*welcomes self back to the forum* hello all, it is summer again and ive got that D2 itch, only this time im not a militant single player cave-dweller anymore. ive decided to make a ladder barb with a friend's bowzon in order to access the new runewords. i promised myself long ago that i wouldnt play again until the fire enchant big and new runewords were patched to single player. but, basically ive been looking at the forum on and off for a few weeks now and realized that i want to play, but i havent seen too many threads addressing one of the runewords im interested in, which is Oath. oath seems to have the most damage per price of any item in the game right now...a best roll of over 300% damage with indestruct. i want this weapon! Oath 4 Socket Swords/Axes/Maces Shael + Pul + Mal + Lum 30% Chance To Cast Level 20 Bone Spirit On Striking Indestructible +50% Increased Attack Speed +210-340% Enhanced Damage (varies) +75% Damage To Demons +100 To Attack Rating Against Demons Prevent Monster Heal +10 To Energy +10-15 Magic Absorb (varies) Level 16 Heart Of Wolverine (20 Charges) Level 17 Iron Golem (14 Charges) this is my first ladder character and i am used to playing single player and using a drop mod to mule items, so my characters always have an edge. this will be my first raw experience since the beginning of 1.1 a while back. ive got my mind set on oath as my endgame weapon, but im still torn about what kind of barb would be best. heres what im thinking so far: 1. the presence of "insight" polearm seems to mean that any character build in the game can have more or less infinite mana by sticking it on their merc. while a WW barb can burn mana pretty darn fast even with pots and some leech, depending on the enemy, it seems that the mana recovery aura would keep you in business even against mana burn foes. so, how much does the mana aura help? does it make WW more viable for an untwinked build that wont have good items? is it worth using or is reapers toll still the best for a phys damage build's merc? 2. i was wondering if anyone knew offhand how much each charge of heart of wolverine costs on oath. i know its not a very high level skill so im expecting it wont cost too much, maybe 1k per charge, which would be reasonable. since oath has no built in attack bonus and i cant count on finding angelic combo or ravens, i would want to use the charges for attack rating. is it useful or does it die all the time? level 16 is pretty high, and the life will increase with BO. 3. ive already committed one point to axe mastery, which isnt much, but im thinking axes are the way to go since i wont be able to stack jesus charms for dex and use swords. thus, i probably wont have very high dex at end game, which means i am either going to dual weild and use WW or dual weild and use frenzy...i wont be using a 2 handed axe or shield. should i change to sword mastery so i can make oath in a 2 handed sword for the option of one handed play? i like to have 4k+ life at the end of a setup. im a nervous player. 4. if i dual weild oath, what would be a good 2nd weapon? black for some crushing blow? azurewrath for non physical damage? unfortunately neither of those come in axe flavor. go for a 2nd oath? crescent moon and use frenzy? keep in mind i will be ist and under for runes. ive put in my time with the countess before and im willing to do it again but the best ive ever found is a mal, countess or anywhere. i have a cubed gul in single player though and im confident i can get there again only on ladder this time. 5. there seems to be a buzz about a ladder reset. it would be stupid to put all this effort into a first character only to have it flushed to regular before i can use the ladder-only recipes. does anyone think the ladder will be reset soon? 6. oath has a HUGE damage range roll. but it grants indestructiblility which already puts it lightyears beyond an upgraded ribracker or any other widely-available endgame weapon. i am wondering though that without crushing blow and without deadly strike and without attack bonuses and with a bad damage draw of low 200s if the weapon is still worth the price. keep in mind that for the price of an oath i can do frenzy with 2 crescent moons, which i assume is still a great poorman's setup. a WW colossus sword oath would be pretty cool though. am i overestimating the weapon? i am overestimating my ability to find the ingredients without pulling my hair out? i dont trade, and i probably wont on ladder, because i dont trust people, so either i or my friend will be finding everything we use. any thoughts would be appreciated. and please let me know if anything else has changed in the game or in ladder. i havent really played much yet and i am very rusty.