Introduction Hi all. I finally finished questing my zon through the game yesterday. Since I had stopped posting my patmat threads when I completed a character, I thought I would just post this summary when I finally finished the sept. I have always liked the idea of a "team" of characters in d2, and I like to use every class (though druid tests that resolve a little bit ), so I knew I wanted a twinked sept eventually. However I also wanted the experience of getting each class through the game. So when people are asking for advice on doing so, I would have some knowledge. And I wanted to know things like is a hammerdin fun with low gear and without enigma. Plus this whole "untwinked till patmat" is one definition of "beating" the game as "intended" (lets not mention RWM which I DID ofc use). So I set the goal of an untwinked sept of patmats who don't use gomule or anything outside the game, but whom I can twink however I want after they beat hell baal. So without further ado, I will present the characters in the order which I played them, along with a discussion of how I geared then and thought on how fun or rewarding the process was. Also should be noted I shopped a staff with teleport charges on all characters except sorc. This can be done in normal a3 and the charges can be used at lvl 24, and this is a must for any untwinked character in my opinion. On most all of the characters I also farmed nightmare pindle till lvl 72-75ish to prepare for hell. In the past I had farmed nm baal for this, but have found pindle to be a bit easier for most characters and he has a chance to drop some decent items. I think I found 2 oculus's, jalals, vipermagi, and arreats while doing this, usually with <100mf. The Character Screen Arkana is my untwinked 99er sorc, and the rest of the characters are part of this project. Characters 1. Class: Necromancer Name: Mazrim (from Wheel of Time) Build: Bone (see patmat thread HERE) Spoiler: Skills totals for hard points only dim vision - 1 decrepify - 1 clay golem - 1 golem mastery - 1 summon resist - 1 bone spear - 20 bone wall - 20 bone prison - 20 bone spirit - 9 corpse explosion - 6 I think forgetting about bone spirit and maxing wall/prison first for the huge bone armor total was a great idea. Spoiler: Gear Helm: lore Amulet: [email protected] prismatic Armor: stealth Weapon: +3 bone spear white wand Shield: ancient's pledge Gloves: trang's gloves Belt: 51 life 24 fire res magic heavy belt Ring1: 29 light res Ring2: 10 fcr 25 cold res Boots: hsarus boots Merc: holy freeze, war scythe insight, blood helm with 28 fire res and 14 light res, rare armor with fhr 29 light res and 14 poison res Hellforge: pul Process: Shopped normal drognan for +3BS white base. Farmed nightmare countess for runes for lore and insight as well as the io for white runeword. Nightmare dark elder dropped me trangs gloves. Thoughts: This character was very fun. I enjoyed him much more than the summon necro I have played in the past (I got frustrated with the 2 steps forward, one step back feeling with non-teleporting summon necro). He needs minimal gear. Get that white wand going, get decent res, and go to town. I spammed decrepify everywhere. Used it much more than bone wall/prison. Just seemed easier and was usually enough c/c to keep merc and myself alive. I'm sure I died once or twice from doing something stupid, but there was no reason to. This guy was very safe. No bosses (including ancients) were any problem with decrepify, clay golem, and holy freeze merc. Some fights are a bit slow with the lowish dmg of bone spear, but this didnt bother me at all. It's ok in my mind if the fight takes a little bit longer when the boss can barely move and there are virtually no immunities. Wave 2 of baal was kinda annoying but amp+ce'ing the skeleton corspses reduced the problem to just a few merc resurrections. 2. Class: Barbarian Name: Tormund (from A Song of Ice and Fire, aka the books Game of Thrones is based on for the non-readers ) Build: Berserk (see patmat thread HERE) Spoiler: Skills totals for hard points only leap - 1 berserk - 20 mace mastery - 4 increased speed - 1 natural resistance - 1 howl - 17 taunt - 1 battle cry - 1 battle orders - 20 battle command - 1 war cry - 11 Spoiler: Gear Helm: sigon's helm Amulet: [email protected] prismatic Armor: treachery Weapon: bonesnap (upped once to exceptional) Shield: none Gloves: sigon's gloves Belt: mavina's belt Ring1: 23 AR, 2 str, 19 cold res, 28 light res Ring2: 113 AR, 3 LL, 17 cold res, 24 poison res Boots: sigon's boots Merc: might, duriels shell, 10fhr helm with ort, kelpie snare Hellforge: io (but got lem from nm hellforge) Process: This is one of the only characters I actually took the time to MF on, rather than just farming countess for runes. I farmed nm Andy for most all of my gear and wrote about that process, which was a little challenging, in the patmat thread linked above. Though nm mephy dropped sigon's helm which was huge for me (needed the