A long journey comes to an end: Neverland reaches 99

T72on1

Diabloii.Net Member


Screenshot010.jpg

After a journey of a little over 2.5 years, I finally managed to get my first ever level 99 character, in the Untwinked Level 99 challenge. Welcome to a little write-up about her :).

Note: I kept notes for Neverland’s journey, but unfortunately I only stored them locally and never cared to back them up. A computer crash wiped them away though, and while I luckily managed to recover most of the data, including my D2 character files and GoMule, the notes weren’t among those. So my story below is based on memory, and from scanning through the 99er thread again. Actually I was going to base it mainly on memory, but when I started reading through the 99er thread again, it sucked me in big time, and I ended up going through most of it. Definitely worth the read, I can recommend it to anyone, especially those who already finished a 99er !!!

The journey

I was the third person to join the 99er challenge, after Kitteh and Pb_pal, on March 20 2016. So yeah, I have been rather slow … Early progression was done on p3, going through as quickly as possible to reach Pindle in that difficulty, level up on him, go to the next difficulty, rinse and repeat. I got my first out of 13 deaths when doing nm Countess.

In Hell the original plan was to pay Meph some visits for some basic S/U, but after finding a Shako in act 1, I decided to have my first stop at AT and leave Meph alone. I leveled there for a bit, then moved on to Pindle runs for more xp. After a while I realized I needed to do LK runs first to get some basic gear, mainly CtA. But as I had never done LK runs in my life, I was reluctant to try it out and was hoping to find an Ohm rune on the go. That obviously didn’t happen, so in the end I gave in, rolled a good 2 campfire map and got going.

I did some Pindle runs in between, since LK didn’t immediately deliver and I was still getting used to LK, reaching lvl 8_8 that way. Things changed when I got back to LK and racked a Wizardspike. This allowed me to reach the 105 fcr breakpoint and finally have some better defensive stats, so runs went much smoother from that point on.

After 250 runs I had already found 2x Gul, so could cube up for Vex and make HotO. I still needed the base though. After some 500 runs in total I also got an Ohm with Sur and Ist only a few runs later. Again, I didn’t have a base item for CtA though

So I went back to AT in search for base items. I got the 4os Flail soon enough through a plain white one and the cube recipe. Ironically, not much after, I didn’t find a base for CtA, but another Ohm instead … When I finally got that base, the roll wasn’t too bad.

Some 1.5 months into the challenge I reached lvl 93 already, even taking the second spot at the time, by doing AT runs. I stayed in AT until 94.5, after which I switched to dual seal CS runs. In hindsight I should have made that switch earlier, as xp definitely came faster then.

From then on not much to report, although I did get some good drops, like my first ever Cham. I also decided to cube up two Sur runes and make CoH (I was still using SotV at the time) instead of saving them up for Infinity, which isn’t that important for a cold Sorc.

On June 16, 2016 I reached level 96, the first time ever that I managed to do so. That’s only after 3 months, still smooth going …

Progress towards level 97 was smooth as well at first, but then slowed down due to getting pulled towards the then rather new RoF Superchest runs first and MFO after that, followed by our annual holiday. So it wasn’t until August 5, 2016 that Neverland reached level 97. At that time we had one 99er and two people at level 98, so I was still quite happy with my progress.

After that I started doing Trav runs with Neverland as a change of pace, as well as LK runs. I had the idea for an oskill Sept and needed the runes, hence the shift of focus on other targets. I probably also needed a change of pace from CS, although I must admit I don’t really recall.

Between those runs, actually doing the Sept and giving in to a sudden D3 itch, Neverland didn’t make much progress towards level 98 for a long time. It wasn’t until the end of November 2016 that I picked up my CS runs with Neverland again in a decent way. Still it took me until December 16, 2016 until I hit 97.5. By that time we already had a second 99er, Nanomist very close to that milestone, and, while I was still up there as fourth highest entrant after those three, Neksja was very close to catching up on me. Mind you, I didn’t mind, and neither did he, as the 99er challenge is all about the journey, which we make with each other, not against each other.

