Memoirs of a Lone Paladin


Diabloii.Net Member
Memoirs of a Lone Paladin

As some of you may know, I've begun playing on Asia not too long ago. I've always enjoyed starting over and I'd like to share my "starting fresh" experience in hopes that it would be a little balance for all those "I'm new and I need help" threads or all those people you see on bnet complaining about being "new". I expect it to be a long read, but for those who are interested, it goes to show how fun and challenging is it to build a strong character from scratch, and.. not impossible.

The beginning: Just a diversion

I began playing on Asia when East went down. Not sure what I wanted to do, I made a paladin simply because its the most versatile character. I killed everything in the blood moor and den, sold all the stuff, and shopped for a +holy fire scepter. I also put 1 point into sacrifice and began going tearing through act 1 with it. I was playing very disjointedly because I'd log off every half an hour or so to check East again. Little did I know I was in for a long wait.

Soon enough I'd gotten to mid way through act 2 and I'd hit level 18. I decided that I must chose a build, since the monsters are getting tougher. Somewhere along the way I'd sunk a few points into zeal for 5 hits, but it was taking too long to kill monsters in big games. I weighed my options and after giving it some thought, I decided to make a hammerdin. Although it probably seems very vanilla, I have never actually made a hammerdin, because of the cookie cutter nature of the build. However, since I had nothing on Asia, it would still be challenging to equip him well.

I sunk a few points into the required skills, and in no time I was working my way through the Arcane Sanctuary with hammers on the left and conc on the right, sucking on mana pots all the way.

Upon reaching act 3, I considered joining a rushing game. I decided against it however, since the exp was good and I needed the gold. By the time I got to the Travincal, I had enough gold to spend a long session with Alkor, gambling for all my equipment slots. My merc also got some gambled armor and helm. I'd already found him a Dimoak's Hew in act 2 somewhere, so he was carrying his weight quite well. My shopping spree also got me a +2 Blessed Hammer scepter, which gave me a decent damage boost. This stayed with me for quite a while.

The first real test for the character was soloing all of act 4. He did quite well and soon enough I was tapping my fingers on the table waiting for the lag spike indicative of Diablo's death to pass. Onto act 5 where, now that I had a decent level Vigor and some FRW boots, I just ran past everything. I killed Shenk and freed the barbs. I rescued Anya and defeated the ancients. I then left the game looking for baal runs, which turned out to be quite hard to find.

I spent some time readjusting my equipment, mainly changing the shield out for a 18 base resist targe Ancient's Pledge. I also gambled some amulets, one of them paid off with a +1 pally combat skills for a whopping total of +3 to hammers. Not exactly easy street.

With the equipment swapped about, I decided to try and run my own baal runs. People would join and I'd simply run all the way with vigor. It took a looong time to get to the throne. With dead ends and nasty boss packs making for an interesting time. The folks were patient however, and soon enough we were baaling. After 5 runs like that, a sorcy takes up the mantle of getting to the throne and before I knew it, I was in the mid 40s.

By that time, East had come back up. I dropped what I was doing and went back to east. However I did take a fond memory with me about the fresh start.

Road to Hell: Getting hooked

After enjoying a bot/lag free East realm for a while, I was disappointed when lag crept back into the realm. On the weekend, when I was ready for some more baaling with my lightning sorcy, East turned out to be unplayable. I quietly logged out and, without hesitation, I logged back onto Asia, thinking to myself "Right, so where was I?"

Indeed I was well and truly done with Normal. I got to nightmare and did the Den on my own. After that, I joined a rushing game, catapulting me all the way to act 4. At that point I began doing my first set of mf runs. Focusing on nightmare Andy, Countess, and Mephy.

A couple of mfing sessions later, my equipment had improved significantly. My resists were maxed again and the +2 hammers scepter and Ancient's Pledge were finally replaced by a spirit broad sword and spirit targe. They both rolled decently on the fcr (33 & 30) so with the addition of 2 fcr rings, I had hit a good breakpoint.

I was feeling lucky, so I gathered some more gold and went to gamble for circlets. I only had enough to buy two of them, but it turned out to be enough, since the 2nd one I bought was a +2 combat skills circlet. I promptly socketed it with Larzurk, getting only 1 socket, and I put in a ral rune, to balance the missing fire resist from the spirit.

With my equipment refreshed again, I continued questing through act 4. The forge gave me a Fal, and soon enough I was doing nightmare baal runs. Again I ended up having to run my own from time to time, but I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a good group of baalers that went private. I persisted in nightmare all the way to level 70. After that I did one last solo baal run and killed baal.

