Druid Suicide Windy PvM guide Well, here it is folks, i did my best to streamline all the stuff i had written and get it down in an organized fashion. Hope you enjoy it! Well, this is the basics I have down, comments and critiques are appreciated. This is my version of the windy, and the playstyle I use I refer to as the â€œSuicide Windyâ€. When played, itâ€™s a blast, and a serious adrenaline pump in hardcoreâ€¦no need to do PvP for the adrenaline rush anymore . My goal with this guide was to lay down the basics, and provide a leveling strategy and an approach to tactics that I have used in my druids. For a quick history, I have played D2 for many years, taking a year and a half break and recently coming back to D2 with the news of D3 on the horizon. This is a collected works of information and notes I took down during my playtime on the previous ladder, and currently leveling 2 druids on the new ladder as well. In season 4, I had more then 4 druids at one time in softcore, and 2 in hardcore. Iâ€™ve leveled naked (only drops and farms), and seriously twinked. Iâ€™ve soloâ€™ed hell baal in softcore and hardcore with this build, and was working on ubers when I took a break from the game. For anyone looking for a fun and challenging but adaptable build this is it. A quick note: Fenris really covered some great ground in his guide, while I may go over some similar material, Iâ€™m going to try and avoid it as much as possible, so please use his guide as a baseline reference on skill descriptions and gear suggestions. Ill briefly discuss how to acquire easy gear and what stats to look for though. Plus ill be short on the general education, im assuming most peeps are looking for the guts on how this is different then fenrisâ€™ approach PvP wise, and you can use his excellent guide for a reference to the basics. Terminology Ca â€“ Cyclone armor Hn â€“ Hurricane Tn - Tornado Proâ€™s and Conâ€™s Proâ€™s : Not melee dependant â€“ A windy is not dependant on melee damage, thus many areas in hell where melee toons are hurting (chaos sanctuary as an example), windys shine. However, they do have access to a key advantage only usually available to melee toons : physical damage source. Being able to do physical damage, yet not have to hit the mobs to do it is a potent combination. Highly resistant â€“ unlike every other class in the game, windys have a guaranteed full resist to all elemental damageâ€¦thus you donâ€™t have to gear for resists AT ALL. Damage scales â€“ unlike, say a hammerdin pally or a WW barb, windy druids have a true AOE skill, so for Every extra mob in its radius, its effective damage increases. 2 mobs in Hn, does twice the damage. 3 mobs, 3x the damage. 2 Damage sources â€“ windyâ€™s have 2 damage sources, one of them very viable in hell, physical damage. Thus they donâ€™t run into the same problem singular damage type toons have (light sorc, as an example). And they donâ€™t have to spread their points in-between 2 trees to maximize their synergies for these 2 elements. All in one tree. Conâ€™s: They have cons? JK, of course, but IMO they are few. No poison resistance â€“ due to the nature of the windy design, their poison resistance is very low because they donâ€™t stack rez, and Ca does not protect against poison. As a result, they often have to balance this out with poison rez on items/charms, or stick it out. This was my biggest barrier on uber organ farming. High maintenance â€“ because of their approach to combat, a windyâ€™s survival is based on maintaining spells, rather then spamming them. A meteorb, as an example, will survive by tele and spamming orbs as fast as they can. A druid may spam Tnâ€™s, but usually will place them carefully. His greatest damage and defense comes from making sure all his spells are upâ€¦cyclone armor, Hn, summons. A sorc goes with SPAMMING spells, while a windy is all about MAINTAINING spells. More focus â€“ Iâ€™ve found that a windy, especially a suicide windy, needs much more focus on the activity and kinds of mobs that are out there then other then other classes. He also needs to watch his summons, place them appropriately, and watch timers on spells. When this is done correctly though, a windy is a force to be reckoned with. Skill breakdown Elemental â€“ 1 Arctic Blast (filler) 20 Cyclone armor 20 Twister 20 Tornado 20 Hurricane Summons â€“ 1 Ravens 1 Poison Creeper 1 Spirit Wolf 1 Carrion Vine 1 Heart of the Oak 1 Dire wolf 20 Grizzly Bear There may be minor variations to this, but this is the essential skill breakdown. If you notice, this is only 107 pts, rather then the 110 total you should have available. Grizzly is usually my last to max out, and since most of us probably wont see higher then 90, its reasonable to see this list maxed, with grizzly possibly sitting around 15-19pts unbuffed. Se the leveling section for when and where. Leveling process, and