Freyas FA guide(again) Well, it appears as though my guide got corrupted along with everything else, and I was foolish enough to not save my final copy. I've got an old draft which I've brought out and updated with what I remembered including previously, but I've probably forgotten a couple things. If anybody notices anything incorrect or missing, just let me know and I'll try to fix it. This guide is for making a build based around the Freezing Arrow skill, though the information included should be helpful for anybody intending to use the skill as part of a build. Freezing Arrow(FA) is very effective against crowds, especially if you can get them tightly packed. The skill itself will do around 1000 cold splash damage with both FA and the cold arrow synergy maxed, and with +4 skills on(what I have on my current amazon using it), it does about 1300 splash damage. The damage goes up considerably with more +skills, so equipment to raise your skill level higher will help out considerably. This splash damage hits everything within a 3.3 yard radius, and does both the cold damage from the skill as well as cold damage on your equipment/charms throughout the radius. The cold damage always hits, as well, so attack rating doesn't help out with this. The arrow itself will do the physical damage of a normal attack, but will only deal damage to those monsters that are actually hit by the arrow, and does rely on attack rating. Mana leech only works with physical attacks, so if you're using mana leech to keep your mana full, you will need a fair amount of attack rating. However, the good news is that FA provides a large boost to AR, 211% at level 20, and this bonus also increases with +skills. Physical damage, as well as fire/lighting/poison damage are not spread through the blast radius, and neither are special effects such as hit blinds target, crushing blow, open wounds, or prevent monster heal. % chance to cast a spell on striking will also not trigger from the splash damage, only from monsters hit by the arrow itself. The three most important things for FA damage are: pierce, increased attack speed, and +skills. Pierce is essential. Hitting 5 things with an FA that doesn't pierce will kill things slowly with a high-level FA. Just piercing and hitting a second thing will hit those 5 monsters twice per FA, doubling your damage to all 5 things. As you get bigger groups with more hits and more things in the splash radius, pierce gets even better. In a situation with 5 tightly-packed monsters(grouped around a decoy/valk, or in a hallway, a FA without pierce may hit all 5 of these monsters, doing 5000 cold damage overall(with around level 20 FA + cold synergy). If you pierce the first monster and hit a second, then you will hit all 5 monsters with the splash damage twice, giving you 10,000 cold damage in that attack. You can usually get far more than 5 monsters per splash, and with a high pierce %, you should pierce and hit more than once or twice. As you can see, if you get larger packs together, piercing will increase your damage immensely. IAS is also important, mainly by looking at how much you need to hit a certain breakpoint. I'd recommend 8 or 9 frames per attack depending on the speed of your bow, and how much more IAS you need to bring it to the next breakpoint. Having a faster attack speed will let you fire off more FA's in the same amount of time, which will usually outdamage having an extra skillpoint or two. A faster bow with lower physical damage can easily outdamage a larger, slower bow when using FA. +skills also can greatly increase the damage on FA, with the damage going up 33% between level 20 and level 24. The difference gets even higher with more +skills, though +skills will not do as much for increasing your damage as a faster attack speed or piercing. If you are relying solely on your pierce skill for your piercing, however, adding +skills may increase your piercing as well as your cold damage and attack rating. Freezing arrow has two synergies. The first, cold arrow, is very helpful, giving your FA an extra 12% damage per skill point invested. With a level 20 cold arrow, this comes out to 240% increased cold damage. Cold arrow also converts 2% of your physical damage to cold damage per skill level, which can be useful against high-hitpoint physically immune bosses where FA can be weak due to it's high mana cost. The second synergy, ice arrow, is not worth spending points in for the synergy it provides FA. It gives +5% freeze duration to your Freezing arrow per skill point, which after 20 points will increase your freeze duration by two seconds. I will explain in a minute why this isn't helpful. Ice arrow can still be useful for a lower mana-cost skill which can freeze enemies in place, however. Freezing: The freeze duration of FA is set to two seconds, and can be increased in two ways. The first is the ice arrow synergy which will increase the duration by 2 seconds with 20 points. The other way to increase the duration is by having cold damage on your gear and/or charms. Charms are a very popular method, with each cold damage modifier adding one second. For instance, a small charm of the glacier will add one second onto your freeze duration. A snowy small charm of the