I feel that level of poison damage really only helps to stop monster regeneration. It really loses its effectiveness when you start running into all the poison immune monsters in NM/Hell. Insight is a very good, inexpensive Runeword for Polearms and depending on the qlvl of the base weapon you roll it in could make the thing very viable well into Hell. I usually try to make one in a Poleaxe, then bump it up to a Partizan when my mercenary has the strength and lastly roll it in either a Thresher or Cryptic Axe. I really like the Thresher due to their faster base weapon speed.
thanks, ill keep an eye out for those on my way. I just had a decent drop for my 2nd act offensive NM merc ( Hone sundan yari) however im not that great with runes and not sure what to use on its 3 sockets, I would really like help since I would hate to drop in useless stuff.also will this be in the insight ballpark? any recommendations are greatly appreciated.
Grape and I just plugged our ethereal HS with Ohms for the the crazy ED, but I'm guessing that's a bit too rich for you at the moment. May I suggest either two Shaels and an Amn or if you would like more elemental damage, since it has zero you could stick either Orts or Rals and one Amn. If he has life leach from his other armor pieces, then go with the full elemental runes.
Id like him to be pure heavy phys damage .Im adding an amn now and 2 shaels will be something to work for... any other mods I can do on top of this? will this be better then insight ? maybe think about the next best rune word later in he game? TY paw
There are better Polearm Runeword weapons than Insight, especially if you don't really need the Meditation aura for casting and such. Take a look through a the various Runewords on this portal and then if you can find the runes the sky is the limit. http://classic.battle.net/diablo2exp/items/runewords-original.shtml
For low to mid runes run the Countess and for those elusive highs run either Hell Travical or Lower Kurast.
very helpful to say the least, hope you dont mind all the newb questions, I still have a few. till where , ball park..how long? will hone sundan with this mod we talked about hold my merc down for?
also I never reset skills n stats, should I go back to normal and reset, and pump everything into my new best skills like fa, strafe , and sap most or all out of cold arrow which i havent used since lvl 30? i have about 10 in there i could put into maxing strafe/ frozen arrow ( my right and left click main skills)and adding to valk too. sensible? how much is too much for my valk? I heard she get reallly good in high levels right now shes like a walking decoy with little damage 3 points into her. also when is my bow "edge" need an upgrade? same for my stealth?
what do you advise the lowest level to keep resistances ? having loads of fun for the 1st time but dont know my limits .
Insight is a great runeword, and always useful (as long as your character can use the mana, that is). It's really more for you than for the merc (although it can do decent damage if you put it in an ethereal tier 3 weapon).
Infinity is another great runeword to stick on him if you can get it and are using a build that would benefit from having resistances broken (lightning sorc, etc).
Other than those two, I generally stick to either cheap utility stuff (+slow polearms, etc) or maxing out his crushing blow to help kill baal and pals for me if I'm on a charachter than needs the help. Slow stuff like (I think?) Kelpie Snare doesn't do great damage, but if you get a bit of it going along some cold slow etc, you can really make bosses attack a crawl.
Reaper's Toll is always a favorite too, casting decripify when the merc hits.
While on the subject of merc gear, for the other pieces you want to get things that have +life leach, and -% damage taken. And, of course, keep the resists up.
If you're not using your cold arrow (and it's not a synergy for any skill that you are using), then absolutely go ahead and reset your skills. You have no reason to be wasting 10+ points. If it is a synergy for one of your main skills though then, obviously, the points haven't been wasted (although depending on the skill, it can be more effective at times to cap the main skill before its synergies).
Valkyrie works on break points, so learn where those are. If I recall lv17 is the top level you really want to shoot for after plus skills so she pops with all her items. More than that won't hurt, but it won't really help much either. If you go for the tier before that you loose (I think?) a rare amulet and one of your rings, but it's several skill levels before 17 as well, so a decent second choice if you need those elsewhere. You can find the details if you hunt around the amazon forum a bit.
