Borlagâ€™s SP Zealot variant guide - 1st draft Borlagâ€™s SP Zealot variant guide First of, what is the Zealot? Is it merely a paladin using the skill zeal? Some might say that this is so, but any paladin can use this skill, a zealot is a paladin who uses zeal as his main skill. They can occasionally use the various other skills, or different auras, either defensive or offensive. Either elemental or physical. You are the person who has to make that choice yourself as no one can make that for you. This guide is intended to help you make that choice. The main builds of the zealot: Fanatic Zealot â€“ a zealot whoâ€™s main aura of choice is the Fanatism aura, advantages are speed, attack rating and damage. Frost Zealot â€“ a zealot whoâ€™s main aura of choice is the Holy Freeze aura, advantages are added cold damage and slowing the enemies. Tesladin â€“ a zealot whoâ€™s main aura of choice is the Holy Shock aura, advantages are added lightning damage. Fanatic Zealot The basis for the fanatic zealot build is in these three skills: Zeal, your main attack, gives more attacks up to 5 swings, more attack rating (referred as AR from now on) and damage (referred as dmg from now on) Sacrifice, synergy for zeal, gives more dmg for your zeal. Fanaticism, gives you speed, dmg and AR Assuming youâ€™re going to use those skills maxed, you still have almost half of your skill points to use, so what else should you get? You have the offensive side almost ready, but not quite. In hell difficulty you will encounter physical immune monsters (referred as PIâ€™s from now on), for these you will have to have some means of dealing damage. For a melee paladin the only option really is the Vengeance, whether you wish to maximize it is completely up for you. Other options is using a high elemental damage weapon or some means of lowering the enemy physical resistance such as the necromancer curse Amplify Damage or Decrepify which can be gotten from various items either as charges or from a chance to cast on striking modifier. Either way you choose to go, using one point in vengeance is useful as not all immunities can be â€œbrokenâ€ with those curses. Along with the offensive side you have to think about survival, attack is not the best defense as charging into the battle without any means of protecting yourself is both foolish and deadly. For this you have the option of protecting yourself from the melee attacks with Holy Shield which helps you to block the attacks, Defiance which raises your defense rating (DR) or Holy Freeze which slows your enemies. Along with melee attacks you can protect yourself from the elemental attacks with Resist Fire/Cold/Lightning auras or the Salvation. So which way to go? So many options to choose from, let me explain these skills more throughout. Skills: Holy Shield: Raises your chance to block, also adds to defense rating and smite damage. Maximum blocking chance is reduced to 75% which can be thought as 75% more life as you can sustain that much more, this is really irreplaceable and you should always strive for that 75% blocking rate, especially since you go into melee and thus put yourself in a situation where youâ€™re prone to a lot of attacks. Defiance: Raises your defense rating which raises your chance of not being hit in the first place. Also works as a synergy to Holy Shield, giving you even more boost to defense rating. Holy Freeze: Slows the monsters along with adding cold damage to your attacks, this is really only useful if you have it as secondary aura when playing multiplayer games or if you choose to use the act2 HF mercenary. If you wish to use this more, then the holy freeze zealot is much better suited for you. Resist single aura (Fire, Cold, Lightning): All three single resist auras work the same, they add to your resistance against one elemental form of damage. Along with this they raise vengeance damage for that particular element. If thatâ€™s not all, they also â€œpassivelyâ€ add to your maximum resist in that particular element by 0,5% per skill point used. The passive bonuses all work even if youâ€™re not using that aura at the time, and this is a useful thing to keep in mind when thinking about what skills to use. Out of these three elements, the lightning is the most dangerous, especially in later difficulties where itâ€™s near impossible to survive if you donâ€™t have maximum (75% normally) lightning resist and even then itâ€™s preferred to add to it by using some item with absorbtion or to raise itâ€™s maximum and get it higher. Salvation: Gives you resists against all elemental damage Conviction: Lowers monsters defense and resistances against elemental damage. This is useful especially if you choose to use vengeance along with zeal, or if you use a high elemental damage weapon to deal with the physical immune monsters. Along with this, if you plan to play multiplayer games, this aura is the single most useful auras there is for basically every single build you might play with, pure magic damage builds such as the hammerdin or the bonecaster excluded. As for other skills, there are many useful skills that you can utilize, here are the most useful ones. Vigor: A one point wonder for the zealot, greatly speeds up your movement between battles and occasionally out of battles to pick your fighting spot better. Not a necessary skill, but useful nonetheless. Cleansing: Another one point wonder. Reduces the time youâ€™re cursed and also reduces the time it takes for poison to wear off. Redemption: A quick way to recover life and mana from the bodies on the ground. This can also be useful against the various resurrecting monsters and the unique monster Nihlathak and his Corpse Explosion attack, if thereâ€™s no corpses he canâ€™t explode them and kill you. One point is more than enough here, and it is well spent. Blessed Aim: An often neglected aura which adds an passive bonus to your AR, 5% per level. Though rarely useful to raise to high levels, this should not be ignored completely and could very well be a viable option