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Tips for Ladder Reset: The Proto-Zon

Discussion in 'Amazon' started by droid, Sep 18, 2010.

  1. droid

    droid Diabloii.Net Member

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    Tips for Ladder Reset: The Proto-Zon

    Well since there's nothing better to do while we wait for the reset, I figured I'd start out a new zon fresh and see what works best using nothing but shops and drops, completely untwinked and unrushed, no Trist or Tombs etc., just as though I was starting out on a fresh ladder with no high-levels to coattail behind.

    My plan was just to get a zon to L30; by then, you'll have access to all your skills, and to most of the noteworthy low-level gear and runewords, whenever you can acquire them. This was just an experiment for a "proto-zon" that could metamorphose to any other brand of zon :)

    What I found was that pure Plague Javazons seem to be the best and easiest zon from L1 through L30. They have a potent AoE attack, dont chug mana like other zon skills, and arent completely dependent on having a powerful weapon. Here's how I've gone so far:

    Skills: Max Plague Jav. 1 pt in Jab, Charged Strike, D/A/E, Penetrate and all prereqs. 5 hard points in Crit. That uses up all your points at L24, and then just keep sticking points in Plague Jav till L30. Make sure you save enough points before lvls 6, 12, and 18 to take all the skills when they unlock!

    Gear
    Weapon: Gambled javelin-class weapon with mana leech. You need to be able to sustain your special attacks.
    Shield: whatever has the highest blocking chance.
    Helm: Nadir Helm when you can make one
    Armor: Stealth Breastplate when you can make one.
    Boots: FRW
    Belt, Gloves: dex, str, FHR, whatever. Fire Resists become important once you hit A4.
    Jewelry: +energy/mana is very useful until you find leech jewelry

    Merc: A1 cold arrow soon as you can get one, then switch to an A2 Prayer when you get to A2 and shop a spear/polearm with LL.

    Stats: DEX to keep your blocking maxed at all times. The rest of your points go into STR until you have 40 (for Short Spear), and probably eventually 52 (for Glaive, once they become gamblable). Then, your extra points go to VIT and ENE as needed. You wont need a ton of max life with a Prayer merc and max block and D/E/A, and the extra mana will help your regen rate. Mana=offense, life=defense.

    Playstyle: Charge ahead and aggro the room. Plague Jav at point blank range once monsters are all headed your way. You'll have to get a feel, if you're not used to it, how to best time and aim Plague Jav so that the AoE hits the most monsters. Try not to let your merc go off on his own and attract monsters away from your Plague AoE. Jab can be your LMB attack once you gamble a ML weapon, and of course you Jab between Plagues.


    ===Act by Act Journal===


    A1) Play through solo up until you get Black Marsh WP, including Cain. Hit Blood Raven if you can to get a merc before L8. Solo Trist runs are good for drops for equipping or selling for gambling cash, and will get you up to L12 or so. After that, do Tower runs in solo or MP games till L18, which should let you save up all the runes you need for Stealth and Nadir. Once you hit L18, you have CS and Plague, so go ahead and advance to A2. Dont forget to use CS vs Andy.

    A2) Switch to your A2 merc ASAP. Buy a 2os Breast Plate and Helm from the shop and make your Nadir and Stealth. Buy a white Short Spear to imbue, if you want, and hope for ML. Get a cube if you want one right now. You can solo up to Canyon (skipping the Maggot Lair), or do Far Oasis in MP games to level. From L20-24, Canyon in MP games is fastest. Once that dries out, you can backtrack to Maggot Lair, and then finish off Duriel and go to A3.

    A3) This is the worst part. By now you might be able to beg someone for Travincal WP, and I wouldnt blame you, but if you cant, you're just running the jungle solo. There's little of value in A3 Norm, so just try to get through the act as quick as possible. Once you have Trav WP, if you join a game made by someone already past A3 (Chaos or Baal games), the steps to Durance should be open and you can just run past the Council and head down to get the Durance WP...wait until the game empties to make it easier on yourself, though :) Create a new game, and Durance and Meph should be no trouble.

