“Wolfbrother” Guide for Diablo II: Lord of Destruction By Devon Butler 08/23/01 Introduction Hello, this guide was written to create the Wolfbrother, a themed druid variant that’s quite viable in multiplayer games. Your basic focus as a Wolfbrother will obviously be the summoning and shapeshifting trees. I wrote this a day or two after the 1.09 patch came out so hopefully anything I say here will still be accurate. Copyright/Legal Stuff This guide was created for private use only. Please do not sell it, publish it, or really do anything to it without prior permission from the author. If you’d like to contribute, feel free to contact the author. All Diablo II references belong to Blizzard Entertainment. Version 0.1 – 10:30 a.m., 08/23/01: Started the guide Table of Contents 1. Becoming a Wolfbrother A. Basic idea B. Basic skill focus C. Basic stat focus 2. Skill Choices 3. Stat Choices 4. Equipment 5. Other Wolfbrother tips 6. Final Thoughts 1. Becoming a Wolfbrother You hear their call. Your kin beckon you from your quiet cabin nestled in a small snow-covered valley. All your life you have felt a kinship with these noble beings of the forest. Fierce, predatory, and loyal you creep from the warmth of your home into the chill winter night. You feel each mind of the pack touch your own, welcoming you among them. Heeding their calls you drop to your knees and your body begins to change. Twisting, reforming itself into a savage hybrid. A scream erupts from your lips but turns into a howl as the process completes itself. No longer feeling the night’s bitter air you lope off into the woods to join your brothers and sisters. The hunt has begun. A. Basic Premise of a Wolfbrother The general idea behind a Wolfbrother is to create a shape shifting-summoning hybrid who specializes in wolves. Seems simple right? Well you’d be surprised. There are many, many out there who have turned their noses up at me at my idea. Telling me that it “suxxors” and all that other clever bnet slang that people are wont to throw about. I of course remind them that it’s just a game and at least I’m having fun doing my own thing rather than copying someone else’s tired idea. Their response is almost always going hostile. You will be laughed at occasionally for picking a build that is not designed for sheer power. Yet I think in the end you’ll have more fun and get more out of the game than the repetitious “click, kill, click, kill, loot, kill, click, die, loot, click” sequence. B. Basic Skill Focus Ok, your basic skills to work on as a Wolfbrother are: Lycanthropy, Werewolf, Spirit Wolves, Dire Wolves, Heart of Wolverine, Feral Rage, and Fury. These skills are what will make you and your pack a force to be reckoned with. D. Stat Focus Strong, fast, and tough you are Mother Nature’s avatar of justice. Dispensing her rage wherever necessary. As a result your strength, vitality, and dexterity must be high. 2. Skill Choices Here we go. Here’s a look at every skill that you’ll want to invest in. You will notice a lack of ratings next to any skill here. I personally think virtually any skill has its uses and should not be judged poorly because of my lack of knowledge with it. Elemental Tree Let’s get this right out of the way. You are not like other druids. They shunned you for your ability to communicate with the animals. You attained a level of attunement that they were never able to achieve. As I stated above, you are Mother Nature’s avatar of justice. You get right into the thick of things and let the demons know that they are an abomination of everything you stand for. Standing back and hurling meteors at things is not your style. So in short, zero points are used here. Summoning Tree Ah, here we go. This is where you’ll spend some points bringing forth your animal companions. Skill Name: Raven Prerequisites: Level 1 Pros: Provides an un-targetable bird that will peck your opponents eyes out. Cons: Not really worth it. Too many points to get too little damage. In addition since your ravens cannot be targeted, they cannot distract monsters from you. Wolfbrother Comments: These birds are better suited to eating than using to attack with. Final Decision: You’ll need a point in here as a prerequisite, but other than that. Leave ‘em. Skill Name: Poison Creeper Prerequisites: Level 1 Pros: It’s a vine, and it likes to poison things…and die. Mostly