New tourney: The softcore rotation tournament

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Re: New tourney: The softcore rotation tournament

Post by Clersius » Sat Sep 08, 2018 3:52 pm

I am deliberately double-posting because the previous post is already quite long.

Envy the Druid

First, I did a couple of gold runs with Gluttony to fill up the coffers (and her personal stash and carried gold) before moving on to the Druid.

Started work on outfitting my Druid. He is going through the Stash and choosing what to equip. With the Major Poster of Catherine Zeta-Jones, he has 7500-15000 damage (7500 magic, 7500 physical) without even wielding a weapon. He swings as slowly with his fists as he does with any low-level weapon he can wield, so I think that he won't use a weapon at all for a while.

He tried putting a bunch of +dex and +AR charms in his inventory, as well as a +30% AR Tall Charm, but it did very little. His chance to hit Skeletons rose from 18% to 19%. How utterly worthless! It's almost all about difference in levels unless you can find a way to add huge amounts of AR.

All of those piddly little charms that I saved with AR on them have no meaning. The fact that he doesn't need a weapon – much less a weapon with high strength and dexterity – gives the +str and +dex charms that I so carefully preserved no meaning, either. Not to mention all of the scrolls for those same stats. Oh well! :P Not that I ever planned to have a Major Poster, by the way. Roll with it, right?

Interesting fact: the Druid gets +4 AR per point in Dexterity. He also appears to get +1 Defense per 4 points in Dexterity.

Started him with a 20% blocking small shield and no other equipment, though his inventory was almost completely full (3 open inventory slots and no keys, ID scrolls or TP scrolls). He had a Luigi poster with 747 life, a Pink Panther poster with 477 life (it had charges of level 6 Blood Golem on it, which is why I gave it to him and didn't reroll it for higher life; it turns out that he didn't need the life, and he never used the Blood Golem, thankfully), and a quad charm with +22% max life, giving him around 1600 life. He was not fearful with this piddling amount of life, even at p127, because his Major Poster gave him 127 Magic Absorb, Damage Reduced by 1500, and 15,000 Defense. Nothing was touching him until Fallen and Carver Shaman with their fireballs. I guess for a hot minute that I was confusedly thinking that Magic Absorb would mitigate the fireball damage, but of course that is not the case. That -93 fire resistance really hurts! The -100 poison resistance is going to be brutal in Stony Field.

If he could connect his fist with his foe's face or body, it was lights out – OHK, and then some. It took four or five levels for his chance to hit percentage to rise to 95%, but even in the first few levels, it was lightning quick. He dinged 16 in just a few minutes, then headed back to town to lose some of the AR charms and see if he could cram a few ChoMs in there in their places. Oh yes, I forgot to include the fact that Gluttony made enough ChoMs for each character to have 8 of them.

He never did end up using any of the ChoMs made for him. He found instead several charms with various combinations of life, strength and dexterity on them. Among those were three unique Grand Charms – Smyrk's Joy and 2 x Legacy of Fred Smith. With those, he was able to equip a few unique items that caught his eye. First was Ryndol's Rejection, a Druid pelt for his head which gave him +3 Druid skills and 0.75 life/level. Then Twitchthroe, a torso armor giving him 30% IAS and +15 strength and dexterity. It also gave him 30% better Block Rate, which maxed his blocking (for the time being) at 75%. Snakecord he chose for the 75% poison duration reduction and the 30% to poison resistance. Hand of Broc gloves give him 5% life and mana leeching, as well as another 20% poison resistance. Frodo's Fine kris caught his eye for the 49% IAS, 30% enhanced damage, and 94% bonus to AR. The 50-600 lightning damage on it is not too shabby, either, but is a drop in the bucket – his damage output is 8.4k to 34.7k. The last item he chose were his Hotspur boots for the 55% fire resistance.

He put a single skill point into Werewolf, bringing the skill level up to 13. It only lasts for 160 seconds at that level, but it does increase his life from 1870 to 3k.

15 minutes later, he was level 27 after defeating Blood Raven. He hurried back to Blood Moor and dived into the Den of Evil to do the quest he'd first been assigned before Akara gave him what for! He emerged an hour later having attained level 36. I don't remember a single time that he appeared to have taken damage. The time-consuming part was chasing down the 450 Fallen that were running around like little kids at an ice cream party.

Back to town to assess himself. He could socket his basic life jewel if he wanted to at this point, but he decided to hold off on that, just to see how he did further into Act I. He did, however, equip his belt with its minimal +life/level (so far) and its whopping +127 skills. That brought his life up to 3360. With a point into Lycanthropy, his Werewolf form would now last 47 minutes and 40 seconds and bring his life up to 24k. Good stuff!

Got the wolves at 40, which were immediately quite impressive. Rescued Cain at level 42. Countess done at level 49. At this skill level (140), in this Act, those Spirit Wolves are tearing things up almost as fast as Envy can find new targets!


When he entered the Barracks to search out the Malus for Charsi, I finally conceded that the -16 total Light Radius from the two Legacy of Fred Smith unique Grand Charms was too much. Trying to target anything in total blackness is not the least frustrating thing I've ever done. He has gained quite a few levels – and thus quite a few stat points – since equipping it, so the strength and dexterity had already been replaced. It was not an insurmountable loss, in other words.

At 57 he returned to town and decided it was time to make a decision on which of the TC amulets he wanted. Should he take one of the two with low enough to wear now? Or should he wait another 15 levels to wear one with a few more +Druid skills? He decided that he wanted instant gratification, so he chose a level 52 amulet with +5 Druid skills, 4.3k life, 255 resists, and 46 replenish life. This brought him up to 9.6k life as a human and 76k life in Werewolf form.

It turns out that the +5 skills broke the wolves! Immediately. They didn't wait to be re-summoned, they simply stopped doing appreciable damage. When I lifted his +3 Druid skills Lime Plecibo (unique narrow charm) out of his inventory, they would instantly start doing their mega damage again – right in the middle of fighting. Just to set this in stone: Act I, Normal Difficulty, p127, Spirit Wolves break somewhere in the range of skill level 143 to skill level 145.

Belay that... I don't have any idea what sort of monkey business was occurring there, but they are broken beyond that bit of trickery. I could not get them to work as they had been working after trying 12 different approaches through half a dozen new games. I finally settled for summoning them without the +127 skills belt, then putting it back on afterwards. NOPE! Can't put it back on, or they don't do any damage. With it off, their damage is maybe 25% of what it was right before they broke, but at least they do a little bit of something. Druid summons are the biggest pile of horses**t this side of Wyoming.

