Flux’s Decahedron #10.5: Best/Worst Uniques Feedback


Due to the length of this column, we had to break it into two pieces.  This is the feedback to column 10, which ranked the Best/Worst Unique Items.

Feedback

There were a lot of reader mails about this column, and also quite a few mails with ideas for the two future column ideas I asked for input on.  Thanks to everyone who mailed, and I’ll definitely be doing the “Best/Worst Changes from D1 to D2” column at some point.  I was surprised how many people still remembered individual aspects of D1 so clearly now that it’s what, 6 years since it was released?

I’m not so sure about doing the Best/Worst aspects of PVP, since there were fewer mails about it than about D1 vs. D2, and since I don’t PVP much myself, I don’t really have the insight or knowledge about it to make intentional errors in the pursuit of humor. Pretty much everyone likes the challenge and unpredictability of people, and everyone hates town entrance campers, cheaters with Iths and other hacked items, and item-sprinkling would-be corpse-popping pricks.  All of which are valid complaints, but it’s not much to build a 10 best/worst column on.  Maybe later this year though.

As for the feedback on Column #10, there was a lot of it, but most of it can be sorted into two groups.  Mails from people who liked/loved the column(s) and were nice enough to mail just to say so, and mails from people who disagreed with one or more of the individual item choices, and often gave quite lengthy lists of their reasons for doing so.  If I include comments in the forum post, I could add a 3rd group, which could be described as “people who feel an overpowering need to hate anything that brings joy to other people (such as my columns) as part of a desperate effort to momentarily mask the festering loneliness that scars every second of their poor, blighted lives.” *cough*

No emails of that nature, since it’s no fun spend time distilling the bitter bile of your blackened heart into words if there’s not an audience to witness your efforts. Or something like that.

Chris makes me think happy thoughts.

This was the best yet. I laughed so hard milk came out my nose! (And I wasn’t even drinking milk at the time!)

I read the thread on future ideas and comments on the latest installment on best/worst uniques. I couldn’t believe the negative comments on the article I was reading in the forum! That was good s**t man.

Chris

I don’t recall anyone mailing this time just to tell me how the columns are never funny, possibly since the forum posts act as a sort of sewer grate for the larger chunks of commentary of that nature. Plus about 20 people mailed just to say how much they liked the column(s), which is always nice to hear.

I did get further confirmation of my theory that no human could ever write a column about D2 that would please everyone.  For example:
* The most common comment was that I value Magic Find too highly in item selection.
* The most common individual item comment was that I was nuts to not list Skullder’s Ire as the top armor, since it’s got the best Magic Find in the game.
I think you see my point.

My general methodology for picking items for the best/worst Uniques list was to look at them compared to other uniques of the same type, figure which uniques had specific character uses, and then pick a “Best” that did something unusual or different, and ideally useful.  Items could be very useful for their Clvl, for a particular character or build, or just handy over all.  “Worst” items were generally more scientific than “best” items, since I picked ones that really no one has any use for (IMHO).  The “Best” picks tended to be more quirky and reflective of my individual preferences, especially since I tried to not just pick the one super uber chobo goshu pwning weapon in most categories.  That would be boring.

As the disclaimer said, it was not a list of the best killing speed items in the game, even though quite a few emailers seemed to have that impression.  Or else thought that it should have been that list, boring though it would have been to read my run down of the top uniques by trade value, with an elite on top in every weapon type possible.

Another obvious element in the choices was my playing preferences and experience. Since I have played a ton, all HC, with every type of character but the Assassin, mostly in Hell/Act Five, and mostly with medium to high MF, I have found dozens of virtually every unique in the game, aside from the highest elites.  I also almost never trade for anything, and never use any dupes or hacks.  Lots of the reader emails were from people who trade a lot, and therefore use mostly dupes (if not hacks), and therefore think that 40/15 Jewels, Ists, Zods, 7% SMFCs, and other such extremely rare small items (not to mention elite uniques) grow on trees, and who therefore thought it was odd that I would recommend an item for a bit more IAS, or MF, when they can get it so easily elsewhere.

At the same time I think that excep and low level elite uniques are a lot more common than most people think they are, since I’ve found like 9 Harlequins and at least 15 Burizas, as well as lots of virtually every other exceptional unique and set (and given most of them away). So I probably devalue such items, at least subconsciously. And as items like Venom Ward and the IK Set demonstrate, when you find something like every other game, you eventually get pretty sick of it, borderline useful or not.

There’s no right or wrong to the subjective opinions, aside from the fact that I’m right and everyone else is wrong.  Everyone’s playing style and experience and future needs weighs on their item evaluations, and you can’t expect a person who plays differently than you do to have the same priorities in item selection.

Lastly, my thoughts on Magic Find.

Putting it simply: I think it’s the best thing in the game.

