Patriarch Getafix, Fireclaws/Fury Aldur's druid This report contains some disturbing and possibly offensive. Those who have played fury wolves before are advised to proceed with caution. You have been warned The set Aldur's set needed a little bit of love. IK and Tal's are revered, Trang's and M'av's get used every once in a while, Gris' exists in many dreams and even Nat's gets the occasional honourable mention. Mention Aldur's and you get curses if you are lucky, shin kicks if you are not. The set itself has juicy mods at first glance. 90-100 to all resists +3 druid skills +1 shapeshifting and elemental skills 150% bonus to attack rating +45 to all attributes An additional 15 to dex and 20 to str 50% magic find 15% mana leech 10% life leech Fast walk and hit recovery Up to 6 sockets Perfect for melee, right? Can look at IK in the eye and not blink. Even better, it only uses up four equipment slots. Until you look at the beat stick, that is. One-Hand Damage: 60 To 93 (76.5 Avg) Required Level: 42 Required Strength: 74 Durability: 72 Base Weapon Speed:  +200% Damage To Demons +50% Damage To Undead Adds 40-62 Damage Adds 50-75 Lightning Damage 30% Increased Attack Speed 10% Life Stolen Per Hit 5% Mana Stolen Per Hit Socketed (2-3) (varies)* +15 To Strength (2 Item) +15 To Strength (3 Items) +15 To Strength (Completed Set) This deservedly gets booed off stage. One, it's an exceptional weapon, two, it doesn't have a big damage multiplier. Or does it? The full set bonus has a very intersting line: +350% Enhanced Damage* The Arreat Summit helpfully mentions that this is not a bug but a balance issue (i.e., "feature") *cough* yeah, there was the danger this set might just be a little too powerful. The build How best to put it to use? The mods obviously suggest melee, and the weapon is fast. Elemental damage would be great, hmm, Fire Claws fits the bill. But the somewhat icky issue of fire immunes needs to be tackled. I need a backup. "Leave it to the merc" appeared to be the vote winner. No go, I can take a single element sorceress with teleport or an amazon with valkyrie through Hell, but have every FI be killed by the moron? I thought it would be too tedious. Not to mention un-fun, killing every non-immune in a single hit with a highly synergized fire claws and going back to town and whining to the NPCs about every fallen boss that appeared in the moor. I began to look for alternatives. "Do a windy, those guys can clear Hell naked" Hardly a resounding affirmation of the set's virtues, is it? I wouldn't be using most of the set's bonuses but at least they won't be hurting me ... nope, can do better. "Use a ribcracker on switch." And lose the set bonus. "Just ditch the weapon and use Ribbie instead." You're kidding, right? Could I make physical damage work? That off-weapon ED has been written off as a bug, but really, it's like having your own might aura. A little better in fact. If I could cram as many fine small charms as I could find into my back pack ... wait a second, 6 sockets! /math off-weapon ED = 350 ED from strength = 150+ Level 24 Fury = 491 Total about 1000 That's right, each unit of damage (weapon and off weapon) gets multiplied eleven-fold. The weapon has a not-inconsiderable 76.5 damage to begin with, so I'm already at 800+ per hit. With a few damage jewels, I'll be able to make this work. The gear Weapon, armour, helm and boots are taken care of, which leaves two rings, gloves, belt and amulet slots to be filled. Oh, and the shield. The shield??? Which self-respecting shape-shifting druid uses a shield anyway? The argument against shields goes like this: shapeshifting critters take forever to block, and their skills are interruptible. Death-by-fallen is usually enough to convince druids to drop the shield and go big two-hander. The argument for shields is simpler: it blocks three out of four attacks, stupid. The set provides a nice +65 to dexterity, which makes it easy to reach max block. And with the %AR bonus, each point in dex adds 12.5 AR. Worthwhile investment, no doubt, but what about block speed? The block speed table Code: Block speed 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Werebear 0 5 10 16 27 40 65 109 223 Werewolf 0 7 15 27 48 86 200 Barbarian 0 9 20 42 86 280 Sorceress 0 7 15 27 48 200 200 A wolf is only as slow as a sorceress, and no one