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Transition between normal and nightmare - advice needed if

Discussion in 'Newcomer Forum' started by Palurien, Jun 2, 2008.

  1. Palurien

    Palurien IncGamers Member

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    Transition between normal and nightmare - advice needed

    Here goes:

    First of all, I play single player, using /p8

    I recently returned to diablo ii after a very long break, so I am very inexperienced (never played past level 60ish before break).
    So I decided to level a Hammerdin, having gathered that they were probably one of the easiest characters - and since I'm a newbie I figured that would suit me.

    Got through normal with no problem, was level 48 by the end of it.
    So I went on to Nightmare, and Hammerdin guides that I've read say that I should be able to breeze through it without problems.
    However, I had a really hard time, going from full health to 0 in split seconds etc (early act I), so I decided to go level up a bit more doing Baal runs.

    I am now level 55, and decided to try again on nightmare, now late Act I, but I am still getting slaughtered. I know I could just avoid using /p8 and it would be easier, but still I must be doing something wrong if other people's experiences differ that much from my own.

    So all that aside - my question is, what am I doing wrong?
    About what level am I supposed to start nightmare (single player, using /p8)?
    Where should I level (xp in Act I, NM so far is pitiful, even if I didnt die - compared to Act V, Normal for instance)?
    Anything else I could change?
    Is my equipment too poor? (and if yes, any tips to how to get some better).

    Here's a summary of my stats:
    Code:
    [B]General[/B]
    Level: 55
    Health:581
    Mana: 157
    Defence: 484 (w/o holy shield - 822 with).
    Blessed Hammer damage (with concentration aura ofc): 1107-1150
    
    [B]Attributes[/B]
    Strength: 142
    Dexterity: 95
    Vitality: 128
    Energy: 42 (base, the extra is from equipment)
    
    [B]Resistances (on normal)[/B]
    Fire: 29
    Cold: 29
    Lightning: 43
    Poison: 40
    
    [B]Skills[/B]
    
    [I]Combat:[/I]
    Blessed Hammer: 11 (7 base +4 from gear)
    Holy Shield: 3 (1 base +2 from gear)
    Prerequsities: 3
    
    [I]Defensive Auras:[/I]
    Vigor: 21 (20 base +1 from gear)
    Meditation: 3 (1 base +2 from gear)
    Redemption: 2 (1 base +1 from gear)
    Salvation: 2 (1 base +1 from gear)
    Prerequisites: 3
    
    [I]Offensive Auras:[/I]
    Concentration: 22 (20 base +2 from skills)
    Prerequisites: 2
    
    [B]Gear[/B]
    
    [I]Helm: [/I]
    Bone Circlet
    Circlet
    Defense: 30
    Durability: 35 of 35
    Required Level: 16
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 24
    Fingerprint: 0xa9e2a6e8
    +12 to Energy
    +16 to Mana
    +1 to Combat Skills (Paladin Only)
    
    [I]Armor:[/I]
    Sturdy Ancient Armor of Remedy
    Defense: 285
    Durability: 60 of 60
    Required Strength: 100
    Required Level: 5
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 45
    Fingerprint: 0xbd8fbeaf
    +22% Enhanced Defense
    Poison Length Reduced by 25%
    
    [I]Gloves:[/I]
    Sander's Taboo
    Heavy Gloves
    Defense: 25
    Durability: 14 of 14
    Required Level: 28
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 60
    Fingerprint: 0x7b74816e
    +40 to Life
    +20 Defense
    Adds 8-10 poison damage over 3 seconds
    20% Increased Attack Speed
    
    [I]Boots:[/I]
    Rite of Passage
    Demonhide Boots
    Defense: 59
    Durability: 12 of 12
    Kick Damage: 26 to 46
    Required Strength: 20
    Required Level: 29
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 45
    Fingerprint: 0xbf4a4b1f
    +25 to Maximum Stamina
    +25 Defense
    30% Faster Run/Walk
    Half Freeze Duration
    