    A4) Watch out for the Balrog's fire attack, its nasty if you havent gotten some fire resists yet. A 2Diamond or 2 Ruby Bone Shield (shoppable in A2 iirc) might be good to switch to (you'll have the dex for max block), if your shield doesnt have res. Let your merc trek ahead and Plague from a distance, then you can close to melee and clean up. A4 is good exp in MP games if you're not dying too much, and once you hit Chaos you'll find it easy to get people to join up for exp runs that should take you to 30. Hopefully your HF drops an Amn (highest you can get on Normal HF) for you to make your merc a Strength spear for the CB and LL, or save it for an Edge bow if you're going bowazon past L30.

    A5 and post-game) A5 is when Sol and Shael first drop, opening up the options of Lore, Rhyme, Peace, and Insight. Depending when you're able to acquire better gear, now is when you'll start looking at using that respec to change to your true zon build. Bowazons will probably want to look at Edge until you can make Harmony. Javazons will want the +skills from Peace and Lore, and Rhyme for blocking and CBF. Both will more or less require an Insight merc until you're doing enough physical damage to rely on ML, but that probably wont be until 40+. You'll need, IIRC, a polearm found in WSK for 4os, though. Once you get past 30, your offensive power will shoot up rapidly, and you'll probably be able to find Baal runs for quick exp by now.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2010
  2. crawlingdeadman

    crawlingdeadman Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Tips for Ladder Reset: The Proto-Zon

    what's with nadir? do you mean lore? if you do mean nadir, i'd think a plain old hat with 2-3 os stuffed with saphires, rubies, or skulls would be better than nadir.
     
  3. YogiRat

    YogiRat Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Tips for Ladder Reset: The Proto-Zon

    Two tir runes in a helm does well, there really isn't enough 'mana juice' in these low level critters to leach anything.

    I also put a point into poison jav for for Duriel . The two skills synergize to the max anyway and plague doesn't really cut it for single targets.

    EDIT: You want a fire rogue for Andy. I agree with the prayer dude as soon as one gets to A2 and Malice in any pokie stick is what your merc needs ;)
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2010
  4. zrk

    zrk Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Tips for Ladder Reset: The Proto-Zon

    with lvl 14 syns,
    lvl 5 cs :97 damage, 5 boltlets
    lvl 5 plague jav: 320 dmg over 4.6 secs..
     
  5. Obdob

    Obdob Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Tips for Ladder Reset: The Proto-Zon

    the high council can drop Sol in normal, and i think they can even drop a shael.
     
  6. droid

    droid Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Tips for Ladder Reset: The Proto-Zon

    3os helms dont drop that early, and neither does Sol for Lore. Countess runs in Norm can net you Nef Tir. And its not a bad helm...the big defense bonus makes a lot of difference at the very start of the game, you have MAEK, +5 Str, and CoS gives you a "bug out" option if you get swarmed with archers or something. Compared to 2Tir, or to 2 chipped or flawed Ruby/Saph (you're not going to cube up Flaweds to a Perfect, now), I think Nadir is the more complete option.

    Fire rogue works fine too, if you want to crash Andy before L18. CS makes such quick work of her after that though, even just with 1 pt, plus she likes to shoot at all the other monsters around her when you want her to shoot Andy :D If you're lucky enough to find a Circlet with LL, then Malice is great, but I really think you need LL from something or your merc will just not be survivable enough, especially before he triggers his Prayer aura...and at low level, its only available from a weapon.

    Are you trying to say CS does more damage? Yes, of course...but the mechanics are less conducive to fighting swarms. Plague Jav will spread out concentrically, picking up every monster that's swarming you. As long as I'm hitting more than 1 target, I'm doing more total damage with each Plague than I am with a CS, even if all the bolts were to hit, which they dont, and I'm using much less mana, and I'm still doing damage if I need to run away and reset or go help my merc.

    Interesting, thanks :) That'd definitely be worth running if you're getting stuck and need the boost of Lore/Rhyme/Peace/Insight in A4...as long as you could run Council easily, I havent actually tried with this build. Maybe I should make a leap barb for Normal as my first char till I can twink my others with those :)


     
  7. Tecibbar

    Tecibbar Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Tips for Ladder Reset: The Proto-Zon

    Max blocking isn't needed for normal mode, especially since you are running around a lot. Better socket the shield with tir. If you really want max block, shop at Drognan for bone shield of blocking, nice 65% base block.

