2017 Winter RFL Signup and Running Thread: Grande Finale


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There was this other thread here where @Gripphon suggested /p7 might not be the way to go:

Also, regarding cows... We all simply embraced the "fact" they are best ran on p7 without a question. I guess such belief came from bnet because they don't have stationary maps, so it is obviously best for them to really nail it on p7. Also javazon was widely considered as best by far and when she throws 1 javelin, cows are dead etc...

But, by doing some calculations, I am not convinced that p7 is best at all. Comparing things as drop odds per cow in comparison to their extra life because of higher player settings, and including the fact that it takes certain time to get a leg no matter what player settings is used, I came to conclusion that either p5 or p3 are the best for cow running. For necro who clears cow level in 3:15, he needs to nail them in 2:52 on p5 to be as efficient as cows of p7.

Things are getting even better because:
- on p5 you will have less leftover cows because CE will be 25% stronger, which gives more advantage to p5 vs p7
- p5 cows are less dangerous than p7 cows, you will cruise even easier through them
- less cluttering, hence easier spotting of items and less time loss on trying to figure out what dropped

Disadvantage which should be easy to neutralize:
- it is easier to kill Cow King on lower player settings, especially with necro

In theory, p3 could be even better than p5, but this time it depends on a test and how many items players are picking up...

So, I wouldn't be surprised that either p3 or p5 are actually best for cows. I would assume p5 to be better overall than p3, but am not completely sure. What I am almost completely sure is that p5 will smack p7 by quite some margin. Should be tested though.
I guess it really depends on build as well. Haven't tested really, but I think for Java /p7 should be a no brainer because kill speed is a non-issue after a certain point, and efficiency is more about practice and good herding. For other builds though it will be interesting to see some comparisons.

When it comes to just clearing the level quickly, I'm not sure Hammerdin is so bad. The first instinct is it can't be efficient because of the required damage build up, but when herding a lot it should be able to be reasonably quick. The problem is, that's when the cluttering issue kicks in big time. Same goes for many other builds that don't kill instantly.

I think what makes Java, CE Necro, Lightning Sorc so good is the fact that their damage is (1) very high, (2) effective instantly without delay, so no waiting to see drops, and (3) these skills enable you to constantly kill a good amount of stuff while still seeing all the drops.

As opposed to Travincal and other areas, I think it's important to realize that run times actually don't say all that much about efficiency at all. Because of course you can herd the whole cow level and kill everything at once in under 3 minutes, but it's kinda obvious that's not efficient farming (well, apart from the XP). Add to this that run times are very hard to compare, for example a CE Necro will always avoid getting anywhere near the Cow King and thus skip a portion of the map. Java on the other hand will leave quite a few cows alive when density gets too low for LF. Stuff like this is not accounted for in run times. Now you could check XP/minute or something, but ultimately that's not a much better indicator because it doesn't take into account the (very important) ability to see drops.

TLDR: No need to create any pressure with goals regarding run times. On the contrary, overall this could make running less efficient in the end.


Diabloii.Net Member
Comparing player settings

Here is data required to compare cows on different players settings.

Drop chance on different players count

p7: 85.71%
p5: 75.95%
p3: 61.22%
p1: 37.50%

Comparing average runtime in between p.count can tell us what is better to hit. That way it was determined p3 Travincal offers fastest farming possible, and not p5 or p7.

p5 > p7
If avg.time on p7 / avg time on p5 is higher than 1.12851
or, written like
T7/T5 > 1.12851

Q: I have average runtime on p7 equal to 5 mins. How fast I must be on p5 to beat p7 in farming speed?
A: 5min = 300s
avg.time on p7 / 1.12851 = 300s / 1.12851 = 266s
If you can nail cows on p5 under 4 min 26s, you are more efficient than running cows on p7 with 300s average time.

p3 > p5
T5/T3 > 1.24061

p3 > p7
T7/T3 > 1.40003

There is no point doing p1, it has no chance to be most efficient setting. I do encourage you to try different player settings to see where the money is.