it likes dying. Cons: Oh, I think I took care of that in Pros. Wolfbrother Comments: I do not like plants, especially this one. Final Decision: Prerequisite if you wish to continue in the vine tree. Skill Name: Oak Sage Prerequisites: Level 6 Pros: Provides you with a fair hit point bonus. Cons: Enjoys trying to impress monsters by standing directly next to the biggest and nastiest one possible. As a result, it gets beaten pretty hard. Wolfbrother Comments: Bah, oaks are trees, and trees are plants, and you know how I feel about plants. Final Decision: Put a point in it. Skill Name: Spirit Wolves Prerequisites: Level 6, Raven Pros: You can get up to five of your kin to fight with you. In addition any point spent here will provide your wolves with a passive bonus to hit and defense. Cons: They are not as tough as their dire cousins and will be wiped out quickly at higher difficulty levels. Wolfbrother Comments: Good companions to have, but I prefer my Dire brothers and sisters. Final Decision: Put a few points in here, at least four. Skill Name: Carrion Vine Prerequisites: Level 12, Poison Creeper Pros: Creates a tougher vine that will devour corpses and provide you with the fruits of its labor. Cons: Can get beaten down if left alone. Wolfbrother Comments: While my aforementioned dislike for plants still remains, this one serves a purpose. Final Decision: Put a point here, more if you like. Skill Name: Heart of Wolverine Prerequisites: Level 18, Oak Sage Pros: Adds to attack rating and damage. Looks better than the damn Oak Sage. Cons: Cons? You hit things more easily and deal more damage. No cons here. Wolfbrother Comments: Ah yes. The wolverine is a fearsome creature. When our pack possesses it’s courage and ferocity they are unstoppable. Final Decision: Allocate tons of points here for maximum benefit. Skill Name: Dire Wolf Prerequisites: Level 18, Oak Sage Pros: Can bring up to three fearsome hunters of the north to devour your enemies. Can deal quite a bit of damage and provide a passive boost to hit points for your wolves. In addition they can consume a corpse and enter a blood rage, thus dealing more damage. Cons: None. You have ravenous beasts on your side, what more could you want. Wolfbrother Comments: Valuable comrades. I would be lost without them. Final Decision: You know what to do. Plenty of points here. Skill Name: Solar Creeper Prerequisites: Level 24, Carrion Vine Pros: It eats stuff for mana…that good I guess. Cons: You don’t need the extra mana. Wolfbrother Comments: Lousy plants. Final Decision: Don’t bother unless you’re a fan of wasting points. In this theme it isn’t needed. Skill Name: Spirit of Barbs Prerequisites: Level 30, Heart of Wolverine Pros: It hurts things that hurt you. Cons: You have to take a punch for it to work. Wolfbrother Comments: Barbs? The only time I’m covered with barbs is when I walk through one of those damn prickly plants. Final Decision: You’ll be relying on Heart of Wolverine too much to worry about this one. Skill Name: Summon Grizzly Prerequisites: Level 30, Dire Wolf Pros: Creates a bear. In addition wolves get a bonus to damage. Cons: You don’t like bears. Wolfbrother Comments: Bah bears. Clumsy, stupid things. Sure they can take a beating, but who wants a brick wall for a companion? Final Decision: Don’t bother unless you somehow have thousands of points to waste. Shape Shifting Tree Here is where your true power lays. Skill Name: Werewolf Prerequisites: Level 1 Pros: You get to be a giant canine…what more could you ask for? Well, ok. Let’s see, bonus to life, increased attack speed, increased attack rating, and a bonus to stamina. Happy? Cons: None. Wolfbrother Comments: I am at my finest when I join my brothers in this form. Final Decision: You’ll want plenty of points in here. You will start running into diminishing returns after a while (10+ points) or so. Skill Name: Lycanthropy Prerequisites: Level 1, Werewolf Pros: Bonus to your life and increases the amount of time spent in your form. Cons: Sort of makes you seem like you gained your powers through some sort of disease rather than a truly natural gift. Wolfbrother Comments: I was not bitten by some deranged beast. Well, that isn’t how I gained my powers anyway. Final Decision: Great place to put points if you don’t want to save any, or can’t decide where to put them. Skill Name: Werebear Prerequisites: Level 6 Pros: None, who wants to be a smelly bear? Cons: Constant jokes about “aren’t you supposed to be putting out a fire somewhere?” Wolfbrother Comments: Stupid bears… Final Decision: Do not bother. Skill Name: Feral Rage Prerequisites: Level 12, Werewolf Pros: Fantastic. The amount of life leech you get increases for each consecutive hit (up to three) and only requires one additional hit every 20 seconds to keep it going. Cons: Um, none? Wolfbrother Comments: My rage knows no bounds. Final Decision: Very good skill that’s overlooked sometimes in favor of Fury. You can easily Feral Rage three hits, switch to Fury and then switch back to Feral Rage before it runs out. Thus you do insane damage and steal a lot of life. Not many points are needed to make this a very good skill. Skill Name: Maul Prerequisites: Level 12, Werebear Pros: You get to maul somebody. Cons: You’d have to be an ugly bear to do it. Wolfbrother Comments: Maul? Why maul when you can RAGE? Final Decision: Again, don’t bother. Skill Name: Rabies Prerequisites: Level 18, Feral Rage Pros: Spread disease (poison) throughout some mobs. Cons: Animals with rabies are usually put down. Wolfbrother Comments: I am not some sort of diseased mutt! Final Decision: Put a point in for prerequisites but don’t use it! Skill Name: Fire Claws Prerequisites: Level 18, Feral Rage, Maul Pros: You get to burn stuff. Cons: Your paws are on fire…and way too many prereqs. Wolfbrother Comments: I do not wish to have my hands burned. Final Decision: Don’t worry about it. Skill Name: Hunger Prerequisites: Level 24, Fire Claws Pros: Get huge leech abilities Cons: Large reduction in damage, plus all the prerequisites. Wolfbrother Comments: When I am hungry I kill more, not less. Final Decision: If it didn’t have all those prerequisites it’d be great…unfortunately it does. Forget it. Skill Name: Shockwave Prerequisites: Level 24, Maul Pros: Er…uh...you can create a sonic wave? Cons: You’d need to be a bear…need I say more? Wolfbrother Comments: The only shockwave I ever see is after one of my claws tears through an evil monstrosity. Final Decision: You’d need to be a bear, so pass on it. Skill Name: Fury Prerequisites: Level 30, Rabies Pros: Incredible. Adds a lot to hit and damage. Similar to Zeal for a Paladin…but much cooler. Cons: None. Wolfbrother Comments: You do not wish to bring my wrath down upon you. Final Decision: Fantastic skill. This combined with Feral Rage will be your bread and butter. 3. Stat Choices Strength: You’re strong. Therefore it would stand to reason that your strength would be high. In my opinion there is no magic number here. If you add to strength you deal more damage and can use better weapons. Dexterity: You agilely flit about the woods and many find it difficult to catch you, let alone hit you. Many dislike taking this to a high level, however there’s nothing worse than finding a fantastic item only to see that you’re way short on the dex requirement. Vitality: You’re tough. Perhaps not as tough as those moronic bears, but you can take a hit pretty well. Investing here can never hurt. Energy: Other druids might cast spells. You rely on your rage to see your way to victory. Not much, if any, is needed here. What mana you do have can be easily leeched back. 4. Equipment With so many pieces of equipment out there it would be futile to try and catalogue every item and compare them to each other. Instead I’ll give you a list of item characteristics that you might find useful and some specific set or unique items. Now all of this is dependent on your play style, but fortunately the Wolfbrother gives you quite a bit of room to maneuver when it comes to equipment selection. Since you won’t be utilizing hunger you may want to invest in some form of mana leech, or the +mana after each kill. Your still cost little to use and with these you’ll make sure that you’ll always be ready for anything. Plus to skills is always nice. Always. Life leech is nice, but you’ll get plenty of that from Feral Rage. Increased attack speed is also a nice modification to have. I would stay away from anything with charges. They have insane prices to repair since the 1.09 patch. Besides, why were werewolves teleporting anyway? Items with “casts ____ X% of the time when hit” or when you attack are fairly decent. Those with Frost Nova in particular