PvM Gunslinger - Physical Bow/Lightning Java Hybrid [SIZE=+2]Gunslinger[/SIZE] Or as everyone else would call them; Amazon hybrid builds, focused around physical bow and lightning javelin attacks. [SIZE=+1]Contents[/SIZE] 1. Birth of a Warrior Introduction, simply explains the basis of this build and why you might want to make one. 2. Practicing the Arts Explains what skills this build should be using, and why. 3. Basic Training Stat point allocation at its finest. Longer then the average guide (as if that's an achievement). 4. Visiting the Smith Item selection, organized in base item type and how much IAS it can hold, also a section of complete setups. 5. Knowledge of the Lands Here you will find a general “area overview” of each act as a whole, and then detailed information about certain popular areas. 6. Final words Thanks to those who contributed, references, and whatever else I can make up to make the guide longer. [SIZE=+1]1. Birth of a Warrior[/SIZE] 1.1 Introduction Anyone who has ever made one of the two main amazon builds should know how effective they can be at later levels. Both builds are great for clearing large areas crawling with hoards of monsters. However, each build has its own weaknesses. Javazons obviously need a way to dispose of lightning immune enemies, while bowzons commonly struggle against bosses and physical immunes. For the bowzons there's some simple solutions to the physical immune problem, but for bosses you will mostly have to settle for a slower killing speed. For the javazon you can get rid of most immunities by using the “Infinity” runeword, however this solution is very expensive and not 100% fool proof. Now then, here's the point, by combining the javazon and bowzon into one build you gain a build more versatile and fun to play then either. The javelin lightning attacks will swiftly deal with bosses and large packs of physical immunes, while the bow skills massacre lightning immunes. As a hybrid you will alternate between a broader number of attacks, making the game less repetitive and allowing a wider number of tactics. Apart from the practical playing aspects, there is also a physiological satisfaction in creating a hybrid, since effectively utilizing more then the common number of skills makes your amazon more unique. Before reading further into this guide, take a moment and get yourself familiarized with the most common abbreviations used in Diablo 2. I have tried to keep it simple by first writing the full word/name at least once before I use the common abbreviation, but it can still be hard to follow for the newest of players. Feel free to post in this thread or PM me if you have any suggestions, questions or concerns about the build. I'm always open to critics, and willing to help those who request assistance. I love speculating in ways to improve the build, and would love to hear more ideas from other hybrid players. [SIZE=+1]2. Practicing the Arts[/SIZE] 2.1 Skill Introduction Being a hybrid, this build will be utilizing both the bow and javelin skills. If you're unfamiliar how one of the skills work, I highly suggest trying them out before planning your hybrid into to much detail. The short description of the main skills that has been included should give you a small idea, but there's nothing like trying them out yourself in game. For this section of the guide I will start out with a overview of the skill trees, including motivation towards why to use the suggested main skills instead of the alternatives. Beneath the code bracket you will also find a more descriptive explanation on how the main skills work. Code: [B]Javelin and Spear[/B] Jab The javelin tree contain various skills for | doing physical, poison and lightning damage. |-> Power Poison The physical skills will be inferior to your | Strike Javelin bowside in terms of damage and AoE. Poison | | | does provide really high listed damage, but v | v works to slowly to be good in PvM. Impale | ____ Lightning | |/ Bolt Left we have the lightning skills, giving | || | superb damage to both single targets and to | vv v large packs of enemies. Lightning Fury (LF) | Charged Plague and Charged Strike (CS) will serve as main | Strike Javelin javelin skills, while lightning strike, bolt v | | and power strike serve mostly as synergies Fend | | to power up our CS. v v Lightning Lightning Strike Fury Lightning Fury is the cowrunners favorite, the skill that enhances your javelin into a thunderbolt of mass murder. Once thrown the javelin will fly in a straight path towards your targeted foe, and upon impact it will launch a high number of electrical bolts towards nearby enemies in all directions. The throw javelin itself will act as a normally thrown javelin, carrying leech and physical damage, the only exception being that it ignores the targets defense (but can still be blocked). The lightning bolts will not carry leech or other such modifiers, but “mana after each kill” or other such passive modifiers do work with the bolts. The reason this skill is so effective is not because of high listed damage, but rather the fact that a single throw