    [I]Belt:[/I]
    Plated Belt of the Colossus
    Defense: 11
    Durability: 24 of 24
    Required Strength: 60
    Required Level: 22
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 49
    Fingerprint: 0x50e73623
    +49 to Life
    
    [I]Amulet:[/I]
    Order Scarab
    Amulet
    Required Level: 50
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 80
    Fingerprint: 0xa771d4fa
    +20 to Strength
    +15 to Energy
    Fire Resist +11%
    Lightning Resist +11%
    Cold Resist +11%
    Poison Resist +22%
    +1 to Paladin Skill Levels
    10% Faster Cast Rate
    
    [I]Ring1:[/I]
    Ring of Fortune
    Required Level: 31
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 42
    Fingerprint: 0x74235589
    20% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
    [I]Ring2:[/I]
    Felicitous Ring of Chance
    Required Level: 9
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 47
    Fingerprint: 0x937ac75b
    13% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
    
    [I]Weapon:[/I]
    War Scepter
    One-Hand Damage: 10 to 17
    Durability: 70 of 70
    Required Strength: 55
    Required Level: 24
    Mace Class - Fast Attack Speed
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 35
    Fingerprint: 0xe2538601
    +1 to Concentration (Paladin Only)
    +1 to Meditation (Paladin Only)
    +2 to Blessed Hammer (Paladin Only)
    150% Damage to Undead
    
    [I]Shield:[/I]
    Stone Badge
    Aerin Shield
    Defense: 51
    Chance to Block:  42%
    Smite Damage: 4 to 10
    Durability: 50 of 50
    (Paladin Only)
    Required Strength: 50
    Required Level: 18
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 41
    Fingerprint: 0x10c649ce
    +5 to Mana
    +39% Enhanced Defense
    Magic Damage Reduced by 2
    Fire Resist +8%
    Lightning Resist +22%
    Cold Resist +8%
    
    About the shield, trying to get a Rhyme, but not been fortunate enough to find a Shael rune yet.

    My mercenary is an Act II defensive merc (defiance) - will get a holy freeze one when I get to Act II, NM.

    His stats:

    Code:
    [B]General[/B]
    Health: 905
    Defence: 728
    Resistances (on Normal): All capped
    Damage (with concentration aura): 630-1180
    
    [B]Gear[/B]
    
    [I]Helm:[/I]
    Circlet of Luck
    Defense: 29
    Durability: 35 of 35
    Required Level: 19
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 24
    Fingerprint: 0xaf5317
    31% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
    
    [I]Armour:[/I]
    Gemmed Ring Mail
    Defense: 45
    Durability: 26 of 26
    Required Strength: 36
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 12
    Fingerprint: 0x7d0b3ee6
    27% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
    Socketed (3: 3 used)
    
    [I]Weapon:[/I]
    Dire Gutter
    Partizan
    Two-Hand Damage: 70 to 153
    Durability: 63 of 65
    Required Dexterity: 67
    Required Strength: 113
    Required Level: 36
    Polearm Class - Slow Attack Speed
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 60
    Fingerprint: 0x283adbe1
    +105% Enhanced Damage
    +234 to Attack Rating
    +1 to Minimum Damage
    +7 poison damage over 3 seconds
    Level 2 Stun (20/25 Charges)
    
    My fighting tactics is having concentration aura on while fighting (unless there is a lot of fire / frost /lightning damage then I use sanctuary), using blessed hammer to wipe out enemies, with the help of my mercenary. Redemption when in need of health / mana between groups.
     
  2. lionheartthebrave

    lionheartthebrave IncGamers Member

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    Re: Transition between normal and nightmare - advice needed

    I would look at getting some more FCR, so you can cast hammers quicker. Options:
    -spirit runeword sword/shield if RWM (tal thul ort amn)
    -go to the SPTF and pick up suicide branch/peasant crown/low vipermagi for PGems (or perhaps a PGem if someone is kind)
    -find some FCR rings

    Also that shield is terrible, search all white/grey paladin shields on the ground, you'll find something with +res all on it thats better. Your resistances might have something to do with you dying, also was lister's pack easy at /p8?

