How to prepare for HELL ACT 1 Wind Druid HC

Bobpudge

Diabloii.Net Member
Hello. I played diablo before highest char was level 62 *** NM in SC. (maybe 6 years ago).

2 days ago I tried playing Diablo 2 again :D and wanted to try Hardcore. T_T

Now this character, a wind druid, is level 71 and just finished NM baal. I entered HELL Act 1 and my merc got pwned. And i decided to go back to NM and farm.

Im just not sure where to farm? where is it most efficient? countess, meph, or baal NM. can i get a 4 slot monarch in hell? Im really confused because i need a couple of things - eth armor for my merc (to tank hell), 4 slot shield for me to put on spirit runeword, runes to make myself a smoke runeword, high level slotted armors etc. I just dont kNow where and how to start farming for hell. a quick advice from you guys will really help me :) thank you!!!
 

DaveW

Diabloii.Net Member
Sup bob, congrats on getting ur windy to Hell. Its been a few years since I guardianed a Windy but I should be able to help you out a bit. Firstly clvl 71 is a bit young for Hell. Id get to at least 75 b4 entering Hell, maybe even 77 or 78 and NM Baal runs will help you do that. Smoke is nice for you and coupled with cyclone armour will help keep those resists up. Hit up NM countess for the Lum rune. Hopefully you already have a Nef rune.
Whats ur stat and skill placement? And what gear are you and merc using? If your gear is substandard farm NM meph. He can drop some useful stuff - Frostburns, Duriels, Nats boots etc. I wouldnt worry too much about getting a Monarch for Spirit. Moses for resists or Whitstans for blocking are all good. Anyway post ur stats and other info and Im sure the forum can help you out. You could also try trading 4 the Monarch. Cheers.
 

japanzaman

Diabloii.Net Member
Windy druids shouldn't have any trouble killing anything, so defense should obviously be your main priority. If you haven't put a fair amount of points into Oak Sage, you might consider doing that. Also, you should be using a summon bear to compliment your merc. With Oak Sage, he'll only need a single point to be effective.

As DaveW has mentioned, make sure you cover your bases in terms of resists, defense, and block. Windy druids need to get in rather close to deal damage, so you're going to be taking some hits. Some of this is just being able to recognize a dangerous situation and taking them slowly rather than just charging in and spamming tornado.

Another thing you might consider is using a Defiance merc rather than a holy freeze one if you aren't already. Hurricane applies a certain amount of cold slowing and holy freeze isn't going to help you much against the dangerous ranged enemies. If it results in a 5-10% decrease in being hit then it might be worth considering.
 

Mostly_Harmless

Diabloii.Net Member
Disclaimer: I've played a lot of SC windies, so take this with a hefty grain of salt. That said, my current Windy has made it from roughly lvl **-96 on Hell Baal runs without dying, so hopefully I know a little bit.

As to your original question, NM Baal runs are probably your best farming bet. My real advice, though, is to not use Oak Sage. I know, the life total looks so pretty (and I can only assume it looks even nicer in HC), but it's a lie! The spirit is so fragile that he instantly dies whenever anything seriously dangerous comes along. You get a wonderful false sense of security which evaporates along with half of your life pool whenever you get into a rough situation. Those points are far better spent on Dire Wolves to make your bear tougher.
 

Bobpudge

Diabloii.Net Member
thanks for the replies. did a few nm meph run around 20 and got my equipment upgraded :)
im currently equipping this:
helm : lore
weap: spirit
shield: rhyme
hands: some resist glove
rings: ravenfrost and some resist rings
armor: stealth
belt: sigon wrap w/ fire resist
boots: sanders riprap (+40% movespeed and some other stats)
amulet: resist
charms: life and resist

hp: 1800 w/ oak


merc:
weap: insight
helm: guillams
armor: haemosu's adamant (691 armor)

skills:
max hurricane
max tornado
max cyc armor
oak sage - aroung 13
bear - 1
twister - around 5

that's about it. tried running through hell and was surviving now. merc was staying alive but i still need to tp sometimes to save him. I really want to get a eth armor for my merc though and a new weap (not sure if I can survive w/o insight :p its so convenient haha). Ill try to train a little bit more and hopefully pick up some resist charms! im lacking on those. anyway, i got really excited when meph dropped me some better gears and makes me want to item hunt some more :) thinking of doing baal runs.. but it takes too long. my meph run is way faster.
 