Most experienced players agree that the game is far too easy once you have good equipment.  Other than the rare Cursed/Might/Extra Strong, or MSLE/Conviction, or other such “once every fiftieth game” bosses, you are in virtually no danger of death almost anywhere, even in Hell, unless you just play with complete disregard for sanity.  Which you can still get away with, if you go all defensive bonus gear and have a big weapon.

The game’s balance right now is horrible.
* The best way to level up is to get a turbo and leech.
* The best way to gain experience is to party in large cow games, whether you can kill a damn thing there or not.
* The best way to find items is to do endless Meph or Pindleskin runs, with as much MF as you can manage.

I think all three of these are pretty sad states of affairs, but there’s no arguing that they are what most players (on Bnet) do, and what it’s best to do, in terms of maximizing your gain over time.  I’m not at all a fan of this state of affairs, personally.

Since the best way to gain experience is to just do endless (boring) cow runs, the fun I find in the game is to have good MF, so while I’m playing I can hope to find some good stuff. I’ll never find as much good stuff doing Baal runs or clearing out the Frozen River or Ancient’s Way or Icy Cellar as I would just doing Pindleskin over and over again, but it’s a lot more fun, and occasionally challenging.  One reason it is challenging is that I’m usually wearing Wealth, Chance Guards, Stealskull, Goldwrap, etc. Rather than Lionsheart, LoH, Arreat’s, String, etc.

For me, MF is the only reason the game has been at all fun to play for at least the past year.  It’s too easy as it is!  If my characters were equipped with the best big bonus equipment, all hps charms, etc, there would be nothing even approaching a risk, and PvM would just be too boring. In fact that’s pretty much the fate of my Druid and Paladin and Necromancer, who have about the best gear they could possibly get, but not much MF, and are efficient killers, but pretty boring as they clear every monster on the way to hell Baal and net about 3 junk Rares and a green breast plate.

I just don’t find it fun to play solely when I’m effortlessly killing things and gaining exp.  I do find it fun when I’m killing things with some effort, and finding lots of useful stuff along the way.

I started a Necro (don’t laugh) a couple weeks back and was busy trashing my way through the Den of Evil (at Clvl 2) and what drops at my feet, but the Gull. My Necro is Clvl 24 now and I’m still running around in the psycho pose, despite finding 3 or 4 wands that would be much more practical. MF is like crack: once you have it, you worry about what life would be like without it…

J

Exactly.

The other way expert players keep the game interesting is to get into variants, especially the IUV type (Intentionally Underpowered Variant) where they end up trying to make the game hard by playing with junky equipment and/or only using one or two mediocre skills, etc.  It’s a manly way to play, but not one that has really interested me, since the whole time I’m struggling along with some improbable weapon and skill choice, I’m aware that I could be killing everything 5x faster and getting 10x better items doing it if I were playing a power build.

What I want is the game to be hard, even while I’m using the best build and best equipment and most MF I can muster.  Tragically, there really isn’t anywhere in D2X at this point that fits that bill, which is one of the main reasons I’ve not played any on the realms in about six months, and have been playing the V&K Middle Earth mod since about November, when I started to miss the game after a few months of not playing at all. The other reason is that I’m just too disgusted by all the hacks and cheats and dupes on the realms, and have no desire to dip back into that cesspool until v1.10 and the (likely briefly) clean new ladder character economy.

That’s all essentially irrelevant, but since a lot of people wrote to bitch about MF and say how it only mattered for cow leeches or Meph runs, I thought I might as well put my playing philosophy down once and for all.

I read the thread on future ideas and comments on the latest installment on best/worst uniques. I couldn’t believe the negative comments on the article I was reading in the forum! That was good s**t man.

Bob

I’ll do the feedback by item type, in the same order as the article, and then a few general comments at the end.

Unique Amulets

There were several defenders of the Rising Sun, much to my surprise. This and Lavagouts. Do people have a soft spot for otherwise useless uniques with minor fire damage or what? Gregor asks:

Why do you rank “The Rising Sun” as the worst amulet, arguing its “like fire, fire and more fire”, but place “Snowclash” as best unique belt, arguing it’s “one of the very few theme items”, same theme being “cold, and cold, and then some more cold” ?

The reason you do this seems to me that fire mods are more or less useless and unpopular, while cold mods are pretty useful or even essential.

Actually it’s not anywhere near that well thought out, and I’m just capricious, cruel, and unpredictable.  Much like Battle.net herself.

The only defense of Rising Sun is that it’s got fire absorb, which is useful against Diablo and um, well, against Diablo again. And that’s true, but so does Dwarfstar (thought not as much) and since every other amulet is useful for a lot of things, and this one is useful for one thing, I’m standing by my selection.