can result in multiple sets of bolts being released. When the thrown javelin pierces an enemy and hits something/someone behind it, the skill will namely activate again, releasing its bolts upon anything near it once more. Charged Strike is a close combat skill that releases charged bolts, just like those cast by the sorceress but with more quality then quantity. The bolts released will be tightly packed at the point of release, but spread out as they travel away from your character. This skill is at its best against large monsters, since their size will allow all bolts to hit. Smaller ones will be missed by the bolts towards the edges of the “wave”, but will never the less quickly fall to this skill unless they are LI. The physical part of the attack does not need to hit to release the bolts, so low AR against bosses is not a problem. Synergies such as lightning strike, lightning bolt and power strike will increase your CS damage considerably well, while also giving a puny bonus to LF damage. Lightning strike can prove fun to use at times when you're low on javelins but still need to kill packs to large for charged strike. I recommend making it your third lightning skill if you intend to max more then just LF and CS (which I recommend doing). Code: [B]Bow and Crossbow[/B] Magic Fire The bow tree has these subbranches: Cold, Arrow Arrowe Physical and fire. While cold works rather | | well for damage, it would require investing v | additional points in those skills, points Cold _ Multiple | our build cannot spare since we wish to Arrow \ Shot | save them for the javelin three. Fire, on | \ | v the other hand, does pitiful damage and | \ | Exploding can be cast aside quickly for that reason. | || Arrow v vv | Physical damage has few immunes and require Ice Guided | little in terms of skillpoint investment. Arrow Arrow | Only downside is the need of a bow with | | | enough physical damage and speed to utilize | v v the skills efficiently. Main skills would | Strafe Immolation be multiple shot (multi) and strafe, both v Arrow effective on their own but at their best Freezing when combined. Arrow <=>-------<<<< Multiple Shot simply fires a wave of arrows, each doing 75% of the damage your normal attack does. By controlling the distance between yourself and the point of clicking, you can control how wide apart the arrows you fire will spread. Allowing both an arclike wave of 180 degree spread out arrows that covers half the screen with projectiles, or a dense bunch of arrows fired towards a certain direction in a more parallel fashion. The number of arrows is simply one higher then the skill level, until the max of 24 arrows, reached at level 23. Only the center arrow(s) carry chance to cast effects, but all arrows deal out crushing blow, deadly strike, critical strike, and elemental damage. Strafe makes your amazon fire several arrows rapidly, one after another, towards nearby enemies. It automatically aims, giving you a good attack to take out foes that are hidden by the view angle in Diablo. Because of its speed it's also perfect for triggering chance to cast effects. This is my lazy-zons skill, perfect for killing stuff when you're to tired to target them. Note that this skill is severely bugged however, more on that later. Synergies are non existent for the physical bow skills, which is perfect since it saves us points we can spend on lightning synergies. Magic and/or cold arrow will serve as our LI/PI killers, but it's not worth spending extra point in those them, since such monsters are rare. Code: [B]Passive and Magic[/B] Inner Critical The passive tree is best describes as our Sight Strike collection of one point wonders. The basic | Dodge | outline of this build is a single point in | | | all passives and and then let +skills boost v v | them further. This allows us to save points Slow Avoid | for increased javelin synergies. Missiles | v | | Penetrate That being said, you will most likely need v v | a couple more points here to reach desired Decoy __Evade | pierce percentages. You may also wish to | | | invest slightly more into Valkyrie, to allow v v v her to tank a bit better. Valkyrie Pierce <=>-------<<<< Valkyrie is a slow attacking, but durable, summon that is primarily used to divert incoming monsters and missiles. On high budgets you can get by with only one point, but with average gear you may need to increase her level to stop monsters from bothering you while you launch your attacks. The other passive skills are described well enough in their skill description. Apart from the inner sight skill, they are all an important addition to our arsenal, but may even then be a waste to spend too many point in. 2.2 Basic Skillpoint Distribution Now that you've familiarized yourself with the main skills, we should discuss how to spend our points. At level 99 you would have 110 skill points at your disposal, but leveling that far requires far too long time and far too much patience for most players. This builds basic outline only consist of: Code: [B]Bow and Crossbow Javelin and Spear[/B] 4 prerequisites 5 prerequisites 1 strafe 