Bobpudge

Diabloii.Net Member
doesn't matter.. i just died! damn didn't know cold enchant and fire enchant, when killed will deal that much damage!! T_T my items!! oh well.. that's what we get for choosing HC. good game :)

makes me want to try a new character - any suggestions?
 

japanzaman

Diabloii.Net Member
Just so you know, NM Mephisto can drop Vampire's Gaze, Rockstopper, and Shaftstop, three pieces of equipment that can greatly enhance the survivability of you and your merc. Not saying you should grind Meph 2500 times until you get them all, but you'll probably end up scoring at least one of them in 600 runs. Looking at your gear right now, I would not feel secure going through hell on HC without some kind of damage reduction for both your druid and merc.

I do understand the inherent dangers of over-relying on the Oak Sage, as he does have a penchant for getting toasted in the more dangerous battles. But as it stands, you're going to need every bit of buffering with this character and it certainly can't hurt to use it to reduce the overall risk to your character. You just need to keep close tabs on your situation and know exactly what kind of enemy you are fighting at all times.
 

Bobpudge

Diabloii.Net Member
You just need to keep close tabs on your situation and know exactly what kind of enemy you are fighting at all times.

that was the lesson learned. was not paying attention to the affixes of the champions. should
read them first before fighting at all times! i got too confident. and I honestly thought my gear was already ok for hell difficulty. thank you for telling me that it isn't. from now on.. I will respect all monsters from the diablo world - especially the ones exploding when killed (enchanted freaks and the small skeleton dolls) T_T i will forever remember my first HC death. anyway im making an amazon now. looking for builds online mwehehe :)
 

japanzaman

Diabloii.Net Member
Whoops, looks like my advice came a bit too late... :whistling:

Very few succeed on their first attempt into HC, myself included. That's actually what makes it much more appealing and rewarding when you finally get that first guardian. I could just see from your gear and that build that it was going to take some considerable amount of skill, and probably a bit of luck, to actually guardian that character.

If you are looking for perhaps a more gradual descent into HC perhaps try a javazon, concentrator barb, or a trapper. I've guardianed them all untwinked and cannot remember any near death experiences. They are also rather light on gear req (though the barb can take a while without a good weapon), so they're viable even if you plan on doing them from scratch.
 

Bobpudge

Diabloii.Net Member
yup. playing a javazon now. and i want to paly it untwink makes it feel like a roguelike :p wish me luck hahaha!
 

wakiki

Diabloii.Net Member
Wow, you got all the way to Hell on your first HC attempt? Impressive. I didn't even make it out of normal my first time (back in 1.06 I think).

Javazons are fun. 'Rhyme' in a bone shield will get you anywhere. Are you using Freezing Arrow as a backup? If so, remember to build your resists around your bow switch, not your javelin switch. In that case you may want to make "Splendor," especially if you can get Cannot Be Frozen elsewhere.

You should rerun areas that are fun for you and try to build up some MF gear. I like anywhere in act 5 nm; the monster variety makes it more fun and you can get tons of good items. Things to look for: 4s Gothic Plates, 3s Masks/Great Helms/Crowns, gambled gloves and boots for resists/MF, cubed jewelery for resists and MF. You WILL be able to get these.

Things to hope for: tarnhelm, stealskull, skullder's, titan's, razortail, goldwrap, chancies, war traveler, nagelring, angelic amulet (to be paired with armor/rings). For questing hell: vamp gaze, tal's helm, rockstopper, duriel's shell, shaftstop, raven frost, EoE. You won't find all of these but you'll find some. This is what my "checklist" would consist of.

I found a Blackoak Shield with another character and used that (with an 'Eld') while questing through hell with my javazon. It was great because the extra dex made me hit more often and the cold absorb was similar to my Wizendraw bow switch so I didn't lose as much survivability when switching to me bow. Baal can drop it in nightmare, but the chance is pretty low.

Also I found that a "Treachery" armor helps my merc survive in Hell. The Fade is good, but I think the real benefit is the IAS. Couple that with a life stealing helm and an 'Insight' Polearm and the merc will keep himself alive pretty nicely. Also using Decoy well will help him live.
 