The Best amulet pick was also controversial, mostly to people with totally legit 160/60 4s armors and a inv full of 5% faster run smalls, who wondered why I would care about IAS and faster run on an amulet.  I must admit that Cat’s Eye is the one piece of Unique Jewelry that I’ve never found, (5 fricking Mara’s and about a dozen each of the rest, and not one Kitty’s!) so it has achieved talismanic status in my fragile psyche. I’d say Highlords is probably the most useful, or Atma’s, since both have tasty bonuses you can’t approach on a Rare or Crafted, unlike Mara’s or the rest.  And with a stupid set amulet killing Mara’s for the class it’s best on (Sorceress) I can’t get too heavily behind it, despite several emails pleading its case.

Unique Rings

This was a controversial one, mostly from people annoyed at me for listing the Constricting Ring.  Here’s Hellslayer.

I just read your article on the best and worst unique items. Had to disagree on many of them, but that’s what such articles are for. But one thing in the article really bothered me, and I had to write to you about it. That was your listing of the constricting ring as being the best unique ring, and then noting in passing that legit constricting rings don’t exist, but that there are thousands available. Don’t we have enough idiots using hacks and cheats on the realms without you encouraging even more people to use them? I think you owe the D2 community an apology. Or I should say the legit players; there are probably some cheaters who will want to thank you for bringing this item to their attention. If you were going to select and promote a cheat, why didn’t you pick the occy ring?

I hardly think anything I say at this point will encourage more hacking.  I mean it’s not as if anyone was waiting on my approval before setting out to ruin the D2 realm economy. Also, I was on the record as being strongly critical of Blizzard for their lack of hack response in March of last year, and my feelings haven’t changed since then. I’m not going to treat cheating or hacking or duping as a taboo subject in these columns, and if a mention of how f’ed up the realms are now is appropriate, I’m going to make it.  Nothing I say would be news to anyone who spends more than an hour a month on Bnet anyway.

The “best” ring was one of the very few that I was sure of my pick as soon as I thought about the article, and I would have listed the Constricting even if it had never been hacked and then duped, much as I gave a “worst” honorable mention to the few TC 90 SuperUnique monsters that are in the game code, but not in the actual game.

So I certainly don’t approve of the hacked Constricting Rings, but as they are everywhere by now, they’re fair game for a column remark, in my book.  I meant it more as a criticism of Bliz than an endorsement of cheating, as I hope most players took it.

After that intro, Hellslayer went on to suggest his pick for the best ring.  And since he made a joke, he gets to be quoted again.

You should have picked the raven frost, as it is clearly the best ring for all non-sorcs. And for sorcs, the SOJ is the best legit ring, adding +skills and lots of mana. I can’t believe you picked the SOJ as the worst ring. What else is a legit sorc going to use? You should have picked the nagel or dwarf star as the worst, although they have uses. One thing I have always enjoyed in your columns is your humor (thank you for the link to the Anna Nicole Smith commentary in a recent column! I loved the line “Small wonder her dates are a lawyer and a homosexual”). I was surprised you didn’t add a comment like:

“The constricting ring might have made the list, but unfortunately was never enabled. However, anyone who has been married knows the Blizzard naming department screwed up in naming the unique rings. The one that sucks the life out of you should have been named the wedding band”.

There’s no denying that the Constricting Ring has the best stats of any unique ring (and maybe unique item) in the entire game.  The only issue is if you think I shouldn’t have mentioned it due to it being non-legit.  As for my pick for worst ring, there were a predictable amount of people pointing out that SoJs are actually quite useful, for certain characters. Which is true, but it doesn’t offset their 99.9% duped nature and annoying basis as currency for the game.

And yes, I can say Constricting Rings are best despite being duped, and SoJs are worst because they are duped.  See, I want to be president one day, so I have to start working on my bald-faced hypocrisy now, so I’ll have it down pat when I really need it.

Unique Belts

This was probably the most controversial “Best” pick, primarily since Snowclash sucks.  Several people suggested Razortail, since it’s got Piercing and um, Piercing.  But there aren’t enough Throwing Babas out there to worry about, so screw it. Most people nominated T Gods. Wild Bill for one.

There is something that is BLARINGLY silly IMO.
Best Belt: Snowclash

What the hell are you guys smokin man. I want some too.
That belt is the most worthless piece of crap. The cold skills are useless as they are unused skills. The absorb is not needed as a character can just don a raven frost which is infinitely a more useful item and again the added cold dam can come from a single charm or the… raven frost. This belt is a waste of space. The only time I have ever seen a use for it is dueling a cold sorc, which only SC players do anyways as any HC barb or zon would eat a sorc for lunch. Again though with raven frosts and maxed resists, even a 40/40 orb is not a concern.

The best belt hand down is TGV, ThunderGods Vigor. Man that belt is infinitely better for any character in any build then snowclash. The +10% max lightning resists along with the absorb saves alot of people from MSLE’s. The +20 str and vitality also rock. And at least these +skills are useful. The belt also doesn’t have too high of an str req (110) so it’s not out of the range for a sorc or necro who really wants the added protection.