Scouting items and cluttering problem

There are few tricks how to minimize chance to miss something. It is actually mixure of techniques done while running LK and while running Travincal with barb.

1) Hold alt while killing
Might be annoying to do with some characters, but at least check frequently what dropped.

2) Check drops from right and bottom side of a killing site
Items tend to clutter to the right in diablo. To properly check what dropped, tele to the bottom right side to check drops. Checking from anywhere else is not good enough, not on cow level where items clutter big time. This kind of checking is not required if you don't kill massive amount of cows at the same spot, but is still advisable to at least tele there and fast check did something drop.

3) Perform walking technique
Similar to what Travincal barbs do, tele to the point explained under 2) and perform fast walk to see items overlap and check for orange flashes for runes. Perhaps not required all the time, only when you kill massive amount of cows at the same spot.

4) Check for orange flashes
Connected to both 1) and 3), runes tend to show when they drop even when they get cluttered similar as when you run LK.

5) Preferably kill standing bottom right from cows (lower priority)
Not that important and hard to do all the time, but if you can, do the killing that way to have higher chance of spotting orange flashes and see more drops. If you don't do the killing this way, make sure to perform checking explained under 2) and 3) afterwards.

Have fun testing.
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Diabloii.Net Member
Decided to eat the bullet and do some testing. For necro it seems p7 and p5 are similarlishly strong. I did expect p5 to be stronger though. I do have less leftovers with p5 and items are easier to scout than on p7. Tests were done only on 8 runs sample per settings with 3:08 vs 2:45 avg time. 2:45 for p5 is as strong as 3:06 of p7, so pretty similar performance overall. But like I said, I feel like p5 has less leftovers.

This was done with Insight merc for convenience. Now I should test Infinity merc.


Diabloii.Net Member
Thanks for the numbers @Gripphon, again!

I did notice on my brief testing on p7 that items were pretty cluttered. I'll try to get a brief set of test runs on p5 to see if it's any better and then decide which way to go on Round 3. But I hate when items are really cluttered and I need to start picking up potions/gold, so I feel like p5 might be the way to go. Hopefully I can also improve on my speed and make it as effective as P7. No chance I'm anywhere close to 2:45 still :p


Diabloii.Net Member
So I the game is getting a bit stale since all I have is a Sorc right now, so I am trying to play as much as possible to get a necro through the game. Going to be going poison nova, but lets hope I make it in time so I don't have to stick with this Sorc still lol.


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I'm not as meticulous as you guys when it comes to efficiency testing, but of course willing to reap the fruits of your work hehe... ;)

However the really interesting question is which build in general (and on which player setting) is the most effecient for these runs. I'm not aware of any method to even approximately determine that, because as I said run times on their own are not meaningful enough. Comparisons between different builds and player settings based on average run time alone cannot achieve this. Basically, you'd have to
  • determine average run time,
  • determine cows killed per minute, e.g. based on XP progression (adjusted for relevant player setting) and average run time,
  • factor in the relevant player setting in respect of drop chance and
  • somehow account for the X factor of the relevant play style's loot clutter issues, because quicker runs always mean bigger groups of cows killed at once. At this point it seems to me almost impossible to allocate any value to that.
Just my 2 cents and that's pretty much why I'm more inclined to just use whatever is fast while not being too boring, and I probably will switch around a lot between characters for round 3. Of course when comparing times of one build/play style it can be fun to try and improve them individually. However I would probably go insane after a couple of hours of one char alone anyway I'm afraid... These things don't pass on BSE right? :)


Took my strafer / LF zon from level 70 to 80 over the weekend, prepping for round three. Blasted through Hell Acts 1 - 3, ran into a serious road block once I hit Act 4. Actually, Trav and Meph were really tough. Even with Windforce, Strafe just isn't cutting it for LI's. It's OK in the Pit, where I can hit LI archers with Slow Missles and usually come out OK (although the merc is dying a lot). The LI Council mandated a lot of hit and running, use of Decoy, and eventually just sprinting through to Meph and hitting him with Charged Strike while emptying my belt of fat purples. Went back to get some levels in the Pit after realizing I wasn't ready for Act 4 yet.

