspe life. And for the cost of 20 measely mana you 
also get the additional benefit of shooting lightning bolts should NO 
corpse be available.
So what makes it so good? Corpse explosion of course! But wait.. for the 
necromancer, he can only make ONE corpse explode at a time, but if you 
have a fast cast rate and quick fingers (and enough mana) you can set up 
to a maximum of 5 traps, and cost 5 corpses to explode at one time. 5 
corpses!!! That is MORE than enough to kill all the enemies of the same 
type. Having trouble with those pesky maggots in Hell mode spawning 
those baby maggots before their eggs can even cool? No problemo... kill 
a few maggots.. set 2-3 traps and watch the chain reaction... baby 
maggots kill more baby maggots... more baby maggots kill big fat mother 
maggot. 
So how many points do you put in this? 20? Not if you were me, I 
invested in this skill putting just 2 point in it (though admittedly I 
have the additional bonuses from my equipment which give +3) Thats good 
enough.. increasing it further increases the lightning damage and range, 
but the radius should be good enough with 5-6 points invested to see 
huge chain reactions, and the lightning damage is almost worthless in 
Hell mode.


Blade of Shields
Required Level: 30
Prerequisites: Fire Blast, blade Sentinel, Wake of Fire, Blade Fury
Mana: 27 and increases with Slvl

Level		Mana		Duration (sec)		Damage
1		27		20				1-30
2		29		24				6-35
3		31		28				11-40
4		33		32				16-45
5		35		36				21-50
6		37		40				26-55
7		39		44				31-60
8		41		48				36-65
9		43		52				42-71
10		45		56				48-77
11		47		60				54-83
12		49		64				60-89
13		51		68				66-95
14		53		72				72-101
15		55		76				78-107
16		57		80				84-113
17		59		84				91-120
18		61		88				98-127
19		63		92				105-134
20		65		96				112-141

Comments: 
It works somewhat like Iron maiden or thorns only that your enemy does 
NOT need to hit you with this skill to deal any damage. Frankly though 
even though seems useful, I never put any skill points into it. Any 
comments and suggestions would be welcome.

 
*******************************
General FAQ (contains Spoilers)
*******************************

If you have any questions, email them to me and I will post them in the 
General FAQ section.

 
On Items
--------
 
Q: I have been gambling for hours... and yet I haven't got one unique 
   or Set item.
A: Too bad.. in v1.08 they disabled getting Uniques and Set Items when
   you gamble. Fortunately though, they are planning to enable this 
   feature once more in v1.09 due to popular demand. (more like fan
   complaint to me)

Q: How does +% to Find Magical Item help me obtain Set and Unique 
   items?
A: At least in v1.08, Find Magical Item directly affects your score to
   obtain a Set or Unique Item. So if you have 200% then, your chances
   to obtain a Set or Unique Item is 200%. Unfortunately Blizzard 
   decided to nerf this skill to use only a small percentage of your
   Find Magical Item score.


On Monster Fights 
-----------------

Q: Whats Physical Immunity?
A: Basically monsters are immune to any physical attacks, for example  
   Tiger Strike for your assassin which uses a physical weapon. In 
   D2X, all monsters gain 50% PI in Hell mode. Also some Uniques get
   PI as their random mod. Certain species of monsters have total PI in
   Hell mode (e.g. Wraiths). 

Q: So how does an assassin damage a Physical Immune creature?
A: Use elemental damage... phoenix strike, Venom, Blades of Ice, Fist
   of Fire, all traps etc are considered elemental attacks. Also you 
   could go for magical damage (corpse explosion for example)

Q: What monsters can I NOT leech from?
A: Mainly Undead, for example the Skeleton Archers in Act 2.

Q: I'm having trouble fighting Frozen Scrouges. They freeze me and then
   their Moon Lord Friends move in for the kill.
A: Frozen Scrouges freezing breath can be a big headache, but if you
   are well prepared with an item with "Cannot be Frozen" they and 
   their friends are cake. Such items are like Death's Guard (Set Sash)
   or the Unique Basinet, among others.
 

On Boss Fights 
--------------

Q: What strategy do you use to fight Andariel?
A: Cobra Strike x3- Tiger Strikex3 and then finish with a suitable 
   finishing move (in my case Tiger Strike) Drink potions as needed.

Q: I'm having problems defeating the Summoner.
A: The summoner can get pretty difficult once you reach Nightmare or
   Hell mode when you do not have a good resistance score (especially
   to Cold) I suggest you draw his minions (Ghoul Lords, Hell Clan) out
   one by one until he is left defenseless.... after that teleport in
   with Dragon Flight and kill him... he doesn't have much HP.

Q: How do you defeat worm boy (Duriel?)
A: Same tactics.... Cobra Strike x3- Tiger Strike x3 and have a good
   resistance to cold and a fast attack rate. Since the freeze effect
   is due to Aura enchancement, items with "Cannot be Frozen" will not 
   work.

Q: What do you do against Mephisto?
A: Mephisto is prolly one of the easiest bosses (next to Baal) if you 
   have the right equipment (namely elemental charms) A decent score  
   in Lightning Resist (best is 75%) and Poison (not that important but
   you don't want it in the -ve's) should do it. Just run up to him and 
   work your way with Cobra Strike x3- Tiger Strike x3 and finishing 
   move. Occasionally Mephisto will try to strike you with his physical
   attack which does loads of damage, but if you are in close, he will 
   more likely try his Poison Nova attack. Besides, if you have a good
   Weapon Block Skill (50% or over) he will more than miss quite often.
   
