The Ten Worst Skills in D2X

    This list was hard to put together, since there are so many ways to rank the skills that it’s hard to define “bad” or “worst”.

    • Is a skill bad if no one ever uses it?
    • Is a skill bad if everyone uses it so often that you’re sick of seeing it?
    • Is a skill bad if it’s too weak?
    • Is a skill bad if it’s so strong that everyone abuses it?
    • Is a skill bad if it’s got a bug?
    • How do you compare a Clvl 1 skill that’s designed to be useful until Clvl 6 or 12, with a Clvl 24 or 30 skill that’s designed to be useful forever?
    • How much does the “fun factor” come in to play, vs. boring skills that are perhaps more useful?

    With so many sources of input, this listing takes all of the above factors into consideration, and weights them semi-evenly. The rankings are therefore quite subject to change, and if your own analysis weights killing power more heavily than mine did, or rates scarcity the best and gives bonus points for uncommon skills, you’ll likely have very different skills in your worst and best list.  I expect there will be quite a bit of feedback on this one, from people with differing opinions on things.

    I made sure to get at least one skill from each character for this worst list, and for next week’s best list, just so no one would feel left out. Click through for the full column, plus the reader feedback.

    And now for the disclaimer.

    This is (intended as) a humor column. This list is of the “Worst” skills in D2X, as of January 2003, v1.09. Ranked from 1 to 10. This is not meant to be a scientific ranking of the strongest or weakest skills in the game, the most/least popular skills, or any other single rating criteria.  Read the intro before you bitch, for god’s sake.

    The images link to the skills in our character section, where you’ll find detailed descriptions of how they actually work, as well as their stats.

    The Ten Worst Skills in D2X
    #10: Raise Skeleton/Skeleton Mage

    These two Necromancer skills aren’t really that bad, though skeletons become so weak later in the game that they don’t have much purpose, other than perhaps as artillery support in the form of mages.  Yes, you can use them with Iron Maiden, but if they die from a single hit every time, you do nothing but summon up new ones, assuming you’ve got enough corpses.  What’s really dumb with this skill is that it always summons forth a human skeleton, no matter what you use it on.

    What does a vulture corpse, hawk corpse, puddle of sludge left by the death of a glowing ball of elemental light, and a pile of 5000 dead gnats have in common?  You guessed it, they all have human skeletons inside. Perhaps they carry them in a backpack of holding, next to their cracked bardiches? You can even raise skeletons from dead skeletons.  But they aren’t the same as what you get by Reviving dead skeletons themselves.  Yers…

    #9: Enchant

    The favorite skill for all of those melee Sorcs out there.  Both of them.  The other use is to pop a friend’s new character up about 500% in damage by casting your Slvl 10 Enchant (thanks to your +9 to all gear) on their cracked hand axe as they’re just starting off for the Den of Evil, and you’re muling your seventeenth pair of IK boots while they hold the game.

    Imagine this one being used to boost the damage of other players in your party, as you all cooperate and work together to survive?  No, I can’t imagine it either.

    #8: Teeth

    This Necromancer skill is pretty cool when you first use it, though you can’t afford the mana and the damage seems low.  Well get used to that, since the damage is always low, far too low to be of any practical (killing) use past the very early portions of the game.  The obvious comparison is to Charged Bolt, which starts off close to this skill in damage, increases the number of projectiles at about the same rate, but at higher levels will do oh, 500x more damage, primarily since there’s a mastery for it, and more than one bolt can hit a given target.  Instead of that, Teeth is a sort of poor man’s Multishot, where you can shoot as many out as you want… you’ll just never hit anything. And it’s not exactly Burrito-cannon powered.

    #7: Telekinesis

    A once useful skill, TK has been reduced to a noise-maker as Bliz has given it nerf after nerf, removing the possibility of it being useful in almost any circumstance.

