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[Guide] Build Efficiency 101 – Overview & Resource Compilation

Discussion in 'Single Player Forum' started by ffs, Oct 5, 2018.

  1. ffs

    ffs IncGamers Member

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    One of the things that make the SPF so great is how many players here try to push the limits of efficiency – be it magic finding (MF), rune finding (RF), gaining experience or any combination thereof. All of these various purposes have very different builds and characters that are best suited for the task, running different targets and approaching them in different ways.

    There is a myriad of posts, threads, videos and other information on these forums that deal with all kinds of aspects of efficiency: Which targets to run, which build and gear to use, how the different builds compare, and so on. However, it can be a quite tedious to find all the relevant information in order to get an overview of the different options and approaches. Against this background, I thought it might be helpful to gather some basic information on build efficiency in one place, intended to serve as a holistic overview, reference and resource compilation.

    What you will find here is an overview of the following:
    • The most efficient targets (in theory) for magic finding and rune finding
    • The builds most efficient (in theory) at running those targets
    • Basic gearing and gameplay principles for those builds
    • Gameplay videos and links to more detailed guides/write-ups
    • Efficiency benchmarks to get an idea of how different builds/targets compare
    What you will not find here is detailed number-crunching (e.g. regarding drop odds, detailed peak efficiency numbers etc.), since I meant to keep it reasonably simple given the purposes above. However, you will find references and links to resources on these forums that deal with such individual aspects in-depth. I will try my best to keep this updated going forward.

    Table of Contents

    I. Magic Finding
    1. Targets and General Considerations
    2. Berserk Barb (Pit/Pindle)
    3. Singer Barb (Pit)
    4. Blizzard Sorc (AT)
    5. Concentrate Barb (AT)
    6. FB/Meteor Sorc (Snapchip)
    7. Other Builds and Targets​
    II. Rune Finding
    1. Targets and General Considerations
    2. Lower Kurast (LK)
    3. Travincal
    3.1 WW Barb
    3.2 Blizzard Sorc
    3.3 Other Builds
    3.4 Merc Setup
    3.5 Map Considerations​
    4. Cow Level
    4.1 Javazon
    4.2 PN Necro
    4.3 Other Builds
    4.4 Merc Setup​
    5. Arcane Sanctuary​
    III. Combined Area Running
    1. Targets and General Considerations
    2. Pit Necro
    3. Pit/CS Javazon
    4. CS Hammerdin
    5. CS Blizzard Sorc
    6. Other Builds and Targets​
    IV. Further Aspects and Resources
    1. Experience Gain
    2. Targets by Gearing Progression
    3. Links and Resources​

    Preliminary Notes - Please Read Me!

    A Matter of Playstyle
    I know that not everyone plays D2 for the sake of efficiency – and from the outset, I would like to forestall any notion that this thread claims to suggest anything like a "correct" approach to play or being condescending vis-à-vis any other style of playing. There are many ways to have fun and enjoy the game, and certainly I don't focus on efficiency every time I fire up D2. So, while this thread is addressed to players who take enjoyment out of increasing their efficiency, I sincerely hope no one takes this as a slight against their own individual approach to the game.

    General Note on Gear
    You'll see many of the below gearing choices include some relatively rare gear. In particular Enigma is listed for basically all non-Sorc builds. While Teleport is not required to build strong characters, for better or worse, it is more or less required to achieve high efficiency with any non-Sorc character (with the possible exception of running Pindle). Many sample setups will moreover include stuff like Infinity, Grief, relatively rare S&Us (Griffon's, Death's Fathom, Death's Web) and/or crafts.

    It goes without saying it can take a long time to accumulate those, and I'm fully aware that it's ridiculous to assume everyone has that (I have a wish list myself ;)). For this reason, I will be including more readily available alternatives whenever I can. There is also a brief section addressing gear progression and farming targets along the way of gearing up. Generally speaking though, this is largely assuming relatively good gear. That's because comparing the potential of different builds means looking at characters that are put in a position to realize their potential, so to speak. For example, without Infinity a Javazon is less powerful, and this may change how she compares to other builds for a given task. Without Enigma, it's tough to beat a Sorc at almost anything, and so on... That being said, at least as far as those runewords are concerned: If you don't have them, I really hope this thread will encourage you to farm them, because it can be done pretty quickly! And rare S&Us can always be substituted with apt alternatives. In other words – there is no reason to be discouraged by those setups listing all that "expensive" stuff.

    Moreover, I only included current patch gear, given most active forum members don't seem to be time-traveling – in particular newer ones which are more likely to be headed here – and neither do I. I trust that if you have stuff like 1.07 MPK rings, Arkaine's Valor and the like and want to use it, you will also know how to incorporate such items into the relevant setups.

    Measuring Efficiency
    MF efficiency is measured in "seconds per boss kill" (and accounting for Find Item percentage for Barbarians). The most detailed way is to also include MF into the equation, check the Hall of Records (first post) on information on how to calculate such "adjusted efficiency" for your own situation. I'm disregarding it for the purposes of this thread as every player will end up with a different MF amount, and it doesn't really change the efficiency of the relevant build per se.

    Rune finding efficiency is based on run times here. This is not an ideal method since what actually matters is the number of monsters killed over time (and their rune drop chances). Run times are just an approximation in that regard. Nonetheless, I deemed this simplified method to be sufficient for the purposes of providing some general benchmarks here, but of course always feel encouraged to do your own testing.

    I will include "efficiency benchmarks" for many builds/targets. These are not quite the best performances documented on the SPF (check the Hall of Records for those), but they are set pretty high, to give an idea of what can be expected with some practice and optimization. You will moreover find very rough "MF benchmarks" below. MF amounts will of course vary across players and characters, but I included some values to give an idea of how much MF the respective build can carry while still running efficiently.


    ***​
     
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  2. ffs

    ffs IncGamers Member

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    I. Magic Finding (P1)

    1. Targets and General Considerations
    The MF "end game" (i.e. with chances of the rarest S&Us) is pretty much down to three choices: Pindleskin, bosses/champions in lvl 85 areas (A85), and the widely overlooked Snapchip Shatter. As for A85, the Pit and Ancient Tunnels (AT) are by far the most popular choices, since they can be run quickly and easily and compare favourably to other lvl 85 areas due to their higher boss densities. For the sole purposes of MF efficiency, these runs are done on P1, because you will only want to kill bosses/champions, and higher player settings do not improve drops from those.

    A couple of general notes on the different targets in spoiler below.
    To Pindle or not to Pindle: He cannot drop three items: Tyrael's Might, Azurewrath and Arachnid Mesh. Except for these, however, Pindleskin is very difficult to beat. We all know he's a great MF target, but it's worth reiterating just how OP he is in terms of MF efficiency (a nerf introduced by Blizzard in 1.10 is in fact bypassed by the game). Pindle drops one more item than A85 bosses, so a Pindle kill is worth ~2 boss kills when running A85, and most characters are able to drop him faster than killing two A85 bosses. Not many have managed to beat Pindle efficiency, usually with a Pit Barb on a very good Pit map – in fact that is a nice milestone to aim for, and by no means easy to achieve. (Though the very fastest AT Sorcs can also surpass Pindle efficiency when accounting for minion kills – see this post for details.) He is the most efficient target for non-Sorc characters before having Enigma.