I was surprised more people didn’t pick String of Ears, since that’s just a great belt for all melee classes. Any amount of damage reduction makes a huge difference, and life leech is always nice. I almost always use Goldwrap myself, especially early on for the IAS, and MF/GF as well, or else Tal’s belt (with armor/hat on bowazon and armor/amulet on sorcy) or String on non-MF melee chars like big hps barbs and druids who don’t need absorb to deal with MSLEs.  But since I was picking MF stuff for several other slots, I thought I’d be different here.  Snowclash is a cool item, I mean it’s got inventive and nifty stats, and it’s a nice theme item.  None of which makes it any good, unfortunately, so it’s understandable that players who think only/mostly in terms of killing power were outraged and confused by the choice.

I must also admit to having never actually found a Snowclash, and it’s the only non-elite unique in the game that I can say that about.  I’ve probably found 8 or 10 T Gods/Strings, and even 4 Nosferatus, so you are free to suspect that this one flukish bit of bad luck tainted my judgment. And you’d probably be right.

Unique Boots
No one complained or objected here, other than a couple of half-hearted, (and incorrect) “Travelers are overrated” comments.  Yes, I know Infernostride are sort of fun if you get hit and activate them while WWing about.  But that’s just not enough to recommend them.

Unique Gloves
This one was my biggest surprise, as a bunch of people wrote in to defend Lavagouts.  Mostly for their IAS.  True, it’s very useful, but doesn’t anyone gamble/craft?  Yellow or Orange gloves with 20 IAS and other mods that destroy Lavagouts are not at all hard to come by, and most of the time your frame break wouldn’t change if you were 10 slower, and in that case how can you not go with Bloodfist instead?

I thought about Venom Grip, but you know some Poison Dagger Necro player would have written in and included his entire spleen as an attachment if I’d named them.  Plus the poison damage is useful, if you don’t have eleventeen poison charms already. Dirk begs to differ.

Lava Gout the WORST gloves of all ? Are you crazy ? I instantly stopped reading the column at this point, and I don’t want to read more. Maybe, just maybe, have you overlooked that tiny bit that reads 20 % IAS ? Granted, Laying of Hands have that too, but the other stats on them are worse (aside from being a set item, so not really belonging into this column).

IAS is what decides your damage per second, IAS is what decides if you can stun-lock your opponent, IAS is what allows you to use weapons that are strong but would be too slow without IAS. IAS is what decides how long you are vulnerable during Zeal, Fury or Strafe (Zeal being the least concern, as you have Fanaticism). Lava Gout are THE single best unique gloves for all chars that rely on physical weapon damage. Chance Guards have their place, but only for MF purposes. Magefist or Frostburn are what makes casters happy.

Gloves are one of the very few items that non-uniques are better than the uniques, and my rating here had some unstated comparison to other viable alternatives. You can’t beat, with a rare or crafted, for the Clvl req, any other unique glove but the crappy Lavagout.  There is that Enchant, but it’s mostly useful to pop on lower level characters, and we’re not counting obscure semi-turbo bonuses very heavily.  It doesn’t matter that no one gives a damn about the +Undead damage on Gravenpalm and Ghoulhide, useless or not, it makes them special. The only other glove I considered naming “Worst” was Hellmouth, and they get off because of their cute but damageless Meteor and Firestorm light show.

Unique Helms
No one had any comments of substance.  I was sure someone would go off on me for not naming Arreat’s, and they would have had a point, since it’s just ridiculously good.  All of the Class Specific Uniques are pretty much ridiculous, when you get down to it.  Like broken ridiculous, with mods that it normally takes 2 or 3 items added together to equal. It’s as if Blizzard realized during v1.08 that they had to add uniques, and that no one was using the Class specific stuff.  So they made one of each type, and put Buriza-esque overpowered stats on them just to make sure players would notice.

Unique Shields
Another one that no one commented on.  I had thought maybe I’d get a v1.08 Viscerataunt Necromancer recommendation, when this was an amazingly uber item, but with the Homunculus around it’s hard to get excited about any other Necro non-wand hand item.  Stormshield is so grossly overpowered that no one even bothered to suggest any of the other interesting shields, such as the Luna or Tiamat’s, though there were a few Herald of Zakarum fans.  That’s a great item, but it could be +10 with dual leech and still wouldn’t compare to the 35% Physical Reduction on Stormshield.

Unique Body Armor
Arkaine’s Valor was not a popular choice, at least not the v1.09 version.  As Alec details.

