Lower Kurast (LK) FAQ Hi, I’m posting the version 2.1 of the LK faq. I’ve heard about LK runs some months ago, but the subject didn’t catch my attention. As I kept reading mentions to it, I tried to find more info about. But that wasn’t an easy task. There’s a lot of info right here in the spf, but is scattered along various threads, some of them very big. So I tried to join the most relevant information in a single document. This isn’t intend to be the ultimate guide for LK, but more like a beginners quick reference guide. In the future I expect to add more to it, so all feedback, tips, suggestions and criticism are welcome. Note that english isn’t my first language, so corrections and suggestions on how write things better would be very useful. LOWER KURAST RUNNING FAQ (or everything you need to know about it in one single place) -------- Table of Content -------- I - Introduction II - Location of Lower Kurast and its Special chests III - Possible chest drops in different difficulties and acts IV - Special chests general information V - Runes for different player settings VI - Guarantee? VII - Run speed and Magic Find VIII - VIII - Magic/Set and Unique items and Charms/Jewels IX - Killing monsters in Lower Kurast X - Sorceress XI - Other Characters XII - Specific build XIII - Equipment XIV - Mercenary XV - Run time XVI - Choice of map XVII - Count number of runs XIX - Ending tips XX - Drop Patterns XXI - Links XXII - Acknowledgements Note: Don’t let the number of sections fool you, many of them doesn’t contain to much text -------------------------------------------------------------------------- I - Introduction This FAQ is intended to provide information about the Lower Kurast runs in Diablo 2 Lord of Destruction version 1.10 and above. The idea is to bring the most relevant information together in a comprehensive form. I’ll try not to get too much into game mechanics or maths. All the credits for the info here should go to the people in the Diabloii.net Single Player forum. They made all the research and calculations. I’m just trying to make a quick reference guide from what they found. This FAQ is intended primarily for Single Player gaming, but the info can be useful for B.net players as well. II - Location of Lower Kurast and its Special chests Lower Kurast (LK) running means repeatedly going to that area and clicking at the special chests that can be found there. In Hell difficult, runes up to Ber can drop from the aforementioned chests, making this a very good way of finding high level runes. Why run LK? (1) Why run LK? (2) Why run LK? (3) Lower Kurast can be found in Act 3. Each Lower Kurast map always has one or two campfires. Next to each of those campfires there are two huts with the special chests. In one hut there is one chest and a weapon rack. The other hut has two chests. There is also another armor stand in the vicinity. Sometimes a random chest or hidden stash can also spawn inside the huts, but those won’t be there every time you reenter that particular map. The special chests always will be in the same place until you re-roll the map. The picture below shows how the campfires look like. The red circles represent the special chests and the blue ones weapon rack and armor stand. screenshot III - Possible chest drops in different difficulties and acts Code: ACT Normal Nightmare Hell 1 no runes Hel/Io Gul/Vex 2 El/Eld/Tir/Nef Lum/Ko Ohm/Lo 3 Eth/Ith/Tal/Ral Fal/Lem Sur/Ber 4 Ort/Thul/Amn/Sol Pul/Um Jah/Cham 5 Shael/Dol Mal/Ist Zod From the table we see that runes up to Sur and Ber can drop from chests in Act 3, Hell difficulty. This is also were we can find Lower Kurast. IV - Special chests and their dropping Special chests are chests that appear in certain specific areas, like after Mephisto in Durance of Hate level 3. They have a different dropping system from monsters or the random regular chests. It was discovered those chests have a limited number of dropping possibilities/patterns, more exactly 65536 different ones. Every time you hit a special chest you will get one of the 65536 possible combos of drops. Some of the patterns contain a high rune (HR) such as Vex, Ohm, Lo, Sur or Ber Rune. Every time you click in one of those chests you have a chance of 1/65536 