    Veteran cheaters miss the good old days when clueless noobs could be effortlessly gulled into dropping their best item in town, to “prove that it wasn’t duped”.  And once on the ground it was as good as yours.  Now they have to go to all the trouble of standing on the other side of the Rogue Encampment fence and teleporting over to steal the noob’s item. Such an inconvenience.

    Anyway, TK helps you pick up items from a distance, and smack monsters and duelers back into a wall.  Except that it doesn’t pick up items, and doesn’t usually work on monsters or players either.  And for 95% of its potential uses, you could just teleport over and click on the item directly. Plus it comes in charges on all sorts of items, so it’s not even a special Sorcy-only bonus.  Aside from that, it’s pretty roxor.

    #6: Grim Ward

    It pains me to include this one, since it’s really quite a cool spell in graphics and concept.  Of all the skills we saw on our trip to Blizzard North in December 1999, this was the one skill that Gaile, Elly, and I were most impressed with.  You kill stuff, and then you rip this skeletal scarecrow thing out of their bloody corpse, and other monsters are frightened of it!  I mean what could be cooler than that?

    The problem is that it’s way too high level, and that no one has ever used it.  Ever.  For any reason.  Don’t bother to mail and say your friend saw a guy somewhere one time on Asia 3 use this. Because you’ll be lying. Anyway, as BAf says in the Daredevil trailer, “Even Bigfoot has witnesses.”

    #5: Resist Cold/Fire/Lightning

    Criticizing these unnecessary Paladin auras is shooting fish in a barrel, a bit like insulting Necromancers and calling Elemental Druids weak. Good idea, I’ll be sure to get to those others also.  I can have pride, or be funny.  It’s not a hard decision, really.

    These three single-element resistances seem to be sad remnants of the early development days of D2C, back before Blizzard had really implemented and/or realized the exp boosting effects of playing in a party.  Early on in testing and design, they’d play a single character for days to get them to Clvl 30 and kill Diablo.  They’d clear every area, mostly playing solo, long before “Players X” was dreamed of.  In that light, it seemed reasonable to have four resistance auras, since you could use each one when it was best, juggling them according to need.  Of course this was also back in the fairy tale days when it mattered if you had cold or poison resistance, and the development team still entertained thoughts of players actually needing to party together and help each other out to survive the challenging world of Diablo II.

    I remember hearing debate as to whether it would be possible for players to wait until Clvl 30 to get Salvation.  What would those idealistic Blizzard North developers have done if they’d known that one day no one would bother with any of the resistance auras since they cared about nothing but killing speed, and after all, half the fun is yelling “Noob!” when other players with -57% lightning resistance (and 411% MF) die to the first FELE boss they hit in Hell?

    #4: Impale

    This Amazon skill is perhaps the worst single attack skill in the game.  One of the very few DIAS skills, it lowers your attack speed greatly, causes your Amazon to make a noise like a branded yak, and is likely to destroy your weapon in a single hit.  The good part is that it increases your damage almost enough to notice.  Assuming the target stands still for the two minutes it takes to actually hit them with this.  Generally you get something like you see in the screenshot, with the target long gone by the time you manage to stab at where they used to be.

    You can judge the utility of a skill by the amount of variants who use it.  Go find me an Impaleazon.  I’ll wait.

    #3: Armageddon

    Okay, so you’re trying an Elemental Druid.  He’s got some cool looking skills, Molten Boulder is fun, but nothing seems to really do any damage. Undeterred, you soldier on.  The Clvl 30 skills must pack a punch, right?  I mean it’s not like Bliz would make an entire skill tree that sucked, would they?  Plus look at the damn skill tree; Armageddon is the only skill in the entire game that has nine pre-reqs.  It requires every single other skill in this tree.  How can it not be godly?