I know she'd benefit from another 10 levels or so, but I'm considering respeccing to either LF / FA or LF / PJ. My goal was to use Strafe not only for LI's but as a way to quickly leach mana and health. If I got enough mana leach, I could swap out Insight and put Infinity on the merc, but if I go with the mana-hungry FA as a switch, I don't see how I'll be able to move away from Insight.


Diabloii.Net Member
10 runs test with Infinity revealed it is better than Insight by a little, but not something meaningful.
Insight p7: 3:08
Insight p5: 2:45 (like 3:06 p7)
Infinity p7: 3:00
Infinity p5: 2:34 (like 2:53 p7)
Infinity p3: 2:15 (like 3:09 p7)

p5 is much easier to play than p7 and there are less leftover cows (nearly no leftovers at all!). So, for necro I'd definitely say go for p5, though I wouldn't be surprised if that were true for every build out there, that p5 and p7 are similarly efficient and p5 is better for less clutter and more relaxed playing style. Actually I feel like it is pretty hard to miss a drop on p5.

As for determining cows killed, I did quite a few tests before to determine that with several methods

Jewels have 1:506 chance to drop from regular cow and minions (1:336 from bosses alone, but there are like only 6 of them there). I found 252 of them so far (249 from cows alone, 3 from Rakinishu) in 310 runs which would suggest I kill like 406 cows per run. But, 7 of those 249 came from bosses which have slightly better drop chance of jewels, so yeah, in the end jewel average could mean I killl more cows than I thought, closer to 400.

There are 46 Ral runes, lets say I picked 2 from Rakinishu, that is 44. By same logic, that also suggests ~400 cow kills per run. Lets say 395 due to bosses having slightly better chance at dropping runes. By the count of Sols of 39, that would mean ~450 cows are killed per run (obviously not!). But at least there is possibility I do kill like 390-400 cows per run and not 370-380 I estimated before (now hitting that additional area).

It is still too early to do estimations this way, we shall see how will that work in next few hundred runs. But 380-400 cows killed is pretty accurate estimate it seems. So could be 82-85 cow runs per one 10+ pointer at average.
I can't find last method done with experience, but it also suggested number somewhere in 40x region. I do assume on p5 it is easily in 400+ region, but I might do another test like that.

But, I do have a benefit of having map where nothing ever spawns around Cow King in his castle, he is always isolated with his minions from all other cows. Not sure how hard it is to find a map like that, but it is very convenient to have because you have more cows available to kill and also killing Cow King by accident is really hard. Don't think it can happen in such case unless you really go into his castle and look for trouble.
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Diabloii.Net Member
I'm thinking re-specing my Boner to Summoner, any suggestions, gear or skill-wise? Build would be quite straightforward Fishymancer, right? I haven't really used Summoners outside of questing, so I really have no clue how they do against Cows, but thought it would be fun to test. Especially weapon slot is a question mark for me. I could make Beast for him, but don't really know if that's much better than, say, HotO or Arm of King Leoric or something.

Could also go for Summon/Poison hybrid but dunno if it's worth it without Death's Web?

Also tested Lightning Sorc (with Crescent Moon) a bit but I'm not really feeling it. Dunno why, but something about it feels uncomfortable when compared to Fire Sorc, for example. Probably just personal preference, I've never liked Lightning as much as I'd want to.


Diabloii.Net Member
I tried my Fire Sorc with Infinity and Insight. Infinity is the clear winner there, and it's actually not that hard to keep up with mana by picking up a pot once in a while. Played on /p5 this time, and I agree with @Gripphon: shouldn't be hard not to miss any runes at all.

I'm still not good at it, but at least some 5 test runs already got me down to 5 minutes. Plenty of room for improvement, I think. It's fun to kill a large packs of cows with one Meteor though, taking them to half life while waiting for the Meteor to fall down. Obviously this is only done when engaging several packs at a time, so you can drop a Meteor, cast static and then use Fireball on the other pack(s). Otherwise just static and Fireball or even Fireball alone is faster.