Just to throw it out there... the oddest thing about this is that regardless of the actual damage they are or are not doing, they are not landing hits very often at all. So even when they are doing damage now, it looks almost like what happens when any of my Barbarian characters try to kill Diablo. Whiff, whiff, whiff x 15, then a hit for damage, then more whiffs, etc.

At level 75, he removed the +20 dexterity charm and the other Legacy of Fred Smith, losing 56 total strength and 34 total dexterity.

Immediately after I typed the above, I went back in-game, put the belt back on to re-cast WW form, and just left it on. I summoned the other 6 wolves that were missing, and now they are tearing the place up again. Skill level is 145, setting is p127. Level 4 Catacombs.

Moved on to Act II at level 78, directly after Envy killed Andariel. The wolves are broken again. This is so much fun!!

After he attained level 80, he switched over to Dire Wolves, and they are an improvement over the oft broken Spirit Wolves, but not terribly great.

Around level 103, I finally had him change out his armor items for the Zy-El Artifacts that had been waiting for him. Those brought his skills up to 169 and, miracle of miracles, the Dire Wolves kicked into high gear! A highER gear, at least. They are definitely contributing to the slaughter.

At 110, Envy finally attained the most anticipated of his skills – Fury. It's not super-fast because his weapon is not ideal, but it is far, far better than the normal swing by swing he's suffered through for the first 109 levels. :) It is fast, mind you, just not nearly as fast as it will be when he starts using a Thresher with on-weapon IAS. The jewel with IAS has not been fashioned, so he'll have to do it himself... what better time than the present!?

Done – I Megaloaded 600% IAS onto a jewel and socketed it into his Thresher. He also equipped his life jewel, giving him 5.3M life and 55k mana while in WW form. His WW form lasts for over 57 minutes, so every time he leaves town I set a timer for 50 minutes and then address the situation when it goes off. This seems rather dangerous, because if he changes form near any monsters, he'll probably die...

He removed the Major poster he had, replacing it with two Manny posters with 1700 physical damage between them, putting his physical max damage at around 75k and min damage around 600. Quite the spread. I hate that, but to remedy the situation would require way too much work. :P

He has not added the damage jewel to his inventory yet. I want to see how well he fares without it first. He did, however, add his OW/DS/CB jewel to his Zy-El's Marker Artifact.

After all of these upgrades, back down into the Temple of the Viper he goes. And discovers that his damage setup is completely broken!! The IAS is too much, it seems. I can hear the stutter of high speed attacks happening, but there is no animation, and there is no contact taking place between him and his foes. Drat! I took a moment to think about what my options might be, as this was the linchpin of his entire setup. I can't take IAS off of a jewel once it is on there – there are no reduction recipes for IAS. And as I've outlined previously, there are precious few ways to get IAS onto a weapon that doesn't come with it.

Back to town he goes. He pulls one of the many “any wpn to magic wpn” Common scrolls out of storage and re-rolls the blasted Thresher to get rid of the problem. Then he puts six sockets into it again (the CSC only gave it four sockets), pulls six Shael runes out of storage, and leaves town. Out in the wilds again, he starts using Fury with his empty Thresher, just to see what the baseline is. Then he adds a Shael and attacks some more. Two more Shaels and things are getting interesting. One more and he looks faster than the Paladin using Zeal. I hold my breath as the last two are socketed into the Thresher, filling it up to capacity and giving it 120% IAS. He is a blur when attacking normally, and something akin to a Whirlwind when using Fury! Wow, that's incredible!! I guess the old fashioned solution was the correct one – just fill the weapon up with Shael runes, vanilla style. :)

Continuing on, he finished the Act soon after that adventure, around the level 130-140 mark. He found the Spider Cavern and the Waypoints in Great Marsh, Flayer Jungle, and Spider Forest, but then I had to quit for the day without getting to the Flayer Dungeon or Lower Kurast, so a lot of jungle area will have to be re-explored, sadly.


It didn't take too long to find the Witchdoctor's lair and send him packing. The bigger time hog was figuring out how to keep Envy's physical damage near the cap without going over. His constantly increasing strength and dexterity make that a bit of a challenge, obviously.

The first time it needed to be adjusted, I re-rolled one of his Manny posters to reduce the max damage on it. This method worked the second time as well. The third time, that poster could not go much lower, and re-rolling it to put it into that lower 8% of its range seemed like a waste of time. Rather than re-roll his second poster lower, I adopted a different method of regulation.

He now has a quintuplet of small charms in his inventory, each with a damage jewel inserted. One of them has +150 damage, three have +75, and one has +50. These replaced the lower damage Manny poster. The other Manny poster I re-rolled up to +935 max damage. That gave him another 50 or so levels in which he could freely increase his stats. When he reaches the cap again, he will simply remove one or more of the damage jewels and carry on. When they are all removed and he reaches the cap, he can re-roll the poster lower a couple of different times, or replace it with the other Manny poster. At some point he can remove the poster completely, adding in small damage jewels as needed. Eventually he will probably have to start shaving off some of the strength/level on his Requiem, because a maxed Requiem plus Fury's increased damage together are too much even for the 188 base max damage on his Thresher.

He finished off Mephisto around level 215 or 225, somewhere in there. When he ventured forth into Act IV, he almost immediately found that it was populated with a large number of Komodos and Venom Drakes! Huzzah! He killed every one of them onto which he could lay his Thresher and by doing so, he had attained level 271 by the time he reached Diablo's lair.

As for using Werewolf form with a high amount of life, that transition to and from human form is a real kickstart for the heart. I am not nearly as careful a player as one needs to be in order to pull this off, unfortunately. He has not died yet due to my idiocy and inattentiveness, but that's just pure, blind luck, I'm sure... Four different times he has come close enough to death to stare Him in the eyes. One of those happened when the 50 minute timer went off, I made a mental note to “open a portal back to town once these Drakes are all dead,” then promptly forgot about it. Sure enough, seven minutes later WW dropped. There were two Drakes nearby, flitting to and fro in their eclectic and random manner, and Lady Luck gave Envy time for his handler to quaff a Full Rejuvenation potion before either of them swooped in to try to land a blow. The other three times were when I accidentally right-clicked out of WW when I meant instead to summon more Dire Wolves. :eyeroll: I'm trying desperately to develop the habit of changing the right click skill to something other than WW after I use it, but so far that habit has not been firmly established.

Finished Diablo off at level 277. Finished Baal at level 350. Envy has 5.72M life now when in WW form. Not that that is terribly interesting...

Another near miss with miscasting WW. This time, there were several Blood Witches around him. Somehow, they managed to miss him as I fumbled around in his belt for a potion. Not good!

