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[Guide] LK vs Travincal vs Cows - runefinding guide

Discussion in 'Single Player Forum' started by Gripphon, Apr 4, 2017.

  1. Gripphon

    Gripphon IncGamers Member

    Sep 11, 2009
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    Hello. In this guide I'll share some mathematical data regarding these areas for runefinding as well as some expectations, tests and build choices. I won't go into great lengths on builds since main point of this thread is to compare these areas head to head to help players decide where they want to seek for runes and how to equip their characters for that. I also took approach as if player reading all of this is not familiar with all the basics. Normally Cows would be left out since they are nobody's favorite, but are best area to farm Zod runes and also for socketables, so someone might consider running them as well, also it doesn't hurt to compare them to LK and Travincal.

    LK aka Lower Kurast

    LK stands for Lower Kurast, area in act 3 that has special chests we want to open to get precious items like charms, jewels, gems... and runes. There you can get runes up to Ber. Why are those chests special? Because they have limited amount of patterns they can drop, 65536 more precisely, and there are 6 of those chests you open per run. This would have not been so special if LK chests didn't have so many known patterns with runes and this make them very wanted target because by opening these chests you can farm high runes really fast. "Really fast" in comparison to other areas in the game, it doesn't mean you will do 50 runs and find 5 Bers for it.

    How to recognize location of special chests?

    They are located around campfires. Campfire has torches around it and there is one hut to the north and one to the east of it. 2 special chests are in northern hut, while 1 is in eastern. Campfire looks like this, also check minimap which has those huts circled in red. There are 2 campfires on that map, but not every map has those.

    When you try to find suitable LK map, you want those 2 campfires on it because some maps have only 1 and those have only 3 special chests instead of 6. But, you also want those chests to be as close to the waypoint as possible. In general, best running method is to roll a circular map where after 6th opened chest you return back to waypoint and back to act 4 before you s/e. Why is that stronger? Because it saves a lot of time, otherwise if you s/e immediately after last chest, you spawn in act 3 and you already know it takes ton of walking before you reach waypoint in town to get back to LK. It might take time to roll such map, but it is worth it. Other solution is to roll map where campfires are close to each other, but are not close to waypoint and you instead of returning to act 4, you s/e and start from act 3. That is slower method, but fine if you don't have a patience rolling maps.

    LK patterns

    Very common question is at what player settings to run LK? Patterns were known before 1.13 version when runes were still really rare, but those patterns changed now. For all known patterns for 1.13+ version check table in this post.

    Some player settings were not explored into details, but general rule is LK is ran at p7 or p8 in versions 1.13+ due to most known patterns of which massive amount of Sur patterns stand out and attract players.

    p7/8 known patterns (4.4.2017.):

    11x Pul
    9x Um
    15x Mal
    7x Ist
    13x Gul
    6x Vex
    5x Ohm
    2x Lo
    11x Sur
    3x Ber

    Total known Pul+ patterns: 82
    Total known Vex+ patterns: 27
    (Pul+ patterns also include Vex+ patterns to not be confused, but I name specifically Vex+ because most people consider Vex+ to be high runes they are after).

    Is this a lot of patterns? Yes, it is. Like I said, there are 65536 patterns altogether, of those 65536 82 contain Pul or higher rune of which 27 are of Vex+ quality. If you happen to open 6 chests per run (as you should!), we can calculate how often can you mathematically expect to find something of those runes.

    Average amount of runs for Pul+: ~133
    Average amount of runs for Vex+: ~405

    What does that mean? This means mathematical expectation is you will find Pul+ rune every ~133 runs done by opening those 6 chests, or every ~405 runs Vex+ is expected to drop. But a warning, this is mathematical expectation, it DOES NOT mean it will happen. Maybe you will be lucky and will find Vex+ every 100 runs, and maybe for 1000 runs you might not find anything. The more you run, the more will runes drop according to mathematical expectation if you check how often did you find them.

    Q: My runs last like 30 seconds, how long will it take me at average to find something?
    A: 133*30 = 3990 seconds per Pul+, or that is Pul+ once in ~67 minutes or slightly above hour at average. For Vex+ it would take you 405*30 = 12150 seconds, or ~3 hours 23 minutes.

    Q: I did 4 hours and found nothing.
    A: Nothing unusual. Your luck might come if you continue running. Maybe for 5 hours you find nothing, and then in 1 hour you find tons of stuff. I also had ~1400 runs of nothing once, and here I am today after 20+ Surs farmed in LK.

    Q: What runtimes should I aim for with sorceress?
    A: With a circular map and assuming you don't pick whole zoo of items, your first goal is to reach 25s running. After that you might try to improve yourself further. Fastest runners can do running in sub 20s fashion while also picking charms/jewels/gems/rare rings etc... Normally, if you tend to pick 20 types of items and click racks and whatnot, you will be slower. As for non-teleport builds, it takes longer for them to do, sorceress is the fastest character for LK running.

    How long it takes to farm Enigma or Infinity from zero?

    Lk is usually ran with a simple goal - to farm runes for OP runewords. Normally, included are CtA and Grief, but those are easily farmed, however real gold of LK lies in farming Enigma or Infinity due to its massive amount of Sur+Ber patterns. Obviously, when farming Enigma or Infinity, we talk about cubing Sur runes into Ber, or Ber into Jah to make it done. So, easiest thing to check is how often do you farm/cube Ber rune by running LK.

    to farm Sur rune directly: ~993 runs
    to farm Ber rune directly: ~3641 runs
    to farm or cube Ber rune: ~1285 runs

    So, at average you farm or cube Ber rune once in 1285 runs. That is actually really fast by diablo standards! For Infinity you need 2 Ber runes, while for Enigma you need 3.

    to farm Infinity from zero: ~2570 runs
    to farm Enigma from zero: ~3855 runs
    to farm Infinity AND Enigma from zero: ~6425 runs

    This is just expectation, it doesn't mean it will happen in that amount of runs. I know for a guy who farmed Infinity in under 100 runs, also one player farmed Enigma in like 2k runs. But, this is expected amount of runs it might take you to farm runes for those items.

    If we stick to theme of 30 seconds running, this means that player will at average farm Infinity in ~21.5 hours and Enigma in ~32 hours of farming. Or, if he wants both, then we talk about ~53.5 hours to do it. Or, we could say 30 seconds Lk running at average nets you both Enigma and Infinity in ~50 hours of running! If player speeds his pace to 25 seconds, it will take him 20% less time than that. Someone dedicated who has time and aims to do the running at 25 seconds pace could farm CtA, 2x Grief, Fortitude, Hoto, Enigma and Infinity in 2 weeks, if he starts from zero with only some Meph gear. And assuming average luck on runes, otherwise it might take him less time than that or more.

    p5/6 vs p7/8 for farming Lo runes

    Some people consider p5/6 to be perhaps worth it if you plan on farming Lo runes, but, is that so? For this calculation I will assume player will cube Ohm into Lo runes (otherwise, if he needs Ohms, he would stick to p7/8).

    p5/6 has 2 known Ohm patterns and 4 Lo patterns
    p7/8 has 5 Ohm patterns and 2 Lo patterns

    How much profitable is to farm Lo runes on p5/6 instead of p7/8 and what are drawbacks of it?

    p5/6, one Lo rune farmed/cubed after: ~2185 runs
    p7/8, one Lo rune farmed/cubed after: ~2427 runs

    So, to miss all those Sur patterns from p7/8 for ~240 runs you might save by faster farming Lo runes? Your call, sir. Normally, this is just mathematical average amount of runes needed to farm/cube Lo rune.

    Clutter problem

    Most frequent problem for LK runners is how to be sure did rune drop or not since LK chests tend to drop tons of items to cover everything up? Some players even tend to pick up gold and drink potions to counter this, but it is not needed. It really isn't. Here is best way how to deal with clutter, but it might take time to get used to and to beat your paranoia of missing drops.

    1. In diablo items tend to clutter toward the right side of the screen. This means when you open chest, don't open it from the left side, but rather position yourself below or even better right-below chest. Sorceress can open chests with Telekinesis and she can position herself even more to the right of the chests to check drops.