    Magic reduction is really important, more important than resist. Since you are untwickle, max resist is hard to achieve. Infernal can kill you when you are not looking. magic reduction helps a lot.

    Diamond (any quality) + 1 Staff (any type and quality) + 1 Kris (any quality) + 1 Belt (any type and quality) = Savage Polearm Class Weapon. This could get a exceptional polearm with LL. But shopping is easier.

    I think you mean Poison Javalin instead of Plague Javalin. And I don't think there will be a ladder reset in a year.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2010
  8. droid

    droid Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Tips for Ladder Reset: The Proto-Zon

    Why do people keep telling me I dont mean what I say? :) Plague Javelin, the one that explodes with an AoE cloud of poison. That mechanic is the point, its a very large and persistent AoE effect that can take out entire swarms in solo games, or significantly weaken up swarms in MP games, making it much faster to clean them up with Jab or CS. It also gives you a second layer of DPS on top of CS for fighting bosses. This early in the game, you're not killing things in 1 hit like you do endgame, so poison damage is much more practical.

    MR and DR are very useful, that is worth mentioning, if you happen to find some. I found a 3DR amulet and a 1DR ring that made a very noticeable difference up until A4ish.

    edit to below: sure I did, attack/jab and merc to 18 in Trist and Tower. At that point you level up really fast, and most monsters are OHK with anything resembling a decent jav for you or bow for the merc. I really dont like Poison Jav, its super hard to use effectively since your throw animation at that point is really long.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2010
  9. Tecibbar

    Tecibbar Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Tips for Ladder Reset: The Proto-Zon

    You didn't say how you are going to reach level 18. I assume you use poison Javalin as prime skill till 18? When using poison javalin, it's better to aim at space, and lure monsters to the poison cloud. Plague javalin don't take much skill to use, you just aim at the pack.

    About Nadir, it takes a lot of money to repair the Shadow charges; Nef is a rune that should be saved; and slow missile can provide good crowd concrol.
     
  10. jamesL

    jamesL Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Tips for Ladder Reset: The Proto-Zon

    isn't the cast time of plague javelin really long ?
    I tried it a llittle on the way to lightning fury, but I gave up quickly

    maybe I just wasn't using it strategically ?
     
  11. zrk

    zrk Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Tips for Ladder Reset: The Proto-Zon

    Assuming my premise:
    with lvl 14 syns,
    lvl 5 cs :97 damage, 5 boltlets
    lvl 5 plague jav: 320 dmg over 4.6 secs..
    and 9 frame attack(26 ias.. 20 ias javs 10 glove, shoppable i believe in a1/a2) then total cs dmg over 4.6 secs is 25/9*4.6*97*5=6197
    In order for plague jav to at least match that damage, it must keep dealing damage to 6197/320=19 monsters at the same time.. takes quite some micro, id imagine :p The problem with this is that while in some areas like cow level and fallen camps this may be possible, the median distribution of monsters makes this unsuitable. And most of all, it is highly unreliable : in the extreme situations(single monster/small camp) poison damage becomes terrible, while cs stays at same strength(and in fact being the best single target skill in the game). This especially hurts due to a most of the best xping places being small groups of monsters(chest bosses in tombs, temple bosses in kurast, seal bosses chaos)
     
  12. Flayed One

    Flayed One Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Tips for Ladder Reset: The Proto-Zon

    And you're assuming:
    -you can constantly stand in one point just CSing monsters away for 4,6 seconds
    -all bolts will hit

    When was the last time you found those 2 things true? Even against act bosses some bolts miss, and you constantly have to move to hit the next target.

    If you assume max theoretical damage for CS, it's only fair to assume 19 monsters in Plague Javelin AoE.

    Both of those assumptions are equally unrealistic.
     
  13. droid

    droid Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Tips for Ladder Reset: The Proto-Zon

    Plus it assumes you can stand there spamming CS, untwinked, somewhere between L18 and 30, without having to chug a potion every 4 seconds. You arent going to have Insight, high physical damage, mana leech, anything like that.