I'm going to see how far into Nightmare difficulty he can get before I give in and socket his elemental damage jewel. He did the entirety of Normal using p127 – from the very first Skeleton all the way through Baal – and I plan on keeping it at that setting throughout NM.

Finished Act I NM at level 356. Ran by a lot of monsters on the way to Andariel, but did stop to kill most of the Monoliths, Black Rogues, and a few other choice, tasty bits of experience giving baddies. As you can see, that was mostly a waste of time, as there just isn't that much experience to be had in this Act when the character is already level 350.


Finished Act II at level 365. The experience wasn't bad, but he blitzed through most of it, only killing the few things that just wouldn't move out of the way.

Finished Act III at level 375. Those dolls get everywhere! In your hair, in your shoes, under your fingernails, in all the creases in your armor... They're terrible!

He somehow managed to completely bypass the Great Marsh, which means that he failed to acquire that Waypoint. This tournament does not require the gathering of every Waypoint, however, so I'm not going to lose any sleep over it. :)

Finished Act IV at level 477. Took the time to kill all of the Drakes in the River of Flame again – sooooo many of them!

Finished Act V at level 497.

In Hell Difficulty, he is already starting to see some physical immune monsters – at least some of the named ones. I think he is going to have to employ his damage jewel before he reaches the Monastery. That will increase his speed tremendously when he has to kill things to progress – such as when he is navigating the tight hallways of the Catacombs.


Sure enough, he started using his damage jewel before entering the Black Tower. It still takes some work to kill groups of monsters, but it is certainly easier!

Finished Act I at level 505. Once the damage jewel was activated, everything was rainbows and chipmunks. Or whatever the saying is. :P Oh yes, and Envy finally broke 6M life in Werewolf form.

Finished Act II at level 566. Something I don't remember noticing before is that Blunderbores, or Maulers, or whatever their names are (the big red, green, or black muscle-bound hulks wielding huge clubs) give over 20% of a level per kill in this Difficulty, even in the 500s! There aren't all that many of them, usually, but they are worth pausing to take out, that's for sure. Even a low percentage of them in a place as gargantuan as the True Tomb of Tal Rasha comes out to a nice handful of levels.

I have not used Teleport that much with Envy, so far, but when he arrived in the jungles of Kurast, I started using it rather liberally. Those dolls are just not worth the effort unless you are wholly focused on eradicating them for some reason. Which reason I have not! Especially in the Flayer Jungle and the Flayer Dungeon... wow are they prolific in those areas.

I did take a moment to kill the Witchdoctor and his Shaman cronies, though. When in Shaman form, they give better than a level each of experience (I think it was more than a level, but it might have been a little less?). The other Shaman – the ones in the rest of the areas of Act II – don't have that characteristic. Just the ones in the company of the Witchdoctor.

More Maulers and dozens of Wyverns helped give Envy over 90 levels. He finished Act III at level 657.

Found the final Waypoint, the one just before the Sanctuary, but he went back and killed more Venom Drakes – those things are still worth nearly half a level each! Without an Experience Flag! There were too many Slimeballs tossing around Amplify Damage to allow carrying an Experience Flag for more than a few seconds at a time. Made level 862 before I finally called it. Tomorrow he will take out Diablo and finish Act IV.


As I was fiddling around with Envy's damage jewels, putting together a plan for the day of how to keep him near max physical damage without going over, I noticed that his resistances are all in the negatives, from around -70 all the way to -110. That's not good! What's worse is that I didn't notice it until he was nearly done with Act IV. :eyeroll: I searched through the warehouse and pulled out a Slice of Cabbage for him. He punched a hole in his TC amulet and put the jewel into that, maxing all his resistances again.

Envy finished off Baal – and Hell difficulty – at level 1038. He avoided killing most things, even using Teleport in a few spots, but when he arrived in the Worldstone Keep, that changed. Death Lords are what changed his mind. They come in packs, they have very little life (compared to Envy's damage output, that is), and they are worth a hefty chunk of experience! A single pack of them can yield as much as 5 or 6 levels. Demon Tricksters are the next highest experience generators, but they have a lot more life, don't come in easily-dispatched packs, and tend to try to teleport away if given half a chance. Still, he killed about 75% of them in the area. Blood Witches and Hell Temptresses are worth very, very little experience, it seems – something that is news to me, as I have been singing their praises for years as being worthwhile to kill. I think that is probably still true if you are an Amazon or a Sorceress, both of whom can kill them in packs where they stand. Also, if the character you are playing is the designated gold farmer, there is no debate – Hell Temptresses consistently drop gold piles far superior to any other high-density, easily killable monsters in the game, and Blood Witches are not far behind them (plus, where there is one type, there is usually the other). Finally, the Death Brigadiers are in the middle of the bunch for experience gains. They are relatively easy to kill, so he killed a lot of those as well. 170 levels is a nice chunk for a single pass through WSK. There is no danger in killing there, either, unlike in WoW or OtO. Not that he is going to farm WSK for levels, mind you – nothing beats gaining 100 to 1300 levels simply by teleporting from group to group of Chimeras, wiping them out, then restarting to find more of them. Though restarting with regenerated maps could get a little tedious...

Another partial clear of WSK all the way to the Throne Room brought him up to level 1102.

After that, he finally set foot in one of the Insanity Areas – Wayside of Woe. The wolves, it turns out, are a great distraction!! Beset upon by Mini Mauls and Darth Smalls? Cast a few wolves at your side and sidle off, leaving both the baddies and the wolves ineffectually poking at one another. Then you can do whatever you want. Have a pack of Champion Chimeras that you don't want to waste 5 minutes killing for a mere 2 or 3 levels per monster? Cast a handful of wolves then move somewhere else, leaving the Champions behind and effectively parked.

When he was done picking off the Chimeras, he had gained 788 levels, putting him at 1890. Delicious. At first, they were giving him 16 and 17 levels per Chimera. After 600 or so levels, that number dropped down into the 13-15 range per. No complaints from me – I'm happy for every single level he gets with so little effort. Well, effort in the present moment. I guess the real effort was farming the gold and clicking together first the Scrolls, then the life and damage jewels. :P

During the spree, I wondered briefly at how his weapon's durability was holding up. It has 78 durability and it repairs 1 durability every 6 seconds. When I looked, which was just a few kills from the end of his run, it was down to 24 durability. It made me think of video games in which plasma weapons (for instance) need a cool-down period so they don't melt themselves. I could just imagine his Thresher spitting molten metal into the wounds that it's blade edge was inflicting, then finally losing the battle to retain its forged form and flying apart as white-hot, liquid shrapnel into the crowds surrounding Envy.


