Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction v1.11 High Leveling Guide Version 1.09 Final by Cloud-Strife-J (AKA Tifas-Revenge, John Reeske) February 17th, 2007 Table of Contents 1. Version History 1.5 The Truth about High Leveling and Bots 2. The story of Tifas-Revenge, and the 2nd ladder season race in July-August, 2004 2.5. v1.11/b Notes 3. Leveling Strategies and Techniques 4. Specific Character Guide 5. Legal Info 6. Special Thanks Contact Info: John Reeske (AKA Tifas-Revenge, Cloud Strife J) email:John0309@aol.com Main Diablo 2/Battle.Net Accounts: *john0309 *john03092 (NOTE: They are sometimes shared with some of my friends, Alana and AJ mainly) GameFAQs Forums User Name: Cloud Strife J (Account Name: Tifas_Revenge) 1. Version History 6-17-2005 (v1.0 beta) First Version. 5 Sections started, not completed yet. 6-26-2005 (v1.01 beta) Did some more of the Specific Characters (Assassin) 7-4-2005 (v1.02 beta) Minor changes/Additions everywhere, sections still not complete. Submitted today to GameFAQs for review, happy 4th of July. Special Thanks Section Added. Attack Barbarian section complete. Many spelling/formatting errors fixed. 7-6-2005 (v1.03 beta) Finished working on the Wind Druid section. Put up missing charms in the Attack Barbarian gear section. Did some more minor corrections and added in my prize pack in the Story section. 7-7-2005 (No version yet here) Added a new technique: Placeholders. 7-11-2005 (v1.04 beta) Lightning Javazon section now done. 7-16-2005 (v1.05 beta) Warcry Barb and Necromancer Sections now done. 8-25-2005 (v1.06) Many people have doubts right now that I levelled Tifas-Revenge to 99. I added a section entitled "The Truth about Leveling and Bots" so that people could read up on the facts. Also updated info for 1.11, and revised the Bone Necro Section. 12-30-2006 (v1.07) Updated title to reflect that this FAQ covers version 1.11 of Diablo 2. Also added some more strategies I neglected to mention in the strategy section to run Baal fast. 2-5-2007 (v1.08) Added a screenshot image link to the #1 ranking of my level 99 Sorceress taken on Ladder Season 2, towards the end of the season. See Story section for details. 2-17-2007 (v1.09) Added more information in the 1.11/1.11b section, and other minor changes. (Why isn't CjayC changing this guide to reflect Diablo 2 LOD: v1.11?) 1.5. The Truth about High Leveling and Bots Many of you may have doubts about me, my acomplishments, and such things, as most people in Ladder Season 2 around October of 2004 used a Baal Bot to level their characters to 99 (Hammerdins mainly). As proof of this, I was able to re-create the bot and to my astonishment, found that I could have a level 99 character without doing any of the leveling myself, given that I had the right equipment/gear for that character. Long after I had levelled Tifas-Revenge to 99 manually (she hit 99 in August), without the help of any bot at all, I tried out some of the programs myself to see if getting a level 99 could be done in this way because I always had my doubts because the bots I saw always died and losed a lot of experience since they cannot recover dead bodies. I ran an experiment with my Hammerdin; levelled to 90 manually, then downloaded D2JSP's YAMB (Yet another Multi-bot for 1.10). Setting the thing up was hard enough, as the instructions were very complicated and the bot had so many different variables and settings. However, in the end, I proved to everyone else that you could just as easily get to level 99 with a bot as you could legitly. I had to live with this fact and basically a lot of people often criticized and called me a hipocrit for this. However, this was merely an experiment to see what was possible since I refused to believe that you could get to level 99 with a bot. It took the bot from level 90 to 99 about 5 months (December to May), more than 3 times longer than I did manually running since the bot died a lot, had no way of getting experience shrines or doing any special levelling techniques, not to mention it wasn't using Ondals Wisdom. I also ran the bot on Tifas-Revenge a couple of times in February for kicks, and found that it didn't work very well; she had died about half the time while in the Throne of Destruction to Cold Immunes (Hell Witches mainly and Minion Wave 2 Death Mages). Imagine if I had been running this bot at level 98 with a lot of experience... it would have taken 2 weeks of hard work levelling and thrown it all away in a matter of minutes. Conclusions: I would not recommend running a bot at all if you wish to level the fastest, since it will die even with some of the best possible gear you could find, and not get its body back. Sometimes it has gotten stuck without Gold since the mercenary would always die, and therefore would be unable to buy potions. I give full credit to everyone who developed the bot to level up, but personally, if I was running ladder season, I would not run a bot since: A. I wouldn't have the best gear for it and it would die often (this is especially true during the first month or so of ladder). B. There's no way for sure that you know that people will know you are a legit player, and you won't often know who you are playing with. C. You cannot do any of the special levelling techniques in this guide. D. Battle.net has gotten much more strict and you could get banned now for using anything 3rd party, even if it has nothing to do with D2 at all. E. Using bots was done at my own risk; I could have had my account hacked by someone else, yet I chose to take this risk since Diablo 2 was dead anyway during January-May of 2005, and I had already gotten my prize for my legit sorceress, Tifas-Revenge. So if some of you are asking whether Tifas-Revenge was a bot or not, I can tell you first hand that she was not; and proof of this is found entirely in this guide, including my story. YAMB's Baal Script came out around October, about 2 months after I had gotten Tifas-Revenge to 99, and I knew of no other bots that could do Baal beforehand. Please do not email me and ask me how to set up bots for your character... they do not work on Battle.net anymore now that they have updated to patch 1.11, and even if they did, you would probably be banned from Bnet since they have strict standards now. 2. The Story of Tifas-Revenge (an autobiography) Ladder season 2 began on July 7th 2004, at around 5:30pm Pacific Daylight Time. During that day, Battle.net was very clogged, and it was difficult to create a game or join one not full. I, Tifas-Revenge, created my sorceress named after my first Sorceress in Ladder Season 1, named FFSeven-Tifa. The name comes from Final Fantasy 7, and Tifa is one of the main Heroines in that game, not to Mention very attractive. I thought that making the "Revenge" tag at the end would make it so that everyone could see I was remaking my old character, a level 95 sorceress by the end of Season one, who was well known within high level baaling groups. I was not in a clan at the time, and everyone had no items to begin with, so I began with a few of my online friends all making sorceresses; one fire, one lightning, and I was the cold sorc. Getting through normal was not very difficult as long as we had a full party and plenty of mana potions. I had to put more points into energy than the typical sorceress would have to, because I had specifically designed that sorc to keep her mana up so later on, she could tele to Baal without too much trouble. Ladder was unstable at the very beginning, and it was difficult to keep track through normal mode to see who was on the top of the ladder, but it didn't matter too much since the race was to see who could get to level 99 first and level 99 was by no means, easy to get to. Anyway, my party took the long way to get through normal; going through all of act 2 and act 3 since teleport wasn't very cost-effective at level 18. By the end of act 3, my character had reached level 25 through killing all the monsters on the way, so I did not need to level up any further in order to do Baal running. Act 4 was fairly simple to get through, just freeze the monsters and blizzard them and they usually die. Diablo was a pain though, but static field showed him otherwise. Once we got into act 5, I had a new group with a summon necro, a barbarian and a few other sorcies. I took it upon myself to teleport all the way to the ancients, skipping all quests except for Anya, so I stocked up on Mana Potions and teleported all the way there. Frozenstein was not too difficult since we had a better balanced party, and the ancients were a pushover. I teleported to Worldstone Keep level 2, and got the waypoint, and then started Baal running until level 50. Normal Baal running went very smooth, even though I died along with other people a few times, we still were gaining good experience, and I had leveled up my skills to do good damage. Once I hit level 50, I killed Baal and went into Nightmare. Nightmare was not too difficult, even though there were some people already ahead and Baal running already, this meant we could do some magic-finding for some items. However, it was still very difficult to MF without decent gear, not to mention Andariel in Nightmare doesn't like to be hit with Blizzard a few times. Anyway, I got through Nightmare and found someone who had both the Travincal and Durance 2 Waypoints, and traded them some rare gear (I think it was a helm or something for a barb) for the waypoints in Act 3. Act 2 wasn't difficult now that I