of getting one of those runes. V - Runes for different player settings It was also discovered each number of player settings seems to have specific dropping patterns associated to them. number of patterns for: Code: PUL UM MAL IST GUL Players 1-2 2 1 none 1 none Players 3-4 3 4 1 2 1 Players 5-6 1 1 2 1 1 Players 7-8 6 1 2 2 none VEX OHM LO SUR BER Players 1-2 none none 1 none none Players 3-4 none none 1 1 1 Players 5-6 none 2 none none none Players 7-8 1 none none 1 1 From what we know now, players 3-4 there have patterns for Lo, Sur and Ber. This means 3 “good” patterns of the 65536 possibilities. You should expect to have one of the aforementioned runes dropping for each 3,7k runs (considering 6 chests per run). Players 7-8 have also 3 “top” patterns. But the highest level runes possible are Vex, Sur and Ber, meaning the same odds, but slight “worse” runes than players 3-4. On the other hand, as we increase the number of players, we also decrease the possibility of no-drop. Player’s 7-8 patterns will generally have more items dropping at each time. This means more gems, low level runes, charms and jewels. Conclusion: If you’re just after the high level runes, go for players 3. If you want more charms, jewels etc. go for players 8. VI - Guarantee? There’s NO guarantee you will get a high rune from running Lower Kurast. The odds of getting a specific high level rune are about 1/11k per run, considering two campfires and six chests being popped (6 special chests/65536 possibilities). Keep in mind these numbers are based on probability calculations. Each drop is independent of the other drops so if an HR just dropped or it hasn't for the past 20000 runs the odds are the same that it will (or won't) drop the next run. Theoretically is possible, although improbable, to make 20K runs and find squat or finding a Ber with 100 runs. More realistically you should expect a good rune every 2-3K runs. There’s a lot of luck involved. If you want the runes for a high level runeword like Enigma be ready to run more than 10 k times. It seems like a lot and it really is, but still is your best bet for HR in singleplayer. VII - Run speed and Magic Find Magic Find (MF) has no effect on the special chest drops. Instead of magic gear you should put focus to make your runs faster maximize number of runs and drops over time. VIII - Magic/Set and Unique items and Charms/Jewels If you’re interested in finding set or unique items along the runes, the special chests won’t help you. They can only drop regular (potions, scrolls, gems etc., not armor or weapons), magical (armor, weapons, jewels and charms) and rare items (armor, weapons and jewels), never set or unique items. Magical items will drop 95% and rares 5% of the time. But the special chests can drop charms, gems and jewels in a good rate. Examples of possible findings are Grand Charms with a Skill prefix and/or small shimmering charms (up to 5 to all resistances). Jewels have the possibility of spawning with prefixes like scintillating (resistance all) or ruby (enhanced damage) and suffixes like of fervor (IAS) or of Freedom (- requirements). A combination of a good prefix and suffix will be rare, but the possibility is there and if you make enough runs, chances are you will eventually score a keeper. Rare rings, amulets and circlets also can spawn with good modes: dual leech, resistances, fast cast rating, skills (on amulets and circlets) etc. Those who enjoy cubing will find many flawless gems also. But don’t go overboard or you will start to have constant problems to manage your storage space. Establish your priorities and stick to them. IX - Killing monsters in Lower Kurast No. As mentioned before, you really should make your runs the fastest possible, in order to maximize the number of runs over time. Monsters in Lower Kurast, as any other monster in the game, have astronomically low chances of dropping a high level rune and killing them would slow you too much to be effective. There are better areas for experience or general Magic Finding runs. X - Sorceress The most common class to run with is the Sorceress, as she has natural access to teleport and telekinesis. If equipped with a good Faster Cast Rate gear (FCR items) she has good possibilities