Latest Diablo 3 News
DiabloWiki Updates
Support the site! Become a Diablo: IncGamers PAL - Remove ads and more!

[DRAFT] SPF 99er Compendium

Discussion in 'Single Player Forum' started by PhineasB, Dec 30, 2017.

  1. PhineasB

    PhineasB IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2015
    Messages:
    796
    Likes Received:
    2,134
    Trophy Points:
    188
    3. The Journey

    There are four general stages to the quest for 99:
    3.1. Questing and Character Development
    3.2. Early XP Grind (through Level 93)
    3.3. Levels 94-98
    3.4. Levels 98-99

    The subsections below address the general strategies for each stage, with detailed data around XP and number of runs for different targets included for the last two stages. Variants and special considerations for untwinked play are noted. A more abbreviated version of this can be found in this post from @Pb_pal. Note: The focus is on v1.13+ and therefore assumes availability of respecs and the higher drop rates for high runes.

    3.1. Questing and Character Development
    This consists of building the character (i.e., finishing Normal and Nightmare difficulties), pulling together core gear for the build, and then some early leveling at key targets in Hell (Pits/AT/Pindle).

    For twinked play and with respecs available, this can be pretty straightforward: pick your highest level character for the class you want, respec, and equip, using your most efficient runner for relevant targets (MF runs or LK/Trav for runes) if missing key gear. ;)

    For early leveling, hit Pits/AT/Pindle as necessary. Eldritch (superunique just north of first WP in A5) is also a nice target into the early-80s. It’s possible to go with Baal runs right away. But it’s better to focus on other targets while they give efficient XP and save the Ancients quest XP bonus for later in the journey when the XP penalties ratchet up.

    For untwinked play, there are three general approaches to this stage:

    1. Moving through Normal and Nightmare as quickly as possible by completing only what’s absolutely necessary on p1, leveling on Pindle or another target as needed before moving to the next difficulty. MF is generally ignored until Hell, when the character reaches either an area (AT/Pits) or target (LK/Meph) that can be taken on low p-setting and help the character gear up.

    2. Questing straight through to Hell LK/Meph/Pindle on p7/p8. The character builds up MF and improves gear along the way, without re-running areas or targets. This guide for untwinked tourney playthroughs, which is based on another guide by @jiansonz, gives useful pointers for this approach. The player has the choice of clearing as much or as little of each Act along the way. The more direct the playthrough, the more time is likely to be spent on running targets to gather gear (as described in #1 above) before moving into the next stage.

    3. Doing MF runs along the way, such as NM Meph. Whether proceeding under option 1 or 2, the character builds up an MF rig and pauses at various targets in the leveling process to improve gear along the way.

    There are pros and cons to each approach, especially depending on the build. For example, option 1 is probably only a good idea for characters that can run Pindle on higher player settings with limited gear :). So It’s an especially good option for sorcs (Blizzard is ideal) or trappers; melee builds may have more trouble. Similarly, some builds struggle to take down act bosses without good gear (e.g., necro summoners), so gathering gear while playing through or from area runs may be the best bet.

    But either way, there will usually be a stop in LK for runes and charms and some dedicated MF runs to pull the necessary gear together before fully transitioning to XP grinding, and the boundary between this stage and the next one is blurry for sure. Additionally, there may be some frustration trying to pull the core gear together due to randomness of drops.

    For reference, @Pb_pal and @NanoMist went with option 1, as seen here and here. My untwinked 99ers have tried all three routes, and there was always at least one point where the character felt underpowered and questing/running targets was a struggle at times.

    But, in the grand scheme of things, as @T72on1 noted in this post (which also includes a good overview of early leveling), this stage represents a negligible amount of time in the total journey. So pick the approach that sounds most fun.

    Finally, a quick word on how LK fits into untwinked character development: The most efficient approach is probably questing straight through to Trav to take out the Council and destroy the compelling orb (this makes the zealot packs in LK run away from the character). Then run LK as many times as needed to gather runes needed for key runewords (for non-sorcs, this usually means Enigma; for almost all characters, it also includes HoTo and/or CtA). Having these runewords will lead to faster leveling, and LK is about the number of runs (whether early or late in the process).

    That said, the number of LK runs needed for Enigma, on average, is 3855 as @Gripphon explained in more detail here (that post is wealth of other great information). And it may take more than that (or less), depending on variance. So players may find breaks from LK welcome. And they may luck out with a needed high rune while leveling at Pits/AT/Pindle, even if efficiency of those runs isn’t optimal due to missing key runewords.

    As examples, @NanoMist and @Pb_pal have taken the more direct approach to LK, as seen here and here (RIP Stevesy!). My 99ers mixed things up, with a Jah from the Pits speeding up Mercy’s process quite a bit, but with Hiatus ultimately returning to LK at level 95 to get CoH because CS was too challenging and the runes hadn’t dropped leveling in AT, and Phaedrus finally going back to LK at 93 to complete Enigma after slogging through the early 90s.

    3.2. Early XP Grind
    Once the basic gear is gathered for the build, the focus turns to running targets that give good XP at high p-settings, generally as high as possible. But the balance of speed versus p-setting is important, as underpowered characters may gain XP faster on lower p-settings due to faster run times and less risk of death, which slows things down quite a bit (the XP penalties aren’t as harsh in 80s and even early 90s, but it’s still there, and dying simply slows down the average run time). It’s generally worthwhile to test out whether lower p-setting might be better, especially if p8 “feels” slow. Here are the most common targets:

    - Pindle is a great target into the mid-to-late 80s and even up to 90 or so.

    - Most builds, however, will do better to transition to A85 areas in the 80s, most commonly Pits or AT. The approach is to hit boss packs (boss + minions), because they give more XP (in absolute terms and because they are level eight-eight, while normal monsters are level 85, making the level-difference penalty less later in this stage). A good map has dense concentrations of boss packs, similar to a good MF map. Characters with cold damage will do well in AT, while Pits is generally the choice for others. As noted, p8 will give the best XP return in theory, but lower p-setting might work better.