    2. When you open chest, immediately press alt to check drops and wait for orange flash. "orange flash" is visible effect that happens when you open chest and rune drops, but it gets cluttered below items. You still see it drop and you see something orange even if you are not sure what rune it is.

    3. Orange flashes are incredibly obvious, you will get used to them with time since you will experience it with all kinds of runes. Only time when you might miss orange flash is if you open the chest from the left side and items tend to clutter to the right. So, try to follow 1) as much as you can.

    4. If you see orange flash, only then dig through items, do not waste your time if tons of items dropped and there was no orange flash. You will waste massive amount of your time since those situations happen nearly every run. Learn to trust to orange flashes, you will notice they are really obvious and hard to miss.

    5. Another method to check what dropped instead of digging is to perform the "walking technique". For it you position/teleport yourself 1/3 of the screen right of the chests and perform short walk to see items shift. This way you could see what rune did drop without digging it out.

    6. Last solution which will slow you down is to pick up gold and drink potions to be sure nothing dropped. As soon as you learn to se first 5 mentioned techniques and to ignore this sixth one, the more efficient LK runner will you become. In case if you wonder do I do this technique under 6), the answer is no, I never did that anywhere. Only time when I pick gold is to dig out that rune that dropped, or charm or whatever. I don't waste my time if I didn't see anything drop just to be sure that nothing dropped.

    You can check this video to see some of those details in use. This is my HC sorc and I tried to demonstrate from where to open chests (obviously I also don't do it from the below-right side all the time, but general rule is to do it if you can. If plenty of items drop while you open it from the left side, immediately teleport to the right side to see them drop). Walking technique is demonstrated on 0:26 in the video where I performed short walk to see items shift to check what dropped. I don't usually do this if I don't see orange flash, here is only demonstration.

    Video demonstration

    To pop poppables while running LK?

    Yes and no. With some testing it was determined you need to click at least 4 poppables to have comparable drop odds as when you open special chest. Many people tend to pop like 10 of those per run, but actually that is a waste of time and only slows you down. Possibly best balance is to pop poppable only if it doesn't cost you more than a second of your running time which pretty much means you nearly completely focus only on special chests. I tend to pop 1-2 of those as I run, but no more than that, however to break the routine, you could pop more. After all, those poppables can also drop Ber runes, I got one myself too.

    Is it good to focus completely only at special chests and ignore poppables? It is completely fine, I did that for a long time and still incline to focus only special chests and ignore any poppable which is not inside hut I open chests. Poppables also slow you down because they tend to drop jewels and charms etc, so you tele there to collect it to waste even more time. You can collect those from special chests. Now, if you really prefer popping stuff, do it...

    To kill monsters while running?

    I know diablo is supposed to be a game where you kill monsters for items, but when you run LK, you DO NOT want to waste your time on monsters because in comparison to special chests, they are worthless. Only time when you do kill them is if they are blocking chest which you already popped and it dropped something you wanna pick up. Even if monsters are blocking chest which you didn't open, try to open it with Telekinesis, if it doesn't work, MOVE ON, don't waste time on killing them to be able to open than chest. It will slow you down. More profitable is to simply ignore that single chest and continue to the next one. Now, if you really can't stand leaving chest unopened, well, go get them then...

    Running techniques

    There are a few ways you can do the running, but here I will mostly focus on what do you do with items you collected. There are pretty much 3 ways how can you do it.

    Way 1: standard running with item identifying and probably gem cubing
    Way 2: standard running without ever identifying items, instead when character gets full, you visit gomule and dump items there in some stash. You still cube gems in game.
    Way 3: same as way 2, but you do not cube gems, you also put them in flawless form in gomule

    I found that way 3 is pretty much the fastest. You don't have to identify items ingame to know what dropped, you can see it in gomule and save yourself time of identifying and dropping them ingame. Similar story with cubing gems, it is faster to do when you do the cubing once you collect 200-300-whatever flawlesses to do big cubing session instead of cubing them when your inventory is cluttered with items. If you really must identify items ingame because you feel most comfortable by doing it, then do it, but otherwise way 3 for the president for saved time. Once I ran with way 3 until I collected 500 unidentified grand, small charms, jewels and so on, then went to see what dropped. It took several thousand runs. My point is, you can run without ever visiting stash or Cain and according to my tests, that is the fastest way possible. Normally, exception is if you run through town 3, then Cain is right at the way and you can do it then since you will be slower anyway and it won't matter much.

    What else to know about running LK?

    1. You need keys. 2 rows is enough for some time.
    2. You can run with empty inventory as I do in SC. Only 2 rows of keys and run until you get full inventory.
    3. Do you REALLY need that tome of town portal in your inventory while LK running? Unless you plan on returning into act 3 with it to get into act 4 for a faster start of a run, don't clutter your inventory space with unnecessary items.
    4. Sorceress can open waypoints and chests with Telekinesis, even through the hut roof. Use it!
    5. Returning to act 4 is MUCH faster than s/e immediately and start run from act 3, so try to roll circular map which allows you to fast go into act 4 after you open last chest.
    6. For HC I'd recommend going for max block, but for SC go 200 fcr and let runes fly your way.


    Travincal is area in act 3 which you visit if you are going downstairs to Mephisto. I won't go into massive details here, but will cover some basics of running for some characters. What we want to kill is Council units and only them since they have increased drop chance. You ignore everything else around and kill only the Council.

    The Council consists of 11 minions of which there are 3 bosses. They tend to form into 3 groups: Ismail Vilehand + 4 of his minions, Geleb Flamefinger + 4 his minions and Toorc Icefist which is forever alone. You could roll a map when they spawn all together at one big bunch and that kind of map you are interested in the most.

    When to hit Travincal?

    Travincal is more dangerous and more advanced area than LK. It is not advisable to go there with poor characters because you might find yourself overwhelmed by their power. Unlike in LK which you can run pretty much naked, for Travincal it is recommended that you already have gear like CtA, Enigma and possibly Infinity for some characters. Yes, Travincal comes after LK running is done, not at the same time or before. If you try to compete with LK by running Travincal with poor gear, forget it, it won't happen. Travincal is much slower area for farming runes unless you are really well geared, only then can Travincal come somewhat close to LK.

    If you wonder whats the point of running Travincal if you already have CtA, Enigma, Infinity...? There are a few reasons. One is, Travincal is not as boring as LK. Second reason is, Travincal is arguably best area in the game for facet farming. Do you want facets? Travincal! Unless you want to hit Mephisto with Infinity and such gear lol. Do you want Jah and Cham runes? Travincal! Unique rings and amulets? They can all drop in Travincal. Rare jewels and rings, charms, gems? Travincal is great target, for rare rings and jewels strongest in the game and second strongest for gems after LK.

    Q: What if I don't have good gear and still want to hit Travincal, will it be fine?
    A: It could be perfectly fine if you are okay by skipping LK which is at that point over 2 times as strong for farming runes. With sorceress ofc.

    What kind of map do I want for Travincal running?

    To answer this question, I will assume player has Enigma and does not use stairs to position his mercenary.

    Best sort of Travincal maps are the ones where all minions are together. While you roll Travincal maps you will notice often times that Toorc dude ruins otherwise perfect Travincal map. Get used to it, you will see it often. :D You want minions together anywhere, though best possible map is if you have them outside on balcony as close to dead end as possible. Warning, it might take some time to roll such map! Most of the times when you roll a map where all minions are together, they won't be very near to dead end on balcony, but still that map is a keeper and is excellent. Map you see on my videos is pretty much the perfect map, but that kind of map is not needed unless you want to achieve not only fast, but fastest possible running. Map rolling could be so boring that even if you see Toorc ruining your otherwise perfect map where all other minions are tightly packed, I'd consider leaving that map for some running. Some players used such maps because they didn't wanna use too much time rolling better map than that. Even if you roll a map where minions are rather close to each other, but not in perfectly tight formation as shown on map from my videos, I'd still consider keeping it for a while. General rules of keepable maps:

    1. all minions are in tight formation except Toorc - potential keeper
    2. all minions are not in a tight formation, but are pretty much together - solid keeper until you decide to upgrade it
    3. all minions are in tight formation, but not at the dead end of the balcony - excellent keeper
    4. all minions are not in tight formation, but everyone is located at the dead end of balcony - excellent keeper
    5. all minions are in tight formation and also at dead end of balcony - jackpot baby!