Tactics of play Low Levels (1-15) When you first start out, your really nothing more then a glorified barbarian with none of the cool moves he has. What we DO have in their place is summons, and this is where youâ€™ll place your first points. Only 1 in each tho, as the only one youâ€™ll max out (much later) is grizzly. So 1 pt in ravens, spirit wolf, poison creeper, and eventually dire wolf and carrion vine. I highly recommend you find a decent pelt as quickly as possible. My most recent druid got a white pelt with 2 to spirit wolf and 1 to poison creeper. This lasted me until I was able to acquire a jalalâ€™s. You could sub out a more general +skill helm, the runeword Lore is an excellent example. But some pelts are just hard to beatâ€¦I had a full deck of summons from a single point in each. Pick up every pelt you can find and compare, if they arenâ€™t worth it they sell for big bucks too, thereâ€™s your money source. Once you hit lvl 6, the elemental skills open up for you. This is where most your points will go. However, 1 pt only in arctic blastâ€¦I never use it and its only a filler in this build. But once you hit cyclone armor, 1 pt per level and donâ€™t look back. Any extra points you havenâ€™t spent will be used up as you add summons during levelingâ€¦i.e. once you hit lvl 18 1 pt in dire wolf and twister, then back to elemental skills. As I said earlier, until you hit the mid 30â€™s and 40, your going to basically be a melee toon. So make sure you keep your armor and weapons upgraded with the best available for damage. Sigons is a good general set for this, as it actually gives you a +skill pretty early, which can help with summons, 2 ravens and spirit wolves with a single point per makes a big difference when fighting mobs. If this is your first toon, and gear selection is low, you may want to spend some time running tristram and the act 1 boss multiple times to grab a few extra drops. Look for bonuses that boost your melee damage at this level, but donâ€™t turn aside +skill or +mana Low levels (16-30) Right around now is when you start to get the nicer elemental skills, starting with cyclone armor, which really helps in act 2 with the lightning bugs. Although at this stage you wont really be using your casting skills, instead relying still on melee damage and summons. At this point you should go pick up a merc from act 2â€¦which one isnâ€™t too critical as you can always replace later. Get him the best generic polearm and armor you can buy, and upgrade later with quality stuff as you find/trade for it. The key here is heâ€™s a melee toonâ€¦as you start to use casting skills youâ€™ll want to stay out of melee as much as possible. Once you hit the mid 20â€™s the casting skills will become more realistic, but will rob you of manaâ€¦I usually donâ€™t really start using them till Iâ€™m in my mid-30â€™s, and even then its still a mana thief. This changes a great deal as you walk through nightmare, so donâ€™t worry too much right now. Throw out tornadoes as you canâ€¦twister is pretty much a wasted skill, but works well for the occasional stunning of a mob (though brief), but damage is sub-par until you start giving it synergies, but by that time tornado is better anyways. So use your casting skills as you deem fit, but watch out for mana consumption. Summons are still more important to keep up at this level. Itâ€™s a toss up as to whether you use 1h and shield or 2h weapon. One distinct advantage of druids is they have real odd weapon skill ratingsâ€¦weapons that are normally slow for other classes are fast for druids. Pick up a polearm and youâ€™ll be surprised at how fast you can swing with it. So itâ€™s personal pref hereâ€¦if your solo or this is first toon, just use whatever will give you the most damage, and stats secondary. Mid levels (40-50) Once you hit your mid 30â€™s and progress into your 40â€™s, this is where the strengths of the windy start to show. Your mana consumption is getting more efficient, and with the addition of better gear skills start to improve as well. Up until you hit 30 and get grizzly your choice of summons doesnâ€™t matter too much, though oak sage and spirit wolf, combined with ravens and carrion vine, are good ones to have. Once you get grizzly, however, drop wolfs. The bear is an excellent tank, holds aggro on all the mobs, and is your first line of defense, better then your merc. Seriously. Its re-castable, and mobs will always head to your summons before you. Grizzly is what kept me alive when I was soloing hell baal. At high lvls, the bear has insane life and defense, and stuns mobs, This is all good, and works towards the ultimate goal of the sucide windy: keep the mobs on the defensive. On another note, tho, may folks love Dire wolves. There advantages would be more crowd control simply due to the fact that you have 3 of them rather then 1 