The second run of Wayside of Woe raked in another 1238 levels, resulting in his attaining level 3128. There were huge packs of Chimeras, and as the wolves moved about and woke them up, more and more and more Chimeras would stream in from all sides. It was amazing. I think that my mouth actually watered at one point. :mrgreenlaughing: Two thousand levels in two WoW runs. I know that that rate of leveling is unsustainable, but it is still a huge first step towards 10k.

Another WoW map, another annihilation of the Chimeras therein, another 1123 levels, putting him at 4251.

Finally a WoW map with very few Chimeras. Only level 4544 after finishing – a mere 293 levels. The Chimeras are giving 11 to 13 levels each now, just for the sake of information.

The next clear brought him up to 5292 (748 levels). This is also the clear that finally pushed his dexterity too high, in that his Attack Rating for Fury is now in the negatives. I say that it was his dexterity going too high because of his Requiem, but it was actually a combination of the Requiem's +4/level dexterity and his Shard of Aggression's 4%/level Bonus to AR. I will first remove the Shard of Aggression from his inventory and see if that fixes the problem. If not, I'll have to start shaving increments of 1/8th from his dexterity/level. The Shard is already socketed, so it can't be reduced.

That worked – sort of. He could certainly hit Chimeras again. Well, he could hit everything again, so it worked perfectly. However, two other things changed. I can't say that those two things are a result of removing the Shard of Aggression – it makes no sense to do so, in fact. I can only say that the events are correlated. But they are also correlated to the fact that Envy broke level 5k, and neither correlation is particularly strong.

First, the wolves are broken. Dire Wolves have been broken since Envy's skill levels were set days and days ago. Spirit Wolves have not been worth anything in the damage department, but they have certainly been useful as decoys. Until now. Now they are paper dolls. He has 100% Faster Cast Rate (not a whole lot, but he can summon 24 wolves in 10 seconds), but he cannot summon wolves fast enough to get ahead of how fast they are destroyed. This will not prevent Envy from reaching level 10,000, but it is highly annoying.

Second, the way that the life bars of the monsters depletes has changed. Since he gained his first small amounts of Crushing Blow, the life bars would reflect the work of CB until they slivered, then the remaining life of the monster would be taken by subsequent blows from his weapon, but the tiny amount of red remaining in the life bar was too small to see how much was being taken per hit. Now, CB is not reflected at all. Every blow that does damage takes a small, noticeable chunk out of the life bar, and the bar as a whole depletes steadily until the monster is dead. This is not something to complain about, but it is certainly worth noting. I expect that it is temporary to that particular game (because it has happened to me before, and it never lasted long), but I guess I'll see in a minute whether or not that is actually true.

Oh yes – he gained a mere 36 levels, putting him at 5328. There was a definite dearth of Chimeras in that instance of WoW.

363 levels the next time around. He's level 5691 now. All of the aforementioned problems disappeared during this run – everything back to normal.

6138. Still 11 or 12 levels per Chimera. 6940. 7087. 8120. 8460.

The next run was the first of the “glitched Chimeras” runs. All of the packs in WoW had a unique leader, and all of the normal Chimeras in each pack – except for the one that Envy was damaging – fell down and died spontaneously, like they'd all drunk the Cult Kool-Aid. He made 42 levels (giving him 8502 total levels), then went to do a run in OtO. Maybe it's just another temporary thing.

Similar situation in OtO, except that there were plenty of packs that did not have unique bosses. He made 540 levels, bringing him up to level 9042.

The problem still exists, but there was only one pack with a unique leader. Down to 8 or 9 levels per Chimera. 9260. Very few in this instance; only made it to level 9438. Down to 7 levels per Chimera. 9758.

The final run started out with Chimeras yielding a little less than 7 levels per kill. This slowly dropped down to 6, then more quickly to 5, then less than a dozen kills brought it down through 4 and 3 to 2 levels per kill. It was just a handful more to level 10,000, with four or five Chimeras left in the area when Envy had dinged for the last time.

If I'm counting correctly, it took him 18 runs of WoW and/or OtO to reach 10k from a starting level of 1102. I hope that is a representative number of runs, because that is not bad at all!

I have to say that the experience I had with the Druid in this tournament was far, far superior to my experience in the Hardcore tournament. He was a joy to play, honestly. His Fury skill is so bloody fast that there's little not to like!

Envy was the very first character with whom I've played all the way through all three difficulty levels at p127, and he had absolutely no problem with any of it. A few monsters took a little time to kill, but I don't count that as a “difficulty.”

As for the danger of using Werewolf form in order to run a melee Druid, that is a definite problem. There were only one or two other scares beyond the ones that I related early on in his career, but those six, eight, or ten total instances were more than enough to have resulted in a dead Druid if I had been a little less lucky. I did finally develop the habit of changing the right-click skill away from WW after using it, but I also developed the habit of looking directly at the skill button on the bottom of the screen whenever I was about to use it after leaving town. Those two together worked well enough for me, but that still leaves the time before the habits were instantiated. Would I use it again in a tournament? Would I use it for a HC character? Considering that the alternative is a character that I loathe playing with every fiber of my being, I guess the answer would be “yes.” The Druid in this mod (past Normal Difficulty, at the latest) is just so incredibly useless when using non-Fury melee or using Summons or using Elemental skills, that he is just not worth playing. In my opinion; from my perspective. I know that Metropolis Man, years and years and years ago (but still in 4.4c) took his Summoner Druid all the way to 10k, and even cleared all of the Insanity levels at p127. He was only able to do so because of his Rogue mercenary, though. He outfitted her to the gills, and she carried his useless wolves every step of the way. That is my interpretation, anyway. A pure Summoner Druid is not at all viable at p127 in the Insanity levels in NM or Hell Difficulty without a pimped-out Rogue. Anyway, I digress!

Next time I play, it will be Pride the Amazon's turn to shine! :)

Here's the updated table for the team:

Code: Select all

Name              Class             Level          Deaths
Pride             Amazon             40               1
Sloth             Assassin           31               1
Avarice           Necromancer        49               1
Lust              Barbarian         375               1
Wrath             Paladin           144               1
Gluttony          Sorceress      10,000               0
Envy              Druid          10,000               0
Deaths: 5  Levels: 20,639  Multiplier: 9.995  Score: 206,287

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Re: New tourney: The softcore rotation tournament

Post by Clersius » Fri Sep 21, 2018 5:59 am

My posts are entirely too long to string even two of them together, so I'm deliberately triple-posting. I hope that no one finds this too terribly objectionable...
Pride the Amazon

First, Pride cleaned up her inventory by removing almost all of the useless quad and tall charms cluttering it up. She added the two extra ChoMs from Gluttony, giving her eight total. She kept one as a Destroyer for the Amplify Damage, changed two to Speed for the IAS and FRW, changed another into a Slogger for all of the debilitating effects it has on her targets, alchemized two of them into Shields for the 50% damage reduction, and the last two she transformed into Masters for the +stats to help her wear some decent equipment – especially a bow!