Q: Hephastus is almost impossible to beat in Nightmare/Hell mode!
A: NO he isn't. A lot of people have problems beating him because they
   do not have a high Vitality score and/or a good defense score. 
   Moreover, more than likely, one of the skills Hephastus has is 
   Amplify damage which mean he could probably kill you in ONE hit. So   
   What do you do? Well... use negative tactics! Summon a Shadow 
   master. Have the shadow master engage in combat. When hephastus 
   starts attacking her, run in and hit him 1-3 times with Cobra 
   strike. Be ware because after hitting him a few times, he will turn 
   and attack you instead. Run away and let him reengage with your
   shadow master. She should be pretty hurt by now (life bar is yellow
   or probably red) Hit him with Tiger strike 1-3 times and use a 
   finishing move! Repeat your tactics by summoning another Shadow 
   Master. It is vital therefore to hit Cobra strike first because you 
   need to leech enough mana at least to summon the next Shadow Master.

Q: I'm really having problems with Diablo... I have died like.. 10 
   times trying to kill him.
A: Yup a lot of Assassins in particular have problems trying to beat
   Diablo. IMO he is one of the hardest boss as far as the Assassin 
   goes. First you will definitely NEED to have full resistance to 
   Fire and Lightning since those attacks of his will drain a lot of 
   your life away. Second, you should be of a suitably high level 
   before trying to tackle him. I would suggest Level 35 for Normal
   mode and Level 60 for Nightmare. I'm sure you could beat him even
   with a lower level, but that would be challenging, and you could 
   risk dying a few times (bad if you are Hardcore) I would suggest 
   loading up on health potions. Go for Tiger Strike x3 finishing move    
   instead of Cobrax3, Tigerx3 because Diablo has a good evade score 
   and will prove very hard (and fustrating) to hit. If you don't want
   to run around building up levels, the other option for you is to
   party with other characters (e.g. Sorceress, Barbarian) who have an
   easier time fighting him. Of course.. partying may also mean sharing
   the loot. 

Q: My AR% says that I have a 95% chance of Hitting Diablo and yet a lot
   of my attacks miss. Is this a bug or is the game just cheating?
A: You have forgotten that you have a 95% chance of succesfully hitting
   Diablo. However, there are other skills in the game (example 
   Amazon's Evade) which will totally evade your attack even if you 
   succesfully score a hit, thus making it miss completely. Obviously
   Diablo has a very high Evade score.

Q: How do you defeat that Necromancer guy (Nihlathak) in Halls of   
   Anguish?
A: The trick to defeating him is to NOT stand under any corpse which he  
   can then exploit with corspe explosion. I suggest you draw his 
   minions out a few at a time, kill them and explode their corpse 
   Using death sentry. Once his minions are all dead, you can move in
   and for the kill. He may summon a minion while fighting you. If so, 
   attack the minion to half his life (charging up Tiger x3), cast 
   Death sentry, and then finishing the minion off. If done right, your 
   Death sentry should be able to explode the corspe before he can cast
   corspe explosion. Should he teleport away, track him down quickly 
   with Dragon Flight.

Q: The Ancients (at Arreat Summit) are impossible to beat!
A: No they are not! You are probably at a too low level to face them.  
   Take them down one at a time.... start with the axe thrower, then
   to the leap guy and finally whirlwind guy. Take them down from the
   weakest to the strongest. You may want to hire some one to take some 
   of your damage, as well as summon a shadow master. I suggest level 
   38 for Normal and level 65-68 for Nightmare. Also remember that the
   enchantments on all the ancients are RANDOM. So if say your 
   character is weak agaist Lightning and two of them are Lightning
   enchanted, just cast a town portal, exit and re-enter to reset
   them. You have to beat them in ONE fight (no casting of TP to 
   

Q: How do you beat Baal?
A: IMO, Baal is one of the EASIEST boss around.... at least for the
   Assassin. All you need to do is NOT give him space for his Cold 
   Arrow attack. That attack does loads of damage, and pushes you back.
   When he moves away... teleport in and hit him. If you stay on him, 
   he is as good as dead. 


Q: Am I seeing double? There are TWO Baals!!
A: No, you are not seeing double. Baal can make a copy of himself, much
   like the Assassin or Amazon can with Shadow Master or Valkyrie. 
   Remember that if you kill the REAL Baal, the copy will disappear.



**********
Build Tree
**********
 
Example of a Dual Claw Assassin
-------------------------------

This example is based on my prototype assassin I first played and tested 
the Assassin Class. Admittedly she is not the best. She is at Level 60 
(IIRC) when I wrote this section.

Name: Kaycee
Stats (after bonuses from equipment):
Strength - 152
Dexteirity - 138
Vitality - 74
Energy - 43

So what makes her great? Look at her high Strength and Dex scores. Then 
think of her attack rating and damage. Does that mean ANYTHING to you?  
She has a BASE attack rating of 3000+ including equipment using Cobra 
Strike. No that does not include any charge up with Charge-Up skills.. 
with that factored in she reaches around 5000 average (not all skills 
used). 
She does insane damage of up to 300+ points of damage with all the 
poison and +damage charms stacked up. 300 points on ONE CLAW that is... 
not 2. And thats not even considering tiger strike bonuses for her 
finishing move! (Claw base maximum damage is 54 btw) Choke... add Tiger 
Strike at Level 20 with 3 charges... Choke.. and Venom and you can 
imagine the damage... choke... dealt out on the finishing move. 