I hit level 97.75 just before the end of that year, December 29, 2016 to be precise. Next milestone was in the first few days of 2017, when I finally managed to cube the right amount of sockets in an eth Polearm to make Infinity, after sitting on the runes for some time.

On January 11, 2017 Neverland hit level 98. I knew it has taken me long to get from 98 to 99, but it’s quite confronting to see I already got to 98 so long ago, some 22 months :oops:. After that I decided to take a break, since I wanted to do at least one round of the 2017 RFL with Neverland, as well as doing Cows for that tournament with a Javazon I still had to level.

In March I finally got back to the leveling process, starting out by respeccing Neverland from Blizzard to Meteor/Fireball and some 20 points unspent. After a bit of testing I put those into FO and 1 point Cold Mastery, to help against FE Nihl. I tried that out for a while, but soon realized that the FO wasn’t enough to bother with. Unbreakable FE Nihl just wasn’t worth it. Breakable FE went down just as fast or even faster with Meteor and Fireball, as often CIs were blocking my FO. So I used my last respec to get Neverland to full Fire Sorc, putting additional points into Static for a higher range and the rest of the points into Firewall. This worked very well. Breakable FE Nihl was taken care of with only Meteors and Fireballs a lot of the time, but Firewall did get used too, for example when FI monsters were in between Nihl and Neverland.

I died a few times in those early testing stages, as Nihl runs take some time to get used to. His CE isn’t that dangerous, but you have to know how to deal with the Vipers. Once I got into a routine of stepping away from my merc right after landing where I wanted to be, it went well though. O yes, and Delirium on the merc is an absolute life saver down there, is what other 99ers told me, and that definitely turned out to be true !!

It wasn’t until the beginning of May 2017 that I posted about some progress, getting to the 98.17 mark. I was still doing my oskill Sept in between, so progress was slow, but lucky for me, safe. After those deaths in the initial test runs I hadn’t had any deaths, and this remained the case for the rest of the road from 98 to 99 !!

After that I mainly went on with my oskill, and also got sidetracked to PoE, so Neverland was on another hiatus. It wasn’t until September 2017 that I got back into Nihl runs. By the end of the month I hit the 98.25 mark.

I then got sidetracked by the 5 stages of Grief tournament (yes, I get sidetracked easily ;)), so it wasn’t until the end of November before I continued Neverland. However soon after I had a computer crash, setting me back some 24M xp. Not that much in the grand scheme of things, but not what you need when just getting back to it again and are seeking to find the motivation to run to begin with.

I only got back into Neverland at the very end of 2017. Nihl was happy to see me though, and coughed up a DWeb in one of the first runs !! Not much later he would do the same with a DFathom. As I said previously, I had no deaths and even almost no NDEs from 98 to 99. The one at my birthday last year was really, really close though !!!

Early 2018 I progressed a bit, but apparantly got sidetracked again because of … reasons I guess. If I’m being honest, the main reason probably was that the Nihl runs are just so boring, so whenever the drops are also lousy, it’s 100% an xp grind. At that point it’s often tempting to give in and start playing something else. And as I state in the post I linked to, the longer you’re away from a character, the harder it’s to get back into it.

In May I finally finished my Sept and also picked up Neverland for a bit. I joined the 99er challenge with a second character, a HC Hammerdin. The plan was to alternate between the two from that point on, but early on the focus was almost entirely on the Paladin. On June 5, 2018 I did reach level 98.5 though. But after that it was all about the Paladin.

What really made me come back to Neverland was the MF/RF tournament in July, which I ran with Neverland. That, and people like @ffs who kept on pushing me to finish the character (thanks for that !!) and @Neksja returning to his 99er to give me some friendly competition as well. What made me stick to finishing the character this time was that the tournament had gotten me a decent chunk of xp, at which point that 99 mark suddenly actually seemed within reach, and not something that was so far off that it might happen, but might as well not.

Having said that, first I went on holiday and then there was the 2018 MFO, so Neverland still didn’t see any progress for a while. When I really picked her up again in early September, I was determined to finish her, despite RL being very busy. I did play my Hammerdin a bit as well in between, but the focus was mainly on Neverland, and she hit 98.75 on September 20, 2018.

