Diabloii.Net Member
After doing 26 builds, I decided to take a break from Diablo II for a while, trying out different RPGs. Of course, the other RPG's I tried I still haven't gotten the hang of yet, so I'm going back to Diablo II.

I have never tried a summoning druid before. A summoning necromancer was fun, so I thought I'd give this one a try. One advantage is that you don't need corpses to summon your minions and that the build is much cheaper mana-wase. Probably the cheapest build I've ever done since I rarely had to resummon my minions.

Unfortuntately, the summoning druid can't have as many minions as a necromancer. In fact, he can't even have more than one type of minion out. He can either have wolves or bears, but not both. Dire Wolves are the best minions as they can eat corpses to become stronger (how much stronger I don't know since we don't see the numbers). The bear is only good as a damage synergy. Spirit Wolves are only good at the beginning of the game until you get the maximum of three Dire Wolves. Unlike the summonancer, you have no means of boosting the resistances of your minions, making your army far more fragile than skeletons and golems. And I'm not sure if they get increased life or damage in higher difficulties like the necromancers minions do.

The Spirit Wolf was the first skill I pumped. Then I pumped Dire Wolf once it became available, but didn't switch to using them until I had the maximum number of three. I continued pumping it until it was maxed, then pumped the Grizzly Bear. Heart of Wolverine is the spirit of choice due to increased damage and attack rating.

Since this is a pure summoning build, I didn't invest in any other trees. This is probably the only build I've ever done where you invest in only one tree. Probably the only one in the whole game. Then again, I don't have builds planned for summoning hybrids using elemental spells or shapeshifting abilities. Maybe I should add some. Since we're using Heart of Wolverine and not shapeshifting which increases our life, the safest way to attack your enemies and aid your minions is with a bow.

Here is the planned hireling and equipment setup for endgame:

Act 2 Nightmare Offensive

Andariel's Visage (increased skill levels, life leech, attack speed)
Treachery (chance to case fade, increased attack speed)
Obedience Cryptic Axe (crushing blow, increased damage, resistances)

Helmet: Giant Skull (knockback, crushing blow)
Amulet: Mara's Kaleidoscope (increased skill levels and resistances)
Armor: Fortitude Archon Plate (increased damage and resistances)
Weapon: Upgraded Witchwild String (deadly strike, chance to cast amplify damage, magic arrows)
Swap Weapon: Call to Arms Flail (prebuff purposes)
Swap Shield: Spirit Monarch (increased skill levels of prebuffs)
Ring 1: Rare Dual Leech Ring
Ring 2: Raven Frost (increased dexterity and cannot be frozen)
Belt: Razortail (piercing)
Boots: Sandstorm Trek (increased running speed, strength, and vitality)
Gloves: Laying of Hands (increased attack speed, damage to demons)

Since Witchwild String has a 99% chance for deadly strike at level 99, wearing Highlord's Wrath is redundant.

At level 99 according to my notes, I'll have 28 skill points left. However, I've already spent two to get Carrion Creeper for healing and corpse destruction. Should I respect later to get rid of those two skills? Where should I spend the remaining points? How does the equipment and hireling setup look? Should anything be changed?


Diabloii.Net Member
This isn't what I'd do. But your mileage may vary. You're over-investing in what's probably the weakest Druid skill tree overall. Even a dip into one of the shapeshifter setups (probably Shockwave) is pretty valuable when you're relying on Summon Dire Wolf. A partially committed shapeshifter druid with emphasis in summons does way more damage than a 100% summoner druid. That being said, it seems adequate. Like, you could beat the game with this. But it just seems like applying some top-notch endgame equipment to a character that is using suboptimal skills.

By the way, Summon Dire Wolf isn't bad, but I do think that with good equipment it falls off compared to Summon Grizzly because the Grizzly is a much better tank, and you can get way more damage out of a mercenary than you can out of any pet configuration. But Dire Wolves are still OK.

Dire Wolves are the best minions as they can eat corpses to become stronger (how much stronger I don't know since we don't see the numbers).
The rage feature of Summon Dire Wolf gives the pets +100% damage for 20 seconds after they eat a corpse.