    And then you use it, and it looks awesome, and nothing dies, or even seems to really be taking any damage. And you have to wait about two minutes between each cast, so you can’t stack it on a boss.  Or even be sure it hits anything, with the squirrelly area no-effect damage.  And you check some stats, and discover that at Slvl 20 you’ll be doing 390-440.  A Sorceress does more than that Meteor at Slvl 6, including fire damage over time, and that’s not even counting Fire Mastery.  Oh, and she can cast them 5x faster than you, and be sure of actually hitting what she aims for.  About the time you realize all of this, and that your skill points are gone gone gone, you find yourself curled up in a corner, crying like Nancy Kerrigan!

    #2: Spirit of Barbs

    Amazingly enough, Armageddon isn’t the worst Druid skill.  That honor goes to Spirit of Barbs, AKA “the Druid aura thing no one ever casts”.  This skill is basically Thorns, except that Thorns actually does some damage.  Slvl 20 Spirit of Barbs returns 240% damage.  Not too bad, until you consider that Thorns returns 250% damage… at level one!  Even the Necromancer kicks your furry ass, since Iron Maiden starts at 200%, and hits 250% by Slvl 3.

    Pity there’s no Summon Porcupine skill to stack with it, eh?

    #1: Cloak of Shadows

    The use of this skill can single-handedly turn an entire game of peaceful PvM players into a hate-filled mob of would-be Assassin’aters.  The skill has a tiny monster defense decrease, and makes them wander aimlessly, but what elevates it past the mere uselessness of Inner Sight, and all the way to one of the very worst skills in the game, is the darkness it brings.  The affected monsters actually look sort of cool, steaming like wet wood in a campfire, but everything else is “cloaked in shadows”.  Or else it looks like someone just kicked out your monitor’s plug.

    On the bright side (so to speak), if an Assassin doesn’t want anyone hanging around taking her kills or loot, constant use of this is a very good way to gain some personal space.  As well as learn new curse words.

    Honorable Mentions

    • Charged Strike: It’s bad, Impale is worse.
    • Shock Web: Pitiful damage, and deceptive since it only works once per second.
    • Increased Stamina: As if any Barb has ever needed more stamina.
    • Summon Ravens: Looks great, does nothing.  How about stacking with charm damage?  Nope.
    • Weaken: The worst Curse; almost never useful.
    • Bone Prison: Not bad, but compared to Diablo’s version of it…
    • Sacrifice: The only skill in the entire game that you can actually kill yourself with.
    • Holy Bolt: Damages undead, heals friends, but not enough of either to bother with.
    • Holy Fire: Laughable damage ruins a cool concept, other than for some specialized gem-herders.
    • Lightning Bolt: Who needs minimum damage?  Or casting speed?

    Feedback—January 8, 2002

    Did anyone care to comment on this listing of The Worst Skills?  Oh yes.  I received 184 emails on this column, which is the record by about 100.  Surprising to me, given that this one wasn’t real controversial, and #3 (Best/Worst Characters) was.  But #3 had far more people who chose to comment in the forums than via email.  Why did so many people email about this one?

    Rebuttal.  I’d say about 60% of the mails were about one or more of the skills here, from people listing when it is actually useful.  Even the “others receiving consideration” got quite a few mails, and all had their defenders. The most defended skills were Grim Ward, Ravens, and Telekinesis, but every single skill listed had at least one or two people who mailed to say it wasn’t totally suxor.  Somewhere in the game, at some time.

    Agreement. There were a ton of mails from people who wanted to add their two cents about one or two skills listed, agreeing with everything mean I said, and throwing more dirt on the grave in their glee. The most hated skills were Cloak of Shadows, Armageddon, and Enchant.  No one seems to like Cloak of Shadows, even the people who said it was occasionally useful hated the darkness it brought.

    Additional suggestions. A lot more people thought all of these sucked, and wanted more bad ones listed as well.  The most common suggestions were for uber skills that are overused, such as Guided Arrow and Firewall, but quite a few people nominated the entire Spearazon melee lightning skill family as well as Leap. I did consider Leap, since it’s pathetic for 99% of players, especially compared to the far greater range of Leap Attack.  However there are some variants that use Leap for the knock back on landing bonus it carries.  It probably should have made honorable mention though.