could teleport and had mild Faster Cast Rate (About 20%) and decent mana. Nightmare Diablo was easier than normal since we had a necro with skelles and revives tanking while the rest of us fired away and froze the monsters. After Diablo died, I teleported all the way to the Ancients Way quickly as I could, and then after a few re-spawns of the ancients, we managed to kill them. Baal running in Nightmare was very difficult now that Black Souls were present on the way to Baal. Little Lightning Resistance and many Black souls meant a difficult teleport, so I had to find a barbarian who could use Battle Orders, and Thundergods at that time was looking just as valuable as Tyreal's Might. After a few painful Nightmare Baal Runs, it was around 12:00am, and my character was level 75. Most of my friends went to bed, so I was almost on my own completely, with few others. However, the worst of the pain was yet to come, as when I entered Hell mode, just getting through act 1 was like trying to kill Baal with no gear. I had some items, mainly a Spirit Shroud, a Peasant Crown, Nightsmoke, 2 FCR Rings, frost burns, a rare sorc orb with +2 to cold skills, Sigon's Guard, and a rare ammy with +1 to Sorc skills. I had -60 or less to all of my resists with such gear, and very little defense. My mercenary I had hired while in Act 2 Nightmare was no better; he just died to one zombie in hell mode. Andariel was by no means easy at all to defeat, her poison took a big chunk of my life down very quickly, so most of us had to concentrate on killing the minions first so they wouldn't deal deadly blows, but eventually we killed her and got to Act 2 in hell mode. The hardest part of act 2 was the Arcane Sanctuary and Duriel, since the lightning spires in Chaos usually kill me in 1-2 hits, it was difficult just getting to the summoner yet alone defeating him. Fortunately, we had another summoning necro come along to help tank as I teleported and made a TP in a safe spot for him, after 4-5 game remakes. There was a clan that was also trying to get through the arcane sanctuary just as I was, AoU, based in Australia. Duriel was just plain luck though, as I teleported to the staff spot, there were no monsters there... and usually there are a few cold immunes (Giants). He took a while to defeat as I had slow teleport, so he could whack me once or twice before I died, not to mention the holy freeze which did not help. Then as luck would have it, someone had the Travincal waypoint in hell and needed our help to do the quest. We then got through Trav very difficultly and slowly, as a necro kept re-summoning his minions and revives to tank the Council and I froze the non-cold immunes. Those hydras hurt though since I had -60 fire res, and slow FCR to teleport-dodge them. Hell Mephisto was more difficult to tele to than to actually fight, but as luck would have it, the 2nd time around when I killed him while rushing a friend, he dropped an SOJ. I was completely shocked, and I used that SOJ on my sorc. Everyone was like "you lucky *****" and I just smiled and went to act 4 in a new game. A Necromancer named Muzzybones (#1 at the time) made some summons in act 1 and we walked along the river of flame with a few others. It took about 45 minutes total to clear out the Chaos Sanctum, and a few of my friends died a few times. When Diablo Spawned, we all got whacked with his fire nova spell, except for Muzzybones; who kept tanking him good with his revived fire-immune Venom Lords and Doom Knights, and a fire golem. Diablo dropped in health slowly as I kept trying to Blizzard/Orb him a few times (My blizzard only did about 3-4K damage), but Diablo eventually dropped to the ground, with no drops at all that were any good. I was level 77 by the time I got into Hell Act 5, and again, I teleported all the way to the ancients. However, the ancients were very difficult to defeat, and it took many tries, and over 2 hours just to kill all 3 of them, and I had died at least 20 times in the process. As soon as the ancients were dead, I was eager to get Baal runs going, but very few people had made it all the way to act 5 in hell and mostly they were blizzard sorcies. One Hell Baal run took about 30 minutes to do, and if there were any burning souls or undead soul killers, everyone was pretty much dead. If I was lucky, I'd run into a necro who could summon and tank the Act 2 Minions (The cold immunes), which everyone was having trouble with, but mainly a lot of early-ladder baalers were all Blizzard sorcs and we usually ended up dead after the 2nd wave of minions. I decided it would be better to keep baaling in Nightmare instead, since there were plenty of people still Baal running back there, and few people in hell. I also managed to do some good Magic-Finding and got myself a Skin of the Vipermagi Armor, even though it had only 21 all resists, it helped. It took me a while to find Magefists, Tal's Amulet, and other good gear, and runewords were very rare as well. I couldn't kill Pindle in Hell, since the Anya quest was completely out of the question for a cold sorcie alone, so I did most of my leveling and Magic Finding in Nightmare for about 3-4 days. By about the 4th day, I was falling behind on ladder a bit, being only level 78 and a few people were past level 80, so I looked at all the hell games, but wasn't able to find any good Baal games going on. I met up with a new friend called BlueFlamesX, and he built a tri-sorceress, so we both kept our eyes out for good Baal games. I just made a few games and hoped for the best, and luckily, we had a barbarian (Wraithless) join, along with some hammer paladins, so I put my sorc back to work on teleeing to Baal. I ran across a former Hardcore Sorceress named Rewta, which was running Baal using the Hardcore System (1-3 Threat scale), so I learned to use that whenever I put up a TP in the Throne of Destruction. Usually, if the throne was really ugly, I'd tell everyone ng, and we all started baaling pretty quickly. Then, I got the idea about pre-teleeing as I had seen from the first season when a level 82 sorceress called PetPet had a TP up when everyone joined. My idea worked out good; I had everyone kill Baal while I made the next game, and they gave me the drops for teleeing in exchange. However, there was one small problem though; people always had to leave and had other things to do that summer (whether it was hanging out with a girlfriend, or w/e), so I needed to get into a more serious mindset about the whole ladder competition; Diablo 2 was not a game anymore, it was a job to be done, and my goal was to get to level 99 before anyone else could. I met up with a druid, Ismashyou (known as Smash), who was competing against Cowflex (The #1 druid at the time and overall ladder #1, I was #3 and Lunaz, a sorceress, was #2). Smash had gotten backstabbed by Lunaz, and he needed more sorcies to tele to Baal, so I volunteered. We were pulling off sub-2 minute Baal runs, and our party was as follows: 4 Hammerdins, 1 Wind Druid (Smash), 1 Trap Sin, 1 Tele Sorc (me), and one summoning Necromancer (xXx-Alucard I think). I had very little sleep in the next 2-3 weeks as I was leveling my sorceress, and about 1 week into the ladder season, I had traded the SOJ I found (since I MFed a few more) for a perfect Ondals Wisdom. I then used my normal socket quest and put an all-res jewel in it. Half the battle before I met smash was getting good enough items for my sorceress, and trading for items was very difficult to do since values had reset. Fortunately, since the Realm Down patch was not implemented until Early August, I had a friend help Magic-Find using one of my fire sorceresses doing NM Andy runs while I baaled, and we split the drops 50/50. I found a Nightwings veil in a Baal run and immediately threw away my peasant crown and used it when I was at level 97, very late in the game. Once I had hit level 97 however, it seemed like I would never get to level 98, but with the help of Smash, we created the "A Team" and set up Elite Baal running. I had also hopped around looking for other Baal runs, and Clan ALK was running Baal fast as well as one of my Amazon friends from Season One, BigtimeBolt, was running fast Baal with pre-tele as well. I made it a routine to use Ondals wisdom every time I baaled, and tried to find an exp. shrine in act 1 by scouring the waypoints quickly, sometimes after teleeing to Baal. I learned another trick to gain more experience from the Act 2 Minions from TheFirstBarb, and me and my friend Blue did some D-clone hunting as well and got 10% Annis when SOJs popped in our Baal games, since people were still selling SOJs on Non Ladder. At level 98, leveling was slower than a snail trying to cross the golden gate bridge; it was early August, the summer heat was getting to me, I had very little sleep, and the leader of the ladder wasn't giving up easily. Any and all experience that I gained came directly from Baal himself, so we had to tweak our Baal runs so that each of the high levels could gain the most experience from him. By level 98 however, Lunaz and Cowflex were long out of the race, but Nini-Light, another Blizzard Sorceress, was in the lead by about 30M experience, and I was #2. No one was close to me except for one Hardcore Sorceress, Forktheggs, who was trailing by about 40M at the time. Tal_Xanyl, a trap assassin and #3 at that time, had given up after Lunaz quit and Lunaz had reportedly Ebayed his/her account off (although I checked EBay and it wasn't there, not even