    People usually max BH before vigour, putting more points in BH will increase the damage dramatically. Always have conc on in battle, esp with you low number of points in BH, drink potions if need be

    As for dying, perhaps let your merc tank, and stand just behind him casting the hammers, don't be afraid to drink potions, if possible find him some life leech

    XP: due to the level difference, you need to be in act 2 NM at least to get some xp

    For starting characters, meteorb/summon necro(fishymancer) are most popular

    Don't be afraid to turn down the players setting, it is your first character, I didn't discover /p8 for a few months
     
  3. thegiantturtle

    thegiantturtle IncGamers Member

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    Re: Transition between normal and nightmare - advice needed

    Step 1: Improve your gear.
    Step 2: Continue improving your gear.

    Don't worry about defense. Worry about resists, life, mana, FHR, FCR.

    The benefits from your current gear:

    • The Helm gets you some mana and increased damage.
    • The Armor gets you nothing.
    • The Gloves get you 40 life.
    • The Boots get you 30% FRW.
    • The Belt gets you 49 life.
    • The Amulet kicks *** for a new character
    • The Rings get you a tiny amount of mf.
    • The Shield gets you a tiny amount of resists.

    What you can do:

    • Keep the Helm for now, but look for one with mana and resists. The +1 combat skills is less important than the survivability.
    • Pick up every blue/yellow/green/gold armor you see. Any one would be better.
    • Gamble for some gloves with resists
    • Gamble for a better belt.
    • Gamble for some boots with resists
    • Pick up all the blue/yellow rings you find, keep any with resists and/or FCR
    • Make a Spirit or an Ancient's Pledge. Both Cheap. Both much better than what you're using.
    • Keep all resist charms you can find in your inventory.
    Also, if you pm me, I could email you a few items that would be a help. (They are 1.11b - no mods)
     
  4. Palurien

    Palurien IncGamers Member

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    Re: Transition between normal and nightmare - advice needed

    Thanks a lot for the tips both of you, much appreciated :)


    Lionheart:

    Lister's pack was quite horrendous the first couple times, so scaled down the /p there, currently pretty comfortable doing it on /p7 or /p8 though.

    As for the spirit runewords, looks really nice and have the runes for it, but not sure if 4 socket weapons /shields are available to me yet anywhere?
    As for the SPTF, think I may get a vipermagi (thanks to Swillers' generous giveaway) in a couple of days. Will try looking for the other items. Have a fair amount of Pgems, 12 I think.

    The reason I maxed Vigour before BH was due to it synergising well, and wasnt sure if maxing BH first would make it too mana intensive early on seeing as I went with base energy.

    As for letting merc tank, I might try that, although I think I need to find him some life leech first to keep him alive.

    Giantturtle:

    I'll try improving my items by gambling and shopping like you suggested and go for the stats you suggested :) I know most of them are very bad - reason is I went with MF gear until end of normal, following Jiazons' guide (http://forums.diabloii.net/showthread.php?t=620901), however as I started struggling I figured having purely MF gear wasnt doing me any favours so tried looking for some real items.

    Again thanks a lot for the quick feedback from both of you :)
    Will be cheeky and PM you, Thegiantturtle, as you offered.
    Again, thanks :)
    As for the runewords, again with Spirit, not sure I can get 4 socket items already? Will do the Ancients pledge as soon as I can find a 3 socket shield either way (so far only seen 2 socket shield max).
     
  5. Anthraquinone

    Anthraquinone IncGamers Member

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    Re: Transition between normal and nightmare - advice needed

    As the other posters said, improve your gear!
    Your resistances don't look good at all. Fire & light resist are the most important.

    Do you have max block with holy shield on (75%; check by hovering with your mouse over the defense value in the character screen)? If not then invest points into dexterity.