From that moment on things went really smooth. Drops weren’t good early on, but that was also because I hardly picked up anything, just focusing on xp. The nice thing was that, contrary to the early stages, now that I was getting closer to the end goal, that xp bar seemed to move about every time I played !!! When the drops also picked up when getting closer to 98.90, with two Bers as highlights, I really felt I was in a flow.

That was supposed to be my last update, but when I got to 3.500M xp and had a session with very good drops, with that ring which had eluded me for so long, I couldn’t resist giving another update.

Ironically, while I had not had a NDE for ages with Neverland, things got trickier again from time to time in that final stretch, and that would continue until I hit 99. Nothing too bad, but still life dropping below 400 and sometimes even 200, where I usually wouldn’t even go below 1000. Still not sure what caused it, as I actually used S/E more at this stage, but luckily I never died. That would have been really hard to digest.

Three days later, on October 21, 2018, Neverland reached the milestone that is level 99. I intended to finish her in a very long session on Saturday evening and night, but in the end was smart enough to call it a day when getting too tired and finish the day after. With a Jah on Saturday, Nihl definitely kept the HR for the last stretch !!

Screenshot011.jpg


One thing I’m not really sure of, is when I ever collected my Ancients at level 98. I think I did it shortly after finishing my test runs, but never wrote about it in the 99er thread and I can’t check it in my notes anymore :(.

Gear, skills and stats

So, that was Neverland's journey. These are Neverland’s stats, skills and gear when hitting level 99 (cleaned up version):

Code:
Name:       Neverland
Class:      Sorceress
Experience: 3520485254
Level:      99

            Naked/Gear
Strength:   143/180
Dexterity:  33/40
Vitality:   374/413
Energy:     35/71
HP:         926/1418
Mana:       231/482
Stamina:    536/536
Defense:    8/1519
AR:         115/184

Fire:       177/137/77
Cold:       163/123/63
Lightning:  157/117/57
Poison:     207/167/107

MF:         203       Block:      5
GF:         178       FR/W:       25
FHR:        60       IAS:        0
FCR:        115

Fire Bolt: 20/36
Warmth: 1/17
Inferno: 1/17
Blaze: 1/17
Fire Ball: 20/36
Fire Wall: 11/27
Enchant: 0/0
Meteor: 20/36
Fire Mastery: 20/36
Hydra: 0/0

Charged Bolt: 0/0
Static Field: 13/25
Telekinesis: 1/13
Nova: 0/0
Lightning: 0/0
Chain Lightning: 0/0
Teleport: 1/13
Thunder Storm: 0/0
Energy Shield: 0/0
Lightning Mastery: 0/0

Ice Bolt: 0/0
Frozen Armor: 1/13
Frost Nova: 0/0
Ice Blast: 0/0
Shiver Armor: 0/0
Glacial Spike: 0/0
Blizzard: 0/0
Chilling Armor: 0/0
Frozen Orb: 0/0
Cold Mastery: 0/0

Magefist
Light Gauntlets
Defense: 24
Durability: 13 of 18
Required Level: 23
Required Strength: 45
Fingerprint: 0xc283cb1e
Item Level: 86
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+1 to Fire Skills
+20% Faster Cast Rate
Adds 1 - 6 Fire Damage
+22% Enhanced Defense
+10 Defense
Regenerate Mana 25%

Harlequin Crest
Shako
Defense: 113
Durability: 7 of 12
Required Level: 62
Required Strength: 50
Fingerprint: 0x48666206
Item Level: 74
Version: Expansion 1.10+
100% Chance to cast level 29 Blaze when you Level-Up
+2 to All Skills
Adds 17 - 45 Fire Damage
-5% to Enemy Fire Resistance
+4% to Fire Skill Damage
All Stats +2
+148 to Life (Based on Character Level)
+148 to Mana (Based on Character Level)
Damage Reduced by 10%
50% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
1 Sockets (1 used)
Socketed: Rainbow Facet

