Vanilla Zealot...need some advice plz :)


Diabloii.Net Member
Vanilla Zealot...need some advice plz :)

Hi guys,

Well I finally made it to Hell! :thumbsup:

Just hit lvl 70, this is the farthest I've ever been in the game. Been a lot of fun getting here.

I said "Vanilla" in the Title because I've only used what I've found, and I've actually done pretty well I think.

But Hell seems to be a different story, my Resistances are for crap, in the negative across the board unless I switch over to Salvation...which I have to do when I run into Champions most of the time. Normal mobs I'm fine to Zeal/Fanat on, though it is taking quite a while to put them down sometimes, especially groups.

I've read alot (and printed off a lot) of the build guides and I can see what the majority suggest as for equipment. But all of the guides list items to either find or trade for. Which is question though is there "any" hope for me to be able to survive in Hell given what I currently have and hopefully will find as I progress, without the need for trading?

I haven't used any Runes thus far. I have a 4 Socketed Tower Shield that I could put Perfect Diamonds in...

Been waiting for a good Palli 3 soc shield to put Ancients' Pledge in, but haven't found one...have a few 3 soc but not Palli specific.

(I installed the RWM, but haven't socketed anything yet)

Was thinking of putting Malice or King's Grace..or Honor (Fury would be great but no Jah or Gul's thus far heh)

And I've been trying to see how far I could get with my Act 1 Ice Merc, she actually did really well thus far, but seems to be having a hard time now. What would compliment me (Zealot) the best? Defiance?

So I thought I'd throw out my spec's and see what the best fine tuning adjustments I could make to help me survive better now that I'm in Hell.

Any ideas or suggestions would would be very welcome...I'm far from an expert lol

Is there any options with what I have that will help or is my only option to have to trade up for better gear?

Let me know what you think :)

Try not to laugh, like I said I've just tried to survive on drops 100% heh

Maybe I need to do some NM Boss runs :wink3:

Here's my guy :

Character name : Roland (heh)
Character type : Paladin
Character level : 70
Character exp : 287036908

Strength : 145
Energy : 22
Dexterity : 119
Vitality : 154
Stat Points Rem : 0
Skill Points Rem: 0

Life : 682 / 620
Mana : 158 / 129
Stamina : 334 / 287

Gold (Inventory): 0
Gold (Stash) : 187277

(Damage w/Fanat = 886 w/Aldur's Jagged Star)

Base Skill Points:

Zeal - 19
Holy Shield - 20
Fanaticism - 20
Lightning Resist - 5 (i know but it did save my butt early on)
Salvation - 1

Item Bonuses:

(+1 to All Skills)
(+1 to All Paladin Skills)

Current Items:

Sazabi's Mental Sheath - Basinet (Main Helm)

Defense: 184
Durability: 30 of 30
Required Strength: 82
Required Level: 43
Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
Item Level: 63
Fingerprint: 0x538fb341
+100 Defense
Fire Resist +15%
Lightning Resist +17%
+1 to All Skill Levels

Viper Wing - Amulet (Main)

Required Level: 33
Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
Item Level: 48
Fingerprint: 0x16fcda87
+5 to Dexterity
All Resistances +12
+50 poison damage over 3 seconds
Poison Length Reduced by 50%

Death Eye - Ring (Main)

Required Level: 9
Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
Item Level: 27
Fingerprint: 0x8f18e6d0
+27 to Attack Rating
Cold Resist +20%
Replenish Life +4
38% Extra Gold from Monsters
8% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
10% Chance to cast Level 3 Charged Bolt when struck

Cathan's Seal - Ring (Main)

Required Level: 11
Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
Item Level: 43
Fingerprint: 0x97215320
Damage Reduced by 2
6% Life stolen per hit

***Partial Set Item Bonuses***
+10 to Strength
***Partial Set Item Bonuses***

Blessed Sharkskin Belt of Regeneration (Main)

Defense: 59
Durability: 14 of 14
Required Strength: 20
Required Level: 25
Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
Item Level: 50
Fingerprint: 0x3d25b73f
+60% Enhanced Defense
Replenish Life +5

Tearhaunch - Greaves (Main)

Defense: 63
Durability: 24 of 24
Required Strength: 70
Required Level: 29
Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
Item Level: 60
Fingerprint: 0xa3095fb2
+5 to Strength
+5 to Dexterity
+79% Enhanced Defense
+35 Defense
All Resistances +10
20% Faster Run/Walk
+2 to Vigor (Paladin Only)

Pain Hand - Demonhide Gloves (Main)