to reach a certain breakpoint where she can use her teleport spell very fast. Code: Frames FCR 13 0 12 9 11 20 10 37 9 63 8 105 good breakpoint 7 200 very good breakpoint XI - Other Characters If you want to use other classes, I strongly recommend that you use equipment that provides teleport, via charges (Naj’s Puzzler or magic/rare amulets, circlets and staffs) or skills (‘Enigma’ rune word armor). Barbarians can be a viable option as well, as they have the same FCR breakpoints than a Sorceress and can dual wield weapons, allowing them equip two Wizardspikes at the same time for 100% FCR and massive resistances. They can attain the 200 FCR breakpoint while using ‘Enigma’ (2 x Wizardspikes=100%, belt=20%, gloves=20%, rare circlet=20%, caster crafted amulet=20%, 2x rare rings=20%). Barbarians also have natural high life (that can be boosted even more with Battle Orders), defense (with Shout and Iron Skin) and can run very fast with the Increased Speed skill. If you have ‘Enigma’ , this class has the potential to be at least as a good LK runner as sorcies. If you don’t have a Sorceress or an ‘Enigma’ (already require high runes and maybe this is the reason you run Lower Kurast in first place, to get ‘Enigma’) and don’t want to spend money with teleport charges, you can load any character you want with faster running/walking equipment and charms and use him/her. Speed enhancing skills will help a lot here, like Assassin’s Burst of Speed, Paladin’s Vigor Aura or Barbarian’s Increased Speed. But be warned that will be very hard to get close of the time of a good equipped teleporting character. XII - Specific build You don’t need a specific build for running Lower Kurast. Teleport and Telekinesis (as a prereq) are skills most Sorceresses already have. Other characters will use Teleport from items anyway. If you have problems with mana, equip your merc with an ‘Insight’ rune word polearm. However if you plan to make a new character specifically to be a LK runner, Sorceress is the choice for you, unless you already have very good gear (‘Enigma’). Remember you will be “blindly” teleporting inside huts and can appear in the middle of a boss pack with nasty modes, so life, Fast Hit Recovery, resistances and defense will be useful. Otherwise, put a few more points in Teleport, Telekinesis and Warmth if you want and you’re set. For the rest of the build, anything goes, as much you can eventually get to Act Lower Kurast in Hell. Important is also to focus on the Faster Cast Rate items to reach a high breakpoint to teleport as fast as possible. Cold based sorcies have a small edge here, as there aren’t natural cold immune monsters in LK. Also, cold spells will slow or freeze monsters in their tracks, allowing you to pop chests, check the drops and teleport away before they can reach you. If you need more guidance on a specific build I suggest reading this: Guide: Lower Kurast running Sorceress by nepeta XIII - Equipment By this point should be clear that Teleport will be your main skill for running LK. Teleport is very mana consumptive for constant recasting. Items with extra mana and FCR can be a good investment to get both mana and reach a high FCR breakpoint. Mana won’t be of much concern if you give a Insight polearm to your merc though. For Sorceress and Barbarian the breakpoints you will want to aim are 105% FCR for a 8 frames speed casting time or 200% for 7 frames (the fastest and better). Some examples of gear with FCR. Head Griffon’s Eye - Diadem ( 25% FCR, 1 to all skills, very expensive) Bahamut's Circlet/Tiara/Coronet/Diadem of Magus (91-120 mana + 20% FCR) Rare circlet (20% FCR, mana, resists) Armor Skin of the Vipermagi (30% FCR, 1 to all skills, 25-35 to all resistances) Que-Hegan’s Wisom (20% FCR, 1 to all skills, 15 to energy) Weapon Wizardspike (50% FCR, 75 resist all, mana reg. 15%, 15% maximum mana, 2-198 mana based on clvl) Spectral Shard (50% FCR, 10 resist all, 50 mana) Suicide Branch (50% FCR, 10 resist all, maximum mana 10%, 1 to all skills) ‘Spirit’ Crystal Sword (25-35% FCR, 2 to all skills, 89-122 mana) ‘Heart of the Oak’ Flail (40% FCR, 3 to all skills, 30-40 resist all, maximum mana 15%) Shield ‘Spirit’ Monarch (25-35% FCR, 2 to all skills, 89-122 mana, 35% resist