    - Beginning with level 90 through level 93, the A85 areas are the general choice for leveling. Powerful characters may transition to CS at some point as well (see the next stage for more detail on these runs).

    - Others transition to Baal runs in earnest for this stage (and the next one). As confirmed by @Gripphon here, focusing on the waves gives better XP/min at this stage. It may be more efficient to end the runs with Ventar if Lister is a challenge. But, as noted above, other options are generally more efficient, if for no other reason than allowing the Ancients XP reward to be saved for later when the XP penalties are higher. Tips for efficient Baal runs are included in the next section.

    - Trav runs also give decent XP, with the added benefit of potential nice rune and jewelry drops.

    For untwinked, the only difference may involve LK runs, as noted in the prior section. Characters may also be missing key pieces of gear (e.g., Arachnid’s or +skill rings), so players may choose to mix in some MF runs to round out the kit. That said, the general advice is to focus on the XP runs because those items may well drop along the way and time spent on MF runs doesn’t move the XP bar.

    3.3. Levels 94-98
    At this point, there are generally two paths: CS/Diablo or Baal. They are discussed in detail below, with some notes on other options following that.

    Based on current knowledge, one type of CS run is generally agreed to be the most efficient option for the most popular classes at this stage. But it’s more accurate to say that there is consensus that players should test out which option is best for their particular character. This section concludes with detailed tables, created by @NanoMist and explained in this post, that show XP per run for various targets, and examples of how forum members have used the information captured in those tables to determine which approach to take.

    CS/Diablo: The general approach was to hit the seals at p8, taking out boss packs along the way, and then hitting Diablo at p7 (max experience from any monster is capped in the game code, and p8 exceeds that cap; so using p8 for Diablo only adds more HP). Some players just run on p7 to avoid switching p-settings over the course of thousands of runs. At p8/p7, you are looking at ~3300 runs for 94-98. @Corrupted and others skipped Diablo at earlier levels for faster XP/min.

    More recently, @Gripphon did extensive testing to show that a particular type of CS run (now called a Gripphon run) is the most efficient way to gain XP for classes that are the most popular for 99ers (Sorc and Paladin) and potentially the most efficient for others (e.g., Necro). In short, these runs involve using the tele-trick (see Tidbits and Pro Tips for an explanation) to reach the Pentagram in the middle of CS, then hitting only two seals (Vizier and Infector) and taking out boss packs along the way. Further testing has confirmed that hitting the seal for de Seis and then Diablo gives less XP/min for some builds than just focusing on the other two seals and boss packs. The best maps for Gripphon runs have boss packs clustered together near the seals so there is less time taken to stop between the seals.

    It’s difficult to calculate the number of Gripphon runs exactly (or p8/p7 runs, for that matter) because the number of boss packs (and monster types) hit in addition to the seals changes the XP gain/run. But the number of Gripphon runs needed is much higher than p8/p7; assuming no boss packs are hit (which is very unlikely), it would take ~6750 runs. That number drops significantly when the average XP/run from boss packs are factored in and, because the runs take less than half as long for certain builds, you can see why this can be a faster than p8/p7 runs.

    (A quick note: Gripp is one of the best runners in these forums and his characters were equipped for max killing power (i.e., no MF). So the actual numbers will be lower for most mortals :). But the findings hold true.)

    A couple thoughts on running CS, whether p8/p7, Gripp runs, or hitting all three seals and skipping Diablo: (1) be sure to max fire resists (for character and merc), as Infector's pack is tricky; (2) +max fire resist and/or absorb equipment is helpful for the same reason; and (3) convicted Infector can be nasty, so a little bit of caution to confirm he *isn't* convicted can save you some deaths (less important if you are overstacked with +fire resist or have absorb per (1) and (2) above).

    Baal: The general approach for Baal runs is to find a good WSK map. Good means a WP right by the stairs, and then stairs down from WSK3 again very close. With teleport, this can often mean going through a wall to reach the stairs down quickly on at least one of the WSK levels.

    Running to and then clearing the Throneroom is on p1, then p8 for the waves, then p3 for Baal (the XP cap applies to him also, so going above p3 only adds to his HPs). Depending on the character’s strength, the p-setting may be decreased to speed up Lister’s wave (this should only ever apply to untwinked characters though).

    @Corrupted pointed out that hitting boss packs at p8 along the way, particularly for WSK 3, can be worth it for XP (I found that to be true also with Mercy, who had steady boss pack spawns on one of her WSK maps, while also netting some nice drops as a result). But it involves an extra change to p-setting.

    As @ffs noted, the map seed can impact how many monsters spawn in the Throne Room. (I haven't seen definitive testing to confirm this, but I've had the same experience.) Seeds with fewer monsters can speed things up noticeably, especially when considered across 1000s of runs. If you find lots of monsters spawning in the Throne Room regularly, it might be worth re-rolling, even if you have good WSK maps.

    There are a couple strategies for speeding things up:

    - First, the time between Baal spawning the waves slows the runs down a lot. Delerium’s ctc confuse can speed this up, as when it triggers Baal treats the wave as complete as long as the superunique in the wave has been taken out. Mileage may vary on this, as it involves gear tradeoffs. But some people swear by it.

    - Second, Lister’s immunities can slow runs down, especially for elemental builds. Although unbreakable Lister spawns can be “parked” (retreating outside the throne room and then moving back into the throne room so he doesn’t follow), it often will increase the XP/hour to bail immediately and start the next run.

    - Finally, as noted in the previous section, focusing on the waves will probably be more efficient at the earlier levels. The tradeoff is losing the drops from Baal. I’ve seen different takes on the inflection point where hitting Baal becomes efficient, and that is likely due to differences among builds and run times.

    Miscellaneous: The other A85 areas are also options, although they are generally less efficient. Several forum members have noted that characters that have done extensive p1 AT runs to make progress toward a grail will be level 96. As noted in this post, Mercy gained decent XP at level 97 from p8 pits with a good map that wasn’t too much worse than her XP from Baal runs but had better drops.