in the completed listings, so it was just a rumor). I kept going however, and Smash was almost about to give up as well after I had died once when I was level 98, losing 8M experience, equivalent to about 500 Baal runs if done correctly at 98. I had almost given up, but some fighting spirit kept me going inside... I wanted to get to the top and at least get my first level 99 character for myself if I did not win the contest. We had set up Baal runs with Diablo as well, and I had met Chase, member of clan EMF, and I was first introduced to Teamspeak 2; a voice chat client. We coordinated Baal runs, and he had helped me by making a hammerdin (named Tifas-B**** ironically), and he cleared out the chaos sanctum so I could get experience from Diablo as well as Baal, since by then everyone had Enigmas on their hammerdins. When the "Realm Down" had started up, it really made me angry since we could not do fast Baal runs anymore without getting booted off Battle.net. A lot of people quit, but I persisted on. I died a 2nd time, this time to Diablo directly, and I literally gave up that day. Nini-Light was now 50M away from me and about 20M away from Level 99, and there would be no way I could cover that much experience in such a short amount of time now that Realm Downs limited our game length. However, I kept baaling, sometimes fast, but most of the time slowly and steadily to avoid the Realm Down message; it's as if Battle.net put a "Speed Limit 35" sign on the FREEWAY... it was just annoying. The rust storm deleted a lot of my hammerdin friends' enigmas since most of the runes had been duped from item stores, so I was seeking some sorceresses to tele again. It wasn't till around September after I got my Sorceress to level 99 that people had started getting Enigmas back after this rust storm in mid-late August. Nini-light hit level 99 in Mid-August, and that night I just got drunk and went out and partied at a friend's house, because I felt defeated. She had somehow found a way to avoid realm downs and still level very fast, whereas I was in the dust-cloud and still level 98. However, much to my luck, I heard on the Blizzard Forums that nini-light was not registered and therefore ineligible to win the Prize pack, so I just laughed and get my sorc back into gear, and started baaling fast again. Forktheggs was behind me and still trying to compete for first level 99 on Hardcore, but we had set up a lot of Diablo and Baal runs one day and I had gotten over 20M experience in one day, pushing me ever so close to 99. We continued this for a few days, and I was moments away from Level 99. When I hit 3520M experience, about 400K experience away from 99, I stopped for a little while, got all my friends together I had baaled with since the beginning, and invited them all to get my ear each on my very last Baal Run. Since Smash was gone, Chase was helping me level the most, and he used his sorc to pre-tele for me a few times, and then on my very last Baal Run, I teleported to Baal, opened up the TP, owned all the monsters and as soon as Baal Dropped... DING! Level 99! Everyone went Hostile on me and each got one ear to keep as a memento of my victory. We all celebrated, and then a few days later, Blizzard posted the Official Announcement both on Arreat Summit and on their Main Website (http://www.battle.net/diablo2exp/). It's now in the sticky graveyard on the forums in Battlenet, but here is what they posted: August 26, 2004 US West has a Winner From the lofty stronghold of the Arreat Summit arises the first hero to achieve glory in the realms of Sanctuary. Congratulations to Matriarch Tifas- Revenge as she is the very first registered Diablo II character to reach level 99 on the US West Realm. For becoming the very first character to reach Level 99 on the Realm, her alter ego will receive the prizes listed here, in our "When Worlds Collide" contest. So far, only the US West Realm prize pack has been claimed, which leaves the US East, Asia 1-3 and Europe prize packs up for grabs. Stay tuned for further contest updates! The Prize Pack was a Blizzard North CD Wallet, a Tichondrious (sp?) Statue, a signed Collector's Edition of World of Warcraft, and a Blizzard T-Shirt. Afterwards, I still continued to play Diablo 2, but I was getting much more sleep and college was starting in about 3 weeks. I didn't get my Prize till around January of 2005, after World of Warcraft had gone Final. All in all, I lost count of how many Baal runs I did from the very beginning, it must have been over 20K, and half the battle alone was in the higher levels. So if you, the reader, wish to know how to level once you get very high (level 95 or higher) through Baal runs, I dedicate this FAQ to all the serious, hard core (not literally), Diablo 2 players that wish to have a level 99 character on their account legitimately (without using a bot). Screenshot link of my Sorceress on ladder (taken in mid-2005): http://s147.photobucket.com/albums/r288/john0309/ ?action=view¤t=Tifas-Revenge199.jpg 2.5. v1.11/1.11b Notes Leveling has not changed as much since 1.10. The experience for all the monsters is the same (at least to my knowledge). The only major additions I will say here though is that you cannot use a Bone Necro's marrowwalk glitch anymore (i.e. you don't get level 35 Bone Prison from them as a synergy). The "key" quests help you get an item called the "Hellfire Torch" which is like an Anni on steroids; it has +3 to all skills for a specific class, and I recommend each character get one for the skills. Arreat Summit hasn't posted this Unique Large charm on their website yet, but you want to know more information, refer to the 1.11 quests guide here on GameFAQs. I wouldn't recommend spawning the Uber 3 for levelling though, as they can be harder than Diablo Clone alone (especially Uber Mephisto). Some of the monsters might give experience in the sub-levels spawned with the Keys where Lilith, Super Izual, and Super Duriel are (Matron's Den, Forgotten Sands, Hellpit). Just be careful if you choose to level there though, the monsters are very difficult even for veteran players. There used to be a mercenary aura stacking glitch so that these monsters could be killed a lot, but it was patched on the Realms, although it may work in Single Player or Open. I recommend using a smiter paladin for doing these levels with full smite gear (Exile, etc...). I do not know what the SOH (Standard of Heroes) does; please do not ask me for what it does because I don't know. As for the runewords, 1.11 runewords are not anything to write home about. I would not recommend using any of them at all. There are, however, 3 unknown runewords at the time of this FAQ writing, so if you find a runeword accidently that isn't on the list, please let me know what it does. 7 of the runewords are for the As far to my knowledge, 1.11b just patched a minor bug and had no other changes gameplay-wise. As far as levelling is concerned, 1.10 and 1.11/b are identical in gameplay and experience. This guide will be updated as new patches are released. Battle.net recently made it possible to trade unique charms in the trade screen on their servers just after 1.11b was released to make trading with them less risky. Now people can trade Gheed's Fortune, Annhilus, and Hellfire Torches for other items (but not for each other). 3. Leveling Strategies and Techniques I. Introduction Okay, by now, many of you have a lot of questions; how I did it, how much time it took, etc... Let me tell you right now, getting to level 99 is by no means easy at all; it requires a lot of patience, hard work, techniques, as well as friends to help you. Even though most of the Diablo 2 community by now is running Baal Bots to keep their character leveling while they are away, I find this to be cheating and I do not advocate such use of a bot while playing Diablo 2, since bots are what caused me all that much trouble when Blizzard implemented their "Realm Down" to limit game play time so that bots would get booted and servers unclogged; but it had an adverse effect on legit players as well. If you are reading this, I am assuming you have a character in Hell Mode in Act 5 on Diablo 2, and you would like to know the fastest way to level legitimately. II. Techniques A. Experience Shrines If you can find an experience shrine, then good; use them at all costs, since they increase all experience that you get by 50%. The only downside is, if you get cursed, the shrine disappears, so you have to keep back away from Baal in the Throne of Destruction in order to avoid Decrepify and possibly unique monsters that have the ?cursed? attribute. Also, if you have located an experience shrine (usually act 1 is the most popular place everyone searches), don't take it until the TP to the throne is ready and clear (no Oblivion Knights or Hell Witches to curse you, or other monsters that could). Some people may call you a "leech" for using experience shrines, but if you can attack monsters without getting cursed by Baal or his minions, do so. I typically kept my distance and cast Blizzards in the area where the minions spawn. Basically, the longer you can keep an experience shrine on while monsters die, the more experience you will gain, regardless if it is Baal's Minions, Diablo, or Baal himself. Some people will often say that experience shrines reduce all the other's experience, while this isn't true at all. I did several tests in 2 player Baaling games, and found that the shrined person DOES get more experience