Found this very nice skiller while doing those test runs.


Must be my best skiller up to now since starting over.


Diabloii.Net Member
I could make Beast for him, but don't really know if that's much better than, say, HotO or Arm of King Leoric or something.
Beast is best, but not by much.

Could also go for Summon/Poison hybrid but dunno if it's worth it without Death's Web?
It is. In fact nova is there only to help merc kill faster first cow and to weaken other cows for faster second corpse and chain CE. Without web nova would take them down to 60-70% HP and that is fine enough.

Now, is it better to have Hoto/Web or go with Beast to make merc stronger to get first corpse, I don't know. Web has incredibly convenient HP per kill/ mana per kill mods so I value it higher than Beast variant, even though Beast variant provides first corpse slightly faster. In the end I didn't see any difference between summoner or nova/summoner variant in killing speed.

Necro is pretty much about getting first corpse via merc and then start CE chain. How is that done is not really relevant. I never saw some special use in skeletons other than meatshield. Fine, they are there to help merc get corpse faster, but in general running with them or without, same thing as long as merc is there to provide corpses. I settled with typical poison nova necro with amplify damage curse, very simple and works just as good as any other necro variant, in fact I prefer it over other variants after some tests.

I went with max Amplify, max Nova, max one synergy, max CE, 1 pt revive, 1 pt skeleton mastery (to make revives have some punch), 1 pt bone shield, rest into last nova synergy (nova is not that important, but is a nice touch, especially since on p5 with Web cows lose like 60% life in 4 seconds because of it. For hoto you might prefer max synergy and rest into amplify). While skeletons help merc get corpses faster, same job is done by pnova and revives in this variant... so this is why is it hard to see difference between those necro variants, except one has very nice Web mods while other has Beast.

For summoner, I assume you know the drill.
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Diabloii.Net Member
@Burgomaster3 For pure summoner, if you're a real baller, you'll make an Iron Golem with Beast and use Hoto. Well yeah.. Just saying. :) Since I'm not swimming in HRs I'm using Beast/Homunculus with CtA/Spirit switch so I have 75% FCR Tele on switch at least. But also would be interested in optimised setups, as I don't know many details about summoners. Helm slot is interesting choice too. Currently using CoA with random -req/mpk jewel and one unused socket. So yeah probably not optimised :) also the setup is geared towards Baal runs and not cows. Maybe just Shako yet again. Would be interested in seeing other setups here! PN/CE Necro, somehow not my play style. It's a shame because maybe best drop in my D2 career was a gorgeous DW. :/ Maybe need to try again.

Also very surprised that people do test runs with all kinds of characters but no other Javazons? This is shocking. :)
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Diabloii.Net Member
Optimized setup has 125 FCR on primary switch, while other switch is used only for CtA buff. If player has trouble achieving such fcr, then he is good to go with 75 too. Difference is small.

When thinking about summoner, I'll list some interesting things about it.

- skeletons have AI delay, so Beast has limited influence on them, but it is mainly to power up your merc anyway
- skeletons scatter around much faster than revives, I'm not sure that is a good thing
- skeletons can be summoned at Rakinishu which means you have slightly faster start on a cow level, however if player is running p5, this advantage is pretty much non-existent
- 1pt revive + 1pt skeleton mastery make your revives have solid damage per hit. Skeletons still attack faster and have higher damage, but 1 hit even from revives is enough to get corpse in combination with merc
- pnova on top of revives damage offers more damage than what skeletons could ever achieve, start of the CE chain is faster
- skeleton summoner uses Beast as a weapon most likely, pnova variant has a choice of using Web with mana per kill / life per kill mods as well
- pnova variant can also use Beast if you have 1.07 mpk ring, that pretty much neutralizes any advantage pure summoner has in gaining first corpse faster, but also has advantage of starting chains faster due to pnova
- pnova variant has considerably bigger range of CE which also makes a difference

Overall, I didn't see some difference between mentioned variants, they were spot on in killspeed, but pnova variant still had life per kill mod from Web which is very useful on a cow level and higher level CE to cover more area. I guess it could be worth it to try to test again, at least using Beast instead of Web for pnova variant to see the effect. I don't guarantee all players will have similar results with testing those variants, they require similar, yet slightly different playstyle. So, choose your own variant you find most comfortable to play.