Rainbow Facet
Jewel
Required Level: 49
Fingerprint: 0x7290f85b
Item Level: **
Version: Expansion 1.10+
100% Chance to cast level 29 Blaze when you Level-Up
Adds 17 - 45 Fire Damage
-5% to Enemy Fire Resistance
+4% to Fire Skill Damage

Nature's Peace
Ring
Required Level: 69
Fingerprint: 0x70c2bcad
Item Level: 83
Version: Expansion 1.10+
Prevent Monster Heal
Slain Monsters Rest in Peace
Poison Resist +26%
Damage Reduced by 11
Level 5 Oak Sage (27/27 Charges)

Nature's Peace
Ring
Required Level: 69
Fingerprint: 0xea091ed6
Item Level: 85
Version: Expansion 1.10+
Prevent Monster Heal
Slain Monsters Rest in Peace
Poison Resist +21%
Damage Reduced by 11
Level 5 Oak Sage (27/27 Charges)

Arachnid Mesh
Spiderweb Sash
Defense: 131
Durability: 7 of 12
Required Level: 80
Required Strength: 50
Fingerprint: 0x142bf94
Item Level: **
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+1 to All Skills
+20% Faster Cast Rate
Slows Target by 10%
+108% Enhanced Defense
Increase Maximum Mana 5%
Level 3 Venom (11/11 Charges)

Mara's Kaleidoscope
Amulet
Required Level: 67
Fingerprint: 0xcbf6314c
Item Level: 95
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+2 to All Skills
All Stats +5
All Resistances +27

Burning Grand Charm of Sustenance
Grand Charm
Required Level: 42
Fingerprint: 0xb18e61c0
Item Level: 85
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+1 to Fire Skills (Sorceress Only)
+26 to Life

Chains of Honor
Wire Fleece
DolUmBerIst
Defense: 816
Durability: 24 of 32
Required Level: 63
Required Strength: 111
Fingerprint: 0x46ddfa7a
Item Level: 80
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+2 to All Skills
+200% Damage to Demons
+100% Damage to Undead
8% Life stolen per hit
+70% Enhanced Defense
+20 to Strength
Replenish Life +7
All Resistances +65
Damage Reduced by 8%
25% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
4 Sockets (4 used)
Socketed: Dol Rune
Socketed: Um Rune
Socketed: Ber Rune
Socketed: Ist Rune

Gheed's Fortune
Grand Charm
Required Level: 62
Fingerprint: 0xa58044dc
Item Level: **
Version: Expansion 1.10+
145% Extra Gold from Monsters
Reduces all Vendor Prices 12%
40% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items

War Traveler
Battle Boots
Defense: 138
Durability: 43 of 48
Required Level: 42
Required Strength: 95
Fingerprint: 0x2c84340c
Item Level: 85
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+25% Faster Run/Walk
Adds 15 - 25 Damage
+188% Enhanced Defense
+10 to Strength
+10 to Vitality
40% Slower Stamina Drain
Attacker Takes Damage of 10
48% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
+30 Maximum Durability

Russet Small Charm of Good Luck
Small Charm
Required Level: 33
Fingerprint: 0xcb276884
Item Level: 85
Version: Expansion 1.10+
Fire Resist +7%
6% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items

Fine Small Charm of Vita
Small Charm
Required Level: 39
Fingerprint: 0xce490e0d
Item Level: 80
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+3 to Maximum Damage
+14 to Attack Rating
+20 to Life

Beryl Small Charm of Vita
Small Charm
Required Level: 39
Fingerprint: 0x6effda5d
Item Level: 80
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+20 to Life
Poison Resist +3%

Garnet Small Charm of Fortune
Small Charm
Required Level: 20
Fingerprint: 0xf1ff2763
Item Level: 85
Version: Expansion 1.10+
Fire Resist +8%
4% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items

Garnet Small Charm of Balance
Small Charm
Required Level: 29
Fingerprint: 0x3ffda72c
Item Level: 80
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+5% Faster Hit Recovery
Fire Resist +9%

Small Charm of Vita
Small Charm
Required Level: 39
Fingerprint: 0xfd905e8c
Item Level: **
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+20 to Life

