The Lazy Guardian 99er: A Story

Me2NiK

Diabloii.Net Member
It's story time!
(Warning: This post is very long. My apologies in advance for the exhaustive detail.)

Back in 2017 I made two equally life-altering decisions: I decided to go to law school and I decided it was high time I get a level 99 guardian. Now, it is 2020 and I am on the precipice of graduating from law school but I still do not have a 99 guardian. This is not for a lack of trying; I do have a level 96 amazon that is progressing at an agonizingly slow pace. However, it rather quickly became evident to me that doing this the conventional way was going to take a very long time.

It occurred to me that there are basically two ways one can get a level 99 hardcore character without cheating. One way is to play 1.13/1.14 for a thousand hours or so and slowly grind it out over a long period of time. That's cool and all, but I was in a hurry. The other way is to time travel. Because my 1.13 99er is on track to ding 99 somewhere around 2050 and I wanted to get my 99 guardian before I got my degree (and I wasn't about to start failing on purpose), I decided to try out the latter.

Now, to be clear, I wanted to make this easy. Strictly speaking, there's no easy way to get a level 99 guardian, but I wanted this to involve doing as little work as possible. However, I also wanted to actually be playing the character that was to get to level 99, so this somewhat precluded any strategy involving excessive twinking or the use of cheesy strategies involving multiple characters.

I suspect that it will have occurred to many of you that the path of least resistance is to somehow get a character to hell cows in 1.09 and then go nuts. This was basically my plan, but things got a bit complicated along the way.

Failed Attempts
My initial plan was very simple: Make a zon in 1.09, beat the game and kill cows until I'm 99. Now, those of you who have played 1.09 are probably aware that this isn't a particularly good plan. However, I'm a pretty experienced 1.09 player - my Diablo 2 career arguably peaked in the 1.09 days - so I thought I could pull it off. It's important to mention that I had no support, stash or characters in 1.09, although I did have quite a bit of stuff in 1.00. Consequently, I was basically doing this untwinked and I very much had to clear the game myself.

Of all of my failed attempts, the Amazon went the best. Indeed, unlike the rest of my failed attempts, this character is actually still alive! However, I did get stuck. 1.09 is a bit of a strange patch: It is easily the most refined version of the pre-1.10 version of the game in that has few major bugs, the game is actually somewhat balanced, and major mechanics (*cough* magic find) work like they're supposed to. However, it has many of the characteristics of the pre-1.10 game, like the inability to purchase mana potions and the highly uneven difficulty of nightmare and hell. These characteristics contributed directly to all of my failed attempts.

My amazon is currently parked in act 2 of hell. This is because she has absolutely no chance of being able to kill hell duriel. There is not a single thing that I can do to get her past that particular obstacle, because even though she has decent gear (more on this later) the damage she deals to duriel is nearly negligible and duriel kills her in two hits. For those unfamiliar, prior to 1.10 hell duriel didn't exactly play by the rules and he could very easily kill you without being anywhere near you. The charge attack does mid-triple digit damage on characters without dr% and the game was noticeably worse pre-1.10 at syncing what is displayed to the player with what is actually happening, so it's a rather unpredictable fight.

After trying to cheese Duriel a few different ways and nearly dying multiple times in the process, I decided that what I was doing wasn't worth the risk, so I rolled a sorc. I initially didn't want to do this - I preferred my simple plan - but it was a necessary step: Without the sorc I was unable to farm gear at any reasonable speed and, given 1.09's lack of generosity when it comes to drops, the inability to farm at a reasonable speed would have almost assuredly put my 1.09 zon on a similar timeline to my 1.13 zon.

Getting the sorc up to speed was painful. While I could (and did) rush the sorc through normal and nightmare, I had to get it to level 20 by playing it the proper ass way. Now, no disrespect to the time travelers out there, but not being able to purchase mana potions makes this segment of the game unimaginably boring. After much brave sorc melee combat, however, I eventually got her to a point where I could farm with my zon and she would gain decent experience.

After some time, I was able to come up with a way to do nightmare mephisto at a decent speed without having to use (and therefore without having to farm) mana potions. In hindsight, I don't really know how I did this, because on my subsequent characters it was a real pain in the ass to come up with a sustainable method of farming meph, but it happened. What also happened is that she died. In classic 1.09 fashion, she was killed from full health by an invisible MSLE superbolt. As a person who has been playing hardcore for nearly two decades, I've died in a lot of frustrating ways, but this one was pretty bad.

