|\_______ _______/| \__ / \ __/ _____ | | | | _____ | __ \ ___ | |_ __|__ | _____ / ___ \ | | \ \ \ / | / \ | __ /| \ / / / \ \ | | | | | | | / /\ \ | |/ / | | | | | | | | |__/ / | | || __ | | |\ \ | | |___/| \ \___/ / /______/ /___\ ||/ | \| |_____\| /_______| \_____/ | | | | /_____\ /_____\ Lord Of Destruction Version 1.09d Sword & Shield Barbarian FAQ Version 1.5 March 18, 2002 by Muadib email@example.com Introduction: ------------- This FAQ is a how to guide on building a formidable Sword & Shield Barbarian on Diablo 2: LOD version 1.09d. This FAQ is specifically targeted for version 1.09d since character skills and abilities can change from one version to the next. I hope that this FAQ will be informative and easy to read. Look for a Hybridzon guide coming up on GameFAQs. I hope to complete 1.0 when I get some free time. Legal: ------ The usual copyright stuff. Contact me if you intend to publish or distribute the information contained in this document. You will need my permission to do so. All references to Diablo 2: LOD and related statistics and information are current as of the date on this FAQ. You should always be able to find the latest revision of this FAQ at: http://www.gamefaqs.com Table of Contents: ------------------ i. Revision History I. Why a Sword & Shield Barb II. Attribute Placement III. Skills Selection & Advancement IV. Equipment Selection V. Gameplay Notes VI. Dueler's Section VII. Credits i. Revision History ------------------- -1.5 Updated Dueler's section -1.5 Minor updates in Equipment section -1.5 Random updates -1.4 Minor updates in Equipment section -1.3 Updated Dueler's section -1.3 Random updates -1.2 Updated Credits -1.2 Added Dueler's section -1.2 Minor corrections/additions -1.1 Added Gameplay Tips in the Gameplay Notes section -Finished version 1.0 11/30/2001 -Started 10/19/2001 I. Why a Sword & Shield Barb ---------------------------- My initial philosophy on the Barbarian was to be gung-ho and concentrate on attack and don't mind the defense. This meant going for high damage, dual-wield, and high strength and dexterity. As the saying goes, "A flame that burns twice as bright, lasts half as long..." or something to that effect. In Diablo 2: LOD terms, "I may breeze through Normal and Nightmare, but I'm gonna get f@%$ed in Hell." Let's see why: -In Hell all monsters have a certain degree of physical damage resistance. -In many areas in Hell, there are physically immune (PI) monsters. -Many of the super uniques in Hell are either stone skin, physically immune, or both (Nihlatak). -In Hell the resistance penalty makes you very vulnerable to elemental attacks. Especially lightning enchanted uniques and the council members who like to cast Hydra. -In Hell, relying only on defense will get you killed. Being able to block is a must! Those are some of the major reasons how a poorly made Barbarian can turn from Godly destroyer in Nightmare into Baal's b@tch in Hell. The Sword & Shield Barb that I propose have the following traits: -Use of a sword. Swords are the best weapon group and has the best variety and availability. I recommend using two-handed swords for greater reach. -Use of a shield to block. Blocking becomes especially important in Hell when even a Fallen can beat you up over your high defense. Blocking gives you a two layer defense system giving you a chance to block all physical attacks before it even calculates the attack against your defense rating. -High concentration in vitality and nominal development in strength and dexterity. Goal is to get as many life points as possible because in Hell, YOU will get hit. Maxing out life allows you to control how hard that hit becomes. -High concentration in sword mastery, whirlwind, and berserk. Secondary concentration in battle orders. The traits above help the Sword & Shield Barb do fairly well throughout the game and even in Hell. The goal is max life, max blocking, whirlwind, berserk, and battle orders. Attaining these 5 capabilities will make your Barb GODLY! II. Attribute Placement: ------------------------ Strength - Initially you want to spend your first few levels investing in strength to allow you to use and wear better gear. Invest enough points in strength to allow you to use the gear you have on. If you can, rely on items to boost your strength to meet strength requirements. Later in the game you will want to have enough strength (with items) to be able to wield the godly sword/blade of your choice. Investing more points in strength will net you negligible points in more damage. More damage is best attained through