AR badly), and nightmare hellforge dropped the lem I used to make treachery, and the ias was MUCH needed. Thoughts: I had a blast playing this guy. I didn't feel like there was much guidance for untwinked barbs out there, and I think the approach I took with him was very good. I don't think I would change anything if I did it again. Other than not putting points into warcry. I put those points in warcry after I read nightfish's barb guide, and I didnt like it at all. Warcry has a low radius and short stun length and uses a lot of mana. I would rather just use howl all the time. Howl and taunt used together are some of the most satisfying skills in the game and make barb extremely safe. Again, I'm sure I died doing something stupid, but this guy is definitely appropriate for HC. No reasonable reason to die anyways . Wave 2 of baal used concentrate. Was a bit slow and dangerous, but not that bad. 3. Class: Sorceress Name: Cyndane (from Wheel of Time) Build: Blizzard Spoiler: Skills totals for hard points only warmth - 1 static field - 1 telekinesis - 1 teleport - 1 shiver armor - 1 blizzard - 20 ice blast - 20 cold mastery - 12ish (i think i ended up with 18 or 19 after plus skills, 17 was the idea) glacial spike - 20 ice bolt - 7ish Spoiler: Gear I didn't keep as good records on her, so a bit spotty on the gear. Helm: lore Amulet: something with res Armor: stealth Weapon: spirit Shield: ancient's pledge Gloves: something with res Belt: I think I used an "of the whale" magic belt Ring1: fcr/res Ring2: res Boots: frw/res Merc: prayer, insight, blood helm, ral ort shael armor Hellforge: gul Process: Farmed nightmare countess for runes for lore, spirit, and insight. Saved and cubed up amethysts for socket recipe and scored a spirit base from rolling a sword from one of the first couple of tower levels (i think lvls 1-3 are the correct ilvl to have 50% chance at 4os). Shopped life tap and lower res wands. Thoughts: Very fun. Sorcs are always fun. Went pretty minimal gearing and didn't regret it. I had always played sorcs through hell with 2 elements for the immunes, so this was my first time having no solution (except a weak merc) to cold immunes. Honestly, I liked it a whole lot. With teleport, running past cold immunes isn't that stressful, and annoying parts of the game for her like ancients, wave 2 at baal, and even den of evil in hell, just take some patience with the merc, and in my opinion was well worth it for the extremely fast clear speed on non immunes. Ancients was certainly the hardest part and required rolling for easy mods, spamming tele to take them one at a time, and using life tap wand for merc to solo the cold immune one(s). And ofc anytime your merc is taking on cold immunes other than the ancients (who cannot be knocked back), you should be casting life tap and/or spamming telekinesis on the enemy. 4. Class: Druid Name: Zacharus (from the First Law trilogy) Build: Wind (fissure all the way until hell) Spoiler: Skills totals for hard points only summon grizzly - 1 oak sage - 1 tornado - 20 cyclone armor - 20 hurricane - 20 twister - 20 Spoiler: Gear Helm: lore (in antlers just for style) Amulet: 10fcr, [email protected], 24mf from normal duriel Armor: smoke Weapon: spirit Shield: rhyme bone shield (50-60% block, and had 750-800 hp without oak) Gloves: trang's gloves Belt: 50 life, 13 light res Ring1: manald heal Ring2: 21 cold res, 17 fire res, 9mf Boots: 30frw, 14 fire res Merc: holy freeze, insight partizan, ral ort shael armor, stealskull Hellforge: gul Process: Again, much nightmare countess farming. The amulet from normal duriel was super nice, and trang's gloves droped somewhere in nightmare again. Stealskull dropped in a3 nightmare somewhere. I made smoke after I was already into hell. Thoughts: This was my least favorite playthrough of the 7. I expected to like druid and alas I was wrong. I originally had this guy at max vita with stealth and ancients pledge, and 99fcr just because i had that nice ammy and could reach it easily. But I was super frustrated from dying all the time, so I was like I might as well try some block. I then switched to the gear above, and while I do think this was a big improvement, I still died a lot and was very frustrated with the character in general. I was fissure from the beginning, and this skill is nice. Wrecks normal and most of nightmare. I stayed fissure till end of nightmare so that I could farm nm pindle for lvls with fissure before hell. I think this was a great idea, and running past all the fire immunes in nm a4 wasn't THAT bad. But after respecing to windy, the frustration started. I see people all the time talking about windy as nice playthrough character or even a nice HC player, so I'm sure the fault is with me somehow, but I did not enjoy this character and died a lot with him. Feels nice against weak enemies. But then anytime you come up against something decently dangerous, oak sage dies, hurricane does nothing (seriously the freeze length is garbage), bear and merc maybe die, and you try to get close enough for those dang tornados to actually hit and then you die. Also ancients were atrocious. Killed bear and merc in a split second even with decent rolls. Eventually I got lucky and separated them with tele staff and persevered through a slow very frustrating fight. 