Fortunately(?), when my sorc died I had yet to actually find anything useful from meph, so I didn't really lose anything except my motivation to play 1.09. After a couple of months, though, I revisited this idea, but with a new approach in mind: I would start even earlier than 1.09 so that I could skip the incredibly tedious early game and get to the good stuff faster. In particular, I could outfit a sorc in 1.00 with whatever I had, pick up a bugged mana per kill ring in 1.07, and then be off on my merry way.

This sorc did a lot better. The mpk ring I rolled in 1.07 made playing the game significantly more palatable, and she eventually surpassed my zon in level. Of course, she died, but we're not there yet.

Once again I found myself running nightmare meph. I had come up with a ludicrously specific plan to avoid purchasing mana pots while still wearing enough mf and survivability gear. After rolling dozens of maps, I found one that had a mana shrine just to the right of where meph spawns about 95% of the time. When the mana shrine spawned, I could get there with no mana to spare, use the mana shrine, and kill meph with static/FO if I aimed my orbs carefully (note: using frozen orb in 1.09 is an art). When it didn't spawn, I'd have to go to town and talk to Ormus, but this only added a few seconds to the run.

Now, I ran nightmare meph on this character probably a thousand times. I didn't get anything particularly amazing, but I was able to get a vipermagi with an um in it, a raven frost, and some other decent midrange uniques. I did not intend to move onto hell when I did, but my hand was forced: For reasons unknown, one time I loaded up the game to find that the map seed had changed. I had not misclicked on the difficulty or otherwise prompted the game to give me a new map, so I was quite frustrated by this new development, especially since my old procedure for doing nightmare meph was so specific (side note: If anyone has any ideas for how this might have happened, I'm all ears).

After a few unsuccessful attempts to get a workable map for nightmare meph, I decided it was do or die and I proceeded with hell even though I had no integer lightning absorb or, indeed, a discernible plan for killing hell Duriel besides exploiting the static-players bug while letting my merc tank him. In hindsight this was an incredibly poor decision, but I reasoned that if I couldn't get past hell Duriel at that point, there wasn't really much I could do about it.

My mercenary was, for all intents and purposes, better geared than my sorc at that time. He had trained long and hard for this fight and by golly I wanted to give it to him. Duriel, however, had another plan. After a very sketchy teleport through the tombs I entered the chamber, and before I could control my character Duriel zipped past my merc and smacked down my 900 health sorc with 15% dr. She was dead in a single blow.

Now, I have been unable to find 1.09 stats for Hell Duriel, so I can't confirm with certainty how this happened, but my best guess is that I was killed by a high-end crit, with the damage being boosted by the elevated players setting. In retrospect, if Duriel hadn't killed me I probably could have teleported the rest of hell.

The Current Attempt
I gave up for about a month after losing my sorc. Honestly, I wasn't that torn up about the progress I'd lost; I just really can't stand doing the early game on a sorc in old patches. But eventually I came back at it with a somewhat modified plan. This time, instead of playing 1.09 basically the whole time, I would do 1.00 until I'm past hell Duriel, get a mpk ring from 1.07, and then finish off the journey in 1.09. I reasoned that I could do this because I have a necromancer in 1.00 and blood golem/iron madien makes Duriel a joke provided he doesn't instantly kill you. So I set off.

Levels 1-10
I basically just ran around with half the Sigon's set on bashing stuff with a two-handed sword. In retrospect, this was not the right weapon to use as I think two-handed swords are bugged to do their one-handed damage in 1.00. I had static, but it didn't matter; the sword killed just about everything in one hit.

Levels 11-17
Already by level 11 I was realizing that playing a sorc on 1.00 was going to be a big problem because I needed to build my character in a way that was going to also work for 1.09. This meant no deep energy investment and relatively limited skill options. However, I was able to get through these levels relatively painlessly by exploiting the rather infamous spawn position of Flamespike the Crawler. For those unaware, on old patches he and his minions spawn directly on top of the Inner Cloister waypoint, meaning you can kill him over and over again pretty quickly. At level 11 I was doing this with the sword, which was quite slow. But at level 12 I got nova and things sped up considerably. Initially, I had to go to Akara after every run, but as I leveled I gradually became able to wipe the group with less novas. Things were looking up.