complains about blocking melee sorceresses. With a rhyme shield, a wolf is only one frame slower than a barbarian. Not bad. Rhyme it is. String of Ears is a standard choice for the belt slot, blood gloves gave some useful crushing blow while juicy rares completed the setup. Amulet Required Level: 67 Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion Item Level: 96 Fingerprint: 0x919a206f +21 to Strength Magic Damage Reduced by 2 7% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items +2 to Druid Skill Levels 10% Faster Cast Rate Raven Turn <---------- I like this one Ring Required Level: 66 Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion Item Level: ** Fingerprint: 0x72780950 +17 to Strength +24 to Life +96 to Attack Rating Fire Resist +24% Lightning Resist +11% Cold Resist +11% Poison Resist +11% 14% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items Bone Eye Ring Required Level: 60 Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion Item Level: 79 Fingerprint: 0x2531242c +37 to Life +50 to Attack Rating +6 to Minimum Damage Lightning Resist +6% 6% Life stolen per hit Wraith Knuckle Sharkskin Gloves Defense: 48 Durability: 14 of 14 Required Strength: 20 Required Level: 34 Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion Item Level: 93 Fingerprint: 0x177918a5 +10 to Life +22% Enhanced Defense +20 to Attack Rating Cold Resist +15% 1% Life stolen per hit 10% Chance of Crushing Blow Repairs 1 durability in 20 seconds Primary setup was an Aldur's weapon/Rhyme shield socketed with 3 shaels for fire claws. Weapon switch had another Aldur's weapon and Rhyme shields with these socketeds: Shadow Eye Jewel Required Level: 37 Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion Item Level: 86 Fingerprint: 0x6e0986c5 +7 to Life +7 to Minimum Damage +9 to Maximum Damage Crimson Jewel of Fervor Required Level: 31 Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion Item Level: 48 Fingerprint: 0x35764dc6 +6 to Minimum Damage 15% Increased Attack Speed Jewel of Fervor Required Level: 31 Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion Item Level: 42 Fingerprint: 0x4a70e3d 15% Increased Attack Speed The helm got: Ruby Jewel of Carnage Required Level: 18 Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion Item Level: 41 Fingerprint: 0xa75bf540 +13 to Maximum Damage Fire Resist +21% Rusty Jewel of Carnage Required Level: 18 Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion Item Level: 83 Fingerprint: 0x77f37b3 +20% Enhanced Damage +15 to Maximum Damage The armour: (Larzuk socketed) Raven Whorl Jewel Required Level: 30 Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion Item Level: 86 Fingerprint: 0x611d9df2 +6 to Minimum Damage +8 to Maximum Damage +20 poison damage over 2 seconds Charms: One shapeshifting skiller, plus some that add life, AR and resists. The skills Fire Claws: 27 (20) Fury: 27 (20) Lycanthropy: 26 (19) Werewolf: 8 (1) Grizzly: 6 (1) Oak Sage: 6 (1) Raven: 6 (1) Carrion Vine: 6 (1) Solar Creeper: 6(1) Firestorm: 20 Molten Boulder: 1 Firestorm and Molten Boulder are Fire Claws synergies. I didn't really use these after I got Fire Claws. Werewolf adds nicely to attack speed, and boosts attack rating further. Lycanthropy gives a nice boost to life and to wereform duration. The bear is durable against small or weak packs but has to recast often. Casting it ahead of me to absorb damage works very well. The sage dies far too often, but boosts every one's life while it is around, quite useful. Ravens were always kept around, but they had trouble consistently blinding in Hell. The blind duration is quite small as well. Carrion vine is very useful to keep the life bulb topped up and helps with corpse disposal at well. Solar creeper was used exclusively for corpse disposal, in instances where Getafix wasn't getting hit at all. A much more reliable source of corpse disposal than the carrion vine. The stats Level: 82 Life: 2928 (in wolf form, with Oak bonus), 2448 (without Oak bonus) Mana: 451 (mana burn wasn't a problem -- regen was faster than attack speed) Fireclaws setup: Damage: 2.8k - 3.4k AR: 11k Fury setup: Damage: 1.1k - 1.9k AR: 8.4k Hell resists: 75 all Strength: 183 Dexterity: 200 Vitality: 285 Energy: 65 Block: 75% The mercenary Fazel Holy Freeze Aura Hone Sundan (AmmAmnShael) Griswold's Heart (RalOrtThul) Blackhorn's