    Snapchip Shatter: Found in the Icy Cellar beneath the Ancient's Way, this guy somehow flies under the radar and is woefully disregarded – shout-out to @GalaXyHaXz for pointing him out. Some more info on pros/cons and how to run him in this thread. He drops the same as Pindle, but Sorcs can run him faster (and there's a sparkling chest next to him which can also drop TC87). He is less efficient than Pindle for Barbs using Find Item because he indeed shatters, and given he's CI our beloved all-purpose Blizzard Sorc can't run him. Various rather annoying guest monsters moreover make him more challenging to run. However, with a suitable build (e.g. Fire Sorc) and a good map, he can be farmed very efficiently.

    Act bosses: For the purposes of this thread, I am disregarding targets like Mephisto/Andariel. Surely these are the most efficient targets for relatively common items – in particular Meph – and usually run on P3. However, they cannot drop many of the rare high-end items... which is what we're all after, eventually. The other act bosses are too inefficient to run for MF.

    MF breakpoints: When hunting for those super-rare uniques, you might want to consider effective unique MF rather than general MF bonus. This MF guide by @Hrus is a good reference in that regard, and GoMule/Silospen's calculator will provide you with the necessary information as well. If you want to calculate your unique MF bonus, use the following formula: (MF*250)/(MF+250). The result (rounded down) will be your unique MF.

    MF efficiency spreadsheet: Looking for a specific drop – say Death's Web, Griffon's Eye, Death's Fathom – and want to know the odds, or how long it will take you to find it with a given character running a specific target? If you are after this kind of information for your individual situation, check out this MF efficiency spreadsheet created by @Owlie (based on @Fabian's original spreadsheet – see this thread, though the link to the original file is broken).

    2. Berserk Barb (Pit/Pindle)
    Overview
    Brought to life and developed by @Fabian, this build is the best known P1 MFer. He excels at running Pits and Pindleskin, though of course the build can be used in other areas. For detailed information, check out @Fabian's write-up and original thread, as well as @Gripphon's Berserker thread with insightful information and explanations.

    Gameplay video #1 (@Fabian)
    Gameplay video #2 (@Gripphon)
    Video guide/explanation by @maareek

    This is what you want to do if…
    …you are looking for maximum MF efficiency, have obtained some key items (ideally Grief, Cham for Shako and 6x Ist PB off-hand) and enjoy the action packed playstyle.

    Setup and build
    The standard setup looks something like this:
    • Shako 'Cham'
    • +Barb/FCR amulet, ideally with MF and ideally 15+ FCR
    • Enigma
    • Grief PB
    • 6x Ist PB (must be a PB due to Berserk attack speed mechanics; otherwise a shield)
    • Upped Goldwrap
    • Chance Guards
    • War Traveler
    • Nagelrings/other MF/adds rings
    Switch: Wizardspike (Ist), Suicide Branch (Ist). Hoto is an option if running with a 15+ FCR amulet or another FCR source entirely. Mix and match as required.

    Budget options:
    Apart from Enigma, the other pieces can be replaced without much trouble. Instead of a Cham'ed headpiece you can use Trang Oul's Girth in particular, and instead of Grief, Oath is amazing bang for your buck. Note that Ravenfrost is not an option (and neither is any other item with cold damage) since this build relies on Find Item (FI, or "Hork") and its cold damage would lead to corpse shattering and thereby denying FI use.

    Merc: Insight. Apart from that, most players use Andy's and CoH (for a little extra MF over Fortitude and no risk of corpse shattering). Treachery is another great option.

    For detailed comparison of Merc setups, check out @Owlie's great Merc damage spreadsheet and thread with more information.

    Inventory: Gheed's, MF SCs with useful mods, Cube. When starting out, one or two Sharp or Steel GCs can help if you feel you lack damage/AR.

    Build: Max Sword Mastery, Berserk, rest of the points is generally spent to max Find Item (54-56% target range, with 55% after BC being the standard) and Berserk synergies. Life amount is a matter of personal preference, but generally it's a good idea to aim 2300-2500 life at least. Remaining stat points normally go to strength for higher damage.

    Gearing essentials are to get 105% FCR on Teleport switch, 42+ IAS on Berserk switch (assuming Grief PB) and a source of CNBF. The rest can be substituted as desired.

    Basic principles
    The gameplay may seem complicated at first, but you get used to it quickly: (1) Teleport on switch to packs and use Howl to chase away non-bosses/champions, (2) switch weapons and kill with Grief, (3) switch back to FCR weapons, use Find Item, start over.

    Map considerations
    It can take quite some time to find a great Pit map. As a rule of thumb, at least you want to be looking for >7 boss packs average on both Pit levels combined. Any map with an average of >8 boss packs overall is quite rare and surely a keeper, with the best documented maps getting to about ~8.5 boss packs on average (peaking up to around 8.7-8.9). Generally you will want a small map, or at least a small area of boss spawning locations, and one that avoids much backtracking in level 1 on your way to the lvl 2 exit. Having the Pit entrance close to the monastery is preferable, but it's not essential to have it super close.

    MF benchmark: 650-750, pushing towards 800 and above is possible but requires very good MF gear.
    Efficiency benchmark (Pit): <5s per boss kill (taking into account Find Item %)
    Efficiency benchmark (Pindle): ~10-12s per kill (taking into account Find Item %)

    3. Singer Barb (Pit)
    Overview
    He shines in the Pit as well. Check out @Gripphon's Singer thread – that write-up has a ton of information on the build and how to play it, including gearing considerations. There's also this updated setup which delivered very efficient results, similar setups have been used by others since.

    Gameplay video #1 (@Gripphon)
    Gameplay video #2 (@FredOfErik )
    Gameplay video #3 (alternative setup, see below)

    This is what you want to do if…
    …you want to be closer in efficiency to Berserker than AT Blizzard Sorc, but you either don't like how Berserk Barb plays and/or you don't mind losing some efficiency and prefer the more relaxed gameplay. Under equal conditions (map, gear, experience/execution etc.), his efficiency can be quite close (~90%) to a Berserker.

    Setup and build
    A solid standard setup could look like this:
    • Shako (Ist)
    • Enigma
    • Suicide Branch (Ist)
    • 6x Ist Crystal Sword
    • Skill/MF amulet
    • Arachnid Mesh
    • Magefist Gauntlets
    • War Traveler
    • FCR/MF rings
    You could also go with another 50% FCR weapon and include common MF gear like Chance Guards and Nagelrings.

    Switch: Many options to choose from. You could go with a high MF switch (e.g. 6x Ist Crystal Sword (or two) for higher Hork MF) or don't bother too much with it and stay on main switch all the time. I prefer the latter when running Singer, using a high MF WC main switch and the alternative switch just to boost BO.

    Inventory: More personal preference here in particular regarding WC skillers, helping FI% as well. You should aim for ~900 WC damage, though of course more doesn't hurt. Generally though, WC doesn't do much of the killing as most of the damage comes from the Merc, so it makes sense to predominantly go for MF SCs.