from all sets of minions, while the unshrined person gets their usual experience as if the other person did not have one at all, so in other words, getting an experience shrine is independent upon other's experience. B. The Act 2 Minions Experience Glitch This glitch only applies to a Full Game (8 people) in the Throne of Destruction during Act 2 (The Unravellers and Death Mages). What you have to do is get one person in the Allied party to Un-Party (Leave Party) just before the Act 2 Minions Spawn. The game has to be full for this glitch to work, if you have 7 or less people in the game, you do not need to do this glitch at all, since in reality, the act 2 minions give significantly less experience in an 8-person game than they do in a 7-person game. Usually, the lowest level in the party is the one who un-parties thus helping the higher levels gain more experience, while he gets more experience from the other waves anyway. The person who un-allies should re-party before the Act 3 wave spawns (The Council) in the Throne of Destruction. This is one of the easiest glitches to do, and it helps the entire baaling party, regardless of level, but at high levels (95+) it helps tremendously. C. "Lingering" and Killing Baal If you have ever played 1.10 and gotten up to level 97 or 98, you'll know just how painful experience gaining can be at those levels, and since the monster level of the minions is lower than your character level, you basically get a huge experience penalty. The only way around this is to start killing Baal in a special way that involves "lingering". By lingering, this means precisely the definition, just hanging around, at least until a certain point in the game is met. You however, the high level, will not be lingering since you need to kill Baal for the experience, so you're probably wondering: Who lingers? This is a question you should always ask in Baal games, especially private runs with other high levels. By lingering, the person waits until someone enters the worldstone chamber (where Baal is), and then leaves the game or optionally, they can un-ally if they wish and enter the worldstone chamber and either just sit there and watch the action, or help the higher levels kill Baal, WITHOUT GETTING THE LAST HIT, since the last hit determines who gets the experience from ANY MONSTER. This technique requires a lot of coordination, and certain combinations of Baal Killers (the High Levels who get the experience) and Lingers (the ones who stay in the game until someone enters Baal's Worldstone Chamber) are more optimal than others. In my experience Baaling, if I am the only killer killing Baal, 2 people should linger for maximum experience (usually around 56K at 98 with Ondal?s and a 10% Anni); this is known as 1/2 (1 person Kills Baal, 2 People wait for him to enter the worldstone chamber). If another High level wishes to kill Baal as well, 3 people should linger for maximum experience; (the experience is the same as 1/2) and this is known as 2/3 (i.e. 2 People are killing Baal, and 3 people wait for one of them to enter the worldstone chamber). If 3 people wish to Kill Baal (you and 2 others), then ONLY ONE PERSON SHOULD LINGER, and NO MORE (this is known as 3/1). You don't get as much experience as you do from 1/2 or 2/3, but 3/1 is useful if you have 3 Level 98's in the same Baal game. If 4 people wish to kill Baal, then everyone else should linger if it is a full game of 8 people (this is known as 4/4). The experience for 4/4 is just slightly better than 3/1, but not better than 1/2 or 2/3. The main problem with coordinating this is to make sure everyone knows what to do, and when to leave the games, since not all people understand that the only MAJOR source of experience at high levels (mainly level 97 or 98) comes from Baal, and that most lower levels that wish to get the items off Baal usually end up killing Baal in order to Magic Find and get good items. However, repeat after me: BAAL RUNNING IS FOR LEVELING NOT MAGIC-FINDING! Usually, in higher level Baal runs, the person who teles to the throne usually keeps the drops as price for his/her teleeing service, but other arrangements can be worked out depending if people are helping the higher levels to kill Baal. Basically, if you are one of those higher levels; prepare to sacrifice all Baal drops for his experience in exchange. ANY person who is NOT LINGERING should always leave the game IMMEDIATELY after the Minions of Destruction (Act 5 Wave) are all dead, or else this lingering technique WILL NOT WORK in 3/1, and it will take longer to kill Baal in either 1/2 or 2/3, wasting valuable time for more experience gaining in the next game. It is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED that if you decide to use this technique (and you should), that you get someone to pre- tele for your high level character. Note: If you choose not to use this technique, your experience from Baal will be very little (usually about 1/5 of what it is depending on the game), and believe me, this just takes a lot more Baal running and more time where you could be out partying or doing something you like (again, we are talking about Manually Baaling without a Baal Bot). From Level 98 to 99, it takes on average, without killing Baal, over 20K runs total, and without lingering (everyone kills Baal partied), about 8-10K runs, and with lingering, about 5- 7K runs total. If you do the math, if on average one Baal run lasts 3 minutes, you'd be spending about 15000 more minutes baaling at most (250 more hours of game play) if you did not linger, and 500 more hours of game play getting to 99 on top of that for a total of 750 Hours more if you did not kill Baal at all at level 98. This is all assuming that you do not die in the process or use experience shrines to speed up your runs, or kill Diablo as well as Baal in the same game (in technique D). My numbers are all good estimates, maybe in a future version of this FAQ I'll include exact numbers from Diablo 2. D. Diablo + Baal Runs in the same game This technique will literally, when combined with all the previous ones, triple your experience. What you do is you get one person to clear out the Chaos Sanctuary in the next Baal game (not the game you are in) while you and everyone else is in the Throne of Destruction or beforehand in your game. Typically, the best character to help you do this is a hammerdin with full gear (enigma, etc...), since they can clear out the 3 seal bosses the quickest in the Chaos Sanctum. While this Hammerdin is clearing out Chaos, he should get all of Diablo drops for his service to you as a courtesy, and when Diablo says "not even death can save you from me," he should make a tp up near Diablo, but DO NOT SPAWN HIM until the game is full or about 7-8 people are in the game that have finished coming from the previous run, including you, the high level character. As soon as everyone is in the game, he or you can spawn Diablo, and then he leaves and clears out Chaos in the next game. Then, before you kill Diablo (he is easier than Baal), get an experience shrine (if there is one in the Chaos Sanctum, less work for you to find one in act 1) if you can find one, since Diablo will not curse you at all; then proceed to the Baal Run and Kill Baal's minions (if they are still alive) and if not, then Kill Baal. Doing this with an experience shrine, a 10% Anni, and Ondal?s Wisdom, you can get up to about 150K experience if Baal does not curse you in the Worldstone Chamber (yes that's 3x!) at level 98. Note: A variant of this technique can be done, if you choose to kill Nithilhak instead of Diablo, but it is much more dangerous since his Corpse Explosion can be very deadly to sorcies or other characters with low HP. If you choose, however, to kill Nith, you'll need to have a Nature's Peace ring so he cannot CE you at all, and you won't need a hammerdin to do anything; you just need to kill Nith in a full game. Also keep in mind that his atributes are different, and he can be cold immune, not to mention his minions are cold immune, and there can be some very nasty monsters down in the Halls of Vaught, so be very careful, since dying could make you lose more experience than it is worth going down there. In other words: PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK in the Halls of Vaught. E. Pre-Teleeing This is one of the easiest Baaling techniques that has been used for many higher levels ever since 1.10 came out. Basically, you hire a lower level sorceress or hammerdin for your Baal runs, giving them full dibs on the drops (except perhaps drops that you need for your high level character that you don't already have), and then have them teleport to the throne of destruction and put up a TP. This is just basically a way to save time and get the Baal runs going at the beginning of the game for everyone so that people won't have to wait around to start killing monsters. Typically, after someone puts up a new TP in the game, the Pre-Teleer leaves and makes the next game, teleports to the throne again, and then waits, and the cycle starts over again. Usually there is some sort of coordination going on between the Pre-Teleer and the Baal runners, so that they know how much of a threat there is in the Throne of Destruction so that the Baal Runners do not die. Usually, if the pre-teleer dies while in the throne or along the way, he/she will make a new game and re- teleport, notifying everyone else what had happened. Another advantage of pre- teleeing is