The Biggin's Bonnet she was wearing she kept for the 45% damage. She also kept the Catastrophe gloves for, well... it has some damage on it, but there weren't really any better options. She picked out a unique Gothic Plate for its +28 all resists and damage/magic damage reduced by 40. Not great, I agree, but she needs some resistances right now. She picked a unique Stag Bow called Myrada's Aim for the 300-600 cold damage, 12% mana leech, 7% life leech, 80% enhanced max damage BoCL, 36% IAS, and level 20 Dire Wolves. Much higher level Dire Wolves than any of the charms the team has in storage. She also put on her life/level belt. She did not employ her life jewel for the same reason that Envy didn't – I want to see how she fares without it for a little while. Could be a mistake, but I will be more attentive, more cautious, and more respectful of the nuances of playing her if she is not unkillable right out of the gate. Well, she's already level 40, so it's not quite right out of the gate, but you get my drift.

For her inventory, she added four narrow charms. One had +2 mana/kill, another had 36 mana (both of which she needs desperately, and probably more than these are providing), and a couple of charms with low damage. She picked up a rare small charm with 59% enhanced damage and 74% bonus to AR (and a couple of modest resistances), a small charm with level 6 Blood Golem, and Siggard's Stealth, a unique small charm with +1/level Energy on it, as well as some IAS and FRW. For posters, she chose Apu (975 damage/839 life), a Homer (905/717), and a Speedy (722/849).

All together, her new kit gives her 4670 life, 373 mana (pitifully low), and 700-11k damage. I'm debating adding some life/mana to belt/charm scrolls, maybe even a couple of chp sapphire to gr charm for the +45 mana each. I want to see just how bad her mana problem is first, though.

There really was no mana problem, as the only skill she uses at this stage is Magic Arrow. The Blood Golem and 16 Dire Wolves take care of things fairly quickly, but after she gets Multiple Shot up a few more levels (she only has +9 to skills right now), she'll definitely use that to speed things up a bit.

Pride dropped Andariel at level 68. I restarted the game and went back and cleared some of the later parts of the Act to bring her up to level 80. Concentrated on areas where there were bigger groups of monsters so that she could use Multiple Shot. She needs more skill levels in order to increase the number of arrows, but it worked out. It didn't take too long to get those 12 levels. Next time, she'll get at least five more levels so that she can don her Artifacts and use some of her stash of +Ama skill level scrolls.


First thing, Pride replaced her Hydra ring and her empty ring slot with the pair of Static rings she had been bequeathed. She hung the TC amulet that was her level 72 present around her neck, boosting her life to 11.8k, maxing her resistances (+255), and finally negating all of the life drain from her eight ChoMs (+62 replenish life). She removed the last two tall charms from her inventory (+22 dex on one, a little mana, life, and mana regen on the other).

A few minutes later she dinged 85, returned to town, and ditched the tattered rags of her old equipment in favor of her Zy-El's Vice, Decorum, Requiem, and Stride. She also added her Zy-El's Marker to her inventory, then dropped her OW/CB/CS jewel into it. That should spice things up a bit!

Her life at this point hit 11.9k, with 1.1k mana. With +42 to skills, her Multiple Shot can now spew out 43 arrows per shot, but the mana cost to do so? 171! She should be able to get off 6 of them before she is out of mana... This should be interesting. :P

No problems at all. She gets at least the 6 free shots, but if any one of the 43 arrows in any one of those 6 sprays of deadly missiles comes in contact with flesh (as opposed to fleshless undead), she instantly leeches all of her mana back.

After experiencing the satisfaction of clearing Black Marsh and Tamoe Highland with sprays of arrows while literally running through them, she took the Warriv Train to Lut Gholein. Hey, that rhymes... fun.

Pride had a few mana problems in the Sewers, as there were tons of skeletons in various forms, usually without any fleshy companions near them, so nothing from which to leech. She made it through, however, and slammed through the rest of the Act with nothing out of the ordinary taking place.

Oh wait, there was one thing. I had noticed that her Destroyer ChoM was never activating to cast Amplify Damage on her foes. I tried to reset it to a Destroyer, hoping to fix whatever glitch it was, but it still wasn't doing anything. I finally just took it out of her inventory and tossed it into the “used” area of the stash. I need to assess whether or not the Masters are still worth keeping. And the Speeds. The Icer is nice – I don't think she has Freezes Target anywhere else. I suppose I could put it on her bow with CCSs. The Shield ChoMs will obviously stay until she sockets her life jewel, which has all of the Damage Reduction on it that she will ever need.

She finished off Duriel at level 163. She now has 26k life and 2k mana. Her Magic Arrow damage is 4k-27.6k, but her Multiple Shot damage is much lower: 2.1k-19.7k. Next time, before starting, I think I'll look into adding a few physical damage jewels and/or dexterity jewels to her inventory, boost that paltry 27.6k up closer to 80k.

If she is going to keep playing at p127 while tackling areas where there are bound to be Cyclopi and Wyverns wandering around, then it is probably time for her to make use of her life jewel.

I'm looking forward to the first parts of Act III, honestly – mowing down scads of those annoying dolls is going to be great fun!!


Took all of the ChoMs out of her inventory, as none of them were aiding her in any significant way. Added a Marlin poster with +722 max damage and +22% enhanced damage on it. Put a Shard of Spider into a small charm in her inventory to add 0.5/level dexterity, for the damage boost. Socketed her life jewel, so now she has plenty of life and mana – 4.3M of the former and 56k of the latter.

I put a Shard of Force into a clean small charm. After some amount of time and a whole lot of aggravation, I finally realized that it doesn't do anything on its own like that. I guess it needs to be in a weapon or in some item that carries maximum damage in order for it to actually enhance that maximum damage. Unlike every other enhancement interaction in the game, where the source and the enhancer don't have to have any knowledge of one another whatsoever. Good to know, I guess.

Actually, I think that that is not what is happening in this instance, after all. I noticed a minute after I wrote the previous paragraph that the +max damage jewel was not working, either. I believe that the explanation lies in the +min damage scrolls that I piled onto Pride's bow. She has +363 to minimum physical damage on it, and the +max damage jewel is only +0.75/level, or +122 currently. +122 max dmg is nowhere near enough to climb over that heap of minimum damage, and even with +163% enhanced max dmg (122*1.63=198), it's still not enough to overcome the min dmg. Not until she is level 221 will it be enough, and even then, the spread will only be a couple of points.