to cold, lightning and poison ) Lidless Wall (20 FCR%, 1 to all skills, maximum mana 10%, 10 to energy) Belt Arachnid Mesh (20 FCR%, 1 to all skills, 5% maximum mana) Gloves Trang-Oul’s Claws (20% FCR, resist cold 30%) Magefist (20% FCR) Amulet Bahamut's Amulet of Apprentice (10% FCR, 91-120 mana) Crafted caster amulet (up to 20% FCR, resists, mana) Ring#1 Bahamut's Amulet of Apprentice (10% FCR, 91-120 mana) Rare ring (10% FCR, resists, mana) Ring#2 Bahamut's Amulet of Apprentice (10% FCR, 91-120 mana) Rare ring (10% FCR, resists, mana) Besides FCR you will want the regular modes any character need. The most vital ones are resistances and life. Luckily many of the above alternatives also have several of these. For example Wizardspike, ‘Spirit’ shield and Skin of the Vipermagi really shine here. Together they contain good amounts of both FCR and resistances, all together 105% FCR. So with a perfect “Spirit” you will attain the 8 frames casting speed with those three pieces of equipment alone. Tal Rasha’s Wrappings is a good defensive equipment (not listed above) combined with magefist/Trang-Oul’s Claws and ‘Spirit’ Monarch. Sample of equipment setups: Speed equipment (200% FCR): Weapon: Wizardspike (50% FCR) Armor: Skin of the Vipermagi (30% FCR) Shield: ‘Spirit’ monarch (up to 35% FCR) Helm: FCR circlet or Griffon's Eye Diadem (20% or 25% FCR) Gloves: Trang-Oul’s or Magefist (20% FCR) Belt: Arachnid Mesh (20% FCR) Rings: 2 x rare/magic (20% FCR) Amulet: Crafted Caster (up to 20% FCR) Boots: not really important. Sandstorm treks, Waterwalk, Marrowwalk, Natalya’s, Aldur’s, rares or crafted are all good choices. High FRW is a must for certain builds. 220% or 215% FCR, depending on headgear. You can exchange some gear for something with less (or none) FCR if you prefer, as long you keep at least 200%. Defensive Equipment (105% FCR): Weapon: Wizardspike (50% FCR) Armor: + 2 skills Arkaine’s Valor Shield: Stormshield Helm: Harlequin Crest Gloves: Trang-Oul’s or Magefist (20% FCR) Belt: Arachnid Mesh (20% FCR) Rings: 2 x rare/magic (20% FCR) Amulet: Nokozan Relic Boots: Waterwalk Socket two Shaels runes in the helmet and armor for a total of 90% Fast Hit Recovery (FHR). Also, solid resistances, good defense rating, 45% physical damage reduction and the possibility of 75% blocking makes this a very safe setup. Enigma Speed Barbarians (200% FCR): Weapon: 2 x Wizardspike (100% FCR) Armor: ‘Enigma’ breast plate, mage plate, dusk shroud or archon plate Helm: 20% FCR circlet or Griffon’s Eye diadem Gloves: Trang-Oul’s or Magefist (20% FCR) Belt: Arachnid Mesh (20% FCR) Rings: 2 x rare/magic (20% FCR) Amulet: Crafted Caster (up to 20% FCR) Boots: not really important. High FRW is a must for certain builds. There is some debate about which FCR break point is better for a LK runner:105% or 200%. Considering that in a good map you will be teleporting and using telekinesis around 15-20 times in a run, going from 105% to 200% will roughly save you around 0,6 to 0,8 seconds per run (15 to 20 frames in a 25 frames per second game). That will translate in maybe 3% less running time. Not bad at all. But getting to the 200% mark can be a little risky. Most of your equipment will be dedicated to FCR and you probably will have less life, resistances and FHR than you could get with a 105% setup. Remember you will be “blindly” teleporting inside huts. If you find a specially nasty boss pack inside, your character can have a quick and painful death. 105% FCR allows much more freedom of choice. I personally use the defensive gear listed above on a blocking sorcie and haven’t died ever since. My character can park in the middle of most packs and pop the chest without trouble. In the end it’s a matter of balancing defense x speed. If you can run safely enough or don’t mind dying from time to time, 200% FCR is obviously faster and better. But it’s not required. If you prefer a more defensive approach 105% FCR will work pretty well. If you play hardcore, security should be of great concern and the 105% mark probably will be better. XIV - Mercenary Act 2 are the obvious choice because of the Insight runeword. I suggest the Holy Freeze aura type (Nightmare defensive). Besides providing the meditation aura from