So how did I get to that? Analysing My skill Point Distribution

Level 2: Tiger Strike
Level 3: Claw Mastery
Akara Reward: Dragon Talon
Level 4: Save (1)
Level 5: Save  (2)
Level 6: Burst of Speed, Dragon Claw, Save (1) 
Level 7: Save (2)
Level 8: Save (3)
Level 9: Claw Mastery
Level 10: Save (4)
Level 11: Claw Mastery
Level 12: Weapon Block, Pyschic Hammer, Cloak of Shadows, Cobra Strike,
          Save (1)
Level 13: Tiger Strike
Level 14: Save (2)
Level 15: Save (3)
Level 16: Save (4)
Book of Skills: Tiger Strike
Level 17: Save (5)
Level 18: Dragon Tail, Fade, Shadow Warrior, Save (3)
Level 19: Weapon Block
Level 20: Weapon Block
Level 21: Weapon Block
Level 22: Weapon Block
Level 23: Weapon Block
Level 24: Fist of Fire, Claws of Thunder, Blades of Ice, Phoenix Strike
Level 25: Dragon Flight
Level 26: Save (1)
Level 27: Save (2)
Tyrael Reward: Save (3)
Level 28: Save (4)
Level 29: Claw Mastery
Level 30: Shadow Master, Venom, Save (3)
Level 31: Save (4)
Level 32: Fire Blast, Shock Web, Charged Bolt Sentry, Lightning Bolt
          Sentry, Death Sentry

From there on, everything else went into Pumping up my Character's Tiger 
Strike, Claw Mastery and Weapon Block until she had 16 in Claw Mastery,  
10 in Weapon Block and 15 in Tiger Strike before adding in Skill Bonuses 
from Equipment. 

With added bonuses, Claw Mastery is at SLvl 21, Weapon Block at Slvl 16 
and Tiger Strike too at SLvl 20. I would say... she is one badass 
character.  
So basically by end game, she should have:-
20 Claw Mastery
20 Tiger strike
10 Weapon Block
20 Shadow Master
10 Venom (more if needed)/ Phoenix Strike/ Blade of Ice 
which leaves around 20 more points for misc skills which you can invest 
according to your likes.
 
Overall this assassin will be a slower killing machine in Hell mode, 
against PI monsters because of the reliance of Poison damage. However, 
she is still perfectly able to complete hell mode.


Example of a Claw & Shield Assassin
-----------------------------------
 
The most important thing about Claw & Shield Assassin is that you do not 
have to worry about spending points on Weapon Block which leaves many 
more options open. However, you will be relying on kick damage as your 
main finishing move, and for that to be effective, a lot of points must 
be pumped into your strenght and dexteirity. The idea is to put as many 
points in there, without getting yourself killed in a single hit (or 
two) by strong monsters in Hell mode.

Here is a basic build tree:
 
Level 2: Tiger Strike
Level 3: Claw Mastery
Akara Reward: Dragon Talon
Level 4: Tiger Strike
Level 5: Save
Level 6: Burst of Speed, Dragon Claw 
Level 7: Tiger Strike
Level 8: Claw Mastery
Level 9: Tiger Strike
Level 10: Save
Level 11: Save
Level 12: Pyschic Hammer, Cloak of Shadows, Cobra Strike
Level 13: Tiger Strike
Level 14: Tiger Strike
Level 15: Tiger Strike
Level 16: Save
Book of Skills: Save
Level 17: Save
Level 18: Dragon Tail, Fade, Shadow Warrior, Weapon Block
Level 19: Tiger Strike
Level 20: Save
Level 21: Save
Level 22: Save
Level 23: Save
Level 24: Fist of Fire, Claws of Thunder, Blades of Ice, Phoenix Strike
Level 25: Dragon Flight
Level 26: Tiger Strike
Level 27: Tiger Strike
Tyrael Reward: Claw Mastery
Level 28: Claw Mastery
Level 29: Save
Level 30: Shadow Master
Level 31: Save
Level 32: Fire Blast, Wake of Fire, Wake of Inferno

 
So even By level 19 or so, you should have more than enough points to 
crush most of your enemies. Later on, spend points as necessary on Claw 
mastery, Shadow Master and Wake of Inferno. Therefore by end game, you 
should have something like:

20 Tiger Strike
20 Claw Mastery
20 Wake of Inferno
20 Shadow Master

Which leaves around 20+ points for misc skills to invest in. This 
assassin is really balanced in the sense that Tiger Strike + Dragon Tail 
can easily take down Elemental immune creatures, while Wake of Inferno 
will eat away at PI creatures. Overall this Assassin will have an easy 
time even in Hell mode.


Example of a Heavy Weapon Assassin
----------------------------------
 
One word DAMAGE. You will want to pump a lot of skill points early on 
into your Str so that she can get to use those heavy weapons early on.
Dexteirity and Vitality play a secondary role though you should not 
skimp on either. Since she does not even use much mana (finishing move 
is basically a normal attack) no points should be spent on Mana early on 
(add more as you enter Hell for trap casting) Here is a basic build tree 
for a Heavy Weapon Assassin.

Level 2: Tiger Strike
Level 3: Tiger Strike
Akara Reward: Tiger Strike
Level 4: Tiger Strike
Level 5: Save
Level 6: Claw Mastery, Burst of Speed
level 7: Burst of Speed
Level 8: Burst of Speed
Level 9: Burst of Speed
Level 10: Burst of Speed
Level 11: Burst of Speed
Level 12: Burst of Speed
Levek 13: Burst of Speed
Level 14: Cobra Strike
Level 15: Tiger Strike
Level 16: Tiger Strike
Book of Skills: Tiger Strike
Level 17: Tiger Strike
Level 18: Tiger Strike
Level 19: Tiger Strike
Level 20: Tiger Strike 
Level 21: Tiger Strike
Level 22: Tiger Strike
Level 23: Tiger Strike
Level 24: Tiger Strike
Level 25: Tiger Strike
Level 26: Save 
Level 27: Save 
Tyrael Reward: Save 
Level 28: Save
Level 29: Save
Level 30: Psychic Hammer, Weapon Block, Cloak of Shadows, Shadow 
          Warrior, Shadow Master, Mind blast

As you can see, the general idea here is to pump up Burst of speed first 
early on to at least 8 points for a huge increase in attack speed. 
Subsequent points will then be placed into Tiger strike until she is 
Slvl16 or so. Therefore by the time you defead Diablo, you would be able 
to Summon a Shadow Warrior and use Mind blast.

