[repost] coldarmy13's fireclaws guide coldarmy13â€™s [aka blood_baron] Guide to the Fireclaws BearÂ© v1.1 Well well, if it isnâ€™t about time for one of these. Ever since I saw Garbadâ€™s guide to firebears in general, I couldnâ€™t resist looking over the melee portion of it. I doubt any of you remember me, but Iâ€™m blood_baron, formerly of the paladin forums. And if any of you do remember me, then remember that I only live for melee pvp. I canâ€™t stand ranged or magic users, as I have no patience for finding 12 different hotkeys[necro], nor relying on a good connection to keep me teleporting, nor do I enjoy fragging someone with a little white flying sticks when they canâ€™t even see me. Thus said, here is my[hopefully] comprehensive guide to fireclaws bears. When starting your bear, keep in mind that he is in fact, a cross between magic and melee. He is very like an enchant sorc, but much much more adept at melee than the sorc isâ€¦haha. What I mean is, you need a lot of + skills equipment and damage reduction[dr] at the same time. At the same time, you will need to focus on getting the right faster hit recovery[fhr] and possible faster block rate[fbr]. Of course life and def matter much to this build, so when you add it all together, there is a huge list to juggle around to get the best configuration for your bear. Upon creation of your druid, you will hopefully have hand me downs or low level gear to get yourself started. I will try to outline in the easiest and most user[and eye] friendly way one of many routes you could take in leveling up your bear in preparation for pvp. As I detail the growth of the bear, I will be making suggestions on gear, statistic[stat] and skill placement. You do not have to follow what is said, but I think they are sound suggestions. Mule items you will want to use to your bear. I mean items you will be using in a single gaming session as you level up. Join 8 player games and start hacking away at zombies and quill rats. Pump your strength[str] as you level until itâ€™s about 60. Then the rest should go into dexterity[dex], and vitality[vit]. None should ever go into energy[nrg]. Levels[Lvls] 1-6: Place: Go through the blood moor, and cold plains. Skills: 1 point[pt] in lycanthropy[lycan], werewolf, werebear[wb], oak sage[oak], firestorm, molten boulder. Stats: get str to 60, rest in vit/dex Gear: Helm-pelt with + lycan/wb or a bigginâ€™s bonnet Amulet-any that you can find Weapon-try a stoutnail, rixotâ€™s keen, felloak, or the gnasher. Armor-blinkbatâ€™s, or any armor you can find Shield-anything you can find Gloves-if you have the str, use sigonâ€™s, or else deathâ€™s works Belt-sigonâ€™s with the gloves if you can, or try deathâ€™s sash Rings-any Boots-hsaruâ€™s worked for me Lvls 7-12: Place: Try blood raven and the 2 crypts. The dark wood and the underground tunnel are excellent places to lvl up. Skills: 1 pt in fissure, maul, feral rage. Place the rest in other synergies for fireclaws, like firestorm or molten boulder. Stats: vit/dex Gear: Helm-stick with your pelt, or you can try sigonâ€™s Amulet-stillâ€¦just any Weapon-any of the uniques/sets you can get. Try civerbâ€™s. Armor-greyform for the ll, or try sigonâ€™s Shield-sigonâ€™s is the best if you want to get your str to 75 Gloves-use the ones you been using Belt-see above Rings-cathanâ€™s if you like ll Boots-try gorefoots if you are using mana intensive attacks Lvls 13-18: Place: Keep doing Griswold runs in 8 player games. He gives u a lot of experience[exp]. Mix this in with partying or soloing your way to andariel. Finish her off by the time you hit 18 or 19. She is cake. Skills: 1 pt in fireclaws and the rest go into synergies for it. Stats: vit/dex Gear: Helm-tarnhelm; any helm that you need to compensate for resists[res]. Amulet-eye of the etlich, finally Weapon-a lot of the mid lvl weapons work. bladebone is good, or a runeword such as steel Armor-stealth runeword works very well Shield-sigonâ€™s Gloves-see above Belt-see above Rings-manaldâ€™s for mana leech[ml] Boots-see above Lvls 19-24: Place: Act 2, all of it. Party up and just run through the act, maybe doing a little arcane here and there. If you have a good party, you should reach somewhere in mid act 3. Skills: all in fireclaws Stats: you might want to invest in str for better gear, like armor or weapons Gear: Helm-see above Amulet-see above Weapon-see above Shield-try an ancientâ€™s pledge Gloves-magefist Belt-something to hold you over until lvl 29 Rings-manald + cathanâ€™s Boots-try treads of cthon if you run out of stamina Lvls 25-50 Place: Party or solo your way through act 3, 4, and finish off the ancients. From here on out, just do bloody runs, or baal runs until the exp is coming to slow for you. I actually got to lvl 55 in normal. Skills: fireclaws until itâ€™s maxed out. Then pump the synergies to your taste. I maxed out fissure first, as it is a great spell to use in unshifted form. At this stage, you are kind of a hybrid using fireclaws[fc], and fissure. Stats: Start pumping str a little more for the str demanding items, and donâ€™t forget vit/dex for life and blocking. Gear: Helm-jalalâ€™s is the best here, but you can use a peasantâ€™s crown or rockstopper. Amulet-telling