Another old player coming back. Some questions.


Diabloii.Net Member
Another old player coming back. Some questions.

Hello all, I'm sure some of these questions have been asked before, but I didn't see any threads that jumped at me on the first couple pages.

Basically about 2-3 years ago I used to play D2 a lot on my roommate's computer. My highest level character was a level 89 lightning javazon, and I had a lot of fun with that. Then the 1.10 patch came out and basically made my build rather obsolete. I kinda lost motivation and moved onto other games.

Now I'm itching to come back, although I ashamedly admit I've forgotten a lot about the game. I bought my own copies of the game and expansion, and I've been reading a lot about the newer builds on the forums. A lot of them look very exciting to me. Although I'm not sure which direction I want to go.

1. Obviously my old characters are all gone by now, so my wealth is gone too. So I want to make an untwinked PvM character that could survive reasonably well in Hell. It seems like a lot of the builds I've read about are heavily item dependant, so I'm wondering what some of the good starter builds are now? Perhaps after I get up in level, I'll use that character to hunt items to fund newer characters.

2. How exactly do melee-oriented characters cope with Hell? Like barbarians and summoner druids and so forth. I know all baddies there take half damage at most from physical attacks if not totally immune. So does that make all physical damage skills pretty much useless for PvM? I never took a physically-oriented character into Hell back when I did play, so I don't know how viable it really is.

3. What items should I be saving up through the low and mid levels to trade later?

Also anything else I might need to know that I'm forgetting to ask about.

Thanks in advance.


Diabloii.Net Member
Welcome back! You won't be dissapointed. Believe it or not, we've actually had a half dozen or so returning players in the last few weeks, but I can't seem to locate their threads either.

The least item dependent builds in 1.10 or Summoner Necros and Meteorb Sorcs. They're also 2 classes that are quite good for MFing.

For Melee characters, A good weapon is almost necessary, but pretty good weapons can be gotten cheap now. a Bstar or doombringer is just a couple pgems. If you're playing Ladder (which i recommend if you're starting fresh), then you can make some powerful runewords cheaply (like Oath). Also, alot of different tactics are sometimes necessary. My best frenzy barb uses warcry for a 6 second stun of all enemies. It's pretty easy to survive when the enemy can't do nothing.

The most readily available currency is gems. A couple handfuls of pgems and a summoner necro can get a vipermagi, homunculus, shako, umes, and some mf gear. End game gear based off of pretty steady drops. (pgems are used to 'reroll' magic items-normally grand charms trying to get +skill tree charms. You can probably find 19 threads on it in the statistics forum.)

One of the major growths in the game since 1.09 is Low Level Dueling(LLD). +15 life (lvl 14) charms are almost currency in some circles. Jewels and socketables for low level (or mid level) characters are also widely sought after. You might see a junk required level 9 rare jewel with 3-8 damage, -15% req and +2 str, but that's pretty godly for a LLD.


Diabloii.Net Member
A Lightning javazon would still be a good build, I think.

Many of the builds in the guides work pretty well untwinked. Some guide writers claim some equipment pieces are "needed" when that really isn´t the case. They are often luxuries more than necessities. The only ones that really ARE needed are those that give the character a skill he/she wouldn´t have access to otherwise.

There is no more global 50% physical resistance in Hell. Many monsters have physical resistance but only a few have a lot of it. Few monsters are physical immune. For a meleer, the ghosts (Specters, Apparitions, etc.) are often the worst, because they attack 'on top of each other' and drain mana.

Barbs have excellent crowd control (Howl, Taunt, Grim Ward) are great tanks (defense, life, uninterruptable attack (Concentrate, WW)) and have an awesome skill against PIs (Berserk) so they are well equipped to handle Hell. Not very fast (unless they have great gear) but very reliable.

Summoner druids are well advised to have a back-up type of damage.