    So staying in Pits/AT past level 93 is definitely an option. With a good map, it might not be less efficient than Baal runs, allowing the character to save Ancients for level 98. This idea was kicked around in the 99 theorycrafting thread, and @zgpmf hit 98 on p8 AT runs with his HC Sorc, getting around 4M/hour for 97-98.

    XP Tables: @NanoMist created tables that allow players to determine the best path for them, based on their goals and playing style (e.g., max efficiency, MF goals, safety, intensity). They are embedded below and this post includes an explanation for how they can be used. The first table reflects p8/p7 CS runs and p8/p3 Baal runs, the second p1/p7 CS runs and p1/p3 Baal.

    Table 1
    exp1.png
    Table 2
    exp2.png

    The basic idea is to time a run captured in this table, which allows an estimate of the amount of time needed to complete a level for that approach. Timing another type of run and figuring out how long it will take to complete a level using that approach allows a comparison to that baseline to see which approach is faster/slower.

    This can also be applied to a type of run not captured here – say, Masoleum runs. By timing those runs and XP gain, I could get a rough gauge about how it compares to all of the other options in this table.

    This can also be used to guestimate how a type of run would compare to another option. For example, it’s not possible to test Baal runs without burning the Ancients quest reward. Instead, I can figure out the time/level for whatever approach I’m using and compare that to an estimated time/run for Baal to see if it would be worth it to move to Baal now.

    Examples of how players have used the info in these tables are shown here, here, and here. The second one focuses on 98-99, but collectively they still give the basic idea.

    3.4. Levels 98-99
    The options here are Nihl, Diablo, and Baal, listed in descending order of efficiency for most characters. They also are in descending order of dangerousness and risk of death, which is particularly painful at level 98. That said, for many (except HC characters :p), the increased efficiency of Nihl more than offsets the chance of dying. Put differently, even with a death or two, Nihl will generally be faster (assuming successful corpse recovery).

    As one example, @ffs theorycrafted time difference among the three targets here for a light sorc here. But here’s a decent general ballpark using the 2.5M/hr benchmark for Nihl, 90s/run for Diablo, and 2.5 min/run for Baal (which is very solid):

    - Nihl; 116 hours; 100 hours with Ancients quest saved

    - CS/Diablo: 140 hours; 120 hours with Ancients quest saved

    - Baal: 160 hours

    Nihl: As noted earlier, Nihl gives ~22k/run. With characters that take out some monsters around him, it is ~23k, and closer to 23.5k for builds that take out everything on his platform (e.g., trappers). The basic benchmark of XP/hour is 2.5M, with many characters exceeding it. @ffs has recently shown that 4M/hr is possible with a lightning sorc (and on a Mac that avoids S&E lag).

    A couple key points for Nihl runs:

    - There are fixed maps for Nihl, most importantly for the Halls of Pain as explained here. Map 3 is the shortest of the options and easiest to spot because the room with the WP has pillars. It’s a point of personal preference about Halls of Vaught for where Nihl’s platform is, or more likely a function of shrines.

    - Having an XP shrine active when Nihl drops increases XP gained by 50% for that run. It is possible to roll maps with up to 3 shrines from WP to Nihl. There are different views about the value of picking up shrines. @NanoMist had a pretty thorough breakdown here. The bottom line seems to be the time taken to check shrines roughly balances out to time saved by more XP, but that means fewer runs total and lower risk of dying. But finding a 3-shrine map that doesn’t take the character off a straight teleport line seems highly unusual. So 2-shrine maps that are on a direct line may be optimal – more testing is necessary to confirm.

    - Vipers are dangerous with their not-bugged physical damage from poison clouds. It’s explained in this post by @ioupainmax (and the post linked in it by @onderduiker). The danger from vipers can be minimized by always stepping back (or sideways) from the merc after teleporting to the landing spot hear Nihl’s platform. -integer damage reduction gear also helps.

    - Equipping merc with Delerium is key for the confuse proc to minimize ranged attackers (which include the viper clouds and witches with red stars of death). This isn’t needed if the character has a crowd control skill (trappers with CoS or Necros with Dim Vision).

    - In terms of tactics, this post covers some of the key issues: finding a good landing spot (which may involve rerolling maps), the side-step technique discussed above, dangerous rolls that should lead to immediate S&E (e.g., witches with might Nihl), and not-ever-teleporting to pick up items (risk of viper clouds is very high, especially if amp’ed).

    - This post by @Pb_pal covers or reinforces a couple other points: don’t be shy about S&E’ing and make sure to have a solid landing spot. It also notes that resists aren’t critical, except FR to account for Nihl’s corpse explosion.

    - Finally, Nature’s Peace is a key peace of equipment unless the character relies on corpse explosion (trapper or Necro).

    CS/Baal: The general approach is p1 seals and p7 for Diablo, targeting only the seal bosses and skipping boss packs unless they’re collateral damage. Some people prefer straight p7 to minimize changes to p-settings and better chances of drops, but de Seis will be more dangerous.

    Otherwise, the only difference for 98-99 is shrine hunting:
    You’re looking at ~5600 runs for the last level on p1/p7, not accounting for shrines.

    Baal: There isn’t anything different from earlier levels here. Only another >3600 runs :p.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2018
  2. PhineasB

    PhineasB IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2015
    Messages:
    796
    Likes Received:
    2,134
    Trophy Points:
    188
    4. Tidbits and Pro Tips

    This section covers useful information not addressed previously. It is broken down into the following sub-sections:
    4.1. Class-Specific Deets
    4.2. Gear Basics
    4.3. Merc Issues
    4.4. Play Tips
    4.5. Untwinked Considerations
    4.6. Remember, It's About Fun

    4.1. Class-Specific Deets

    This subsection provides some additional information about common approaches for particular classes to get to 99. This focuses on options that are popular (empirically speaking) or promising (theoretically speaking, i.e., there isn't an actual 99er). So it covers more efficient options and approaches for each class.