    Your armor and your shield can both be replaced quite easily by better stuff. Any shield socketed with two Pdiamonds should be an improvement. edit: o yes, ancient's pledge is also much better

    Don't worry, you will find gear good enough to bring your pala through nightmare :thumbup:

    -AnQ
     
  6. Palurien

    Palurien IncGamers Member

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    Re: Transition between normal and nightmare - advice needed

    Thanks for the feedback :)

    No, I only have around 54 % block with holy shield up I think - all my points are going into Dex to improve that atm though, but not completely sure how it works when I change shields / get higher rank of holy shield - dont want to end up having wasted a lot of points in dex if I end up with a shield with higher block % / higher rank of holy shield (if these affect that).
     
  7. thegiantturtle

    thegiantturtle IncGamers Member

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    Re: Transition between normal and nightmare - advice needed

    Some more helpful information:

    Block formula. With a Paladin using holy shield, about ~1.7 dex per level should be fine in the long run. I pulled that number out of the squid.

    As for 4 socketed items. You cannot find items that already have 4 sockets on them in normal, but you can find items that can become 4 socketed with the cube recipe and larzuk reward. max socket list. All the Paladin shields you find in Act 5 can become 4 socketed. There are a handful of swords that you can use, too.

    jiansonz is extremely knowledgeable, but his playstyle is pretty restrictive. Since he doesn't re-clear areas, he needs every last mf % he can find. You, on the other hand, can kill Baal 50 times, so mfing random monsters in normal and nightmare is not really important.
     
  8. Palurien

    Palurien IncGamers Member

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    Re: Transition between normal and nightmare - advice needed

    Thanks again :)

    Bookmarked both pages.

    Yeah, realized Jianson's guide may not be that relevant to me now, so won't be following that anymore (although I am sure it is an excellent guide in single-pass tournaments etc).

    EDIT: for the sockets, I gathered that I would want to use this crafting recipe for the shield?
    Is that right? Also, I can't see it saying anything about it needing a certain ilvl, so any shield would do? Or is it preferable to have as good a shield as possible? (as in, will some of the stats of the item be kept when making a runeword).

    Otherwise, finding one as drop rather than crafting - it said on the page you linked me, that paladin shields can have 4 sockets no matter where they are found?

    Sorry for the nooby questions, but I rather be sure than waste a pgem and some runes :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2008
  9. Are

    Are IncGamers Member

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    Re: Transition between normal and nightmare - advice needed

    Instead of using that recipe, you can use Larzuk's socketing reward (if you haven't already done so in Normal). He always gives max number of sockets to white items.
     
  10. Hrus

    Hrus IncGamers Member

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    Re: Transition between normal and nightmare - advice needed

    As other already said, you need better shield, 75% chance to block with holy shield, you need to get better FCR also. If you don't get the Vipermagi armor from SPTF, you should make stealth armor which is an excellent low level option, giving you 25% FCR (and FRW and FHR which are useful too).

    Also what kills you? If regular melee critters - then only better FCR and better positioning will help. If fire/cold/light enchanted boss packs, then don't forget they (and their minions) also have added elemental damage of that kind - you probably need to get better resists.
    The only monsters hammerdin usually have problems are archers. Bu you can deal with them too - you can charge to their feets and start hammering (if you have sufficient life, it works) or you can zip/zap getting close to them then hammering. Or you can retreat, make them follow you, make a hammer field, retreat and make them follow you in the circle of death...
     
  11. krischan

    krischan Europe Trade Moderator

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    Re: Transition between normal and nightmare - advice needed

    I cannot comment on your equipment, as I don't know what else you have. Go for stuff with resists, faster cast (75% would be good, but already a bit hard to reach, and 125% is excellent, but next to impossible without twinking) and +skills. Also have a bit faster hit recovery. The shield should have as much blocking as possible, so you don't need that much dex to keep it at 75% while holy shield is active.

    Your character has too much strength and the resists could be better (max them in this order: fire, lightning, cold poison), but that's not the real problem. When releasing hammers, don't run around with enemies in melee range. Walk instead, else blocking is reduced to 1/3 and attacks always hit.