Small Charm of Vita
Small Charm
Required Level: 39
Fingerprint: 0x474f33f6
Item Level: 80
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+20 to Life

Small Charm of Vita
Small Charm
Required Level: 39
Fingerprint: 0x644aeebb
Item Level: 80
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+20 to Life

Bronze Small Charm of Vita
Small Charm
Required Level: 39
Fingerprint: 0x79ae0991
Item Level: 68
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+10 to Attack Rating
+20 to Life

Garnet Small Charm of Fortune
Small Charm
Required Level: 20
Fingerprint: 0x13caa10e
Item Level: 85
Version: Expansion 1.10+
Fire Resist +8%
5% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items

Arcing Small Charm of Vita
Small Charm
Required Level: 57
Fingerprint: 0x7fca9606
Item Level: 85
Version: Expansion 1.10+
Adds 1 - 43 Lightning Damage
+20 to Life

Crimson Small Charm of Vita
Small Charm
Required Level: 39
Fingerprint: 0x51d7fce
Item Level: **
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+20 to Life
Fire Resist +3%

Small Charm of Vita
Small Charm
Required Level: 39
Fingerprint: 0xb94f67a1
Item Level: **
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+20 to Life

Small Charm of Vita
Small Charm
Required Level: 39
Fingerprint: 0xaeab8207
Item Level: **
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+19 to Life

Small Charm of Vita
Small Charm
Required Level: 39
Fingerprint: 0xa52a5f97
Item Level: **
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+20 to Life

Bronze Small Charm of Good Luck
Small Charm
Required Level: 33
Fingerprint: 0x49ae44a9
Item Level: 80
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+7 to Attack Rating
7% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items

Garnet Small Charm of Good Luck
Small Charm
Required Level: 33
Fingerprint: 0x6f583d40
Item Level: 85
Version: Expansion 1.10+
Fire Resist +8%
6% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items

Toxic Small Charm of Vita
Small Charm
Required Level: 55
Fingerprint: 0x88a98486
Item Level: 85
Version: Expansion 1.10+
Adds 100 Poison Damage Over 5 Secs (125 Frames)
+20 to Life

Small Charm of Vita
Small Charm
Required Level: 39
Fingerprint: 0x63aedc9d
Item Level: 80
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+20 to Life

Small Charm of Vita
Small Charm
Required Level: 39
Fingerprint: 0xbb4675e0
Item Level: 85
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+20 to Life

Bronze Small Charm of Vita
Small Charm
Required Level: 39
Fingerprint: 0x75eec695
Item Level: 80
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+3 to Attack Rating
+19 to Life

Lapis Small Charm of Vita
Small Charm
Required Level: 39
Fingerprint: 0x9bc40c9e
Item Level: 80
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+20 to Life
Cold Resist +6%

Burning Grand Charm of Greed
Grand Charm
Required Level: 42
Fingerprint: 0x2a62699a
Item Level: 80
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+1 to Fire Skills (Sorceress Only)
33% Extra Gold from Monsters

Burning Grand Charm
Grand Charm
Required Level: 42
Fingerprint: 0x97ea1199
Item Level: 81
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+1 to Fire Skills (Sorceress Only)

Crimson Small Charm of Fortune
Small Charm
Required Level: 18
Fingerprint: 0x7c2a3adb
Item Level: 85
Version: Expansion 1.10+
Fire Resist +5%
5% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items

Russet Small Charm of Good Luck
Small Charm
Required Level: 33
Fingerprint: 0xfa9ef452
Item Level: 80
Version: Expansion 1.10+
Fire Resist +7%
7% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items

Call to Arms
Flail
AmnRalMalIstOhm
One Hand Damage: 3 - **
Durability: 30 of 30
Required Level: 57
Required Strength: 41
Required Dexterity: 35
Fingerprint: 0x479c37ac
Item Level: 85
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+1 to All Skills
+40% Increased Attack Speed
269% Enhanced Damage
+150% Damage to Undead
Adds 5 - 30 Fire Damage
7% Life stolen per hit
Prevent Monster Heal
+5 to Battle Command
+4 to Battle Orders
+4 to Battle Cry
Replenish Life +12
30% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
5 Sockets (5 used)
Socketed: Amn Rune
Socketed: Ral Rune
Socketed: Mal Rune
Socketed: Ist Rune
Socketed: Ohm Rune

