2020 Spring RFL Sign-Up and Running Thread: 1st Round


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@Gripphon true I've thought about that and I do try not leave any jewels or charms on the ground, but since they aren't a unique color I figured I probably leave enough on the ground to impact the results significantly. It's not a huge deal to me if I'm just unlucky on total runes found, but I just wanted to make reasonably sure that's what was happening. Because if I'm only killing <300 cows per run, i should probably change something :p.

And obviously I'm not pushing run efficiency like you and ffs, but I second trying p3 (so thanks for that tip earlier!). if its even pretty close to as efficient, I would want to play it. 1. cow runs are too long anyways 2. no clutter issues 3. less deaths.


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Don't worry, none of my tests suggested any build kills less than 350 cows per run unless player skips tons of them.
Only way to know cows killed number is to have program which counts it. Every other method will have +-15 variance in estimation unless player spends many hours counting items. However we already know number of cows to a good degree. I believe most builds can aim 380-410 cows per run while few can aim up to 450.


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@Gripphon don't tell my boss, but thanks to home office I tried P3 for a bit. Rune drops were actually similar, but judging by run times with same playstyle, I'm very far away from the speed increase needed to make up for lower drop rates on P3. Very comfortable running though. No cluttering issues and everything is safe for Necro + his gang. I don't have Amp maxed as I said, I could see how P3 is closer to P5 with max Amp (and on P3 the IG doesn't have any issues anyway it seems). Because on P5 I have time to cast Amp 2-3 times before the first corpse is there, whereas on P3 first corpse is much quicker and having max Amp range could help more in reducing run times.

Might be able to finish the set today. Probably will go for another one – what's that famous book by Garcia Marquez: D2 in the times of Corona.

Kind of want to try 200 FCR Nova Sorc, anyone did some cow running with her?


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I completed my first set...had some reasonable luck anyway...may run another since I didn't get any CK set items and now I have a better handle on the process...Running 105 FCR ES/Nova now but only at P1 for about the last 8 hours (runs are soo much smoother mainly because I don't have enough +skills gear to put cows into hit recovery reliably at higher settings - still seeming to average 1 rune per run)

Unfortunately early runs were as light sorc and took longer than 5:30 seconds so my run counter numbers aren't reliable (some runs counted as 2)...however, the run counter stats claim 299 runs, 3:36 second run time average.

Run Summary:
Total Runes: 272
F Amethysts: 54
Grand Charms: 115 (2 x Gheeds, 4 Skillers - Fire Sorc, PComb, Bow, Traps - no good secondary mods)
Small Charms: 105
Uniques: 65 - 5 rings :nagel, manald, dwarf star, raven frost, carrion wind - 13 elites

All in all, fairly happy with the set

Shako (PTopaz)
Spirit (35 fcr)
Eschutas (+10% light dmg - no socket) (CTA + Spirit on switch)
Tal Rasha Ammy
VMagi (no socket)
BK Wedding Band
War Travs
Dual Res Rare Belt with +59 life and 9 str
Charms - (life/mana, fhr, gheeds)

I don't have the gear to run 200 FCR in any form but I may put on Silkweaves, Magefists, and 2x FCR rings and try that with Crescent moon axe at higher players settings. It really hits my mana though with no soj and frosties.

I'm not sending results just yet as I may run that second set.


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Finished first set. Final Necro data:

Completed runs tracked: 378
Runes/run: 1.66
Sec/run: 126
Runes/min: 0.79
P5 cows/min: 193.43

Numbers continued to bounce around a lot, but generally the downwards trend of rune drops per run continued for some reason. Probably he was just a little unlucky, considering most of the time I cleared one location more than in the beginning (when he got around 1.75 per run, and Sin also got 1.74 with basically same running approach).