    That said, this is not intended to describe the full range of options for reaching 99. There are certainly plenty of other builds that can get 99. If you have any doubts, check out the 99er paladins by Asmo and WoRG here and here. It's really about picking a build that's fun and committing the time. (Within reason. Yes, I'm looking at you, blaze sorcs and artic blast druids :p.)

    Amazon. Furyzons. Actually, that's kind of it. All seven 99er zons were furyzons and, I think, all of them focused on Baal up to 98, with one mixing in Nihl for the last level and others continuing with Baal runs. Furyzons should also be strong for CS (maybe with MS backup given limited benefit from synergies?). Although the prominence of 7 99ers shows the strength of furyzons, bowazons should also work (and some folks in the untwinked reboot are trying out the bowazon approach).

    Assassin. There are 3 trappers, a build that is near and dear to my heart. The approach will be Baal up to 98 (CS just isn't as efficient due to autotargeting of Lightning Sentry making it hard to efficiently target boss packs). Trappers are very powerful for Nihl with CoS shutting down vipers and witches, and high life pool and Death Sentry allowing her to slug it out with Nilh's corpse explosion (and the broad damage leading to relatively good drops from Nihl runs). A kick/trap hyrbid is theoretically faster at taking down Nihl (and could work reasonably well for CS/Diablo and Baal runs); there will be gear tradeoffs though of trap switch vs. CtA switch, to pair with the kick switch (probably Stormlash). A k/t build would likely just focus on Nihl with kicks, so CtA might be preferable to having buffed traps, as DS will probably be plenty strong enough for mobs.

    Barbarian. Not much detail to share. The second 99er was a wolfbarb, and a recent untwinked barb who mostly used WW (although single-target concentrate for Nihl). WW for Baal runs should be quickest leveling approach (focusing on waves up to 96/97 if desired for more XP but worse drops). CS for a WWer should also work reasonably well. @scrcrw showed how a concentrate Barb can shine for Nihl (although I still don't understand how that was safe, teleporting to Nihl with a merc).

    Druid. ? Windy, I guess. That's the only Druid build to make 99, and it was the first 99er for the SPF, so go figure. But a Windy can level nicely on Baal runs, although, as noted earlier, this is the build where testing showed that Ventar runs may be faster, particularly early on. It's hard to imagine CS or Nihl runs working well (but maybe they would?), so Baal may end up the best option for the last level. A wolfbarb made it 99, so shifter builds are an option, but with an annoyance of having to teleport and then shift before engaging.

    Necro. This is probably the most interesting, and the class where respecs opened up different leveling options. Both 99er necros were summoners who ran Baal. But a poisonmancer to 98 in CS should work well, as @Gripphon has shown. For level 98-99, however, Baal may be the best option, with a Bonemancer for Nihl being another option. Maybe a poison or bonemancer could take down Diablo at p7 (or Fleshripper on switch, although that would involve swapping CtA for Fleshripper each run), or get into a corpse explosion slug fest with Nihl?

    Paladin. Hammerdin + Gripp runs to 98 + p1/p7 CS/Diablo to 99 = win! It's hard to argue with the most prevalent build in the SPF 99er history. That also is a nice option for drops, especially sticking with p7/p7 for the last level, with @Corrupted getting close to 3M/hr with this approach for 98-99. But Nihl is also a strong option for the last level. The three melee pally 99ers (all leveling on Baal) also show that approach is workable. Tele-smiters could also be a strong option for Nihl.

    Sorceress. Blizz sorc is the fastest option to 98 based on current knowledge, doing Gripphon runs in CS. Light sorcs can also get very fast Baal times for those interested in that route. All three elements are strong options for Nihl runs for 98-99: Blova, pure lightning, and pure fire have all proven strong options. As of now, light sorc may be the fastest for the final level, with potential of >4M/hour from Nihl.

    4.2. Gear Basics
    A few quick words on gear for the 99er journey are below. Check out the write-ups of 99ers here or the Mat/Pat threads here if you are interested in more details on gear for specific builds, particularly earlier in the journey. The summary below focuses more on casters due to their prevalence.

    Body. Enigma is key for most builds (except Sorcs) to allow for fast runs with teleport. A key consideration in putting together the rest of gear often focuses on the FCR breakpoints as a result. As noted, some 99ers ran to Baal's Throne Room without Enigma, so it's definitely doable without. For Sorcs, Chains of Honor, Skin of Vipermagi, or Ormus Robes are the most common.

    Head. Shako and Griffon's are the most common options, with +skill rare circlets another possibility. Melee builds will include other options such as Guillame or Andy's Viasage.

    Gloves. FCR gloves are common (Trangs or Magefist), with Blood Fist a good option for builds not needing FCR (for FHR). Rares with resists and MF, or even Chance Guards, are also options if the focus is more on MF and FCR is addressed by other gear.

    Belt. Arachnids is the go-to. Other options are Verdungo's (DR, Vita, FHR) or Goldwrap (MF), plus many other possibilities.

    Boots. This gear slot seems to have most variability and options to mix-and-match, particularly based on charms. Aldur's boots are popular for fire resist, vita, and fastest run/walk. Sandstorm Trek give vita, strength, and FHR, while War Traveler gives MF, vita, and strength. Hotspur is popular for CS-based builds due to increased fire resist and +max fire resists to neutralize risk from conviction Infector. Rare boots are also an option here.

    Amulet.
    Mara's is a good choice, or a caster amulet. Rising Sun is an option for fire absorb if running CS. Melee builds will generally appreciate the IAS from Highlord's. For Nihl, +3 class specific skills with damage reduction are an option.

    Rings. +skills from Stone of Jordan or Bul-Kathos Wedding Band will up damage for casters, with +mana or +life needs determining which option to use. Nature's Peace is a must for many builds running Nihl, both for DR and for rest in peace mod. Depending on FCR needs, rare rings can be added to the kit.

    Weapon and Shield. There are too many variants, based on build, to cover comprehensively here. But a special shout-out for Heart of the Oak and Spirit shield are needed, due to their versatility and killer mods. For elemental builds, weapons with +element damage/-enemy resist are good options. For melee, Grief will be hard to top in most instances.