of beads, eye of etlich, and rare or magical + druid skills that works well with your res and stats. Weapon-I keep a fleshrender on switch for using fissure, but I moved onto a 2x shaelâ€™d + perfect skull aldurâ€™s weapon. This is the first real weapon you will use heavily. It is fast, damaging, and has insane leech. Armor-skin of the vipermagi, goldskin, spirit shroud, all good choices here Shield-ancientâ€™s pledge, rhyme, lidless wall, moserâ€™s, tiamatâ€™s rebuke Gloves-magefist Belt-string of ears, wilhelmâ€™s pride, mâ€™avinaâ€™s, plenty to choose from. Rings-2x raven frosts if you can afford it, or leeching rings or +attack rating[ar] Boots-waterwalks, war traveler, some set boots are also good here Charms-start getting some shape shifting charms, hopefully with life or fhr if you can. Then focus on small charms with ar/fhr, ar/life; def/fhr, def/life; res/fhr, res/life. Jewels-try to aim for a 5+/5- fire rainbow facet to socket in your gear, if your res will allow it. Try to project your res in hell mode to see if you will have max or stacked res to allow for the use of fire facets. Lvls 51-75 Place: By now you should be able to pace yourself through the game in nightmare mode. I personally made it to baal runs around lvl 60 and stayed there until 75. There arenâ€™t too many fire immunes just yet, so you can solo if you wish. Skills: continue maxing out the synergies, your dmg should be rising quickly now. Your ar should be high too. Stats: get enough dex to use a phase blade, and the rest should go into vit/str Gear: Helm-see above Amulet-maraâ€™s or any + 2 druid skills. A +3 shape shifting with life isnâ€™t so bad either. Weapon-a 110ias phase blade. This will take some explaining. Find or trade for a 6 socket phase blade, or have larzuk socket a plain one. Find 4 shael runes, and 2 15ias jewels with modifiers[mods] on them, useful mods, such as ar, res. Do not spend excessive amounts for an ed/ias jewel. Your mauler brothers need those, not you. With a 110ias phase blade, you will reach the fastest fireclaw attack possible: 4 frames. Armor-this will be hard to do for some, but try to get a +2 skill armor, either through an arkaineâ€™s valor, or a runeword. Ladder players will find it hard to get a runeword armor with +2 skills. Shield-try your hardest to get a stormshield, otherwise a whitstanâ€™s guard, or a blackoak luna should hold you up. Just beware of low block rates, as you will need enormous amounts of dex to maintain 75% blockrate. Gloves-see above Belt-verdungoâ€™s hearty cord is very nice. nosferatuâ€™s coil is a good choice as well. Rings-raven frost + soj or bul kathosâ€™ wedding band. on ladder this will be extremely tough to get. stick with 2 raven frosts if you can get a good ring with a lot of ar/dex/res/stat. Boots-see above Charms-if you have an annihilus charm, lucky you. Jewels-see above Lvls 75+: Place: Hell mode. Get yourself to hell baal or any way you prefer to gain exp. Cows are kind of a dud now. Hell baal is what I recommend. Skills: As you round out near 80, you should have finished the 3rd synergy needed for fireclaws, and your dmg should be looking beefyâ€¦near 10k at least I hope? Is your ar looking around 10k also? As you finish off fissure/molten boulder/firestorm, you have a choice to make: more dmg or more life? you can pump volcano for more dmg if you like, or lycan/oak for more life as you please. This decision is entirely yours to make based on the performance of your bear thus far. Stats: by now, you should be pumping only dex and vita for max block and life. Gear: Helm-see above Amulet-see above Weapon-see above Armor-see above Shield-see above Gloves-see above Belt-at 80 you might want to try an arachnid mesh Boots-see above Charms-see above Jewels-see above Now that your bear is finished, well, mostly, you should be hitting the pvp scene. Keep in mind that you are tailored for melee dueling, and that ranged/magic opponents may piss you off. Now for some GENERAL strategies. vs: any repeated thrusting, jabbing, slashing, attack -fury, zeal, jab, zerk, frenzy, and their variants, just walk and calmly proceed to smack them a couple times until they are dead. they will complain, and some jabbers with power strike or charged strike will kill you, but no worries, itâ€™s just a game. if you fear lightning, stack up on res, or get more life. also when fighting high def chars, try to get more ar, through items or charms. vs: bows -bowazon, ranger, hunter, asn with bows, mainly they use widowmaker or guided arrow to ruin your duel. My advice here is just forget the amazon. Sheâ€™s a chicken that will just run run run. Paladins usually have a secondary attack, so wait for it, and when they switch, kill em. Assassins are a lot harder to kill as they have burst of speed and they just run run run, even more so than an amazon. Just forget these. They donâ€™t even deserve to be beaten by you. But if you must, I suggest having high fhr, and a faster block rate. A shaelâ€™d stormshield would be nice here. vs: ranged magical attacks -foh, sorcs, necros, do your best. Just kidding. I wouldnâ€™t leave you stranded like that would I? Against foh, you will need lightning absorb gear, as in wisp projectors, thundergodâ€™s