Remaining non-qualifiers included another full CK set as well as these:

Screenshot 2020-03-18 at 18.30.40.pngScreenshot 2020-03-18 at 20.33.27.pngScreenshot 2020-03-18 at 20.57.16.pngScreenshot 2020-03-19 at 09.13.53.pngScreenshot 2020-03-19 at 14.26.32.pngScreenshot 2020-03-19 at 15.02.26.pngScreenshot 2020-03-19 at 16.28.51.pngScreenshot 2020-03-19 at 16.36.05.pngScreenshot 2020-03-19 at 17.12.13.png

Really I don't see any separation between Java, Necro and Trapper – at least with what I currently think is the ideal approach with each of them, they're so close in performance it's basically impossible to make out some kind of order among them. So bottom line, just a matter of playstyle preference IMO. Problem is I really like gameplay with all of them. :D Think I'll run Nova Sorc for another set to see how she compares to the trio.
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So I just did my first Cow counting via XP method. I did 20 runs and didn't throw Blizzard on Raka (except one time where only he and about 1 minion died) and for the most part merc didn't get minion kills from raka but one or two times he did, also he killed 1 or 2 regular fallens per run next to Wirt's leg. To deal with all of this I just assumed one full Raka pack kill and measured how much XP that gives (just killing him and his minions once).

Before the test I had 76 runs with 2:19,710 average and after I had 96 runs with 2:19,298 average, that makes for a difference of 45:54,648 in time. XP after Raka correction is 864564 and my sorc is lvl 94 so p5 cow gives her 108 XP. So without accounting for minions/champs I would arrive at a naive number of 8005 cows in total over 20 runs.

Now I don't know how to guess minion number correctly or what people use for estimates commonly. I would say I kill about 5 packs each run with 20% being Champions and 80% being Unique (so 1 to 4). Champion has on average 2,5 members and 3x XP of regular Cow while Unique pack should have one leader and about 6 (???? no idea) minions on average all of which give 5x XP of regular Cow.

So I have to substract per run 2,5*1*2+6*4*4=101 (format: avg members of pack * rarity of pack type i.e. 1 or 4 * XP multiplier minus 1). That is 2020 cows in total which seems super high. So I arrive at 5985 Cows over 45 minutes and 54 seconds, i.e. 45,9 minutes roughly. So that would mean 130 Cows/min?

This seems super bizzare to me because this would mean I kill only 300 Cows per run but if THIS is my standard run I can't believe it:
I don't often teleport into the area behind the fort, maybe that's a mistake... In any case the wide open area in this cow level is not good at all.

Also in this video you can see how Sorc is in exactly the right spot to TK the stash. She does not move at all after I exit the cube.


Diabloii.Net Member
First and only set completed. In total found 8 qualifiers which I'm content with. The last 8 hours brought another skiller, 3 eth grail items (Nightsmoke, Serpent and Battle) and 1 regular grailer (heaven's light) to bring it to -25 among other decent drops. Screenshot062.jpg

In the midst of all this, found some green antlers....Almost had a GG find...so close just needed +2 more Nado


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@art_vandelay Average number of mininos is 4.5 (3-6) except for Cow King who has 8. XP method tends to underestimate cow kills because you don't actually kill all those monsters you subtract. One option is to count exactly the number of champions/minions/bosses in a run (by reviewing recording). Thing is, if there's a boss pack with minions within a big group you have no way of knowing how many cows were minions, so that doesn't work every run. The more practical option if you want to track a bunch of runs is to observe how many of those do you kill, e.g. you normally don't kill possessed champions or immune bosses, and some minions/champions will end up as stragglers left alive etc.... Then subtract accordingly, e.g. only subtract 80% of average bosses/champions/minions on your map. Also maybe your average boss pack is lower than 5 – that's a number you want to observe closely and not just guess. I usually counted boss packs for ~20 runs or so and then worked with the average of that going forward.

All in all, it's a lot of work to properly apply the XP method, and while it doesn't have the variance problem that drop method has, it is still based on averages that also require some time and effort to determine...


Diabloii.Net Member
First set non-qualifiers haulpic :) Items were chosen for balance on the pic, i found it quite nice that way

Death and Doom are pretty nice ones, Death being a failed unique!

75 durability

Regarding qualifiers, i topped at... 5. The remaining valuable runes were Lems, so it's a somehow good pick as i hoped less in efficiency.

Brought her to lvl 90.5, starting from 85.something, almost everything on p7, so i can be pretty happy with it too.

