This list was hard to put together, since there are so many ways to rank the skills that it’s hard to define “good” or “best”. There are a few things I had to be sure I took into account though.

      * Can a skill be good if it’s not used that often?
      * Can a skill be good if it’s so common that you’re sick of seeing it?
      * Can a skill be good if it’s not powerful?
      * Can a skill with a bug be good?
      * 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?
      * Where to drop in the mandatory Necro joke?

    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, as there were on the “worst” skills.

    I made sure to get at least one skill from each character for this best list, just so no one would feel left out.  This list was harder to compile than the worst list, since I wanted to have fun skills that were still useful, and did not want to just have a list of all the “uber” skills, which wouldn’t have been any fun.

    And now for the disclaimer.

    This is (intended as) a humor column. This list is of the “Best” skills in D2X, as of January 2003, v1.09. The skills are ranked from 1 to 10. This is not meant to be a scientific ranking of the strongest skills in the game, the most popular skills, or any other single rating criteria.

    The Ten Best Skills in D2X
    #10: Whirlwind

    Perhaps the most nerfed skill in the entire game, Whirlwind has had the damage lowered, and lowered, and lowered again.  Besides that, Blizzard fixed it so weapon speed mattered, making it slower, and so range mattered making it have less reach. And it’s still one of the most powerful skills in the game!  Sort of makes you wonder what they were doing with that whole play testing in the first place, huh? Now if they had nerfed it as our April 1, 2001 FotD suggested, we’d be getting somewhere.

    If you’ve not played a Barbarian with this skill, imagine your Zeal Paladin or Fury Druid or Fend Amazon able to hit even more targets per use, faster, over a larger area, while moving, for more damage, and almost never getting hit while doing it.  Oh, and there’s a bug so you always get at least a couple of hits no matter your to/hit or their damage. Seems fair enough, eh?

    #9: Dragon Flight

    This Assassin skill isn’t the most damaging or shiny, but it’s one of the most fun to use.  It’s teleport, with a whack.  It’s also quite clever in the way it can be used to zoom down to Mephisto, by casting your own minion across the blood moat, and then targeting them with this.  At least that’s what they tell me.  I really need to play an Asn at some point. Or just do top ten lists that don’t require me to pretend to know anything about her.

    #8: Molten Boulder

    Yes, we’re all aware that the whole Druid Elemental Tree is somewhat of a joke.  After all, last week I named the biggest skill in it as the #2 worst skill in the entire game.  So how can Armageddon be so bad, and one of its lowly pre-reqs, a Clvl 6 one at that, be one of the best skills? Well for one thing I have to get one for every character.  But for another, it’s a hell of a fun skill!

    The damage isn’t going to bowl you over, but sending forth a huge rolling ball of lava, one that drives back the monsters before finally exploding in a massive burst of fire, is just cool.  The biggest thing this skill lacks is a cool bowling strike sound effect when it hits.  You look at some of the screenshots of it, and the minions are just so perfectly lined up for the 7/10 split.  Pity this isn’t about a Clvl 24 skill, one with some real killing power, since you know Bowler variants would get all the chicks.

    #7: Fanaticism

    This Paladin aura got perhaps the biggest boost from D2C to D2X of any skill. From a fun but minor skill that made your Crushing Blow-dependent Zealot’s arm move like a jackrabbit you-know-what’ing, Fanaticism morphed into the best single source of bonus damage, attack rate, and attack rating that the Paladin possessed.  Zealots from D2C must have felt like they went to bed with Anna Nicole Smith and woke up with Paris Hilton, when the expansion rolled around. Or perhaps it’s more like Paris turned into Anna, since the skill got so much beefier?

    This is also a colossally popular party skill.  Activate this and watch the Bowazons and Druids follow you around like you’ve got a pork chop tied to your collar.  Only the rather limited radius keeps this from being about the most popular skill in the entire game. And it’s even a pretty color, at least when it’s not under the feet of that pack of Extra Strong Extra Fast Aura Enchanted Blood Lords that just popped out of the Evil Urn.

    #6: Meteor

    Of all the death from above skills, this is the best.  Well come to think of it, this is pretty much the only death from above skill, unless you count Leap Attack.  (Note the use of the word “death”, rather than “slight injury from above”, which is why I’m not mentioning Summon Raven, Phoenix Strike, Armageddon, Fist of Heavens, Shock Wave, or Thunderstorm.  Well maybe Thunderstorm.)

    But that’s not important right now.  It’s a rock, it falls down, you go boom.  No matter how much damage this skill does, it should do more.  I mean one of these should just about kill off the entire level, really.  It’s also a lot of fun to screw around with Slow Missile in PvP, or even against a boss pack of Vampires, just to piss them off.

    This skill could also head the list of physical impossibility skills, what with it being an actual meteor, like called down from orbit… which you can use on dungeon levels, hundreds of feet underground.  Plus it’s a rock the size of a microwave oven, falling to earth at one thousand miles per hour, that only deals fire damage.  They don’t make supersonic rocks like they used to.

    #5: Slow Missile

    Probably the weakest skill on this top 10 list, Slow Missile is entirely defensive.  You can’t use it to kill anything, or even deal a point of damage, and in fact you can play a perfectly successful Amazon without ever using this skill at all.  Nevertheless, it’s just such fun to play with, such fun to insult the monsters with, that I couldn’t leave it off.  Back in D2C, when the game was occasionally hard, this one was a life-saver, especially in the Chaos Sanctuary.  Nail De Seis’ pack with this and laugh at their speed of crawl? projectiles.  Especially Bone Spirits.  And who doesn’t enjoy turning a screen of MSLE bolts invisible, ensuring an instant and mysterious death if you happen to move a step in the wrong direction.  Or possibly happen to not move at all.

    In addition to the PvM, this is one of the most fun PvP skills, plus a very good way to totally outsmart yourself and get maybe 10x more projectiles on the screen than you can possibly survive.  But at least you’ll die in spectacular fashion.  And even have time to talk about it before it happens.

    #4: Guided Arrow

    This much-maligned skill is one of the niftiest attacks in the game, and was very useful for the intelligently-played Bowazon back in D2C.  It didn’t do huge damage, but was great to pick off moving targets (Obsidian Knights), or a monster in the back of a pack (Greater Mummies) that you wanted to be sure you hit, and could be used for guaranteed hits in boss killing if your AR wasn’t up to snuff.

    This all changed in D2X v1.08, when the infamous Pierce bug came into effect, and suddenly a single Guided Arrow was guaranteed to hit at least twice, providing you had high Piercing and knew enough to aim so it wouldn’t run into a wall, tree, doorway, etc.  Due to this Guided Arrow has become cheesier than a half pound of Cheddar, and is grossly exploited in dueling and boss killing.  The ridiculously overpowered Buriza, with it’s 100% Piercing just compounds things.

    Guided Arrow is as cool as it ever was.  It’s Pierce working with it that makes it so overpowered, and we can’t really blame Guided for that, can we?

    Incidentally, how exactly can a glowing arrow pass, several times, through the front and back of a monster or character wearing heavy plate mail armor, but not through a shrub, or little palm tree, or over a knee-high brick wall?  Yes, it’s yet another entry for my future TT10SPIiD2X list.

    #3: Frozen Orb

    Possibly the most fun Sorceress Skill, this was by far her most popular killing skill in D2C, back when 99% of Sorcies had maxed Static Field, and the entire strategy was to cast Static pretty much non stop, with an occasional Orb thrown in to kill the slivered monsters. D2X put an end to the freebie Static field killing, and Frozen Orb is not so uber anymore, but it’s such fun to cast and watch the pretty swirling cold spike/arrow pointy things fly in every direction.  This skill is also a lot of fun to combine with Slow Missile in PvP, just to totally fill the screen with icy death.  Funny how I’m suddenly reminded of my first wife.

    The most surprising thing with this skill is that hardly anyone who uses it seems to be aware of the bug where no damage is dealt by the spikes if/once the glowing center ball passes over them.  Because aiming is like, hard.  And stuff.

