BabyNinetyNiner - a Zealer way to 99


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BabyNinetyNiner is my second character involved in the UT99er challenge.

He is a Paladin, that i want to play as a Zealer, more probably as a classical Fanazealer.

Here i will try to have some reflexion about gear to hope for during a Patriarch/Guardian journey.

Apart the S/U lottery, the rune mechanics allow a more consistent planning on main gear, and shall therefore be prepared by any player that would like to optimize his/her journeys. As a Paladin fanatic ( :p ), it will at least be useful to myself to set it in place here, as a knowledge basis, in which I may include your ideas and/or given resources.

I will reserve some posts hereafter so I can reorganize things later.

So here I go!


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Bases and sockets introduction
An item will not get sockets only based upon itself, but also considering its ilvl. Tables are available here.
Regarding drop areas, socketing breakpoints are ilvl 26 and 41, which correspond to A4 Normal (any place) and A5 WSK 3. Therefore we may already drop some nice 4+os bases in late Normal!


Rune drops
One very good way to drop runes consistently is running the Countess, in A1 Black marsh area. She.can drop runes from El to:
- Ral in normal
- Io, much rarely up to Ko in NM
- Ist, much rarely up to Lo in Hell

Ort max rw

Ancient's pledge 21
Massive resistances that are offered by early A5 quest: can be a go to if not planning to use the runes on another runeword early NM (Spirit for example), but can be easily replaced with 3 flawless diamonds. To be made only if it doesn't cost anything on other runeword making.
Stealth 17
The classical FRW armor that can be farmed at normal Countess. Always nice to speed up things when killing is somehow easy with any setup! Magic damage reduction, FHR and mana regeneration on top if it make it a great choice at start.
Steel 13
Sword, axe, mace
Basically free, can boost start of game tremendously, but may not compete with staff modded scepters at some point.
Holy thunder 21 (24)
Scepter - 3os max in normal, have to be in NM for a 4os chance :(
Level req is due to +3 bonus to Holy shock, but higher rune is Ort. If the possibility to craft this scepter happens, it is really worth it. Due to socket limitation in normal, this cannot be crafted before early nightmare drop at best. Therefore better forget about this one - or for a twinked run.

My strategy proposal
At Countess, craft a Stealth armor, and during process, save an Eth rune and craft a Steel weapon if possible. Then hope to find/shop a nice 4os scepter, and craft Holy thunder with A5 reward and the saved Eth. If no chance at that time and by then, make some additional countess runs. Use A5 reward to craft an Ancient pledge shield if have already those runes as spare - or craft it as soon as possible, keeping the reward for future runewords.

Shael max rw
Lore 27
A good helm to start with: + 1skills, 7 damage reduction, 30 lightning res. Additional mana/mpk is bonus for Zealer, but at low lvl it can help with mana leeching/regen.
Radiance 27
Can be a more defensive option compared to Lore - even if Lore's lightning res is huge value, but shall be made only if 3os helms only are available.
Rhyme 29
The crafted Cannot be frozen item. Unvaluable, supported by a nice 25 MF, [email protected], and blocking stats, we have here a contender as shield BiS until a HoZ or Raven drop, or until higher runes runewords can be crafted.
None ?
Spirit 25
Strength 25
Any melee weapon
Honor 27
Any melee weapon
Huge stats for that level req, and can be put in a lucky staff modded scepter to maximize effect. Can really be worth a craft to run through Nightmare!

My strategy proposal
Keep Stealth armor if nothing better has been dropped, and then come two possibilities:
- go for the Strength or Spirit weapon
- go for the Honor weapon
In my opinion Lore is to be crafted, and Rhyme too asap. Going the Honor route requires a more difficult to find base (5os), and get two Sol out of the NM Countess (Lore and Honor one). It should be a matter of time to spend here, and get to a high lvl enough place to hit the necessary ilvl breakpoint to Larzuk/craft socket it, or decide to go this way only if base drops quickly.