I should pause here to say that 1.00 is a really broken patch. Item generation simply does not work properly. This is, of course, quite well-known at this point (indeed it is probably the patch's key feature) but it's worth highlighting again. I was able to generate a lot of gold while killing Flamespike because I could get him to drop the same scepter every time. From a productivity standpoint this is neat, but from the perspective of gameplay/fun it's quite dull to know exactly what he's going to drop every time.

Levels 18-24
I spent most of these levels in either Act 2 or 4 just doing important quests. I rushed myself to the end of normal so that I could skip basically all of Act 3 and just do the quests I want. Nothing really exciting here. I had a surprisingly easy time with Diablo; I knew from past experience that he is relatively easy in this version (despite my experience as a nine year-old when this game came out that would indicate otherwise) but I didn't expect to kill him so easily at level 24. Oh well.

Levels 25-33
This is where the plan started to fall apart. Leveling in 1.00 is painful. There's no /players command, just about everything gives terrible experience, and the constant anxiety caused by having to manage mana potion usage makes it hard to just settle in for the grind. I was doing normal river of flame for maggots/etc. but it was very slow going because I was constantly returning to town. It probably took me more time to go from 25 to 33 than it did for me to go from 34 to 70. I thought if I could find/gamble a wall of the eyeless that I could stick around in 1.00, but despite my best efforts (and finding an Ume's Lament instead, which is as rare as it gets in 1.00) I was not successful.

If I were playing softcore, I probably would have just breezed through nightmare, paying no mind to my level, but because this is a hardcore character and I was already getting hit pretty hard any time I had to take a melee hit (note: Elemental damage is quite unimpressive in 1.00, so even with decent resists it's not a real concern outside of MSLE and special cases like De Seis). Alternatively, if I were playing softcore I would have just played on TCP/IP and loaded up the game with level 1 characters for easy mode experience. However, I kept having sync issues with TCP/IP, even as the host, and it quickly became apparent that it was going to be too dangerous for me to actually play the game in TCP/IP on 1.00. This got me thinking: How was I going to kill hell duriel in a TCP/IP game? I used my necromancer to kill nightmare duriel, but I was only able to do that by summoning as many minions as possible before going in the portal and thereby minimizing the odds that Duriel would lag his way into my necromancer and kill me (I still almost died doing this). As I started to teleport act 3 nightmare, it became apparent just how underpowered I was when I couldn't even kill the mobs surrounding Khalim's eye. Accordingly, I came up with a new plan: Go to 1.09, don't run out of patience, and maybe level a Barb for BO to get past Duriel if necessary. I didn't really benefit from my time in 1.00 except in that I had frostburns and very good rare boots, both of which would turn out to be quite useful. I also made a brief stop in 1.07 to get another mpk ring.

Levels 34-45
A whole lot of grinding normal bloody foothills.

Levels 46-50
Also fairly uneventful. My fear of MSLE was real but I was able to get through the rest of nightmare (sans ancients/baal) pretty smoothly. I had a couple of close calls, but nothing like I was getting on 1.00.

Levels 51-63
Nightmare Pindle on increasingly high player counts. I don't know why he gives so much experience in 1.09, but he does. Somewhere in here I got my first notable drop: Vipermagi. I put a ptopaz in it in anticipation of spending a lot of time with my good buddy Mephisto.

Levels 64-65
Nightmare ancients and baal. I had a lot of trouble with nightmare ancients on my previous sorc but I completely destroyed them this time. It was at this point that I started to realize just how big of a difference the 40% mana from frostburn was making. It meant that I didn't have to literally farm a big pile of mana potions just to be able to do a fight like this, and that was just dandy.

Levels 66-73
Nightmare cows. I'd decided on nova/frozen orb for my build, and nova's effectiveness on cows made this an obvious choice. Again, frostburn was playing a pivotal role here in making it so that I did not have to use my mana super conservatively. Nightmare cows is very fast until about level 73 or so. During this time period I also made a bit of headway into hell; I think I got as far as radament.