Later, when you gain further levels in the expansion area, continue 
pumping up Tiger Strike until the maximum and then either Death Sentry 
or Wall of Inferno. Assuming you enter Hell mode at Lvl 70, you should 
have Tiger and WOI already maxed out with a healthy dose of points in 
Shadow Master and Burst of Speed.

  

Gameplan
--------
But all power is for naught if you don't have a game plan. So what did I 
do?

- Basically Normal mode is a walk in a park (at least for me) All I  
  needed was Cobra strike x3 and then finish off with one of the 
  finishing moves (toggled between dragon flight and dragon claw) and 
  any if not all the enemies could be beaten. This of course with a 
  burst of speed boost factor.

- For Uniques, I used the Cobra Strike x3 - Tiger Strike x3 combo and 
  boosted my character using venom. I had pretty good equiptment to 
  boost my resistance so fade was not used much here. When Enemies were
  swarming me in Normal mode, I just used Phoenix strike charged 2 or 3
  times depending on their type of resistance and let go to drop many
  at once.

- I had no trouble with bosses in Normal mode (Mephisto, Baal) was
  particularly easy, but Diablo was rather challenging (though not
  impossible to beat even if I did die ONCE) This is mainly due to 
  me hanging around levelling up. 

- Enter Nightmare mode, with enemies gaining more health and partial 
  physical immunity, loads more points were invested in Claw Mastery 
  and Tiger strike. Now the basic combo is Cobra x3 - Tiger x3 and then
  finish off with a finishing move. That combined with Death Sentry 
  made short work of all the enemies.

- Uniques were tougher now with resistance of some kind (some even 
  having physical Immune!!) and as such I had to make full use of 
  what I had (Venom, Traps) as well as Fade due to the Resistance
  penalty to get it to Maximum (especially vs Lightning attacks) Still
  they were not too difficult to do away with especially since their 
  minions themselves do quite some damage with Corspe Explosion.

- Bosses were rather challenging. Mephisto was still a walk in the park
  due to the high resistance I had (by then), but Diablo Had me 
  sceaming and cursing non stop. Baal was okay. He can be really tough, 
  but as long as I kept in close to him, he wasn't much of a match.

- Hell mode. Monsters with 50% PI really gets on my nerves. They take 
  eons to kill... and the Uniques take even longer. One thing for sure
  is to load up on Full Rejuvenation potion. Trust me, you won't want
  anything less than that. I must say that I found much difficulty late
  on against the physical immune monsters, even with loads of poison
  and elemental damage stacked up.

- Bosses. IMO, other than Diablo, most of the bosses were again very 
  easy when well prepared. Baal was a walk in the park though his 
  minions of destruction posed some threat (though with a little 
  patience, that is easily over come)

So there it is..... my Assassin all the way completed at Level 74.


**************** 
My Assassin Rig
****************

When my Assassin defeated Baal in Hell mode this is what she had on her. 
Remember she is level 74.

Headgear
--------
Natalya's Totem (Set Grim Helm)
Defense: 195-260 (mine was 220)
Durability: 40
Req Str: 58
Req Lvl: 59  
Properties:
+135 Def
+25 Dex
+10 Str
+10% Resistance to All
-3 Magical Damage taken

Comments:
On its own this Helm is Great with a hefty bonus to my Dex (which boosts 
my AR somewhat) and Strenght. The 10% Resistance to all is wonderful 
especially with the huge penalty in Hell mode.

Armor
-----
Natalya's Shadow (Set Loricated Mail)
Defense: 540-646 (mine was 640)
Durability: 36
Req Str: 149
Req Lvl: 73
Type: Heavy Armor
Properties:
+150 Def
+1 Life per Clvl (+74 for me)
+2 to Shadow Disciplines
-75% Poison Duration
+25% Poison Resistance

Comments:
Not the greatest armor around, but the +2 to Shadow Disciplines is nice. 
Could use a better piece of armor especially since the defense is rather 
low.

Weapon
------
Bartuc's Cutthroat (Unique Greater Talons)
Damage: 28-47 (avg. 37.5)
Durability: 69
Req Str: 79
Req Dex: 79
Attack Speed: Very Fast Attack
(Assassin Only)
Properties:
+35% enchanced Damage
25% Deadly Strike
35% Target Defense
Hit Blinds Target
+2 to Assassin Skill Levels
+25 to Mana
+10 to Dex
50% Increased Attack Speed
+1 to Shadow Disciplines

Comments:
IMO one of the best Assassin Claw available (discounting rare claws) 25% 
Deadly Strike is very good and much improved in D2X. +2 to Assassin 
Skills AND +1 to Shadow Disciplines makes up a lot for the lack of 
elemental Damage to it. Not to mention the greatly increased attack 
speed that at times when Burst of Speed runs out you won't even notice 
that much loss in speed. Great if you pair this up with Venom. The other 
bonuses like Blinds target, mana, dex bonuse and 35% Target Def. is just 
icing on what is already a very good cake. I used one of my quest 
sockets and socketed this with a perfect emerald to add some Poison 
damage to my attack. Be sure to stack up on poison damage.

Shield
------
Moser's Blessed Circle (Unique Round Shield)
Defense: 141-165 (mine was 147)
Chance to Block: 55%
Durability: 255
Req Str: 53
Req Lvl: 31
Properties:
+25% Resist All
+25% Chance to Block
Fastest Hit Recovery
+200% Enchanced Defense
Socketed (2)

Comments: 
I Shifted back and forth between this and Tiamat's Rebuke. This was my 
main shield after all in Hell you will be needing all the bonuses to 
elemental damage that you can find. The inherent bonus of 25% Resist All 
was significantly boosted with the addition of 2 Perfect Diamonds 
socketed to it. The Chance to block was decent enough (55%) though not 
the best and Fastest Hit Recovery is always good.