20 charged strike 20 lightning fury [B]Passive and Magic[/B] 10 passives (1 in each) A total of 60 points, possible to finish in your mid fifties when including bonus skillpoints from quests. Needless to say, this is just the base on which you build further on depending on your preference and item selection. If you don't wish to use strafe you may of course only get yourself magic arrow and multiple shot in the bow tab. It would be advised to raise the javelin skills first if you are playing thought the game as you level. Reason being that the bow skills need a decent bow to dish out any decent damage, whereas the javelin skills only need to be leveled. Simply start raising your charged strike as it becomes available, then move on to maxing lightning fury. While increasing your javelin skills you should also place one point in all passives as soon as they get available. 2.3 Extra Skillpoint Distribution The main considerations for your additional points are strafe, multi, Valkyrie, pierce, or synergies for your javelin skills. You also have the option to get a one point freezing arrow for the sake of freezing your enemies. In either case those points should be spent as you see fit, I will just give you some points to consider. First off we'll get the javelin skills out of the way, one point in one of the synergies simply adds additional damage to your CS damage (and a tiny bit to LF). Although some of them can be fun to use from time to time, all are far inferior to LF for dealing with mobs, and far inferior to CS for single targets. Only consider adding points in any of them for the synergy bonus they provide. Your valkyrie level should depend on how threatened you feel while playing. If you are offensively powerful, and kill monsters almost instantly, it doesn't make sense to get a sturdy valk, since she wouldn't be doing any work, right? On the other hand, having a good line of defense may allow you to relax more, and give you time to get a cup of coffee before finishing of the buggers. If you instead lack enough power to kill swiftly, then it's obviously necessary to keep the monsters occupied as you fire your bow or throw your javelins. In any case adjust her level to your taste. If you feel she is lacking while you have your final equipment, then add points one by one until you change your mind. Your pierce level will depend largely on wheter or not you're using the unique “Razortail” belt or not. If you do use razortail, then try to reach level 9 pierce. If you aren't then the recommended value will be harder to tell, and opinions may vary. I'd personally go for level 9 anyway, since further levels only increase pierce with two percent per point. The split between multiple shot and strafe is one of the major questions for most bowzon players, therefore I believe analyzing them further might be a good idea. Of course the opinions on this topic highly differ among the players, and the following text will only show you my point of view in this discussion. Feel free to experiment on your own, or rather I'd even highly advise you to, since it's really a case of “to each their own”. Code: [B]Strafe Number of Arrows[/B] Level: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 12 16 20 Min: 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 4 5 6 7 Max: 5 6 7 8 9 10 10 10 10 10 10 As you know strafe will target and fire arrows towards nearby enemies. The number of arrows fired is determined by the number of monsters present, and also by the minimum and maximum arrows according to your skill level. The strafe should fire at least the minimum, and at most the maximum number of arrows. If the number of targets are fewer then the minimum, then you will fire more then once towards the monsters present until you've fired the minimum number of arrows. If there are more targets then the maximum you will not be able to fire an arrow towards all of them. Viewing the table we can conclude that the maximum gains one arrow per level until level six has been reached, and the minimum gains an additional arrow each fourth level. Considering this we could assume that a level eight or twelve would make the most use of our skill points while still not reducing our lightning synergies to much. Leveling beyond this is therefore, in my opinion, not advised unless you're making a primarily strafe centered hybrid. Multiple Shot doesn't have such clear “breakpoints”. Since the skill gains one arrow each level, you can simply adjust how many points to spend on it according to the area and monster pack sizes that you are running. My recommendation is somewhere in the interval between ten and fifteen for most areas. Since I personally run the wide chaos sanctuary regularly I got myself level fifteen on my hybrid. If you are running tighter spaces, then most arrows would just go to waste by hitting walls if you where to have such a high level multi. Under no circumstances go beyond level 23, further investment would only increase the mana cost while not giving any extra arrows. At level 23 you'll be firing several arrows at air even in the largest of areas.