Level 74
I was level 74 for a long time. This is because I was level 74 when I decided to return to nightmare mephisto.

First: Frostburn! I didn't need to spend time rerolling maps to replicate the ridiculously specific seed that I'd gotten on my last sorc because frostburn meant I had enough mana to teleport to and kill mephisto without going to town.

Second: 1.09 is not nearly as biased in favor of act 2 mercs as subsequent patches, especially if you don't need the aura. I decided to experiment with using an act 5 merc, and the difference in survivability was pretty large. I was using headstriker, which gave him a >100% deadly strike chance, so he leeched off of nightmare meph - that's a thing in 1.09 - pretty good.

I set out to get three items from nightmare mephisto before moving on:
1. The Oculus (I was on 1.09b but I'd switch to 1.09d if I found one because CtC is broken in the latter so the random teleport doesn't happen);
2. Lidless wall; and
3. At least one of the two sources of lightning absorb (blackhorn's face or tgod's)

The first two were simply to get me more damage since, while I could do just fine on /p1, I was struggling on higher player counts in hell. The third was a truly necessary find, however, or else I was sure to be blown up by MSLE.

I had around 250 MF and I was running on /p3. This put my odds at occy at around 1:2000, Lidless and Blackhorn at better than 1:1000, and Tgod's at somewhere around 1:7000.

I ended up finding all of these items except for one. Miraculously, the Tgod's did drop, but occy did not. I reluctantly gave up on finding one on nightmare after doing somewhere around six thousand runs and finding nearly every other item Mephisto can drop (including Guardian Angel, which is something like 1:15000 odds, and HoZ, which is currently missing from my 1.13 grailer). In that time, I found double digit blackhorn's faces, five lidless walls. I also massively improved my 1.09 zon's gear with both a buriza and... several titans'. But no occy. Weird.

The gear I was using at this time was pretty strange. The centerpiece of my gear was an item that I'd never used on a character before or since:
Screenshot031.jpg
(Also pictured: My sick 1.00 Frostburns with 120 durability)

It's something of a budget Ali Baba but with skills. Honestly, for a mostly untwinked 1.09 sorc this was a godsend. Sure, I would've preferred the occy but I was prepared to take this.

Levels 75-79
Somewhere over the course of my thousands of meph runs I got a wand with life tap charges. Thus, a new plan for duriel was born: Stack health/dr%/energy shield as much as possible to tank a charge if I have to and then let the merc kill him. While teleporting to Duriel, I noticed that my character was basically invincible. 1.09 hell is generally easier than 1.10+, and I'd gone completely overboard in preparing myself for hell. However, I was pretty sick of dying so this didn't bother me much.

Duriel was terrifying. My merc died a few times, and every time he died it was a mad scramble to get out of the chamber as quickly as possible. I didn't want to find out if I had enough health to take a charge, and indeed I never did; I managed to do the entire fight without taking a single hit. It took about ten minutes, however, and I ended up burning through a ton of resources (potions/gold) to get it done.

After that, I decided to push my luck.

Screenshot039.jpg
Getting to Guardian was mostly uneventful after hell Duriel, with three exceptions.

First was De Seis. De Seis spawns with oblivion knights in 1.09 and, although he's not as big of a pain as he is in earlier versions (he doesn't crash the game woo), he does cast lower resist and oblivion knights do unusually high damage, so killing him was quite a tricky process. Now, at some point I'd swapped out my act 5 nightmare merc for an act 1 hell merc so I could take advantage of the +3 skills bug, so I was able to basically kill his minions one at a time by luring them around the map a bit and then telestomping my merc onto them.

Hell ancients was also quite a complicated affair. I rerolled them probably a dozen times because I didn't want to deal with curse, conviction or multiple LIs/CIs. Eventually I rolled a reasonable combination of guys except that Madawc rolled LI and CI, meaning that I had to get my (fragile!) merc to kill him for me. This involved a lot of very cautious play and face tanking. It wasn't quite as scary as hell duriel, but it was pretty close.

I also had a rather strange near-death experience involving those exploding enemies that spawn in the WSK. In 1.10+, they do negligible damage when they explode. In 1.09, they do not. One of them exploded on me and dealt ~900 damage, which convinced me of the merits of never entering the WSK again.