can help you out. Weapons. Ok, here’s what I do. I have an ungodly two handed weapon as my primary attack weapon. With a decent speed and a ton of damage you can become a whirling tornado of claws and fangs. My alternate set-up is a good one-handed weapon with elemental damage and a decent shield. While it should be evident why my alternate is like that, I’ll explain it later. Poison reduction is also nice, as is “cannot be frozen”, and let’s not forget resists. The weapon of choice right now for shape shifting druids seems to be the Immortal King’s Stone Crusher (Maul). But that’s difficult to find and it usually costs a paw and a tail to trade for it. If you get your hands on it and can actually use it, great. If not, don’t sweat it. There are the ever popular Silks of the Victor. I’ve never been fond of them but +1 to skills is +1 to skills. If you want to trade for nice items you had better have a Stone of Jordan, or twelve because it’s the accepted medium of currency. Personally you’ll have more fun if you just hunt for items by yourself or with some friends. 5. Other Wolfbrother Tips Combat. The only drawback to having your wolf brethren with you is that they can easily be sent packing in Hell difficulty. Your skirmish line can easily falter and fall if you aren’t paying attention to the battle. Quickly you will find yourself surrounded and friendless in a very hostile environment. How do you combat this? Well, there isn’t much to it. Just pay attention. If you notice that you and two of your wolves are railing on one monster and the third is left to handle four or fives you should consider moving over to help your beleaguered comrade. Investing a lot of points in Dire Wolves will give them more life and damage, but as you progress you will have to summon them more. It’s the drawback to avoiding bears and Oak Sage. I already stated that Feral Rage and Fury can be combined for a devastating effect. Let me reemphasize that: use Feral Rage and Fury in combination whenever possible! You’ll leech back so much life that you’ll rarely have to worry about being smacked around. Mercenaries. While you are a proud and noble lord of the forest, it is sometimes wise to seek aid. The Barbarians found in Act V are preferable. They provide a solid wall to keep you and yours alive, they also seem more connected to nature, unlike those foul necromancers. Plus they smell slightly better than bears. Physical Immune Monsters. These are your bane. Your whole goal is to inflict such massive physical damage that nothing can stand before you. Unfortunately physically immune monsters put a slight dent in your plan. How do you fix this? Mercenary. Get a mercenary and equip them with a nice socketed weapon containing gems. Charms. Load up on charms that give you elemental damage (poison is a favorite of many). Get your own socketed item. Pack a maul with gems and you’ll find that those PI monsters don’t last quite as long as they did before. My personal preference is to combine charms with my secondary weapon set-up. Finding a decent elemental damage one handed weapon is not difficult. This with a shield (to keep you safe while you slowly beat the monster down) should make the encounter rather safe, if not enjoyable. Etiquette. Yes you are a wild beast, but you are not a homicidal maniac. Randomly attacking other players without prior provocation will give all of us Wolfbrothers a bad name. Treat others with respect, but be wary of Paladins. They usually try and convert you to their religion, Zakarum. 6. Final Thoughts I sincerely hope that this guide has provided you with some information, and hopefully a little entertainment. Variations and character themes are the only things that have kept me playing Diablo II for as long as I have. Thanks To: Blizzard, for making a great game. Even if it took a really, really long time. The 5% of the bnet population who are friendly and personable. Me, for amusing myself by writing this guide. Jonathon Spectre’s Were-Guide at www.lurkerlounge.com. After reading such an amusing and insightful guide I was inspired to try my own hand at it. Any actual numbers were gathered from www.diabloii.net, a fantastic website full of information, or from www.battle.net, Blizzard’s own resource page. And to anyone who actually read this and enjoyed it. This document Copyright 2001 by Devon Butler.