better weapons and items. Dexterity - Use the same policy as strength above. Later in the game you should have enough dexterity (with items) to be able to wield the sword/blade of your choice. General policy is to be stingy with strength and dexterity as much as possible. As you gain levels, your blocking % will suffer from low dexterity, make sure you pay attention to this! Some solutions to this is to look for shields with a high blocking percentage and extra blocking bonuses, use a ravenfrost ring or a cat's eye amulet, use +5 large dex charms. Vitality - This will be your favorite attribute. After attaining enough points in strength and dexterity to wear your gear, invest all future points in vitality while planning ahead to increase strength and dexterity as you plan to switch to better gear. Each level increase will give you 2 life and 1 stamina. Each point of vitality will give you 4 life and 1 stamina. Try to get around 1200 life at level 85. With battle orders you will have a 2300-2400 life Barb. Crucial! Energy - This is the easy part. NEVER put points into this attribute at all. In the beginning it will be a bit rough when bash depletes your mana and you have no mana steal items, but later on you will depend heavily on mana steal and equip items with plus to mana attributes. III. Skills Selection & Advancement: ------------------------------------ Here I will cover the skills that you will need to invest in. Any skills not mentioned here means that you should not invest ANY skill points in that skill. In the beginning you will want to put a point in bash and save your skill points up until better skills become available. Here we go... ******************************************************************************** COMBAT SKILLS: ******************************************************************************** Bash Req lvl: 1 Prerequisites: None You will start out with this skill. It provides some bonuses over the normal attack. This will be your default attack until concentrate becomes available. Invest only 1 point in this skill. Leap Req lvl: 6 Prerequisites: None This skill is useful when you need to manuever across a chasm/river, a crowd of monsters, or to get out of sticky situations. It wears out its usefulness once leap attack becomes available. Invest a single point in this skill. Stun Req lvl: 12 Prerequisites: Bash I'm not fond of this skill because stun has no damage bonus and the stun length pretty much sucks. It is merely a necessary evil to allow you to learn concentrate and berserk at later levels. Put only 1 point in this skill. Leap Attack Req lvl: 18 Prerequisites: Leap Very useful skill for manuevering into and out of trouble. It's also great for jumping across rivers and jumping up and down elevations a la Bloody Foothills. The range is much better than leap as it is fixed at max range. Invest only 1 point in this skill. The AR and damage bonuses are awesome, but don't do it. You can't kill bosses with this skill in Hell since they regenerate health at a faster rate than you can hurt them with this skill. The leap is also very slow and prone to miss against quicker enemies who can move out of range. Concentrate Req lvl: 18 Prerequisites: Bash, Stun Set this skill as your new default attack. You get better AR and damage bonuses than bash and this attack is uninterruptible and doubles your defense during the attack animation. You will use this attack althroughout Normal and Nightmare. Invest 1 well earned point in this skill. You won't be able to use this as your default attack in Hell because of the default physical resistance of all monsters and the existence of PI and stone skin monsters and uniques. Whirlwind Req lvl: 30 Prerequisites: Bash, Leap, Stun, Concentrate, Leap Attack This will be your bread and butter attack for most encounters. Great for mowing down large crowds of monsters and laying the smack down on bosses. Becareful when using whirlwind against monsters that cast iron maiden (IM). It can mean instant death. This is where your dedication to vitality and high life come in. You also need sufficient life and mana steal to use this attack continuously. Although you will attack 50% more if you dual wield, don't do it. Use a shield for added protection instead. This is especially true in Hell. During the whirlwind animation you can't use any potions so becareful not to whirlwind yourself to death. Stop and potion up if you need to during your whirlwind sessions. Once this skill becomes available, max this skill out ASAP. Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mana 25 25 26 27 27 27 28 28 29 29 Damage % -50 -42 -34 -26 -18 -10 -2 6 14 22 Attack % 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 Level 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mana 30 30 31 31 32 32 33 33 34 34 Damage % 30 38 46 54 62 70 78 86 94 102 Attack % 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 85 90 95 Berserk Req lvl: 30 Prerequisites: Bash, Stun, Concentrate I use this as my default attack in Hell. Berserk converts all physical damage into magical damage. Berserk also gives the best AR bonus and the damage bonus is second only to leap attack! There are drawbacks however. Your defense drops down to 0 for a short duration and you will not be able to life steal and mana steal from this attack. This skill frees you from having to look for a godly item that does huge elemental damage to make up for the ineffectual damage done to stone skin and PI monsters in Hell. Do not use this skill in the middle of a crowd of monsters. Especially monsters with Ignore Target Defense (ITD) i.e. Baal's Minions. You will get hurt! This is why the shield is so important as it affords you a layer of protection from attack while using berserk. You can alternate between concentrate and berserk if you are on a 1 on 1 encounter to "leech" and attack. Against, PI monsters however, life and mana steal won't work. You can recharge by attacking non PI monsters and resuming attack or use potions. Most encounters with berserk will end in a few hits except for the super uniques and bosses. Put in 1 point right after putting a point in whirlwind. Leave this skill at level 1 until you finish maxing out whirlwind in which case you should be in Hell by that time. Start maxing out this skill while alternating with some of the other skills covered below. When encountering magic immune monsters/bosses, use whirlwind or concentrate. Mana Cost 4 Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Attack % 100 115 130 145 160 175 190 205 220 235 Damage % 150 165 180 195 210 225 240 255 270 285 Duration 2.7 2.4 2.2 2.1 2.0 1.9 1.8 1.7 1.6 1.6 Level 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Attack % 250 265 280 295 310 325 340 355 370 385 Damage % 300 315 330 345 360 375 390 405 420 435 Duration 1.6 1.5 1.5 1.4 1.4 1.4 1.4 1.3 1.3 1.3 Notes: -Mana cost is constant at 4. -Damage % is magical damage. -Duration is the amount of time in seconds that your barb will be vulnerable. ******************************************************************************** COMBAT MASTERIES: ******************************************************************************** Sword Mastery Req lvl: 1 Prerequisites: None Being a Sword & Shield Barb, this is the mastery you will need to max out. Advance necessary Combat Skills first and allocate left over points into sword mastery. Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Damage % 28 33 38 43 48 53 58 63 68 73 Attack % 28 36 44 52 60 68 76 84 92 100 Critical % 3 6 9 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Level 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Damage % 78 83 88 93 98 103 108 113 118 123 Attack % 108 116 124 132 140 148 156 164 172 180 Critical % 17 18 18 19 19 20 20 20 20 21 Increased Stamina Req lvl: 12 Prerequisites: None This skill is useless since you will have plenty of stamina from pumping up your vitality, but it is a prerequisite for increased speed. Put only 1 point into this skill. Increased Speed Req lvl: 24 Prerequisites: Increased Stamina This skill will increase your barb's run/walk speed. Generally useful for running circles around monsters, running through a maze of monsters during magic find (MF) runs and running around during duels. Put only 1 point into this skill in the begining and eventually get up to level 5 and no more. Putting more points into this skill will give diminishing returns that are not worth the valuable skill points that could be invested elsewhere. Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Speed % 13 18 22 25 28 30 32 33 35 36 Level 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Speed % 37 38 39 40 40 41 41 42 42 43 Iron Skin Req lvl: 18 Prerequisites: None Again, like increased stamina, this skill is not really essential, but needed to get access to the very useful skill, natural resistance. Invest only 1 point in this skill. Natural Resistance Req lvl: 30 Prerequisites: Iron Skin This skill doesn't come into play until late Nightmare and all of Hell difficulty levels. You will need this to supplement the severe resistance penalties in Nightmare and Hell, but more so in Hell. I recommend a maximum investment of 5 points into this skill. There is a diminishing return as you advance so do not waste any more points beyond level 5. Use plus to skills items to boost this skill higher instead. Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Resist % 12 21 28 35 40 44 47 49 52 54 Level 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Resist % 56 58 60 61 62 64 64 65 66 67 ******************************************************************************** WARCRIES: ******************************************************************************** Howl Req lvl: 1 Prerequisites: None Not a particularly useful warcry. It makes monsters run away from you, but I don't see why that would be useful in most cases. Having monsters follow you will make it easier to herd them in a line for a whirlwind ho down. You will need this skill to have access to more useful warcries. Invest only 1 point in this skill. Shout Req lvl: 6 Prerequisites: Howl I did not find this skill particularly useful. Especially since I put only 1 point in this skill. It gives a decent defense bonus, but the duration is too short to make it worth while. Some players may want to invest more points here as it may prove useful in duels. Personally, the advantage of this skill in duels is marginal. There is a better warcry up ahead so don't worry. Battle Orders Req lvl: 24 Prerequisites: Howl, Shout Finally the warcry that is actually useful! This skill temporarily increases your barb's stamina, life, and mana. Very useful in Hell where the added life and mana come in handy for you and your merc. Start to invest points in this skill late in Nightmare and into Hell. Make sure you put priority in whirlwind and berserk before leveling up this skill. The increase in duration and stamina/life/mana bonus is constant so sky is the limit. You can start to max this skill out after you have maxed out sword mastery, whirlwind, and berserk. Don't forget to put a few points in increased speed and natural resistance as well. They will come in handy before battle orders will. At level 20 you should be able to almost double your life/mana/stamina. I max this out last hence my secondary concentration in this skill. This skill is a must for duels. IV. Equipment Selection ----------------------- Items are crucial to success in Diablo 2: LOD. High level characters are nothing without high level items. The following discusses what to look for in each item type and mentions some notable examples. SWORDS: Always go with a two-handed sword for added reach and damage. When used with a shield, it will do reduced damage, but the increased range make it better then smaller one-handed swords. Also consider looking for a Cruel (201% - 300% ED) Colossus Blade or Balrog Blade with 3 open sockets. These swords can be had through trade or via the Horadric Cube transmute recipe. Find a magical Colossus/Balrog Blade and put it in the cube with 3 chipped gems. Transmute and you will get a magical sword with with random magical attributes and 3 sockets. The trick is to get lucky somehow and get the Cruel (300% ED) and some other useful suffix attribute. You can adorn the sword with some useful ED/IAS jewels or runes. Some advanced swords to consider: -Swordguard Executioner Sword -Honor Colossus Sword -Silence Colossus Blade -Fury Colossus/Balrog Blade -Cruel Colossus/Balrog Blade -The Grandfather Colossus Blade SHIELDS: Choose shields that will give you the highest blocking rate possible. A good practice is to socket the shield and put in a perfect diamond for a +19 or an Um rune for +22 to all resistances bonus. Better shields have higher chance to block and faster blocking rate attributes. Maximizing your ability to block is crucial for berserk and whirlwind. To check your current chance to block, put your cursor over your defense rating number in the character stat screen. You will see a percentage number on the chance to block all physical attacks. Another attribute to consider is the classification of the shield. Medium (Large) and Heavy (Tower) shields impose a run/walk penalty because of their girth and heft. Lighter shields impose no speed penalty and can provide the same or even better protection than the heavier shields. Some advanced shields to consider: -Whistan's Guard Round Shield -Moser's Blessed Circle Round Shield -Stormshield Monarch ARMOR: This is more of an open issue as there is a wide variety of armor to choose from. You will want high defense, but you will also want additional attributes that will complement your style of play. Being a