Gloves
------
Lava Gout (Unique Battle Gauntlets)
Defense: 89-97 (mine was 91)
Durability: 18
Req Str: 88 
Req Lvl: 42
Properties:
+50 Defense
2% Chance to cast slvl10 Enchant
Half Freeze Duration
Adds 10-20 Fire Damage
+20% Increased Attack Speed
Fire Resist +24%

Comments:
The main draw of this glove is the enchanced Attack speed. The combo of 
this glove and bartuc's CT made the use of Burst of Speed at times 
redundant. Fire resistance is of course very important (considering the 
number of enemies using Fire spells) and was very welcome.

Boots
-----
Natalya's Soul (Set Mesh Boots)
Defense: 112-119 (Mine was 119)
Durability: 66
Req Str: 65
Req Lvl: 25
Properties:
+75 Defense 
40% Faster Run Walk
Heal Stamina Plus at 0.25% per Clvl
+15% Ligtning Resist
+15% Cold Resist

Comments:
I was very lucky to find this early on in Nightmare mode. This has 40% 
Faster Run Walk which when boosted with Burst of Speed makes the 
Assassin fly across the screen. Again the Elemental Resistance was a 
welcome bonus.

Amulet
------
Telling of Beads (Set Amulet)
Req Lvl: 30
Properties:
+1 to All Skill Lvls
+35% Poison Resist
+18% Cold Resist
Attacker Takes damage of 8-10

Comments:
Initially I was using Eye of Elitch (which was carried over from my now 
defunct D2 Sorceress) I opted for this instead of Eye of Elitch because 
of the additional resistance. 

Ring
----
Dwarf Star (Unique Ring)
Req Lvl: 45
Properties:
-15 to Magic Damage
+15% Stamina Regneration
+70% More Gold from Monsters
+25 Stamina
+40 Life

Comments:
A ring I could certainly do without. None of the bonuses here seemed 
significant enough to me. I would gladly trade this ring off for an SoJ 
or Bul-Kathos Wedding Band.

Dread Loop (Rare Ring)
Req Lvl: 16
Properties:
4% Life Stolen Per hit
+6% Lightning Resistance
+24% Fire Resistance
+15 Attack Rating
+10 to Energy

Comments: 
A free gift from Ormus as early as Normal Act III and have been using 
this since mainly for the bonuses to resistance.


Overall comments:
I also received partial set bonuses for Natalya's Odium. Nothing 
significant from that. If you noticed I had a lack of elemental damage 
in my equipment but this was easily sorted out with the stacks of poison 
charms and high slvl of Venom. Overall a good character with LOADS of 
nice stuff (was very lucky and went item fishing for long periods of 
time in multiplayer) Should I get lucky and find Natalya's Mark I would 
probably equip that with Cutthroat and go Dual claw style.


**********
Dream Rig
**********
 
Well.... if you had access to ALL the items in Diablo II world, how 
would you suit up your Assassin so that she would be invincible (or near 
invincible at least) Here is my dream rig for Both a fighter and Item 
Hunter. If you have any good suggestions for both classes, let me know.


Fighter Rig
-----------
The idea of the fighter rig is that the Assassin should be at her most 
powerful when fighting. All the items stated here are legit items and 
not hacked unlike those +7 to skill stuff floating around on open 
battle.net games.


1)Helm: 
  Harlequin Crest (Unique Shako)

2)Armor: 
  Arkaine's Valor (Unique Balrog's Skin) OR
  Rare Sacred Armor w/ mods to defense and requirements

3)Amulet: 
  Rare Amulet w/ +2 to Assassin Skills with Resistance to all.

4)Gloves: 
  Crafted Deadly Glove w/ Deadly Strike, Crushing Blow and random
  mods to skill OR
  Lavagout (Unique Battle Gauntlets)

5)Boots: 
  Gorerider (Unique War Boots)

6)Belt: 
  Crafted Mithril Coil w/ Open Wounds OR
  Immortal King's Detail (Set War Belt) for max Space and +Res.

7)Rings: 
  Constriction Ring (Unique Ring) and
  Bul-Kathos Wedding Band (Unique Ring)

Comments:
Most of the stuff are really hard to get. Both Harlequin Crest and 
Arkaine's Valor are Unique Elite items so hope to get them in Hell mode 
after killing Diablo or Baal. Both give +2 to all skills which is more 
than completing Natalya Odium set which gives a +3 set bonus. Moreover, 
Arkaine's Valor can have more than 1500+ Def which is more than double 
that of Natalya's Shadow. Socket Harlequin Crest with an Um rune to gain 
some resistance.
Your best bet to gain a Rare Amulet is to gamble for it and you can only 
do so at lvl 85 and above. Also hope to get a good life regeneration 
bonus. The crafted gloves is not as easy to get as it sounds since you 
have to look for an Um rune which is quite rare. Also you have to get 
lucky and hope that you get a +2 to Martial Arts mod. For Heavy Weapon 
Assassins, you could also go for the Lava Gout as it provides increased 
attack speed.
Gorerider should be the easiest to look for since it is a Unique 
Exceptional of an item. For belts I prefer the less space Mithril Coil 
with Open Wounds bonus. Open wounds is much improved in D2X. Moreover 
Dol Rune isn't very rare. Again hope for good mods.
For rings, Contriction Ring will raise your elemental resistance by a 
good 15% though at the expense of some life. Therefore items with random 
mods to life regeneration is required. Constriction ring can only be 
worn by a lvl 95 and above character. The second ring is Bul-Kathos 
Wedding band which isn't so hard to get and gives a +1 to all skills 
bonus. Alternatively, you may choose to wear 2 Bul-Kathos Wedding bands 
for a +2 to all skills bonus.

 
a) For Claw and Shield
Claw: Bartuc's Cutthroat (Unique Greater Talon) OR 
      Natalya's Mark (Set Scissors Suwayyah) OR
      Rare/Crafted Runic Talons w/ +2 to Ass skills, inc. damage OR
      Socketed (3) Runic Talons w/ +2 to Ass skills and other mods.