I'm not entirely sure why the interplay is restricted solely to lines that contain either max damage/level or % enhanced max damage/level. Why is there no interplay between the max damage on a poster and the max damage/level on the jewel? That is very mysterious...

Okay, so I did even more testing of the problem. I still don't understand why %Enhanced Maximum Damage external to the weapon doesn't work at all when the min dmg on the weapon is greater than the max dmg on the weapon, but I now understand something I never truly understood before. When the weapon's min dmg is higher than its max dmg, both the weapon and the Lying Character Screen display the max dmg as min dmg + 1. That's no secret at all. What I didn't know is that the game doesn't care what it is displaying, it still keeps track of what the actual max dmg is, and will not fall for the trick of leapfrogging min over max, then double leapfrogging max over min again. I never thought about it explicitly before, but now that I am thinking about it, I realize that that's what I was assuming could – and would – happen.

So if you have a 5-10 dmg wpn and add 200 min dmg to it, the LCS displays the dmg as 205-206. If you then add a poster that has +100 to max dmg, you don't suddenly start doing (or displaying) 205-306 dmg. It will still display your dmg as 205-206 until you add enough max dmg to break the threshold of 206. In this case, you'd have to add 207-10-100=97 more max dmg for it to display as 205-207. (For example, if the poster had +197 to max dmg). That makes perfectly logical sense, of course, but not everything in this game does make sense, so this is a good piece of information to actually know.

Regardless of all of that nonsense, her damage is absolutely pathetic. She is using four posters just to get her max damage up to a measly 39k! As I sat here contemplating that, fiddling with the spreadsheet I've made to model different possibilities of increasing her damage, I realized that she had a load of stat points available... I dumped all 363 of those into dexterity, and that brought her damage up another 10k.

The difference doesn't seem like a whole lot, but I went ahead and used two of the Shards of Accuracy in the stash to add 300 damage to her total and bring her up to 11.5k-52.8k. It will increase moderately quickly as her level increases. I wasted a lot of time on this “project,” so I think it's time to get back to the slaying...

Yet again, I had a realization as soon as I took her out in the field. Arrows! She was using 100 physical min/max arrows, so I used an SCS to make a quiver of Death Mark arrows, with 5k physical min/max damage on them. She shuffled a few things out of her inventory to lower her total sources of physical, and left town again just under the cap for both her min and her max. Hooray!

She had all sorts of problems with her damage when trying to use those, so after about 10 or 15 levels she gave up on them. She created a quiver of Deadly Arrows from a UCS that had 750 min/750 max physical damage on them and they work much better. She's well below the damage cap, but it's okay for now. I'm tired of testing things for the time being, but it seems that Magic Arrow has a lower damage cap than the normal 83880 number. When her max and min are close together and they get upwards of 72k (maybe more, maybe less, that's a ballpark figure), MA just stops hurting things. It looks like it's doing something, but a little observation reveals that it is just delivering Crushing Blow and not actually damaging anything. Anyway, just making a casual observation – I'm not testing that problem right now.

Relieved Mephisto of his Soulstone and finished Act III at level 213.

Killed Diablo and finished Act IV at level 257. Venom Drakes seem to take much longer for her to kill than they did for Envy, so after killing several dozen of them, she just ran past the rest of them to Diablo's lair. In so doing, she forgot to find the Hellforge, so she went back and did that quest. So she has actually finished Act IV at level 260.

I've been babying her magic arrow quiver, trying to use Magic Arrow as much as possible to avoid depleting the quiver and having to return to town to sell and rebuy them. Oddly enough, the Death Mark quiver was just a few hundred thousand to replenish. It's the 750/750 quiver that is the real problem. I don't know which modifier on it is causing the price to be so high, but they cost nearly 7.5M to buy back!! Sure, the team can afford to do that, but that is just part of the problem. The rest of it has to do with how quickly she goes through arrows when not concerned about what percentage of her shots use real arrows (Multiple Shot, Immolation Arrow, Guided Arrow, Strafe – any arrow other than Magic Arrow, basically). I finally, after oh so many trips to town, gave up. I put the good arrows in her “used” section of the stash and just bought a dozen quivers of whatever magic arrows Larzuk had lying around. I might, in fact, just revert to using normal arrows, for all the good the mods on the magic quivers do. Anyway, she can stay out in the field much longer now, and she can use Strafe and Multiple Shot to her heart's content.

She made it all the up the mountain to the WSK Waypoint. Tomorrow will see Baal's defeat at the tips of her arrows.


Pride finished Act V at level 322. She stepped through the portal and immediately moved on to Nightmare Difficulty. She's still playing at p127.

She finished Act I at 331.


Spent much of the day preparing for Hurricane Florence, but did manage to get a little bit of play time in, as well. :P

Pride finished Act II at level 358, then completed Act III at level 395.


Finished Act IV at level 441. Zero Drakes or their kin in the River of Flame. That has not happened in a long time.

Nightmare Difficulty finished at level 534.

She stepped out of the gates of the Rogue Encampment, engaged a pair of Skeleton packs, and promptly went back to her Stash, cleaned a small charm, punched a hole in it, and socketed her damage jewel. As Al-T would say, “Sod that for a game of soldiers!” She was not doing nearly enough damage to get through even the beginning portions of Hell Difficulty before I am old(er) and gray(er).

Finished Act I at level 550, Act II at level 588.

20180914 – 20180918:

Hurricane Florence made landfall in the United States just a few miles from where I reside. Around 3:30 to 4:00 am EST on the 14th of September, after intermittent power failures for the better part of two hours, the power went out for good. It came back on around 9:45 pm EST on the 18th – six hours shy of five full days. I caught up on my sleep and did a lot of reading, so it wasn't all bad. :)


Finished Act III around level 675, Act IV at level 934, and at level 1238, Baal was no more – Pride officially gained the title of “Matriarch.” 700 level in Hell Difficulty is a nice bonus to sweeping a few areas with her broom of arrows. :)

Run of WoW brought her up to level 1989 (751). Level 2433 after clearing out OtO (444). Dipped a toe into an instance of WoW, but after two Chimera packs with unique bosses that glitched out on me, I reset the game to try for better luck. She did gain 116 levels, though, putting her at 2549. Another clear of WoW boosted her up to level 2861 (312). Except for that very first run, she is having terrible fortune with the Insanities!