  Let’s look at what happened to valour in 109. 109, we lose the guarantees. We lose the character indifference. We lose 9/10 of the HP bonus. We even lose sweetener/thematic mods to have them replaced with frank insults. 109 Val has ‘going for it’, on my paladin that picked one up last week :

      * A fairly high % chance to get +1 skill to a single damn character class (at random, mind) – maybe 2.
      * A chance to get a moderately impressive defense rating (coz everyone knows that defense rating is so stupidly overpowering, Blizzard figured they better put Defense Rating of the rarest and most powerful armour in the game down to the level of your average quilted armour (Godly Dusk Shroud anyone?).
      * +130 life (clvl 85, so about 6 small charms worth).

  What it has going against it:

      * Speed and stamina penalties
      * Stupidly high level and stat requirements for the bonus you get
      * A slap in the face mod of 10-15 physical *damage* (NO % HERE) reduced.
      * Almost incomparable rarity, and overall difficulty of finding a legit one.
      * The fact that virtually every other armour worn by anyone is better than it.

Good thing I didn’t do the list by just l33tness, huh?  Did I mention it has a cool name?  And that it was the reward for a very nifty quest in D1?

The most common suggestion here, as I said in the intro, was Skullder’s Ire.  Usually I got one of those mails immediately after one saying I was insane for picking Ali Baba as the top sword, or Gull as the top dagger.  I love you all.

Unique Axes
A soundly-ignored item, other than a few people chiming in on how crappy the normal Unique ones are, and pointing out that I don’t know the actual name of the one I said was best.  Bliz needs to tweak axe base stats, since now they are either too slow or not enough damage, and no one is using them, judging by the utter lack of comments on this item type and my Elite-snubbing “Best” selection.

Unique Bows
Oddly enough, I don’t think a single person wrote in to say Windforce should have been the top bow.  This is one occasion where everyone was able to over ride their common sense and big-number-itis with some imagination and humor.  The choice of Kuko as best got the most positive mails, next to my choice for best staff. I could quote 8 or 10 people who said almost the same thing as Jessica does. Some with even more enthusiasm.

Wow its the best!! YOU RULE. Don’t let ANYONE tell you this is a bad choice (well you could let them, but don’t LISTEN to them), and I’ll tell you why. Kuko Shakaku is one of maybe 3 bows that are viable for ANY character class—it is 50% piercing; it adds 40-180 fire damage in a time of global physical resist; exploding arrows ALWAYS HIT. That’s right, folks—you don’t need dex to hit things with this bow. Deck yourself out with elemental damage till the cows come home (heh) and you can deal it out wearing a flashy purple bow.

Pretty much everyone has heard that the Buriza means Blizzard Cannon, but what does Kuko Shakaku translate as?  I’d never heard anyone say, until this email from Taraea.

The Kuko Shakaku does have a neat name. “Fire Angel’s Wedding Rope” is a pretty close Japanese-English translation if I’m not mistaken. Accurate, huh?

No one questioned the worst bow choice.  For once.

Unique Crossbows

I expected more Burizon backlash, but most people seem to just be resigned to her overpoweredness by now. Enjoy it with wine and crackers and save up your vitriol for a more deserving target.

Gregor was the only one brave enough to admit what a gloriously-useful item it is to possess, though.

When I read about your evaluation of the Buriza-Do-Kyanon, I thought “This man is so right”, although of course I have known for a long time what you put down there. But it is still there: the glow deep inside my heart I feel if I see the Buriza.

This item is so special. I wanted to have one the moment I read about her, and of course I held one in my arms already – but I did not find her myself so I threw her away. Just joking – I died in HC and did not retrieve her. But I want to find her so much. Why do I adore her so much? She has good looks, and a groovy name for someone as japanophile as me (that’s why I liked your choice of Kuko Shakaku as well). She is so very strong, in almost every aspect, but wonderfully she is just near the power of windforce, without making her anywhere similar. Both are pretty unique in style and character.

Everything would be perfect, if she just was as rare as windforce! If she just was elite, I would dream of the day of finding her in HC: I would raise an amazon with the 163 strength that would be required, then walk into a channel and tell everyone I was a burizon – and EVERYBODY would say “yeah? prove it!”, “Wow! What a cool guy!” and “Did you find a second? Haha!” – and NOBODY would hate me, or despise me, or think I am a cheater or anything.

There were several avid defenders of the Demon Machine, surprisingly enough.  Here’s Uzurpator with his policy statement.

The choice for the worst unique crossbow is imo a bit unfortunate. Demon Machine can be extremely powerful in the proper hands. Why?

Well, you do not seem to be a sworn necromancer fan, I happened to be one of them (maybe not a sworn but certainly faithful). There is a build of the necromancer that uses the Demon Machine as a main weapon – it is so called Blowamancer. he mainly concentrates on high crushing blow and piercing (Demon Machine + Razortail – you got to see the lightshow ). Properely equipped blowanec can solo hell with ease, with proper skills he is a darn tank and killing hell Izual just under 30 seconds in 8 player games is fun. On the other hand the necro specific crossbow – Pus spitter. Well, I don’t know what Blizzard’s designers smoked or drank when they designed this one but I surely want some too.