Defense: 67
Durability: 12 of 12
Required Strength: 20
Required Level: 35
Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
Item Level: 68
Fingerprint: 0x68d41144
+10 to Maximum Stamina
+**% Enhanced Defense
23% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
20% Increased Attack Speed
Level 4 Fire Arrow (30/30 Charges)

Steelclash - Kite Shield (Main)

Defense: 51
Chance to Block: 63%
Smite Damage: 2 to 5
Durability: 46 of 46
Required Strength: 47
Required Level: 17
Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
Item Level: 63
Fingerprint: 0x239ffba6
+65% Enhanced Defense
+25% Increased Chance of Blocking
+20 Defense
Damage Reduced by 3
All Resistances +15
+16 Maximum Durability
+1 to Paladin Skill Levels
+3 to Light Radius
20% Faster Block Rate

Storm Carapace - Full Plate Mail (just found this, was just testing it vs Boneflesh)

Defense: 230
Durability: 67 of 70
Required Strength: 80
Required Level: 33
Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
Item Level: 66
Fingerprint: 0x71522177
+36 to Life
+42% Enhanced Defense
Damage Reduced by 6
Lightning Resist +10%
Cold Resist +12%
Poison Length Reduced by 75%

Boneflesh - Plate Mail (Main)

Defense: 250
Durability: 60 of 60
Required Strength: 65
Required Level: 26
Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
Item Level: 55
Fingerprint: 0x656c0540
+114% Enhanced Defense
+35 to Attack Rating
5% Life stolen per hit
25% Chance of Open Wounds

Aldur's Rhythm - Jagged Star (3 socket) (Main) - What would be the Best RW to put in this?

One-Hand Damage: 60 to 93
Durability: 51 of 72
Required Strength: 74
Required Level: 42
Mace Class - Fast Attack Speed
Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
Item Level: 60
Fingerprint: 0x5bd76841
+40 to Minimum Damage
+62 to Maximum Damage
Adds 50-75 lightning damage
10% Life stolen per hit
5% Mana stolen per hit
30% Increased Attack Speed
200% Damage to Demons
150% Damage to Undead

***Partial Set Item Bonuses***
+15 to Strength
+15 to Strength
+15 to Strength
***Partial Set Item Bonuses***

Socketed (3: 0 used)


Was testing the shield to see which gave me the best results...never use the sword since I found Aldur's

Storm Wing - Royal Shield (Switch)
Beast Hew - Broad Sword (switch)

Mercenary Items : Act 1 Ice Merc (i know...but she's done really well till Hell heh)

1: Doom Veil - War Hat

2: Sharktooth Armor

3: Storm Quarrel - Double Bow

Runes: (number is how many i have atm in ATMA)

7 El Rune
8 Eld Rune
4 Tir Rune
7 Nef Rune
4 Eth Rune
4 Ith Rune
7 Tal Rune
7 Ral Rune
2 Ort Rune
6 Thul Rune
1 Amn Rune
3 Sol Rune
1 Shael Rune
2 Dol Rune
2 Ko Rune

Assorted Charms:

Beryl Small Charm of Life

Lucky Grand Charm of Greed

Russet Small Charm of Strength

Red Grand Charm of Pestilence

Snake's Grand Charm of Inertia

Fine Large Charm of Flame

Rugged Large Charm of Shock

Small Charm of Sustenance

Rugged Large Charm of Venom

Shimmering Large Charm

Lucky Large Charm

Large Charm of Balance

Large Charm of Balance

Tangerine Large Charm


Thx for taking the time!

Good Hunting ALL :thumbsup:


Diabloii.Net Member
You have pretty much worked out your main problem with hell difficulty. Your going to get chewed up and often with negative resistances. You have a chance to finishing the game with self found gear for a zealot but that really depends on getting good resists and a reasonable weapon. Such is Hell difficulty. It isn't really for untwinked characters to finish easily.

A shield full of diamonds is your best bet. Pally shield is best but if not, any shield with decent block chance and lots of holes. You need to get your resists over 50% to have a snowballs hope in hell.

Aldurs mace wont take a rune word. rune words only work in non magical socketed items. You should do ok with it in early hell, but you will need something better to finish the game with.
ok my first suggestion would be to run nm baal for a while to not only level up and strengthen your character, but also to possibly find some more items. also i would switch to an act two merc, preferably defiance for insance defense, but i would suggest the defensive one from nightmare with holy frost for crowd control.

next, i would suggest switching your shield for some sort of akaran targe or soemthign with sockets to suffice for your week resists. steelclash doesnt give u that much defense so dont worry about that, and the plus to skills isnt that big of a deal

last, if your having trouble killing people, try to find some source of crushing blow and add that in with your equipment.

well, good luck man.