Face The crushing blow is awesome, but damage is a little low. He took his own sweet time finishing off monsters after quickly getting them down to 10% of their max health. The goodies Ko (nightmare forge) Telling of Beads (Hell Underground passage) Ruby (37%) jewel (Hell Plains of Despair) Pul (Hell forge) Flamebellow (Hell Chaos Sanctuary) The forge drops are above average, but out of my 7 hell forge drops, the best is an Um *grumble* The progress Firestorm was used until Fire Claws was available. Fire Claws murdered everything until act 4 nightmare, where fire immune knights first appeared. Chaos sanctuary was a pain, but Fazel was powerful. The general strategy was to keep minions around (bear, vine, sage, and the crows), recasting as often as needed. Which was quite often, as the vine and the sage aren't exactly durable, and crows get a fixed number of pecks. Casting grizzly at an approaching pack made sure Getafix never felt the heat. He couldn't wade into packs like a Ribcracker wolf would have, but he had no trouble taking on critters 2 at a time. Cast the bear, let monster surround him and the moron, and whittle down the pack from the edges. It worked well, very well in fact. Act 1 hell was easy, almost too easy in fact. Getafix leveled up first at the moor (up to level 70 or so), then at Pindle in nightmare and then again at the cold plains. At level 76, he could wear the full set and then pressed on. Pitspawn took us by surprise, but besides that, there weren't any scary moments. It was safe passage through act 2. The solar creeper was the hero here, getting rid of the corpses avoiding endless resurrections. No tough moments. SSzark provided quite a scare: fire immune, extra fast, extra strong and cursed. Getafix got trapped and for a moment it looked like it might be curtains, but Fazel killed a spider just in time for Getafix to sneak out. Dolls could be tanked. Even bosses and champs. 75% block adds a lot of safety here against multiple simultaneous explosions, and individual hits took off only a third of his life. The only one I didn't tank was a Possessed doll, I didn't want to risk it against their insane life. The council was a pushover, even Fanatic Bremm. Act 4: FI knights, FI venom lords. And more FI balrogs. And even more balrogs. I saw those beasts in every single level. Bah. At the end of it all, there was this joy called the Chaos Sanctuary. More FIs and that god-awful IM. Need I say more? It's a miracle Getafix got out of that without dying. A sizable fortune was spent resurrecting Fazel, though. Three hours at the sanctuary and I nearly made a rant thread here at the SPF. Good thing I was feeling sleepy that evening, no? Act 5: One close moment with snakes, witches and lancers in the caves. No frenzytaurs or cursing witches at all! But more OKs in WSK3 and the throne level. The old fogies didn't even require a reroll: they came out with absolute chump mods: two of them had LE, two of them teleportation. I think there was magic resistant among them. No auras, no extra strong, nor amp, no mana burn, no physical immunity, sweeet! CB + fireclaws got Madawc down first, after which it was slow progress against Korlic (FI). Talic drew a dud, his weapon barely did noticable damage. Once Korlic was gone, Talic was crushed. Baal behaved: no appendages, no clone until slivered and didn't knock us back too often. All act bosses were dead easy: Fazel brought their life down and Getafix finished off the job. It's all the more satisfying that he got through the game without dying at all. The verdict Fun factor: High (except OKs) Kill speed: Good Style: Yes, very much. When the last time you saw an Aldur's druid? Item finds: Meh Safety: Very high. Minions + high resists + high life + block + massive life leech. The druid's got the glow around him, but he isn't going to get on the catwalk any time soon. In wolf form, he's a biped, looks somewhat like a kangaroo, and has rat/rabbit teeth. His centre of gravity is not directly over his feet, which would leave him liable to falling down frequently. In human form, there's that goat head ... Those with a Ribcracker or similar fury wolf probably cringe at the thought of a 1-handed exceptional weapon max block wolf, I'll make up for it with a *real* wolf someday, ok? :tongue: That wraps it up from me. Thanks for reading!