Shield: Stormshield (Unique Aegis) OR
        Tiamat's Rebuke (Unique Dragon Shield)

Comments:
My preference would be for Bartuc's Cutthroat because of the increased 
Attack rate. Teamed with Venom it makes the low damage somewhat 
tolerable. Add to that the bonuses to skill and deadly strike. 
Additionally socket that with a perfect emerald for poison damage, Ber 
rune for Crushing Blow or Lo rune for deadly strike.
For shields, Stormshield is the best with a 74% chance of blocking! It 
offers a great Cold resist and decent Lightning resist. Be sure to 
socket this with an Um rune for an additional 22% resist to all. Tiamat 
Rebuke is a good secondary shield if you need additional elemental 
damage to deal with those pesky PI monsteres.


b) For Dual Claw
Claw: Bartuc's Cutthroat (Unique Greater Talon) OR 
      Natalya's Mark (Set Scissors Suwayyah) OR
      Rare/Crafted Runic Talons w/ +2 to Ass skills, inc. damage OR
      Socketed (3) Runic Talons w/ +2 to Ass skills and other mods
      Runeword 'Fury' Runic Talons/ Scissors Suwayyah

Comments: 
Bartuc's Cutthroat would be a no brainer unless you get really lucky 
when gambling (or if Blizzard introduces even more deadly Runeword 
combos in the upcoming patches) Again socket this with either a Perfect 
Emerald, Ber or Lo rune. 
Runeword 'Fury' Runic Talons/ Scissors Suwayyah is a great alternative 
with the 209 enchanced damage, increased attack speed as well as other 
great properties like deadly strike, open wounds etc. Too bad you can't 
put +5 frenzy to good use.
 
The Second Claw is a bit tricky. If you get lucky then a Rare Runic 
Talons with +2 to Assassin Skills and increased damage would get the 
pick. However Natalya's Mark isn't as hard to obtain, has insane damage 
(that of a claw), has 300% additional damage to undead and demons 
(basically that means almost ALL the monsters) and more importantly 
ignore's target's defense. No matter what, the second item should also 
be socketed (preferably with a Lo rune for Deadly strike)

      

c) For Heavy Weapon 
Weapon: Hell Slayer (Unique Decapitator) OR
        The Cranium Basher (Unique Thunder Maul)
        Runeword 'Fury' Thunder Maul/Decapitator/War Pike 

The idea is pretty straight forward here... Get the item with the most 
damage. Among the Uniques, Hell slayer has the most damage and gives a 
bonus to your vitality of 2 per skill level for a maximum of 198 at 
level 99!! That will make any Assassin a tank. The damage however is 
dependent on Clvl too however, though by the time you are able to use it 
you will be doing something like 510 damage. Socket this baby with a Lo 
rune for Deadly Strike and sickening damage.

The cranium Basher is also a good choice. It also has a really high 
maximum damage of 509 which although not as high as Hell Slayer is 
pretty good. Moreover it has a 60% chance of Crushing blow and 4% chance 
of casting Amplify damage when hit. Therefore, if you socketed it with a 
Lo rune for Deadly strike, and Amplify damage kicks in you could 4X 
damage. Sick! Unfortunately the required level for this is really high 
(84) and you both weapons are incredibly hard to find.

You could also go for a Runeword 'Fury' elite Item, the most damaging 
one being the best. The runes are pretty rare (Jo and Gul) Too bad you 
aren't a barbarian or the +5 to frenzy would have helped a lot. The 
stats are just awesome.... 209 enchanced Damage, Open wounds, Deadly 
Strike, Freeze target on hit, prevent monster heal... the list just goes 
on. 
This is my top pick.... now if only the peops of blizzard would be kind 
enough to create a Runeword with +5 to Tiger strike....


Item fisher Rig
---------------
The main purpose of an item fisher is to go around hunting for items. In 
D2, a person who had 300% MF was considered a veteran at hunting for 
good items. But with the introduction of so many goodies in D2X, you can 
get your Assassin's MF up to 1000% WITHOUT hacking. Generally this is 
not recommended for the Assassin.  
Btw I got this info off Blizzards site.

1)Helm (max 85%): 
  Magic Circlet of Luck (35%), Socketed w/ 2 Ist runes (50%) or 2 
  Perfect Topaz (48%)

2)Armor (max 113%): 
  Tal Rasha's Guardianship (88%) , Socketed w/ 1 Ist Rune (25%) or 1   
  Perfect Topaz (24%)

3a)Dual Weapon (max 180%)
   Two Socketed (3) Claw Class Weapon, socketed w/ 3 Ist Rune (90%) 

 b)Weapon and Shield (max 280%)
   Socketed (6) Weapon e.g. Rune Sword, Socketed w/ 6 Ist Rune (180%)
   Socketed (4) Shield, socketed w/ 4 Ist Runes (75%)

4)Belt (max 30%)
  Unique Gold Wrap (30%)
  Tal Rasha's Fine Spun Cloth (15%) **

** Combined with Tal Rasha's Guardianship and Tal Rasha's Adjucation 
   (Armor) you will receive an addiotional +65% MF. So Belt and Amulet
   would give a +80% MF which is equal to Goldwrap and 50% Amulet 
   combo.