    My Methodology: There were also a lot of suggestions for truly weak skills, such as Firebolt, Cold Arrow, Icebolt, and other Clvl 1 skills.  While it’s true that these aren’t useful long term, they are useful right off the bat, when they are meant to be used.  Some Clvl 1 and 6 skills are useful long term, but most are just to be used early on, until something better comes along to replace it.  I wasn’t writing a “most/least powerful skill” list, so I didn’t go that route.  What fun would it be to write about how much a Clvl 1 skill, one that’s obviously meant to be used through about the Dark Woods, sucks?  So I chose to go after bigger game, picking higher level skills that were bad for their level, or ones that fared poorly compared to equivalent skills, or ones that were just annoying.  And I picked seven, one from each character, and then three more on merit, regardless of character, to give wider representation.  Which is why the entire Druid Elemental tree, and the entire Paladin Defensive Auras tree weren’t listed (as quite a few people suggested). I thought doing it this way would make for a more interesting column, and given the huge amount of email, it seems that I was correct.

    I also intentionally overstated the case against a number of skills, and chose to not mention useful aspects of any skills.  On my last column, a few people pointed out that I said as many bad things as good about several of the so called “Best Areas” and I thought that was a reasonable comment.  So this time I behaved like a lawyer making a closing argument.  The goal was to be condemning and prejudiced and unfair.  And funny, when possible. I’ll be doing the same thing on the next column, describing why the skills rule, and no doubt there will be 150 emails pointing out the flaws and problems with the skills that I neglected to mention.

    The point of these columns is to be entertaining and to slaughter a few sacred cows (cowz 8ppl gogo).  It’s not to be objective and balanced and fair.  I use the feedback to do that, and quite often I know what I’m saying in the initial column isn’t exactly true or accurate.  But that’s also quite often what makes them funny.

    Here is a full list of the skills, in order, starting with the honorable mention ones.  Each lists the reasons people gave for them not sucking, as rebuttal to my comments on them. Many of these had upwards of ten people comment on them, so due to the volume of mail I’m just going to summarize the reasons given, rather than trying to find exact quotes for all of them.

    Dishonorable Mention

    Charged Strike (Amazon): I believe this was the only skill I listed that no one wrote in to defend.  Though a ton of people suggested throwing Power Strike and Lightning Strike into the same trash can.

    Shock Web (Assassin): Several people said that though it sucked, it was fun to use and pretty.  Be sure you remind Diablo of that when he’s scraping your flattened spleen off of his feet.

    Increased Stamina (Barbarian): I don’t believe anyone actually defended this, but a couple of people pointed out that there actually were low/no-Vit Barb variants.  Now there’s a nomination for my “Top Ten Signs You’ve Played Too Much Diablo II” list.  No-Vit barbs, for when you get sick of those fun-loving no-Dex Amazons.

    Summon Ravens (Druid): Lots of people pointed out that this is actually a pretty useful skill for dueling. Not that the Ravens do enough damage to matter, but they will stun or force your opponent to block.  One mailer even said his brother had hidden himself, and then used this skill to kill Diablo, though it took about half an hour.

    Weaken (Necromancer): No one defended the use of it with a Necromancer, since there’s always a better skill to use at the same time.  However if you have charges of it, they can be helpful for other characters.

    Bone Prison (Necromancer): Useful for PVP, and can also be used PvM with Iron Maiden.  I knew it was somewhat useful, I just included it point out how lame are the graphics, compared to Diablo’s so much cooler version.

    Sacrifice (Paladin): Not a bad skill, but I just had to point out the fact you can kill yourself with it, and get those nifty, “Sir Chopalot was killed by Sir Chopalot” messages.