Spirit
Monarch
TalThulOrtAmn
Defense: 148
Chance to Block: 0
Durability: 86 of 86
Required Level: 54
Required Strength: 156
Fingerprint: 0x5fbf205e
Item Level: 85
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+2 to All Skills
+34% Faster Cast Rate
+55% Faster Hit Recovery
+250 Defense vs. Missile
+22 to Vitality
+109 to Mana
Cold Resist +35%
Lightning Resist +35%
Poison Resist +35%
+6 Magic Absorb
Attacker Takes Damage of 14
4 Sockets (4 used)
Socketed: Tal Rune
Socketed: Thul Rune
Socketed: Ort Rune
Socketed: Amn Rune

Eschuta's Temper
Eldritch Orb
One Hand Damage: 18 - 50
Durability: 30 of 30
Required Level: 72
Fingerprint: 0x5a698f44
Item Level: 85
Version: Expansion 1.10+
100% Chance to cast level 31 Meteor when you Die
+3 to Sorceress Skill Levels
+40% Faster Cast Rate
Adds 17 - 45 Fire Damage
-5% to Enemy Fire Resistance
+13% to Lightning Skill Damage
+24% to Fire Skill Damage
+29 to Energy
1 Sockets (1 used)
Socketed: Rainbow Facet

Rainbow Facet
Jewel
Required Level: 49
Fingerprint: 0x899c1c48
Item Level: **
Version: Expansion 1.10+
100% Chance to cast level 31 Meteor when you Die
Adds 17 - 45 Fire Damage
-5% to Enemy Fire Resistance
+5% to Fire Skill Damage

Spirit
Monarch
TalThulOrtAmn
Defense: 139
Chance to Block: 0
Durability: 78 of 86
Required Level: 54
Required Strength: 156
Fingerprint: 0xe0d60444
Item Level: 85
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+2 to All Skills
+35% Faster Cast Rate
+55% Faster Hit Recovery
+250 Defense vs. Missile
+22 to Vitality
+103 to Mana
Cold Resist +35%
Lightning Resist +35%
Poison Resist +35%
+7 Magic Absorb
Attacker Takes Damage of 14
4 Sockets (4 used)
Socketed: Tal Rune
Socketed: Thul Rune
Socketed: Ort Rune
Socketed: Amn Rune

Mercenary:

Name:       Waheed
Race:       Desert Mercenary
Type:       Def-Nightmare
Experience: 114096488
Level:      98
Dead?:      false

            Naked/Gear
Strength:   209/209
Dexterity:  169/169
HP:         2287/2410
Defense:    1671/5128
AR:         2066/2066

Fire:       188/148/**
Cold:       188/148/**
Lightning:  188/148/**
Poison:    188/148/**

Delirium
Death Mask
LemIstIo
Defense: 325
Durability: 13 of 20
Required Level: 51
Required Strength: 55
Fingerprint: 0xb8f2b485
Item Level: 85
Version: Expansion 1.10+
1% Chance to cast level 50 Delirium when struck
6% Chance to cast level 14 Mind Blast when struck
14% Chance to cast level 13 Terror when struck
11% Chance to cast level 18 Confuse on striking
+2 to All Skills
+261 Defense
+10 to Vitality
50% Extra Gold from Monsters
25% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
Level 17 Attract (60/60 Charges)
3 Sockets (3 used)
Socketed: Lem Rune
Socketed: Ist Rune
Socketed: Io Rune

Fortitude
Balrog Skin
ElSolDolLo
Defense: 3132
Durability: 16 of 16
Required Level: 59
Required Strength: 155
Fingerprint: 0x3e6d842b
Item Level: 85
Version: Expansion 1.10+
20% Chance to cast level 15 Chilling Armor when struck
+25% Faster Cast Rate
300% Enhanced Damage
+200% Enhanced Defense
+15 Defense
+123 to Life (Based on Character Level)
Replenish Life +7
+5% to Maximum Lightning Resist
All Resistances +26
Damage Reduced by 7
12% Damage Taken Goes To Mana
+1 to Light Radius
Ethereal
4 Sockets (4 used)
Socketed: El Rune
Socketed: Sol Rune
Socketed: Dol Rune
Socketed: Lo Rune