    #2: Find Item

    Considering that corpses didn’t even exist (other than as decoration, sort of like gruesome throw rugs) in Diablo I, there are an amazing amount of things to do with corpses in Diablo II.  You can blow them up with fire or poison or raise skeletons from them (Necromancer).  You can let your squirming snaky vine things or teleporting wolves eat them (Druid).  You can make them vanish in a swirl of red and orange light (Paladin).  You can turn them into bone scarecrows (Barbarian). You can reanimate them as zombies to fight for your cause and marry them and force them to bear your unholy cannibal children (Necromancer).

    And best of all, if you are a Barbarian you can Hork them, and pop shiny goodies out of them.  Extensive research has proven that monsters are far less likely to fight back once they are already dead. The physics of this skill are amazing.  Many times the corpse is no more than a puddle of goo, but with a proper Hork, out pops 50 pounds of plate mail, or an 8 foot spear. It’s like gramma’s purse when you were a little kid, and she always seemed to have a treat for you inside it.  Below 23 wadded up tissues and enough cough drops to choke a goat, anyway.

    #1: Corpse Explosion

    During development, the hover info on this skill said, “The Greatest Skill Ever”.  And for about the first two months that Diablo II was out, it was, with the damage scaling up for multiple players in a game. It’s since been fixed, “nerfed” if you prefer, but it’s still great fun to play with.  Of all the corpse skills, only Find Item is more amusing, and that’s because you are a greedy damn Baba, and there’s no point in denying it.

    But if you can’t make a corpse spit out a Stormshield, you might as well blow it up real good. Nothing that makes this big a mess can be all bad. For the sheer number of players who picked a Necromancer for their first character solely due to their desire to make huge piles of giblets, this skill gets bonus points.

    Honorable Mentions

    * Pierce: This is probably the most powerful skill in the game.  Think about it, what makes MultiShot, Lightning Fury, and Guided Arrow so overpowered?  Nevertheless, how do you list an invisible passive in the top 10?  You don’t.
    * Lightning Fury: A challenger to Fanaticism for “most improved in the Expansion”.  LF loses out since it didn’t improve that much, it just got less-detailed graphics, and learned to play nicer with Pierce.
    * Strafe: Probably the most fun bow skill, at least if you have high AR and a fast bow.  And don’t know enough to use MS, since it’s superior in almost every situation, due to the far greater arrow payload. Strafe is more fun though.  So there.

    * Phoenix Strike: Clever Assassin skill that has fire, cold, and lightning damage, something no other skill in the game can boast.  (Other than Vengeance, as a couple of people quickly reminded me.) Unfortunately, just like a typical undercooked/oversalted McD’s FF, it looks better than it is.
    * Tiger Strike: This apparently does a ridiculous amount of bonus physical damage, but to a single target only, which pretty well sums up my reluctance to play the character.

    * Battle Orders: The essential War Cry, though it’s hardly fair to give the Barbarian a skill that works just like an Aura, but one that’s better than any actual aura, and doesn’t clog up your right skill selection the whole time.
    * Weapon Masteries: They’d be overpowered even without the 100% Critical Strike bug.
    * Natural Resistance: Sort of a personal rescue Anya quest reward, to the 6th power.  Wonder what the Barb did to earn that one from his leather mini skirt-wearing countrywoman, eh?  Nudge nudge wink wink.
    * Increased Speed: Yet another godly Barbarian passive that every other character would kill for.  Did this guy have nude photos of the D2 development team or what?
    * Berzerk: A non-physical damage melee hit that the Amazon, Paladin, Druid, and Assassin would sell a kidney for one third of.  Noticing a Barbarian skill trend yet?

    * Werewolf/Werebear: Because you can like, grow fur.  Saves on Halloween costume preparation time, though you know Druid kids get sick of going as a Werewolf every year.  These both smell of last minute game balance desperation, being as both have passive bonuses to everything a Druid needs but a flea collar.

    * Iron Golem: A hell of a clever skill; it certainly beats any other summoned minion in inventiveness, plus it looks like a chrome plated industrial monster, risen from the fevered nightmares of an 19th century Luddite.
    * Decrepify: Just to name one curse, since this one is fun to use, and do a little bit of everything with it.  There are other, more clever curses such as “Confuse”, “Attract”, “You suxor Noob”, but Decrepify is a great panic button one to throw around, even though all you ever see are Amplify Damage and Lower Resistance in actual games.