    A bigger gun does you no good if you can't afford the ammo...
     
  14. zrk

    zrk Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Tips for Ladder Reset: The Proto-Zon

    Yeah so drink pots? Has always worked for me. Sounds like same argument as sc2 kids crying at macro being too hard in sc1.

    About the bolts hitting and movement.. that is kind of hard to tell which skill benefits more.. sure cs needs melee range but plague needs herding
     
  15. Tecibbar

    Tecibbar Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Tips for Ladder Reset: The Proto-Zon

    I used to use pure poison when leveling, now I use both. Plague javalin has a really long casting delay. I CS while waiting to throw my next javalin. With 2~3 tir socketed, I can easily get the mana back.
     
  16. NagisaFurukawa

    NagisaFurukawa Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Tips for Ladder Reset: The Proto-Zon

    I prefer using purely Charged Strike, but I'll skip that argument since Plague Javelin can work just fine as well. It's a very well conceived idea, but here's just some comments I have.

    Act 1 Mercenary: The Fire rogue is the better of the two, since her attacks both deal more damage and have longer range. If you really want cold damage, a single Chipped Sapphire will fix up the problem.

    Act 2 Mercenary: 'Malice' is a very good weapon for the Act 2 mercenary. He doesn't really need leech right out of the gates, so I wouldn't worry too much about that. Once you have a cube, the previously mentioned Savage Polearm recipe is the way to go. If you happen to get lucky and roll more than 1x Bill/Partizan, you can try your luck with the 3x Chipped Gem recipe to see if you can't get a quality socketed exceptional weapon. Alternatively, you could roll something like a Poleaxe, and put 1-2x Eld Rune into the socket for a very nice Act 2 weapon. If all else fails, I believe you can gamble a Pike starting at level 20.

    Shield: I would rather use the shield for MPK, but, if you want blocking, Drognan sells shield with the "of Deflecting" suffix.

    Jewelry: Don't forget about AR either, since you are going the mana leech route. One ring devoted to AR goes a long way.

    Act 1: The Crypt and Mausoleum are nice EXP targets in higher player games for getting to level 8 for a mercenary. As for Countess, I think it's a little overkill to run her that much. Just a dozen or so /p1 runs should be enough for getting runes.

    Act 2: How can you get into the Canyon of the Magi, without first finishing off the Maggot Lair?

    Act 3: The temples in Kurast are a nice source of EXP as well, assuming you get there at around level 18.

    Act 4: This is where monster HP seems to take a big jump, so I would suggest just playing in smaller games. You only need to be 25 by Act 5, after all, and that is where the major EXP comes in.

    Act 5: I think that I've gotten polearms which will get 4 sockets from Larzuk as early as Eldritch. It's much easier to figure out in SP though, where you can just check ilvls before socketing, so don't quote me on this.
     
  17. droid

    droid Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Tips for Ladder Reset: The Proto-Zon

    RE: Act 2: Run straight through to the Snake's temple, smash the Altar, talk to Drognan, enter the Cellars to the Arcane Sanc, kill the Summoner, read the book, and you're at the Canyon.

    You can't, of course, unlock Duriel's seal until you get the Staff from the Maggot Lair, but you can get all the way up to there. And, if you're lucky and find a game where someone else has the Staff (quite likely right after reset), you might be able to skip that headache entirely :)
     
  18. NagisaFurukawa

    NagisaFurukawa Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Tips for Ladder Reset: The Proto-Zon

    Learn something new every day. :) Thanks for the information. I would assume so, but, just to make sure, do the waypoints for Arcane/Canyon function as they normally would?
     
  19. zrk

    zrk Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Tips for Ladder Reset: The Proto-Zon

    Yeah and you can even skip the snake altar , just enter the palace in a post-a2q3 game and grab the arcane wp.
     
  20. stephan

    stephan Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Tips for Ladder Reset: The Proto-Zon

    Ah come on. Getting amu and staff takes 10-15 minutes in total. You lose just as much time finding the right game. Just play the game until (but often you won't) you get really stuck, then you can always still do xp runs.
     

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