that the monsters are weaker in the throne (since only one person is in the game, "Diablo's minions" haven't gotten to full strength yet) and can easily be disposed of. F. Placeholders (Town Sitters) This is another easy way ot get more experience from Baal Runs that isn't often talked about too much. If you have 2 copies of Diablo 2 on 2 computers, you can place another character you don't wish to level in town and have the rest of the party gain more experience in the Baal Run. Usually, the lower the level, the better, but I think this might have been patched in 1.10 so experience is only dependant on the # of people in the game and not their character level, but I could be wrong. Anyway, if you have access to 2 computers with Diablo 2 and aren't pre-teleeing with one of them, then you can perm some mules you've rushed into hell in your Baal games by just having them sit in town, or just bring in any other characters to sit in town while everyone else levels. Mind you, this may not be the best way to level since if you have too many placeholders, the runs will slow down since less people will be killing the monsters, so you'll have to find a good balance of this to determine if that extra experience gained from your placeholders is worth the time it takes longer to kill the monsters. G. Killing Baal Fast (Fast Baal Runs) Baal as we know, can be annoying and hard to kill quickly. Typically, you need to have characters that can kill him in a short amount of time. A Smiter can usually take his HP down quickly, or a lightning javazon with charged strike and an Infinity eth polearm runeword. At the time I was running Baal, I did not have use of infinity at all since it was not activated yet on the realms. Also, you can slow Baal down with a Kelpie Snare (Unique Fuscina) on any act 2 merc (especially with holy freeze). A slow Baal means he will not curse you with blood mana or the other defenseless curse much at all, and he won't teleport or attack fast. Necromancers with Decrepify and a clay golem also work, and slowing effects stack, so a necro could slow baal down to a crawl theoretically. Only thing you have to watch out for is that smiters don't like their life tap curses overriden by decrep since they need to stay alive. Infinity also allows lightning sorceresses to kill almost every monster in the throne of destruction and helps javazons as well. Sorcs can also benefit from this since they can kill fast. However, I used a conviction/FOH paladin friend to help kill the monsters fast when I was running in 2004. An Ideal 8-Party for Fast Baal Runs: 3 Hammer Paladins (one of these could do chaos or teleport to throne) 1 Conviction/FOH Paladin 1 Sorceress (any type) 1 BO Barbarian 1 Lightning Javazon 1 Necromancer with Lower Resist (any type) Extra Characters: 1 Pre-Teleport Sorceress (for faster runs) 1 Pre-Chaos Hammer Paladin (for Diablo Experience) III. Strategies A. Two Words: Don't Die These two words you will probably hear more often than not when you're at a high level or if you have played Hardcore Diablo 2 before, you'll know how painful dying can be. Even if you play Softcore, if you Die at a high level, you lose a lot of Baal runs, especially if you do not get your body back to get some of your experience that you had lost. If you do die, you lose 10% of the total amount of experience needed to get to the next level; at level 98, it's about 29M, and at about 50K minimum per Baal run if done correctly, that's 580 Baal runs which can be very long. If you do get your body back, you lose only about 7M at level 98, which is only 140 Baal Runs; still a lot. Since not everyone nowadays baals daily, it may take much longer than one day to recover all that lost experience. B. If you have friends, use them Since most likely, it will be difficult to Baal on a daily basis, get some trusted friends you know to help you. Whether it's teleeing to Baal, Clearing out the Chaos Sanctum, or any weakness in your baaling party that is making the runs go slow, people who want to Baal will help you. I could not have gotten to level 99 without the help of many of my friends, clan, or others. You could even go so far as to get one person to level your character while you are away if you trust them with your account that much. The more people that are in your game however, the more experience you will get, so also keep that in mind as well when baaling, because usually smaller party Baal runs may not be feasible for experience and the time needed to complete these Baal runs may take much longer. C. Be as friendly as you can towards people Part of why I won the ladder baaling contest is because I was nice to people on Diablo 2. I had a lot of help, friends, and generally, people were always waiting in line to get into our Baal runs in "The A-Team." Basically, if you're an *** hole towards people, expect them to treat you the same way, and you won't be getting anywhere at all; you'll just get yourself into deep trouble, you could possibly get hacked, or even worse, if they know your IP, they could put a virus onto your computer if you don't have a firewall; this is bad news for you. Basically, what goes around, comes around, learn this rule well. Also, DO NOT DUEL with your character. Your character will be strictly a PvM character, not designed for dueling at all. People will just laugh and make fun of you if your character dies to them, especially since you are a higher level. If you want to build a high level dueling character, it's pointless to level past 90 in most cases, so don't bother with this guide if you plan on dueling, look at the other ones for that. D. Know your limits If you feel like leveling to 99 is not for you, do not despair; it is one of the most time-consuming, difficult tasks to do in Diablo 2. If you are tired of leveling, then rest, take a break, go out somewhere or do something else. You're no good leveling a character tired since you'll be less aware of what you are doing and you may die and get really angry at yourself. However, If you are determined, don't give up either; persistence pays off, and you have to decide if the benefits of having a level 99 character outweigh whatever personal consequences you might have in your own personal life. I cannot speak for everyone, so in other words, limit your gaming if you feel it's taking over your life. I baaled my sorceress in the summer of 2004 when ladder started, when school was not going, and I wasn't getting a job until the Fall. It took me 1 and 2/3 months to level Tifas-Revenge manually from level 1 (approximately 50 days total), and most of that baaling was done BEFORE Blizzard implemented the "Realm Down" game length limit that bans your IP for creating games too quickly. Now, it may take you much longer to do that considering you have to limit your speed on which you Baal in one game to 3 minutes or more, so it may be a good idea to coordinate Diablo and Baal Runs in the same game if you can for maximum experience. E. Find some good music to listen to while Baaling I think everyone agrees, after you listen to the Diablo 2 music over and over again, it can be rather bothersome and repetitive (as if baaling isn't already). So turn off the music in your Diablo 2 Options and hit CTRL + M in the lobby/chat area to turn off the music there. Run WinAmp, or pop a CD into your CD-ROM drive or Stereo, and listen to some of your favorite tunes. Just try to make yourself relaxed through the whole situation of baaling non-stop for days on end. F. Know your party and yourself Some good things to take down would be who is in your party, what character and level they are, if they are lingering or not, helping you kill Baal, or clearing out chaos for you. Also, know your own character and become an expert on using that character, because only you uniquely will have built your own character for baaling. If there are any obstacles such as no one to teleport down to Baal, or no one to kill cold immunes, etc... find some people that can. G. Know your enemy The monsters in the Throne of Destruction can range from being easy as pie, to being nasty SOBs which kill you in 1-2 hits. Unique Monsters in the throne of destruction can be VERY DEADLY if given the right auras, modifications or immunities. Specific Monsters you should avoid at all costs: - Any Unique Monster with Fanaticism Aura and either Fire Enchanted, Mana Burn, Extra Fast, or all of the above - Undead Soul Killers (AKA Dolls) - Unique Death Lords with Fanaticism Auras (Very Deadly) - Burning/Black Souls with Conviction Auras if you have no Lightning Res/Absorb - Oblivion Knights (Any Melee Character should avoid these at all costs) - PKers that go hostile on you. If you run into any person that decides to PK you, just leave the game; don't try to stand up to him/her, just leave; if the monster gets the last hit, you WILL LOSE EXPERIENCE, and poison necro PKers are definitely ones to avoid here. In all these cases, It's NOT WORTH IT, leave the game before you die and lose experience. Watch your life very closely, and don't hesitate to pull out if things get too ugly down in the Throne of Destruction. H. Get your Equipment Your character will die often without the right gear. You should get the best gear that will not maximize your damage, but maximize your defense against all possible monsters in the Throne of Destruction. Being at a high level means you should value your character a lot, and would not like to see him/her die at all and lose a lot of experience. It may be