    Budget options: Enigma is required again, but otherwise this is an incredibly flexible build with no single item even able to claim "best-in-slot" status, much less so being required. Just make sure you hit 105% FCR and throw on MF and + skill gear as you see fit.

    Merc: Roll a very good Insight for him, all stats are important (high Aura, high CS roll and high ED roll). He should be powerful as a Singer deals less damage than a Berserker and he will need to support you and in fact get most kills. Andy's with CoH or Treachery are likely the best options. Fortitude is a good alternative given it does more for your run times (Merc kills many bosses), though will deny you a corpse every now and then.

    Build: Max War Cry, max Find Item (or skill as required to hit target %age), rest generally goes to WC synergies or BO. In that regard, BO level depends on what you're comfortable with (one point could be enough). This build also actually stats Energy – yes that's right. :) It's a good idea to aim for ~700-800 Mana after BO.

    As another example of gearing variety, setup used on my Singer in vid #3 above:

    Griffon's Eye 'Cham'
    1 Barb/20 FCR amulet
    Enigma
    2x Ist'ed Crystal Swords (12x Ist)
    2x FCR/MF/+high Mana rings
    Magefist
    Arach
    War Traveler

    Switch: 2x Hoto (for lack of better BO boost)

    This allows slightly higher MF but (in case of my gear) lower FI.

    Basic principles
    Teleport to boss, howl those trash mobs away to make the Merc attack the boss, then start spamming WC – not immediately, since WC's stun effect stops monsters from running away, canceling out the Howl effect and resulting in the Merc attacking random monsters. Battle Cry can help with Stone Skin bosses. Hork after a kill, rinse and repeat.

    Map considerations
    See above for Pit Berserker, same rules apply.

    MF benchmark: 650-750, pushing towards 800 and above is possible but requires very good MF gear.
    Efficiency benchmark: <5.5s per boss kill (taking into account Find Item %)

    4. Blizzard Sorc (AT)
    Overview
    She is the most popular choice for AT running, despite the fact that a Concentrate Barb is slightly more efficient objectively (see below I. 5.). Of course a Blizzard Sorc is a very versatile build that can run lots of targets, but AT is the lvl 85 area where she's a top contender in terms of MF efficiency.

    I trust we all have played Blizzard Sorcs ;) so I'll simply refer to @maareek's AT Blizzard Sorc video which explains all the gearing and basic principles very well.

    Video guide/explanation (@maareek)
    Gameplay video (@Albatross)

    This is what you want to do if…
    …you are looking for a more relaxed gameplay and more multi-purpose build which also doesn't have as specific gear needs as a Pit Barb. You either don't like how MF Barb plays and/or you don't mind losing some efficiency and prefer the autopilot nature of Blizzard Sorc gameplay.

    Setup and build
    • Shako 'Ist/PTopaz'
    • Tal Rasha's Guardianship 'Ist/PTopaz'
    • Tal Rasha's Adjudication
    • Tal Rasha's Fine-Spun Cloth
    • Death's Fathom 'Ist'
    • Nagelrings
    • Spirit
    • Chance Guards
    • War Traveler

    Switch: CtA, Spirit

    This is the 63 FCR/higher MF variant. The other route is to go for 105% FCR which many prefer despite the slightly lower MF. This is hit with 35% Spirit, FCR ring (ideally with MF) and TO Gloves or Magefist.

    Budget options: Death's Fathom can be replaced with Hoto or Spirit. The rest is rather common except for maybe the Tal Rasha combination, though that can be replaced easily as well with e.g. Skullder's Ire, Goldwrap and/or other MF/+skill/resist pieces as you see fit.

    Merc: Standard setup is Insight, Andy's and Fortitude. However, there are other options like Infinity or Reaper's. Check out this thread dealing with AT Blizzy Merc setups in detail.

    Build: Teleport, Blizzard, synergies. Strength for Spirit, rest is Vita.

    Basic principles
    Runs are started in A2 by talking to Warriv, going to A1 and hitting the WP in Rogue Camp (using Telekinesis (TK)) to go to Lost City. As far as general gameplay goes, not much to say, it's a Blizzard Sorc. Spot the packs and kill them as fast as you can. ;)

    Map considerations
    You are generally looking for ~5+ bosses on your teleport route in AT. As there is only one level in AT (i.e. not having to pay attention to lvl 2 exit location) and it's generally smaller than the Pit, the map layout becomes somewhat less important than it is for Pit runs. Entrance location (distance from WP) has more of an effect than for Pit running due to the shorter runs, so one should pay attention to that.

    MF benchmark: 550-650
    Efficiency benchmark: <5.5-6s per boss kill

    5. Concentrate Barb (AT)
    If you want to find out more about him, check out this post by @Gripphon or the original write-up by @Kimppi. Personally I haven't run Conc Barbs much, but he can beat Blizzard Sorcs in the AT as well, despite not being a popular choice. That being said, he is not as efficient as a Pit Barb, and I guess the main reason for going AT Sorc is for the different playstyle. Chances are if you want to play a Barb, you will just go with a Pit Barb. Hence I will leave it at the above references. But the build should be noted of course for being the best AT runner objectively.

    MF benchmark: ~600
    Efficiency benchmark: <5.5s per boss kill (taking into account Find Item %)

    6. FB/Meteor Sorc (Snapchip)
    Overview
    Fire Sorc is a good build to run Snapchip, given his 0% FR and the consistent damage range from Meteor/FB. The sparkling chest spawning near him can be TK'ed conveniently and will drop up to TC87 (low chance), adding to the appeal. Some basics in spoiler below and in this post.

    Gameplay video

    This is what you want to do if…
    …you are looking for single target runs and don't mind not having a shot at Tyrael's Might. You want high efficiency but a less monotonous target than Pindle, beat Pindle Sorc efficiency and/or simply would like to try different builds than the above.

    Setup and build
    Example setup:
    • Shako 'Ist/PTopaz'
    • Tal Rasha's Guardianship 'Ist/PTopaz'
    • Tal Rasha's Adjudication
    • Tal Rasha's Fine-Spun Cloth
    • Hoto
    • Wisp Projector
    • FCR/MF rare ring
    • Spirit
    • Chance Guards
    • War Traveler
    Resulting in 105% FCR. As for AT Sorc, 63% FCR is fine though.

    Switch: CtA, Spirit
    Inventory: Cube, Gheed's, MF SCs

    Wisp Projector is highly recommended – it has MF anyway and provides very convenient safety as Gloams can spawn in the Icy Cellar. This eliminates the biggest danger there. Cursed + Witches I found are the most dangerous remaining spawn, this may require some side-stepping to dodge their projectiles. She generally needs more defensive prowess since things can get hectic down there sometimes – hence Hoto is recommended over Eschuta's Temper.

    Merc: He's mostly just a walking aura here with Infinity. Andy's is the go-to headpiece, and for body armor I really like Gladiator's Bane – the integer damage reduction helps his survivability quite a bit vs. those Witch projectiles, as does CNBF given the Arctic Blast from Snapchip & Co. always hits him.


    Build: Max Fire Mastery, Meteor, Fire Ball. You could then either max the last synergy with Fire Bolt or go FB/FO. Both have their merits, though admittedly FI rolls are rare and can normally be wrapped up without too much effort as well.