Lem max rw
None ?
Splendor Lum 37
More caster oriented, but the additional skill point and defense can be of interest if Raven has been dropped.
Lem Treachery armor lvl 43
Fal Lionheart armor lvl 41
Lum Smoke armor 37

Weap Lawbringer lem 43
Weap Passion lem 43

MR rw
Sanctuary Mal

HR rw/endgame gear
Dream Jah - for specific build, lots of random stats
Exile Vex Ohm
Phoenix Vex Vex Lo Jah
Dream Jah - for specific build, lots of random stats
Fortitude Lo
(Chain of Honor Ber for better resistances and damage reduction, but I think Fortitude is better overall)
Death Vex Gul
Eth sword, axe
Grief Lo
Breath of the Dying Zod
Eth Berserker axe
And the always useful Call to arms Ohm
Any weapon
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Endgame S/U gear targeted

Before entering Hell, some S/U can be targeted in NM with reasonable chances during leveling process. It can be valuable to decide where to make xp progress taking into account desired items.

Set apart the HoZ whom chances are really low, it appears that Mephisto NM is not a really good target for melee characters, at least regarding those end game pieces. It may be interesting to find some alternatives that could "make Mephisto great again" :p

For now, it seems that Diablo NM and Baal NM are somehow good targets to run to get the following items (chances to be detailed later based upon silospen calc):

Guillaume's Diablo/Meph/Baal NM
SoE Andy Q NM, Diablo/Meph/Baal NM
LoH Baal NM, Diablo after
Raven Diablo/Baal NM
Gore riders Baal NM, Diablo after

HoZ Diablo/Baal NM (low chances): shouldn't be targeted, but can drop eventually when farming for the other items.
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Diabloii.Net Member
The Normal run
Act 1 is now finished. Andy wasn't really easy, but had been rewardful: a new weapon with some mana leech and a Gorefoot pair of boots at lvl 21 is not bad, given the fact that I had poor normal boots at that time. I'll have to forget about level 2 holy fire aura, but it's not a big deal as weapon damage is higher.

Stealth armor is done, and rune status has to be confirmed, but stashed Tal Tir Ith Eth for sure.
As shield, a 3os targe (or rondache?) socketed with chipped diamonds giving [email protected] is not bad for now.
Almost everything has to be worked on currently, drops are not as good as they were with BabyBeasts druid yet. But rune words are allowed, bases are to be found tho.

On next session, he completed his lvl 22 doing Andy runs, hoping some upgrade. This one went under the form of a Bloodfist pair of gloves 18def, always nice, Gorefoot boots, and a 17MF Nagelring.

Some weapon upgrade also before Steel craft:

Afterwards the cube was required and he did almost a full level getting it, dropping two Tir on the run.

In the end, decided to craft a Falchion Steel - I didn't do fine maths, so for me at 35ias total the 30% more Zeal attacks shouldn't compensate the about 50% more raw damage.

Having dropped no El at that time, went back to Countess for few runs. It was a Ral Tal Eth El sequence, so nice ones stashed for future runewords!

Finally completed the level by testing the weapon in the Stony tomb - nothing interesting has been found there.

Still no death to report :) Act 2 beetles incoming...:eek:

BabyNinetyNiner hit lvl 24 in A2. Got the Staff of Kings questing at /p1, and leveled to 24 in AT in /p7.

Dropped two weapons during this session: first one not close to Steel RW:

Second one could have been a contender if it was life leech...

Radament dropped a nice rare ring:

And on the way a nice update on merc armor:
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Diabloii.Net Member
Dropped/crafted items along the way. Only noticeable rares are described.

Normal chapter clvl 1 -> clvl 54
Andariel Bloodfist
Andariel Gorefoot
Andariel Nagelring 17MF
? Stealth armor
Lut Golhein Falchion Steel runeword
? Crystal sword Steel runeword
? Stealth armor upgrade
Kurast areas 23MF rare boots 10bootsfhr/frw dual res
Council Max dmg Ar gc
CS War scepter +2 Zeal Strength runeword
Diablo eth Tannr Gorerod (merc weapon)
Diablo rare Crown shield 2os 35 res 15fbr/10block chance
Gambling Rare circlet +1 paladin skills 13 res 3life leech half freeze
Pindle Nagelrings (24, 26 MF)
Pindle The spirit shroud
Pindle Bloodletter
Pindle Goblin toe
WSK Skin of the flayed one (merc armor)
Baal minions Akaran targe 2os damage ar modded (Rhyme base)
Baal Strings of Ears
Baal Rockstopper (merc helm)
Baal Moser's