good to practice Hardcore Tactics (have the teleporter call out a number; 1-3, depending on the threat level of the TP and monsters nearby.), and get equipment that will make it so you will not die. 4. Specific Character Guide I. Introduction Before I get into specifics, you should know that in all cases, the best offense is a good defense, and therefore, it's best if you have gear equipped on your character that will keep you alive. I'll give setups I recommend for each character for baaling. Not all characters are easily gotten to level 99, some are better than others. If you want more in-depth guides on how to Build some Characters please look at the Character FAQs for details. II. The Sorceress The sorceress is one of the best characters you can use to Baal, especially if you are starting out fresh with no gear and need to MF. A. Gear: Weapon: The Oculus (+3, FCR, 25 all Resists and MF to boot, socket it with a resistance jewel for more res.) W. Switch: Ondal's Wisdom (Experience Gain) or CTA (if you don't have a Barb) Alternatives: Death's Fathom (Godly for Cold Sorcies, but less FCR and Resists), +3/20% Fire/Lightning Eschuta's Temper (good for more damage and FCR, but not resists!) Wizardspike (50% FCR and +75 all resists, but no +skills) Helm: Harlequin Crest Shako with an UM Rune (For +2, Life, Mana, DR and Resistance) Alternatives: Griffon's Eye or Nightwing's Veil (depending on your Sorcie type, use these if you want more damage, but they are more risky) Armor: Chains of Honor Runeword (Resists are everything in Baal Games). Alternatives: Skin of the Vipermagi with +35 all Resists, an UM Rune, and upgraded. (This is a good alternative if you need more FCR) Guardian Angel (maxes all your resists to 90!, good for tanking, only upgrade if you have a lot of STR). Shield: Spirit Superior Monarch Runeword (+2, good Resists and FHR). Alternatives: Lidless Wall Grim Shield with an Um Rune, Stormshield Monarch. S. Switch: Same as Above Gloves: Trang-Oul's Claws (FCR and resistance) or Magefists (FCR and regen mana). Alternatives: Frostburn (for mana) or any Crafted FCR gloves with Resistance. Belt: Thundergods Vigor (Lightning Res +10 and absorb for Souls) Alternatives: Arachnid Mesh Spider web Sash (+1 and 20% FCR), Snowclash Battle Belt (for Blizzard Dmg and cold res/absorb) Boots: Natalya's Soul (Faster Run/Walk and good Resists) Alternatives: Eth Sandstorm Trek (good mods and str) Rings: 1 Raven Frost (Cannot be frozen and Dex), 1 SOJ (+1 skills and Mana) Alternatives: Dwarf Star (For D-clone), BK Wedding Ring (For life instead) Good Rare FCR Rings with resists and life/mana/energy Amulet: Maras (+2 and All Resists, hands down the best ammy to use in the game!) Alternatives: +2 Sorc Skill Crafted ammy with 20% FCR and resists (godly if you can make one of these), Tal Rasha's Ammy (2nd best), The Rising Sun (D-clone or Fire Sorc Ammy) Charms: 10% exp. Anni SC and as many SCs/GCs as you can get with resists and/or +1 to your tree skills and life. B. Skills: For a Pure-Cold Sorc (this was my character, Tifas-Revenge): 20 Blizzard (This first) 20 Cold Mastery (This Second) 20 Ice Blast 20 Ice Bolt (Either of these 3rd) 10 Frozen Orb (2nd Last, but put one in at level 30) 10 Glacial Spike (Do this one last) 1 Frozen Armor (early on) 1 Teleport (at level 18) 2 Warmth (early on) 1 Static Field (at level 6) 1 Energy Shield (when you can) 1 to all Prereqs, 4 total (telekinesis, Lightning, Chain Lightning, Charged Bolt). Total: 110 Skill Points at level 99 Note: This is a hybrid Blizzard/Orb Sorceress that I uniquely built for baaling. Standard Blizzard or Orb Sorc builds may also work as well, but I wanted my sorceress to do good damage from both attacks since they were both needed in early ladder season (orb was a definite need). For a pure Fire Sorcie: 20 Meteor 20 Fireball 20 Fire Bolt 20 Fire Mastery (max all these first) 5 Shiver Armor (one as soon as you get it, then do this one last) 1 Enchant 1 Teleport (at level 18) 1 Static Field 5 Warmth (Early on) 7 Energy Shield (2nd last) 1 Prereqs. (Inferno, Blaze, Fire Wall, Telekinesis, Lightning, Charged Bolt, Chain Lightning, Frozen Armor, Ice Bolt, Ice Blast) 10 Total Total: 110 Skill points at level 99 For Pure-Lightning Sorcies: 20 Charged Bolt 20 Lightning 20 Chain Lightning 20 Nova (this one max last of all of the 5) 20 Lightning Mastery (max all these first) 1 Teleport (at level 18) 1 Telekinesis 1 Frozen armor (early on) 4 Warmth (early on, just one point then do this last) 1 Static Field (level 6) 1 Energy Shield 1 Thunderstorm Total: 110 Skill Points at level 99 I don't recommend that you try to build a Hybrid Sorceress, since they will not be able to do enough damage, even at the higher levels. You can try one and prove me wrong however, the sorceress that I had used before was a Meteor/Orb build, but she didn't do enough damage to boot. Since you need more defensive gear, most of your offense will come from +1 Skill Grand Charms, and hybrid sorcies need 5 of one, and 5 of the other. Hybrid sorcs are good mainly for MFing, but not necessarily Baaling. It may be good to have one of these sorcies early on, but later on they will not do much good Baaling. My suggestion is that you get a friendly Sorceress to ally you of a different Element (i.e. if your sorc is Fire, then find a Pure Cold or Lightning Sorcie to Baal with you). C. Mercenary: Act 2 Nightmare Defensive (Holy Freeze). *Weapon: Kelpie Snare Unique Fuscina (To slow down enemies and Baal by 75%) Armor: Eth Guardian Angel with Um Rune and Upgraded (Resistance to 90 and Def) Helm: Eth Vampire Gaze with Um (Life Leech and some res) *Note: This merc will not do too much damage by himself, but he will be able to defend/tank well. You shouldn't have to worry if your merc dies as much as if he's alive, unless you are Killing Baal to slow him down, and believe me, hitting Baal with your merc will help you bring him down quickly, since he will be slower than molasses. You can choose to upgrade your Kelpie or have an Eth one if you like, but damage won't change much regardless. Alternatively, if you want to do more damage with your Sorcie, get an Infinity Runeword Polearm (almost any will do) for a weapon or an Insight (Meditation) is also good to keep you and your party alive. D. Stats: STR: Enough to equip a Monarch with Thundergods Vigor (about 135 or so), use str charms if you need them. DEX: almost base, just enough to use Ondals with your raven frost, or Wizardspike if you prefer, although some people might argue enough for max block here. VIT: The Rest. Life = no dying ENR: About 150 if you want to teleport to Baal and use energy shield a lot, 75-100 if not. (Some people argue base and use SOJs, but then you HAVE to use the SOJs and don't get the advantage of getting good FCR rings or other alternatives like Raven Frosts, Dwarf Stars, etc..) III. The Paladin About the only paladin I recommend for baaling is a Hammerdin. This is just because they can pretty much own any monster at all. If you decide to use any other build, know that it will be more of a support build (i.e. FOH pally will help Sorcies do damage, while Zealots/Smiters help kill Baal quickly, and Healers can be supportive and heal wounds, which are especially useful in hardcore. Shock Zealots might work as well, if you have a merc with infinity) A. Gear: Weapon: Heart of the Oak Flail (ones with Higher Resistances are better) Alternatives: Wizardspike (75 all res and 50% FCR), +3 Heaven's Light with 2 socks. (it's useful if you don't have any other weapon) W. Switch: Call to Arms Flail or Crystal Sword (Higher Battle Orders are Better) Alternatives: +4 Ondal's Wisdom (For experience gain and 45% FCR) Helm: Harlequin Crest Shako with an UM Rune (For +2, Life, Mana, DR and Resistance) Alternatives: 2 Socket Crown of Ages with 2 Ber Runes (+1, Good DR and FHR) Armor: Archon Enigma Runeword (Teleport). Alternatives:(use if you don't want to teleport) Guardian Angel Upgraded (maxes all your resists to 90 and +1 pally). Shield: Spirit Pally Shield Runeword (+2, very good Resists depending on the shield used and FHR). Alternatives: Herald of Zakarum with an Um Rune (+2 Pally, 2 Combat and nice resistances, but no FHR) S. Switch: Same as Above Gloves: Magefists Upgraded 2 times (FCR and regen-mana, high def if upped). Alternatives: Trang-Oul's Claws (FCR and resists) Belt: Thundergods Vigor (Lightning Res +10 and absorb for Burning Souls) Alternatives: Arachnid Mesh Spiderweb Sash (+1 and 20% FCR) Boots: Infernostride (Max Fire Res and some good mods) or upped Hotspur (Max Fire res) Alternatives: Eth Sandstorm Trek (good mods and str), Waterwalk (Max Fire res) Rings: 1 Raven Frost (Cannot be frozen, Cold Absorb, and Dex), 1 SOJ (+1 skills and Mana) Alternatives: Dwarf Star (For D-clone or Chaos Sanctum runs), BK Wedding Ring (For life instead), Good Rare FCR Rings with resists and life Amulet: Mara's (+2 and All Resists, hands down the best ammy to use in the game!) Alternatives: +2 Skill Crafted ammy with 20% FCR and resists (godly if you can make one of these), The Rising Sun (for Dclone), Seraph's Hymn (+2 To defensive as well, doesn't affect much) Charms: 10% exp. Anni SC and as many SCs/GCs as you can get with resists and/or +1 to your tree skills and life. B. Skills: 20 Concentration 20 Blessed Hammer (max these 2 first) 20 Blessed Aim 20 Vigor 20 Holy Shield (max this last) 1 Redemption 1 Meditation 1 to all prereqs. (Defiance, Might, Smite, Charge, Holy Bolt, Prayer, Cleansing) 1 Salvation or another