    Meteor damage: Snapchip has 24,997 HP and 0% FR, unless he rolls extra FR from modifiers. This means Meteor can normally one-shot him when running with Infinity Merc and minimum Meteor damage of 13,512 (24,997/1.85 from Conviction). Thus it's a nice number to aim for since it allows you to do other things while the Meteor drops, like TKing the chest or reposition if necessary.

    Basic principles/map considerations
    The most important thing is rolling a map with Ancient's Way WP close to Icy Cellar. Otherwise, teleport to him, drop one Meteor on him and spam FB. TK the sparkling chest if there are no dangerous spawns around or monsters obstructing it, otherwise don't bother, S&E and repeat.

    MF benchmark: ~600-650
    Efficiency benchmark: <14s per kill (equivalent to <7s per Pit/AT boss kill)

    7. Other Builds and Targets
    The above are generally the recommended high efficiency choices for MF on P1. However, numerous builds are close in efficiency. Noteworthy are in particular AT Windy Druid (also a great Pit runner), AT Fissure Druid, Pit Lightning Sorc, or any high MF Pindle runner really.

    ***
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018 at 6:26 PM
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  3. ffs

    ffs IncGamers Member

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    II. Rune Finding

    Almost everything there is to know about this is included in @Gripphon's rune finding guide, which should be your main reference. It's incredibly detailed and I considered just referring to it completely. I chose to include this section despite the overlap, given some discoveries and further testing since the guide was written, as well as for a basic rundown and some additional comments with a focus on builds.

    1. Targets and General Considerations
    When it comes to rune finding only (i.e. disregarding MF and other aspects), there are essentially four targets to consider: Lower Kurast, hitting the superchests around the campfires, Travincal, killing the council members, clearing the Cow level, and – as a somewhat recent discovery and not included in the rune finding guide – killing ghosts in the Arcane Sanctuary.

    Clearing lvl85 areas on high player settings is generally a great way to farm runes as well, and depending on your efficiency will not be too far behind the above targets (while providing better S&U drops). But given this is usually done also with MF and/or XP in mind, and since the above targets are better for runes specifically, area running will be ignored in this section but dealt with under Part III below.

    2. Lower Kurast (LK) (P7/P8)
    Due to the ridiculous amount of Sur patterns, LK is by far the fastest option to get runes up to Ber, and still the fastest way to get Jah. It's also the best area to farm charms, gems, jewels and crafting materials in general. You can check the rune finding guide for details regarding player settings, but in short: P7/P8 is the way to go, don't bother with other player settings.

    Regarding build efficiency, this is pretty much Sorc territory: Fastest casting at 200% FCR and Telekinesis means speedier container popping than other characters. Those can run LK of course, but are always going to a bit slower. For non-Sorcs going without Enigma, get all FRW bonuses you can get a hold of, like a Harmony bow for the Vigor aura (or natively as Paladin) and Burst of Speed as an Assassin.

    Video guide including tips on reducing menu time (I was told this was created by @aman)
    Video demonstration of techniques to avoid cluttering issues (@Gripphon)

    Setup and build
    200% FCR and Telekinesis is pretty much the only thing you need to take care of, and even 105% FCR is fine. Use an Insight Merc (and CtA once you have it).

    Basic principles
    See the detailed explanation in the rune finding guide, but here's the short version: (1) Roll a map with two campfires as close to WP as possible, (2) open chests from bottom/right if possible, because items tend to be displayed and clutter in that direction, and (3) check for those "orange flashes" (rune drops) while popping the chests instead of wasting time going through piles of loot on the ground.

    This is what you want to do if…
    …you are looking (1) for runes up to Ber/Jah as quickly as possible, in particular to farm the real game-changers like your first CtA, Enigma and Infinity, (2) to generally build up your HR stash and/or (3) find charms, jewels and crafting materials.

    Efficiency benchmark: Sub 20s (Sorc)

    3. Travincal (P3)
    So far there hasn't been any Trav build that was most efficient on any player setting other than P3, so it's pretty safe to assume that it's the way to go whichever build you choose.

    About extended teleport (teleporting back to the Travincal WP with open char screen): Whether to use it or not for a short-distance target like this is personal preference I'd say. If executed well it will result in faster runs, but it's hard to consistently take advantage of it, especially for longer periods of running.

    This is what you want to do if…
    …you have already obtained stuff like Enigma and Infinity and are able to build a Trav runner that can handle the council both offensively and defensively. You are not necessarily looking for the same HR drop rate as in LK but are interested in runes up to Cham or direct Jah drops, as well as rare or unique rings and amulets, a good amount of charms, jewels (especially facets) and crafting materials.

    3.1 WW Barb
    Probably not the most popular build nowadays (see below for the reasons), theoretically this is the most efficient Travincal runner. @Fabian made a mini-guide on him that you can check out for some basic information, even though it's pretty old by now. He is of course explained in-depth in the rune finding guide as well, which also links to these optimization considerations by @Gripphon.

    Gameplay video (@Gripphon)

    Setup and build
    The standard variant is to go dual Grief PB as below. However, there are other options, e.g. going axes with Grief/Beast BAs.
    • Arreat's Face 'ED/Demon ED/AR jewel'
    • Enigma
    • 2x Grief PB
    • Highlord's Wrath
    • Arachnid Mesh
    • Laying of Hands
    • Boots: Whatever you feel like, War Traveler is a good choice generally
    • Rings are flexible as well. I like at least one FCR/leech ring here to enable 2x Hoto switch. No Ravenfrost (it leads to corpse shattering, moreover WW Bars arguably even benefit from being chilled).
    Switch: Hoto/Wizardspike/Suicide Branch to hit 105% FCR (any combination depending on FCR from other gear)

    Budget options: Oath is the definite alternative for weapons. Without Enigma, he can't beat Sorc but he can still run Travincal efficiently. If you want to do that, get a Harmony bow to run through town and to the council more quickly. Using Leap can save times as well.

    Inventory: Sharp GCs are a good option; otherwise MF and/or charms to fill resist gaps and/or life. Note that you might want to pick up a lot of 1x1 square items (runes, gems, rings/amulets for example). So in addition to not using a full GC inventory, it makes sense to reduce SCs even further.

    Merc: See below on Trav Merc gear in general. Standard recommendation is Reaper's + Kira's Guardian + Guardian Angel.

    Build: Simple stuff, max Sword Mastery, WW, BO as desired. Double Swing can be used when mana burned to fill up if need be. Max/push Find Item to the desired %age. Stats are personal preference, though IMO with decent defensive stats and rings (life leech) you should be able to push strength a bit for extra damage, as opposed to having to care too much about your life pool.

    Basic principles
    Start in Act 4, take WP to Travincal, Teleport to Council, WW them to death and use Find Item on them. Back to WP and A4, S&E, repeat.

    In practice, you will quickly realize that it's easy to run into massive cluttering issues and need to live in fear of missing a drop every once in a while. Find Item will loot the monsters as if killing on P7/8, and it can quickly fill up your screen. As in LK, it's best to move from bottom/right towards top/left and check for those orange flashes. However, it's near impossible to eliminate this issue entirely, especially with the council members spawning closely together (which is generally considered a good thing of course).