grizzly, Plus their damage is superior to grizzly, and increases when they consume corpses. This is a slightly different approach then what I do, and it may change your choice of mercs (damage aura rather then freeze aura). So try out what you preferâ€¦I find the once you start to put your extra points in grizzly he start to become a serious tank that the dire wolves can never be, but use what you prefer. Once you get Hn at 30, put a few points into it and then focus on maxing its synergies, especially cyclone armor. Although its nice to have it do more damage, duration is king here. Itâ€™s a huge mana hog, and the longer it lasts in-between casts, the better it is. Besides, your tornadoâ€™s will get damage increases from cyclone armor increase as well (I love synergies!). Hn needs ot be up at ALL TIMES, especially during a fight. The key to survival with a suicide windy is in keeping the mobs on the defensive (hit lock/slow), and if your Hn goes down you will be amazed at how quickly you will go down trust me, ive done it many times in hardcore, its not worth it. Max ur cyclone armor first once you have a few points into Hn (3-4 or so) then you can work on Hn and Tn alternatively until their maxed. Once thatâ€™s done, its up to you whether you lvl grizzly or twister. You wont use twisters, so their only a synergy skill, but should be maxed as they affect all your others. I usually put a decent amount of points into grizzly (8-10, depending on ur +skills), and then finish maxing out twister, then go back to grizzly. Alternatively, you can add points into both Hn and Ca, uping both the time and base damage. I wont go past 10 pts on Hn though, until your Ca is maxed. Ca is both a synergy to Hn for duration, and your chief means of defense against elemental attacks, one of the nicer things about a windyâ€¦.you donâ€™t need resistances at all. This is also where your hurricane and tornado become your primary attack modes. Get some good practice in while your walking nightmare with kiting groups of mobs, spamming Tn, and using the stunlock abilities of both to keep the mobs off of you. Youâ€™ll want to be familiar with your range and how Hn affects the mobs, cause you have less reaction time in hell, so you want the range of Hn and the slightly random travels paths of Tn to be second nature here. The key with Tn is not to be targeting mobs, but to use a sweeping pattern at the edges of the screen. Iâ€™m not sure if this is hard fact, but on all my druids Iâ€™ve found that the farther away the cursor is when you click for Tn, the tighter itâ€™s path becomes. Rather then targeting the mobs, try targeting behind them, and sweep back and forth a little as you hold down the button. A few Tnâ€™s will get off, travel a more straight path, and usually hit the mobs multiple times. Due to the erratic path of Tnâ€™s, they have a good chance of hitting mobs more then once as they travel past. Just remember, the key is to not click ON the mob but past them, the closer to the edge of the screen the better. On my suicide fights I follow a similar pattern, but a little different. Run to the center of the mob and spam Tnâ€™s, using a smaller circle sweep a little ways outside of the group of mobs, and moderate the pace to adjust for Tnâ€™s, you want them basically fanning out in an even pattern to hit all the mobs. Sounds hard, but once you get the hang of it, itâ€™s a blast. In this situation you actually WANT the random pattern of the Tnâ€™s to be more pronounced. You hit more mobs that way, and more mobs get hit more often with the same Tn. Itâ€™s a huge adrenaline rush to jump into a pack of mobs and spam Tnâ€™s while Hn is up, especially in Hardcore mode. This is where high block rating comes in. If you have access to enigma, teleporting into a pack of mobs is a blast, but without block it can be nasty. Rememberâ€¦a hit recovery from block is ALWAYS faster then recovering form a non-blocked hit. I know that many debates run back and forth about which is better, vit or block. But seriously, I have leveled 2 druids in hardcore all the way to act5 hell, and used this method. I obviously survived, and I commonly teleâ€™d into mob packs. You just have to know your mobs, and what kind of damage they do. Teleporting works extremely well in these situations, so if you have access to something that allows you to teleport, use it. When you tele, all your summons and merc appear RIGHT ON TOP OF YOU. Suddenly, in the middle of a pack of mobs, you and 5 or more summons, including your merc, pop up right in the middle. The summons give you a meat shield of sorts, and a few extra seconds to respond with Tnâ€™s before the mobs start wailing. If your not as gusty as that (cmon, in softcore why not ), you can practice kiting. Circle around the mobs, using the edge of your Hn to slow them down. Its not as efficient and fast as the suicide