Also: Baal's mana burn attack is somewhat legendary pre-1.10 but I managed to avoid getting hit by it even once. I took the fight very safely.

Levels 80-**
A full year after I first started this project I got to hell cows. This is the home stretch: I can do cows in my sleep and despite the theoretical danger that they pose - I'm running 0% dr and no dex - I know that after fifteen years of playing hardcore I can play safely enough to keep myself out of danger.

There's something to be said about just how much faster leveling is in 1.09 than 1.10+. In the early eighties, it's actually sort of hard to tell; indeed, it's probably faster to go from 80-85 in 1.10+ than it is in 1.09. However, as your level starts to increase the difference becomes more and more apparent. At level 98, the experience that a 1.09 character gets from a single /p8 cow is comparable to what a 1.10+ character will get from killing Nihlathak. That's stupid.

Level 89-??
Now I'm doing hell meph on /p8. I'm level 90. I'll be here until I get a shako and an occy, which could mean I'm doing meph until 99.

Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!
 

mir

Diabloii.Net Member
Guardian - someone who cheated death too many times

Great write-up and impressive progress.

Good luck with your project!
 

DariusTriplet

Diabloii.Net Member
Good luck! Sounds like a super cool project :)

Re: 1.09 Cows - a big part of it is their mlvl (91) versus later patches (80), and the dramatically reduced penalties at high levels. Their experience yield doesn't get clobbered by penalties like it does in 1.14; 1.09 Cows yield 2% experience at 98, whereas they cough up a paltry .02% in 1.14.

I've been doing something very similar (beating up Mephisto until he coughs up Occy+Shaft/Storm/Shako), and Frostburns are totally worth the minor MF loss. I've been using Razorswitch - wildly jealous of your Skull Collector :p - with Ali Baba/Rhyme on switch. I wish I could advise on how I beat Hell Duriel with a HC Sorc, but I pushed this character through so long ago that I've completely forgotten what I did. I'm planning on using this character for rushing through 1.09, so my end goal is Shaft/Shako/Storm for 75% DR and Energy Shield to mostly negate Charge, but I didn't have those when I beat him.

Are you MFing off Hell Mephisto at all? I'm curious since I found a Headstriker+Shaftstop+Crown of Thieves, which would make an A5 mercenary appealing, but dunno how well they hold up against Meph. I've been using the moat trick, but being able to Static would make runs go a bit faster.
 

T72on1

Diabloii.Net Member
Impressive. Good luck !!!

O yes never ever apologize for a long post. Those are one of the reasons we keep coming back to this site.
 

Me2NiK

Diabloii.Net Member
Does anyone know which 1.09 drop calculator is accurate? I get different numbers from all of them.

Good luck! Sounds like a super cool project :)

Re: 1.09 Cows - a big part of it is their mlvl (91) versus later patches (80), and the dramatically reduced penalties at high levels. Their experience yield doesn't get clobbered by penalties like it does in 1.14; 1.09 Cows yield 2% experience at 98, whereas they cough up a paltry .02% in 1.14.

I've been doing something very similar (beating up Mephisto until he coughs up Occy+Shaft/Storm/Shako), and Frostburns are totally worth the minor MF loss. I've been using Razorswitch - wildly jealous of your Skull Collector :p - with Ali Baba/Rhyme on switch. I wish I could advise on how I beat Hell Duriel with a HC Sorc, but I pushed this character through so long ago that I've completely forgotten what I did. I'm planning on using this character for rushing through 1.09, so my end goal is Shaft/Shako/Storm for 75% DR and Energy Shield to mostly negate Charge, but I didn't have those when I beat him.

Are you MFing off Hell Mephisto at all? I'm curious since I found a Headstriker+Shaftstop+Crown of Thieves, which would make an A5 mercenary appealing, but dunno how well they hold up against Meph. I've been using the moat trick, but being able to Static would make runs go a bit faster.
Yeah, I'm familiar with the differences in exp mechanics between 1.09 and 1.10+; I just think the scale of things is absurd. At the pace I'm going I'm going to hit 99 in less time than it took me to get my most recent zon to 91.