melee character, you will benefit from armor with damage reduction attributes and bonuses to life. Special attributes such as cannot be frozen and freezes target are also desirable for melee characters. Since you will use a shield consider armor with good mods rather than just defense. Some advanced armor to consider: -Shaftstop Mesh Armor -Gladiator's Bane Wire Fleece -Tal Rasha's Guardianship Lacquered Plate HELMS: For starters, I usually wear the Sigon's set in the beginning to get me through until I can wear better equipment. Many of the advanced headgear have leeching and plus to skills modifiers. Some will have resistance and stat bonuses. It will mostly depend on what you can get your hands on. Some advanced helms to consider: -Tal Rasha's Horadric Crest Death Mask -Harlequin Crest Shako -Vampire Gaze Grim Helm -Arreat's Face Slayer Guard GLOVES: It is very important to get gloves with 20% Increased Attack Speed (IAS) to speed up the rate of your attack as fast as possible. Other favorable mods are bonuses to AR, resist bonuses, and Enhanced Damage (ED) bonuses. Another good combination is to use the IK gloves in conjunction with the Boots for a +50 AR set bonus and other useful item mods. You will forego the IAS in exchange for +20 strength and dexterity, but it may well be worth it. Some gloves I recommend: -Laying of Hands Bramble Mitts -Magnus' Skin Sharkskin Gloves -Lava Gout Battle Gauntlets BELTS: I recommend using the Thundergod's Vigor for the strength and vitality bonuses, increase max lightning resist, and lightning absorb. If you do not have Shaftstop, Vampire Gaze, or Stormshield, you may consider using the String of Ears to increase your damage reduction. Some advanced belts to consider: -String of Ears Demonhide Sash -Thundergod's Vigor War Belt BOOTS: For boots, you want the highest run/walk bonus possible to be able to escape danger and catch your prey. Several boots have 40% faster run/walk mods, but one pair of boots seems to stand out from the rest. These are the Sander's Riprap Heavy Boots. Aside from the 40% faster run/walk, the +5 to strength, +10 to dexterity, and +100 to AR makes it great for melee and ranged characters. An alternative would be to wear Gore Riders for the offensive bonuses or the IK boots/glove combination mentioned above. AMULETS: There are alot to choose from. Many rare amulets have great mods that will meet your needs. Usually, + to skills, resist bonuses, stat bonuses, and offensive mods are desirable. Some rare amulets have dual leech mods which is always welcome in any item. I have also heard about a duped rare amulet called the Corruption Heart. I have never seen it so I can't really say how it is or even if it is legal to use in Battle.Net. From what I hear it is one of the best amulets in the game. Some amulets I recommend: -Highlord's Wrath RINGS: Like amulets, there are alot to choose from. Dual leech rings with dex and AR mods are my favorite. I also highly recommend a good Raven Frost ring for the AR and dex bonus, but most notably the cannot be frozen is crucial when fighting cold based enemies. Some advanced rings to consider: -Bul-Kathos' Wedding Band -Raven Frost -Good dual leech ring CHARMS: I primarily carry faster run/walk and faster hit recovery charms. I would also recommend dex charms to increase your % to block. High damage poison charms also work well in conjunction with whirlwind. Concentrate your resistance charms in fire and lightning only. Fire and lightning enchanted uniques are quite dangerous. If you have any remaining space, carry some good life charms to boost life. MY GEAR: Here's what my level 83 Sword & Shield barb is quipped with. SWORD: Silence Colossus Blade -The Blinds Target works great to take down large groups easily. The other major mod is the +75 to all resistances. Coupled with my Natural Resistance and some item/charm bonuses, I have maxed out resists in Hell. SHIELD: Stormshield Monarch -Probably the best shield in the game. It's classified as a light shield so it won't slow you down. It also has +30 to str and good cold and lightning resist bonuses. The best mod is the 35% damage reduction bonus. ARMOR: Shaftstop Mesh Armor -Good +60 life bonus, but the main reason why I use this armor is the 30% damage reduction mod. It is considered a medium armor and slows me down by 5%. HELM: Perfect 1.09 Vampire Gaze Grim Helm -One of the best dueling helms in the game. Dual 8% leech and 20% damage reduction puts other helms to shame. In combination with Shaftstop and Stormshield, I easily max out the damage reduction bonus of 