Well, the green monstrum deals marginally better damage that DM, runs at whopping 18 fpa (12 fpa for DM and with less that 10% ias it is 11 fpa. And 11 fpa is nec’s maximum), has 150 poison damage over 8 seconds – small charms are like 2 secs and two of those will add the same poison as PS does. Also the crossbow is not accurate (pathetic +ar per lvl, to compensate one would have to use so called AR gear, and AR gear works much better with Buriza one of the unique bows). Basically it is just two handed +2 Necro skill item with some poison resistance. One could use Homunculus and Fool’s of Anthrax thrown dagger to get better damage and better poison at higher fpa and accuracy without the useless and annoying % chance to cast lvl 1 lower resist (and with PS nec will have at least lvl 3 lr).

IMO Pus Pitter = useless junk. Demon Machine = downright powerful if used properely.

Funny that my criticism of Demon Machine was largely due to it being fast, but lacking the bonuses that should have gone with it to make it really viable, such as Crushing Blow.  And here someone recommends it on a high Crushing Necro, of all characters.

There was also this mail, the first numerology mail I’ve ever received, so you know I had to make room for it. We have Zimon to thank for it.

+123% Enhanced Damage—1+2+3 = 6
+66 to Maximum Damage—66
+632 to Attack Rating—3*2 = 6 (632)
Fires Explosive Arrows or Bolts—Hell is a hot place
+66% Chance of Hit Piercing—Target 66 again
+321 Defense—3+2+1 = 6
+36 to Mana 6*6 = 36—(I guess that’s how they thought this number, +236 mana might be to good)

Unique Daggers
This is a category that I had to redo quickly, after I posted it and then realized (after a few emails came in) that I’d used the v1.08 dagger stats. There were still a lot of mails about it, mostly from fans of Wizardspike.

I was one who thought it would be a great item just from seeing the stats, long before I started finding them.  But then came the day I actually tried to use it, and I was disheartened.  It’s in no way equivalent to any of the various unique wands for a Necro, and can’t even approach the Oculus for a Sorceress, mostly since it lacks the oh-so-valuable +skills that are abundant on uniques for those characters.

However I didn’t give much thought to what the IUVs would say, and therein lay my error, as various Singer Barbs, FoH Paladins, BS Necros, and Trap Assassins made themselves heard.  An amazingly-thorough mail about my “Worst” pick came in from goon_squad.

Spineripper is meant for necromancers, which are really the only class in the game who would use a dagger as a weapon. Melee necromancers. A melee necromancer with Spineripper and Level 1 Life Tap can clear Act 5 nightmare (this is an item with a Level 31 requirement) without a single minion and without a single point in strength or dex. It would be quite possible to kill HELL BAAL with the bloody thing. It is a lovely dagger, and proof that raw damage figures don’t mean a thing (I’ve campaigned Paladins to Guardian status using Blood Crescent). Unfortunately it has been made clear many times that you, Mr Flux, know absolutely nothing about the necromancer class. People do actually play them, its just that you don’t hence no idea what are good necro items. Most people who lack knowledge on a subject don’t go on public forums commenting on it.

Spineripper’s 47-90 damage becomes 94-180 with Amplify Damage which as you probably are not aware is a curse available to the necromancer class at Level 1. How many weapons do this sort of damage one handed with base str and dex, and do it so damn fast, from Lvl 31? Not too many I would suggest. Or you can steal 50 or so life each hit with Life Tap, plus the 9% built in. You don’t need attack rating, and its as fast as all get up. And then there’s 1 to all skills. Compare this to the following- Spectral Shard (as pointless an item as the game has to offer- even though they raised its damage), Stormspike (ninety bloody seven dex and it is slower than cold treacle). The Diggler (possibly useful to the desperate in Act 1 normal but beyond that it’s just plain drebbage, at least they gave it IAS in the expansion). The others have their uses.

I’m actually surprised you didn’t give best dagger to Heart Carver, not for its most acceptable damage or ITD but for its points in Find Item.

And a Necro couldn’t use Amp damage with another weapon doing double Spineripper’s damage, right?

I actually considered Heart Carver for worst, since it’s pointless.  It’s sort of a cute item, with the theme bonuses, but +points in Find Item are a terrible idea.  Not that more points are bad, but the whole reason to use the skill is to take advantage of your MF.  If you have lvl 20 Find Item and low MF, you’re going to get nothing better than lots of extra purples from Champions, and an occasional worthless Rare, and you might as well not even bother.  There is no point in Horking without strong MF/GF.

You are infinitely better off using a Gull or Ali Baba and adding 100% from the same weapon slot, even at the cost of 4 points in Find Item.  Especially since Hork hits diminishing returns so heavily at a relatively low level, you quickly reach a point where +4 is worth about 6% in effectiveness. Don’t get me started on Hork, my lecture mode is too easily engaged after making half a dozen lvl 80+ HC MF babas and writing a whole guide about it.