Builds I think (or know) work well untwinked:
Skeleton-based necromancer
Blizzard sorc
Meteorb (Meteor + Frozen Orb) sorc
Dragon Talon Assassin
Lightning Trapsin
Elemental/Phoenix Strike assassin (takes skill to survive, but can be mighty powerful)
Fire Summoner Druid
Wind Druid
Shockwave/Maul Werebear
Fury Werewolf (make sure to use gear with Crushing Blow)
Concentrate (Iron) Barb
Frenzy Barb (needs to use more crowd control than in 1.09!)
Berserker (Big weapon, stun with War Cry)
Lightning/Poison Javazon
Jab/Charged Strike Javazon
Valkazon (see Single Player Forum stickied tornament thread, Tankazon tourney (the first). We were two people who made untwinked Valkazon Guardians there...)
Dagger Tankazon
Fanatic Zealot
Frost Zealot
Tesladin (Lightning Zealot)


Diabloii.Net Member
Okay cool. Thanks for the help, guys. :) All of that pretty much answered what I was asking. And I must say I'm glad the universal half-damage for physicals was taken out.

I've already started saving my gems, and I'm getting ideas for future builds.

I think I'm going to try my hand at both a summoner necro and a wind druid first, and maybe some of the others too.

I did read about the Valkazon build, and I have to say I'm impressed that it beat hardcore Hell. I might try one of those down the road, but only after I have some more experience. I know the rules of the tankazon tourny said to use nothing outside of the passive tree, but for just plain-old playing, would it be viable to set aside some points for, say, offensive bow skills? Or would bow damage take the enemies' attention off of the valk too much? Because I was thinking if nothing else, some points in something like Freezing Arrow could take care of those PI baddies.

Also, I had another question. I've read around the forum people talking about Act 2 Holy Freeze mercs. I've never actually used an act 2 merc before, but when I try to hire one, all I see is offensive and defensive. So which one is the Holy Freeze one?


Diabloii.Net Member
Hephaestus said:
Also, I had another question. I've read around the forum people talking about Act 2 Holy Freeze mercs. I've never actually used an act 2 merc before, but when I try to hire one, all I see is offensive and defensive. So which one is the Holy Freeze one?
Act 2, Nightmare, Defensive Merc is the one with the Holy Freeze aura. Make sure you hire him in Nightmare difficulty though, as it's different to the one in Hell/Normal difficulty.

As a Note: There's not just offensive and defensive mercs, there's also combat :thumbsup: For a basic run-down of what skills the Act 2 mercs (or any merc for that matter) has, check out Arreat Summit


Europe Trade Moderator
It depends a little on which way you want to play. If you want just a single character and don't care about future ones, a summoning necro is very good without twinking. If you want to have a whole bunch of effective characters, equipped with mostly self-found items, a sorceress (e.g. a meteor/fireball/frozen orb sorc, a.k.a. mateorb sorc) would be a good choice because sorcs are by the most effective Mph runners. If it's OK for you to trade everything, pgems are a good source of wealth. At this stage of the current ladder season, uniques and set items are quite cheap, including stuff like Tal's armor, IK set etc. A cheap gem-generating character is a javazon, visiting hell cows.

Effective melee builds are quite expensive. However, the latest bunch of runewords solved a few weapon problems, giving us Oath which just needs Mal, Um and the right ethereal weapon with 4 sockets (cmall crescent, cryptic sword etc.). The cheapest melee build seems to be an IK barbarian (I suggest using WW). In Europe, the armor costs Um or 40 pgems or even less (what a shame, but nice for IK barbs :)) while the rest costs gems. He's not the fastest killer, but he is herd to kill by monsters and he can do hell Baal runs with little problems.

There are a lot of items to save. I suggest to watch the trade forums.

Prices are from ladder Europe.


Diabloii.Net Member
Summoners are probably the quickest and cheapes Hell viable characters and you'll get a ton of PGems off of Hell Cows. PGems are the best way to get your initial items right off the bat. Just make sure you spam corpse explode on those Baal Runs so the Hammerdins don't monopolize all the extra XP for actually killing the monsters. :D