Diabloii.Net Member
Thanks a lot guys for the pointers!

"rune words only work in non magical socketed items"

I knew that (a few years ago lol) thx for the reminder :)

I'll switch my Merc out, load up on a P.Diamond Shield...for a RW weapon, do I need to worry that much about it's base damage? I'm thinking as long as it's a Very to Fast Weapon with enough sockets...but I keep reading about players looking for low dmg weapons, how come?

On Aldur's, would you throw some Elemental Damage in there? Perfect Topaz? To help w/PI's? Or what would you guys suggest?

Again thanks for the help...I'll do some Baal/Boss runs, see what I can turn up :)

Regards & Good Hunting All!


First, you need to level up a bit. Lvl 70 is a little too low for Hell difficulty. NM Baal runs are a good way to level your character, but I didn't like him with my zealot because of the Oblivion Knights all around the area. With some patience, it's still doable and also rewarding. If you can't stand it though, try NM Meph (for items) and Pindle (for experience).

I assume you're playing v1.11, in which case, you have to max Sacrifice with a zealot. It'll give you a substantial dmg boost. Keep that in mind while you level. The stat points gained should go to Vitality; your HP is low for a melee char (around 1000 is desired).

As mercenary, my zealot is very happy with his A2 NM Defensive Holy Freeze companion, while many others swear by the A2 NM Offensive Might merc. For untwinked play, the bonus from the Might aura will not be as impressive though, and the crowd control and safety provided by the HF aura is much more needed with sub par equipment.

The equipment all depends on how much you're willing to run. If you don't have a problem with spending some time in Hell Pits, you'll eventually find very decent equipment (among those found by my untwinked characters--which have been running the area for ages now, btw--are Nord's, Razor's Edge, Astreon's :shocked:, Reaper's etc) (why are they always already someone else's?). It is also an excellent place to gain levels, but will be hard at first because of the same reason. Similarly, running the Countess will get you mid range runes relatively fast, which you can use in upgrade recipes as well as RWs. Occasionally, she'll drop a few decent uniques. Roll a good map if you intend intensive running, it'll pay off in the long run. Also don't forget the shopping/gambling/crafting/rerolling options.

In the meanwhile, you might make yourself a Strength (Amn+Tir) weapon for a cheap source of Crushing Blow, or better yet, Black (Thul+Io+Nef) if you can get your hands on an Io, which is actually pretty easy to obtain from the Countess.

For shield, I'd definitely look for a pally shield with decent resists, either a socketed one with 20+ resist all for runewords or a rare with 40+ resist all and other nice stats like FHR, additional single element resists, increased block chance etc.

In your questing equipment, look for resists, crushing blow, life leech, dmg reduction, MF and enough IAS to reach 4 frame zeal. Defense is a pretty useless mod, unless everything else is set and we're talking about really high numbers. While MFing, load as much MF as you can without frequently dying. As you practice running a certain area for some time, you'll notice that you'll be able to convert to almost all MF gear without making things hairy.