    All of those are keepers, only difference is what is your goal. If you want fast and efficient running, any of those maps will do. If you wanna do best possible running and push your abilities to the limit, then maps 4 and 5 are pretty much what are you after, in some cases even 3 might work decent enough. Blizzard sorceress profits a lot by having map with tightly packed minions while WW barbarian and the rest could also run less perfect map comfortably, though pretty much all characters want map number 5 with perhaps exception of hammerdin, but I didn't investigate enough to know would he prefer different kind of map.

    Perhaps best way to roll maps is to first settle with any map from 1-3 type and then use OTHER character to try to roll for an upgrade, or roll with the same character later on trying to find upgrade or trying to roll that perfect map. Let's call this "2 characters rolling technique". Having 2 characters viable for Travincal running does make map rolling much easier because when you roll good map with one character, you can seek the upgrade with the other one until you find the upgrade, and then make that character to be your main Trav runner instead and then use the other character trying to upgrade your map yet again. If you don't have 2 characters for the task, then perhaps best thing is to improve map bit by bit since immediately trying to roll map number 4 or 5 might be tedious to do. If you want to roll a perfect map, I'd recommend using described "2 character rolling technique" so that you always have 1 character ready to do Travincal running while with other you roll maps as long as you want until you find the perfect one or at least the upgrade. At least that is the most convenient way to do it without getting to position you rerolled excellent map and now you feel sorry for doing it.

    I also did this "2 characters rolling technique" to roll better Travincal maps, but also same technique applies for any map rolling. I used it to roll my now "perfect" Pit map with 2 barbarians. Thanks to this I never really lost great map for anything else but an even better map.

    In case you wonder why is there difference between map number 3 and 5, there are 2 reasons. Reason 1: map number 5 has minions cornered and they CAN'T spread around except going through you. Map number 3 means they have much more space to run away from you. Reason 2: like explained, items tend to clutter to the right side in Diablo which means it is preferable to do the killing if you stand on the right side of minions (with exception of melee characters who can't do that obviously), and map number 3 means if you do that, you will be further away form the waypoint and it might take you 1-2 extra teleports per run to position yourself and get back to act 4 again. This is why map 3 is excellent for top tier running, but map 5 is the one you want for record-breaking running (map 4 will do too for non-sorc characters).

    When I talk about Travincal rolling maps, I talk about going into game, teleport there, s/e checking map without killing anything, repeat if map is not good. That way you can roll 4 maps per minute and you could get great map once per hour of rolling. If you tend to get there to kill things... well, it will take you longer to roll that good map you want. For a start you could settle with less perfect map though to not waste too much time on rolling maps and to satisfy your hunger for Travincal running.

    When rolling maps, there is one important thing to know. There is one so called "magical" line in Travincal which determines where will minions spawn depending do you teleport north or south of it. In other words, yes, teleporting path does influence where will minions spawn.


    If you take path 1, spawn locations will be different than on path 2. There are more magical lines like that in Travincal, but only this is of importance because it lies at fastest path to Council. Also, path 2 is strictly SUPERIOR to path 1, so when rolling maps, I'd recommend to check only with this path 2 and ignore all other paths. Why is it superior? Because once you roll that perfect map where minions are on balcony outside near dead end, with path 2 you immediately close their way out and they can't scatter around. That is harder to do if you take path 1 and you need to do extra teleport. So, why bother with path 1 at all if path 2 is strictly better? Your choice anyway.

    For "perfect" Travincal map check any of the videos I will post. It will take some time to roll something like that, but once you do... YEEEEEEHA. I do suggest you reread this map rerolling section again (especially 2 character rolling technique) to make sure you don't waste too much time trying to roll that perfect type of map, there are many possible keeper maps even if they are not perfect.

    What player settings to run Travincal with?

    For Travincal best setting is players 3. No if's, no but's, no when's. It is a pure fact confirmed by a test. On players 3 minions have 90% chance to drop item while on p7 they have 100%. Because of this and their HP bonus they get on higher players settings, on p3 you run them the fastest and if we include the fact they drop 90% items of those on p7, it is easy to conclude with test that p3 is simply stronger for farming. Stronger and safer at the same time. There was some rumor that Zealot paladin is fast enough on p5 or p7 to beat p3, but nope, it is not true. He is also fastest farmer on p3.

    So, the answer is p3 if you want most efficient farming, or p1 if you can't handle p3, though in that case LK is just too strong to skip for Travincal on p1.

    Drop chance of runes in Travincal

    Question is, just how strong is Travincal for farming runes? It is second strongest area in the game right after LK, with addition it can also drop Jah and Cham which cannot be found in LK, only cubed.

    To compare drop odds, we must also include barbarian who has that juicy Item Find aka "hork". Item Find is always p7 too. For him I will also include the fact that Reaper's Toll is used as merc weapon and it has cold damage, and according to my tests every four runs one minions is shattered and cannot be horked. I will list drops of Pul+ and Um+ because Pul is generally considered worthy enough to be picked up, while Um+ runes are usually considered in some runefinding events like RFO (rune-find olympics, check tournament list to see).

    Drop rates for non-hork characters on p3
    Pul-Cham: ~188 runs
    Um-Cham: ~ 237 runs
    Vex-Cham: ~ 572 runs

    Drop rates for 55% hork barb on p3
    Pul-Cham: ~117 runs
    Um-Cham: ~148 runs
    Vex-Cham: ~358 runs

    If you, for example, have 45s barb running who has 55% hork, you are expected to find Vex+ rune once in 358*45 = 16110 seconds, or once in 4 hours and 28 minutes of running.

    What characters to use for Travincal running?

    There are several choices of more popular characters you can pick for this task and hope to be efficient enough: WW barb, Blizzard sorc, Bonenec, PNova nec, Hammerdin and Zealot. You can also try something like Icemaiden or Bowa, but in general listed characters are chosen for the task.

    WW barbarian

    He is pretty simple fellow to play. Oaths are cheap weapon option while 2x Grief is the standard. You could also try something like Grief + Beast. If you want to know all the basics, check this guide.

    If you want to know details of optimizing, you can check this post where I explained my thinking about optimized WW barb for Travincal running. This is not needed for startup, but could help you understand what WW barb has to deal with while running Travincal.

    Just a fast facts:
    - Enigma is stronger than Fortitude and CoH because it positions your mercenary which carries Reaper's Toll with amazing curse which will boost your damage the most.
    - it IS faster to teleport back into town 4 instead of running through town 3, it saves you like 2 seconds.
    - DON'T use Ravenfrost, it has cold damage and it hurts efficiency of your running more than it improves you! If you really have no choice or anything marginally useful or rare rings, only then use Ravenfrost.

    Video of demonstration of WW barb running Travincal. This is highly optimized barb (even the Grief+Beast part). Why G+B? Because with my tests I once confirmed that G+G is stronger, other time G+B won slightly, so... I'd still recommend G+G, but it is possible G+B is just as strong and it does merc proc curse faster.

    Clutter problem:
    barb tends to have large clutter of items due to hork. To counter it you can do this:
    - always hork from the right to the left because items clutter to the right side, and the more to the right you are while horking, more likely you are to spot items
    - hork with alt pressed down, it might take some time to get used to, but it is best way to do it
    - perform short walk technique after everything is done. For this you teleport to the right of the drops and do walking to see items shift and then check for orange flashes. Check the video for demonstration

    How to make merc safe?
    Another really important question. Simplest solution is to use Kira's Guardian socketed with Ral, Guardian Angel socketed with Ral and Reaper's Toll with Shael (you should use Might merc to make him leech better and also to give you bonus to damage). If you are rich, you could socket ias/fire resist jewels. This way you also counter Conviction from Travincal which reduces your resistances by 75%. Merc naturally has ~155-160 allres, so your goal is to make him have additional ~110 fire resist to have 90 max even under Conviction. Real value depends on what roll of Kira's do you have and what is merc level, but what kills your merc are hydras under Conviction. Once you make him have 90 max fire even then, your problem is solved.