    Efficiency benchmark: ~30s (in the region of sub 20s for other classes, depending on FI%)

    3.2 Blizzard Sorc
    Nowadays Trav Blizzy seems to be the go-to option for most Travincal runners here, and with good reason: Without much effort she can get extremely close to the best WW numbers, and most players are indeed more efficient with her than with Barb. She is more relaxed to play, and in particular, she avoids any of the abovementioned cluttering issues Barb has, which do slow things down in practice. From my perspective, the last point in particular is why she seems better suited in practical terms.

    Gameplay video #1 (@Gripphon – jackpot map)
    Gameplay video #2 (@Pb_pal – very good map, NWV setup)
    Gameplay video #3 (slightly worse map)

    Setup and build
    Check out @Gripphon's list of example setups and approaches in the 2017 RFL running thread, which generally includes more information and discussion about different gearing options. Below is what I think many consider a solid standard setup. There is some consensus that Blizzard damage exceeding ~7-9k does not result in any meaningful improvement in terms of run times, so that's something to bear in mind while gearing (skiller numbers, weapon used etc.).

    • Shako 'Cham'
    • Death's Fathom 'cold facet'
    • CoH
    • Spirit
    • Arachnid Mesh
    • +2/10+ FCR amulet
    • SoJ/BK/Dwarf Star (personal preference), FCR if not from amulet
    • TO Gloves
    • War Traveler (for MF, otherwise Waterwalk for higher max FR or something else depending on needs)
    Switch: CtA, Spirit

    Shako, Nightwing's Veil, 2/20 or 3/20 circlets all have their merits. Socketing 'Cham' is popular to easily pick up things while chilled, and many players have a Cham'ed Shako for their Pit Zerker that they use for this reason. Otherwise, facet or Ist/PTopaz for MF are good options.

    Inventory: Cold skillers, Gheed's for MF if desired, and same as for Barb: In order to have space to pick up those 1x1 square items, try to reduce the number of SCs used.

    Budget options: Death's Fathom can be replaced by Hoto or Spirit. CoH can be replaced by a Viper or Smoke. Mara's is a good choice as well. Don't be scared to drop to 63% FCR if need be – 105% FCR only makes a small difference.

    Merc: Infinity is required to break the CIs. Otherwise see below for general Merc setup considerations.

    Fire Absorb/Lightning Absorb: Not necessary, but it's nice to have. If FCR from gloves isn't needed, Hellmouth is a popular choice, otherwise Dwarf Star and Wisp Projector (vs. LE/Conviction rolls) can be used.

    Basic principles
    For her efficiency, having the council members packed inside the Blizzard radius is very important (see below 3.5 regarding maps in general). Apart from that: Teleport, cast one Blizzard, while on first Blizzard cooldown spam Static Field, then cast Blizzards and Ice Blasts until they're all dead. Back to WP and A4, rinse and repeat.

    One question is how to deal with surviving stragglers, i.e. whether to skip them or kill them. You can find some thoughts on this in this post.

    Efficiency benchmark: Sub 20s

    3.3 Other Builds
    While there are many viable options, in particular the following builds have been tested to be quite close in efficiency to Sorc and Barb (gameplay videos by @Gripphon):
    3.4 Merc Setup
    It's important to gear him right so he survives the Council's onslaught. Their Hydras deal quite a bit of damage to him since he doesn't benefit from the PvP damage penalty to the council's hydras' damage, which for whatever reason applies to the character despite this being PvM (details about Hydra damage).

    Barb and other physical damage dealers will go with Reaper's Toll for the Decrepify proc. For Sorc and other elemental damage dealers, Infinity is ideal or even necessary, in particular for Sorc to break CIs (there's still an unbreakable spawn sometimes though). However, Insight is a top choice as well for some builds (e.g. Necro).

    As for body armor and headpiece, Kira's Guardian and Guardian Angel is the standard setup, both socketed with resists (ideally with IAS) to overstack vs. Conviction rolls. A cute, but more expensive alternative is CoH + Steelshade for higher damage. For this setup, Cham in Steelshade is the best option since he will otherwise lack CNBF, which is handy given the Council's cold explosions. Note that Fortitude is not the best choice for a Barb since it can lead to corpses shattering.

    3.5 Map Considerations
    It's explained in detail in the rune finding guide, but as a brief overview: How good your Travincal map is will have a huge effect on your efficiency. "Good" in this case means (1) having the Council members packed together as closely as possible, (2) having that ideally on the lower balcony, and (3) under perfect circumstances, in the left corner of the balcony (in particular for Sorc, so they cannot really move out of the Blizzard). However, "close together" is hard enough to roll, and it's possible to get very fast run times with any map that has that. As an example, I included vid #3 above with my Trav Sorc running on a "good but not perfect" map. It's perfectly fine to settle for something like that, and for perfectionists to look for the "perfect" map with a second character (and with lots of time on your hands). ;)

    Staircase trick (no Teleport): When running without Teleport with a Barb (or other physical damage character) with Reaper's on Merc, a trick to position the Merc to get that Decrepify proc is to first go down the stairs to the Durance of Hate and immediately up again, resulting in the Merc being next to you. In this case you are of course looking for a map where the Council spawns inside the building.

    4. Cow Level (P5/P7)
    Moo.

    Player settings: While Cows have mostly been run on P7 for runes, people realized during the 2017 RFL that P5 is in fact the most efficient setting for most characters. (Javazon with high damage is the exception solely because she mostly kills big groups in one or two shots anyway.) Which player setting to go for depends on your build and items – this should always be tested on an individual basis. This post on how to compare different player settings includes the information required as to when one player setting is more efficient than another in an individual case. Note that if e.g. P5 and P7 are essentially the same as per normal monster kills/drop rates, then P5 is by definition better given safer runs and less item cluttering.

    This is what you want to do if…
    …you are looking for high runes in general, would like to have the chance of a direct Zod drop, while also looking for runeword bases, jewels and the occasional mid-tier S&U drop.

    4.1 Javazon (P7)
    The cow level is the ideal place to abuse the combination of 100% Pierce and Lightning Fury, and from my perspective she should still be considered the build to beat, despite @Gripphon's guide listing PN Necro in the top spot (at ~168 kills/minute on P5). Potentially she can deliver the same numbers on P7 as Necro on P5, based on the same calculation method – though it is hard to obtain reliable numbers for comparison (it's difficult to calculate number of cow kills precisely, see the rune finding guide for the approximation methods commonly used).

    Gameplay video #1 (Wizzy switch)
    Gameplay video #2 (CtA switch)
    Rundown of 99% FCR setup

    Setup and build
    Check this post for example setups that perform well. This was for running Arcane Sanctuary, but the gearing approach there is the same as for Cow running.

    The below is what is I'd consider a relatively straight-forward Cow Javazon.
    • Griffon's 'IAS jewel' (ideal second mod = MPK)
    • Titan's
    • Lidless Wall + facet
    • Enigma
    • + Zon amulet with 8+ FCR and ideally ML
    • Raven
    • SoJ (FCR/ML if needed/desired)
    • Silkweave
    • Razortail
    • 3/20 gloves
    Switch: CtA, 35 Spirit for teleport

    Merc (Might of Defiance): Infinity, ebug Fortitude, Andy's (Delirium for safety fanatics, but it's counterproductive for herding).

