Freezing Fury druid build; Fluent play, Über killing Introduction One year ago I wrote a guide for a cheap druid build who could do Über Tristram alone without dying. One year of extensive play later I realise that build lacked some basic argumentation, namely experience with other gear and other skillpoint placement. With this guide I will try to explain why I used what I used by comparing it with other possibilities. All thanks to the tokens!! My main goal roaming the lands of Diablo II is fluent play, this means the following; - Never ever die (even in Über tristram)! - Be able to kill anything (from clone over ubers to physical immunes). - Be able to use one character for anything (mf, runs, uber,…) - Not have to use tokens to prepare for standard game or uber tristram. - Use gear that doesn’t force me into town after 10 minutes of play. - Be able to spend my gold on gambling rings and amus instead of repairing stuff. Alright, now we know what the purpose was, I can start explaining how I got there. I’ll do this in the following order; - ethics - weaknesses - Skill points - Stat points - Gear - Mercenary Ethics: Maybe a strange chapter but in my opinion an important one. For me Diablo is more then just playing a game. I never experienced anything like it in any other game. Despite its age, it holds the capacity of really exploring and building a character that leans towards who you are. Not that I can transform myself into a wolf of course but you know what I mean. Everyone will have its favourite character with which he or she (have no clue how many girls play this game) has made the trip from normal to Uber. To fully enjoy the road from the first den of evil to the slaughterhouse, to fully grasp what this game can do to you, I recommend playing as following; - Have but one playable character. Use this one character for mf, runs, mad killing sprees,… All other characters in your account are just mules to take over the heavy burden you manage to collect along the way. (Of course you can have more playable characters but what I mean is use them if possible separately (best done on ladder). - Never dupe. Its’ just lame. - Never bot. Botting is being to lazy to play the game yourself. If you are to lazy to play a game, just do something else. Diablo is just all about playing 40+ hours without finding a usable item and then suddenly being hysterical about that one fine drop making you float for at least a day. - Don’t scam other players. I know it can be fun but be serious, its’ just lame. Help each other instead. Simple acts of kindness will bring you much further. - And don’t buy stuff from shops, that just ruins your thrive. Now on to the more down to earth stuff…. Weaknesses: Before mentioning what this build can, maybe something about the weaknesses. Where can you get hurt with this build? While writing this guide and playing Diablo 2, I died. It surprised me, really, I didn’t die in months of play. I realise now there are two kinds of monsters that are really hard to pass by, that’s why I want to give them here a place. The most dangerous foes for this build; - Physical immune Hell temptresses. In packs (and only in packs) they can really blow the life out of you before you can even get to them. - The Vipers in the halls of vaught. When they die they can leave an invisible cloud, don’t step into it, your life will be stripped! So, points where you meat these creatures en masse, are actually harder then UT, yes, they are…. Skill points: Oké, where to put your skillpoints? You want a Fury druid so obvious it goes like this; Shapeskills: - Werewolf: 20 - Lycantrophy: 20 - Feral rage: 1 - Rabies: 1 - Fury: 20 Halt! Now, why this? Why not more in feral rage? I know many players put more points in this preparing themselves for Uber tristram because they want to hit but one target. Sound argument but I tried it and what I experienced is, I hardly used it. Fury does the trick even with hitting the monsters around you, it just does, that’s all I can say after doing it. Feral rage can be nice though for building up life steal. But with one point it’s more then enough, it raises itself with all the extra skillpoints! I got it to 9 just with the +to all skills. For those who want to know; the damage from feral rage doesn’t ad up to fury. It’s just the life steal and the faster run/walk you keep (20sec) . Why nothing in bear? You are making a wolf…. And rabies? It’s a freeze fury not a poison. Elemental skills: Nothing at all. And what about Armageddon? Why not put 20 skillpoints in there, it’s something you can trigger even in wolf form!? I tried it but with all the skillpoints in the shapetree this skill is nothing more then a nice gimmick. Nice to watch indeed, but without building up synergies its useless. Yes you can use the unique thunder maul and have 7 extra skillpoints in elemental but then