    Holy Bolt (Paladin): Several people pointed out that this is banned from most dueling, and used that as evidence that it is potentially powerful, if only for the healing party members and mercs.  A valid point.

    Holy Fire (Paladin): The amount of people who commented bitterly about this skill was surprising.  It was up there in hatred near the actual top ten list, due to the ridiculous +1 damage per Slvl.  However it’s still useful for twinked out chippy hunters, who can clear whole screens in 8 player beginner games in seconds with this aura active.

    The Top Ten

    #10 Summon Skeleton/Mage (Necromancer): No one disputed that these were ridiculously weak later in the game, but many players still enjoyed playing the Zoomancer and stomping around with a veritable graveyard of attendants.  Mages are less worthless, since if you get oh, 30 or 40 of them, their combined attacks add up pretty well.  They are also useful ways to keep corpses from being raised, and for a lot less mana than Corpse Explosion.  But still, the fun factor rating has to come in well above the utility.  Everyone acknowledged how silly it was to pull forth a human skeleton, no matter what you were targeting.

    #9 Enchant (Sorceress): Reasons to Enchant ranged from helping lower level chars out to boosting mercs to the fun of playing a Puncharess, and beating easy monsters to death with just one smack.  There is also a tremendous duration on this skill, many minutes, so true, it’s not that much damage per hit, and it’s generally useless for the Sorceress herself, but since it’s essentially free to cast, why not add that bit more fire damage to your party or merc?  If they hit several hundred things while it’s in action, that adds up substantially.  Plus the red weapon is sorta roxor.

    #8 Teeth (Necromancer): Several players wrote in to say what fun it was to see high level teeth.  You’ll be a dentist…. You have a talent for causing things pain… Plus “The Dentist” is probably the best (intentionally-underpowered) variant name in the entire game.  Now that would be a quirky Top Ten list.  And yes, they all agreed this is essentially useless long term, but said it was great to see huge mobs going down a tiny bite at a time to an entire screen full of sharp, pointy teeth.  Plus if you stack it with Lower Resistance you can increase the damage way way up into the, well, dozens.  At least.

    #7 Telekinesis (Sorceress): This was the last skill I picked to be in the top 10 (I ranked them after I picked them) and as expected, it drew about the most rebuttal.  A number of players pointed out that when wearing heavy armor, often with a heavy shield and no or little faster run boots, the Sorceress runs like a two-legged dog in the mud.  Or possibly even slower. This isn’t a big deal out in the wilds, since she can teleport, but in town it’s a real annoyance.  So being able to hit the waypoint and stash from all the way across the screen was really a nice bonus.  Being as my current sorceress is wearing the purple piano that is Tal’s Armor, I was aware of this.  TK is also useful for hitting shrines and waypoints from a distance, though in most cases you could just teleport over and click it almost as quickly.  And it’s helpful to break open barrels and chests and avoid traps in them.

    My main reason for including it was the absurd way it’s been nerfed, when this skill that was made to let you pick stuff up from a distance… won’t let you pick stuff up from a distance.  Okay, maybe this should have stayed honorable mention and I could have ravaged Charged Strike for a couple of paragraphs.

    #6 Grim Ward (Barbarian): This one was begging for contradiction with the entry, and it got it.  At least 40 or 50 people mailed in to shamefully admit that they used this skill themselves.  It’s most commonly used by throw Barbs, who enjoy it to scatter the beasties, letting them nail one at a time.  It can also be use on corpses to keep them from being raised by a shaman. Another good use is to scare off all the minions while leaving the boss there (Bosses don’t run from it) so you can kill him solo.  This can be very helpful if he’s got a nasty aura or is Extra Fast.  It’s also valuable in the cow level to thin the herd, and for clearing away the monsters when you’ve died and are trying to retrieve your corpse. The main problem with Grim Ward is that the Barb is so overpowered that you simply don’t need it very often.