    Since barb has hork, that rises question how to compare him to other non-hork characters. It is mathematically quite simple if you know your average runtime.

    If your barb has 55% hork, divide his runtime with 1.597 to know average time of non-hork character which is equally efficient farmer.
    For 56% hork barbarian divide his runtime with 1.608 to compare.

    As additional info, any sort of barb is supposed to work nicely in Travincal, but WW variant is the fastest one to have.

    Blizzard sorceress

    For a long time WW barb was considered to be the king of Travincal, but if he is the king, Blizzard sorc is definitely the queen. Newest tests revealed she is actually even just slightly better than WW barb, but is possibly more challenging to play. First, some important points:

    - you DO NOT need Fathom to do nearly fastest possible running for her. It is confirmed she can do sub 19s running with Hoto
    - Infinity is best solution for merc stick, no Insight
    - map is incredibly important for her, especially the fact to have all minions together
    - if you use Insight, you constantly face 1 cold immune boss while second one can become immune too.
    - if you use Infinity, one boss can turn cold immune once in 55 runs, it is best to skip him and not waste time killing him, you will find out he slows you down a lot
    - I'd recommend might merc so he can actually help you kill stuff, but prayer or HF are fine as well.

    To read more about sorceress safety, read this post.

    As for possible sorc gear solution, read this post. You could check the whole thread which is great source of information.

    For merc, I'm using Infinity + Fortitude + Steelshade to great success. No, he does not need leech, but in case you want some, you can use CoH instead and solve that problem!

    Demonstration of what Travincalsorc is capable of on p3:

    Technique is quite simple. Get there, blizzard, static, blizzard, blast, etc. I am planning to open thread about her where I will explain everything into details on both typical farming and goldfind front.


    Not really tested nor known character for Travincal running until recently. My mistake was that I used lower resist curse at first. Now you wonder, isn't poisonmancer supposed to use lower resist curse? Well yes, but amplify is stronger because it makes mercenary kill minion faster and it also boosts your corpse explosion by a huge amount to clear whole Travincal fast. So, DO NOT use LR curse, use amplify! It is MUCH stronger.

    Slight problem: every 5 runs or so one boss turns physical immune and after you break his immunity with amplify, he is still NOT worth killing so you best skip him. Or, you can be stubborn and go kill him every time cuz they shall not live!

    You can check some details about gear and basics in this post.

    About more test results you can read here.

    For merc you can go the same way as with sorceress - Infinity + Fortitude + Steelshade. Or CoH if you wanna leech. For necro you really want might merc to get the killing going, just make sure merc doesn't have any cold damage because it might shatter your first corpse and delay your CE chain and slow you down.

    And, final version with Beast golem I made video from too. Normally no one is expecting to make Beast golem for Travincal running, it only makes you 1 second faster, but, to kick things into perfection... why not. Making IG from something like Immortal King maul is decent option too. To keep golem alive, I'd recommend maxing golem mastery.


    Quite similar to poison variant, but slightly different. Everything important about him you can check in this post. Also, as with poison variant, here you also skip that tough physically immune boss to not slow you down too much. Use might merc.

    Video demonstration:

    Merc: same as with poisonmancer.


    Very popular build for Travincal. You can go 2 routes here: 2 hander of Grief + shield (Spirit or HoZ). But, some facts about this build as well:

    - teleporting is faster than charging, Enigma >> everything else unless you wanna deal with telepor charges
    - teleporting back to town 4 is faster than running through town 3, even if you have vigor
    - he is more efficient on p3 than on p5 or p7, confirmed by a test
    - might merc is the best choice

    Is it better to go 2h or 1h + shield? I'd say it doesn't matter much... I'd go Grief + shield for better safety. LoH gloves + Highlord's should be standard.

    Video demonstration:


    He is quite simple really, get 125 fcr, get block, use Rising sun and kill them all! However, it is annoying build because hammers have blindspots and you have to reposition after you drop like 5 hammers to kill them all, otherwise minions in blind spots will remain at full HP. Sadly, I didn't test this character much, but he can do sub 25s running on a good map and is pretty solid Travincal runner overall in case you want to try him. For him it doesn't really matter what kind of merc do you have, but I'd still use might to help you kill minions better.

    Is MF important for Travincal?

    In general, the answer is no. However, you can farm facets, rare and unique rings, amulets and some useful gear in Travincal, so having some MF doesn't hurt. In general I aim for something in 150 range which is enough and it is kinda useful to have. After all, why to miss opportunity of farming something else other than charms and runes? I found plenty of Sojs and Wisp projectors and stuff in Travincal after all.

    Moo Moo Farm aka Cow Level

    You have to defeat Baal to be able to enter Cow level. Cow set items can be found only here. Also, do not kill King, you will lose ability to visit Cow level with that character. Since Cow King is lightning immune and cannot be broken, this makes lightning based characters really good to farm cow level with. But, does that mean other characters are not good? Wrong! In fact, so far best known cow runner is not lightning based character.

    What players settings is best to use?

    For a long time it was believed p7/8 was strictly the way to go since cows, unlike Travincal, tend to have more increased drops with each player in the game. Until few weeks ago this was not properly tested. In general, answer is this:

    - p5 is best to farm on with any character except with Javazon which is slightly stronger farmer on p7 due to nature of Fury.

    Why is not p3 here the best? Because increase in drop chance between p5 and p3 is the same as improving running by 25%, and that might be really hard to do on p3 to make up for difference in drops. This is why p5 is in general best to target cows. It was confirmed with numerous tests that p5 is slightly stronger than p7 not only in efficiency of farming, but also less clutter of items. What else do you need?

    Long live the King!

    How to avoid killing the King? First thing you have to do is to learn where he is located in his "castle", and then pay attention you don't snipe cows around there or don't drag him out. This does mean you will get annoyed if tons of cows are located around King and you can't touch them... but good news is, you could hope to roll a map where King is kinda lonely with his minions, but it might take some time. In general, if you play non-lightning character, if you rolled a map which is full of cows around the King, I'd consider rerolling it. With lightning based characters only danger is if you let merc pond on King for like 10 seconds, that will definitely get him killed.

    How many cows are there on Cow Level?

    Good question. All the test we have done suggest number varies anywhere between 350 and 500, so you could aim to kill like 400 cows per run if you do have some leftovers, but still pay attention to herd them right and kill them. Some characters tend to kill less cows, and some tend to kill more. In general, all builds fall right between 350-420 range.

    To determine how many cows are there, you can use XP method, but only with character level 94+! If your character is not in 94+ region, it will not work because minions offer like 60x more xp than regular cows and if you miss minion count just slightly, your test will fail big time.

    Obviously, you should know how much xp does one cow give, you should estimate how many minions and champions do you kill and then when you know how much xp you gained from a single run, you should be able to have solid estimation once you remove portion of xp you got from minions. Remember, minions offer x5 and champions x3 xp compared to regular cows, so you should remove (number of minions x4 + number of champions x2) cows from a total you get by dividing xp gained in a single run with xp gained by single cow. Method is not 100% precise, but it is ok enough.

    Second method is by using jewels since you know their drop rate there, if you know number of jewels collected, you can estimate number of cows killed per run. But, this method works only for longer session of running like 10+ hours.

    Do I kill all cows on cow level?

    NO! Don't waste your time to kill those 5-10 cows that remained once you get rid of a big herd, move on to a next herd. Everyone has leftovers. In the end, it is more efficient to kill large group of cows and leave leftovers behind than to waste your time on leftovers just because you have to kill them all. You want highest number of kills per minute, and you won't reach that by killing every single cow you see on screen.

    How good are Cows for runefinding?

    To get the answer here, I will assume we kill ~400 cows per run, though more precise average estimation across builds should be 380-390. I will also assume we do the killing on p5.