it’s no freeze build anymore… And besides, casting Armageddon takes time, precious time that could be used to hit, and trust me, a furious melee hit will cause much more damage. Summoning skills: They all die….yes, know this, in Uber tristram it doesn’t matter at all what animal or spirit you take with you, they just die in a blink of an eye. Except the ravens. But in standard play they can be very helpful so lets see…. Raven: 1 Spirit wolf: 1 Dire wolf: 20 (I got it to 19) Oak sage: 20 Why no bear? Like bear? Make one! I like wolves because there are 3, so more buff against monsters. And it’s more fun to watch in my opinion. Why no heart of wolverine? I tried it, but the extra damage you get is just ridiculous. First it adds up to the extra damage from fury and then does the calculus for the damage you deal. Oak sage nearly doubles your life, while wolverine is miles away from adding this to your damage. Why no thorns? I tried it and it just doesn’t do what it’s supposed to. And what’s up with killing by being hit? I want to kill before they hit me! Why no vines? When using the freeze build allot of monsters will shatter into pieces of ice, that means no food for the vines making them nothing but hungry creepy creatures whining around your feet. Stat points: Oké, one (or two) thing(s) will look fishy but stick with me. - Strength: make sure you get to 225 supported by your gear - Dexterity: make sure you get to 109 or 136 supported by your gear - Vitality: the sky is the limit - Energy: pity you can’t take starting points away… So why the high strength? Cause you’ll be using an IK maul…all about it, later on. Why the high dexterity? Cause you’ll want to kill everything and that means a weapon that can lay down physical immunes…all about it soon. Will I have enough life to survive? Yes you have, if I can survive UT without dying, you can to. I had 4500 life (with oak sage + charms and gear), 3000 without oak sage, 2700 or so without charms and around 1000 in human form, That is more than enough! Gear Weapons: primary weapon: What you want is a weapon that has it all, high damage, fast attack, crushing blow speed above all doesn’t force you to spend time and money repairing it. You want it to be a two handed weapon cause one handed does less damage and a shield is just a burden for a fury druid, it interrupts your main attack! And why blocking if you can deal damage? Last but not least, you want a weapon with sockets for some individual modifications. So what you need is…an IK Maul…. Why? - it has nice standard damage (231-318) - It does 200% extra damage to demons and 250% to undead. Knowing that those two groups of monsters together count for most of the monsters in game and the fact that all the bosses are demons, you have a weapon that does massive damage to almost everything. - It has very fast attack speed, just what you need. - It is indestructible! (woohoo, no tedious runs to town!) - It has 35-40 Crushing blow! (With that kind of crushing blow you have enough for Uber Tristram.) - It has two sockets! - And it is one of the cheapest weapons in game! Now, what about the sockets? The name of this build is based on this one specific detail. You can put anything in it, but what works best are 2 CHAM runes. With two of those babies you have freeze target 6. This has an enormous advantage in dealing with packs of monsters surrounding you. Some are slowed, some just stand still and break eventually, so you don’t have to deal the same resurrected minions! It makes a real difference walking around with or without it! I have tried it with one cham and one shael (faster attack speed) but the shael really makes no difference. An extra damage + extra speed jewel is as useless as the shael cause the weapon does enough damage on its own. What you can do is put a CHAM + LO for extra deadly strike….but I prefer the extra freeze. Why no Last Wish? I tried a last wish in a phase blade. Worst hrs ever spend….its just not any good. It deals no damage at all…the ‘prevent monster heal’ and ‘ignore target defends’ do not work in UT. The ‘high crushing blow’ is fine, but dealing with UT, there comes a moment when it works against you, when it keeps on taking 1/8 of the life bar. Combined with practically no damage it does on its own, it takes ages to break the final life…. It has life tap, but you can get that from gloves to, so… The 17 might aura has very little effect on your damage, the damage dealt is 1500 lower then with IK maul (not including the extra damage IK does on demons and undead!). A last wish in a berserker axe will deal more damage I guess but what about repair cost and going to town for repair or stacking up thul runes? No fun in that! What about Beast? You are a beast, so why not choose the runeword suited with what you are? The level 9 fanatism aura sounds fine, it has good speed and crushing