for hitting problems. Smite: A lot of people seem to ignore this skill as an utility skill, it is the prerequisite skill for Holy Shield, so you might as well use it. The places where it becomes handy is when youâ€™re fighting single monsters that are capable of dealing a lot of damage, for example when youâ€™re cursed with the Amplify Damage or when the monster is fanaticism or might enchanted, the options are many. With this you can stun the monster and keep it locked in place between you and some obstacle. Even with one point spent in this, you can in theory deal a lot of damage when combined with the bonus it gets from the Holy Shield along with your Fanaticism. Charge: Not as useful now as it has been before, mainly because the lightning enchanted (LE) monsters arenâ€™t that tough anymore. The way Iâ€™ve personally used this is against multishot LEâ€™s by charging them and immediately backing away so that the bolts will never even have a chance to hit you. If youâ€™re playing some other patch than 1.10 you might want to consider using this tactic, it can be useful in 1.10 also if you lack in lightning resists Possible build suggestions for fanatic zealot: Full offensive variant with two handed weapon: Zeal 20 Sacrifice 20 Fanaticism 20 Vengeance 20 Conviction 10 This buildâ€™s weakness is the lack of all defense other than your armor rating. While youâ€™re capable of dealing a lot of damage, depending on your equipment, you also lack all the resistance auras, you leave yourself weak in the resistances and depend on items to help with all your resistance needs. It gives you good amount of speed, AR, dmg for physical and elemental. Full offensive variant with one handed weapon: Zeal 20 Sacrifice 20 Fanaticism 20 Vengeance 20 Holy Shield 10 This buildâ€™s weakness is the lack of all defensive auras. While youâ€™re capable of dealing a lot of damage, depending on your equipment, you lack all the resistance auras, you leave yourself weak in the resistances and depend on items to help with all your resistance needs. It gives you good amount of speed, AR, dmg for physical and elemental along with good chance of blocking. Offensive elemental variant: Zeal 20 Sacrifice 20 Fanaticism 20 Holy Shield 10 Vengeance 10 Conviction 10 This build gives you better chances against physical immune monsters along with also being viable for both SP and MP games. A balanced variant between offensive and defensive: Zeal 20 Sacrifice 20 Fanaticism 20 Holy Shield 10 Defiance 10 Vengeance 10 This build has everything the full offensive build has, except it has weaker elemental damage form which it replaces by adding more defense and thus being able to â€œtankâ€ the monsters better. Defensive variant: Zeal 20 Sacrifice 20 Fanaticism 20 Holy Shield 10 Defiance 20 Vengeance 1 This build has everything the balanced build has, except it has weaker elemental damage form which it replaces by adding alot defense and thus being the best tank from the zealot builds. Skill point allocations: No matter what build you choose to use, your starting point is always the same, this is generally a good way to start your character fast. Get a point in sacrifice and might and use those until you get zeal which should be raised to lvl 4 or 5 immediately, which gives you the maximum amount of 5 swings per zeal. After this continue until you can start raising fanaticism. If youâ€™ve chosen your additional skills already, it might be wise to get some of the prerequisites before fanaticism or some of the utility skills. I wouldnâ€™t recommend starting to raise any of them any higher before maxing fanaticism though. After youâ€™ve maxed fanaticism which should take care of your speed and possible AR problems, you should max zeal and sacrifice the next. The order is completely up to you, but Iâ€™d suggest raising zeal only if your to hit% drops under 70% and otherwise raising sacrifice as it raises the damage more than adding to zeal would. If your blocking drops drastically, you could add a point every now and then to Holy Shield to keep it up, or then you could add dexterity to cover that area. Again, raise if you feel like you would need it. There is no right or wrong way of doing this, as it all depends on your equipment really. As for your other skills, if you choose to get vengeance as one of your skills, I suggest not raising it before you get to level 60 or so, as you will only really need it in hell difficulty. Afterall, itâ€™s the zealot youâ€™re playing and not the avenger Stats: The same applies for all zealot paladin builds, no real difference there. Strength: Putting more points here means that you can wear more items and also deal more damage. However the damage increase isnâ€™t big so itâ€™s wiser to only get the amount of strength to wear your preferred items and not more. If youâ€™re playing â€œtwinkedâ€, meaning giving him items that he didnâ€™t found himself, and that way know what he will be using in the end, aim for the amount youâ€™re going to need. Otherwise try to keep it as low as possible to still be able to use most of the items you find. Maximum strength that could possibly be of any use to a paladin is 170, though this is not really useful unless you wish to use heavier armors, and even then it might be wiser to get the strength up with the help from other items. Iâ€™d recommend approximately 120 or so here. Dexterity: There is three possible uses for dexterity, it helps you to wield various weapons, raises your chance to block hits and it raises your attack rating. Normally you donâ€™t need a lot just to be able to wield the weapons, but raising dexterity is still useful in keeping the blocking up. AR should be easy enough to get up with the help from items and skills along with the dexterity that youâ€™ll most likely get enough AR anyway. Vitality: This gives you much needed life, which can be thought as resistance to everything. Adding points to it also adds to your endurance, but this is secondary bonus. All your remaining points should always go here unless you