    This hits the 68% FCR breakpoint on CtA switch. Instead of Lidless Wall – which is great for its MPK and higher damage – you could also go for Spirit and Teleport with 68% FCR on javelin switch. For Cows specifically, MPK can largely be substituted with ML, given you will only encounter leechable monsters (except for the occasional PI boss).

    Budget options: Again, for better or worse, Enigma is required for highest speed. There are several substitute options for Griffon's, though. You could just go with Shako or a rare circlet, these can be very good and provide things like skills and FCR to help hit those unattractive FCR breakpoints (ideally also 2 sockets, mana/life leech etc., but that will remain a dream for most of us). Without Infinity, damage will be significantly lower of course, but Insight is fun in allowing you to spam LF. :)

    99% FCR variants: Personally, I swear by 99% FCR on switch and using full offensive firepower (i.e. faceted shield) on Javelin switch. This can be achieved for example by using Wizzy/Suicide Branch as a switch weapon, but then you'd have to either run without CtA or pre-buff BO. That is perfectly fine for Cow running actually, see e.g. the video #1 linked above. If you're a little lucky with a 19-20% FCR amulet, you could go with something similar to my current setup (see video #3 for a rundown on this approach):
    • Griffon's 'Cham'
    • 2/20 FCR amulet
    • 2x FCR rings with dual leech
    • Head Hunter's Glory (2x RBF, 15 IAS/something jewel)
    • Enigma
    • Titan's
    • 3/20 gloves
    • Silkweave
    • Razortail
    • Switch: CtA, Spirit
    Build: Very straight-forward – max LF and synergies, one point in D/E/A and Pierce (+9 after BC for 100% in conjunction with Razortail). No need for skilling stuff like Valk or Jab, just go for the synergies.

    35 vs 55 IAS: From my perspective 35 IAS is the way to go and 55 IAS means losing very helpful (or even necessary) stats for little to no gain. I know some people swear by 55%, but to my knowledge no one ever tested it to be more efficient in the end.

    Basic principles
    In order to maximize her potential, it is essential to abuse the LF/100% pierce combination by herding a lot. Instead of killing every cow on sight, runs should consist of herding a bunch of big groups and killing them, with just a few extra stops to kill "worthy" groups in between. Again, kill from bottom/right to avoid cluttering issues.

    Map considerations
    Apart from a Tristram portal relatively close to Stony Field WP, you should look for narrow corridors in the Cow level, ideally with the middle fenced area not having any gaps and taking up a lot of space. Bulges in the outer corners can be both good or bad, depending on whether there are a lot of cows spawning in them regularly.

    Efficiency benchmark: ~3m runs on P7

    4.2 PN Necromancer
    CE is OP, and Cow level is a great place to abuse it.

    Gameplay video (@Gripphon)

    Setup and build
    A 125% FCR setup would look something like this:
    • 2/20 circlet 'facet'
    • Death's Web 'facet'
    • 35 Spirit
    • Enigma
    • 2/10+ FCR amulet
    • FCR ring
    • FCR ring if 10-19 FCR from amulet, SoJ if 20 FCR from amulet
    • Silkweave
    • Arachnid Mesh
    • TO gloves
    Switch: CtA, Spirit

    Personally, I'm using the same PN Necro for Cows and Pit running (see below III. 2.), with MF in sockets instead of facets. Note that PN only deals a very small portion of overall damage. It's important to realize that its job is essentially just to assist the Merc in getting the first kill and to soften monsters for fast CE chains. That also means facets don't have as much of an impact as it may seem at first glance.

    Merc (Might): Infinity, ebug Fortitude, Andy's. Even with very high PN damage and even with Death's Web, he will almost always be the one to deliver your first corpse for CEs, so make sure he has a lot of punch.

    Budget options: Admittedly, apart from Enigma some of the other "ideal" stuff is not that easy to obtain either (20 FCR circlet and FCR amulet, Death's Web…). Hoto is an extremely good alternative and its FCR allows things like Shako/Mara's at the same time. Infinity is not required either – it's just a minor upgrade over Insight, which in turn allows other Golem uses. The 75% FCR breakpoint is perfectly sufficient as well.

    Build: Get one point in Revive – they make excellent meatshields and improve safety a lot. Otherwise, max PN + synergies and only use Amplify Damage (AD) as curse. It's stronger than Lower Resist even before the first corpse is there, because it helps your Merc deliver said first corpse quicker. Then I prefer to dump remaining points into Golem Mastery for a sturdy IG. Another option is to push AD as well in order to cover more ground for higher CE damage.

    Basic principles
    You'll find an overview in this post by @Gripphon on a couple of basics to consider. Apart from that, rather straight-forward gameplay overall: Fly around and herd cows, cast AD and PN, followed by CEs until everything is dead.

    Map considerations
    Basically same as Javazon. As a non-lightning-based character, he is always in danger of killing the Cow King if you get too close, so make sure to stay clear, ideally rolling a map where he is isolated in his fort and skip it altogether.

    Efficiency benchmark:
    2m30s – 2m45s runs on P5
    3m – 3m30s runs on P7

    4.3 Other Builds
    It's hard to see any build beating Javazon and Necro efficiency, because Lightning Fury and Corpse Explosion have no equal when it comes to their "instant WMD" nature. That being said, numerous other builds are very viable, for example: Trapper (video by @NanoMist), Nova Sorc (video by @NanoMist), Summon Necro (video (untwinked)). Blizzard and Fireball/Meteor Sorc work well, too, as do Fissure Druid and Hammerdin.

    4.4 Merc Setup
    Unless you feel you need it for safety, it's highly recommended to not use a Holy Freeze Merc because he screws up your herding and ultimately slows runs down quite a bit. Same considerations apply to Delirium – use it if you prefer it for safety, otherwise don't. I like the combination of Defiance Merc and eth bugged Fortitude, which really turns him into an almost immortal tank. However, certain characters (e.g. Necro) will want to go Might, and of course this is a good choice for other characters as well.

    5. Arcane Sanctuary (AS)
    Not included in the runefinding guide, this area is interesting because the Specters there have a 3.59 higher rune drop chance in comparison to other A85 monsters. People only recently realized during the 2018 RFL that AS has such high ghost density that it's in fact a top-tier target for rune farming.

    The initial results indicated AS efficiency is comparable to Cow level, with the caveat that it cannot drop Zod but only up to Cham. On the other hand, the ghost type monsters also have a higher chances of dropping charms and jewels (no facets though). So AS might be a good target for players who are looking for such items while not bothering too much with any slim Zod drop chances.

    Builds
    There hasn't been much testing yet. Those who ran AS during the 2018 RFL decided to go with Nova Sorc or Javazon. The latter seems to be the most efficient at this point, and it's somewhat hard to see her getting bested. Gearing approach is same as for Cows, though note that you can't leech off of the ghost type monsters (see this post about Javazon setups). Generally, any character that can kill those ghost type monsters quickly will work.