Insight, the role of the mercenary will be keeping the monsters away from you while you check your drops. Slowing them with Holy Freeze will work wonders. A Delirium runeword helm can be useful too, but is not required and definitively a rich man’s choice. Prayer (Normal and Hell combat) or defiance (Normal and Hell defensive) mercs can be good options as well, depending on preferences and gear. A interesting comment from Sirpoosalot: “if you don't need mana from Insight, an Act3 IronWolf (Cold) is a really good merc for helping on LK runs. He'll fire Glacial Spike and freeze monsters solid (even more effective crowd control than the HF merc), giving you time & space to grab the drops you want and teleport away before the monster thaws. Plus, you get style points for choosing a merc that's otherwise quite useless.” XV - Run time 25~ 30 seconds per run in a six chests map is considered to be a good mark. You will need some practice, good FCR equipment and a very good map layout to achieve this. Use the aforementioned value as a reference, but don’t get too obsessed in equaling it. Playing style influences a lot too. Some players like to watch the dropped items more carefully to look for charms or jewels, some will want to kill a monster from time to time just for the kicks. That’s fine; you’re not in a race. XVII - Choice of map As previously mentioned, LK can spawn with 1 or 2 campfires, meaning 3 or 6 special chests in the area. Obviously you should look for a map with two campfires. The ideal layout will have both campfires near each other and near the waypoint (WP), in order to minimize the number of teleports needed to go through the four huts where the chests are located. You will probably have to re-roll maps a bit until you find one that suits you. But the effort will compensate, as every second you spare will add in the long run. There are two basic layouts to consider: linear and circular. The first is when each teleport makes you more distant from the WP. Example of linear layout: -------------WP -------Hut 1 -------Hut 2 -------Hut 3 -------Hut 4 In that layout you will go from the WP to Hut 1, from 1 to 2 etc. until ending the run in Hut 4, very far from the WP. Example of Circular layout: ---------------------------------WP --------Hut 1------Hut 2---------------Hut 3---------Hut 4 In a circular layout the huts will roughly surround the WP. You will also start your run in Hut 1 and end in Hut 4, but this time you will be closer to the WP. Choosing one layout is important because in the end of the run, just after you’ve popped the last chest, you will have some options: 1- You can save and exit immediately. 2- You can use a town portal to go back to Kurast Docks, then use telekinesis to activate the waypoint, use it to go to the Pandemoniun Fortress in Act 4 and then leave. 3- You can return to the LK waypoint and use it to go to Act 4 and then leave. Options 1 and 2 are used when you have a linear layout. Option 1 makes you appear in the Kurast Docks in the beginning of each run. Then you will have to run through the docks until the wp. You can use some fast run/walk (FRW)equipment and charms and a harmony runeword as a weapon switch to do this very fast. If you choose option 2 you will lose some time while opening the portal, activating the wp etc. In the other hand you will begin your next game in Act 4, just near the WP, that you can activate with telekinesis. That way you won’t need any FRW whatsoever. Both options are viable, depending on equipment and preference. If you’re not sure which one suits you better, time some runs on both setups. Option 3 is only effective in a circular layout. It is potentially the faster and better. But finding an appropriated map can take ages. XVIII - Count number of runs If you want to count the number of runs you do: this is a good program. XIX - Ending tips Take time to get to know the “good” patterns of the runes you want. If you know that a Ber spawns along a Vambrace and Arlabest, keep special attention when you see those items on the floor after you’ve popped a chest. There’s a list of the know patterns below. Get to know your map. As you run over and over gain in the same map you will get used to it to the point that you will