75%. GLOVES: Magnus' Skin Sharksin Gloves -My main reason for using these gloves are the +100 attack rating bonus and the 20% IAS. I keep a pair of Laying of Hands as an alternative when I plan to go on boss runs. BELT: Thundergod's Vigor War Belt -Main reason to use this are +20 to STR/VIT, lightning absorb and +10 increased maximum lightning resistance. This also makes the perfect Hybridzon belt for the above reasons plus the +3 skills bonus to Lightning Fury. BOOTS: Sander's Riprap Heavy Boots -As I mentioned earlier, I need the +100 AR and stat bonuses. I also have a pair of Gore Riders as a backup. AMULET: Highlord's Wrath -The deadly strike and +1 to all skills make this amulet perfect for melee characters. The lightning resist and damage mods are a bonus. RINGS: Raven Frost, Dual Leech Rare ring -I have a 241AR/19dex Raven Frost and a Rare 7/6 dual leech ring with 146 AR, and 17 dex bonuses. CHARMS: -I carry a some faster hit recovery and a bunch of faster run/walk small charms. I have no need for resist charms as my sword and other items max out my resists. V. Gameplay Notes ----------------- General Tips: -Hot key concentrate and berserk on the left mouse button and hot key town portal, battle orders, leap attack, and whirlwind on the right mouse button. -Hire the Nightmare Act 2 defensive merc. His holy freeze aura is very useful in slowing down mobs of monsters and slowing down their attacks. Another useful merc is the Nightmare Act 2 offensive merc. He uses the might aura which boosts your damage by a considerable amount at high levels. Only drawback is that the might merc does not have the slowing capability of the holy freeze merc and is more susceptible to be mobbed to death. -Use of maphack is very helpful to cut time and keep you safe from potentially dangerous super uniques. Some people consider using maphack cheating, so it's a toss up. Personally, I use it all the time. :P Gameplay Tips: -Don't bother killing Nihlathak in Hell. He is stone skin and PI and his Corpse Explosion attack is deadly. By not killing him, you can take the red portal to Nihlatak's temple for Pindleskin runs. -If you are getting "turboed" or "boosted" (A high level friend quests you to end of Hell) a safe place to be on the kill Diablo quest is to stand behind the corner buttresses right above where Diablo appears after activating the seals. Diablo's attacks will be blocked by the buttress. Make sure Diablo is in your screen when he dies. -If you want to avoid fightning the council members in Durance of Hate 3, just run up on the platform to the end. You should be able to see where the red portal appears after killing Mephisto. Leap attack across to the other side and leave the council behind so you can kill Mephisto. -In the River of Flame going towards the Chaos Sanctuary, simply rush across using Leap Attack to avoid the maze and monsters. Use the same technique in the Arcane Sanctuary. -In Act 2, you can cut alot of time by simply getting the staff and headpiece and taking a waypoint directly to Canyon of the Magi (Have a friend give you the waypoints.). Use maphack and visit each of the tombs until you see a very complex tomb with a red circle (That's where the slot for the staff is.) This is the real tomb of Tal Rasha. Strategies: -Use berserk against stone skin and PI uniques. -Switch between concentrate and berserk if you need to leech on 1 on 1 battles. Against, groups, switch between Berserk and Whirlwind. -Use a hit and run tactic against lightning enchanted uniques to minimize risk. If they also have the multi-shot attribute, run away. -Use battle orders to boost life, stamina, and mana when getting into hairy situations. Don't forget to renew it periodically. VI. Dueler's Section -------------------- So you think you got what it takes to take out anybody foolish enough to mess with you? First lesson is that you will get OWNED! Now that I've brought you back down to Earth. Let's examine some strategies for the Sword & Shield Barb... Tips: -Always use battle orders before a duel and heal up with potions or in town. -Replenish life/mana items and gear will help you during prolonged duels. -Do not use leap attack. It is too slow and they will anticipate your landing and kill you with a counterattack. This is especially dangerous when homing attacks such as guided arrow and bone spirit will hit you when you land. -Make your barbarian as fast as possible. Whirlwind is very slow so you will have to be fast so you can clip your enemies with whirlwind. -Avoid whirlwind lock at all costs! This happens when you click on the character and not a piece of ground for your whirlwind path. Your barbarian will be locked in a whirlwind slowly moving towards your moving target! You won't have control and you will be slow enough for ranged characters to kill you at their leisure. -If you get killed, leave the game and come back in. Some duelers/PKers will try to pop you if they can. This happens when you don't pick up every thing when you retrieve your corpse and get killed again. Sometimes they will drop a whole bunch of crap on your corpse in the hope that you will pick something up and auto equip it before picking up your corpse. When you pick up your body, the auto equipped item (i.e. weapon, armor) will disallow you from picking up everything off your corpse. If you get killed again, all the equipped items will "pop" out of your body for anyone to loot. -During duels, never take a waypoint to an unsafe place (anywhere outside of towns). An enemy can be waiting at the waypoint to kill you or they can pre-visit the waypoint, go back to town, and ask you to meet them there. If you haven't visited the waypoint yet, there will be a delay as it loads the map data. The other guy already has the map loaded in RAM and will teleport there instantly. Your character will appear at the waypoint while the map data loads and will give your enemy a few crucial seconds for a free kill. -You will need to achive maximum resistances to be able to withstand poison, cold, lightning, and fire attacks. Sorceress will employ thunderstorm, frozen orb and nova. Other variants will use Hydra. Necros will use lower resists and poison nova. Assasins will use a fire skill and lightning traps. Paladins will employ elemental auras and offensive skills that deal elemental damage. All dueling melee characters will also carry high grade poison charms which you need to resist or your life will go down to 1 very fast. Good ways to increase resistance is to put upto 5 skill points in natural resistance, carry high grade resist all charms, carry 11% small charms, and use the Silence Colossus Blade (75% resist all). -Damage reduction is the other important attribute you will need to max out. Damage reduction is capped at 75% so be aware when you equip your barb. My usual fare is to use a perfect Vampire Gaze, Shaftstop, and Stormshield which will net you with 85% damage reduction. This gets shaved down to 75% because of the in-game cap. For example, if you don't have a Vampire Gaze, you can use a String of Ears (easier to come by) and still achieve 75% damage reduction. Class Specific Strategies: Amazon: There is now some promise to own zons in duels. You will be required to achieve maximum damage reduction, resistances, and life. This is assuming that the zon is not using slow and or knockback items which makes dueling zons an order of magnitude harder. Another factor is the zons run/walk speed. If they are slow, you will be able to clip them quick and get a kill off on one or two passes depending on what equipment they are wearing. MF zons with focus on dex and low life will be easy to pick off. The hybridzon will be a bit harder since they will run around with a Titan's Revenge and shield (usually Stormshield) which gives them damage reduction, extra run/walk speed, and blocking. Like all other zons, they will switch back to a bow to fire off guided arrows which opens up a window of opportunity for a whirlwind. The worst zon variety is the build totally dedicated to dueling. They will have placed extra skill points in the passive tree making them very hard to hit. I suggest carrying as many small 5% run/walk charms you can afford to boost your speed and invest upto 5 points into the Increased Speed passive skill. Expect zons to use multi-shot off screen and guided arrow in screen. Try staying behind walls or other objects that will block multi-shot and make guided arrow difficult from long range. If a zon is foolish enough to get close for a guided arrow around a corner or wall, burst out and try to clip his escape path with whirlwind. Watch out for zons using windforce, cleglaw's bracers, and nosferatu's coil. They are usually not allowed for dueling because of the bugged slow and knockback. Personally, I can own a good number of zons and hopefully with my build strat and godly items you can too. Sorceress: Most important thing before dueling a sorceress is to achieve max resistances. A sorceress will teleport around and cast thunderstorm and frozen orb repeatedly. Some lamers will just cast Hydra at the town entrance to get cheap kills and prevent naked players from retrieving their corpses. The trick is to catch them with a whirlwind for a quick kill. If they are using mana shield and damage reduction gear, it may take a couple to kill them. Stay far away from the orbs and try to predict their path so you can clip them efficiently. Avoid prolonged chases since you will end up taking damage from the orb and thunderstorm. Watch out for Static/Nova sorceresses who teleport right next to you and finish you off in seconds using static charge and nova. If you have max resistances, you will be ok. Since sorceresses are usually slow runners and rely heavily on teleport, an advantage can be gained if they are lagging or have a slow connection. Some will have slower cast rates than others which may limit the speed that the sorc casts teleport. If a sorc is all over the place and catching them is nigh impossible, it is probably best to avoid a duel. Barbarian: This will be a pissing contest of sorts since you will be using the same strategies against each other. Determining factors will be equipment, skills, and level. The shield will come in handy as it should block upto 75% of the whirlwind blows. If your opponent is a dual wielder, you should have the advantage. If your opponent also uses a shield, then make sure you are using good damage reduction gear (Vampire Gaze, Shaftstop, Stormshield) to soften any blows. Popular dueling weapons will be the Cruel Colossus or Balrog blades that will do godly amounts of damage. Make sure you carry some powerful poison charms that will do residual damage after your first hit. After the first pass it should be clear who will win. Paladin: I have never had much problems with paladins at all. With max resistances, many of their offensive skills become useless. They are fast and can do alot of damage with charge and their multiple shot ability, but they are no match for whirlwind. Just cuisinart their asses into the ground! With good gear, they probalby won't even get a hit in. :P Assasin: Martial assasins can be powerful if they hit you with a combo. Avoid this by using whirlwind. They are also very fast with burst of speed and good assasin gear. Their downfall is the short range of their claws. Use this to your advantage by avoiding direct melee combat and just clip them with whirlwind. Be aware that dual wield assasins can block although less effectively than using a good shield. Trapassins will set up traps right in front of town and invite you to come and kill them. Or they will set up traps and a shadow master and hang around them for protection. You can charge in and go for the fast kill or just wait it out. The traps are weak compared to frozen orb and thunderstorm so I usually charge in and kill them. I also noticed that some assasins use a stun skill to get you in a stun lock and set up traps around the area to finish you off. Be wary and avoid the traps. Druid: Werewolves are fast and they have a multi shot ability similar to paladins. Werewolves will have high damage and AR so don't get caught off guard. Elemental druids are pretty weak and you can avoid direct hits from their spells and just kill them. Werebears have more life and can do more damage than Werewolves. They typically suffer from relatively low AR compared to their Werewolf counterparts. Watch out for maul and shockwave as they may use this in combination to get you disoriented. Attack with whirlwind and cut the druid into pieces. If you can, kill the spirits. The orange spirit is used mostly by Werewolves to boost their life. The red spirit boosts AR. Killing them should make your job easier. As you kill the druid, shapeshifters will revert back to human form with 1 life. Finish them off before they shapeshift again. Elemental druids will die on the spot. Necromancer: With some limited experience dueling necros, I don't see a big challenge. They will run around, cast poison nova, cast bone spirit, cast IM, and try to trap you in a bone wall so you can IM to death whirlwinding through bone walls. Fortunately, with good damage reduction gear and maxed resists, all the necros skills will fall. Most will be relatively slow and have bone armor spinning around them. Most necros will probably die from a single whirlwind or even two if they are wearing good gear and have maxed out bone armor. Run very fast and dispatch them quickly so as to avoid the necros curses. VII. Credits ------------ -My girlfriend for putting up with my long Diablo II sessions. -Twizted (firstname.lastname@example.org) for corrections and additional information -Blizzard for making this great game.