    Backpack. For GCs, Skillers, Gheeds, and any good secondary mod +30 resist options or Shimmering, as needed. For SCs, whatever mods are needed to round out resists and FHR breakpoints can be filled in, and then it's generally either +vita or +MF to fill things out.

    4.3. Merc Issues
    A2 mercs are the go-to option due to their auras and ability to wield polearms (and give another aura). Holy freeze seems to be most popular option for casters due to added safety, with Might an option for extra damage if relying on the merc to take out monsters (often due to immunity issues, although it may be faster to just abort rather than relying on merc to deal with immunes). Prayer mercs if equipped with Insight are also a solid option for life heal, and I actually have found defiance merc to be a reasonable choice for safety due to avoiding hits, particularly in CS.

    As for gear, Insight or Infinity are the main choices, with Reaper's for builds like Windy's or melee characters that rely on physical damage. For Insight or Infinity mercs, life leech will come from armor or helm. CoH for armor opens up Delirium for helm, while Vamp Gaze and Andy's are generally paired with Fortitude. If relying on physical damage, some people like Treachery for faster attack, with Reapers already providing life leech. Other options or combos are obviously possible, but these are the most popular. For CS runs, Steel Shade can be very helpful if you have trouble keeping merc alive for Infector due to fire absorb.

    A note on Delirium: for Nilh, it's a pretty important element for non-assassins (CoS) or necros (Dim Vision). There are mixed views on using it for CS or Baal runs. As noted in The Journey, some people swear by it on Baal runs to speed up waves, and the same is true for CS runs due to confuse helping manage large mobs. But, as explained in more detail in Play Tips below, Delirium will cause occasional crashes related to merc converting to bone fetish mid-attack, which can get frustrating and be potentially disastrous if it happens when trying to recover a corpse.

    4.4. Play Tips
    Below are some general tips/tactics for speeding up play and/or avoiding disaster at later levels. They are kind of random and didn't fit neatly anywhere else, so here they are:

    Saving Ancients. It's been noted earlier, but worth repeating: Figuring out a leveling strategy that saves the Ancients quest as long as possible is well worth it. Saving it until level 98 makes a big dent on the XP climb for that level, which is why CS/Gripphon runs is such a good option if you can make it work. Self-MPing can also allow saving NM Ancients (20M for quest reward), although some consider that cheesy.

    Tagging WPs. When doing lots of runs for a single target, it can help to not tag other WPs in that Act. Basically, by not tagging the other WPs, it minimizes the risk of misclicking and ending up in the wrong area at the start of the run. It's most common for LK as explained here. But I also found it helpful for Nihl runs when I tagged only the first WP, Nihl's WP, and the last two for the level.

    Teletrick. Also referred to as "C/T" or "extended teleporting," this is a way to make each teleport cover ~33% more ground. The gist is to start teleporting in the direction you want to go, open character (if going left) or inventory screen (if going right), and hold mouse in the corner where you want to go. Each teleport then covers more ground, with Esc allowing a quick return to normal teleporting. It's explained concisely by @pharphis here, and the vids in the 99er write ups from @Pb_pal and @Corrupted show how it works (here and here).

    Holding Alt while teleporting. This is a tip to avoid accidentally hitting a popable or shrine, which stops the teleporting and can lead to dangerous situations, not to mention slowing down runs and being annoying. This incident from @ffs highlights the potential value.

    Quick finger on esc. Deaths are a major setback at higher levels, so save and exit (S&E) is a common strategy to get out a really bad roll (e.g., cursed Nihl with might and lots of witches and vipers). Generally, it's not worth the risk to try to complete the run. But death can come really quick depending on mobs and spawns. So some people prefer to keep finger on/over the Esc for especially quick S&E. If you use Esc to minimize the inventory or character screen for the tele-trick, this means just keeping your finger over Esc when not using it. There's a brief discussion of this tactic here.

    Body Recovery Kit. Recovering the corpse following death reduces XP penalty from 10% of the character's current level to 2.5% of the level. Failed corpse recovery = another 10% XP lost. So for later levels in particular, many people keep a corpse/body recovery kid in the stash, often consisting of an extra HoTo and other items to raise resists and hit FCR breakpoint. A belt for potions and FHR gear can also be important.

    Delerium Crash. As noted, Delirium can cause a crash when the merc converts to a bone fetish in the midst of attacking. This can be particularly painful if attempting a corpse recovery, as @ffs experienced. So if you are attempting corpse recovery and have a merc wearing Delirium, you should strongly consider unequipping the merc's helmet.

    4.5. Untwinked Considerations
    There are two key points here:

    Larzuk (Socket) Quest. Do. Not. Waste. These. It may be tempting to use them early on to speed up gear accumulation, but that will lead to regret. Trust me (check early in the spoiler). Save these for items that you know (or at least are pretty sure) will be end-game gear. Given the number of runs at later levels, the sockets and extra killing power/safety are more valuable then.

    Respecs. This is another area to be thoughtful. If your character doesn't plan to run Baal, you only have three or else you'll have to burn the Ancient's quest early to farm an essence from Baal.

    4.6. Remember, It's About Fun
    A final word on what may be the most important topic: Fun. The journey to 99 is enough of a commitment (time and number of runs), that you are likely to burn out if the character isn't fun, etc. Numerous members have emphasized this point in one way or another over the years. Rather than attempting to restate the point, I'll just quote a post that I think nails it on this topic:
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2018
    ffs and Yng like this.
  3. Yng

    Yng IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2017
    Messages:
    498
    Likes Received:
    753
    Trophy Points:
    151
    Again, great collection of information and much more aesthetically pleasing this time around. ;)

    A few nit-picking points:
    -C/T (often referred to as extended teleporting here) is roughly 33% further than regular teleport with cursor to the absolute corner. Not trying to take away from C/T as I use it quite extensively myself as a habit from PvP. Just trying to clarify as 50% is a bit misleading.
    -Worth noting that Normal Pindle’s XP is greatly diminished prior to clvl 25. Normally this isn’t an issue as most characters are at least clvl 25 by the time they reach that point anyway but if you’re trying to minimize time spent in Normal (as with speed run style approaches) you can potentially run in to this issue. CS is a good supplement to reach 25 if this comes up.
     