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japanzaman

Diabloii.Net Member
For a Javazon, I've found the best backup is plague javelin, which is more than enough to deal with most lightning immunes. There are some LI undead that will be problematic in Act 1 and Act 5, but most can be avoided or beaten if patient enough. I do highly recommend running Ni Mephisto until you get a Titan's, though. Treachery can be nice, but even the Peace runeword is fairly good for this build until you get something better like Vipermagi or Skullder's.

Also, I wouldn't worry about dex for hitting things, as your two main damage dealers Charged Strike and Lightning Fury don't have to connect to release the lightning damage. Pierce is obviously great for LF, but a point and plus skills will suffice in the beginning. If you get a razor tail then all the better. Here's what I would look to have before moving down to hell.

Weapon- Titans, or a +skills and IAS maiden javelin.
Shield- Rhyme
Helmet- Lore, Peasant's crown, or rock stopper
Armor- Peace, Treachery, Vipermagi
Belt- String of Ears, Razor Tail, or rare belt with resists
Gloves- +2 javelin skills magic or rare gloves (get them from Anya!)
Rings- resists all rings (Ravenfrost if you get lucky)
Amulet- +Amazon skills and resists (teleport charges for running Mephisto are nice but hard to get)
 

wakiki

Diabloii.Net Member
I think being able to hit is pretty important -- once you up your titans (or are using a rare elite javelin with decent damage), you will be leeching a lot when you hit. This is a big annoyance for me on my bow switch; it does such low physical damage that my life bulb doesn't refill when I'm shooting freezing arrows. More importantly, you have to hit a monster to pierce it.

I'm not advocating getting more dex than required for max block in HC. Instead I'm saying that, if you use a shield with lower blocking (like a black oak), the extra dexterity you invest has a hidden, and awesome, benefit. And on the other side, if you ignore max block and go max vit, you won't be leeching or piercing as much. But you will be safer around vipers and animated dead whose charge ignores your block. So it's an interesting set of tradeoffs.
 

japanzaman

Diabloii.Net Member
Whether or not you want to go for max block is up to you, but considering that the Amazon already has quite a few passive skills to dodge attacks and naturally high AR I would consider the boost to life more useful overall if we are talking strictly PvM. And even with an upped titans (which I would highly recommend not doing), it is very unlikely you will be able to leech back enough mana to cover the high cost of LF and CS. Insight on your Merc and the good old fashioned blue potions seem to do the trick for me.
 

FredOfErik

Diabloii.Net Member
For HC I am 100% on japanza's side here.

And equipping a low block shield to get more dex is nonsense. If you want extra dex, just invest in it. I would absolutely go with rhyme and later on spirit.

Also, if you think your leech is too low Insight/prayer merc combo is really great. IMO a javazon hardly needs the freeze from a HF merc.
 

wakiki

Diabloii.Net Member
And equipping a low block shield to get more dex is nonsense. If you want extra dex, just invest in it. I would absolutely go with rhyme and later on spirit.
I'm not sure where the disagreement is here. If you just invest in extra dex, that opens more shield options, no? I imagine that using a spirit shield will make max blocking too difficult. It worked well with the 'Eld' Blackoak because of the bonus to dexterity present on the shield.

@BobPudge: one thing you have to consider is whether you get Valk or not. Valks are awesome, but this time through I decided to go without D/A/E, following the Fishy guide. I highly recommend looking at that guide whether you follow it exactly or not. I didn't have any problem progressing through Hell in HC and doing Baal runs afterwards. If you go the Valkless route, you just have to use Decoy (1-point-wonder) and Slow Missiles well. Since the Javazon is so skill-point-dependant, I really liked saving those ~10 skill points for offensive options. I went for Penetrate. It's the basic tradeoff between safety vs. offense. If you go without D/A/E, shield blocking obviously is more useful than when you have them.

When I upp'd my titan's, I noticed a huge difference in life/mana leech. My character is now doing well over 600 average physical damage before might, so whenever I hit monsters (which is usually), I fill up my life bulb. That's another advantage of going max block: you will have enough dex to equip the better javelins, so you can upgrade your physical damage without sacrificing anything. My mana leech also increased noticeably, although isn't an issue because my merc is using Insight. If he wasn't, I'm guessing that I'd be even more happy that I upgraded my Titan's.
 