I've actually been doing exclusively hell meph since **. Because of the static bug he's actually easier on higher players counts than he is on p1 because you can static him to something like 2% of his health on p8 (strangely, the amount you can static him down to varies depending on the player setting). Using a merc against meph is normally a good idea if you're using FO because it allows you to get the ball to explode on him basically every time, but in my experience it's a waste of time/gold to try to use a merc on hell meph since he usually can't tank more than two ice balls (even with 75 res). Headstriker means he gets back to full health after a couple of swings but if meph's AI doesn't play ball he usually ends up dead. I experimented with using my A1 merc too but it's usually more effort than it's worth to keep her alive.

I don't do the moat trick because... well, I think it's much faster not to. Because I have tgod's and raven the only two things he can do that really hurt me is melee me or hit me with the ice ball. Despite 60 cold res and 20% absorb the ice ball does like 400 damage, so I have to be a bit careful. Similarly, his melee hits very hard on no DR% and I've seen him get a might aura from someone, and I suspect that given the right circumstances he could kill me in one hit so I just stay very far away from him. My runs take about 30 seconds and give 600k exp per so I'm pretty satisfied with how it's going.

As for Duriel, I honestly don't think there's a safe way to fight him as a sorc short of capping DR% because you can't slow him. The method I used with my merc worked well enough but I highly doubt it's consistent. I'm going to need to figure out a way to solve this though as I want to rush some other characters with my sorc. I might test out what an act 1 merc can do but I don't really feel like trying that again.
 

CaseyJones

Diabloii.Net Member
Well, you might try using a wand with weaken charges to soften his damage a bit more though I don't know any 1.09 specifics so no idea how much help that would be.
 

Me2NiK

Diabloii.Net Member
Some stray observations on 1.09 while I'm doing meph over and over again:
- When they tell you the drops are going to be bad, they mean it. I'm running a rather sensible 200mf setup and the only thing I've found in about a thousand runs is Mara's. Now, Mara's is a much-welcome drop, but I would've hoped for more over such a large amount of runs.
- Although 1.13+ has some issues with different aspects of the game "disagreeing" about what happened in a given instance (for example projectiles coming out that do no damage if the attack animation was interrupted by a successful block), this happens far more in 1.09. It's mostly not a big deal, but it makes energy shield almost unusable in most contexts because whiffed attacks will drain mana a lot of the time (although you won't lose health).
- Similarly, the LCS makes more dangerous mistakes in 1.09. A big one I've noticed is that it seems to calculate the reduction from conviction incorrectly. It shows that I only lose something like 8% resistance from a hell conviction, but the impact on my health globe when I get hit indicates that that's really not the case.
- 1.09 absorb is goofy. Percentage absorb is relatively useless, and integer absorb makes you invincible.
- Related: 1.09 is a very fun patch once you figure out MSLE. My experience in patches prior to 1.09 is that I feel that the game is a marked downgrade to playing on 1.10+ but you trade that off by gaining access to weird items or different farming methods or whatever. Perhaps I'm biased, but I actually think that 1.09 is almost as fun as 1.10+ and I could see myself playing it in the long term.
- ...Having said that, giving boss monsters ludicrous bonuses to health while making them by far the most dangerous thing you can encounter means that I basically skip them all the time, especially on high player counts where they're practically guaranteed to take a million hits.
- Runes are pointless in this patch. You can never rely on them showing up when you need them.

That was a super fun read! Stay safe on the home stretch.
So far so good. I'm halfway to 92 now and I don't think I've been below 60% health fighting Meph.

Well, you might try using a wand with weaken charges to soften his damage a bit more though I don't know any 1.09 specifics so no idea how much help that would be.
The problem is that Duriel in 1.09 can still to some extent hit you before you have control over your character, particularly in multiplayer games where the syncing doesn't seem to work quite as well as it does on current patches. Consequently, solving charge in the context of rushes means finding a way to get hit by charge and still be fine since you can't reliably prevent it from happening.
 

WoRG

Diabloii.Net Member
Well, in a multiplayer environment, a BO barb can make a huge difference...just load him up with +Warcries gear and put 20 in BO (and Shout...why not, and it might help)

Also, if you're rushing, you can kill Duriel in a MP game before joining with the rushees... It's talking to Tyreal afterwards that triggers quest completion, so there's no need to kill Duriel in a full game...