Journey through Hell: A little Karma

Upon getting to act 1 hell, I did the den, turned on vigor and ran all the way to the Black Marsh. Upon finding the waypoint, I began doing hell countess runs. The very first run yielded me a Key of Terror and a 4 socket eth partizan. I decided to take that as a good omen and continued running the Countess for Insight runes. Soon enough she coughed up a Sol rune and my merc got his Insight. I got some other goodies too, including a nice 14% resist all gc, a 100 pdsc and two 6% mfscs. On one of the last runs, one of the carvers on the side dropped me a Goldskin. I went back to Normal and socketed it with an Ort rune, to help my sagging lightning resist, and just like that, my resists were quite close to max again.

I'd collected a decent amount of gold during these runs, so I decided to put them to good use. I wanted to buy a staff with teleport charges. I did some research and wasn't sure where would be the best place to find them. I even posted about it in the Stats forum, hoping for some wisdom from there. Little did I know that all I had to do was go talk to Akara, and right there on the first try was a lovely staff with 45 charges of teleport. I had just enough gold to buy it, and onto the switch it went.

With all this new equipment, I managed to solo most of the quests in act 1 and 2. When I got to act 3, I used vigor to run, and in some places teleport, my way to the Travincal. I grabbed the waypoint, killed the council, and left the game. I joined another one where the game creator had already killed mephisto, and sure enough I found the game I wanted, the way to the durance was open. I ran in and grabbed the durance waypoint, then went on to kill mephy solo. He was generous enough to drop me a unique serpentskin armor, which turned out to be a 25 res skins. As much as I wanted to put it on, I'd lose out on all the resists I'm getting from goldskin, so I stashed it for now.

Act 4 was a challenge with all those Golams around Izzy, but with salvation, I managed to kill him. The forge generously gave me a Mal rune. I then solo'ed the Chaos Sanctuary and ended up in act 5. There I found a group doing the act 5 quests and I joined them. Got all the quests there, including the ancients, and I was ready for hell baaling at level 79.

The Community: A little commerce

After a few baal runs, I'd hit level 82. I decided to try and trade some of the goodies I had and get better equipment. That's when I realized that, I had no idea how trades went here or what the values were. After spending half a day trying to trade, with no luck, I again returned to the forums here for some advice.

Sokar Rostau gave me the idea of checking out the chat, and, sure enough it was much easier to trade there. Apparently, I'd struck gold with the 100 pdsc, but didn't know it. I managed to trade it for Ist+Mal, which I then turned around and traded for an Um'd Shako and Arachnid.

With the resists from the shako, I could afford to take off goldskin and put on the vipermagi. With that equipment, and 1 fcr ring, I hit the 125 bp. A few mephisto runs laters, I found a magefist, and took off the fcr ring in favor of the rings I found when running the countess (13 & 15 res all rings). I also found, funny enough, an arachnid! It was lower defense than the one I had, so I stashed it.

My equipment was well and truly set. I had maxed resists, maxed block, 1400 life, and damage just shy of 7k.

The 1-point Man:
An interesting turn

Having levelled to 86, I kept staring at the 3 terror keys I found during my countess runs. After a little internal discussion, I decided that it would be interesting to try and make this guy into a 1 pt smiter. I began running mephisto and the countess. I got me a rattlecage from mephisto, and using the runes from the countess, crafted me a blood belt and blood gloves. I then traded for a goblin toe, bought a lifetap wand, and made me a Strength runeword in a 2 socket phase blade I'd found. I then ran the Summoner and Nihalthak until they dropped me a key each, and decided to open 1 portal, just to test him out.

It turned out to be the Forgotten Sands. So I thought it would be perfect to test against arguably the easiest of the ubers. Boy was I in for a rude awakening. After he demolished me a few times, I realized my problem. Not only do I not have Fanatisicm, so my attack speed is slow, I'm also being slowed by his Holy Freeze AND his cold damage, bringing me down to a crawl. I kept banging my head against him for a couple of hours. I finally switched around some equipment, mainly just putting on Spirit Shroud for the CBF. That helped and eventually I slivered him and then switch to my hammerdin equipment for the kill.

After that ordeal, I continued baaling and got to level 87, where I put 1 point into Fanatisicm. After that I kept doing magic find runs to improve my smiter gear. Eventually I ended up with what I felt was a decent setup. I also traded for a ravenfrost for CBF. I was ready. I gathered all the keys I needed opened the portals. Izzy was not that hard. I died twice, but took him out. Lillith posed a much bigger problem. It took about an hour and maybe a dozen deaths before I finally killed her. Duriel died quickly with no deaths on my part. I pushed away my doubts and opened the tristram portal.