5) Gloves (max 34%)
   Rare Magic Find Gloves (34% and can only be found via trading for 
   Pre v1.08 items)

6)Boots (max 45%)
  Unique War Traveler (45%)

7)Amulets (max 50%)
  Magic Fortuitous Amulet of Luck (50%)

8)Rings (max 200%)
  Two Constriction Rings (200%)
  
9)Charms (max 280%)
  7% Small Charms. 40 of them is the maximum, though you would have to 
  drop the charms to pick up items. 30 is the most ideal no. (210%) 

Total +MF% from your items = max 1117%

*NOTE* Ist rune gives +30% bonus on weapons and +25% bonus on helms, 
       armors and shields.

Also, you can give your mercenary MF items, thus raising the MF value 
even higher. Remember however that the higher MF value from your 
mercenaries' item will only be used IF the mercenary makes a kill

A maximum of +378% can be placed on your mercenary.
This works out as:-
Helm (85%)+ Armor (113%)+ Weapon (180%)= 378%

Therefore, the highest achievable MF score would be +1495% !!!


**************
On Multiplayer
**************

Any experienced player on battle.net will tell you that the #1 killer of 
good players is lag. Therefore it is vital that you play with a good 
connection and during off peak hours where there is not so much server 
load. There is no point playing with 1000 other people at the same time, 
if the action is jerkier than Quake III running on a P200 MMX. 

Some good tips to remember when playing on battle.net

- try to team up with other players of your same level for adventure 
  and experience runs. 
- Make friends! It is much safer to journey around with the same people
  that you know well. Also, if you have friends of a higher level, they
  might help you open up WP faster (allowing you to go to certain areas
  to gain more exp) For example, a Level 99 Barbarian can help a level
  60 Assassin to complete the important quests in Hell mode. The 
  Assassin can then visit the other areas at her leisure, and working
  out which area is best for levelling up.
- share items. If you have a shield you don't want, ask the members of
  your party whether they want it before selling it off. There is a 
  better likelihood that your partners will share with your their items
  that they don't want
- if you see a class specific item which you can't use, give it to 
  someone who can. By doing so, your friends will also return the
  favour.
- if lag hits in and your character can't hit any enemies for a good 5
  secs, it is wise to save and exit. The next thing you know you could
  be dead. 
- Another sign that the lag is very high is black walls forming around
  your character.
- There is a programme out there (which is realm friendly) which will
  automatically save and exit for you when your health reaches a 
  certain level. A good programme to download, since it prevents your 
  character from losing needless experience (especially in Hell) when
  enemies unfairly kills you during lag.
- PK if you must, but remember, that you are not the toughest SOB 
  around. If you PK someone, remember that you could be PK'ed by the
  friend of the person you PK'ed.

On Open player game
- HACKERS. Be very aware of them. Be suspicious when someone invites 
  you to join your group, especially if they are high levelled. A lot
  of players do so to find out which area you are. Then using a 
  maphack, they can easily run up to you, announce PK (using another 
  hack) and have you dead before you can quit.
- some hackers are quite friendly on the other hand, and will help
  you out especially against other ruthless hackers. Again, try to
  keep on their good side.
- There are loads of hack items afloat. If you want to play a legit
  game, it is best to create a game like "Act 1 No Hack" so that people
  will at least know you are not trying to play a hacked game. Some 
  sample hack items are the Hacked lightsaber, +7 to all skills charms
  and many others. If you think an item is too good to be true, it 
  usually is.
- there is a popular mod around, which causes most items dropped to be
  either Rare or Unique item. If you want/do not want to play in such 
  a game, you should not join games with the title "Unique/Rare Item"

*********************
Websites of Interest
********************

1) www.diabloii.net
This is my favourite site. They have been upgrading their site lately, 
and as such some of the info may seem incorrect. What I like about this 
site though is that they post nice fat articles of interest like the 
ones on cheating, PK'ing etc.

2) www.battle.net
The place for the most accurate and up to date information on not only 
Diablo II, but also Starcraft, Warcraft and other Blizzard games. 

3) www.diabloworld.com
If you are a hack freak or simply just hate playing fair, this is the 
best place around to download hacks, mods and other stuff. Purist may 
want to take a look too as there are some 'Realm Friendly' mods 
available here too.

4) www.dcemulation.com/diablo2/
Has a small database of mods and hacks (all of which can also be found 
at diabloworld.com) However for the hardcore hackers, there are also 
hacked item files as well as a whole list of items for download.

5) www.planetdiablo.com/phrozenkeep/
When things get boring, pop over to this site which contains a lot of 
mods, plug-ins etc. User created campaigns can be downloaded here if you 
are a player who is afraid to get yourself killed by lag on Battle.net.

6) www.geocities.com/helsmley/
This is my homepage, and really run down (haven't had time to update it 
for eons now since I have been busy FAQ writing) No D2X info here, just 
some normal stuff about my friends, and pics of me and my buds.



*************** 
Download This!
***************
After dying for the 129061295th time on Act 1 Normal mode, you feel 
ready to rip off your hair and use the D2X Cd as a coaster. Don't! There 
are a lot of programmes out there to help you out, some of which are 
Realm friendly, and some which are blatant hacks. All the below 
programmes can be downloaded from diabloworld.com unless stated 
otherwise.


Realm friendly (Legit stuff)
----------------------------

1) No CD v1.08 by dARWIn
This programme allows you to play D2X straight from your hard drive 
without the use of a CD. I love this programme since it allows me to 
turn off the music in Diablo II (which is nothing special) and listen to 
my favourite CD's. Unfortunately this programme can (and has been) 
abused by a lot of people who use this to play copied CD's.
 
Did I find it Useful?: Yes. D2 Music gets boring very fast (especially
                       if you play it 16 hours a day like me)

2) Windows Key Disabler by Jeff Slade
[Download this at www.diabloii.net.] 