    * Redemption: A fun Paladin skill that has a great pinwheel graphic, that no one has ever used, even once, in D2X. It was the favorite of Hammerdins before D2X brought that variant to an abrupt end.

    * Chilling Armor: Not that it’s any good, but you have to give it a mention just for the ping pong thing.
    * Fire/Lightning Mastery: How do you make already massive damage skills even better?  I know, let’s triple or quadruple their damage with a passive bonus.

    Feedback—January 16, 2003

    There was a lot less feedback for this column than the last one.  People are generally more likely to mail about something they disagree with, or to defend something they think is being wronged, than they are to express agreement.  So you’re more likely to get mails from people after you say something sucks than you are if you say it’s great.  This isn’t a good or a bad thing, it’s just the state of human nature.

    The most common email about this column included nominations for other skills not listed, and in almost every instance they were “uber” skills. Freezing Arrow, Thunderstorm, Cold Mastery, Battle Orders, Multi-Shot, Revive, Oak Sage, Nova, Charged Bolt, Berserk, Whirlwind, etc.  All the ones that no player not making a IUV (Intentionally Underpowered Variant) would be without. (You’ll note that Barbarian and Sorceress skills tend to dominate this list.) I intentionally didn’t include every uber skill on this list since that would be boring.  As the introduction said, this isn’t a listing of the most powerful skills in the game.  That would be quite easy to write, but boring compilation.  Join any public game if you want to see a listing of the top 10 uber skills in action.

    I also didn’t include a number of very useful passives, just because there’s not much to write about them.  Yes, it’s great and essential for most builds of a powerful character to have Natural Resistance and Faster Run and Critical Strike and Pierce and Claw Mastery and Lycanthropy and Fire/Lighting/Cold Mastery, etc.  But since they aren’t active skills, there’s not much to comment on about them.  You don’t cast them, they don’t make pretty colors… they just are there.

    Keep in mind that these lists have some strategy in them, but they aren’t intended to be strategic evaluations of aspects of the game.

    Teleport was another popular suggestion, and it’s a great skill, but I left it off partially since anyone can use it, with an amulet or circlet that has charges. It’s glorious for surprise attacks in dueling too.

    I made a couple of quick column corrections after first posting it, adding in a mention of Vengeance which I had somehow forgotten had three elements to it with my mention of Phoenix Strike.  Odd, since I’ve always used Vengeance on my Pallies.  I also forgot several of the “death from above” skills, and added T. Storm and Armageddon and FoH once a couple of early emails pointed out my omission.

    A few quotes.

    Bob said.

    You are very funny, but I noticed you incorporate lots of bias for certain characters, and, near hatred for others. That’s ok though, since its your commentary/article/editorial thingie.

    This is actually intentional. Well, I’d debate “near hatred” but I thought I was trying to be too even-handed about things in the Best Monsters list, where I gave as many good as bad points.  So now columns are trying to be more what the title says they are.  If it’s “best skills” I’m going to say unrealistically good things about them, and the same for worst monsters, or whatever.  The feedback will offer a more balanced appraisal.  After all, it is a column/editorial, as Bob points out.

    I have occasionally wondered if these columns are of any interest to non-D2 players, or they are too “inside”.  Let’s ask Cyrus.

    I love your decahedron columns. my wife always wonders why i laugh so much when i read them cause she just doesnt get them seeing as how she doesnt play d2.

    I guess that answers that question.

    Here’s Aaron, a Paladin fan.

    Good job on another well-written column. I am really impressed that you have managed to stick to the same “Top Ten List” format for seven columns now, but the results have always been fresh and interesting to read.

    I wondered why your list of the Ten Best did not include more Paladin auras, however. True, you had my favorite one on there (Fanaticism), but the rest of the auras are about the best skills in the game in terms of their usefulness in particular situations. Most of them also look cool, particularly Holy Freeze and Meditation. They also make nifty chanting sounds when you turn them on.

    I vote for a list of the Ten Best Paladin Auras for your next column…not to alienate any of the other classes or anything.

    I also tended to skip skills that you could just get a merc to do for you.  Like Holy Freeze.