blow…all good arguments indeed but I tried it and guess what….I made a beast in a silver edged axe and had to enter town every 15 minutes of play to repair it…really annoying! The standard damage was higher then the IK (about 1000 more) but the IK does 200% and 250% extra damage to most of the monsters so still the IK deals the most damage. And Grief, Is that any good? High damage indeed! But no crushing blow! And repair cost…so I wouldn’t touch it. An EBoTD? It is indestructible has high damage but no crushing blow. The poison nova is fun to watch… Make one and try it out I would say. Should I make a Call to arms or heart of the oak to up my wolf before transforming? Nope! Really don’t spend any runes here, it makes no difference whether you form into a 32 level wolf or 28 level! Even in UT it isn’t noticeable if you up yourself before transforming and casting pets.. All your pets still die and you still live even with lower level wolf. I could sum up much more weapons but I’ll stick with this. IK maul was the only weapon that could convince me, it has all it needs, all the others I used had at least one thing that made it inferior to the maul. So this Ik maul is the reason for the high strength of 225. But as I said, you still have enough life, no worry! Secondary weapon: With the IK maul you have a weapon that can deal with any monster that has elemental resistances. You can deal with any boss thanks to the crushing blow, but….you cannot deal with physical immunes. And as a melee character you need to be able to kill anything, that’s just my opinion. You don’t want to run from any monster you meet, so your secondary weapon will be one that can strike down those physical immunes. There is one sword that can help you with that: The Azurewrath phase blade. Why? - It deals 250-500 cold damage and 250-500 magic damage - it comes with a nice aura that will kick the undead in no time where they belong (10-13 sanctuary)! - Also, it is indestructible! Socketing your Azurewrath with a hel rune can bring the requirements down from 136 to 109 dex. But you can also put a LO rune in that socket to gain deadly strike or a Cham for freeze. What about Famine? Repair cost…don’t like. You have less magic damage, and it has no aura, so why use an Ohm and Jah when the result isn’t as good as something cheaper? Do I need a shield here? That is your choice, I don’t like shields, they are obstructions for fury…But I guess you can go for a monarch or spirit. A shield can be useful when running up a pack of those hell temptresses, then you will appreciate the 35% damage reduction of the monarch while wielding your sword. Armor: Now something to prevent colds, something to put on your chest. I use 2 armors, one for running in standard play and one for standing ground in UT. Playing standard game: You know what I like? MF! I like the idea I have higher chances for uniques and sets to drop. So my choice for standard play is Skulders Ire (unique russet armor). Most of the time you’ll have more then 100% MF extra. And it is Indestructible…. But you can also go for the runeword Wealth (300 % extra gold and 100% mf) , but make it in an exceptional and not elite armor to lower repair cost. Why no armor with high defence and other cool stuff? Because you don’t need that! Really, why go for an armor with less or no mf on it while you can do your thing with this? For just running Baal, pits, nihlatak and so on, you really have no use of an expensive armor. Doing UT: Now you need of course something better then the above armors mentioned. What I prefer is Chains of Honor. Two reasons; damage reduced 8% and 65 resistances to all. Just what you need in UT. In UT you need 300 resist all (light, cold, fire) to meet up with mephisto’s aura. This armor helps doing the trick (together with a lot of charms of course). Fortitude? Is nice but has less resistance - if you are unlucky much less - and has no damage reduction. Bramble? No use for this build. The thorns aura…remember what I just said, why focus on getting hit for killing? Headgear: Only one choice. A Jalal’s Mane. For fury druid its just the best there is I guess. Up it with the cube recipe and you have better defence. It has nice resistances, extra skills, just a pity of those 20 energy points, useless but hey, it has 20 strength in it to. A perfect Cerebus Bite is nice but without the resistances it will be hard to get 300 to all in UT. Socket your Jalal and put a Ber rune in it. Um is oké, but try to get the extra needed resistance in charms. An um is useless in standard play (you’ll have enough resistance with amulet and charms) while the Ber keeps lowering the damage dealt to you by 8%. Boots: I tried IK boots, Aldur Boots, Gore rides, marrowwalk, infernostride and war traveller. My conclusion, use War traveller for standard play and enjoy the extra mf. Use gore riders in