glacier will add two seconds since both the snowy prefix and glacier suffix add cold damage. Set and unique items that add cold damage add a specific freeze duration depending on the item. Some of these durations are posted in the items database at diabloii.net, though some are missing. However, the Arreat Summit gives the freeze durations for all these items, so if you're wondering how much an item adds, you can look it up there. Some popular uniques are: buriza(8 seconds), eye of etlich(4-10 seconds), ravenfrost(4 seconds), and frostburns(4 seconds). As you can see, one small charm can increase your freeze duration as much as 20 points in ice arrow. The actual time that a monster stays frozen takes into effect three factors: your total freeze duration, it's cold resistance, and difficulty level. A monster in normal difficulty with 0% cold resist will be frozen for your entire duration. However, monsters get reduced freeze duration at the same percentage as their cold resistance. If you have a 10 second freeze duration and hit a monster with a 20% cold resist in normal difficulty, they will only be frozen for 8 seconds. Freeze duration is also reduced to 1/2 in Nightmare difficulty, and 1/4 in Hell difficulty. In the example above, the monster would be frozen for 4 seconds in Nightmare difficulty, and 2 seconds in Hell. Some monsters also have cannot be frozen: specifically boss/champion monsters, cold immune monsters,and some frenzytaurs and defiler-class monsters(and possibly a couple others I can't recall) in act5 hell. There are two different ways to build a character around Freezing Arrow. The first is a vampiric build, where you depend on a high-damage bow plus mana leech to sustain firing of FA. The second is to build a mageazon, who depends on lots of mana and mana regen to regenerate your mana fast enough to sustain using the skill. Equipment/stat point suggestions: Vamp: You will maintain your mana through mana leech, requiring a high-damage bow with a good amount of mana leech. Good bows here would be Lycanders, upgraded WWS, or anything with bigger damage(elites, etc). Lots of mana leech- look for probably at least 15-20% minimum to be able to break even against most things in hell. Any bows smaller than these will require a lot of mana leech, though it could probably be managed with other bows such as magewrath, or even kuko with good enough equipment. If you have less leech, a reasonable mana pool will let you get by just using potions, which you'll have to do with skeletons and physical immunes anyhow. Using a lower-mana cost skill such as strafe between FA's can also help keep your mana high. Mage: lots of mana, and +mana regen stuff helps out as well. Your bow is less important: this might be a good route to go with a wizendraw for the -resists, or else any bow with lots of +skills. Good gear you'd probably want for this build would be soj's, frosties, silkweaves, glooms trap, and pretty much anything else with a lot of +mana. Get enough mana through these and points in energy until you can cast FA nonstop, or pretty close to it. The advantage here is that it's pretty easy to rack up +skills along with the mana, boosting your damage nicely. The downside is that you'll have poor physical damage, requiring you to depend on your minions to deal with cold immunes, and you'll probably be more equipment dependant than a vampiric build. stats for both: str: enough for equipment dex: extra points for a vamp go here, mage: just enough for equipment vit: as much as possible, I wouldn't recommend any less than 100 nrg: vamp: enough to have a decent mana pool for non-leechable things mage: as much as you need to keep up with casting FA Equipment that I'd strongly suggest: razortail: 33% pierce can easily give you max pierce with just a few points in pierce. With a razortail, 8 skill points will give you 98% chance to pierce, and 9 skill points will put you to 100%. If you use a bow that gives piercing attack(i.e. Kuko, Buriza) then you won't need this. If you don't want to use this belt or can't get one, then I'd recommend maxing pierce, or at least investing as many points as possible. eye of etlich: This amulet looks kinda mediocre compared to some of the alternatives, and can be outshone by some, but the great benefit of it for this build is hidden. A good eye of etlich will give you a very nice boost to your freeze length(4-10 seconds), and the leech and +skills are added gravy. A nice +skills amulet with resists and other good stats could be better, but an eye of etlich is hard to beat. Ravenfrosts: These rings give you +4 seconds freeze duration as well as cold damage and a nice boost to your dexterity for damage and attack rating. Cannot be frozen is also a very useful mod that I recommend getting somewhere even if you don't use a ravenfrost. The M'avina's set is also a good choice for FA, if you can complete the set. The gloves give you a lot of cold damage, which is spread through the splash, and also give you a large freeze duration. They also give you - to enemy cold resists if you have the whole set. The set will also give you a good amount of +skills, and good resistances. However, it is a hard set to complete, and you can easily be successful without it. For