    PhineasB likes this.
  4. T72on1

    T72on1 IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2016
    Messages:
    4,782
    Likes Received:
    3,861
    Trophy Points:
    236
    Agreed.

    Also some minor stuff from me:

    • Amazons: you state that a few people in the untwinked 99er reboot try out Bowazons twice; one time seems enough
    • Gear: under belts, you list Chance Guards. I assume you mean Goldwrap :).
    • Gear: there is no weapons section. You are probably right, as it would get too big, with all the different builds around. Having said that, it might still be good to stress the importance of CtA on switch. I know it's a no-brainer for almost everyone, but maybe people starting out (again), won't think of it, or won't realise how important it is to get it asap.
    • General: I had a bit of a hard time running CS until I got my fire resist fully maxed (and even only after using Hotspur for more fire res iirc) and / or some fire absorb. Same goes for merc. Iirc I had some 65% FR at first, which seems like a lot, and like enough, but runs were definitely easier when I improved on the fire part. Maybe that can be added somewhere, to stress the importance of maxed or more than maxed fire rest and/or fire absorb?
    • General: saving the Ancients quest if possible is mentioned somewhere, but it might be good to repeat it again. Maybe in the play tips section? It saves quite a lot of time on that last level.
     
    PhineasB likes this.
  5. ffs

    ffs IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2017
    Messages:
    1,446
    Likes Received:
    2,676
    Trophy Points:
    188
    Very well done @PhineasB -- looks pretty much final! :)

    I agree in the end it would probably be too much to go into all that specific character/build/gear/merc considerations for the purposes of such a compendium, apart form a few basics and linking to helpful stuff here and there. I got that feeling also when reading the "Gear" section as it's hard to make general statements for all the possibilities. In the end it's nothing specific to 99ers.
     
    PhineasB likes this.
  6. pharphis

    pharphis IncGamers Site Pal

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2011
    Messages:
    13,898
    Likes Received:
    1,869
    Trophy Points:
    283
    wow I actually said something useful once
     
    PhineasB likes this.
  7. Reyz

    Reyz IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2016
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    72
    Trophy Points:
    11
    Great work! Enjoyed reading through all of it and learned a few new things, even though I´m messing about with this stuff for nearly two years now.
    Couldn´t think personally of any more information which might be missing, although I´m also sure our experts can add a few more little specifics :)
     
    PhineasB likes this.
  8. Yng

    Yng IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2017
    Messages:
    498
    Likes Received:
    753
    Trophy Points:
    151
    @T72on1 on the note of FR and fire mitigation in general for CS runs, might be worth mentioning Rising Sun because of how effectively it mitigates Venom Lord damage and just keeping an eye out for Conviction on Infector in general can really help avoid some potentially nasty situations. It’s not worth S/E for Conviction spawns alone in most cases but just being aware and being more cautious can help avoid deaths and it might be worth S/E for Conviction + immunity to your damage spawn as it just takes too long to eliminate the threat. On that note, maybe a mention of rolling a fork map for dedicated CS runners as well as this was something I knew about but completely overlooked for 100s of runs because I hadn’t ran CS in so long with practically all of my SP characters being HC.

    Edit: Rising Sun was already mentioned under Amulet choices in the gear section, my bad.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2018
    PhineasB likes this.
  9. T72on1

    T72on1 IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2016
    Messages:
    4,782
    Likes Received:
    3,861
    Trophy Points:
    236
    Agreed, I forgot about Conviction on the right seal boss. Not worth to S/E, but you have to be careful for it, because if you don't recognize it immediately, you're in for some serious trouble.
     
  10. PhineasB

    PhineasB IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2015
    Messages:
    796
    Likes Received:
    2,134
    Trophy Points:
    188
    Thanks for the feedback @all! I've incorporated the many good suggestions.
     
    T72on1 likes this.
  11. Kitteh

    Kitteh IncGamers Site Pal

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2011
    Messages:
    11,639
    Likes Received:
    2,065
    Trophy Points:
    534
    Wasn't Oldstegs young once? :eek:
     
    Pb_pal likes this.
  12. Pb_pal

    Pb_pal IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2004
    Messages:
    2,064
    Likes Received:
    2,073
    Trophy Points:
    233
    Truly awesome stuff! An awesome compilation and perfect general starting point for anyone wanting to make the leap, as well as a really cool look into just how awesome and unique this community is.

    This absolutely needs to be added to one of the stickies when it's finished. Great work, it's truly appreciated!
     
    PhineasB and T72on1 like this.
  13. T72on1

    T72on1 IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2016
    Messages:
    4,782
    Likes Received:
    3,861
    Trophy Points:
    236
    I briefly tried out a Venomancer and a Kicker at Nihl and CS, but couldn't really make it work. The Venomancer wasn't too bad at CS, but other than that ... They might still be candidates as good runners though. Chances are real I'm just not a good driver for them ;). I might give them some more time, not sure yet.
     
  14. Pb_pal

    Pb_pal IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2004
    Messages:
    2,064
    Likes Received:
    2,073
    Trophy Points:
    233
    Couple notes on class-specific stuff now that I've read it a bit more closely.

    Amazon:
    CS is definitely doable. I have a 97 zon that I leveled in the CS until 96. The question though, why do it over Baaling?

    1) I like the CS way better than Baaling
    2) try something different with a pretty standard build
    3) Just slightly less efficient according to my runtimes (we're talking literally only an extra 0.5-1.5 hours or so of running needed per level) to run CS vs Baal XP wise assuming a ~2.5 minute baal run, and saves the ancients until 96 (which might even tip the overall efficiency in its favor, haven't checked).