As a few mails said, I probably should have just combined daggers into the “Spell-Casting Thingies” category, since Wizardspike and Gull are really just wands with a pointy end.

And yes, I realize “The Diggler” is a joke, and why.  I thought that would be obvious from how I mentioned it in the entry, but several people wrote in to explain.  Some people are even more amused by it than I am, Paul for instance.

I?d have to say that you gave The Diggler the shaft. Can I do that? I agree it is probably the funniest name for any item in the game.

And just because one dick joke is never enough, Simon chimes in.

I would like to point out that “Gull” means “Male Sex Organ” in Cantonese. This makes it quite a bit funnier than The Dirk or The Diggler.

Blunt Weapons
A buncha people suggested Cranium Basher for the best maul, and sure it’s all huge damage and everything, but it’s no fun to just pick the one gargantuan elite unique. Funny no one wrote in to plead for Windforce, but several did for this one.

Bonesnap, besides being an item I always spell, “Bonespan” before backspacing to correct it, is a dubious choice, now that I consider it. It was godly and terrifying back in D2C in the hands of cheesy Vigor PK Pallies, but the Clvl 24 req pretty well ruins it now, when you tack on the lack of IAS.  Crushing and huge damage don’t quite cancel out all of that. Evil Cheese brings up a maul I did consider, since it’s great for a Druid, but I couldn’t put it on with Ribcracker holding down the faster battering blunt weapon spot also.

In your worst/best list you gave best maul to bonesnap, i was wondering if you have looked at the steel driver. it is a great weapon for druids (the speed bonus makes it pretty deadly with fury), and requires less strength then the bone snap to use, and is usable at lvl 29 (bonesnap lvl 24). not that i dont agree with you choice over all, bone snap was awsome in d2 classic, but today it is not as impressive.

One person even defended Crushflange.  Well, sort of. Here’s Igneous.

You mention crushflange as one of the crappier maces, just because there is nothing usefull about it. You are right about that for D2X, but you should have given it a little ‘tweaker’’ credit for its uses back in the classic times. The +15 Str made it possible to use a lot of items earlier in your chars carreer. I think it was my personal favourite necro/sorc mace for that single reason. And it was 1 handed, so you could couple it with sigons shield to boot.


Unique Polearms
No one gave a damn.  Yes, I should have combined this with spears, possibly in a “Stabbing things for your Aura Merc.” category.

Unique Spears
As other columns have proven, there is nothing I can say about any character class, no matter how obscure or mild, that won’t piss off someone, somewhere, enough to mail in and complain.  Here’s Tyler.

Fending works just fine with my perfect lycanders is hell. I dont see why you had to go and bash spearazons.

I try to add some variety to my Necromancer bashing diet, and even that proves unpopular.  *sigh*  And if you think a 150-350 spear with no Crushing is sufficient for Hell, big bonuses or not, more power to you.

Several people shared their favorite merc weapon comments, but the lack of any real remarkable items in this class kept there from being much controversy.

Spell Caster Thingies
This was the most popular pick of them all, oddly enough. Ribcracker fans unite. And here people used to laugh at me for using a staff on my Druid as I tore through Baal runs in eight player NM games. I did forget to mention one thing about it though, as Demonknight explains.

Man, I love your columns! And I’m glad to know that someone else agrees with me on the stone of Jordan. but u missed one thing, the awesome THWACK-THWACK-THWACK sound Ribcracker makes. man, the first time I used it I almost fealty sorry for the monsters I used it on

One other guy wrote in to talk about his deep hatred for Serpent Lord, but since that one is useful for the low Clvl it’s required at, I can’t judge it too harshly.

Unique Throwing Weapons
I think I screwed up the stats on the Worst one, but no one gave a damn.

Unique Swords
Several MF haters chimed in on Ali Baba, but the name is such a perfect match for what it does and who it’s used by, as explained in the column entry, that I probably would have had to give it “Best” even if I didn’t hold Hork Babas dear to my heart.  I do like Doombringer a lot also, and a couple of mails talked about how much they liked its name.  It would have probably been my second choice here, but you know someone would have noticed that it’s my top item pick in my MF Barb guide, and poked me for being an MF freak.  So it’s good that I didn’t mention it.

Swordguard even had some defenders. Christopher, for one.

Swordguard is very viable til You can get a good cruel.. if any sword is bad, it is Azurewrath. Angelic runeblade or not.. As for Shadowfang, some of us Play the game at low lvl, at which point that sword is god for melee. Dual leech and cold damage, only lvl 12, that would have been my best.. Very useful mods and saves your ass for a long while.. Even with a low lvl pally. 