    #5 Cold/Fire/Lightning Resist (Paladin): While hardly anyone defended Fire or Cold, a number of people pointed out that Resist Lightning was useful against MSLE or just plain LE bosses.  Which is true, but the way the skills are valued, it’s ridiculous to have the single elemental resistances do less than Salvation does to all three of them.  Which makes these three utterly useless after Clvl 30, except in the extremely rare case of two paladins being in the game, and one running Salvation while the other runs Resist Lightning.  You can also do this solo if you have clever fingers and can time flashing Salvation while stacking one of the others.  That may be possible, but in my humble opinion, if you need to add +13% lightning resistance to stay alive, you really need to evaluate your other equipment.

    These are also useful for HC, especially Resist Lightning, since saving that skill point does you no good if you croak before you can reach Clvl 30.  I’ve never put a point here on my several HC Paladins, and they’ve all lasted into the 70’s or 80’s, but all mine have been pretty twinkalicious, so your mileage may vary.

    #4 Impale (Amazon): I think everyone knows when this is useful; mostly early on, when you don’t have a lot of damage, and especially against Lightning Enchanted monsters. Jab will generally do more total damage over time, but if the monster you are hitting is spitting out lightning bolts that you don’t have the resistance/leech to deal with, it’s nice if you can do the same damage with fewer hits.  I’m still waiting to hear from an Impaleazon, though one mailer said he had visions of an Impalazon, which would look something like this, but with bigger boobies and a blonde pony tail.

    #3 Armageddon (Druid): No one was really willing to say this was a great skill, or even an especially good one, considering the pre-reqs, but it did have some defenders.  The wide range sucks to kill monsters with, but apparently it’s useful when your target is moving around a lot, such as during PvP, or if you have a lot of patience and strong minions.  I could have picked Fissure or Volcano, which are the same thing as this but even less so, but it was more fun to name the biggest skill in the tree.

    #2 Spirit of Barbs (Druid): A few people pointed out that this wasn’t totally useless, since the reflected damage is tiny, but in some cases, such as against Baal’s Minions, throwing a Grizzly out there with this on is the only thing a non-uber character can do.  Which is true, but the numbers on this one are still ridiculous, with Slvl 1 Thorns beating Slvl 20 Spirit of Barbs. You’ll note that Thorns is a Clvl 6 skill with no pre-reqs, while this is Clvl 30, with two pre-reqs. Then again, Paladins can’t summon up infinite meat shields to die for the cause.

    #1 Cloak of Shadows (Assassin): Some players praised the ability of this skill to completely clear out a level… of other players.  It’s not a bad skill in effect, especially to neuter ranged attackers. It’s just the darkness that accompanies it that bothers everyone so much.  I’ve always assumed that Blizzard put that in to balance out a relatively useful skill, in much the same way hangovers balance beer consumption.  But some players actually said the darkness was sort of cool, so I’m now wondering if maybe Blizzard liked the darkness during testing, and thought it was a cool bonus?

    A few other comments on this column.

    Enjoyable column, as they all have been so far. The ratings are sad, but true. Great humour, keep up the good rankings. Going to consider a re-ranking when (if?) 1.10 gets released?

    The reason I’m doing these weekly, instead of bi-weekly or tri-weekly like the other columnists, is that most of them will be invalidated once v1.10 comes out, so I’m doing as many as possible before then.  As Dominic says, I could probably redo a bunch of them after the patch, if as many things are changed as Bliz has been telling us will be changed.  But even if they are, it would be months before I could do such a column again since players have to figure out what’s good and bad post patch, and not only that, but the thrust of the changes need to become common knowledge before a joke about them would be funny.

    A lot of people disliked Shadow Master, due to her habit of casting things you don’t want cast, such as Cloak of Shadows.  Here’s J.

    Well, it’s a little involved, but I will say there is almost no more annoying moment in the game than when you’re trying to kill a group of monsters and the Assassin’s Shadow Master casts Mind Blast on about 3 or 4 of them which will, of course, snap out of it before you’re prepared and nail you with their most damaging attack before you can kill them… or before she Mind Blasts them AGAIN.