Nightmare chapter clvl 54 -> 80
Due to Baal leveling, first acts can be rushed easily, in /p1 to get to xp valuable areas, mainly CS and Diablo up to 60. On the run, pick rocks and gems (Lum is nice rune at those levels, for Smoke or Lionheart for example: try to always have a flawed topaz and chipped emeralds/diamonds available for rock upgrades. Flawed sapphires and rubies are nice too to craft Fal and Lem later), sc/gc, and big lucky gear drops.
Run through
Dark wood Goldwrap
Andy Nokozan
Catacombs L4 Waterwalk
Run through
AS GC 18 life 30 poison res
Run through
A4 leveling up to 60
CS Io, Shael, Fal
CS Guillaume's face
CS Laying of hands
CS GC 8 max dmg + AR
A5 60->80
Pindle area Lightning skiller 12FHR
Pindle area Sc 50psn dmg
Pindle 4os akaran targe damage/ar: Spirit base ready to craft
Pindle area 2os akaran targe 12 all res: new Rhyme available when getting resistance armor
Pindle area 2os trellised armor: new Stealth
Pindle Stealskull
Baal Goldskin
Baal Blackbog's sharp
Anya's gambling Rare paladin amulet
Eagle Mark
Required Level: 31
Fingerprint: 0xc65278ee
Item Level: 69
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+1 to Paladin Skill Levels
+10% Faster Cast Rate
4% Mana stolen per hit
Replenish Life +8
All Resistances +19
12% Damage Taken Goes To Mana
Baal Ravenfrost
Baal Gheed's
WSK 123ar/34life gc
Baal minions 12fhr pcomb skiller
Anya's gambling Rare dual leech ring
Dread Master
Required Level: 65
Fingerprint: 0x774a06a2
Item Level: 82
Version: Expansion 1.10+
+96 to Attack Rating
4% Mana stolen per hit
7% Life stolen per hit
+10 to Strength
Poison Resist +19%

Hell chapter 80+
Huge resistances are required in Hell: before entering, a Smoke armor can be required. But dropping a 2os elite armor can be interesting to do so, so farming A1 areas may be interesting before facing Andy.
For Duriel, CBF mod is mandatory: farming bugged Andy hoping for a Raven drop can be an option, but more probably Rhyme shield will be kept.
Next step then will be LK farming: a Harmony cross/bow is a huge runeword to craft to accelerate things. First runeword target may be CtA, followed by Grief, then depending on luck/patience CoH or Fortitude, or even Enigma.
A4 and A5 choices will greatly depend on LK journey duration and luck, so... we will see!
Rogue camp A4 normal Diablo's drop upgrade: rare Crown shield to Royal shield
Black marsh Lo rune
Black marsh Cta base (sup flail)
Countess Tower lvl 5 Aldur's weap
Gheed's gambling Natalya's boots
Gheed's gambling rare boots
Black marsh Cold res sc
Sapphire Small Charm
Small Charm
Required Level: 32
Fingerprint: 0x7bf4e77b
Item Level: 69
Version: Expansion 1.10+
Cold Resist +10%
Countess Hel Hel Hel... with previous Io, Lum rune crafted
The hole (Black marsh) Smoke base Scarab husk
The hole (Black marsh) The rising sun amulet
Rogue camp Smoke elite armor crafted
The hole (Black marsh) Grief base!
Rogue camp Grief
The hole (Black marsh) Great Hauberk 4os
Rogue camp Fortitude in Great Hauberk
The hole (Black marsh) Ohm
The hole (Black marsh) Eth Wire fleece
Rogue camp treachery in ebugged wire fleece
The hole (Black marsh) Kira's guardian [email protected]
Run through
LK Mal x2
LK Pul
LK Vex
LK Sur
LK Ohm
Kurast docks Cta 254
FRW PComb skiller
Travincal council sharp gc of balance
Travincal council [email protected]/4mf sc
Travincal council 3/15/15 sc
Travincal council Vipermagi [email protected]
Travincal council [email protected]/gold find gc
Travincal council Curse 36 life skiller (sic)
Travincal council Dual leech [email protected] res ring - to be tested due to loss of AR

After the Pat drops
Baal minions room Kurast shield [email protected], crafted 4os and became an Exile runeword with lvl16 aura :)
Mephisto Reaper's toll, Sandstorm treks, Waterwalk, Rune Master
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Diabloii.Net Member
You could always use a shield with flawless or perfect diamonds instead of Ancient's Pledge if you don't come across the runes and gain up to +56 all resistances with flawless diamonds only. [email protected] with perfect ones, but it's unlikely you have those before Ral Ort Tal. Higher resists of course come with the expense of dmg to mana and some defence.