method, but it works, and gives you good practice on using the radius of your Hn to achieve results. Suicide really is best tho, and I have used it on multiple toons as early as the mid 30â€™s with success. Remember, Hn is an AOE style attack, which means its real damage output scales additively with each mob in the exposure area. In this way its better then the pallys hammers, but due to the fact that its centered on the druid, you have to be in the thick of things. So max ur block, block, block. It doesnâ€™t need to be maxed right away..i usually boost str and dex until there both at a level that allows me to use the weaposn I need/want/plan for, then I work on stamina and dex until dex is a reasonable level for block, and once max block is achieved, rest go into stamina. High levels (60-80) This trend continues. Your goal with skill points is to max out elemental synergies. Plus, at this level, gear should really start coming in. Windyâ€™s are very hardy toons, they can work fine on lower lvls of gear, but they shine with +skills, the more the better. This is where all that time you spent farming in nightmare come in handy. You can get the runes for a dual spirit relatively easy, and those are both excellent to carry well into hell. But watch for the max block issue hereâ€¦once you hit hell it really become critical, and its usually better to sacrifice the +skills on a spirit or other +skill shield for one with a high block, such as mosers (I love Mosers, my highest hardcore windy used it solely until I got a stormshield. I almost think mosers is better, simply due to the lower lvl and stat reqâ€™s, but a SS is hard to pass up) Rather, get your +skills from other itemsâ€¦charms, belts, gloves, headgear, whatever. Jalalâ€™s mane is my favorite. cheap to get, outperforms anything else in its category for druids. Get one asap, there usually purchasable for pgems. Yes, Harlequinn has more general +skills, and if you min/maxing then it synergizes well with other things, but on a new ladder, or if your single mode, Jalalâ€™s will be more viable, and reachable far earlier on. You can most likely get a jalalâ€™s shortly after you hit its level req, but im sure you will be farming and trading for ages to get a shako. Wait for one to fall in your lapâ€¦until then go for jalalâ€™s (that and I think druids look much better with a mane then a silly cap ) At this point whatever gives you the +skills go for, as long as it doesnâ€™t gimp your other stats too harshly. As in most builds, your mana should come from items, not points. Same with health. If you have to make a choice between investing a point in Dex or Vit, go Dex. There are far more items the give HP and Vit then there are tha give Dex, so its always better to spend points on Dex as long as you are still UNDER BLOCK CAP. The key is knowing how much you will eventually need for max block. The dex needed for max block on SS is 225, so this is a good number to shoot for. Stats STR: Personally, im not a min/max kind of personâ€¦I tend to go more for the survival approachâ€¦set your skills up so you donâ€™t have to depend on items to get you what you need. So a 55 str isnâ€™t what your looking forâ€¦that requires a lot of gear to be set up correctly. Iâ€™ve found 110 to be a good number to shoot for, and the sooner the better. That allows you to equip most items you need, and many of those items will have a str bonus on them, usually boosting you above the mark where you need to be for SS. SS requires 156 str, so if your going for ultimate survival, thatâ€™s your mark. But those extra points can be spent on dex, increasing your max block. But again, my hardcore druid survived on a mosers, so donâ€™t think you need uber gear just to make it in hell. DEX: As I mentioned above, max block. Max block. Max block. Some peeps suggest you only need this for PvP and suggest higher Vit. But then again, most peeps arenâ€™t going to run into the middle of a pack of lightning gloams in hell and spam Tnâ€™s and cyclone armor continuously. Or the middle of baals minions of destruction. Block is king here. Plus, even if you went max Vit, a hit without block creates a much larger hit recovery time then a block doesâ€¦more hit recovery = less tnâ€™s spamming = less monster dying = more hits on youâ€¦.you can see my point. In stat progression, youâ€™ll want to start off with pushing str and dex to levels to allow you to use a decent weapon/armor. I usually go with 60 str as a baseâ€¦you need at least 60 for sigons gloves, and with the str boost on the gloves you can wear the rest the armor. Dex and vitality I usually alternate after that, unless you have a weapon you need dex for, such as a polearm. If your going sword and shield initially (as if you have the complete sigons set, or at least want to use the shield for the +skill), then dex isnâ€™t as important at first. I susualy go str to 60(or 70), then alternate dex and vit until their both over 100 or so, then back to str until 110 or so, then I put 3 into dex and 2 into vitality. Once you start to see gear coming in you may want to focus on one or the other, i.e. dex if you have a shield you want to max block out on, or str if you finally get a nice SS or monarch shield of whatever. Maintaining spells A Sucide windy is all about maintenance. Iâ€™ve said this a dozen times, and it still bears repeating. DO NOT let your spell set go down. If Hn drops during a fight, your pretty much dead, especially if you teleâ€™d into a pack of mobs. Hn is best refreshed in-between mob packs. Cyclone armor, well, you tend to build a rhythm with it, and know how long its going to last with certain mob types. If im in the middle of a pack of zombies, im not too worried. If im in the middle of a pack of ghosts in act 3 in hell, im spamming it almost as much as Iâ€™m spamming Tnâ€™s. there is never a time when you can overspam cyclone armor...ever. there are times when its not as necessary, but id rather eat a mana pot and keep my cyclone armor up then conserve mana and bite it. The harshest areas Iâ€™ve found are in hell where you have the gloams. Their lightning can easily ruin your cyclone armor. If I start to hear the dreaded whisper or see the lightning start to play, I spam Ca and run as fast as possible into the middle of them. Screw anything else in the area, donâ€™t care, kill gloams fast. Key note: in situations like this, its often better if you have hard time juggling spells to focus more on keeping Ca up. You will never bite it if you keep Ca up amidst gloams, and there health is lwo enough that your Hn can take them down quick. If you can get off an occasional Tn, great. But the times I die on these guys is when I try to get out Tnâ€™s too much, and my Ca goes down. Summons These are often underused by many windyâ€™s. the key is not to wait until there expired before re-casting. You will often not have to worry about it, but once you hit hell your grizzly is your prime distraction for mob packs. Cast him into a pack, wait a second for him to grab agro, spam away. Cast him where thereâ€™s a pack of archers (though ravens can be better for this) if you unsure whatâ€™s around a corner, cast him up there, wait for the soundsâ€¦use the walls to your advantage. He is you mobile recon unit. If the grizzlyâ€™s your mobile recon, ravens are your scouts. They donâ€™t take any damage, and at higher levels blind frequently enough to be a real asset, especially with ranged attackers. If your in a group of mele mobs and suddenly archers appear around the bend, re-cast your ravens up there. They will keep most the archers busy until you can reach them with grizzly and merc in hand. Oak sage? Nice guy, gives you a nice health boost, and dies about as often as your cyclone armor does ?. I recast him more often then any summon, almost as much as my Hn. But with 1 pt + skill bonuses from items, hes worth having around. HoW is a waste of time. Though your summons are nice, and at early levels are a prime damage source then, but once you are high enough to use it to its max effect, your summons are really just distractions and meat tanks. 1 pt in Oak is enough. Wolves â€“ some folks really like their wolves. Personally, Iâ€™ve never had them be a real advantage in hell. They die far to quickly, and arenâ€™t anywhere near the sturdiness of the bear. Remember, at higher levels they are not the damage sourceâ€¦you are. The bear is a tank, and has a nice stun effect that aids in your overall strategy. Mer â€“ Um yeah , dur. Of course ?. Everyone has a merc. My pref is act 2 nightmare defensive. The holy freeze aura aids greatly in slowing down mobs. There in your Hn more, and take more damage, and there easier to control. Other options are Offensive Hell for the might aura to pump up your damage from summons (but we covered this aboveâ€¦their meat tanks). Another option is act5 barbs, nice damage and excellent health, with a different assortment of weapons available. I tend to rely on my summons more then my merc for my controllable meat tanks, so I usually prefer the act2 holy freeze for the crowd control. If you have a good bow act 1 is a possible option, but again, the freez has always been such a key advantage I nvr dug too deep into this. Gear This is one of the strengths of the Windy. In PvM there is little dependency on gear, though as with any class higher lvls of gear equates directly to better performance. But a windy can survive in Hell on found/traded gear as well as anyone. I would suggest, however, that if you have the option of using the trade avenues please do soâ€¦there is no reason why you shouldnâ€™t be able to get decent gear for your windy relatively easily. The key is utilizing your farming options. Well talk more of this