Infinity
Giant Thresher
BerMalBerIst
Two Hand Damage: 215 - 613
Durability: 28 of 28
Required Level: 66
Required Strength: 178
Required Dexterity: 130
Fingerprint: 0x14e0ac2c
Item Level: **
Version: Expansion 1.10+
50% Chance to cast level 20 Chain Lightning when you Kill an Enemy
Level 12 Conviction Aura When Equipped
+35% Faster Run/Walk
259% Enhanced Damage
-52% to Enemy Lightning Resistance
40% Chance of Crushing Blow
Prevent Monster Heal
+49 to Vitality (Based on Character Level)
30% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
Level 21 Cyclone Armor (30/30 Charges)
Ethereal
4 Sockets (4 used)
Socketed: Ber Rune
Socketed: Mal Rune
Socketed: Ber Rune
Socketed: Ist Rune

Additional notes

All the while when doing this journey, I was lucky enough that there had been others paving the way, both by theorycrafting and by actually playing the game and reporting back in with their different experiences. This had a great impact on the road I have followed with Neverland, as I mainly just followed good advice, with only some minor input and testing of my own.

The only difference was transforming to full Fire Sorc for the Nihlathak runs, where others had been doing Blizz/Nova or full Lightning. Picking Nihl as target was easy, as others already did the number crunching and the actual leveling on him. I only switched to full Fire, which other 99er runners hadn’t done before. I mainly took that because we already had had Cold and Lightning, but also because I wanted to include some good AoE skill which could kill the enemies always surrounding Nihl (who are CE), to try and improve my chances at finding some HRs. For a long time this wasn’t the case, but luckily near the end I got that two Bers and the Jah rune.

Some stats

In total Neverland did about 11000 Nihl runs, averaging 28.9 seconds per run. That average time was still slowly getting down though, I was a lot faster near the end then early on. Which shouldn't be a surprise, after so many runs :). These are the runes found during those runs (some below Vex might be missing due to the lost notes):

Code:
Rune    Amount

Pul      1
Um       4
Ist      3
Gul      1
Vex      3
Ohm      1
Ber      2
Jah      2
I wanted to include all runes Pul+ found here during the journey too, but unfortunately I can't, again due to losing my notes. Certainly those needed for Infinity, CoH, 2x HotO, 2x CtA and Delirium. Also the Cham in CS I posted about, and another Cham when doing Travincal runs. Skimming through the 179 pages of the Untwinked 99er thread, I also got reminded I once found 3 Ohm runes in quick succession in CS, with CtA already been made and another one found in AT. I also ran Cows and Travincal in the RFL with Neverland iirc, so at least a couple more runes were found there. Long story short ... given the time spent, not that much compared to the real dedicated rune runs and runners, but still an impressive amount of runes and especially HRs nonetheless !!

As far as S/U go, I got to grail -21 with Neverland, finding all set items except for two Cow King set pieces, and finding rare uniques like DFathom, DWeb (twice), Darkforce Spawn, SoJ, ... She also got quite some good uniques for her eth grail, like Reaper's Toll, Torch of Iro and Rixot's Keen (the latter two from Nihl).

I'm not sure how long it took me to get Neverland to level 99, but based on stats from other runners and my own xp rates for various levels, I assume it's some 350 hours for those runs strictly intended for this challenge. Maybe 10 - 20 hours less. However, I also participated in some tournaments, like MFO and RFL, with her, as well as doing additional Travincal and LK runs. So the total amount of time spent on Neverland before she reached level 99 is probably closer to 400 hours.