    AFAIK the Spirit runeword only works on single player when using a mod. Have a look at the single player forum for details about that. It's the same with the Insight runeword which is excellent because it offers high damage for low runes and what's more important, it adds a meditation aura which will solve all your mana problems. If you have a L27+ merc from act 2, get a 4 socket polearm (ethereal, if possible, no spear !) which your merc can wear and make Insight out of it.

    Have a look at the Strategy Compendium (see my sig) for information about FCR, FHR, FBR breakpoints etc. and check this thread to find out what the abbreviations mean ;)
     
  12. Palurien

    Palurien IncGamers Member

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    Re: Transition between normal and nightmare - advice needed

    Thanks for all the replies :)

    Are: Already used his reward, unfortunately :(

    Hrus: Will try to get a Stealth if I dont get the Vipermagi, or maybe buy a vipermagi if I can afford one.
    Usually melee hitters that kill me, although thats mainly because they are the most common - when meeting casters and archers they kill me pretty much the same.

    Krischan: Will try to get those stats you mentioned, and had a look at the breakpoints in the strategy compendium too.
    Will keep in mind not to run when having enemies in melee range.
    Will try to get both a spirit for myself and an insight for my merc when I can - using RWM so should be available to me :)

    Again, thanks to everyone for their help.
     
  13. thegiantturtle

    thegiantturtle IncGamers Member

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    Re: Transition between normal and nightmare - advice needed

    You've got the right recipe, but the AS (Arreat Summit) has some, uh, imprecise, uh, information. :whistling: Ilvl does matter. For paladin shields, you'll need one with ilvl 26+. Any shields you find in Normal Act 5, Nightmare, or Hell will meet this requirement.

    Also, the random number of sockets always uses a base of 6, but then caps it at the max possible for the item at it's ilvl. Example, Say you have an ilvl 28 paladin shield. If you socket it in the cube, you will have the following chances at different sockets:
    1/6 at 1 socket
    1/6 at 2 sockets
    1/6 at 3 sockets
    3/6 at 4 sockets (1/6 at 4, 1/6 at 5, 1/6 at 6).
    If you were to use an ilvl 20 paladin shield, all the chances at 4 sockets would move over to the 3 socket bucket (as 3 sockets would be the max possible).

    If you end up with 3 sockets, you could possibly make an Ancient's Pledge to tide you over until you can make a Spirit.

    You will need a white item for the recipe (not a blue, yellow, green, or gold item). The automod on the shield will be retained through both the socketed recipe AND the runewording. There are 2 types of automods for paladin shields. One grants resists and one grants both ED% and AR. Since you are a caster, you definitely want one with resists. They higher you can find, the better it is.



     
  14. Palurien

    Palurien IncGamers Member

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    Re: Transition between normal and nightmare - advice needed

    Got the spirit shield now, should be a very good help :)

    Not the best rolls but still awesome compared to the rest of my gear I think

    Code:
    Spirit
    Heraldic Shield
    'TalThulOrtAmn'
    Defense: 17
    Chance to Block:  40%
    Smite Damage: 3 to 9
    Durability: 40 of 40
    (Paladin Only)
    Required Strength: 40
    Required Level: 25
    Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
    Item Level: 38
    Fingerprint: 0x5c99347a
    +22 to Vitality
    +89 to Mana
    +250 Defense vs. Missile
    Fire Resist +11%
    Lightning Resist +46%
    Cold Resist +46%
    Poison Resist +46%
    Attacker Takes Damage of 14
    55% Faster Hit Recovery
    29% Faster Cast Rate
    +2 to All Skill Levels
    +4 Magic Absorb
    Socketed (4: 4 used)
    
    Well on my way now, will prob wait until I get a few more improvements till I start nightmare again, but should be ready for it this time :)

    EDIT: Just noticed the crappy block on the shield :/ Well still pretty good, and not too rare runes either way, so should be able to make a new one when I find a shield with better block.
     
  15. Mursilis

    Mursilis IncGamers Member

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    Yes a better shield down the road is a good idea. Preferably one with higher blocking, as you mentioned, and a higher inherent +resistance mod. Unlucky on the FCR roll, 29%. Next time around hopefully you'll get 30%.
     

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