    Pul-Cham: ~31 runs
    Um-Cham: ~ 39 runs
    Vex-Cham: ~ 93 runs
    Zod: ~3161 runs

    So, if you have 4 minute running while killing 400 cows per run, you are expected to find Vex-Cham runes once in ~ 6 hours 12 minutes.

    Clutter problem

    Check LK clutter problem again, similar rules apply here. In diablo items tend to clutter toward the right side of the screen. This means when you kill cows, teleport to the right of where drops are and perform fast check of drops or fast walk technique to check is anything orange hidden in there. When killing you can also hold alt and check for orange flashes which are similarly obvious here as in LK.

    There are few tricks how to minimize chance to miss something. It is actually mixure of techniques done while running LK and while running Travincal with barb.

    1) Hold alt while killing
    Might be annoying to do with some characters, but at least check frequently what dropped.

    2) Check drops from right and bottom side of a killing site
    Items tend to clutter to the right in diablo. To properly check what dropped, tele to the bottom right side to check drops. Checking from anywhere else is not good enough, not on cow level where items clutter big time. This kind of checking is not required if you don't kill massive amount of cows at the same spot, but is still advisable to at least tele there and fast check did something drop.

    3) Perform walking technique
    Similar to what Travincal barbs do, tele to the point explained under 2) and perform fast walk to see items overlap and check for orange flashes for runes. Perhaps not required all the time, only when you kill massive amount of cows at the same spot.

    4) Check for orange flashes
    Connected to both 1) and 3), runes tend to show when they drop even when they get cluttered similar as when you run LK.

    5) Preferably kill standing bottom right from cows (lower priority)
    Not that important and hard to do all the time, but if you can, do the killing that way to have higher chance of spotting orange flashes and see more drops. If you don't do the killing this way, make sure to perform checking explained under 2) and 3) afterwards.

    What characters to use for Cow running?

    Recent tests showed there are plenty of characters you could use, you just have to pick:
    Javazon, Nova necro, Summoner necro, Blizzard sorc, Lightning sorc, Nova sorc, Fireball sorc, Fissure druid, Hammerdin, Trapper...

    Here are my tests to determine somewhat maximum potential of each build. To read more check this post. In general I recommend whole thread for reading since it is full of great info. Bolded values are p5 cows killed per minute while brackets show other info about character.

    1. PN/Nova necro ~168 (2:24, p5lvl95 41660)
    2. Nova sorc ~153 (2:40, p5lvl96 30002)
    3. Blizzard sorc ~144 (2:47, p5lvl96 29974)
    4. Javazon ~142 (2:46, p7lvl95 47941)
    5. Trapper ~137 (2:48, p5lvl95 39755)
    6. Fireball sorc ~130 (2:45, p5lvl96 26994)
    7. Fissure druid ~126 (3:06, p5lvl95 40579)
    8. Hammerdin ~97 (3:24, p5lvl96 25313)

    Some characters are not yet tested like Lightning sorc, but I'll update this table with time. Idea is to present some numbers character can achieve. As you can see, you have plenty of characters to choose from.

    Important mods for gear:
    - mana per kill from 1.07 rings are of massive help!
    - life per kill is of massive help as well!
    - using Phoenix shield of switch is just amazingly neat trick to refill your life and mana and you can use it for every character like that!

    - might masterrace in general, especially for builds that rely on fast getting corpses (necro, trapper)
    - prayer is a fine choice for some characters
    - defiance is also ok if you really think you want that
    - I would recommend to avoid holy freeze, this merc will make herding exceptionally difficult
    - you can use most typical merc gear ever: weapon + Fortitude + Andariels Visage


    - CE is the king, max it and use it!
    - amplify curse is OP, it makes merc kill first cow fast and then you can start CE chain fast. DO NOT use LR curse just because you went with Poison Nova
    - use might merc and make sure he does not have cold damage!
    - using IK maul iron golem is good and cheap solution
    - use Revives if you are not summoner, they are fantastic to keep you alive!
    - merc using Andariels Visage does not make it bad just because he casts weaker Novas, I use Andy merc too. Primary goal of PNova is NOT to kill cows, but to weaken them enough for them to die once you cast first CE. PNova cast from merc does not prevent that kind of usefulness from your nova, but Visage does make merc kill faster and get corpses faster in comparison to other potential helms

    You can go two ways here. Either you can go summoner route with Beast axe or you can go Nova route with Web. Or you can experiment with something in between. Advantage of Beast route is faster first corpse, but disadvantage is lower CE range and slower CE chain due to longer time needed to get second corpse. Nova has slower first corpse, but CE chain starts immediately when first creep falls.

    Gearwise, use mpk ring and Infinity merc, but in general it doesn't matter much do you use Insight or Infinity. Infinity is slightly faster though. Also, if you are perfectionist, go 125 fcr breakpoint for maximum potential.

    More about necro you can read here and here.

    Video demonstration


    Considered queen of cows for a long time, she is an obvious choice. She is the only character which profits more from p7 than p5 due to Fury nature to kill most cows. As for a running style and gear, check these posts:

    Gear 1
    Gear 2
    Gear 3
    Technique of running 1
    Technique of running 2

    Video demonstration by @ffs:

    I also performed more tests with her, comparing 32 vs 55 ias and p5 vs p7. Conclusion I got to is p7 is slightly better than p5, also there is no difference between 32 ias and 55 ias. Thought I'd leave that IAS question open since all over the place people are saying 55 IAS is the way to go while on the other hand I tested on 3 different areas with conclusion it offers no upgrade compared to 32 IAS...

    For her I'd also recommend might merc to make your javelin have stronger damage so you can leech better.

    Nova sorceress

    You can go two ways with her - ES or vita. ES is quite simple - get Infinity, cast ES as high level as possible and give merc Insight. Vita relies on mpk and lpk gear.
    Some info about ES variant
    Video demonstration of ES variant by @NanoMist

    Some info about vita variant
    Vita variant can go to max Thunder Storm which I recommend. You do have tons of points to spend.
    Video demonstration of vita variation

    As for merc, I prefer might to help me kill cows, but you could go for prayer merc as well to replenish your life if you think you need that.

    Blizzard sorceress

    She is very simple. Give merc Insight, max your Static + Blizzard and whack cows with it. Best way to go around it is to cast static, blizzard, her cows, blizzard again, some blast to kill and move on. There is really not much to talk about here. You could consider using life per kill gear since cows will hit you, or you can use Phoenix shield on switch to replenish life. Also, you don't need Fathom for her to be powerhouse cow runner.

    Merc: either might or prayer would be my choice

    Fireball sorceress

    She is good cow killer. Use meteors and fireballs to your advantage, also have maxed Static Field and I would recommend using Griffon's as helm to have stronger static to not rely on Conviction at all. Phoenix as shield is really great.

    As for killing technique, drop meteors on large clusters of cows and fireball the rest. You can even play with only meteor while you use fireball to finish of leftovers... Merc is might or prayer.

    Check one gear variation in this post


    Trapper is cool Cow runner, but I think she needs Phoenix on switch to really run comfortably. Her technique is simple: teleport to cows, drop 2 Death Sentries and blast cows with Fireblast to get corpses which DS will blast to kill whole screen of cows. You could also use LS trap, but I find DS is good enough if you go to Fireblast cows fast because DS has initial delay before it starts firing, so it is better to already have it down when you get corpses. Alternatively you could lay some LS down and then fireblast to get corpse. See for yourself what technique do you prefer. Once first corpse is down, create 5 DS and wait till they kill all cows. It goes really fast. Give merc Infinity to make it work better, you have Phoenix on switch to replenish life and mana.

    As for skills, max Fireblast, max DS and put as many points to traps + leave one point for Mind Blast and 1 for BoS. As for gear, go for 102 fcr breakpoints using Hoto and Spirit + Arachnid Mesh. Rest is up to you really. Why not using Phoenix on main switch? Because it uses corpses and makes your DS weaker. Power of trapper is in making corpses and then her DS uses CE to kill cows.

    Use might merc, you need corpses as fast as possible.

    Video demonstration
    p7 by @NanoMist
    Video demonstration p5 by @NanoMist

    Fissure druid

    He is not a standard Cow runner, but he is really good at it. Gear is pretty simple, something similar as presented in this post where is also some info on how to run with him. In general, you throw Fissure and basically lead cows over them. There was some discussion whether to use Armageddon or not, but conclusion is it is not worth it at all.