vigor. Stacked lit res in the 300â€™s is what you will need. A guardian angel isnâ€™t so bad here either. The strategy here is to stay out of range of the foh, and distract the pala with your oak summon, let the foh target it, and when heâ€™s in casting delay, run up and try to hit him. Of course heâ€™ll run. On sorcs, it just depends on their element. You may need some rising suns and dwarf stars to kill them, but overall you should be ok. Try to predict their teleporting pattern[mostly a triangle around you], and run to their next location and hold down shift and attack. Or you can just run. On necrosâ€¦most are bone prison + bone spirit. You have enough life to soak up a few bone spirits. Just chase them down, and if they use a bone prison on you, hold down shift and one attack should kill their bone wall around you. They will die in 1 hit most of them. If you see a hammerdin, I pity you. I have no strategy yet to take them on, other than unshifting and using fissure. It works well though. On a side note, you may want to make a secondary weapon, a 6 socket giant thresher with 6 shaels, for use on casters, since it is range 5, you can shift attack with a huge range for runners and teleporting suckers. Technical Stuff I donâ€™t think I can post links for Chippydipâ€™s skill planner or other sources of information, but do search for them if you need to. At the top of the druid forum, look for TheDragoonâ€™s wereform central. He has a great site dedicated to wereforms and their technical junk. I find it important to have a decent amount of fhr, so hitting the 7 frame mark was my goal. You need 54 fhr, which is easily attainable. Jalalâ€™s gives you 30, and if you stuck with verdungoâ€™s, you have another 10 there. The rest can be made up in charms. Also, if you have problems with block lock, try to shael your stormshield, or get a shield with 60fbr. Fireclaws has proven to be an attack that is unblockable, but does not ignore targetâ€™s defense. This idea has been thought on, and in my experience, it is true. Load up on ar gear. Defiance smiters will annoy you so much. If I left anything out, let me know, and Iâ€™ll revise this for a new version. My fireclaws bear Ladder UsWest Magum_Colim lvl 86 202 str 208 dex 253 vit 59 nrg 14-15k dmg fireclaws 12k ar 5.2k def 4.2k life 80/75/75/75 res skills 20 fireclaws20 fire storm20 molten boulder20 fissure1 lycan1 werebear1 oak sagethe [#] is where the skill is at with + skill itemsgearjalal's[5/5 fire facet]28 mara's110ias +165ar phase bladechains of honor archonstormshield[5/5 fire facet]magefistbul kathos' bandarachnid mesh248/19 raven frost62 life water walks10x shape charms 40, 32, 26, 26, 25, 17 life. others with minor mods1/11/13/9 anni charm9x assorted ar, fhr, res sc's this is ladder btw. End I would like to thank the druid community for your support in my poll to make a guide. I also thank Garbad for his interesting primal flame thread that got me interested in this build. I must thank TheDragoon for his comprehensive wereform central, of which I would be clueless to druids without. It was due to his site that I made my first bear[and itâ€™s the fireclaws bear, no kidding] so successful. Chippydip deserves great thanks for his help with the skill planner. I would like to thank all my friends on bnet who put up with my constant whining about my needing this and that. And lastly I thank all the idiots that traded me the items to make this bear the killer that he is. v1.1 update solution to smiters/casters My solution was to get a 2 handed weapon swinging at 4 frames. After looking at Vic's charts, i figured the best thing was a giant thresher with 3x ar/ias and 3x shael with 15oias. So I thought about how to get incredible ar and range and swing speed. Vs. Smiters giant thresher with 3x shael + 3x ar/ias jewels ik boots + gloves + belt 2x high end raven frosts cerebus' bite with ber rune There are 2 strategies here. If you're facing a charging smiter, don't chase him down. Instead, shift attack and your range should make quick work of him. Make sure you have good fhr. If you have a smarter smiter as an opponent, chase him down, but when you figure out that he's gonna quickly turn around and catch you off guard, stop before he gets to turn around, and hold shift and name lock him, so if he runs past you, he will get hit by your range. Vs. Casters giant thresher as described above magefist arach mesh waterwalks jalal's raven frost bk ring The only real thing you can do vs teleporters is to guess or figure out their teleport pattern, or better yet, lead them into an area with lots of ditches/rocks/trees, so that their mouse cursor lands on top of one of those and they cannot tele. Or you can just hope for a good hit if you stack on the runwalk. If you duel bone prison necros, remember to hold down shift and break their prisons. Vs elemental druids, bring a shield vs tornado. It's gonna be a hard battle and you will most likely lose. Vs foh, get stacked res. Hammerdins always beat me, so I can't give help there. Anyway my new bear, CareBear_DoH is lvl 87 with 6.3k life, 19k ar, 14k dmg at 4 frames with max all res in hell with a 2 hander setup. With a shield, I have 6.5k life, 13k ar, 15k dmg.