know where monster packs and regular chests can spawn, which are the safest paths to travel, etc. Keep your inventory and stash the most empty as possible, so you don’t have to stop every 3~4 runs to identify charms and jewels or cube lower runes in order to free space. For space saving purposes put all or at least some of your regular charms in a separate ATMA stash while LK running. Remember that while playing at players 3 or 8 setting, you’ll be wearing speed equipment and probably is not optimized for combat. So, don’t be ashamed of skipping a chest that happens to be “guarded” by a bunch of monsters. Only engage combat if you are absolutely sure you can kill them fast and without danger. Otherwise just teleport away. Dying will slow your more than just doing so. Always carry keys with you. The special chests will often spawn as locked. Buy more from Jamella (Act 4 vendor) when they are about to finish. The same goes for town portals tomes if you use them (see the previous section). When buying TP’s/Keys press the shift button and right click on the vendor’s screen. Doing so with TP’s will full a tome immediately. With keys will allow you to full the existing piles or create new ones with just a click. Obviously you will need to have enough money to pay for the items you’re buying. If you already smashed the compelling orb in Travincal, the Zakarumite class of monster will always run away from you. You don’t have to type “players x” every run. As long you don’t exit the game the command will remain active in the next run. Some additional tips from Cius: “On LK characters I do not activate the waypoints above and bellow the Lower Khurast waypoint to prevent missclicks. Sometimes especially on P8 there are so many items on the screen that not all items appear due to the screen display algorithm. Teleporting to the right will often reveal previously hidden items. This is why I always roll a map with the campfires to the right of the WP so that I can TP right and if there are no good runes/items continue on my way as the next chest/hut is too the right anyways.” Tips from Jaago: “- I play with no sounds and windowed mode, to make the game run smoother. - I also try to get as much FRW as possible. (some 1.07 itamz help here ) - My character has only the necessary waypoints to avoid misclicks with the return-to-act4 style. - 1-point (or 20-point, for that matter) FO is nice for dispelling menacing leapers. - My stash is organised so that the cube is in the lowest middle slots, so the transmute button appears under my mouse when I click the cube (I also gather flawless gems around the cube for the smallest drag distance)” XX - Drop patterns P3-4 UM - Battle Axe, Gilded Shield, Great Maul, Pilum - Bec-De-Corbin - Cedar Bow, Scale Mail, War Sword - Flamberge, Hunters Bow MAL - Shadow Bow, Pellet Bow IST - Repeating Crossbow - Glaive GUL - Large Charm LO - Balanced Axe SUR - War Hammer, Battle Axe BER - Hawk Helm P5-6 UM - Chu-Ko-Nu, Mask, Short Spear MAL - Heavy Bracers - Battle Hammer, Breast Plate, Glaive, +2 more IST - Rune Sword, Scutum, Throwing Spear GUL - Heraldic Shield, Mask, Ring - Claymore, Full Helm, Gladius, +4 more OHM - Siege Crossbow, Silver-Edged Axe - Blade Talons, Bramble Mitts P7-8 UM - Ancient Sword, Battle Staff, Casque, +5 more MAL - Bastard Sword,Boneweave Boots,Executioner Sword, +2 more IST - Broad axe, Highland blade, Hyperion spear, +2 more - Balrog spear, Glaive, Helm, +4 more VEX - Crossbow, Large Siege Bow, Trowing Spear, War Sword SUR - Grand Crown, Studded Leather, War Axe BER - Arbalest, Gothic Plate, Full Helm, Vambraces XXI – Links Special chest threads: LK P1-2 LK P3-4 LK P5-6 LK P7-8 Run results discussion (runes, charms and jewels) XXII - Acknowledgements My special thanks to: Bassen, who full edited the first draft, corrected mistakes and complemented info. For all his work he went beyond and above the call of duty. Kudos, man. For all aspects I consider him as co author of the faq. jjscud: major corrections and tips that were incorporated to the guide. Thyad: for linking the guide to the SP FAQ Sirpoopsalot, potter, Cius, Jaago, Grisu, Pijus and Friiser for assorted tips, corrections and links. Everybody that replied with support, critics and help.