    Gameplay video (Javazon)
    Gameplay video (Nova Sorc, @NanoMist)

    This is what you want to do if…
    …you are looking for high runes up to Cham generally, while looking to get a better amount of gems, jewels and charms than from Cows.

    Efficiency benchmark: Sub-60s runs with Javazon


    ***​
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018 at 6:30 PM
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  4. ffs

    ffs IncGamers Member

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    III. Combined Area Running

    The aim of area running on higher player settings is usually a combination of at least two of three things: Magic finding, rune finding and/or gaining XP. That being said, the below is about the first two points, since combining these belongs in the "finding stuff" category. (See below Part IV on the XP gain aspect.)

    This is a very interesting aspect of the game, and yet again further builds are beginning to shine here. The task of clearing high player settings gives us a nice challenge and things to improve and tweak, even after all those rare S&Us are found and high-level runewords are made. There were several recent tournaments that focused on this combination, including Gripphon's WSK tournament and the MF/RF tourney we ran as a warm-up to the 2018 MFO.


    1. Targets and General Considerations
    The obvious targets are level 85 areas, usually running them on P7 or P5. Apart from Pit and AT, there's also Chaos Sanctuary (CS), which is a great target for runes because of its Finger Mages that also have 3.59 higher rune drop chances than other A85 monsters. On the other hand, CS will be less efficient for MF due to somewhat lower boss kills over time.

    The general idea is to focus on bosses as well as large group of random monsters for possible rune drops, though some may focus more on bosses and just kill monsters that happen to be in the vicinity. It's difficult to make out something like a general "balanced" MF/RF optimum (though maybe it's possible to come up with some kind formula based on drop odds). Builds differ as to their mechanics and tendency to focus on bosses vs. any large group, but more importantly it's down to personal goals and preference in the end to which extent a player will focus on MF (by killing mostly bosses) or RF (maximizing number of overall monsters killed).

    2. Pit PN Necro
    Hard to argue against him – great AoE even on high players settings, and at the same he can carry a lot of MF. Depending on whether you're more after runes or S&Us, you may want to go for more MF SCs or more skillers. This may also affect whether you want to go P5 (more boss kills over time) or P7. The 75% FCR breakpoint is appealing in terms of MF, allowing Shako and more flexibility to include MF from other slots.

    Gameplay video #1
    Gameplay video #2 (@Grape)

    Example setup:
    Balanced 75% FCR setup with tendency towards MF focus:
    • Shako 'Ist/PTopaz'
    • Craft/rare +Necro amulet with MF (Mara's is fine as well)
    • Enigma
    • Death's Web 'Ist' (alternatively Hoto)
    • 35 Spirit
    • Arachnid Mesh
    • Nagelrings
    • TO gloves
    • War Traveler
    Inventory: Personally I still go for a decent number of skillers (4-5) for higher CE range and PN damage. However, note that this also depends on the map. If your boss spawning locations are in narrow areas, you can certainly get away with lower CE radius and higher MF from SCs.

    Otherwise, it's more or less the same as Cow Necro. In particular when shifting the focus to runes a little bit, you could just use the gear listed above for Cows and throw in some extra MF here and there as you see fit.

    MF benchmark: ~400-500
    Efficiency benchmark: <10s per boss kill depending on focus (bosses only vs. high number of non-boss monsters)

    3. Pit/CS Javazon
    Same as for Cows, she is very strong for clearing Pits (and likewise CS) on high player settings. Regarding Pits, try to to roll a map with "camp/nest" areas filled with Devilkins, and ideally including boss spawning locations in those. However, ultimately she compares less favourably to Pit Necro (and generally for more MF-oriented approaches) due to her more specific gearing needs. Several items are too essential to drop (e.g. Titan's, Razortail, ideally Griffon's) or necessary to hit certain breakopints, which results in lower MF amounts than other builds.

    Gameplay video

    Example setup:
    • Griffon's 'IAS jewel' (ideal second mod = MPK)
    • Titan's
    • Splendor
    • Enigma
    • Amulet with 8+ FCR and MF
    • Raven
    • Nagelring
    • War Traveler
    • Razortail
    • 20 IAS/MF gloves
    Switch: CtA, 35 Spirit (for 68% FCR teleport)

    Inventory: Gheed's, MF SCs, skillers as desired.

    Merc (Defiance or Might): Infinity, Andy, CoH

    The main issue with such higher MF setups is going to be Mana upkeep, and she will likely need to do some potting as opposed to the Cow setup above. Swapping in things like Silkweave/Lidless Wall helps, but means taking a hit in the MF, damage or FCR departments.

    MF benchmark: ~300-400
    Efficiency benchmark: <10s per boss kill (depending on focus)

    4. CS Hammerdin
    CS is a great target for combining magic finding and rune finding – it can spawn a decent number of boss packs, and the Finger Mages spawning there also have 3.59 higher chance of dropping runes. CS moreover nets higher XP than other lvl 85 areas, which may or may not be important to you. Hammerdin remains a cookie-cutter build for running it – he doesn't run into any immunity issues and it's easy to make him tanky enough to survive P7 with relative ease, while being able to carry a lot of MF.

    Gameplay video (@Gripphon)

    Example setup:
    • Shako 'Ist/PTopaz'
    • Enigma
    • +2/10+ FCR ammy, ideally with MF
    • 35 Spirit
    • Hoto
    • Nagelrings
    • TO Gloves/Magefist
    • Arach
    • War Traveler
    Switch: CtA, Spirit

    Inventory: Gheed's, MF SCs, Skillers as needed (personal preference)

    Merc: I like Insight, paired with ebug Fortitude and Andy's. Delirium is a good safety option, same for Reaper's in particular when including De Seis. However, the Delirium crash bug is annoying to say the least, and it's probably a good idea to skip De Seis in any case unless you want to include Diablo (e.g. for essences or XP in later levels).

    MF benchmark: ~450-550
    Efficiency benchmark: 10-15s per boss kill (depending on focus)

    5. CS Blizzard Sorc
    She is a great CS runner, and in fact the strongest by XP numbers when doing the now infamous "Gripphon runs" or "2 seal runs" described here. Her disadvantage is that she will not be able to kill those CIs, and having the Merc kill them in turn decreases her efficiency. But when focusing on runes, hitting Finger Mages and non-CI bosses in CS is very efficient.

    Gameplay video (@Gripphon)
    Gameplay video (@NanoMist)

    Example setup:
    • Nightwing's Veil or Shako, socketed with Ist/PTopaz/facet/Ber
    • Sorc/10+ FCR amulet
    • CoH
    • 35 Spirit
    • Death's Fathom (alternatively Hoto)
    • TO gloves
    • SoJ/BK
    • FCR/something ring
    • Arach
    • War Traveler
    Merc: Insight, Andy, eth bugged Fortitude

    There are many other options of course. For example, an interesting approach was taken by @NanoMist's with this setup including Enigma and Dracul's Grasp for some convenient LPK and Reaper's on Merc.