To comment on your gear and make some relatively easily attainable suggestions:
Helm: Sazabi's is all right, but a Guillaume's Face (from the Orphan's Call set, for the CB), Tal Rasha's Horadric Crest (Tal's set, excellent mods), Stealskull (unique Casque, for the leech and MF), Vampire Gaze (unique Grim Helm, for dmg reduction and leech), Rockstopper (unique Sallet, for dmg reduction, fhr and resists) could be better. Start MFing with a 3 ptopaz helm.
Amulet: You can gamble a higher resist ammy, and with other nice bonuses. You might find it interesting that my zealot is using a plain Amulet of Life Everlasting (24 dmg reduced) since he started Hell (is almost done with running and started A2). Crafting is another option.
Rings: Again, gambling/crafting can give you good results, if something pretty doesn't drop itself. You might even try running Andy for jewellery! Try to get leech, MF and resists from your ring slots. If you're seriously having AR problems, consider the Angelic ring/ammy combo. If you happen to find a Ravenfrost, by all means use it!
Belt: Change your current belt asap. Don't worry about defense, just get one with resists/fhr/stats and 4 rows. The String of Ears (unique Demonhide Sash) is rather easy to find and definitely an end-game belt! Goldwrap (unique Heavy Belt) for MFing.
Gloves: Yours look fine for the MF and the IAS. If you're willing to improve, craft some blood gloves. Or wait for a Laying of Hands (commonly dropping gloves from the Disciple set) to drop.
Boots: Yours will do the job. For improvement, in addition to rares which are potentially uber, Goblin Toe (unique Light Plated, for the CB), Gore Riders (unique War Boots, for the CB/DS/OW/FRW), Natalya's (from the set, for huge resists), War Traveller (unique Battle Boots, for the stats, +dmg and MF) are all good choices.
Armor: Anything with high resists. Duriel's Shell (unique Cuirass) drops like arrows to me, and can be your end-game armor, as well as Shaftstop (unique Mesh), Guardian Angel (unique Templar Coat), the RWs Stone, Duress, Gloom (all requiring an Um), Treachery is also very popular (and powerful) and requires only a Lem. Goldskin (unique Full Plate Mail) has nice resists if you can stand the slow running, and Rattlecage (unique Gothic Plate) has CB if you can stand the fleeing monsters. For MFing, start with a 4 ptopaz armor, switch to Skullder's if you find one.
Weapon: Aldur's isn't that bad. In addition to Black and Strength I suggested, Butcher's Pupil is one sweet toy, and NM Meph drops one pretty easily. Just look for the highest dmg/time, but don't underestimate the wonders of CB.
Merc: High dmg, fast attack, sufficient life leech, dmg reduction, CB. Enemy slow and high def are also nice to have. Helm/armor options are similar to yours (though their MF doesn't do any good unless they make the killing blow). For weapon, get a fast, high dmg weapon and preferably leech (or use an Amn rune in a socket). Hone Sundan and Kelpie Snare, both exceptional unique spears, are droppable from NM Meph.

You probably have noticed that I seem to contradict with my own suggestions, eg. suggesting SoE after saying you need resists on your belt. The "mods to look for" is more universal, but some uniques have properties not found on magic/rare items. If you have access to more than one of the suggested equipment (which you will, with only a little MFing), the best way is to try each and see which helps you most.

Ah, and Vanilla means "not modded", as in right out of the CD and only patched. Untwinked is the term used for characters that use only the items they find themselves.

I hope I could be helpful. Good luck with your zealot; they're loads of fun! :wave:

Edit: Low dmg RW weapons are usually for caster characters, like HotO or CtA. As long as the runeword grants significant +#% dmg, and that's why you're using the weapon, you need high base dmg without sacrificing too much speed. For Aldur's mace, either put Amns (for life leech) or Eths (to lower enemy defense; great for improving your hit chances). I assume you have more than enough IAS to reach 4 frame zeal.


Diabloii.Net Member
1) 70 is quite low for hell, I would suggest leveling to 75 at NM Baal runs.
2) PDiamonded shield - you will have very hard time to kill anything with salvation on instead of fanaticism.
3) Are you playing 1.10 or higher? Because you really should invest in Sacrifice as a synergy to zeal
4) Try to gamble for better items, right now you should improve especially jewelry (rings and amu) and belt slot.
You can also study the crafted recipes for these slots and try your luck crafting good blood ring or belt.
5) For a zealot, you have to use the weapon with the highest physical damage, because your "enhanced damage" from your skills - zeal, sacrifice synergy, fanaticism applies only to physical damage, so it's a very bad idea to insert topaz in your weapon. Aldur's weapon has quite low damage, so look for elite rare/unique weapons, you can also try crafts for elite axes and maces/hammers. Black and Passion are good and cheap runewords.
6) Hire A2 NM merc, he will give you either defiance (more defence) or might (more damage) or holy freeze (slower enemies) aura, anyone of these is very beneficial to a zealot.
7) Don't put anymore points to strength, you will not need it.


Diabloii.Net Member
get yourself running the pit in hell as soon as you can, high damage or resists aren't neccessary or any mf just kill all the monsters in there over and over...great experience, and lots of socketables will drop, then they can be sold for runes or items so u will be able to trade for lots of mf equipment to find loads more lovlies :)


Diabloii.Net Member
Thank you all for some great info and advice, thx for taking the time and effort! I know it will help me a ton as I progress :)

Will work on upgrading my several items asap...I actually have Tal Rasha's Horadric Crest in ATMA, so I'll swap that out. Have the Diamonds for a 4 socket H.Shield I also have, so I'll do that as well.

And I'll hire a Act2 NM Merc and see how that improves things to start...and look for a better belt heh

"...Vanilla means "not modded", as in right out of the CD and only patched. Untwinked is the term used for characters that use only the items they find themselves." bad, Untwinked is the term I was looking for ;)

Thx again, I'm off to make some changes.

I'll keep ya posted on my progress :)