WoRG
 

Me2NiK

Diabloii.Net Member
Well, in a multiplayer environment, a BO barb can make a huge difference...just load him up with +Warcries gear and put 20 in BO (and Shout...why not, and it might help)

Also, if you're rushing, you can kill Duriel in a MP game before joining with the rushees... It's talking to Tyreal afterwards that triggers quest completion, so there's no need to kill Duriel in a full game...

WoRG
If I couldn't get past Hell Duriel with my merc plan, leveling a BO barb was what I was going to do.

It's not the extra players in the game that are the issue, it's that the game plays pretty unpredictably over TCP/IP for me, even when I'm hosting myself. Even just teleporting to Duriel is quite scary because I take damage seemingly out of nowhere.
 

Me2NiK

Diabloii.Net Member
After about a thousand runs we're off to 1.09d!

Screenshot044.jpg

I probably will return to Meph for a shako, but as I've been doing Meph for five levels now I'm going to take a bit of a break and do something else.

EDIT: I may have found a vex in hell cows.

Screenshot045.jpg
...Does anyone have any idea what to do with a vex in 1.09?
 
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DariusTriplet

Diabloii.Net Member
Congrats on both drops - the Oculus for usefulness (still hunting mine...), and the Vex for rarity - rarer than 1.14 Zod. The best that I can think of would be a snazzy Silence weapon or porting it into 1.10s, where you'd be halfway to the Ohm for CTA.

I wonder if, by combining how Static Field bug + silly-high player settings in 1.09b, there's a sweet spot for getting 5-6 drops per Meph run.
 

Me2NiK

Diabloii.Net Member
94 now. This isn't really getting slower - It takes me less than two hours to get a level - and I could probably be 99 this week if I wanted to. I expected it to be fast but not this fast. It's a much more active process than grinding on my 1.13 99er, however. In 1.13 my characters are basically invincible, whereas this sorc could very easily die doing cows. I S+E if there's might or if I'm going to get cursed and there's nothing I can do about it (like holy fire + cursed or whatever) because it's not outside of the realm of possibility that a cow with might will kill me in one hit. Granted, I could just do meph until 99 if I wanted to and it'd be basically risk-free, although it would take quite a bit longer. SS would've been a good find.

Also: I've never been one to put hard points into static but on 1.09 at least I'm a believer. It makes cows a joke. If I were doing this from the beginning I probably would have put points there instead of TS.

EDIT: It's possible I misinterpreted what happened, but I'm pretty sure that LI bolts from a boss monster with mana burn restored my mana when I got hit by them because absorb caused the damage dealt to be negative...
Congrats on both drops - the Oculus for usefulness (still hunting mine...), and the Vex for rarity - rarer than 1.14 Zod. The best that I can think of would be a snazzy Silence weapon or porting it into 1.10s, where you'd be halfway to the Ohm for CTA.

I wonder if, by combining how Static Field bug + silly-high player settings in 1.09b, there's a sweet spot for getting 5-6 drops per Meph run.
Thanks - I was aware of its rarity so I was quite shocked to see it drop. I'm just going to leave the vex for now as I have no use for a silence and I doubt I'm going to get another one, but oh well.

As for meph, I've just been running him on p8 (I'm on 1.09d because of occy) and getting 5+ drops every run, although maybe I'm misunderstanding what you're saying. Also, the static bug is weird and doesn't work the same on all players settings. It stops working on Meph at 17 or something like that. Also, it takes forever to get rid of that last sliver on higher settings, so I concluded pretty quickly that going above p8 wasn't really worth my time.

I’m not into time traveling, but isn’t the answer to forward to 1.10s for beta CtA?
Yeah, that seems to be the case. I don't think I really need one, though.
 
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DariusTriplet

Diabloii.Net Member
Thanks - I was aware of its rarity so I was quite shocked to see it drop. I'm just going to leave the vex for now as I have no use for a silence and I doubt I'm going to get another one, but oh well.

As for meph, I've just been running him on p8 (I'm on 1.09d because of occy) and getting 5+ drops every run, although maybe I'm misunderstanding what you're saying. Also, the static bug is weird and doesn't work the same on all players settings. It stops working on Meph at 17 or something like that. Also, it takes forever to get rid of that last sliver on higher settings, so I concluded pretty quickly that going above p8 wasn't really worth my time.
Pity there's no 1.09 category in the RFL, or you'd be well on your way to winning round 1 :p

Gotcha, and thanks for testing higher players settings on Meph! I was hoping that there was a breakpoint in players settings where he'd always drop 6 items, but I suppose not. I wonder what's up with the Static bug - I don't recall any discussion on it from the 1.09 days, and it's weird that it works with higher players settings up until it suddenly doesn't.
 

Me2NiK

Diabloii.Net Member
Pity there's no 1.09 category in the RFL, or you'd be well on your way to winning round 1 :p

Gotcha, and thanks for testing higher players settings on Meph! I was hoping that there was a breakpoint in players settings where he'd always drop 6 items, but I suppose not. I wonder what's up with the Static bug - I don't recall any discussion on it from the 1.09 days, and it's weird that it works with higher players settings up until it suddenly doesn't.
Not only does it not work at all on some players counts, it also doesn't work the same depending how n what the players count is. For example, on p8 you can't actually static Meph down to one health. It stops working at about 5 percent or so, which means you do actually have to fight a bit of p8 Meph.

The fact that there's seemingly no discussion of the static bug from the 1.09 days is indeed quite peculiar. I don't see how it would have gone unnoticed since it affects by far the most frequently ran boss in the game and static is bugged at all player counts over 2. This isn't like 1.00 where people didn't know anything about it because it was on the realms for so little time; 1.09 was the current patch for two years and those two years represent probably the peak of the game's player base.

...Having said that, it also seems to me that there are some other things we know about 09 now that weren't common knowledge then. A big one is the Act 1 mercenary bug, which I'd never seen before I did it myself. People knew about what I would consider to be much more obscure glitches, though (such as the rather infamous buggy behavior of -seed in 1.09 and, I think, all earlier patches), so it's a mystery to me.
 

Me2NiK

Diabloii.Net Member
Small update: We're quarantined so the amount of time I have to work on this has suddenly exploded.

I'm level 96 now, which means it took me about a month to catch up to my 1.13 99er's almost three years of progress. Also, cows are quite dangerous.
 

Corrupted

Diabloii.Net Member
6000 nm meph runs just to avoid doing 96-99 in 1.13, yikes :D
There's a little trick that can be used against Duriel in all versions of D2 (afaik) by sorcs but obviously Blizzard won't do the trick pre-1.10

 

Me2NiK

Diabloii.Net Member
6000 nm meph runs just to avoid doing 96-99 in 1.13, yikes :D
There's a little trick that can be used against Duriel in all versions of D2 (afaik) by sorcs but obviously Blizzard won't do the trick pre-1.10

Well, put it this way. My 96 zon with pretty great gear on 1.13 can get about 10 million exp an hour under ideal circumstances (p8 baal runs in which I get lucky and don't have to abort any), whereas this 96 sorc gets easily 100 million an hour regardless of the RNG. Granted, the odds of my sorc dying are actually real (I had to make a conscious choice not to attempt to play this character after a couple of beers the other day) whereas for my javazon to die I'd probably have to fall asleep for a considerable amount of time.

Things are slowing down somewhat because I'm now more than five levels above the level of a cow, but I still get about an entire 1.13 Baal run's worth of experience from your average herd of cows. There's no question to me that strictly time-wise this is going to turn out to be much faster. It's also more fun because it's low-key terrifying!

As for the Duriel trick, the thing is that all of the danger with pre-1.10 Duriel comes right when you get in the door and he can choose to charge you at a time where you have no recourse. Once I was able to get past that point the rest of the fight just came down to keeping my merc alive and getting through the town portal as fast as possible if that ever changed.
 

Me2NiK

Diabloii.Net Member
Level 98 now. The speed has come back down to earth somewhat: With an exp shrine, I get about 2% a run, but my runs are much faster now than they were when I started.

I had a couple of close calls at level 97. This is definitely not for the faint of heart: With 0% dr I'm pretty sure my 1.4k health still leaves me one bad teleport away from dying at full health. A shako would've been real nice. Going to do a bit of a writeup after the grind (assuming everything goes well).
 
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