Last words

So I guess this concludes the journey. I still need to include the video of her reaching level 99, I’ll try to do that soon. It still feels a bit weird to be at this point to be honest. I mean, when grinding, you just want it to be over at times. But now that I finally reached my end goal, I realize the amount of time and dedecation I have put into this, and how attached I have gotten to Neverland. That's why I definitely want to try her out at different targets where she should excel: the upcoming Snipchap mf tournament, Cow runs, ... .

I’m not sure what the future will bring when it comes to more 99ers. There has certainly been a point (many actually …) when I swore to myself never to get a character past the lvl 97 mark, when the real grind begins, agains. Now I can already see myself doing it … maybe, really maybe. I’ll certainly continue my HC Hammerdin and look forward to endless CS runs for now, if I ever find that last Sur.

What I don’t feel like doing yet another time, is farming LK for basic stuff I already have, like CtA and HotO. So if I’ll ever do another 99er attempt after or next to the Hammerdin, it’ll be either a twinked character, or an untwinked one who will try to farm stuff like CtA, HotO, Enigma, Infinity, … whatever is needed, on the go, so in areas he or she wants to run anyway. Yes that will be slower. A lot slower unless I have some major luck. But it should also be a much more fun way to do it.

Thank you ... a lot !!!

Sincere thanks to … a lot of people really. @Kitteh for starting the thing. It’s been a huge success, given the amount of 99ers and amount of people still running. All of those people, present and past runners, thank you for being with me on the journey. Special thanks go to @Pb_pal and @NanoMist, for being with me from the start and giving me some friendly competition early on. @ffs and later on @Neksja to keep on pushing me to finish Neverland when the going got tough. @PhineasB for his incredible 99er compendium, bringing all the good info in one place, and for being a huge inspiration with his two 99ers and third character running.


Thanks for reading !!!

Edit: added some info on total playing time and S/U found.
Edit2: added video from the last minutes before and from the moment when hitting 99. For some reason I can only get screen capture to work, and for some other reason it doesn't capture the moments when I'm in the game menu. Hence the black screens.
 
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ffs

Diabloii.Net Member
Great stuff! Love the write-up, and again congrats on finishing her impressive journey! Happy to kick your butt any time whenever you need extra motivation, let me know! ;)
 

Pb_pal

Diabloii.Net Member
Wonderful write-up! I feel a strong attachment to Neverland as she is one of the original entrants, and I'll just say again how awesome it was to follow the entire journey and see it completed. Congrats again on all the grailers, cool gear, runes, screenshots, and stories along the way! :)
 

mir

Diabloii.Net Member
Congrats on this achievement and very interesting write-up.

Few more threads like that and I might make an attempt too.
 

Hookipa

Diabloii.Net Member
A wall of text is not often this read-friendly ;-). Many details and good story telling. After reading this it feels like I was there the entire journey.

Incredible that even after finishing this crazy journey you device to follow it up in HC. It's good that you'll be sticking around in the 99er thread.

Many kudo's!
 

Kitteh

Diabloii.Net Site Pal
Fantastic write-up mate, and it's great to finally see her reach 99. It's strange that you are the 9th to do it, and yet you are one of the most involved in the tournament. We have now have 9 99ers in this tournament ladies and gentlemen, let that sink in for a minute.

Kitteh
 

T72on1

Diabloii.Net Member
Thanks a lot for the kind words everyone !! It was really only afterwards, when writing it all out, that I realized the real impact of getting Neverland to 99, and her tremendous journey towards that goal.

Btw, I added the video of Neverland reaching 99 in the op.
 

NanoMist

Diabloii.Net Member
Great write-up, the beginning really takes me back to the early days. Having followed your updates all this time, I'm glad to see you make it all the way!
 

Grape

Diabloii.Net Member
And then there were nine!

2,5 year is nothing, it's easy to get distracted by yet another funny project or something in D2. :) Great job for sticking to this, congrats! And welcome to the small (and elite) club of FB/Meteor 98-99ers ;)
 

jonnyphive

Diabloii.Net Member
Congrats @T72on1. Huge accomplishment and excellent write-up. It feels like I have about 1% of the time needed to attempt something like this, but seeing the number of 99ers steadily increasing tempts me more and more. Perhaps one day...
 
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