Add those to a paladin shield with some base resists and no elemental attacks will harm you in early game. Max resists ain't _that_ big deal in that early phase anyway.

Unless you are fixated to using runewords, of course.

Edit: Damn. Just remembered that 4 sockets in normal might be daydreaming... :(


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@Ghonn I don't remember any time getting a 4os shield in normal. But i'm opening options here, not going full runeword, diamonds are definitely an option :)


Diabloii.Net Member
Nice! Idk why but I've done more low level zealers than other characters. Steel is indeed a great early runeword (in a scimitar) for fast atk speed if you go holy fire. However I prefer 3 ral's in a military pick for the extra fire dmg. And ofc you'll want strength rw for CB for bosses. Probably upgrade to black rw for bosses when you get to NM countess. Holy thunder is usually not achievable untwinked during the part of the game in which it's useful because of the number of sockets.

Before you go to fanaticism and physical dmg, you'll want a decent weapon. I think the way to go id farming nm mephisto till you get any of butchers pupil/fleshrender/headstriker. Then in a1 hell you will DEFINITELY want to upgrade the weapon to elite, so that likely means hell countess for a while for a pul. I think this is far more achievable than scoring a decent base and the runes for oath or something. Anyways I'll look forward to your progress, and hope that's somewhat helpful.


Diabloii.Net Member
@Luhkoh Yes, the CB is huge vs bosses, i may save 2os/3os flails asap :)

I guess you're right on Holy thunder... i was more or less thinking that Honor is achievable at about the same time, and that's a huge difference (in cost too, but it may be around NM Countess)


Diabloii.Net Member
I like it! You're making me want to try swapping my fc/maul 99er for a titan fury wolf :p (honestly will probably end that way, can't imagine I'll do enough dps otherwise)


Diabloii.Net Member
Rhyme is endgame until HoZ/Ravenfrost. Ancient's Pledge is awful, just go with PDiamonds shield. Sanctuary is great if you have a CBF source, and really cheap too.

Butcher's Pupil is very end-game worthy weapon until you can farm yourself a Grief.

Enigma -> Fortitude/CoH/whatever. Mobility is MUCH more valuable on the way to 99. If you want to walk it's fine, tho.

Just random thoughts reading through the lines :rolleyes:

<3 Fanazealots


Diabloii.Net Member
Rhyme is endgame until HoZ/Ravenfrost. Ancient's Pledge is awful, just go with PDiamonds shield. Sanctuary is great if you have a CBF source, and really cheap too.
Agreed! On my mind ancient pledge can be done only in case of spare runes. I'll check Sanctuary too :)

Butcher's Pupil is very end-game worthy weapon until you can farm yourself a Grief.
Noted ;) First Lo for Grief for sure!

Enigma -> Fortitude/CoH/whatever. Mobility is MUCH more valuable on the way to 99. If you want to walk it's fine, tho.
I will see how the HR drops come ;)

<3 Fanazealots
So do I!


Diabloii.Net Member
@Babyhell normal is hardcoded where it can't DROP an item with more than 3os. Nm can't drop an item with more than 4os, regardless of ilvl. However if the ilvl is appropriate you can get more sockets in the cube (or larzuk).


Diabloii.Net Member
@Luhkoh I liked your commentary, but I dislike what you stated...really ? That sucks, some runewords are non doable when playing untwinked then :( I read too fast...there's a way using the cube! Praise be the D God!


Diabloii.Net Member
@Babyhell haha yeah thats why i mentioned kings grace and honor arent usually targets, and those upped nm mephy weapons are usually the way to go. I also dont think those runewords will be better than the 3 uniques i mentioned but am too lazy to run the numbers. I think the order of preference for fanazealot would be upped fleshrender/headstriker/butchers < eth oath rw < eth death rw < grief. Also upped steeldriver and/or ribcracker can be tremendous until the game gets hard enough that you want a shield. Good luck and I'll look forward to seeing what you run with!