aura you want (your last point goes here) C. Mercenary: Option 1: Act 2 Nightmare Defensive Merc (Recommended for general baaling) Weapon: Eth Kelpie Snare Fuscina (To slow down enemies and Baal by 75%) Armor: Eth Guardian Angel with Um Rune and Upgraded (Resistance to 90 and Def) Helm: Eth Vampire Gaze with Um (Life Leech and some res) Option 2: Act 3 Normal Cold Mage Mercenary (Useful for Diablo/Chaos Sanctum Runs) Weapon: Azurewrath Phase Blade or Lawbringer Rune Word (Sanctuary knock back) Armor: Eth Archon Stone Runeword or Guardian Angel upped Eth and UMed Helm: Eth Nightwings Veil (More Cold Damage and +2) Shield: Eth Spirit Monarch or Ward (FCR, resists, and +2) D. Stats: STR: Enough to wear your Enigma with your T-gods already equipped. "Bug" it on if needed. DEX: Enough for Max. Block with Holy Shield VIT: Everything else goes here. ENR: If you plan on Doing Diablo Runs or don't have/use SOJs, 50-70, if not, then Base. IV. The Barbarian There are 2 types of Barbarians you can use here, one is for support, the other is for killing. I would recommend that you build a killing barbarian if you want to kill Baal and get to level 99, but support Barbarians can always be helpful in Baal runs. Attack Barbarians need to be very careful to avoid Oblivion Knights in the Throne of Destruction, as they can instantly kill any Whirlwinding barb in an instant with Iron Maiden. Attack Barbarian: A. Gear: Weapon(s): Eth BOTD Runeworded Weapon (Depending on what type of barb you make) Alternatives: Doom Runeword, Beast Runeword W. Switch: 2 +3 Warcry Weapons (any good looking ones that you like) Shield: Stormshield or a Sanctuary Runeword Shield S. Switch: None (+3 Warcry Weapons) Helm: Arreat's Face (ones with More Life Leech and ED are Better), socketed with a Cham rune (if you don't use a raven frost) or Um (Resists). Alternatives: Wolfhowl (Just to look like a wolf), Demonhorn's Edge (+3's), Any Rare +2 to barb skill helm with Resists, life, dual leech, and possibly other mods (Crafted helms may be useful too) Armor: Akraine's Valor (one with +2 all skills and High ED) or an Archon Enigma Runeword Armor (If Teleporting) Alternatives: Leviathan, Fortitude Runeword Armor Gloves: Dracul's Grasp (Leech and Life Tap) or Steelrend (Crushing Blow, STR, and Def) Alternatives: Soul Drainer (Vambraces), Trang-Oul's Claws (Poison Dmg) Belt: Verdungos Hearty Cord or Nosferatu's Coil (depends on your preference) Rings: 1 Angelic Halo, 1 Raven Frost or 2 Angelics (if you Cham your Arreats) Alternatives: Any rare ring with dual leech and good resists, BK Rings (Leech and +1) Amulet: Angelic Wings (for AR) Alternatives: Highlords Wrath (IAS and +1), any good +2 Barb rare ammy with Dual Leech Resists and Life, Mara's (+2 and Resists), Rising Sun (D-clone) Boots: Gore Riders (Crushing Blow) or Eth Sandstorm Trek Alternatives: War Traveller (MF), Infernostride (Dclone) Charms: +1 Barb GCs, Poison Damage SCs (100 or more), 3/20/20s (or close), +5 all res SCs, 10% Experience Anni B. Skills: 20 Battle Orders (Max First) 20 Shout 20 (Your Weapon Mastery) 20 Whirlwind (Max Second) 11 Iron Skin (Do Last) 10 Natural Resistance 1 Prereqs. (Bash, Concentrate, Howl, Leap, Leap Attack, Stun, Increased Stamina) 1 Battle Command 1 Increased Speed Total: 110 Skill points at level 99 C. Mercenary: Option 1: Act 2 Nightmare Defensive Merc (Recommended for general baaling) Weapon: Eth Kelpie Snare Fuscina (To slow down enemies and Baal by 75%) Alternatives: Eth BOTD War Pike, Eth Last Wish Weapon, Eth Pride (Conc) Armor: Eth Guardian Angel with Um Rune and Upgraded (Resistance to 90 and Def) Helm: Eth Vampire Gaze with Um (Life Leech and some res) Option 2: Act 3 Normal Cold Mage Mercenary (Good alternative) Weapon: Last Wish Runeword Sword or Lawbringer Rune Word (Might or Sanctuary) Armor: Eth Archon Stone Runeword or Guardian Angel upped Eth and UMed Helm: Eth Nightwings Veil (More Cold Damage and +2) Shield: Eth Spirit Monarch or Ward (FCR, resists, and +2) D. Stats: STR: 110 (or Enough for your gear) DEX: just enough to use a HOTO flail VIT: The Rest ENR: Base (None) Support (War Cry/Caster) Barbarian: A. Gear: Weapons: 2 Heart of the Oak Runeword Flails W.Switch: Ondal's Wisdom Alternatives: 2 Wizardspikes, 2 Spirit Runeword Swords Shield: None Armor: Mageplate Enigma Runeword Armor Alternatives: Skin of the Vipermagi, Chains of Honor Runeword Armor Helm: +2 BO +3 Warcries Barb Helm, Wolfhowl Alternatives: Halaberd's Reign, Demonhorn's Edge, Arreat's Face, +2 Rare Barb Circlet/Helm with FCR and Resists Belt: Arachnid Mesh Alternatives: Thundergods Vigor Gloves: Trang-Oul's Claws Alternatives: Magefist Boots: Eth Sandstorm Trek Alternatives: Infernostride/Hotspur (D-Clone) Rings: 1 SOJ, 1 Wisp Projector or 2 SOJs Alternatives: Raven Frost, Dwarf Star, Rare FCR Rings with Resists Amulet: Maras Alternatives: +2 Rare/Crafted Barb Ammys with FCR and Resists B. Skills: 20 War Cry 20 Taunt 20 Battle Orders 1 Battle Command 20 Howl 20 Battle Cry 1 Iron Skin 1 Increased Speed 3 Natural Resistance 1 to Prereqs. (Increased Stamina, Taunt, Shout) C. Mercenary: Act 2 Nightmare Defensive Merc (Holy Freeze) Weapon: Eth Insight Runeword Alternatives: Eth BOTD War Pike Armor: Eth Guardian Angel with Um Rune and Upgraded (Resistance to 90 and Def) Helm: Eth Vampire Gaze with Um (Life Leech and some res) D. Stats: STR: 55 (Enough for Mageplate Enigma) DEX: Base or very little (you may need to use Raven frosts to boost DEX) VIT: The Rest Goes Here ENR: About 50-100 Here V. The Necromancer Summoning necromancers can be very useful early on when Baaling, but later they don't do too much good, so if you are going to make a necromancer, poison/bone is certainly the best way to go, with maybe a few summons for tanking/support if needed (Bone Necros cannot kill magic Immunes unless they use Corpse Explosion or have summons/poison skills kill for them). Hybrid Summon/PnB necros may be possible depending on the build and equipment, but they may run into some trouble at Baal himself. I haven't tested all hybrid necro builds yet for soloing hell, some may be better than others. Poison/Bone Necro A. Gear: Weapon: Heart of the Oak Runeword Flail or White Runeword Wand W.Switch: Call to Arms Runeword Alternatives: Blackhand Key, Any Rare or Crafted +2 Wands may be good here with FCR, Resists, Life/Mana etc..Boneshade (Bone), or Death's Web (Poison), Ondal's Wisdom (+4, EXP and FCR) Shield: Umed Homunculus (+2 and Resists, FCR) S. Switch: Spirit Monarch Runeword Alternatives: Spirit Monarch Runeword, Boneflame, any +3 PNB Darkforce Spawn Trang-Oul's Wing (3 item Set Bonus) Armor: Mageplate Enigma Runeword Alternatives: Skin of the Vipermagi, Guardian Angel, COH Runeword Helm: Umed Shako, 2 Ber Crown of Ages Alternatives: Any +2 PnB Rare Circlet with FCR and Resists Belt: Thundergods Vigor, Arachnid Mesh Alternatives: Verdungos Hearty Cord, Trang-Oul's Girth (3 Item Set Bonus) Boots: *Marrowwalk, Eth Sandstorm Trek Alternatives: Natalya's Soul, Hotspur/Infernostride (D-clone) Gloves: Trang-Oul's Claws Alternatives: Magefist, Frostburn Rings: 1 Raven Frost, 1 SOJ or 2 SOJs Alternatives: Rare FCR rings with resists, Dwarf Star (Chaos and D-Clone) Manald Heal (Regen Mana) Amulet: Maras (+2 and all res) Alternatives: +2 PnB Rare/Crafted Amulets with FCR and Resists, The Rising Sun (D-Clone) Charms: +1 PnB GCs with Life, All Resists/20 Lifer SCs, Anni SC STR SCs if needed *In 1.10, you can use these for the synergy and not have to put any points into Bone Prison. This has been fixed in 1.11, so in 1.11 max bone prison. B. Skills: Poison: 20 Poison Nova (Max First) 20 Poison Dagger (Max Third) 20 Poison Explosion (Max Second) 11 Lower Resist (4th) 1 to each Prereq. (Amp Damage, Weaken, Iron Maiden, Terror, Life Tap, Decrepify, Teeth, Corpse Explosion, Clay Golem, Blood Golem, Iron Golem, Golem Mastery) (12 Total) 10 Bone Wall (Do this one last) 15 Bone Armor (This is 2nd last) 1 Fire Golem (at level 30) 1 Summon Resist (when you can) Total: 110 Points at level 99 Bone: 20 Bone Spirit (Max First) 20 Bone Spear (Max Second) 20 Bone Wall (Max Last) *20 Bone Prison (Max third) 20 Teeth (Last) 5 Bone Armor 1 to Prereqs (Weaken, Terror) 2 Total 1 Amplify Damage 1 Clay Golem 1 Corpse Explosion (Early On) 1 Decrepify *In 1.10, the Marrowalk glitch made it possible so that you didn't have to put any points into Bone Prison to get the synergy bonus. In 1.11 this was fixed, so put 20 into Bone Prison for 1.11, 0 into Bone Prison for 1.10 (do bone armor instead). Total: 110 Points at level 99 C. Mercenary: Act 2 Nightmare Defensive Merc (Holy Freeze) Weapon: Eth Kelpie Snare Fuscina (To slow down enemies and Baal by 75%) Alternatives: Eth BOTD War Pike, Eth Insight Armor: Eth Guardian Angel with Um Rune and Upgraded (Resistance to 90 and Def) Helm: Eth Vampire Gaze with Um (Life Leech and some res) D. Stats: STR: Enough for Mageplate Enigma (about 55) DEX: Very Little or Base (You won't need much, and Max block isn't worth it) VIT: As much as you can muster. ENR: You might put some points here, depending on your mana/cast rate and if you are a bone or poison necro. Usually around 50-100 is a good number VI. The Amazon One of the Best Amazons to Baal with is a Lightning Fury Javazon. Since this Amazon can do a lot of lightning damage to both big groups of monsters and Baal himself dies quickly to Charged Strike, it is one of my highly recommended characters to use for Baaling to level 99. Bow Zons could be used as an alternative, but I do not recommend building