    6. Other Builds and Targets
    There are numerous further characters that can be considered. Again a non-exhaustive list, the below builds can be optimized to quite efficient area runners:
    AT running
    AT takes a little bit of a backseat when it comes to combining MF and RF because it's not as strong for runes, due to the overall lower monster number in AT in comparison to e.g. Pit or CS (given masses of Devilkins in the Pit or Finger Mages in CS with their higher rune drop chances). Thus, AT running characters are at a disadvantage when it comes to RF efficiency. That being said Blizzard, Sorc, Fissure Druid, Windy Druid all work very well for these purposes, and are by no means inefficient.

    Pindle running
    While again worse on the rune front, due to Pindle's incredible built-in MF efficiency he is again a great target for the MF part. Running him on high player settings is moreover a good way to gain good XP until early/mid 90s. Of course many builds work very well for this, to name a few:
    • WW Barb (@Espr) – again a top build due to FI being OP
    • Javazon – for Pindle she can actually load up on MF quite a bit
    • Blizzard Sorc – good for everything
    • Fissure Druid (@Grape)

    Nihlathak running
    Nihl is getting some love recently, thanks to the untwinked 99er challenge and the fact that he is the best target for the 98-99 stage for most characters. He is usually run on P8 to maximize XP gain. He is a decent target for both S&U and rune drops, though not good enough to come close to or even beat lvl 85 areas run with optimized characters.

    Gameplay and setup examples will mainly be 99ers that tend to disregard MF to a large extent, but here's a couple of videos for gameplay reference:
    The progress tables in the untwinked 99er thread moreover contain links to the final 99er write-ups, which often include specific information on Nihl running as well.

    ***​
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018 at 7:29 PM
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  5. ffs

    ffs IncGamers Member

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    IV. Further Aspects and Resources

    1. Experience Gain
    Maximizing XP gain is quite different from efficiency in terms of maximizing drops, so it doesn't quite fit with the overall idea of this. But I wanted to briefly touch upon this nonetheless since it is also down to "efficiency" in general. I'm also a 99er fan personally, and there is no better way to get into efficient XP farming – as well as figuring out how to gear up quickly – than joining @Kitteh's untwinked 99er challenge. Doing so is hereby highly recommended.

    As opposed to "finding things", going for XP efficiency tends to work the other way around – usually it's not a specific target/build that you want to go for, but rather you want to take the most efficient XP route with a character that you have already chosen. So I decided to not include any specific builds or strategies, but rather fully refer to the 99er Compendium. @PhineasB did incredible work in compiling all of the information in there, including XP gain strategies such as the abovementioend 2 seal runs, general choice of targets and some class-specific gearing and progress tips.

    2. Targets by Gearing Progression
    For players starting fresh or looking to build up from a specific gearing stage, I thought it could be helpful to give the following overview. It is sorted by what I think most consider the "expected" gearing progression (in terms of runeword priority and rarity of S&Us), and lists the recommended targets depending on gearing stage.

    Starting out (e.g. restart, untwinked):
    Meph farming, really. :)

    Basic S&Us available:

    MF: AT Sorc or any Pindle runner
    RF: LK Sorc

    Enigma + Hoto available:
    MF: Singer (Pit/Pindle), Zerker with Oath (Pit/Pindle)
    RF: LK Sorc

    + CtA + Griefs:
    MF: Berserker (Pit/Pindle), Snapchip becomes viable for Sorcs
    RF: Trav Barb becomes viable on top of LK
    MF/RF: Pit Necro, CS Hammerdin become viable

    + Infinity + CoH:
    RF: Trav Sorc becomes viable
    MF/RF: Pit Necro

    + Griffon's:
    RF, MF/RF: Javazon begins to shine on high player settings for Cows, AS or Pits (tendency to focus on runes)

    + Death's Fathom/Death's Web:

    Takes some luck and likely a lot of running to get them. They don't make or break a build, but of course are great items that will improve your characters.
    3. Links and Resources
    Magic Finding

    Rune Finding

    Others

    ***​

    Credit and thanks
    to all those members that contributed to the incredible wealth of efficiency-related knowledge on these forums and the SPF in particular. This includes not only the prominent contributions of @Gripphon and @Fabian and those of other players referenced above, but really the entirety of players engaging in related discussions. Special thanks to @Owlie, @NanoMist, @Albatross and @GalaXyHaXz for helpful input in putting this together. I hope it's okay I didn't ask everyone for express permission to refer to their contributions – I figured it wouldn't have been feasible given the sheer number and inactivity of many. :)

    As stated above, I intend to build up on this and add information and resources over time. Feel free to PM me any time if you think something else (links, builds, videos, anything) should be included.

    ***​
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018
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  6. crawlingdeadman

    crawlingdeadman IncGamers Member

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    Without reading a single word (well, maybe like 3 or so...) I can already tell, I'm going to be coming back to this one frequently. Thank you so much for your hard work!
     
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  7. Owlie

    Owlie IncGamers Member

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    I read most words and I know I'll refer to this frequently :D

    I'll say it again: fantastic and thorough work. Thank you!
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2018
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  8. srrw

    srrw IncGamers Member

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    Love it!
     
  9. krischan

    krischan Europe Trade Moderator

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    I don't understand what you wrote in the "To Pindle or not to Pindle" paragraph. Why would you need a pit barb and a very good map? All Pindle maps are the same and it's 10 seconds to reach him... or do you assume that a character has taken the Temple waypoint and finished the Nihlathak quest, so Anya's portal isn't available?

    He's actually easy to be killed, even without fancy gear. It doesn't need much to make a character who kills him within 3 seconds if he's not immune to their strong attack (let's say a cold sorc with nothing but MF items), else it's 10 because the merc will have to do it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2018
  10. Owlie

    Owlie IncGamers Member

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    @krischan, what I believe he meant was that not only do you need a Pit barb you also need a good Pit map for him to beat Pindle efficiency.
     
  11. AlexTheNextOne

    AlexTheNextOne IncGamers Member

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    Oh yeah, this is definitely getting bookmarked for future reference, as I'm still trying to figure all this stuff out after a years-long hiatus. Fantastic work!
     
  12. Zylo

    Zylo IncGamers Member

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    Thanks for all the work! Great resource.
     
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  13. sanguillen

    sanguillen IncGamers Member

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    My sentiments exactly - this is tremendous! :)
     
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  14. Albatross

    Albatross IncGamers Member

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    A wonderful, up to date compilation. Your hard work is much appreciated :)
     
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  15. Basicbhoy

    Basicbhoy IncGamers Member

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    As someone who has had a looooonnnggg break from the game and, to be honest, never went into any sort of real detail; thank you
     
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  16. Disposition

    Disposition IncGamers Member

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    I must say, very nice read. :)

    Curious on your ghost statement for rune farming?
     
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  17. krischan

    krischan Europe Trade Moderator

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    Hmm, well OK, my comment was nothing but criticism. I think the guide is pretty much to the point - except for my smartass comments :)
     
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  18. Saluki

    Saluki IncGamers Member

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    This is great. I also like the references/links to the many source posts.
     
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  19. T72on1

    T72on1 IncGamers Member

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    QFT. @ffs You rock !!!
     
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  20. jonnyphive

    jonnyphive IncGamers Member

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    This will take a long time to get through with my amount of spare time, but I look forward to slowly getting through all of it. Very detailed and incredibly useful. Should be stickied for sure.
     
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