    So what did this require? Well, since I couldn't take the time between the waves for potion management, my zon had serious mana problems and it got in the way of running smoothly. I hate thinking about mana pots during a run, so the solution was to make a Phoenix shield for the redemption aura. Worked wonderfully! The ctc got in the way a little bit, sure, and needed some getting used to. I got used to it without much trouble, and mobs melt so quickly that it wasn't a huge factor anyways. Besides, fireworks are fun!

    Once she hit 96 the disparity in XP gains started to widen, and only got worse at the higher levels, so it's back to Baals from there. Nihl at 98 should be the most efficient I would reckon.

    Standard "test it yourself with your specific runtimes" fine print applies, of course.

    Druid:
    Windy is the typical go-to, but it's Baals only. I tried CS running with one and it isn't good. Someone else might have success though. Gripp showed that it's actually more efficient to do Ventar runs, as Lister takes too long to kill efficiently. Once you approach 99 (like 96/97 probably) then adding Baal in will start to become the more efficient route, but I haven't run those specific numbers yet to figure out the actual tipping point.

    Fissure druid is another viable route. Gripp talks about it in his sub 98 breakdown. I've used one for cows and it's awesome. They require some good gear though, so take that into consideration. The plan for them is to run AT until 98, and from there they make excellent Nihl runners (reportedly, I haven't tried it).

    My gut says Windy would still remain king even with being able to save ancients on the fire druid, but it's food for thought anyways. My guess for druid builds would be Ventar/Baal Windy>AT Fissure>Pit Windy>everything else.
     
    PhineasB, NanoMist and T72on1 like this.
  15. Corrupted

    Corrupted IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Messages:
    2,706
    Likes Received:
    26
    Trophy Points:
    168
    Okay here goes:

    Leveling in CS with a hammerdin was basically introduced by Ragnarod who had an entry or two in the 99 progress thread WAY back. It took a long time before it really started to get explored because a) Iron Maiden made it impossible to use a melee merc in CS and lower res curse made it difficult to get your res high enough. b) VERY few people had an enigma until 2009ish c) most people believed high runes basically couldn't be "farmed" outside LK pre-1.13 so Baal was favored for better TC87 drops
    When DX made his new hammerdin entry in the 99 thread jjscud already had a hammerdin named "Ragnarod" doing the same thing. Even prior to that I was doing bnet-style MP runs with a few guys; one of them bassano who cleared CS with his hammerdin while I went to the throne on my light sorc, I think this must've been summer 2008ish (?)
    Add to that with 1.13 the 2nd wave at Baal became immune to hammers so it was only natural for hammerdins to change route.
    About CS efficiency I believe I posted about skipping Diablo until 96/97 a long time ago; I've never compared the numbers for hammerdins running 2 seals compared to all 3 because popping all seals gives a substantial increase in rune/misc drops but it is somewhat individual as people have different comfort levels in terms of teleporting on top of Seis.
    I think it's wrong to state that two seal runs absolutely superior for "most builds" when Gripp only demonstrated numbers for 3 builds; hdin and blizz sorc being the fastest bosspack killers in CS by a large margin. His necromancer numbers weren't that impressive; I think Tupsi demonstrated baalrun times that could easily match the Lister-run time needed. On top of that you have to consider the level of equipment used; broken stuff like 1.07 Valor and beta CtA allows you to play a much more reckless style with characters that are usually only in the 2000-2300hp range.
    As for saving ancients I believe zgmpf (?) did just that with his HC sorc running AT until 98 but whether it was worthwhile or not I don't know. Depending on your (characters) capability you're saving somewhere in the range of 12-20 hours which you might well exceed getting to 98 by running inferior targets.
    From my own experience CS and Nihla were a lot closer for 98 provided you're playing a build that can do CS comfortably but I played on a WinXP machine in my whole SPF career. S&E times are a big factor in terms of nihla efficiency but I guess with modern systems using SSDs they're not as significant as they used to be; with Macs apparently having zero delays I'm figuring there has to be a way to optimize/mess with Windows systems as well; one idea was to make a RAMdisk with D2 but you're in trouble if your system crashes then.
    I've posted that light sorc may be able to get in the vicinity of 4m/h running p1 seals with enough shrines but I don't remember doing much testing to confirm that number.
    As for builds...Javazons are definitely viable in CS if you have frozzen-level equipment. Decrepify with limited IAS does suck a lot though and it's hard to get enough (fire) res while maintaining damage without using 1.07 LoH or giving up your precious amulet slot. Someone should find a pair of 4 skill/40 IAS rare javelins and test it out properly though. Bowazons are...awful :(
    Bone necros are perfectly viable Nihla runners; I don't know if they're the fastest variation but they're quite safe and straightforward. Pharphis should have some run times.
    As for PNova in CS I saw an interesting build that utilized CoA with 2 Facets for a nice offense/defense balance in your standard 75 FCR Spirit build. The guy also ran a BotD merc to compensate for the attack speed slow of decrepify and instead used an Infinity Iron Golem to boost his CE.
    In terms of safety Gerkes is an interesting shield-option for certain nihla-builds but idk how it matches up against Storm; probably comes down to the amount of crowd control your build has and the likelihood of Nihla being able to cast CE on you.
    Druids... I've never tested them myself but I've seen windys doing CS without too much trouble on bnet. Whether it was the torch/anni pushing them up where they need to be I don't know. Obviously stoneskin seals are bad and you should definitely optimize your merc around treachery/kiras/Reapers to have instant decrepify. You could something wacky if you really wanted like building around a Lawbringer sword and running Vizier/undead packs only.
    As for fire-sorcs running Nihla perhaps Firewall might be a worthy contender to the traditional Meteor/FB as it leaves you points for other stuff like ES/TK or better range Static.
    Lastly it's possible to save your NM ancients by either (self)MP'ing or starting your char in classic and converting it in act 3 hell (unless its a sorc that's probably not worth the 20m exp saved though)
    According to old posts I got around 2.9m/h running p7/p7 CS with my hammerdin which put me at 80ish hours for 98-99 with both ancients saved. IIRC I managed to do it in about 2-3 weeks, would have to find my posts in the 99 progress thread from September-October 2012 and compare the dates.
    One last thing about running Baal; I suspect the optimal approach for certain builds would be to roll a map with a short distance L-turn to level 3 with potential bosspacks spawning in that area. You'd run P8 and clear worthwhile packs (Greater Mummies give crazy exp) before switching to P1 for throne room spawn. Most people would probably go crazy swapping p settings that much though without macrobuttons on their mouse/keyboard)

    Random side note: grogs' sorc hit 99 running Baal WITHOUT CtA...
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2018
  16. PhineasB

    PhineasB IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2015
    Messages:
    796
    Likes Received:
    2,134
    Trophy Points:
    188
    Thanks for the excellent feedback @Corrupted. You are correct that I overstated the conclusion re: Gripp runs. I've revised The Journey section to reflect that and include the other good points that you and @Pb_pal made.