My setup is pretty standard I'd say.

2/20 circlet (option is also Griffon to get that fcr)
1/20 amulet (could be 2/10 amulet if you use dual fcr rings)
Spirit shield (35 fcr)
fcr mpk ring
beta BKWB (2 skills)
Trang Claws
Silkweave boots

For 75 fcr you could go with Shako and second skill ring easily. For summoner I'd even consider 75 to be better to squeeze more skill points to have better range of CE, but then again that is slight disadvantage to 125 fcr pnova variant has by standard.

I would test javazon if she weren't that incredibly boring to play to me. Last time I tested her she couldn't get close to necro clearing speed, but I also didn't put too much effort in it. I just know javazon had more stragglers than necro and was slower. Now necro is slightly upgraded than the last time I played him, but I don't know how to upgrade javazon further except to play her better. My best averages with her were 3:25-3:30 while killing similar amount of cows as necro does. I could test her again, but what we need are players like Corrupted or Frozzzen to test javazons properly, I just dislike her too much to bother with her. Fastest javazon running I heard of on SPF is ~3:30 range done by 3 players, though that might be upgraded.
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Diabloii.Net Member
Thanks, that's great information. ;) I think I'm sold on using several Necro variants for this round as well. Summoner is really cool playstyle, but especially PN/CE (or your Revive variant) I think I need to try more, after all I'm kinda lucky to have a few key pieces of the gear you listed such as a 2/20 circlet and a good Death's Web. Amu/ring combo I'll have to check, will probably not be quite that OP though. :)

Two quick questions:
- What do you use in open sockets (DW, circlet)? I'm currently using RBFs on my PN/CE Necromancer but actually not too sure they make a huge difference.
- 125% vs 75% FCR: Where is that difference really felt, just teleporting or also killing with CE chain? I think 75% is already really fast on Necro. But I've noticed you sure like your FCR. ;)

Also, wish me luck with my 2/20 circlet at Larzuk!

Fastest javazon running I heard of on SPF is ~3:30 range done by 3 players, though that might be upgraded.
I'm sure she can be a lot better than that. Run I posted above is 3:40, not skipping too many mobs actually, with not really optimised gear and far from perfect play (and cow spawn). In particular without any 4x RBF Monarch and 1.07 rings which apparently quite a few people on these forums could run with. Even with my gear I'm sure she can be more efficient as well.


Diabloii.Net Member
Two quick questions:
- What do you use in open sockets (DW, circlet)? I'm currently using RBFs on my PN/CE Necromancer but actually not too sure they make a huge difference.
- 125% vs 75% FCR: Where is that difference really felt, just teleporting or also killing with CE chain? I think 75% is already really fast on Necro. But I've noticed you sure like your FCR. ;)
Sockets are perfectly fine for mpk stuff or extra mana or something. I use poison facet in web and currently have Um in helm because I didn't put it out yet. I'm going to put another facet in it. I thought of using fire facets, but since +% damage does not influence CE, it is useless...

Difference in fcr is felt in pretty much everything you do:
- you tele to get leg faster
- you summon revives/skeletons faster
- you cast CE quite a lot and it is cast faster
- you tele faster at cows from herd to herd
- you can easier get out of cows in case you tele into them due to faster casting frame

Overall, I did run with 75 fcr last time, that's exactly a reason why now I'm nearly 10 seconds faster with 125 fcr. It made me ~5% faster. So, if it makes you faster, if it feels more fluid to play, then it is gogogo.