I haven't sent results due to COVID...i may go for a second set if i feel so - especially if i find some golden diadem in the pits!


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I would substract around 50 cows for necro, but I tend to skip two packs most of the times while getting 3 to 4 of the rest not killing everything from them either. For Nova sorc also around 50 cows since she doesn't usually kill all minions, although depends... At first I also overestimated minions killed and thought around 100 cows must be substracted, but in reality it is half of that, maybe up to 60 depending on a build.


Diabloii.Net Member
Oh good, I can get back into some D2 while shut away from the rest of the human race. (RIP Titan Quest + Immortal Throne which I just installed today from the discs, lol.)

And we can use different characters for different segments, right? Probably gonna run my cowzon here, but we'll see.

Also...... any bonus or penalty for finding a Crown of Ages? (i.e. unique Corona...)

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MrBlonde (?)


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Just over half way through my first set. 4 qualifiers so far, though half of them are very much more filler than thriller!

Still no internet on the PC (adapter should arrive next week) so no 'proper' post just yet...

I respec'd to full Nova/ES. Run times on p5 are 3.5-4 minutes which is quicker than with Lightning though not massively so. However, the runs feel a lot smoother as the only thing that's threatening is Mana Burn so I can be much less careful teleporting in areas I know boss packs don't spawn.

Will try some /p3 tonight, though I don't think it will make the runs much faster. With 7 lightning skillers (maybe it's 6 actually, I can't remember) kill speed on p5 is pretty high, I think my runs are mostly slowed by the fact I play HC so my merc has Holy Freeze and I can't be super aggressive with positioning in areas where boss packs spawn, both of which significantly slow down the herding phase.


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So... I checked the number of jewels and sc's in addition to the numbers of runes:
item      qty    recip drop   cows/min   p5 cows/min
------    ----   ----------   --------   -----------
jewels    92       708          91.2       73.5
sc's      103      708          102.1      82.3
runes     241      303.33       102.4      82.5
The sc's matching up with the runes led me to believe I'm not that unlucky with the runes and am rather just slower than I thought. But wanted to hold out some hope and double check. So I wanted to try the exp method, but the sorc I've been using is only lvl 90. So I respec'd my lvl 99 sorc. Yes... to use the exp method. Think a second longer than I did and you'll realize why that's a bad idea ;). So 2 tokens flushed for nothing. But I have a lvl 94 sorc as well. Repec'd her, and tried it out. Got 91 p5 cows per min (subtracted 75 cows due to minions/champs). So that pretty well confirms to me that my rune total isn't too unlucky and I'm just slow, especially since the total runes method giving ~82 would factor in the occasional bad run and not-too-infrequent death.

So I spent 4 tokens (respecing two sorcs to nova and then back to blizz) to confirm I'm slower than I'd hoped, and that I'm killing less than 350 cows per run (probably closer to 300). Womp womp. I came into the round wanting to do ~3:30 p5 runs with ~380-400 cows per run, so approx 120 p5 cows/min. And my runtimes were suggesting I was right on that target, but I'm a lot further due to the lower cows/run. Ah well at least it's an improvement from last year (where I was running with a blizz sorc with nearly no gear). Maybe next year will be close to the mid 100's. Unless someone has some advice for improving a lot immediately. I think I'm 13 hours in so far.


Diabloii.Net Member
@Luhkoh, you're already light years ahead of how I am running this year...Of course, this year is better for me than last year...I didn't have any characters that could even enter last year :) So improvements for us both over last year!

My second set is going smoother, though I still die more often than I would like....mana burn is the pits :( Oh well, into a smooth routine and run times are just under 4 minutes so I should get over 300 actual runs in vs whatever I managed in set 1. I could improve that to 3:30 most likely but I would have to skip a bit more cows than I like, hard to override that gotta kill em all instinct :)


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@Luhkoh Yep. I'm on the same boat as @CaseyJones right now. Well, an actually worse boat than him, when I look at his numbers. I thought I was doing 5m30s run on average, but I was actually slower than that in reality. 5-30 was probably my fastest run time. So, I switched my Blova to p3 and only targeted bigger packs. Now, I'm probably at that 5min. average now. Obviously, my gear is not on par yet, thus why I aim for better times next year, but I guess it's due process; getting those insane numbers posted by the top players doesn't happen overnight. I aim to get there eventually, but we have to accept to make due until then.