    Use might merc, you have or should have Phoenix shield which will make you constantly have full life and mana.


    125 fcr, max block and you are ready to go. Strategy with him is simple. Start casting hammers, cast like 5-6 of those, then teleport to another place and cast 5-6 hammers there. Repeat until cows are dead. You must do this because hammers have obvious blindspots and if you would just stand and spam, cows would be happily alive and you will be annoyed. Overall, he is not exactly great, but is solid for cowrunning.

    For him I'd recommend might merc since everything else does not benefit you at all. At least might merc will help you kill cows faster.

    Thanks to everyone who contributed at making this guide with great discussions and by providing their insight on the builds and testing results. If anyone has any post with good info that can contribute to this thread in any way, please do share. Also comments are welcome to improve this guide further.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2017
  2. Gripphon

    Gripphon IncGamers Member

    Sep 11, 2009
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    LK vs Travincal vs Cows ultimate comparison

    After all relevant basics and numbers are posted in post 1, now it is time to take it to a next level of comparison. For this comparison I will assume player already has properly geared characters rather than the ones who still seek their first Ber runes. If you are in position you have nothing yet, best course of action is to stick to LK and farm it until you get everything needed. After you get Enigma/Infinity/Grief company, only then Travincal and Cows can possibly even compare to LK and you will see why in a moment.

    I will do comparison in 3 ways. For the first way I will assume runetimes that are borderline efficient, not too hard to get to, but still challenging enough to get there with practice. For the second way I will assume more advanced running with faster times players could and did achieve with some practice. For the third way I will put the numbers out for fastest known farmers to put things into perspective of ultimate possible rune-farming in diablo. You could also get info for your own runtimes by simply multiplying number of runs needed with average time in seconds to get average amount of time needed for you to farm certain item of interest, be it runeword or rune.

    First time rune-hunting, what area to hit?

    Very short and straightforward recommendation: LK
    Why? Because to hit LK properly you do not need some special gear, basically what you got in the game by then. Sorceress is most powerful choice due to excellent fcr breakpoints and teleporting ability + telekinesis. Even 63 fcr sorceress could aim for something really good, even she is easily able to do sub 30s running, but let us assume player is rather new and he wants to improve his LK farming and he manages to get to 30s running. Some numbers for LK are already shared, but lets compare all 3 areas where I assume some runtimes for the player. I will also assume we cube Sur to Ber and Ber to Jah.

    You can compare areas with your own numbers, just multiply number of runs needed with your average time in seconds and you can extract info how long will it take you to farm Enigma/Infinity at average and compare LK with Travincal this way.

    Area: LK p7/8
    Character: sorceress (any type)
    Runtimes: 30s
    to farm Infinity from zero: ~2570 runs (21 hours 25 minutes)
    to farm Enigma from zero: ~3855 runs (32 hours 8 minutes)
    to farm Infinity AND Enigma from zero: ~6425 runs (53 hours 33 minutes)

    Area: Travincal p3
    Character: barbarian (50% hork)
    Runtimes: 60s (perhaps 60s is doable to reach with some practice)
    to farm Infinity from zero: ~4107 runs (68 hours 27 minutes)
    to farm Enigma from zero: ~3857 runs (64 hours 17 minutes)
    to farm Infinity AND Enigma from zero: ~7964 runs (132 hours 44 minutes)

    In case you find it strange, yes, it is faster to farm Enigma than Infinity in Travincal because Ber is rarer than Jah and for Infinity you need 2 Ber runes either cubed or directly dropped, while for Enigma you need Jah and one Ber and that makes it easier to make than Infinity. Same thing would be true for LK if it could drop Jah runes too.

    In short, until you are well geared, LK is 2 and more times faster for farming runes than any other area in the game. Replacing this 64 hours to farm Enigma for 32 hours seems like a crazy good deal to me.

    I won't do comparison with Cows because they are even worse than Travincal, at least for players who are not experienced enough to make Blizzard sorc work to her full potential. For them you would use Blizzard sorc since she does not need strong gear and you use Insight on merc.

    For first gear and first high runes run LK, it squashes any other area in the game, even Travincal. If you want Vex or Ohm or Lo, stick to LK too. Travincal becomes "viable" once you have all OP runewords for your character you plan on running with.

    For the next comparisons I will include the fact player already has all essentials to make his build OP, only thing left for him to do is to roll decent map and start improving his runtimes to farm faster.

    Farming Ist runes

    Ist runes are very valuable because they give MF when socketed, especially true for weapons. 6x Ist phaseblades are a norm to get for MF Berserker barbs, or getting 6x Ist crystal sword for singer. Or maybe for some other character as well. Ist is also used to perfect your gear by socketing them into helms or armors instead of perfect topazes even if they offer only 1 extra MF. For this comparison I won't consider Countess though she is probably best possible target for that. But, lacks better drops than that. You could farm/cube Ist like once every hour on her I think. But, running LK/Travincal could prove to be much more valuable even for farming Ist runes due to all other drops you get there and you don't get while hitting Countess unless you are in a hurry to farm Ist runes.

    Runes I'll consider cubing up to Ist: Pul, Um and Mal

    Area: LK p7/8
    Average runs to cube/farm Ist: ~603 runs
    Average run-time and time needed to farm Ist:
    25s: ~4h 11m --> farming pace that starts to get efficient
    21s: ~3h 31m --> farming pace to a very efficient side
    18s: ~3h 1m --> fastest farming pace (sub 18s is possible too)

    Area: Travincal p3
    Character: sorceress
    - for barbarian 55% hork divide numbers of runs by 1.597, and for 56% hork divide by 1.608
    Average runs to cube/farm Ist: ~847 runs
    Average run-time and time needed to farm Ist:
    26s: ~6h 7m
    22s: ~5h 11m
    18s: ~4h 14m

    Area: Cows p5
    Cows killed per run estimate: ~400
    Average runs to cube/farm Ist: ~138 runs
    Average run-time and time needed to farm Ist:
    4m 30s: ~10h 21m
    3m 30s: ~8h 3m
    2m 30s: ~5h 45m

    LK easily wins, Travincal is second, Cows are third.

    Farming Lo runes

    Lo runes are valuable because they are not used only to make first Griefs in pharblades and Fortitude, but also to make Griefs in Berserker Axes later and especially to reroll Griefs for better roll. You can't get enough of Lo runes.

    Runes I'll consider cubing up to Lo: Gul, Vex and Ohm
    - I do assume player does really want Lo, in which case he might not hesitate to cube up all the way from Gul to farm his Lo. Vex and Gul runes are otherwise good to have to make Deaths.

    Area: LK p7/8
    Average runs to cube/farm Lo: ~1433 runs
    Average run-time and time needed to farm Lo:
    25s: ~9.9h
    21s: ~8.4h
    18s: ~7.2h

    Area: Travincal p3
    Character: sorceress
    - for barbarian 55% hork divide numbers of runs by 1.597, and for 56% hork divide by 1.608
    Average runs to cube/farm Lo: ~1725 runs
    Average run-time and time needed to farm Lo:
    26s: ~12.5h
    22s: ~10.5h
    18s: ~8.8h

    Area: Cows p5
    Cows killed per run estimate: ~400
    Average runs to cube/farm Lo: ~281 runs
    Average run-time and time needed to farm Lo:
    4m 30s: ~21.1h
    3m 30s: ~16.4h
    2m 30s: ~11.7h

    LK wins again, Travincal is second, Cows are third.

    Farming Ber runes

    Ber runes are really valuable because people tend to farm their Infinities once they have Enigma, or their Enigmas once they have Infinity. There is also CoH runeword and Beast axe to consider.

    Runes I'll consider cubing up to Ber: Sur
    - Lo runes are probably too valuable to be cubed to "worthless" Sur, or in other words they seem to valuable to serve as 1/4 of Ber. Still, some players might consider cubing them if they really want those Enigmas or Infinity, but otherwise practice of getting Bers is to cube from Sur and use Lo to reroll Griefs.