    The listing of upcoming columns on my author info page drew some attention, with half a dozen people mailing, already eager and full of suggestions for the Top Ten Most Annoying Types of People on Battle.net list.

    I can’t wait for “The 10 Most Fun Skills” and especially “The 10 Most Annoying Types of People on B.net.” I don’t know about you, but spammers would be #1 on my list. Can’t talk at all because anything you say is instantly pushed to the top and out of sight by nonstop ads (often with deplorable grammar). There don’t seem to be as many in the Cow Channels, for some reason.


    Some people just want more.  Like Kevin.

    Bet you get a lot of mail so ill keep it short. Thought this column was funny as hell, you should do one for every d2 skill, I’d read it.

    And Tim.

    The introduction to your column was correct. There are many different criteria for determining what, exactly, is a bad skill. You really should have split this into two or more separate columns, such as most useless skill the first week, then most annoying skill the next. There are 210 skills, and you only dealt with ten. Certainly there is plenty of material here for multiple columns. I enjoyed the column, as always.

    A lot of people left the Amazon Spear melee lightning skills for dead, but no one did it quite as well as Dharmaserf.

    I have to point out 3 skills missed. These are the never-used amazon skills Power Strike, Charged Strike, and Lightning Strike. These skills are so bad and so unused that they have been consistently ignored by everyone (apparently including you—hehe). Can you imagine a set of three skills on any other character that would go this long without any noticeable changes to how they work? These skills are so bad that no one ever remembers to complain about them anymore (unlike the Elemental Druid).

    As a devoted spearazon, I have waited—without much hope—to see any significant change to these skills since the first patch of D2C. One of the amusing things about these skills is that a hard core Spearazon will every so often make a grand gesture of making a Lighting Strike Spearazon thread that eventually peters out in lieu of “fend or jab” posts.

    Not only that, but it—as for example Armageddon—Lightning Strike has the most prereqs of the tree. Sigh. Blizzard dropped the ball here and has not only refused to look at it, but has ran screaming from it. I’m almost willing to lay money that these skills will be completely forgotten in 1.10.

    As if to prove his point, he mailed back 10 minutes later.

    Ack! I didn’t even notice that you had mentioned Charged Strike as receiving consideration. These skills are like Grey Men from Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time Series. Ones eyes just flow right over them without noticing.

    Smithy was a close second.

    Lightning strike. The bane of every spearzon out there.

    It looks like it would be a good skill. Imagine being able to cast chainlighting as often as you can attack. The damage even looks like it would be useful.

    And then you find out is broken and has been broken since D2C was released. It has been broken for years.

    Ignore what the skill tree tells you its damage is, it’s lying.

    Its lightning misses enemies completely, and when it does hit the damage it does is no where near what is listed.

    At slvl 20, the skill has trouble killing fallen in Hell.

    You get all that for a lvl 30 skill.

    Want to kill enemies physical immune enemies with a spear, well sorry, that’s not allowed.

    Just since he was the only person who commented on Lightning Bolt in any way whatsoever, here’s StateOfLuvNTrust.

    Lightning bolt damage rapidly overakes Chain Lightning damage past level 20. CL starts out with a higher rate of increase, but levels off. I can’t remember the skill level, but I reached a point at which LB was doing almost 50% more damage than CL. Slap my wrist and call me cheater, I used occy rings. Me so sorry. But it was worth it to see LB doing (I remember this clearly) 1-4712 damage. It was also about ninety times better at hitting large numbers of cows, despite Blizzard’s intention probably being the opposite (I’m only saying probably) An equal level CL, doing around 1-3100 damage, was much worse than 50% less effective. And btw how effective was a high level LB for cowing? Well, it was okay, for a sorc anyway. Faster than an ith CB barb but slower than a java/nova sorc. Oh yeah, I used a shaeled wizspike and a few ias jewels. Caster jeweling options really suck, particularly when your resistances are already unintentionally overmaxed by spike, magi etc, so 15 frames is relatively painless to get. Yeah, sucky speed, but not totally absurb compared to an 8 or 9 frame build.