As I had done so many times before on East, I went around to lure mephisto out first. Soon enough there he was. I landed a few hits and dropped him to half health, but my salvation couldn't help me when he decided to KO me in 1 hit. I rejoined and went after Baal and Diablo, having lured Mephy away from them. They both died with only a couple of deaths on my part. I went after mephisto and, after about 2 hours and well over 20 deaths, I finally kill him. I've been lucky so far with my drops, so I hoped that my luck would hold. I id the torch... 16/16 barb. Not bad.

Conclusion: The payoff

I decided to continue running mephy for better equipment, and as if he read my mind, he dropped me a fleshripper and Marrowwalks, with its lifetap charges. "Perfect" I thought. I shaeled the fleshripper and got muled off my lifetap wand. I grabbed one of my mules, a barb, and began levelling him. In 1 full day of levelling, I got him to level 43. I maxed out shout and BO on him, gave him some spare equipment I had with + skills on it, and I had a nice BO slave with level 28 BO and Shout.

I began running for keys again. I got the 3 Dkeys and 3 Hkeys I needed, as well as 1 Tkey. That's when I went on the longest dry spell I've ever had. I ran the countess 73 times before she gave me the 2nd Tkey, and I got my 3rd on the 78th run. "It must be some sort of record!" I thought, but I dismissed it and went ahead with my run.

With all the new equipment, and the all-important BO, I breezed through all of it. Duriel, Izzy, Lillith, Mephisto, Baal, Diablo. They all dropped one after the other. I got my prize. I gave the torch I had to my barb and picked up this one. I ided it...

18/17 pally torch. For some reason, I was not suprised. Ecstatic, but not suprised. I had felt it coming. Karma was going my way.

I have since stopped mfing, since I have 7 mules full of stuff, and continued to run the ubers. I plan to trade off the torches unided and use the proceeds to get me an Engima. Perhaps even a Hoto. It all seems achievable. All it takes is a little work.

Final Result

Level 87 Hammerdin

Um'd Shako
25 res Vipermagi
33 fcr Spirit Broadsword
32 fcr Spirit Protector shield (32 base res)
+2 Pcombat skills amulet
15 resist all ring
Arachnid Mesh
Rare boots FRW, FR, MF

18/17 Ptorch
14% res all GC
7% res all LC
4 x 6mfsc
1 x 6mf, 9fr sc

Max resists, 75% block, 125% fcr bp, 86% fhr bp, 8.3k hammer dmg

Smiter Equipment

Rattlecage (15% ias jewel)
Fleshripper (shael)
Dual leech, 6% CB Blood Gloves
Dual Res, 8% OW Blood Belt

Assorted resist charms


Diabloii.Net Member
I read it all, and now, I'm looking forward more than ever to a ladder reset :wink3:

Btw: great story, hope I get equally lucky when starting again!


Diabloii.Net Member
Cool story. I did the same, starting over, with a frenzy barbarian. It was a pain using 25% ed weapons and relying on gob toes all the way to hell A4. (But could have been absolutely unbareable if I hadn't trade for Ravenfrost.)

Then I got a crescent moon and atma's and it was plain sailing.


Diabloii.Net Member
Frosty_The_Snowman said:
Great story, I hope the Ladder reset won't be too long now :hanky:...

Me w4ntS t0 bE po0R aGa1n !!1!!! :badteeth:
Well, if you really want to be poor you can always donate your stuff to me :rolleyes:


Diabloii.Net Member
Thanks guys. I just had so much fun starting over, I felt I had to share it. By the way, you don't really need to wait for the reset. Just switch realms, or switch softcore/hardcore, or ladder/non. Obviously its not the same, but its still quite fun. For me, this is the third restart.

I started fresh on hardcore a couple of months ago. I lost several characters, the highest being a level 87 full trang summoner, but I kept going and finally made a tough little zealbarb with engima. I accumulated about 2 accounts of mules before I stopped. I had a quick jaunt into softcore nonladder, but I didn't enjoy it as much.

For those who are keeping score, on Asia, my good fortune continued to hold. The Countess graced me with a ko, fal, lem, um, and ist, all in a short period of runs. About 50 of so. Also, my luck in jewels was quite decent. I've found several jewels with nice mods (ias/28 pr being the nicest). The only place where my luck hasn't been great is the rerolling side of things. I've poured about 40 pgems on and off into a Nihathak gc that has yet to yield anything. Its only a matter of time. :rolleyes: