The Normal Set Project

Maltatai

Diabloii.Net Member
Restles has now dug out the staff from the maggots at level 79.
It took a long time and was tedious and dull, but manageable. I switche dout the tome of identify he carries in the inventory in favor of a tome of town portal and used them liberally to collect the army and most importantly bring Diane in postition to shoot. I listened to the Zerg themes from Starcraft to pass the time, it seemed fitting.

There were many corners and rooms that took ages to gain a foothold in but there was rarely any danger, except when I ran into minon beetles and got trapped, costing two purple potions before I Restles could reach a town portal. His damage reducing gear (Iron Pelt and a Ruby Amulet of Life Everlasting) is of great help when you want to push forward to lead the army along and out of a bottleneck entrance. Against Coldworm the whole battle hinged on Restles' army making its way far enough so he could portal up and back and get Diane out of the corridors confines. Once out in the room, it was only a matter of time and some replacing of skeletons before the expedition under the sand was finished.

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Summoners are often described as being helpless and useless in the Maggot Lair, doomed to wait for their mandatory town guard to do all the fighting. That may very well be the case if you load up on skill points and casting equipment but a summoner with good defensive capability can take a much more active role and that will make the army much more effective tactically, often compensating for the minions having weaker stats than if the caste rwould have had only summoning gear.

Restles did actually find the Angelic Wings amulet before climbing down to the maggots. He has the amulet and two rings, but I find the resistances and damage reduction of his current jewelry to be more useful. He only need to hit every eight second to process open wounds from his shield in order to do his part offensively, otherwise the tactical freedom and subsequent leadership gained from the defense is much better. And this is also hardcore after all so protection is a priority.

Now forward to more open areas. The usually dreaded Arcane Sanctuary is unlikely to pose a problem for a prudent summoner with mages and a quick rogue.
[/spoilers]
 

Maltatai

Diabloii.Net Member
Nokoz meanwhile has advanced to level 47 and reached Act II in nightmare. He has made fazel the foolish town guard switch to a thorned aura that matches the golem better in colour but Fazel remained his stupid self and has already died to radaments poisons despite a sizeable bit of health showing on his bar. Nokoz will maximize corpse explosion along with fire golem, there aren't exactly many other infernal fire skills to choose from as necromancer and since Sander will probably not find his set I am interested in how a maxed explosion will work out. Otherwise Nokoz will busy himself with casting low level orange curses, weaken, amplify damage or dim vision according to the situation. All will have short durations so he will likely be very busy with that along with hopefully applying open wounds to some stubborn targets.
 

Maltatai

Diabloii.Net Member
Restles stands triumphant, and slightly bored, atop the rotting slime of Duriel!
As is often the case, the palace cellar included some nasty skeletal commanders.

"Forward, brave bony minions! Who wish to have the everlasting glory of being the first to charge into that room with the nice green aura and elemental attacks?"

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The minions rested in pieces before long but I managed to lure out the enemy minions and after a while their leaders followed too. Restles and his remaining minions were cornered but stood their ground in a rather even fight.

The Arcane Sanctuary was slow at times (read: stationary at bottlenecks) and I wholeheartedly hate lightning spires, but otherwise it does not live up to its infamous reputation among summoners...derived perhaps from so few investing in mages and ranged hired help...

Restles has as you may remember two set sword and an attract-ive unravellers head on switch. Making the Summoner cast spells at an attracted demon of his is truly hilarious.

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In the Canyon of the Magi Restles deliberately conjured a magnificent battle, five or six boss packs, champions and tons of normal monsters. They showed commendable tactical insight which does not show totally on the picture. While some engaged Restles' forces along the whole line and tied the up, some scarabs made a flank attack against the undead right wing, an excellent display of concentration of forces at a crucial point! The enemy also had substantial ranged support from the hell cats javelineers. Only summoners get away with this kind of foolishness...

Do not be fooled by the blocking animation for once caught on a screenshot, Restles abysmal blocking is only matched by his outrageously insignificant chance to hit enemies.

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While excellent against such crowds, the skeletal scourge fared pitifully against sarcophagi and mummies that swarmed and overwhelmed them if they managed to split the skeletons up. Restles had to work hard to direct and lead his army. The defensive equipment truly shone on many occassions in Tal Rashas tombs, allowing Restles to sprint inside and past the enemy and prevent another bottleneck situation at the door to a room.

The clearing of two tombs and half of the outdoor area culminated in the most pathetic display of Hell Duriel I have probably ever seen, showing clearly why Riphook deserves every bit of praise that is heaped upon it. Duriel managed nothing. One revived monster expired of itself and that was that.

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Restles now has five tombs left to clear out before he can set sail home to the east. I have so far not skipped a single monster in hell except when forced to exit the game earlier than planned. At level 80 nothing yet withstands the restless death.
 

Maltatai

Diabloii.Net Member
Nokoz has found his unofficial fourth set piece...
...the Nokozan Relic! He is named after that fire themed amulet and I very much wanted it to drop, despite not being particularly powerful for him. No matter, what it lacks in power it makes up for in style. The fire golem is almost completely invincible sof ar so I have started to put points in corpse explosion which has made a huge change. Also bought a wand with a point in attract instead of the confuse wand earlier, so the new colors are mor ein line with the rest of the theme. Thorns and holy fire look very similar, I'm quite satisfied with the choice.

Nokoz is at level 49, having effortlessly cleared away the dead and entered the far oasis.

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I forgot to mention earlier how generous the smith was. These blacksmiths of Act I nightmare are really decent fellows, I have gotten a small crescent from Griswold once or twice also. The ogre axe was useless due to the heavy requirements but I appreciate the thought. A shame it wasn't Sander who found it along with some chipped gems to reroll the mods and make a golem.

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Maltatai

Diabloii.Net Member
Mimmi has made it out of Act III
...but it feels like half a failure. She cleared every area but Kundri died perhaps ten times to hydras. There was just nothing Mimmi could do about it. She can tank hydra fire fairly well for a while but can not stand up to the ones who cast them and consequently needs to retreat and Kundri is exposed and killed in half a second since she runs much slower than Mimmi. I don't know how you're supposed to do it. Although a good start would probably be to equip yourself with the best available gear and not an underpowered set that should have been revised five patches ago... Kundri also died to a conviction and lightning enchanted blood lord.

Mephisto himself was far less dangerous than the path to him since Mimmi managed to trap him across the moat and she and Kundri could shoot him from afar, slow but safe. Blood lords littered the path and hydras meant no spot was safe. I would probably have had a much easier time letting Kundri be dead until I had cleared out the blood lords so Mimmi could stand still and tank the hydras.

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In any case Act IV has more open areas and less obstacles, and no hydra casting enemies hiding among them, so the pair should have an easier time there. Hephasto is likely to be the most dangerous to Mimmi but with Riphok and psychic hammer they might keep him away. It' also possible that he can be trapped in some place and then shot from a safe distance. Diablo will likely burn Kundri to ashes, and without PDR or blocking Mimmi should probably not risk melee. Lastly a picture from the time of the last update of a nasty stair trap that Mimmi will not need to experience again.

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Mimmi is now at level 81 in the Pandemonium Fortress.
 

Maltatai

Diabloii.Net Member
Arcanna has found her first set piece...
...which is nice but she won't be able to complete the set due to the impossile odds of the amulet dropping. Perhaps she can go with no amulet instead or something.

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Mimmi meanwhile wades through lightning into the City of the Damned...
...and I am still unable to keep Kundri alive as the gloams pose the same long range problem as the hydra casting council members. Mimmi has managed notably well given her worthless equipment. Only her belt, Bloodfist and the set jewelry is really good in hell. I am so disappinted in my inability to protect the hireling that I am tiring fast of the character and she will probably die soon.

The beginning of Act IV was amusing as Kundr got stuck in a corner and continued to shoot unopposed as Mimmi had snuck back inside the fortress limit. The plains of despair had four despairingly unpleasant burning soul bosses that Mimmi could knock back rather well with dragon talon, but only if she separated them from all the minions first. I put a point in mind blast, rising to 3 with equipment, which is helpful of course. I don't remeber if she was planned to go without the skill, maybe it should be considered cheating in some way that I have forgotten.

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Mimmi is now at the City of the Damned, almost reduced to a weak, and worse: casual gamer cookie-cutterly, trapper since her boots are too weak to make melee worthwhile at all. I try to use dragon talon regularly and it is certainly effective against some enemies but it is starting to get too risky.
 

Maltatai

Diabloii.Net Member
Twice-damned devil!
Mimmi endured a slow trail through the River of Flame against maggots whose poison she has no tolerance of and maw fiends and pit lords that took forever to take down. At least there were no abyss knights, those are an absolute pain with their lightning immunity. The landscape is fairly good for a ranged character with both open spaces and bottleneck areas that allows for many kinds of tactics. Mimmi found a nice bridge and sharp turn close tot he Hellforge where she intended to trap Hephasto. That succeeded but he was so fast and wandering that he eventually got around and crossed the bridge.

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Hephasto can be knocked back reliably with mind blast which proved to be a good investment in the end of Act IV. Mimmi burned through her mana in no time alternating between mind blasting the fast smith, casting death sentries and throwing shurikens in spare moments. Kundri kept firing most of the time and added physical damage and open wounds. It was an effective but very tiresome tactic.

The guy looks totally silly in green. Why not the original brown, or some dark red instead? These green and blue demon leaders look quite out of place.

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The forge did yield a good rune, a Mal! I would have preferred a Pul, Um or Lem but the Mal in Mimmis sabre ensures no enemy will be able to resist the duo, and quickly proved its worth in battle against big demons.

The Chaos Sanctuary was very slow and dangerous with the oblivion knights and scattered formations of their minions. Mind blast added a lot to the effectiveness as enemy mobs gathered and became vulnerable to lightning shots and corpse explosions. Conversion does by the way attract monsters from fara way like the confuse and attract curses and bone walls do.

The last battle against the venom lords went well but some remained due to having been converted. I couldn't make them face Diablo though, which would have been a sight. Blade fury was handy even with its low damage, thanks to the Mal rune. Cutting regeneration shortened the battle a lot.

Against Diablo, I had decided to melee and that was the right decision, He favored his lightning, which in hell starts so far out from him that close combat is safer than ranged combat in that regard. Mimmi had taken note of a skill shrine close by and had great use of it. Goblin Toe quickly dropped Diablos hit points but the last quarter was slow and Mimmi ran out of potions and Kundri wnadered to far to the side and got hit by the lightning which she died of in milliseconds. It was all in all an encouraging experience, proving that Diablo can be tanked even with unimpressive equipment, as long as you watch out for the firestorms. He castt hose once or twice but Mimmi spotted his overly dramatical gestures in time to move out of the way.

So Diablo died and Mimmi had opened a town portal the very moment. Because of that or because of the converted and remaining venom lords when Diablo appeared, the game showed the quest as unable to be completed in this game! WHAT THE FLAMING FIRESTORMS!? She would have to do it all AGAIN!?

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So damned be it, then. To avoid even potential trouble with conversion I went in the opposite direction and started with the Infectors venom lords and saved the grand vizier of chaos for last, a pack that Mimmi would be able to handle well witout mind blasting. The tactics were otherwise the same and when going back to Act I to look for a suitable shrine the first good one she found was another skill shrine.

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The second battle against Diablo went mostly like the first but Mimmi had just two rejuvenation potions and had a risky moment when disengaging to retreat and resupply. I first tried to resume meleeing but it was far too dangerous with just a single rejuvenation potion left for emergencies like the firestorm. So it would have to be a ranged affair and eventually deaths entries took the title chaarcter down, this time for good.

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Mimmi is now at level 82, happy to be in Act V, less happy to run into gloams and vipers and ancients.
 
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