later. One of the things you wont have to worry about is resistance. Ca is more effective then resistance, as long as you keep it up (see maintenance). Ca is zero resistance, so any abilities that affect resistance (such as a sorcâ€™s cold mastry) do not affect Ca. it simply absorbs â€˜Xâ€™ amount of elemental damage, period. It doesnâ€™t matter if your resists are maxed or at 0, it will still absorb the exact same amount of elemental damage, then phail. Due to this, I usually recommend that windys do NOT gear for resists. Since the whole approach is to keep Ca up at all times, resists are just taking up precious itemization points in your gear selection. Any resists already on the gear you plan is fine, but donâ€™t take one piece over another if the biggest factor is resists. There simply not needed. An example of this is mosers. I love the shield, use it on a wide variety of my toons so I usually have one available. But its high resist, and I usually have 2 pdiamonds in it. So I have some resist from that shield, but usually it doesnâ€™t really make a difference in the grand scheme of things. Whistans guard is often overlooked by many due to its lack of resists, but this in itself makes it an excellent windy shield. It block is one of teh highest in the game. I think SS outperforms it due to damage reduction and other buffs, but for the price whistans is hard to beat. The key with gear selection is +skills, vit, and mana return. Since we spend more time maintaining spells, having a huge mana pool isnâ€™t necessary, but it comes in handy. I have used an insight before with my windyâ€™s, but have leveled without as well. Excessive mana regen simply is not needed. My current windy is walking nightmare easily with no more mana regen then whats on his armor (skin of the vipermagi). Its only a small mana return per kill, but your Hn kills LOTS of monsters at a time with almost NO mana investement. The mana only seriously drops when your fighting a boss or single elites. I want to make a quick note of leveling gear: most gear you can get by fine with, they key stats you look for are the saem kinds of stats your look for on a sorcâ€¦+skills, mana, vitality, fastcast. Melee oriented stats dont do you any good except for the initial leveling stages (1-30). Possibly mid 30â€™s If your a die hard single player vanilla style of play, but once you hit nightmare your farming options open up. Thereâ€™s plenty of solid leveling gear and runewords that are underestimated by the community as a whole due to the â€˜uberâ€™ gear such as enigma/Hoto/spirit etc. Stealth as an example is an excellent armor to use once you hit your casting phase. Spirit of course is the all around best leveling weapon to use, and an excellent end game if you have no other. But most peeps forget items such as islestrike. Its stats suck for casters except for the +skills and +stats. No reason why you cant use it as an in-between until spirit or something better comes along. The +skills are what make it kingâ€¦it also work well for the occasional melee attack. Yes, I know, its gutter drood gearâ€¦but if your only other option is a melee weapon, you might as well pick up a melee weapon with +skills on it Thereâ€™s not much to say on high end gearâ€¦Hit fenrisâ€™ guide on PvP and the gear is pretty much the same. On a new season, though, high end gear is going to be rare, and anything you can get that has higher them mid-lvl runes is most likely duped. Just a fair warningâ€¦I donâ€™t know if id turn away a chance at an enigma, but I wouldnâ€™t be surprised if I hop onto my toon a week later and its mysteriously gone. You have been warned Farming Hereâ€™s the short and skinny. Thereâ€™s no reason why you cant have some decent gear by the time your trekkin mid-way through nightmare. Dedicate a few evenings to countess runs, as an example, will net you a huge amount of lower runes, and a few nice higher ones. You can probably build a few nice runewords from these runs alone (thinking spirit and stealth here). Or farm normal cows for gems(and a decent selection of uniques), and hit the trading scene. Youâ€™d be surprised at how many decent mid-lvl items can be traded for gems. If youâ€™re a serious MFâ€™er, you can prob get a lot of gear this wayâ€¦but a windy druid is not king at MFâ€¦roll a meteorb and have at it. Tele is just too potent for farming of this sort. No, in relation to cow levels and gem farming, I love my windy. And if you can gain access to an enigma, he fits right in to MF just fine. Sorcs are better for this tho. But if this is your first toon, thereâ€™s nothing wrong with MF runs. The same runs that sorcs use are viable for druids, with less worry, as long as your maintaining your spells. Well there you have it. By all means please leave critiques, or other information you would like to see in the guide that I did not provide.