WoW level 3362 (501). After that run, I finally broke down and had Pride replace her bow. The hundreds of Meteors that it procs as she patiently fires thousands of arrows into the madding crowds finally got to me. They obscure the screen, first of all. Secondly, now that I've started trying out Plague Javelin, the two together lag my screen something fierce! I think that using Multiple Shot until Crushing Blow and Static Field have worked their magic, then switching over to Plague Javelin, saves her some time, but it is hard to tell with the lag. Hopefully Plague Javelin alone will be less laggy than it and Meteor combined.

Another WoW run, putting her at level 3590 (228). Level 3907 (317). 4654 (747). 5512 (858). 6263 (751). 6586 (323). 7143 (557).

Then, finally, an instance of WoW with a population of Chimeras worthy of remark! She gained 1023 levels, putting her at level 8166. 8979 (813). 9191 (212). 9234 (43) – a mere handful of Chimeras in the whole dump. 9234 (0) – halfway through WoW and no Chimeras yet? Restart! 9712 (478) – that's better... 9928 (216). Pride is on the home stretch!!

Ahhhhh level 10,000 at long last! Pride definitely gets the prize for the least easy to level all the way up (so far), and not just because of her lackluster showing in the “Average Levels per WoW Clear” contest, either. Her Area of Effect skill – Multiple Shot – is both directional and slow, in that it cannot be spammed. When not using MS, perhaps I should not have insisted on using either Immolation Arrow or Freezing Arrow – neither of those can be spammed, either. The faster delivery of Normal Attack might have offset the little bit of extra damage from the former pair. I don't know what the answer is, I just know that she was slower to level than the Sorceress or the Druid, by quite a bit. I'm not possessing the patience or the energy to do any more detailed a post-mortem on her, either. :P

I'm happy that she is through the ordeal, though, that's for sure! Despite the tone of the previous paragraph, I don't feel that Pride was at all a burden to play... I enjoyed the experience. :)

Sloth the Assassin is up next, and with her amazing Venom skill, the trip from Hell Baal to 10k should be an absolute breeze. :twisted:

Here's the updated table for the team – getting close to the halfway mark!

Code: Select all

Name              Class             Level          Deaths
Pride             Amazon         10,000               1
Sloth             Assassin           31               1
Avarice           Necromancer        49               1
Lust              Barbarian         375               1
Wrath             Paladin           144               1
Gluttony          Sorceress      10,000               0
Envy              Druid          10,000               0
Deaths: 5  Levels: 30,599  Multiplier: 9.995  Score: 305,837

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Re: New tourney: The softcore rotation tournament

Post by Clersius » Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:50 pm


Just a few notes before moving on...

Pride never did have maxed resistances in Hell Difficulty. Some of them were even slightly negative. It was never once an issue, however. The only time she ever had to drink Full Rejuvenation potions is when she would run out of Antidote potions after Chimeras poisoned her. I finally relented and gave her two columns of Antidote potions (instead of just one column) to fix that problem. Not that they poisoned her that often, mind you. Once or twice a run, at most. The problem was that I would forget to have her stock up when she bought more arrows and replenished the charges of Teleport on her boots. Bygones!

It occurs to me that I never, not even fleetingly, gave a moment's thought to giving her a Lower Resists ring! That could have possibly sped her leveling up quite a bit. Doubling – or more – her lightning damage on Chimeras would certainly have helped... The reason that I thought of it now is that several of the unique claw weapons to which Sloth has access can proc Lower Resist. Not terribly useful at level 30 in Normal difficulty, but it surely could be in Hell difficulty.

Sloth the Assassin

What to do... what to do? Do I take the time to enjoy playing the Assassin through the early parts of the game? Do I keep the setting at p1 and blast through the entire game until she can take on the Insanity levels (not much less enjoyable, if any, than taking the time to play her through the early parts of the game...)? I will at least get acquainted with her before choosing the latter path.

She pored through the stash and pulled out a handful of unique items, all of which added either strength or dexterity so that she could wield a good weapon. She ended up using Ghyta's Needle, a unique Wrist Spike that focused on +mana, mana regen, and mana/kill. It also had a nice +1.25/level max damage on it, as well as 5% CtC Glacial Spike. I soon discovered that since she was not going to use Psychic Hammer, there were no mana problems that needed to be solved, so that was a poor choice of weapons – not so poor as to warrant returning to town to choose another one, mind you, but poor nonetheless.

She chose four posters: Manny (964 dmg/618 life), Abu (952/877), Speedy (567/960), and Homer (961/643).

She configured her eight ChoMs the same way that Pride did: two Masters, two Speed, two Shield, an Icer, and a Destroyer. For her, the Destroyer's Amp Damage proc actually works (Pride's never did).

She left town at level 31 to resume her travels in Stony Field with 4.4k life and 440 mana, doing 400 to 15k damage. She also had a level 6 Blood Golem and 6 level 6 Dire Wolves to help out in the fields. The golem keeps her health maxed most of the time, which is why he's so wonderful.

When she was level 42, having just rescued Cain, she returned to town and picked up her life/skills belt and another unique Wrist Spike, this one having dual 5% leech capabilities with a 5% CtC Hydra. Now she could use Tiger Strike and Dragon Claw, as well as Burst of Speed (BoS). The life boosted her total to over 5k, which is still absolutely terrible – dangerous, even. The skills, though... she now has a max damage output of over 60k using Normal Attack.

Back out in the field again... I had forgotten how quickly she – any character, really – can plow through crowds with high levels of IAS and semi-decent damage. For her, BoS and +127 skills for Claw Mastery are what made the huge difference. Her life is dangerously low, though... Bone Golems, Disfigured, Black Rogues, and even Burning Dead can put the hurt on her 5.5k total life in a right hurry!


So do I use a slew of scrolls on her belt and on her charm to increase her life a few thousand points, or take the shortcut and socket her life jewel? Thinking about it, it is clear that either of those two options takes the experience of playing her outside of the realm of “normal” progression. If playing her “normally,” I would not have a pile of CCS and UCS lying around with which to give her 10k life any more than I would have a jewel that could give her 3M life.

Obviously I'll just use the jewel, then. But this begs the question, “Are any of the scrolls that I wasted so much time sifting through piles of crap to save, worth having spent the time to save? Could I have saved myself, literally, hours of time by just picking up gold and not worrying about the rest? I have not documented this before, but all of the Demon Boxes that I saved turned out to be a waste of time – none of them were useful to power-leveling the team to max levels. The Major Posters were neat – a fun diversion, but ultimately useless. The unique items with strength and dexterity on them were useful, as were class weapons for the Amazon and the Assassin, but certainly not necessary. Pride did use a lot of scrolls to increase her Faster Cast Rate (FCR) and Faster Run/Walk (FRW), but only when she picked them up herself – not a single scroll did she pull out of the stash for those purposes. Not on purpose, it just didn't seem necessary at first, and then I was too lazy to do it later.