I'm sure she can be a lot better than that. Run I posted above is 3:40, not skipping too many mobs actually, with not really optimised gear and far from perfect play (and cow spawn). In particular without any 4x RBF Monarch and 1.07 rings which apparently quite a few people on these forums could run with. Even with my gear I'm sure she can be more efficient as well.
In theory, she could. In practice, no one managed to do that yet, at least I didn't hear about it :D
I guess you have inspiration to be the first! Gogogo. If your average is 3:40, then you are really close to what fastest measured average times are for javazon.


Diabloii.Net Member
Alright well I got my LF zon to 97, so some cow testing can truly begin!

Preliminary run times for me are sitting at about 3:45 (/p7), but that's probably not representative as I'm still getting used to the map and route for efficient herding.

Here's the setup I went with:

Might - Infinity/Fort/Delerium

I'm not sure about Delerium here and will require more testing (I did some runs with Andys instead as well). It definitely ups the safety of the runs, but it has a questionable effect on herding capabilities through Confuse and Terror. Sometimes the Confuse actually helps herding, as it can attract many cows to one central area. Other times it buggers the whole thing, as cows start running off screen towards some confused stragglers. The ctc Terror on it also compounds this issue. That said, things typically die fast enough that only a few cows make it away from the pack, but it's something I'm going to keep an eye on. As I get used to the map/runs/spawn locations I could see myself switching to Andys, and I'll update here if that happens

Standard setup for the most part.
Titans/Griffs(IAS jool)/Enigma/Lancer's gloves of alacrity/Razortail/Ravenfrost/SoJ/rare boots/crafted amulet
CtA/35% Spirit switch

The one change-up I've made is that she's using a Phoenix shield. I used this on her while she was leveling up in the CS from 90-95 and I love it. The Redemption aura keeps her health and mana completely full at all times and ensures the runs can be as mindless as possible. Yes the ctc gets interrupts her attacks, but on longer runs like these it doesn't affect runtimes at all in the grand scheme of things.

Unfortunately for me I don't have a JMoD or even any decent Light facets or else I'd be testing that to see what's quicker. For something like Baaling where there are "breaks" in the run to do ption managemtn I wouldn't use it, but here where the runs are constant action I like not having to worry about pots at all. Phoenix lets me focus on just killing things and checking for orange, which to me is worth losing a bit of time.

IAS: She hits the 30 (32?)% IAS breakpoint, which I'm happy with. I personally wouldn't bother going for the 52% breakpoint, but I know others swear by it.

FCR: She hits the 68% fcr mark (13 frames) on her switch, so that's what we use to tele around. @ffs has his nice vid with switching to wizzy to get 99%, but I just don't like gear switching during runs like that, even if it's faster in the end.

CBF: I'm also not sure if CBF is even worth it for cows. I don't have a second SoJ or a BKWB, so I don't have anything I'd rather have there, though It would be interesting to see if others can use that ring slot for an improvement.

Skillers: I only have 2 java skillers, despite having full inventories of I think ever single other skill tree. :rolleyes: I'm fine with that as I'm keeping 3x4 Inventory space open for picking things up.
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Diabloii.Net Member
I recorded a demo of trapper running cows with a standard issue Hoto/Spirit setup + phoenix on CTA switch. I mentioned this in the run times thread so here's a video to back it up. Play could be better, and with almost missing that Sur rune in the first run, concentration could be better too. Still not planning to run Round 3 with a trapper though, I prefer other builds for cows. 3-4 runs is not much of a sample, but I'd say trapper is definitely a sub 4 minute cow runner.

Players 7

Players 5


Diabloii.Net Member
Those are great trapper videos. She seems like a build I'd definitely like to try for cows to move away from nec.

So far from videos javazon is covered, trapper is covered, it is time for a nec. Since I did quite enough tests with conclusion that p5 is slightly better than p7, I'll run cows on p5 with him. I assume I'll do the same with trapper and all other builds.

Forgot to mention I also tested Beast instead of Web with conclusion it offers no upgrade at all. So I'm sticking with my good old proven nec variant. Summoner is more lazy to play, but with nova at least I can do something while cow running.