FredOfErik

Diabloii.Net Member
I think being able to hit is pretty important -- once you up your titans (or are using a rare elite javelin with decent damage), you will be leeching a lot when you hit. This is a big annoyance for me on my bow switch; it does such low physical damage that my life bulb doesn't refill when I'm shooting freezing arrows. More importantly, you have to hit a monster to pierce it.

I'm not advocating getting more dex than required for max block in HC. Instead I'm saying that, if you use a shield with lower blocking (like a black oak), the extra dexterity you invest has a hidden, and awesome, benefit. And on the other side, if you ignore max block and go max vit, you won't be leeching or piercing as much. But you will be safer around vipers and animated dead whose charge ignores your block. So it's an interesting set of tradeoffs.
I was talking about this quote, which I might then have misunderstood.

I would however still not recommend neither max block nor upping your javelins. Amazons shouldn't be hit with phys attacks since they are far away from the action anyways. I think the benefit of the +3 hp per stat point is way better, but that is a matter of choice. Upping your titan's will cost you 32 stat points (and possibly some strength as well), for some rather minimal return.
 

japanzaman

Diabloii.Net Member
If we are talking hardcore, I would say go with life over anything else, including leech. There are lots of dangerous enemies in the game where leech does you no good (dolls, many undead enemies, burning souls, etc.). You may find that leech suits your playing style, and if that is the case then obviously stick with what works for you.
 

Bobpudge

Diabloii.Net Member
thanks wakiki, japanza and FredOfErik for the responses. After reading the suggestions and reading on the links plus add't research. I somehow understand the pros and cons of your suggestions? but I think I will go for the more defensive route. cant afford to sacrifice defense over offense. I really like the vit, might not "up" my titans. dont know yet. and just like what you said it is a matter of playstyle. Since the my first HC died because of an instant explosion of cold and fire ench.. I now favor life(vit) more than leech. The instant damage is just too intense. If this was softcore I would probably do what wakiki is suggesting since life stealing seems too awesome. but for now i have to stick to what's safer (or at least what I think is safer) :)


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my 2nd HC javazon is now at Act 5 NM level 67. I'm currently invested on pure lightning skill tree. will reset when ready to move to hell. still thinking if plague or freeze arrow. might go with plague (dont like the idea of swapping off the shield X) )

same issue: dont really know where to hunt and what to hunt and when will my char be ready to move forward to hell. im just trying to fin more + resist items to make up for the additional -60% resistance of Hell. T_T im enjoying farming right now. especially when an awesome item drops :) been more careful now I actually read all of the special attributes of the elite monsters. and I read the shrines first before clicking them. almost died from full hp down to 30 hp because of the fire shrine? damn =))

hoping to get better rings and an awesome amu charms. not sure how user vipermagi is or if i should switch to smoke eventually. I will really be patient this time in gearing up and preparing. I want to finish this game this round, cant afford to restart again. too busy T_T

my merc btw is a HF merc with not so good gear. no insight. will farm the runewords next time. not sure what to do with my merc yet. prayer/insight.. I read about that but i dont know how viable it is? will keep on farming first :p
 

FredOfErik

Diabloii.Net Member
Gear seems pretty good! Both ammy and Havoc Grip ring can however easily be improved with a bit of gambling.

Vipermagi is definitely a great armor and way better than stone. The defense from stone won't matter much to you since yeah, defense just generally doesn't matter much. I would ignore defense completely. Other cheap solutions with res/life/stats for safety could be Lionheart or Gloom. If considering those three options it is a question of whether you want extra life (stats/life from Lionheart), damage (+skill from viper) or resistance (Gloom). All are viable options.

I personally love insight/prayer mercs and have used it on all (not a lot) the HC amazons I have made. It becomes a question of whether you wan't awesome regen or awesome slow. Since zons generally have great frw, I find the regen to be more useful. It both keeps merc alive and allows you to worry less about constantly drinking potions since "minor injuries" will fix themselves quickly.

Personally I never enter hell solo before lvl 70. 72-74 is probably what I would recommend but getting to 75+ doesn't take much effort either. The higher the level, the better damage and survivability. Also matters a lot for your merc.
 
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