your final outfit, you should make sure that you have the needed IAS for whatever breakpoint you decide on. Try and either use razortail or a bow with piercing attack to get your overall pierce to 100%. After this, try and get good resists, good +skills, and either lots of mana leech or lots of +mana/mana regen depending on your build. Skills to compliment FA: Strafe/Multi: Both of these skills work pretty well in 1.10, though you need a good bow. If you're using a vamp mageazon build, either of these should work for killing cold immunes. I personally like strafe, since 1 point with +skills should take you up to a full max compliment of arrows, and you'll get guided as a prereq which should do fine on single targets. With your high mana leech for FA, the mana cost on a level 1 guided shouldn't cause many problems. Multi requires a few more skill points, though it should work fine around level 8-10 for what you'd need for this build. You'd still need to have a different option like guided for single targets. Exploding/Immo arrow: You probably won't have enough skill points to do much in synergizing the fire skills as well as the cold ones, but if you are building a mageazon, these can work okay with your leftover skill points so you can help out your valk/merc kill cold immune things. With +skills, and especially if you have a kuko as your main weapon or on switch, you should be able to deal pretty decent fire damage to cold immune things. These skills can still be effective with a 10/10/20 or 10/20/10 skill distribution between fire/exploding/immo arrow skills, depending on if you want to use immo or exploding arrow as your main attack. I haven't played around too much with these skills, so you may find better recommendations elsewhere for skill allocations here. Valkyrie: A high level valkyrie is very useful, both as a target for monsters to swarm, as well as an aid for boss killing and cold immune monsters. Two skill levels to aim for in a valk are level 8 where she gains a lance, and level 17 where she gets a war pike. FA should be able to keep your valkyrie alive nicely except against swarms of cold-immunes or nasty boss packs. However, these are the situations where you really need a good tank, so I would recommend putting as many points here as you can afford. However, at around level 17, she should be able to live through most anything, and even in really nasty situations, give you some time to attack before having to recast her. Mercenary recommendations: I would recommend using an act2 mercenary, though a barbarian merc could also be used. For a vampiric build, a blessed aim(act2norm/hell offensive) mercenary will help out in helping you hit more, or a might merc(act2NM offensive) will help you do more damage when you hit. Both of these will increase your mana leech, and should help out with whatever other skill(s) you choose to use. For a mage build, I'd recommend a defiance(act2norm/hell defensive) or a prayer(act2norm/hell combat) for their increased survivability, as well as their aid to your valkyrie. However, a barbarian merc can also be effective as a tank, or if you are content with just a valkyrie and decoy as a meat shield, an act1 or act3 mercenary could be used to help deal damage in other elements. Tactics: Make use of your decoy. Use her to scout, break up nasty crowds, or even block doorways. Your decoy should help keep your merc and valk alive, and when you use her to scout, you can see what's coming up, and everything tends to clump up around your decoy, crowding them together so that you hit lots of things with your FA splashes. Try and get things in small to medium sized crowds, or lined up in a tight space. FA won't hit everything if you have too large of crowds, leaving things free to swarm around in front of who you have frozen, and free to attack you or your minions. On the other hand, without lots of monsters, FA loses its biggest advantages. FA works best when you have lots of things really close together, so you pierce and hit more things, and the splash damage hits a lot of enemies every time you pierce. It can actually be worthwhile to let things unfreeze for a minute to let them group up if you have a group that's loosely packed or with lots of stragglers. After using the skill for a while, you should get a good idea of how large of groups you can handle easily. Probable problem spots for playing solo(hell difficulty): Early act1: LOTS of cold immunes, the worst are probably the rogues with their speed. The archers are extremely dangerous, and some can be immune to cold(depending on which area they are in). Act3 Jungles: most people probably won't be affected here, and it really depends on what spawns. However, the melee flayers are cold immune, and the bramble hulks are cold immune, and boss packs can usually tear apart your merc and valk quickly once they get frenzied up. Act5: mostly indoor areas- depends on what spawns. Gloams are always dangerous, especially with bowazons who can have problems getting max resists without a shield. Frenzytaurs are also a big danger, having cannot be frozen, and huge damage to take out your minions. The ice caves tend to have a lot of cold immunes in them, so you might not want to linger too much there.