There's no specific "too much" into Valkyrie - just ask yourself if she's doing for you what you need her to. If the answer is yes, you have no pressing need to spend more. If you can get her to do what you need with one point (you probably can't), stop there. Conversely, if you put 20 points in dodge, 20 in penetrate, 20 in valk, and 10-20 in dodge, avoid, and evade, you'll have a monstrously tough minion. But let's face it, that's pretty overkill, and you can save yourself 60 points or so by being willing to recast her on rare occasions.
Also keep in mind that even at 20 with +skills and synergies she won't be mowing stuff down like a second player character with great gear and (more importantly) skills. She'll do damage, but she's really just meant for tanking and that's where she'll excel.
I don't think there's a hard and fast rule on upgrades... you just sort of want them as often as you can get them. Are the monsters too hard to kill? Stop and upgrade your weapons. When does "edge" need an upgrade is a bad question also, because edge is a rune word and not a weapon. Depending on your base weapon, it can be doing a lot more or less damage than in another weapon. So again - do you have trouble killing monsters? If yes, you need to upgrade. If no, then whatever.
My default wait and upgrade spot for most characters is after I've finished NM but before really starting hell. Hell's a pretty decent step up in difficulty, and it's probably worth spending some time farming mephisto or baal in NM, or the Act 1 pit in Hell, or whatever your favorite spot is.
Personally I don't tend to keep Stealth armor on me very long. My default cheap body armor is Smoke (Nef Lum), which I mainly use for the 50% resist all. I find that's one of my favorite armors outside of uniques or (much more expensive) rune words like Fortitude. Duress isn't a terrible rune word either for some characters also, and it's not much harder to get. If I recall crushing blow is sort of nerfed on strafe though, so that's probably not a good choice for you (Shael Um Thul). At any rate, you'll probably get a hundred runes for smoke and duress before you put together your fortitude.
Resistances are player-pref. I'm very overcautious with mine and try to keep them maxed where possible. Specifically, you want to worry about fire and lightning. Especially lightning. Try to keep those two at 75. Cold and poison aren't as big a deal, but try not to let them get negative. That's never fun.
I don't play bow-amazons much. Maybe you can get by with less than 75, especially in fire. Keep 75 in lightning though. Gloams are vicious.
That Hone Sudan with the aforementioned runes when you get them in there will last you till early-mid NM and you start confronting a lot more PI creeps. You could upgrade that spear once more to a Ghost Spear with some higher level runes, but again you're still dishing out only physical damage and the dexterity requirement goes through the roof at that point. Your current Bowzon being another physical damage oriented build, using Strafe and FA you're going to continually have issues dealing with PI monsters.
I have played many a Bowzon and with the FA/Strafe build I will generally only put one point into FA and then lastly pump the Freezing Arrow skill that provides longer freeze duration not damage, as the damage is paltry anyways if you pump Cold Arrow instead, but it's really up to you what you are trying to achieve. Then I put enough points into Strafe to get the maximum allowed arrows per volley initially and place the remaining points in Pierce, Valkyrie, Decoy and Critical Strike, until I've pumped those high enough, then I continue pumping up Strafe to increase the damage per hit. All the other prerequisites skills I'll stick with 1 point and let any plus skills buff them. The Valkyrie is arguably the best tank in the game and you need to get her to slvl 17 to get the best armor and War Pike available and points past that up to slvl 27, she will start spawning with rare elite equipment such as a Diadem, amulet and rings and armor with juicy mods on them, which will aid in her overall effectiveness and durability. If you want to feel safe behind a really tough main battle tank, you really can't put enough points into her. Granted she also gets bonuses from the other passive skills as well.
I would say the way you currently have your points into Cold Arrow you're leaning more toward doing more cold damage with less freeze length, which is a good balanced option as well. Maybe try it out on the PI monsters you confront and see if it will be enough to deal with them and keep the Frozen Arrow at one point because it is a mana hog even with Insight on your mercenary. Also, don't put any more than 6 points into Strafe just to recon with and deal with fast movers. Make sure you have at least one cold and poison charm active, so it chills everything with Strafe as well. Also a great easy to find pair of gloves are the Clegclaw Pinchers, due to the slowing and knock back effects. Norm Andy drops these a lot!