one since they have been highly nerfed (Multi-Shot mainly). Lightning Javazon A. Gear: Weapon: Etheral Titan's Revenge W. Switch: Call to Arms Runeword (BO) Alternatives: Thunderstroke, Ondal's Wisdom (EXP) Shield: Stormshield or Spirit Runeword S. Switch: Spirit Runeword Alternatives: Lidless Wall Armor: Chains of Honor or Enigma Runewords Alternatives: Upgraded Duriel's Shell, +2 Arkraines Valor, Double-Upgraded Silks of the Victor Gloves: Rare +2 Javelin/Spear Gloves with Dual Leech and Resists Alternatives: Dracul's Grasp, Soul Drainer Belt: Thundergod's Vigor (the only belt you should need) Helm: Crown of Ages (DR and Res), +2 Valk Wing, Vampire Gaze (Leech) Alternatives: Steel Shade, Stealskull, Griffon's Eye Boots: Eth Sandstorm Trek (Def/Mods), Silkweave (Mana after kill) Alternatives: Infernostride/Hotspur (D-Clone) Rings: 2 BK Rings (Life Leech) or 1 BK and one Raven Frost Alternatives: Rare Dual-Leech rings with All Resists, Dwarf Star (D-Clone), Manald Heal (Mana Leech) Amulet: Mara's, +2 Rare Amazon Amulets with Dual Leech and Resists Alternatives: The Rising Sun (D-Clone), The Eye of Etlich (+1 and Leech) B. Skills: 20 Lightning Fury (Max First) 20 Lightning Strike (Max Fourth) 20 Lightning Bolt (Max Very Last) 20 Charged Strike (Max Second) 20 Power Strike (Max Third) 1 to Prerequisites (Jab, Poison Javelin, Plague Javelin) 3 Total 1 to Valkyrie and all Pre-Requisites (Inner Sight, Slow Missiles, Dodge, Avoid, Evade, Decoy) 7 Total Total: 110 Skill Points at level 99 C. Mercenary: Act 2 Nightmare Defensive Merc Weapon: Infinity Runeword Polearm (Conviction + Charge Strike = Dead Baal) Alternatives: Eth Bonehew, Insight Runeword Polearm Armor: Eth Upped and Umed Guardian Angel or Stone Runeword Helm: Eth Vampire Gaze Alternatives: Kira's Guardian, Shako, Stealskull D. Stats: STR: About 100 or so (Depending on the Enigma you use if you use one) DEX: Enough for Max 75% Block VIT: Rest Goes here ENR: None VII. The Druid There are many different Druid Builds out there, half of which I haven't really experimented with yet. Wind Druids are the most commonly used in Baal Runs, usually because they have a high Oak Sage and can freeze enemies with their Hurricane. Alternatively, Wolf/Bear Druids with a lot of Poison Damage might work as well. A Wind Druid, however, is the only confirmed character that I know of to make it to level 99 via Single Player mode in 1.10. ISmashyou was a Wind Rabbit (a Hybrid Windy/Rabies Druid) that got up to level 98 with me while we were baaling, but his build was mainly used for duels, so I wouldn't recommend it. Wind Druid A. Gear: Weapon: Heart of the Oak Flail (FCR, +3 and Resists) W. Switch: Call to Arms Runeword (BO) or Ondals Wisdom Alternatives: Wizardspike (Resists and FCR), Earth Shifter (just if you wanna look cool with a mace) Shield: Stormshield or Spirit Runeword S. Switch: Spirit Runeword or none if using Ondals Alternatives: Lidless Wall (if no spirit availible) Armor: Enigma Mageplate Runeword Armor (+2 and Teleport) Alternatives: Chains of Honor Runeword (+2 and Resists), Skin of the Vipermagi Helm: Spirit Keeper, Ravenlore, or Jalal's Mane (all of these are very good Druid helms for baaling) Alternatives: Crown of Ages, +2 Godly Druid Circlet with FCR, Mana, Life, all Resists, and FHR Gloves: Magefists (FCR and Regen Mana) Alternatives: Trang-Oul's Claws, Frostburn Belt: Arachnid Mesh (+1 and 20% FCR) Alternatives: Thundergods Vigor (Lightning Absorb), Verdungo's Hearty cord (DR) Boots: Eth Sandstorm Trek (High Def and good mods) Alternatives: Natalya's Soul (Resists and FRW 40%), Infernostride (D-Clone or Chaos Sanctuary) Rings: 1 Raven Frost, 1 SOJ or 2 SOJs (if you cham stuff) Alternatives: Any good rare FCR ring with Resists and mana, Wisp Projector (Lightning Absorb), Dwarf Star (D-Clone) Amulet: Mara's (+2 and Resists) Alternatives: Any good rare/crafted +2 elemental druid ammy with life, resists, mana, and FCR Charms: +1 Elemental Druid Skill GCs with Life, All Resist SCs/GCs, 5% FHR SCs, +1 Summon Druid GCs (Secondary) B. Skills: 20 Oak Sage (Put one in then Max it 4th) 20 Tornado (Max this First) 20 Hurricane (Max Second) 20 Cyclone Armor (Max Third) 20 Twister (Max very Last) 3 Summon Grizzly (Put one in then do this last) 1 Solar Creeper (early on) 1 to Prereqs. (Raven, Spirit Wolf, Dire Wolf, Poison Creeper, Carrion Vine) 5 Total 1 Werewolf or Werebear (At level 99, just impress everyone by turning into a Beast! If not, then one more into Griz.) C. Mercenary: Act 2 Nightmare Defensive Merc (Recommended for general baaling) Weapon: Eth Kelpie Snare Fuscina (To slow down enemies and Baal by 75%) Alternatives: Eth BOTD War Pike, Eth Last Wish Weapon, Eth Insight Armor: Eth Guardian Angel with Um Rune and Upgraded (Resistance to 90 and Def) Helm: Eth Vampire Gaze with Um (Life Leech and some res) D. Stats: STR: Just Enough for your equipment and no more. Your STR is dependant a lot on your equipment, so don't be afraid to remake your druid if you get better items. DEX: Base (None) VIT: The Rest goes here ENR: Base (None) VIII. The Assassin Trap Assassins (Lightning) are usually the preferred choice of many users here. Whirlwind Assassins could also be used, but they are much more expensive and cannot Baal as well as Trappers in most cases. Martial Artists (Kickers) might be a good alternative if you're seeking to do something different or Fire Trappers as well. A. Gear: Weapon: Heart of the Oak Flail (+3, FCR and Resists) W. Switch: Call to Arms (if no barbarian), Ondal's Wisdom (if barbs are in your runs) Alternatives: 2 Good Rare Assassin Claws with Resists, +2 Skills, life, and mana, Bartuc's Cut Throat (For the poor) Shield: Spirit Monarch Runeword or Stormshield S. Switch: Same as Above or none if using Ondal's Wisdom. Alternatives: Lidless Wall Helm: Harlequin Crest Shako with an Um Rune (+2 and Resists) or a Good rare +2 to traps/skills Circlet with 20% FCR and Resists, life, mana Alternatives: Griffon's Eye (for FCR), Kira's Guardian (Resists) Armor: Enigma Runeword (+2 and Teleport) Alternatives: Chains of Honor Runeword (+2 and Resists), Guardian Angel (90 all res) Belt: Arachnid Mesh (+1 and FCR) or Thundergods Vigor (Lightning absorb) Alternatives: Verdungo's Hearty Cord (DR) Boots: Natalya's Soul or Eth Sandstorm Trek, both are good depeing on your reses. Alternatives: Shadow Dancers (+2 shadow), War Traveller (MF and +str), Waterwalk/Infernostride (Fire Res) Gloves: Magefist (upgraded if you like) Alternatives: Trang-Oul's Claws (for reses instead of mana regen) Rings: 2x SOJs Alternatives: Raven Frost (Cold absorb, Cannot be Frozen and Dex), Dwarf Star (Fire absorb) Amulet: Mara's Kaleidoscope (+2 and reses) Alternatives: Any caster Crafted +2 to traps ammy with 20% FCR and resists, life, mana Charms: any +1 Trap GCs with Life, Annhilus SC, +5 all resists small charms with life B. Skills: 20 Charged Sentry 20 Lightning Sentry (Max First) 20 Death Sentry 20 Shock Web 20 Mind Blast (Max Last, for more stun length) 1 to all shadow skills except Venom, Mind Blast, and Fade (7 total) 3 Fade (for Resists, don't max last) Total: 110 Skill Points at level 99 C. Mercenary: Act 2 Nightmare Defensive (Holy Freeze) or an Act 5 Normal Barbarian For an Act 2: Weapon: Eth Kelpie Snare Fuscina (To slow down enemies and Baal by 75%) Alternatives: Eth Infinity Runeword (Conviction), Eth Insight Runeword (Meditation) Armor: Eth Guardian Angel with Um Rune and Upgraded (Resistance to 90 and Def) Helm: Eth Vampire Gaze with Um (Life Leech and some res) For an Act 5: Weapon: Eth Breath of the Dying Colossus Blade or Eth Last Wish Colossus Blade (Might) Alternative: Eth Lawbringer Runeword (Life Leech and Sanctuary Aura) Armor: Eth Stone Runeword Armor (for Defense) or an Eth Guardian Angel Upgraded (max reses); Alternative: Eth Duress Runeword Armor (Life Leech and Resists) Helm: Eth Arreat's Face (with max LL and +2 skills) upgraded/runed if you like Alternatives: Gilgilume's Face, Eth Dream Runeword Helm, Eth Vampire Gaze D. Stats: STR: Enough to wear an archon enigma with other gear (usually around 80-90) DEX: Base; you won't need too much here unless you use dex gear (some rare claws) VIT: The Rest of your points should go here ENR: Base; you won't any since you'll have 2 SOJs and Mana-regen items. 5. Legal Info This FAQ is Copyright 2005 Tifas-Revenge (AKA Cloud Strife J, John Reeske). Any reproduction is to be used for private purposes only and not otherwise. Any such violation of universal copyright laws under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, United States Federal Law, or similar laws within jurisdiction will be subject to a warning to remove the offending material within 24 hours, then will be prosecuted to the maximum extent of the law if the offender fails to comply. In other words, don't steal my work, or you will be sued in court. Please ask for permission before using my FAQ on your website(s). 6. Special Thanks To: - Blizzard for awarding me the #1 99 Prize for the ladder 2 competition and for making Diablo 2. - All GameFAQs Authors on the Diablo 2 LOD Board for writing some FAQs I could use as reference. - Everyone I baaled with on Diablo 2 for giving me insight, determination, and inspiration to get Tifas-Revenge to level 99, and for helping me become an experienced Diablo 2 Player. (Clans: EMF, The A Team, VL, NLF, ALK, AoU) - If anyone wants their specific name put in here, please let me know, I'd be more than happy to put names up, since the list of people I can thank is very long.