have under 75% blocking or if you need the points to be able to use some item. Energy: You should never need more than the base amount of energy. Your main attack zeal costs 2 mana points to use and this is â€œleechedâ€ with any amount of mana steal. Never ever make the mistake of adding any points here. General strategies: Keyboard settings Only your attack skills can be put on the left mouse button, this generally means zeal, smite and vengeance, but in the early game you might want to use sacrifice here. Set your useful auras to the right mouse button, which you wont be using at all as auras donâ€™t need activation like the other keys. Problematic areas and monsters: Act 1 â€“ Andariel Not a big problem but for starting character it is good to bring antidote potions with you as she has quite efficient poison attack. Itâ€™s not advised to fight her and the minions at the same time, so instead try to lure the others out and kill them before taking on her. Act 2 â€“ Radament and other resurrecting undead As a zealot you generally donâ€™t deal much damage per single swing, this means that once youâ€™re surrounded by the monsters, especially the skeletons which canâ€™t be leeched mana or life from, itâ€™s vital to handle all the resurrecters as fast as possible to prevent from having to fight a very long fight. This can be accomplished by running around the skeletons straight to the resurrecter and hitting him down. If there are several of them, try to take on the possible bosses first as they can resurrect the others also. Act 2 - Duriel: Duriel can be difficult for all character classes and builds, but perhaps the melee paladin is the best possible build against this monster. Duriel uses a holy freeze aura which slows your attacks down. Also he has a charge attack which can kill you fast especially in normal difficulty when youâ€™re still pretty weak. To prevent him from using this attack go straight next to a wall when you head downstairs to confront him. After that itâ€™s only a matter of time before you can kill him with the help of your mercenary. Act 3 â€“ Durance of Hate and Flayer Dungeon: Here it is possible to encounter one of the most dangerous enemies, the undead stygian dolls which explode upon death causing massive amounts of damage should you fail in blocking the explosion. Always make sure that you have maximum block in these areas. Note that these monsters can also appear in hell difficulty act 5 Worldstone Keep. Areas with gloam type monsters: These monsters can appear in the 3rd-5th act and are dangerous because of their lightning damage. Against these itâ€™s wise to have resist lightning maxed in all difficulties, hell being the absolute worst and requiring extra caution in these areas whenever you see them. Absorbtion items help along with items that raise maximum resistance against lightning. More about these in the items section Act 4 - Chaos Sanctuary: The main problem here for any melee build is the Iron Maiden curse from the Oblivion Knights. Thereâ€™s not really many options on dealing with these safely other than using ranged attacks against them. Best option for this is generally using a high damage bow and picking them from a distance. Same applies to hell difficulty act5 Worldstone keep where itâ€™s possible to encounter these monsters also. Act 4 â€“ Diablo: The biggest problem with him is his high blocking percentage and level. This means that generally you have a low chance of hitting him and when you do hit, he blocks the hit most of the time. With time and patience he should die just like everything else though. His lightning breath is pretty much useless once you get right next to him but beware of the flames he occasionally breathes. Act 5 â€“ Nihlathak: He has a bad habit of using Corpse Explosion on the corpses you leave lying on the ground, so the best way to handle him is to lure the monsters out and killing them outside his view, and using redemption to clear the corpses. If you wish, you could also try to kill the monsters in his view and then using redemption, but this is not the safest way to do it, and not advisable especially if youâ€™re playing Hardcore. Act 5 - The Ancients: For many this is the ultimate challenge, and generally it is the most difficult battle of them all. For this there is no automatic win, but there is a lot of options you can do to ensure you have the best chance of coming out of that battle as the winner instead of dying to them. As youâ€™re a melee character it is vital for you to get close to them to be able to kill them, with two of them this shouldnâ€™t be any problem as two of the ancients are also melee monsters. Against them you can nearly eliminate one of them entirely with a trick involving the surrounding area. In the northeast corner of the area [insert pic link here] there is an area where you can stand still in the corner with only 2 possible spots where they can melee you. Standing in this place prevents the whirlwind using ancient from whirling through you so it might be a real good way to handle him but only if you can take the blows from the other ancients while fighting him and the frenzy barbarian. Other tricks is to drop rejuvenation potions in the ground before starting the fight, and picking them up fast into the belt whenever you run out of potions. This way you can basically carry more rejuvenation potions than what you can fit in your belt and it also allows you to heal yourself faster than you could if youâ€™d use the potions from your inventory. "Final words" yeah well not exactly final yet...as it is now, the guide is far from being finished, it's merely a quickly made up draft and all the item suggestion is missing. What I'd like to know from all you is that do you feel there is need for more variants for the fanatic zealot? I will be adding the elemental zealot variants also, just doing these one at a time. All other suggestions will also be welcome, corrections and all. I haven't included any statistic information yet but those will be included later.