    Area: LK p7/8
    Average runs to cube/farm Ber: ~1285 runs
    Average run-time and time needed to farm Ber:
    25s: ~8.9h
    21s: ~7.5h
    18s: ~6.4h

    Area: Travincal p3
    Character: sorceress
    - for barbarian 55% hork divide numbers of runs by 1.597, and for 56% hork divide by 1.608
    Average runs to cube/farm Ber: ~3162 runs
    Average run-time and time needed to farm Ber:
    26s: ~22.8h
    22s: ~19.3h
    18s: ~15.8h

    Area: Cows p5
    Cows killed per run estimate: ~400
    Average runs to cube/farm Ber: ~515 runs
    Average run-time and time needed to farm Ber:
    4m 30s: ~38.6h
    3m 30s: ~30h
    2m 30s: ~21.4h

    Is this surprise LK wins by such big margin? Not really. All those Sur patterns... easy win LK obviously.

    Farming Jah runes

    First Jah usually goes to Enigma, but what to do with the rest? You can do Faith, arguably best bow for bowazon. You can do Enigma in other base. You can do Ice runeword. Or... whatever else.

    Runes I'll consider cubing up to Jah: Sur and Ber
    - after you make Enigma, it is questionable is it worth it to cube Bers into Jah, but lets assume player really needs that Jah and is willing to cube Ber for it. Perhaps he is after Enigma after all.

    Area: LK p7/8
    Average runs to cube Jah: ~2570 runs
    Average run-time and time needed to farm Jah:
    25s: ~17.8h
    21s: ~15h
    18s: ~12.9h

    Area: Travincal p3
    Character: sorceress
    - for barbarian 55% hork divide numbers of runs by 1.597, and for 56% hork divide by 1.608
    Average runs to cube/farm Jah: ~2778 runs
    Average run-time and time needed to farm Jah:
    26s: ~20.1h
    22s: ~17h
    18s: ~13.9h

    Area: Cows p5
    Cows killed per run estimate: ~400
    Average runs to cube/farm Jah: ~453 runs
    Average run-time and time needed to farm Jah:
    4m 30s: ~33.9h
    3m 30s: ~26.4h
    2m 30s: ~18.9h

    Mathematically, LK wins yet again by a slight margin over Travincal. But, considering the fact that only way to get Jah from LK is to cube Ber runes, Travincal might be a better choice because in Travincal Jah can drop directly and you won't face a decision to cube Ber runes to get it. Also Travincal has yet another advantage - it can drop Cham runes, while in LK you will pretty much stack up onto Ohm, Vex and such runes.

    Overall, I'd say if you want that Jah and you are somewhat decent runner, go Travincal even if it is mathematically slightly slower, I still think it is worth it more for mentioned reasons.

    Farming Cham runes

    Cham is usually considered to be best rune in the game by diablo veterans, though not everyone agrees. Why is it so valuable? Because of massively useful CBF mod it offers. It is used to make CBF into Shako, Andariels Visage, Guilaume's Face, perhaps even Steelshade. Others consider Cham is valuable because it can be cubed to Zod.

    Runes I'll consider cubing up to Jah: Sur, Ber and Jah
    - usually people do not cube Jah runes into Cham, but for this comparison to make sense, I will assume player wants to farm Cham at all costs. Without this assumption, answer is pretty straightforward - go farm Travincal. But, lets see how other areas stand for fun of comparison.

    Area: LK p7/8
    Average runs to cube Cham: ~5140 runs
    Average run-time and time needed to farm Cham:
    25s: ~35.7h
    21s: ~30h
    18s: ~25.7h

    Area: Travincal p3
    Character: sorceress
    - for barbarian 55% hork divide numbers of runs by 1.597, and for 56% hork divide by 1.608
    Average runs to cube/farm Cham: ~3179 runs
    Average run-time and time needed to farm Cham:
    26s: ~23h
    22s: ~19.4h
    18s: ~15.9h

    Area: Cows p5
    Cows killed per run estimate: ~400
    Average runs to cube/farm Cham: ~518 runs
    Average run-time and time needed to farm Cham:
    4m 30s: ~38.9h
    3m 30s: ~30.2h
    2m 30s: ~21.6h

    Travincal wins easily this time, but Cows are also more efficient target than LK, depending on how efficient you are. Someone might compare runs and time needed to farm Ber rune and Cham rune and you might see times are identical... reason is Ber is rarer than Jah and is cubed only from Sur for our calculations, while Cham is rarer than everything, but is cubed all the way from Sur. This just means that, if you do enough runs to farm/cube that Ber, you might also be really close to cubing runes all the way to Cham, or getting it directly.

    Farming Zod runes

    Zod is supposed to be godly rune you get, so indestructible even Chuck Norris can't break it. And what are we supposed to do with it, make BotD that is beaten by Grief? Or BotD polearm that is beaten by Insight? Zodgod items? Indestructible bug? Your call. Lets see where gold at farming Zod runes lie. Obviously question is only between Travincal and Cows here.

    Runes I'll consider cubing up to Zod: Sur, Ber, Jah and Cham
    - don't ever cube Cham to Zod. That is simply a waste of perfectly good rune! It is like trading Ferrari for Fiat Seicento! Joke to the side, I will assume player wants to get Zod at all costs and is willing to cube it up from all those juicy runes. I will also do second calculation assuming player is not willing to use Ber runes as 1/8 of Zod, but is instead willing to start cubing from Jah onward.

    Area: LK p7/8
    Average runs to cube Zod: ~10280 runs
    Average run-time and time needed to farm Zod:
    25s: ~71.4h
    21s: ~60h
    18s: ~51.4h

    Area: Travincal p3
    Character: sorceress
    - for barbarian 55% hork divide numbers of runs by 1.597, and for 56% hork divide by 1.608
    Average runs to cube Zod: ~6358 runs
    Average run-time and time needed to farm Zod:
    26s: ~45.9h
    22s: ~38.9h
    18s: ~31.8h

    Area: Cows p5
    Cows killed per run estimate: ~400
    Average runs to cube/farm Zod: ~780 runs
    Average run-time and time needed to farm Zod:
    4m 30s: ~58.5h
    3m 30s: ~45.5h
    2m 30s: ~32.5h

    In short, you would have to be among most efficient cow runners on SPF to be able to challenge Travincal and cubing Zod runes. So, unless that is a case and depending on your own runtimes, Travincal is expected to be better Zod-farming target than Cows.

    Runes I'll consider cubing up to Zod: Jah and Cham
    - not all players are willing to use Ber as 1/8 of Zod, but they might be willing to use Jah as 1/4 Zod. This calculation is for them.

    Area: Travincal p3
    Character: sorceress
    - for barbarian 55% hork divide numbers of runs by 1.597, and for 56% hork divide by 1.608
    Average runs to cube Zod: ~8494 runs
    Average run-time and time needed to farm Zod:
    26s: ~61.3h
    22s: ~51.9h
    18s: ~42.5h

    Area: Cows p5
    Cows killed per run estimate: ~400
    Average runs to cube/farm Zod: ~963 runs
    Average run-time and time needed to farm Zod:
    4m 30s: ~72.2h
    3m 30s: ~56.2h
    2m 30s: ~40.1h

    Similar conclusion as before, if you are among most efficient SPF cow runners, Cows might provide you better chances for Zod than Travincal. But, is it really worth it due to lower drop chances of other runes, no facets either? Your call.

    Final Words

    For all other comparisons of interest you could ask and I might do it. Just remember, it is not all about runes. LK is still strongest target for charms, jewels and gems no matter what condictions, Travincal is arguably best target in the game for facets and some unique jewelry since along the way you also farm gems and charms and runes. Cows are kinda unique target for socketables, but do not drop facets which is a big minus, and also they are not best target for anything unless you are into Zod runes.