    On the SPF History Section, I definitely over-focused on the characters that made it 99. As you said, Ragnarod ran only on CS (and, if recall correctly, made it at least to 97 with one of the hammerdins), and I found the post where @zgpmf discussed getting to 98 on AT runs with his HC sorc (which never made it all the way to 99). And my write up was based on what's included in the progress thread and theorycrafting thread (which didn't start until recently), so it doesn't reflect the full history, recognizing that there lots of older threads that weren't reflected in addition to discussions through irc. I am going to go back through that section more carefully and update it accordingly.

    Edit: Thanks @Yng -- those have been fixed. :)

    Edit #2: Updated SPF 99er History section.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2018
  17. Yng

    Yng IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2017
    Messages:
    498
    Likes Received:
    753
    Trophy Points:
    151
    Another nit-pick:
    You refer to Infector as Ventar a few times in the “CS/Diablo” section.
     
    PhineasB likes this.
  18. ffs

    ffs IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2017
    Messages:
    1,446
    Likes Received:
    2,676
    Trophy Points:
    188
    That point made by @Corrupted regarding Nihl vs. P1/P7 Diablo depending on build is actually interesting and quite relevant IMO, in particular when accounting for that S&E issue for Nihl runs.

    I've tested mostly with Lightning Sorc, but it may be a good example as she can run both Nihl and P1/P7 Diablo very well. Nihl taking ~13.1k runs and P1/P7 taking ~5.6k runs for 98-99, she'd generally have to be able to run CS within the time of ~2.34 Nihlathak runs. If not suffering the S&E issue, Nihl running at ~20s is possible. In such case Diablo would need to drop after ~47s to break even with Nihl. Now with my (untwinked) Sorc I never got P1/P7 CS runs even near that. IIRC it was mostly around ~70-75s when timing a CS run or two here and there, and with rather frantic playing. That's why I quickly settled for Nihl.

    However, that's not accounting for XP shrines, and I did not put much effort into rolling a great shrine map for CS. Based on 20s Nihl runs and 75s CS runs, they would break pretty much exactly even if Diablo goes down with active XP shrine every run (effectively turning ~75s into ~49s runs). As it's not reasonably possible to get an XP shrine every run, Nihl will likely still come out on top in this scenario, i.e. with no S&E lag. However, depending on exact run times and percentage of CS runs finished with XP shrine, CS would be something worth considering for some builds especially in terms of drops.

    But when accounting for that S&E issue, it's a very different story.

    Assuming for example the S&E delay slowing down Nihl runs to ~25s with the same character as above, P1/P7 runs would already break even at ~60s. Again assuming ~75s CS runs, when accounting for XP shrines the equivalent of 60s CS runs would be reached already if Diablo drops with active XP shrine every other run (the extra 50% XP every other run resulting in the equivalent of ~62s CS runs on average). Again I haven't really tried to roll a great shrine map, so I don't know exactly what it can deliver, but I can imagine that this is not too unrealistic.

    These are rough hypotheticals of course. Don't know whether 75s CS runs is a reasonable expection in the long run. Also these numbers do not take into account XP from seal bosses (which are never affected by XP shrines), nor XP shrines at Nihl. But these have way less of an impact than for CS/Diablo. It also does not take into account unbreakable immune rolls for either target, though I don't think they change things drastically either.

    But generally, in particular when experiencing that S&E issue at Nihl and when running a build that can run both Nihl and CS reasonably efficiently, the decision of what to run should probably be based on CS being tested with a very good shrine map in any case.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2018
    T72on1 and PhineasB like this.
  19. Yng

    Yng IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2017
    Messages:
    498
    Likes Received:
    753
    Trophy Points:
    151
    IMO rolling maps with shrines is important for P1 Seals/P7 Diablo. You can easily roll one with 2 shrines near WP and two within CS. Even better if you can get one of those with 1-2 areas in Act 1 with another 1-2 shrines near WP for each since Diablo takes so long to spawn you don’t really waste time checking them. My map has 2 shrines near CS WP, 1-2 in CS (varies because sometimes one spawns as health), 2 right by Black Marsh, and one near CP.

    E: Pretty sure seal bosses get the bonus from XP shrines also?

    Also 75 seconds seems manageable for Blizz.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2018
  20. ffs

    ffs IncGamers Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2017
    Messages:
    1,446
    Likes Received:
    2,676
    Trophy Points:
    188
    @Yng Don't know what you thought was detrimental, but by a good shrine map I meant pretty much what you're describing, only I'm not sure what a really great shrine map is capable of. As in: What can be considered a very high but actually obtainable number of shrines both in RoF/CS and in A1 (close enough to WPs to check during Diablo's spawning time). I was just saying in case of such similar efficiency for both targets, in particular when having that S&E delay, the number of shrines can be decisive as to whether CS or Nihl should be run for 98-99.

    Of course seal bosses technically get bonus from XP shrines :) but for P1/P7 you don't kill them with XP shrine since you grab the shrines after seals are cleared. As to run times necessary, these depend on Nihl times also, so every case is different. Haven't tested for Blizzy. @Pb_pal went with Nihl for 98-99 with his Blizzy though (with respec to Blova) and I'd assume he compared it thoroughly to CS, don't know about his numbers or how close it was though.
     

Share This Page