    The only person to defend Weaken was Deadalus, so he gets his soap box.

    As a veteran hc necro player (yes, I do exist) I must agree on your assessment of weaken. However, there is a little known use of it that rocks. I am partial to “Smoke” armor which comes with charges of weaken. This is incredibly useful for my non necro characters for taking down monsters that otherwise would kick my butt. By that of course, I am referring to the ancients in hell. The use of weaken allows me to solo them in hell with my throw barb and my assassin when power acting my friends.

    Bone Prison had several defenders.  Most eloquent among their number was Mike.

    If in a cow game cast bone prison on a cow, for some reason cows are attracted to bone prison, cows that aren?t even a screen will flock too it (kinda like fly?s are drawn to dead squirrels). It?s really useful for my necro, my necro uses iron golem, iron maiden, then amp and corpse explosion, to have a large group of cows gathered in one place. Give it a try sometime it rocks in cow game, just be careful not to over do it you get you self mobbed by cows.

    Another use for raised skeletons; role-playing devices.  Sayeth Mike.

    Crypto: I have raised the skeleton of our fallen foe. I shall call him “Steve”.
    Bloodassn: Steve sucks.
    Crypto: Silence or no more curses for you!

    Some time transpires, during which the two-man party tries desperately to keep Steve alive (ever seen a necro and assassin try to keep ANYTHING alive?). Needless to say, Steve quickly succumbs to a mortal (un-mortal?) blow, way before he would have passed away from old age.

    Crypto: Steve has been slain in the heat of battle. We must pay him respects.
    Bloodassn: Steve sucked.
    Crypto: No, really, Steve wasn’t such a bad guy.
    Bloodassn: He sucked. Pop his corpse!
    Crypto: I can’t.
    Bloodassn: Cripes, man.
    Crytpo: It’s ok, because now we have two new comrades: Ben and Jerry.

    It’s sometimes funny when the same kind of he’s-now-a-party-member mentality takes place in a bigger game.

    You think you have specialized characters?  Kneel before ExiledWarrior.

    I use Grim Ward (maxed!) on an item/potion find barb I made for HC cows. The char has NO attack skills whatsoever. Fear is his weapon and keeps him safe while he browses corpses. It’s very useful to protect a messy red portal so others can enter the fray. However, my barb has a rogue hireling that has 100% flee, knockback, and ias. She does well at covering his item finding ass. But the Ward has it’s places and this peaceful barb is one of the most fun chars I’ve played.

    Too much disclaimer? Shari thinks so.

    I’ve read a few of your columns and I notice you call them humor but they’re not really what one might call “funny”. You have some clever writing but I have the feeling that preface is made simply to cut down on the number of letters disagreeing with you about your game-related conclusions.

    To be honest, the whole “read the intro before you bitch” disclaimer smacks of fear of negative feedback. If it is humor, you don’t need to tell people that. They’ll know because it is funny and they will recognize it for what it is. If it is opinion mixed with sarcasm which you don’t want to hear any dissenting voices about, then you are not really emotionally-suited to writing such pieces and offering them up on the internet. At least have the fortitude to live with the reactions to your writing.

    Anyway, I see no point in offering any other comments given your defensive posture against comments by your readers but I think you should be a little less closed and more open-minded. Perhaps you’ll find less “bitching” will occur if your intros are a little less, well, bitchy.

    I think I use them to steer people towards useful disagreement, rather than clueless/off-topic disagreement.  And since I post practically every negative mail I get, and about 5% of the positive ones…

    Thanks to everyone who sent in feedback.  I do read it all, but there’s too much to get back to everyone individually.

    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.

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