UT (for extra deadly strike and crushing blow) or infernostride if you are really afraid of fire. Marrowwalk is nice with high strength and dex, making it easier to get to 225 and 106 but putting extra points in those will grant you the ability to wear something better. Up the war travellers and gore riders! (also Ik and aldur boots if you use that). Gloves: One option: Dracul’s grasp. One reason: life tap. If you want to survive as a melee character you’ll need to have life tap especially in UT. Belt: I tried different belts but I started and ended with an upped String of ears. It has life steal and 10-15% damage reduction. Get one with 15 if possible. Combined with the 8% in your jalal makes 23% reduction! I used a while a Nosferatus coil but noticed the extra attack speed made no difference and the slows target 10% just wasn’t noticeable. A Verdungo’s cord with 15% damage reduction would also be a good choice, but I prefer SOE for the life steal awaiting life tap to take over. Amulet: Don’t get yourself tired fighting for a Mara’s kaleidoscope. You don’t need the 2 to all skills at all. A Metal grid will serve you much more. Higher resistances, defence and a load of attack rating, making almost any strike hit your target. And for those who like companionship, you have an extra guest waiting in every metal piece you find. When wearing a Mara I had much less attack rating and less resistance then wearing a Metal so the choice was easy. I tried several rare and crafted amus but always came back to metal grid. Some say a highlord is nice too and so it is for the deadly strike and light res. But the 1 to all you don’t need and the extra attack speed is useless cause you have enough with your wolf and maul (say the speed calculators). Rings: Always wear at least one Raven Frost for the cannot be frozen. The other one is up to you. But I must admit I use 2 Ravens because of the high dex and attack rating. The dex gives you extra points you can spend in vitality. Stone of Jordan and bul-khatos are of no use for this build. Charms: Get a hellfire torch and an annihulus with as high as possible resistances. Stats don’t matter. Collect 5 to all res small charms and 15 to all res grand charms. (No need of 1 to shapeskills grand charms, really it doesn’t matter if you are level 26 or 32 wolf in UT or in standard play…) Life charms are also nice, also grand charms with like 40 life and 25+ to some resistance… Mercenary What do you expect of a merc? That he can help you, add up were you lack something, that he serves you… I find the merc best serving my needs is the act two merc in hell, the one with defiance aura. Standard yes, but I tried the barbarian merc and missed his aura, really I did. Also this barbarian cannot use polearms…a pity because one of the polearms is just the best friend in UT. What do you want him to wear? The armor is simple, just the same as you, make him a wealth in standard play and a COH for UT. Put a Guillaume’ s face on his head and enjoy the fact your merc will be able to use crushing blow too. His weapon is a bit different. I use Doom as his standard play weapon, I like the holy freeze aura, it helps controlling packs of monsters surrounding you. But…this aura doesn’t do a thing in UT! So there you want something else. I said everything you take with you in UT will die and I didn’t lie. But it is a fact that when you kill one or two ubers your pets and merc have higher chances of surviving for a while. And that’s when you want your merc to have something that matters. In my opinion there are two choices; you go for an obedience for the crushing blow and resistances but I think there is a way better weapon….and that is the reapers toll. (unique tresher). Why? - It has 15% life steal, really important! - But what makes it my favorite choice is the 33% chance of casting decrepify. This decrepify will make Baal (the hardest to kill monster in UT) look like a crippled old man! IT takes 50% of the physical resistance of monsters!! And slows them down!! What else do you need? And what about life tap? Doesn’t decrepify casts away the life tap? Yes it does, but the curses will vary, one time you will tap life, one time the boss will be crippled and you’ll deal much more damage. Look, when I did UT with my merc wearing the reapers toll I did it in about 10 minutes. When I geared him the next time with doom or something else it took me more then 30 minutes just because Baal was so fast as are the monsters around him. The decripify will also cripple al the monsters surrounding Baal, really helpful! So go for that, you wont regret it. With this build I reached level 92. Not that high, but high enough to give it a rest. I experienced with a lot of stuff and wrote this guide based on that experience. I hope it can inspire some of you who are thinking of making a druid. To all I wish good luck!