He’s right, it’s not a totally useless item, it’s just such a let down from what all sword users in D2C were hoping for from the Unique Exe, and I can’t let that pain go.  A few others backed him up on the usefulness of Shadowfang at low levels, though that still doesn’t excuse it being a silly little toy, after featuring so highly in the Diablo world mythology.  Imagine if you found “Tyrael’s Worldstone-Shattering Sword”, and it was like 7-13 with +2 to Throwing Mastery?  Exactly.

Some general comments, mostly praise and flame.

Dan learns about irony, and that Bnet is a cruel mistress.

First thing is first- I love the articles. Keep on rocking the D2 world.

For the next item- I just finished reading your worst/best unique item list, and started doing Meph runs with my MF Baba (constructed using your guide, btw). Mephisto dropped 3 uniques in one run- two of them earning the title of worst item on your list (the belt and the boots). Oh, the bitter irony (muffled sobbing). 


Jay-KT notices the little touches.

I thoroughly enjoyed your Decahedron #10.

Some thoughts:

I noticed that all the item names in red were the original names for the item except the Buriza as the “Burito”. Nice touch.

I also noticed that just about every “best” item for each category you picked out was “very” partial towards magic finding. Though I did enjoy the “best” you choose just for the names alone.

Overall, I found the read very enjoyable.


Oly doesn’t like much this week, though he’s not real strong on the facts. 1) Trang’s is a set. 2) Trang’s belt doesn’t have any leech. 3) Orphan’s belt does. 4) But it has no Can Not Be Frozen. 5) Though admittedly they do look sort of similar.  And so on. Also, how can I make clearer that these are columns full of opinions; not strategy guides?

WTF flux i normally like the stuff you write but this was the biggest pile of drivel i have ever read in my life, perhaps it would all be ok if you called it ‘Flux’s favourite items’ or something along those lines. Its for diabloii.net for god sake! People come here for real advice on items. Not advice telling them that lavagout is bad and that kuko shaku is good! In the belts section trangouls doesnt even get a mention despite having cannot be frozen and dual stats.

Ali Baba, gull and Chance Guards are magifind items, items you use to get BETTER items. Items that can actually kill stuff. No?

Ribcracker as best ‘Spell caster’ weapon? Not wizardspike? Sigh this really is a joke what the hell were you thinking?

Wait do you actually play this game? Why do you even give Constricting Ring a mention?? Why not mention white items and buriza armor for god sake. Suddenly you are promoting cheats?

I apoligise for not sending you any positive feedback in the past however this toilet paper demanded a repsonse.

A new reader with the most unspellable name of the week says nice things, and recommends an amusing destination. Zhothaqquah sayeth:

I just tonight discovered your “Decawhatdron” column (#10) on unique items and it brought tears to my eyes from laughing. Encouraged by this I proceeded to your (#6) column on spells and it had me rolling off my chair spluttering with laughter. Now really hooked I started hunting for the hard to find (#3) on characters and when I found it I choked with laughter at your description of the necro (my preferred character by the way), a condition rendered substantially more severe by the follow-ups posted on the forum.

I do not often send e-mail to column authors but I liked this so much that I wanted to.

On the offshoot that you like RPG games I include a link to a web site that displays the same kind of deliciously toxic humour you seem to be fond of using, but with respect to pen and paper RPG games. Some of the other stories you may find on this site do use offensive language though. Enjoy!

Thanks again for an enjoyable evening and please keep up the good work.

I always like mails from people who say this.  I’m just a pawn of Blizzard’s marketing department, I guess. Grayson says.

I’ve been a loyal fan of Diablo since it was first released, and have continued on through LoD. I wanted to tell you that I had all but lost interested in the game because of the constant lag and horrible hacks out. I started reading your articles though on D2.net and you kind of sparked me back into playing again (damn you.) I’ve switched back to softcore for now, at least until the realms a tad safer, but I’m back in the game an enjoying every bit of it.

Ami, just because she makes me feel warm inside, down where my heart used to be.

I’m so obsessed with your Decahedron column I find myself reading the same articles over and over just to see if I missed something. I’m still waiting anxiously for a column on mercenaries. Maybe a Best 3 / Worst 3. But, anywho, that’s like some of the funniest stuff I’ve ever read. I’ve never played a necromancer although I’ve read a little more about them so I could understand the jokes you make about them. That’s seriously too funny. Keep it up


And lastly, Eric will never be satisfied.

So the real question remains what are the absolute best and worst items overall? 

Gee, that column wouldn’t generate any disagreement.


Flux?s Decahedron was written by Flux during 2002-2004, and hosted by Diabloii.net. These irreverent, often rude “Top 10” columns tweaked every aspect of the game and community, pioneered the humorous “Top 10” listing of game features during the eternal v1.09 patch era, were excessively long, and incorporated extensive reader feedback. They may or may not return for Diablo III.

The opinions expressed in these columns are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Diii.net.

Tagged As: | Categories: Retired Columns

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