5. Class: Assassin Name: Mavra (from the Dresden Files) Build: Trapsin Spoiler: Skills totals for hard points only burst of speed - 1 shadow master - 1 cloak of shadows - 1 mind blast - 1 fire blast - 20 lightning sentry - 20 death sentry - 20 shock web - 17 Maxed fire blast is an absolute must in my opinion. Very underrated skill (though it's gaining more traction after nanomist and ffs's experiments in cows). But I mainly mean for untwinked. Light sentry is still great if you don't max every synergy and the second damage type is so so nice. Spoiler: Gear Helm: lore Amulet: [email protected], 16 light res, 6 fire res Armor: smoke Weapon: spirit long sword (faster trap laying) Shield: ancients pledge Gloves: sigons (for the 30ias with boots) Belt: goldwrap (found it, so might as well use it) Ring1: 25 fire res, 18 poison res, 7mf Ring2: 9 light res, 25 fire res, 16 poison res, 9mf Boots: sigon's boots Merc: holy freeze, insight partizan, blood helm, ral ort shael armor Hellforge: gul (3 in a row!) Process: as usual farm nm countess for runes. Not sure where I found the io for smoke, but I didnt farm it. Was using a spirit broad sword till a long sword base dropped. Thoughts: I was getting a bit fatigued of this project by this time (probably because I just finished the druid ), so I didn't enjoy this playthrough as much as I could have. However assassin's rock. Was a nice playthrough despite my attitude. Cloak of shadows is awesome, and so is mind blast. Shadow master is a decent tank, death sentry rocks, light sentry and fire blast work well together. All around fun. Only tough area was ancient's way because the light immune blood lords took forever to kill with fire blast, so I kept trying to run past them and kept dying. This MIGHT have been the only place I died in this playthrough. But for some reason instead of s/e till no blood lords, I kept trying this and kept dying lol. Anyways very nice playthrough. 6. Class: Paladin Name: Logain (Wheel of Time yet again) Build: Hammerdin Spoiler: Skills totals for hard points only holy shield - 5 (for acceptable duration) blessed hammer - 20 vigor - 20 concentration - 20 redemption - 1 blessed aim - 15ish Spoiler: Gear Helm: lore Amulet: telling of beads (that's right ) Armor: smoke Weapon: spectral shard Shield: [email protected] heraldic shield spirit Gloves: bloodfist Belt: 77 to life magic belt Ring1: 28 fire res, 12 poison res Ring2: 28mf nagel Boots: 20frw, 11 cold res, 18 fire res Merc: didn't really use him Hellforge: lum (the streak ended) Process: That 28mf nagel dropped in normal tower while farming stealth. Telling of beads dropped somewhere in nm, and nm mephy dropped me spectral shard. I quickly found out that with bh's lowish mana cost and redemption (what a nice skill), that I didn't really need the merc. So I played through almost the entire game without him (first one I've done this with). I was planning on farming nm cows till any 30+ res pally shield dropped that cubed or dropped with 2+ sockets. Then would make rhyme/ancient's pledge/spirit and move on. But this heraldic shield dropped for me sometime while questing through early nightmare and I was like well I'm set . I was sick of nm countess so i didnt farm her much and instead opted to do things a little differently than I had. I was doing runs of nm lk, nm council, and nightmare chaos sanctuary for runes and for levels. Was more fun to switch it up and it worked well, and a lum eventually dropped from a poppable in LK. Thoughts: I didn't know how much I was going to like this playthrough. Like I said in the assassin section, I was getting fatigued by now, and moreover I was afraid the pally would play like the druid. Where you need to get close enough that you die a lot and that the spells aim so weird that it's frustrating to hit. However this wasn't so. Pally had a lot of things going for him: very powerful spell, consistent if weird aiming, can cast a field of hammers and run away, redemption for massive convenience, holy shield for easy max block, and ofc 3 hp/vit and no reliance on weak oak sage. Anyways as is probably obvious by now I had a lot of fun with this playthrough. Much more than I expected. Ancients were very very easy. Baal wave 2 was slow, but on p1, even my single point holy bolt got the job done without much trouble at all. 7. Class: Amazon Name: Penthe (from Kingkiller Chronicle) Build: Fishyzon (LF/CS/FA) Spoiler: Skills totals for hard points only valkyrie - 1 D/A/E - 1 pierce - 1 charged strike - 20 lightning fury - 20 freezing arrow - 20 cold arrow - 20 CHECK THESE Spoiler: Gear Helm: lore Amulet: [email protected] prismatic Armor: smoke Weapon: +1 jav, replenish qty javelins Weapon2: edge runeword in hunters bow Shield: rhyme bone shield (50% block with ~1200 health) Gloves: 20ias, 10str, 25 fire res, 6 poison res Belt: 53 life, 26 cold res, 17 poison res Ring1: dwarf star Ring2: 9str, 18 light res, 6 fire res Boots: infernostride Merc: holy freeze, insight scythe, blood helm, ral ort shael armor, but I played most of hell without him. Hellforge: um Process: farmed nightmare countess for runes. Was planning on trying to push forward with stealth, but when nm countess had a double io drop, I was like might as well farm a 3rd one and make smoke. I ended up being glad I did because this allowed me to use rhyme instead of ancients pledge, which gave me decent block options as well as cbf. I didnt really think about cbf, but as I was playing through hell I realized that everything would be MUCH more annoying with zon without it. Thoughts: This was not as enoyable a playthrough. Zon and druid were a major step blow the other five for me, even though I really like zons in general. I would absolutely no longer say that javazon is overpowered with crappy gear. And beating the ancients was bar none the most difficult thing I've had to do in D2. More on that later. I made a fishyzon before, using titans, wizendraw, and reasonable merc gear, and let me tell you this was a completely different experience. Not being able to keep merc alive is probably the worst difference, since it mean trips to town for mana pots every 2 or 3 minutes. But also the killing power (yes even with LF and CS) was SLOW. I thought about going pure java and running past immunes (it was fun with blizzard sorc, but then she has teleport). This was not feeling comfortable at all, so I statted poison javelin skills, as I hadn't tried them before and it would allow me not have to use a gear swap. I used this through the end of act 1 hell, and after running for my life from afflicted's while waiting for PJ to do its slow, slow work, I said forget this and respec'd to FA as backup skill. At least it keeps the enemies still. Didn't want to farm a ko for harmony or melody (though to anyone else playing a crappy geared fishyzon, you SHOULD do this, or farm wizendraw from nm andy), so i just made edge in a hunters bow for the really fast mana draining...er I mean the really fast atk speed. Progress was slow, but things worked fine from here on out. Merc died all the time since zon has no curses, battle orders, crowd control, or teleport, and I quickly realized I didn't have the gold to res him all the time or the patience to farm it. As I said many many trips to town pots, but I at least made steady progress. A3 jungles were really annoying because the CI flayers are often mixed in crowds with the LI ones. But no bad problems moving forward. At least 1200 health and 50% block made the deaths very few. Chaos took a long long time since I basically had to full-clear it, but it was straightforward. Then eventually we made it to the ancients... I remembered these guys being a real problem on my twinked fishyzon of the past, so I was dreading this, and boy was I correct to. Probably spent more than 2 hours attempting the ancients or farming the gold to attempt them. First night I was messing around and trying out strategies (while eating up expensive teleport charges on my staff). Merc dies every time before I can even check the rolls of the ancients, so he was out of the picture. Anyways I manage to separate them spamming tele, get lucky on their rolls and I kill two of them. Madawc is left and I can damage him, but since I was just trying stuff out, I hadn't packed mountains of potions to the summit. Regrets. The next day I watched some zon speedruns while at work and decided I was ready to finsih them that evening. Well I tried a while, ran out of gold, farmed 500k from eldritch (even he isn't that fast on p1 with this zon). Tried some more, got decent mods and correct separation setup 2 or 3 times and managed to die while switching javs for LR wand! This was really really frustrating me. Finally after about an hour and a half that day, they all went down. WSK and baal were a bit slow, but were a cakewalk after that experience. Conclusion Well that's it. Was fun overall and really changed a lot of my thoughts on the strengths and weaknesses of different classes for playthroughs. Most notably that barb is a great playthrough character imo. I will look forward to doing some twinked playthroughs and just generally not farming nightmare countess now Also hope to get all these characters to lvl 90+ before the end of the year, and eventually to like 94+ depending on what runs I want to do with them. Right now barb is at 94 (he is the one I used as pitzerker in MFO) and necro is 93 (used him RFL round 3). Sorc and druid I got to 90 doing some random runs. The other 3 are all 77ish or whatever lvl I beat baal on. Should be fun though now that I can gear them all up well. Happy playing everyone!