    From Andre, one of the remaining unenlightened and unwashed non-Horking masses.

    you definately have a thing for mf barbs. it shows when u put the pretty lame find item as #2 best skill. umm…nova? multi? berserk? amp dmg? conviction? there are so many more useful skills then your ‘horkarama’ skill. Not only is the measly skill only add a few mf…but it MAXS at 100% magic find. I bet if you had it your way youd put every mf baba skill up there for top ten. leave out the weaksauce skills next time

    Other that having some misconceptions (Adds MF? Maxes at 100% MF?) about Find Item, he makes a few common points.  A lot of people had similar skill suggestions, apparently going by the “if it’s used a lot and kills things it must be one of the best skills” logic.  Which would be one way to do this sort of a list.  And I think a relatively predictable and boring one, which is why I didn’t do it.

    Revive was a popular nomination, and in retrospect I probably should have mentioned it.  It’s not as flashy as other stuff, but it’s pretty cool, and useful.  As Dan describes.

    Necromancer REVIVE is the best non-party PvM skill out there!! You didn’t even mention it as an honorable mention!!! It’s the best skill mainly because the revive skill keeps the game from getting too predictable, since this faction of my army is constantly changing as they expire and you raise new ones who have slightly different AI’s, different immunities, and different types of damage/effects. This variability is invaluable since generally speaking a character has to concentrate on 3 – 4 skills by level 70… which just get old!! In addition revives can do very nice amounts of damage, and the extra defense is very very nice. I have only one complaint about this skill. That’s that the 3 min timer doesn’t bloody stop when you go to town. No other character has to scurry though town at a break neck pace just to be able to get back to where he/she left off with out losing a lot of their strength or defense!!

    Actually, I did mention Revive, indirectly.  As Audrey points out.

    I’ve been reading your Best/Worst columns since they’ve been coming out for a while now, and I must say that number seven is my favorite out of all of them. It is particularly funny, what with your comments on necro(phile)s. “You can reanimate them as zombies to fight for your cause and marry them and force them to bear your unholy cannibal children (Necromancer).” Perfect. I must agree with most of your choices, and those that I felt were left out were included in the Honorable Mentions list anyways, so it’s all good. Keep up the good work, and get out another column soon, please.

    My highly-questionable inclusion of Molten Boulder drew a few comments, as expected.  Here’s one from Stacky.

    I totally agree with you in almost all of your choices. However, i believe that molten bolder is a total waste of space. I dont care how fun it may seem no druid skill deserves to be commended as the class is a failure and should be scrapped, or, vastly improved in the next patch. A skill with more overall usefulness such as lightning mastery or battle orders (which both deserve more than honourable mentions) should fill this position. As always i thoroughly enjoyed your article, keep up the good work.

    I’m not even sure why I put it in, but I was going over old screenshots looking for ones to crop and insert, and some of them with Molten Boulder from pre-beta were just so nifty looking.  And I wanted some more variety in skills listed, to avoid just having every overused cow-killer skill.

    I also remembered how we all thought Molten Boulder would be this like rolling ground Meteor, just devastating monsters in its path.  A common pre-game misconception about the much-hyped Druid elemental tree.  The first character I did in the D2X beta (well, first new character, my first play was with a Bowazon I’d made on USWest just so I’d have a character to zoom through to Baal first thing.) was an Elemental Druid, since they looked to have so many cool skills.  He was pretty good in a small game.  Up until Nightmare.  Everyone assumed he’d get some massive boosts between the beta and the final game, since he was so obviously underpowered. Needless to say, we’re all still waiting.

    Another commonly suggested skill was Death Sentry. Here’s RastusHaul.

    On the #2 skill, Find Item, there’s another great thing to do with corpses that you didn’t list. You can use the Assassin’s Death Sentry skill to turn a corpse into a corpse explosion trap. If there isn’t a monster in range of the corpse explosion, Death Sentry acts as a Lightning Sentry. But if a monster does come in range, the trap goes back to exploding corpses.

    Give an Assassin a try, you might be surprised by what you can do with one.

    I have seen Death Sentry in action quite often, usually in cow games where some Assassin runs around killing absolutely nothing on her own, but waiting until other characters have a mob of cows down pretty low and then quick popping up a bunch of these to steal the kills.  Sort of Corpse Explosion without the party benefit of Amplify Damage, in my observation.

    Caaroid says.