    With this I'd like to conclude this guide and wish you all happy farming.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2017
  3. Fabian

    Fabian IncGamers Member

    May 16, 2007
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    Causa, Albatross, T72on1 and 2 others like this.
  4. BKC

    BKC IncGamers Member

    Sep 13, 2008
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    you can hold alt before pressing a chest (or at least i TK my chests with alt already pressed)

    edit: Very usefull information this made me smile this morning!
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2017
  5. ffs

    ffs IncGamers Member

    Feb 7, 2017
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    Great overview, very nice to have all the relevant information in one place for people getting into this, as well as for experienced players looking to refresh some knowledge on the topic. And of course thanks for the reference regarding java, I'm both flattered and slightly embarrassed by the screw ups, she deserves better. ;)
  6. Pb_pal

    Pb_pal IncGamers Member

    Mar 7, 2004
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    Long overdue, amazing work Gripp! Maybe @Thyiad could stick this one into the FAQ somewhere.
    Thyiad likes this.
  7. sanguillen

    sanguillen IncGamers Member

    Nov 3, 2003
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    This is some awesome work, @Gripphon . As someone that is relatively poor (I've come closer to seeing a real bear than I have a Ber), this is great info for me. Thanks!
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  8. TopHatCat64

    TopHatCat64 IncGamers Member

    Jul 8, 2004
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    Good stuff, @Gripphon. This is a thoughtful, well-researched guide with a lot of good links to boot.

    This is definitely FAQ-worthy.
  9. Codoh

    Codoh IncGamers Member

    Dec 28, 2011
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    Thumbs up. Been running Trav on P3 as of late. And while i didnt have much luck with HRs, i find it more enjoyable and faster then p7. Found a Bulkathos ring so yey.
  10. GalaXyHaXz

    GalaXyHaXz IncGamers Member

    Mar 16, 2011
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    Very nice guide! I would like to suggest adding info based on @Treeharl and my finds in RoF superchests. On players 7/8 there are 12 ohm patterns and 3 Lo. This would be faster for getting a Lo. You also have 1 Jah/Cham, making it quickest way to cube a Zod. At work so I can't crunch the numbers, but would be a nice addition.
  11. Gripphon

    Gripphon IncGamers Member

    Sep 11, 2009
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    Second post is updated and with it comparison between areas is finished. I might add some more comparisons like the one suggested from @GalaXyHaXz there.
    In the first post I updated info on cow trapper, cow nova sorc ES variant, added merc info for all builds in Travincal and Cow sections and solving clutter problem with Travbarb.

    I'm happy to hear players find this guide useful for their needs. I might add more info whenever, so you could also give some suggestions or link to great posts about the matter. Feel free to point out any mistakes I have made.
    pharphis likes this.
  12. srrw

    srrw IncGamers Member

    Jul 2, 2012
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    You crazy mf! This is amazing. Although I never aim at top end efficiency for the simple fact that I can't run something more than 5 times without doing something else (smoking, checking facebook, picking proper songs on youtube and whatnot).

    Big ups, your dedication to D2 farming is epic.
  13. Gripphon

    Gripphon IncGamers Member

    Sep 11, 2009
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    Thanks for all those kind words, everyone :D

    Yes, I'm really dedicated farmer and still have a reason to be. There are few potential goals I'd like to fulfill yet apart from testing game limitations. I'd like to possibly complete second grail for which I miss caddy and Zod. I can't seem to get that Zod, while caddy will be problem of its own since I'd need to MF for it, and I'm kinda less interested to MF lately. Even third grail might be possible - if I find 2 caddys, 2 Zods, mang and stormlash. That is too far away though.

    Another goal I'd like to fulfill is to have 10+ of each rune in my stashes (with exception of Zod lol). That is pretty much reachable, but since not too long ago I used 4 Chams for ATMA bugging claws, now I have some work to do to farm those Chams back... So, I have a reason to nail cows and travincal more for future tournaments. :D

    I even thought about going for 99 (honestly, it just slightly crossed my mind), but only characters I might have use from to be level 99 are travincal sorc and pitbarb. And their maps are set in stone... So, that plan finished quickly. Not to mention I don't wanna hit Baal or Nihl for 100-150 hours, no damn thank you. That is 100-150 hours I'm not running Travincal or Cows or Pit!

    Another juicy plan might be to try to level sorc to level 96 in Travincal. That could be the first character leveled to that level by only Travincal running. I think I'm like 26k runs away from doing that assuming I don't die. Death would be painful. And they say I don't play HC... But, if I managed to level pitbarb to level 96 by p1 running, I don't see a problem to do this also!

    Okay, I didn't mean to share my diablo plans now in such detail, but couldn't stop writing. Bad habit of mine on this forum.

    Kinda forgot I also lack Stormlash for the potential third grail.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2017
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  14. Atomic Love

    Atomic Love IncGamers Member

    Feb 14, 2017
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    This is incredibly useful to me. It's almost as if you read my mind, in fact, because for the past week or so I have been wondering about some of this specifically. Good job on this one! Quality work.
  15. krischan

    krischan Europe Trade Moderator

    Aug 17, 2003
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    That's a really helpful guide, even long-time players will find a few reminders about improving on a couple of things. For example, I'm not using TK in LK often enough. My blizz sorc is usually just using it to pin cold immunes to a wall.

    A few comments:

    1. I think pretty much any melee barb with maxed resists is good for Travincal.For example, I'm using a conc barb. I recommend a weapon+shield build. Being hit only 25% of the time in comparison to a shieldless barb greatly reduces the chance of dying from a streak of bad luck. A shield is also a carrier of magical effects which cannot be offered by weapons. For example, I'm using Rhyme in a hyperion which offers CBF, blocking bonuses, allres and even a bit MF... and it's dirt cheap. Unfortunately, I don't have enough resources for Enigma on that character yet, so I'm using Skullder's.


    I would never cube up a Bar or Jah rune because there are so many, many runewords involving them. Beyond HF runes, I only upgrade Vex runes. If I had two Cham runes, I would turn them into Zod on the spot. I'm just not sure whether to make BotD in a CB or in a GPA.

    It's campfire, not campire!!11! Yes, that's a smartass comment, but it hurts my eyes :).
  16. Gripphon

    Gripphon IncGamers Member

    Sep 11, 2009
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    I have no idea how I managed to misspell campfire 6 times in a row lol. Thank you for telling me this. Corrected.
    Added a comment about other barb variations, though I won't make a new section about those since they are really unpopular.
    As for cubing runes to Zod all the way from Sur, calculations are made mostly for fun to also include LK into equation. I also wouldn't cube Jahs just to make Zod (perhaps only for Cham), but as I've seen people do it, I kinda included Jah also as a cubing material for Zod.
  17. Codoh

    Codoh IncGamers Member

    Dec 28, 2011
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    I'm having a hard time finding a map where all the Trav mobs are clumped up outside on that little tight spot to the left as u showed it on those videos. Gona keep trying. The best ones i found always had Tooric inside derping alone. Gahhh!
    pharphis likes this.
  18. T72on1

    T72on1 IncGamers Member

    Feb 12, 2016
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    Yes, that definitely happens a lot. Keep on trying, you'll find it eventually. Although, even then, when they all spawn outside, there's still quite some difference possible. It will certainly enable you to do fast runs. But a good map will allow just that, fast runs, while a very good map will have you shave off even 2 - 3 seconds of that fast runs. At least that's how I explained my fast but not lightning fast runs at RFL 2 ;).
  19. Brak

    Brak IncGamers Member

    Aug 19, 2006
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  20. Burgomaster3

    Burgomaster3 IncGamers Member

    Jan 19, 2016
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    Superb stuff, thanks for the guide! My own experiences correspond with most of the numbers (except my game seems to think Pits are the best source for Ists, go figure).

    My only criticism is that this guide is ~4 years too late for me :D But it's great to have the relevant info "under the same roof", and I'll most likely return to this from time to time even though I've memorized most of the stuff. In fact, this guide kinda made me want to hit LK/Travincal, even though I don't actually need any runes after the RFL. Definitely vote for sticky/FAQ-inclusion, this has some invaluable stuff for newcomers and anyone without much experience with rune hunting.

    If I would add something, it would probably be at least a small section about RoF. It wont compete much with the three top places I think, but it can be combined with LK or CS running, and can be interesting for those who want a bit of variation once in a while.

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