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Realised my Meteorb Sorceress has been doing this all wrong. Last RFL I was using Static Field then Fire Ball, this RFL I switched to Static Field then Meteor. After the first hour of running I discovered I should be casting Meteor and THEN Static Field. Oh boy :). I'm only 90 minutes into the set but this revelation may help inspire me to play a bit more.


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Theorycrafted and tested some Nova Sorc with ES build. Here's the routes I tried and what I ended up with.

Build and gear used in all/most variants:
- faceted Griffon's
- faceted body armor (Nova Ormus, Viper, Arkaine's, Enigma and Que hegan are other optoins...)
- Silkweave for 5 MPK
- 3 MPK caster gloves unless FCR is needed (e.g. Infinity setup)

Defiance Merc with Infinity, ebug CoH, Andy

7 skillers in inventory

200 FCR: Tried for a little bit, but IMO this is only feasible for time travelers with OP 1.07 MPK rings. Balancing both FCR and MPK with current patch gear is not possible in a way that really keeps up with the huge mana spending. So I only looked at the below 105 FCR setups, with current patch mana upkeep options.

Self-wield Infinity: avg Nova dmg ~3.8k, no built-in FHR, no MPK needed
Offers the major convenience of Insight Merc, but at the cost of a good chunk of damage. Also lack of FHR unless socketing it or getting some via charms.

All other setups need to take care of MPK, which if you're not time-traveling can be a bit tricky. I used Silkweave and mostly also MPK caster gloves. Lidless Wall and CM are weapon/shield options with additional MPK.

Eschuta's + 4-facet (18/18) Shield: Nova dmg ~4.8k, 8 MPK, no built-in FHR.
Highest damage from the setups I thought were reasonable, good built-in Static range, at the cost of some MPK and no FHR.

Eschuta's + Spirit or Lidless Wall: Nova dmg ~4.6k, 8 MPK (13 with Lidless), 60% FHR with Spirit + FHR SC.
Slightly less damage, a bit higher Static range. With Spirit, MPK is a little lower than with CM setup below, whereas with Lidless MPK is better but no FHR.

Crescent Moon + Spirit: Nova dmg ~4.5k, 10 MPK, 60% FHR.
This is what I prefer at this point. Damage only slightly lower than Eschuta setups, but on P5 it doesn't make a difference for casts per kill after Static – all of these setups need 5 casts when assuming 2 preceding SF casts. Advantage is getting both sufficient MPK and at the same time good FHR.

Below a couple of runs with this on P5 (without sound, forgot to adjust input) but on a map that will be rerolled – layout is good, but way too many small groups scattered too far from one another, just takes too long to herd bigger groups. If you're constantly wondering whether a group is worth killing, that's not a good sign. :)

Re FHR: Technically this is basically irrelevant as long as ES is up. However, it becomes very relevant when mana burned with cows swinging at you – because in that situation you're pretty much guaranteed to be knocked into hit recovery. Instead of just dying whenever that happens, I do not want the ability to teleport away and re-cast ES, so IMO it should be taken into account for sure even though it's "just" a safeguard for that situation.

P3 seems to be a great alternative for her given the relatively low damage main spell. The previously discussed FHR mechanics make P3 a lot smoother too, Nova can easily achieve 75% chance of GetHit on P3 whereas it will only have 37.5% chance on P5. So far it seems to me P3 is not quite fast enough to make up for lower drop rate, but much easier gameplay while not sacrificing a lot.


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@ffs VERY nice post. Really enjoyed that. I would guess main convenience of self-wield infinity is that you can run with lower total mana, leaving a lot more points to put in vita, making mana burn much more survivable. I am surprised the dmg is so much lower with that huge -elr, but I guess it makes sense since you'd have to get more fcr and no skills from spirit. What is the nova dmg number you cite as well? Is that taking into account -elr or something? Interested to see what kind of cows/min you end up with!