    About last times’, defending the assassin’s Cloak of Shadows… remember how everyone wanted the assn to be invisible? I don’t remember Bliz’s stance on the issue, but if you consider, that Maphack is NOT a part of the game, then Cloak would make an assn useful in PVP even without the silly stun bug they are forced to rely on now. Ok, it’d be nicer if the screen-darkening only happened when you’re hostile, but hey.

    It’s a column late, but he makes a good point.  Blizzard had discussed making the Assassin cloaked, or able to turn invisible, in early game planning.  That obviously didn’t make it into the final game, and Cloak of Shadows seems to be a remnant of that early design concept.

    Another one a column late comes from Daniel. But since no one else has lifted a finger to defend the Spearazon melee lightning skills, we’ll quote him now.

    While far from being an excellent skill, charged strike is not entirely without merits. My relatively brief experiments with spearazons have revealed that all of the charged bolts produced by this skill tend to impact directly with the amazon’s target *if* she manages to hit it. The end result: charged strike is somewhat useful as a single target elemental attack for the same reason the sorceress’ charged bolt spell wreaks havok at point-blank range. If you can get images of magical birdshot out of your head, it’s almost a cool concept too.

    The lack of any mastery skills to augment the damage coupled with the fact that the skill never produces more than 3 bolts does prevent charged strike from ever seeing the use that the sorceress skill does, sadly. Nevertheless, it is quite devestating in single-player, normal-nightmare difficulty (players 3-5 mod). Not a rousing endorsement, but my point is the skill isn’t a total loss. Heck, with slvl 40 you could do up to 1500 points of damage per hit, not counting regular spear damage. Granted it would still probably be better to invest points elsewhere and just jab the crap out of the enemy with an elemental weapon, but to each his own.

    So there.

    From Jonathan.

    How can you put ‘Molten Boulder’ on the list, and not even give ‘Firewall’ an honorable mention? The tri-elementalist with GS on LMB and alternating between FW, FO, and SF on RMB is easy to build and effective to play—the only question is whether to max FW and FM or FO and CM first.

    That’s why.

    I was surprised that Telekinesis got a number of email nominations.  Here’s one from a Chris.

    I just thought i’d drop a line, and proffess my love for a level 6 skill who’s skill descrition reads, “uses the power of your mind to pick up items, use objects, and knock back enemies.” I thought for sure that telekinesis would be on your top 10 list of skills. Simply put, no other skill has so many uses. You can use shrines, pick up potions and arrows (not like my sorc uses a bow, but hey!), open doors, activate the stones in stoney field, and activate the “3 babas” quest from a safe distance, etc.. At level 21 telekinesis does over 120 damage (with level 40 LM), and with the knock back feature added, you can even take out a hell level cow!!! Your #1 choice with corpse explosion was definately a good one, but i think telekinesis makes my #2. After all, everyone wants to be like yoda and pick up things with their mind.

    Well, TK did make one of my skills lists, but not the Best one. And as Chris says, “everyone… wants to pick things up with their mind”  The problem with TK is that… you can’t!  At least not anything useful to pick up, which was why it made the worst skills list.  Bleh.

    I haven’t used Frozen Orb ever in D2X, mostly since I was sick of it after everyone (including myself) used it as the best sliver killer in D2C, post Static assault. Plus, like most Static/Orb sorcies, my converted character was flummoxed upon reaching the first area in Act Five, where half of the monsters are always Cold Immune. Apparently I’m missing out, as Dar says.

    I’d just like to point out a minor correction about Frozen Orb. Ever since patch 1.08 for LoD, the old method of targeting Frozen Orb (to miss) has been moot because the bolts spawned will now hit the target. Try hitting a target with it to see what I mean, It mows down enemies faster than bone spear and frankly makes bone spear look kind of sick. With catapults and structures in Nightmare Act 5 (with stupid amounts of HP), you can kill them in Nightmare with ONE frozen orb if it explodes inside them compared to waiting for three seconds while firewall sucks away all your mana. Baal goes in one hit too, not surprising when you consider each spike doing about 400 damage, about thirty – two spikes from the final explosion and the spikes that hit him even before the explosion occurs. The delay counter is also kinda laughable, and the slow effect makes it even easier to explode the ball in anything larger than a fetish. Sometimes makes you think “why bother with Firewall?’. If I had to pick one skill to go through the entire game (save those annoying Cold Immunes in Hell), this would be it.