Any body who knows even a little about computers will know that ALT + 
TAB will minimise your programme and bring you back to windows. Now 
imagine you are in a middle of a battle.net game and Arkaine's Valor 
drops. You press TAB to turn off the automap and ALT to point out the 
item... unfortunately...you were still holding TAB and then... you go 
back to windows. The next thing you know, Arkaine's Valor is gone. This 
is a must-have programmes as it could mean life and death (for hardcore 
characters)

Did I find it Useful?: Yes (extremely)


3) Life Watcher by Obeah (Metalslave) Solutions
This is a must have especially for hardcore characters. When your life 
drops below a fix value, the programme will automatically kick in to 
save and exit for you. A potential lifesaver! 

Did I find it Useful?: Average (don't play hardcore)


4) Maphack v3.5 by Mousepad
This shows the full automap, changes the colours here and there and 
other changes. The full automap feature can be a boon or a curse 
depending on how you see it. The colour of hostile players has been 
changed to differentiate between them and neutral players.

Did I find it Useful?: Not very (don't like full automap feature)


5) Mana Refresher v1.2 and Instant Healer v1.3 by Clever Devs
You can set the program to automatically use a potion when either your 
mana or life drops below a value of 75%,50% or 25%. I would say this is 
an okay program though it may sometimes unnecessarily use a potion when 
you have things under control (especially with Assassin's Cobra Strike)

Did I find it Useful?: No 


6) Item Grabber v3.1 by Hello2k1
The program will automatically grab potions, runes, gold etc. when they 
drop on the ground. While this is okay, I can't imagine my whole 
inventory filled up with bolts and arrows 10 seconds after I empty it.

Did I find it useful?: No


Hacks/Mods/Plug-ins
-------------------

1) Jamella's Diablo II Hero Editor 4.0 Beta 8 by Jamella
If you need a edit programme this is it. While there a few bugs here and 
there which should be ironed out, this program works like a dream. You 
can edit almost anything you can think off from the amount of gold to 
the undies that you wear (well not quite... but you can edit and import 
your equipment) I used this program to test out skills with a dummy 
character from slvl 1 to slvl 20. Has a backup save feature included too 
to prevent unwanted mishaps.

Did I find this Useful?: Yes. Easy to use and helped me a lot instead
                         of having to create loads of dummy characters.


2)Unique Drops Mod by bloodfix
Basically this programme will cause all the items dropped to be Uniques 
or Rare when a Unique item of that kind is not available. Soon you will 
be sick of seeing Unique items, yet for the short term players who want 
to see (and try out) all the uniques without the hassle of having a high 
+MF%, this programme is a boon. But what about sets? ...yeah.. maybe 
they will create a Set Drop Mod soon. A few open battle.net games play 
with this mod, and since this is considered cheating, you should be wary 
of the games you join. Some people have complaint of problems 
uninstalling this programme after use.
Note: There are other variants of this mod around, but this was the 
      version I tested.

Did I find this Useful?: No. I gain more satisfaction when I legally
                         obtain an unique/rare than cheating.


3) 32 Player Exp Mod by Nefarius
This programme simulates a 32 player game so that you can gain 
experience at a very high rate. I used this programme at first to create 
experimental characters until I got sick and used Jamella's Hero Editor. 
Not only does this programme multiply all the experience you earn by 32 
times but removes some of the changes in D2X like the 50% PI in Hell 
mode.

Did I find this Useful?: Ok. I could gain levels really quickly but 
                         there is less satisfaction reaching lvl99.


4) Rune Words by Jaime Wold
[Download this from www.planetdiablo.com/phrozenkeep/]

This programme enables all the rune word combos available now on Realm 
play. If you are those who play open battle.net games and single player 
only, then this plug-in is a must have. I would not have consider this 
programme a cheat if not for the treasureclassex which makes high level 
runes easier to come by.

Did I find this Useful?: Not many useful runeword combos for Assassin
                         class so far. So not very.


5) Stash Kit by Fusman & Phalzy
[Download this from www.planetdiablo.com/phrozenkeep/]

Who thinks that you have enough stash space raise up your hands please? 
This programme will increase your stash, horadric cube and inventory 
space. Great for people who love hoarding up on good looking items.

Did I find this Useful?: Did not use this programme




******** 
Credits
******** 
 
I thank God, my Creator and savior for without Him I would not be here, 
on this earth writing this FAQ. Thanks to the Father for granting me the 
wisdom and intelligence to write this FAQ.

I would further like to thank the following people/parties:
1) Calvin Schneider
I borrowed (actually just cut and pasted) his skill tree for the 
Assassin. Loads of thanks to him for his hard work in typing the skill 
tree out. I'm sure you spent loads of time on that.

2) Nicholas Vu 
For various comments pertaining to the FAQ.

3) Blizzard
For making such a wonderful game, even though PI sucks big time.

4) Loads of people
Who read my FAQ, sent in words of praises or cristiscm which ultimately 
well help me improve on my FAQ. Thanks for having the time to read my 
FAQ in the first place.

5) Folks at diabloii.net
For keeping a wonderful site open, with loads of information (As well as 
the random issues on cheating etc.) One of the best non official diablo 
websites around.



**********
Conclusion
**********

Well this is the end I guess.I would like to thank you for your time for 
reading this FAQ. Any comments, and discussions will be entertained 
though I do not want any spam Mail. I know that I am human and WILL make 
mistakes, so if I do, do not flame me or anything kay? I'm after all, 
just another Diablo II player.

Also since I am an A level student who wil be sitting for my exams come 
this November I naturally do not have that much time on my hand and will 
not be able to give a quick reply to all mails. I however can guarantee 
that all mails will be read and responded too ASAP. Thanks for reading 
my FAQ again and God Bless.

- Kian Chong