    From Bloodfetish.

    Re: your comments about Fanaticism and specifically about your link to Anna Nicole Smith and Paris Hilton. Paris…Eat something! Ugh!

    There. Had to be said.

    Oddly enough, none of the 7000 other people who clicked that link objected to the pictures of Paris.  Though a few reported gagging at the sight of Anna Nicole’s swollen face.

    Redemption does have a few fans, even in these non-Hammerdin days.  Lament, for one.

    First off, I Love these things! i mean, talk about the funny!

    Unfortunately, i must disagree with your assessment of two of the honorable mention skills… first off, in the all-paladin guild that i’m affiliated with, (brag)HKW is the best guild anywhere!(/Brag) many of us try and find say 5 points or so to throw into redemption. it’s free health, and is real handy with some of the less leechy variants like non-fanatic avengers, shockadins, the occasional PvM smiter (they do happen, or so i’m told), and all of the mage/presit variants.

    Also, Strafe is still bugged int aht more allies on screen = more arrows. while there will still never be enough arros to blanket the screen, a la MS speedazons, they’re aimed, and do a fair amount of damage, esp with a fast-firing weapon and pierce. my Freezing arrow/GA/Strafeazon uses magewrath, and cleans up through NM at lvl 44 or so with just enough strafe to get the full 10 rated shots (i usually fire closer to 15-20 in 1-2 second bursts)

    Redemption is a useful skill, it’s just that virtually every paladin you see has plenty of leech, and therefore has no need for it.  And is loathe to switch off Fanaticism for long enough to use it to soak up corpses, when that’s a needed thing.  As for Strafe, I was going to include it since I like the skill myself.  But I have to admit that MS is better in almost every situation, so it would have been hard to defend it.  Strafe is my favorite turbo skill though.  Running into a huge pack and just leveling them all, in every direction, in a few seconds, while standing motionless, is such fun.  It’s also very useful in the game for cleaning up the last few monsters on a screen.  My 90% IAS Eaglehorn Cowazon enjoys it when the cow mob has dwindled from 30 to 3 or 4, and those few are in all random directions, making Strafe quicker than Guided or MS.  It will be interesting to see if Strafe (and the associated Penetrate) make a comeback if v1.10 fixes the Piercing Guided, since Strafe was the best boss killer back before Guided piercing took over.  And since you need a lot of AR for it to be successful.

    I don’t generally quote the praising emails, since it looks like tooting my own horn and desperate immodesty.  And it is, come to think of it.  But here’s one that had a good point, from JinXeDa.

    I admire you?re dedication to writing these articles and all the non-sense you must have to put up with from people who don?t appreciate what you?re doing. You?re articles are hilariously entertaining. Anyone who doesn?t see the slightest humor in anything you write must be retarded. I sat here and read thru all the articles and feedback. I think I would probably crawl into a deep hole the first time someone ripped me like some of these people seem to do. You take criticism very well. On the other hand I guess you have to take the good with the bad or else you wouldn?t get anywhere. The absent minded people who flame you are probably just jealous. I was actually planning on playing D2X tonight until I started reading your articles. Oh well, (small set back) guess I won?t be able to do 50 cow runs tonight. lol. Keep up the great work.

    Just doing my part to cut down on the cow abuse.

    We’ll close with the funniest mail of the lot. Its from Billy_Bones.

    This may not be new, but I laughed a lot first time I read about it. I read about the TELEKINESIS skill in the 10 worsts skills post. How people used to fool newbies to drop their best item on the ground etc etc.

    On the newsgroup I read about a Necromancer who faced a Sorc who wanted to trade. To prove that they really could trust each other, the Sorc demanded that they should drop their fine items on the ground first. (I assume she was about to teleport over) But when she dropped her Skullders to prove her innocence the necro coolly created a Iron Golem out of it.

    As always, thanks to everyone who mailed in.  There were about 115 mails to this column. I don’t get/make/have the time to reply to many of them, but I do enjoy hearing what everyone had to say, and I do read them all.

    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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