The scavenged items that turned out to be the most useful were small charms with summons or FRW on them.

She took the Waypoint back to the Inner Cloister without addressing her low life number at all. After a few packs of Black Rogues and Bone Golems, it became obvious that I could not keep ignoring the problem – there were no fewer than four times when her life was in mortal danger. As soon as she found the Jail Waypoint, she took the opportunity to socket her life jewel into a small charm with a little life and mana already applied to it. Presto! 3.9M life and 50k mana. Now her -59 Drain Life would not be as noticeable. :P She ditched her Shield ChoMs at this point, as they were now useless baggage.

She finished Act I around level 70ish, I guess. Rather than go back and redo the later parts of the Act, she forged on into Act II.

Allow me to make a brief comment on AR, chance to hit, and Ignore Target's Defense. I've been noticing, with all of the characters that use weapons to do damage, that even when they keep their AR up high enough to cause the Lying Character Screen to display a 95% chance to hit any normal (non-unique, non-champion) monster, that promise of 95% is patently untrue. I make it a point to ensure that they all have a 95% chance to hit things, but they don't hit things anywhere near 95% of the time! I don't know what the problem is, honestly. I figured that I would not have to worry about ITD if I was diligent with their AR levels, but the truth is that neither high AR nor ITD are the whole answer. They must have both. ITD actually does cause the character to hit 95% of the time, but it doesn't work against unique or champion monsters. 95% chance to hit doesn't actually work 95% of the time, but the difference in trying to take down a unique or champion monster using 95% or trying to take it down using 75% is noticeable, and the latter is not at all enjoyable! So for me, I have to ensure that the character has both. I guess that comment was not as brief as I expected it would be – sorry!

Level 85 just happened to coincide with Sloth finding the Staff of Kings down in the cesspool of the Maggot Lair. She switched out all of her temporary equipment in favor of her set of Artifacts. She removed all of the class skills from her Requiem (other than her own class, obviously), then added over 80 Assassin skills to it, bringing it up to +91. She removed both Master ChoMs from her inventory now that she had an embarrassment of riches in the +skills department. She added 75% poison reduction to her Decorum Shadow Plate, finally put on her second Static Field ring, and added 150% FCR to her gloves so she could remove the two Speed ChoMs from her inventory. She chose a +7 Assassin Skills, +139 All Resistances TC amulet from the assortment remaining in the stash. She put her OW/DS/CB jewel into her Zy-El's Marker small charm and placed that in her inventory. (I think that I sometimes write DS for Deadly Strike and sometimes write CS for Critical Strike. I am almost always referring to the same thing, which technically should be Deadly Strike unless referring to the Amazon's or the Barbarian's inherent skills involving Critical Strike. Just thought I'd mention that...)

Before the added skills to her Requiem, Sloth's Wake of Fire (WoF) and Charged Bolt Sentry (CBS) were quite effective, doing 17k and 11k respectively. After the +skills, they are putting out 30k and 20k! Very, very useful, those traps. I honestly thought that her traps were going to be ineffective at p127, that she was going to have to rely on killing every monster one by one. Not the case at all, thankfully. Assassin's have it all – I guess they really were Kato's favourites! :mrgreenlaughing:

With all of the +skills pumping up Claw Mastery, she had to dump two of her posters to get her max damage back down below the cap. Now she's doing 2k-73k with each of her Wrist Spikes.

All of that together readied her for the rest of Act II, which she finished at level 112.

Finished Act III at level 186. She killed about 90% of everything in the Act, too. It was almost more efficient to do so than to try to run around the gobs and gobs of monsters.

Finished Act IV around level 240.


Finished Act V at level 286. The Worldstone Keep was something of a wake-up call for Sloth. All the pushing around that the Blood Witches do made it difficult to cast traps (thanks block-locking), so she ended up switching back and forth between weapons and no weapons (mostly no weapons) in order to cast them. Wake of Fire is the better trap because its waves do not expend upon hitting a target, whereas CBS bolts are absorbed by the target. In WSK, only the Brigadiers are susceptible to fire, which does very little to the Death Lords and both types of flying rats witches. The Demon Tricksters have too much life to be susceptible to either fire or lightning. It seems that their main purpose is to stand between the CBS traps and the witches/lords and absorb the bolts in order that no appreciable damage is done to anything!

I probably should have abandoned traps for that area and used Venom to kill just the monsters in Sloth's path to the end of the Act, but I was determined to undergo the experience using traps (for some unknown reason). I probably made it sound terrible and painful and worthy of lamentation, but it wasn't, not at all! It wasn't exactly fun, but it was worth doing to get a feel for strategy in such situations.

She's done with Normal – she used p127 from start to finish, just like her predecessors Envy and Pride – so on to Nightmare difficulty!

No idea what level she was when she finished Act I of Nightmare difficulty, but after she blitzed through Act II without killing a whole lot of anything at all, she was level 298.

Again, no idea about Act III, but she finished Act IV at level 325, once again blitzing through most of it, including the Komodo infested River of Flame. Sloth's traps (CBS and WoF, both) are now very weak against 95% of all of her foes, so anything she kills, she kills one at a time.


Sloth finished Baal, Act V, and Nightmare difficulty at level 350 on the nose. Again, she teleported through most of it, using Venom and Blade Shield to kill monsters individually when she had to kill them at all. Oddly, Baal himself was the easiest kill in the entire Act... certainly the fastest.

Act I of Hell difficulty completed at level 353. Act II completed at level 362. Act III completed at level 376.

Act III marked my decision to finally have Sloth go bare-fisted. Her weapons don't actually do anything positive for her, as far as I can tell (other than stats, of which she needs none of the ones found on the weapons she uses – anymore, that is), and the negatives are quite monumental. First, they cause her to block if she uses two of them, which is a major nuisance when she is trying to teleport or cast traps or, you know, just move. Second, her primary weapon loses durability like mad when she is surrounded and Blade Shield is slicing up her foes left, right, front, and back. When I write “like mad,” I mean to the tune of one durability every few seconds, sometimes as bad as two or three durability per one second – the speed and fury of attacks by the melee types of dolls (and later, Mini-Mauls and Darth Smalls) is the primary example of the latter.

She will keep her dual wrist spikes on switch for those times when she needs to use Blades of Ice on foes that are weak to cold and immune to most other things.

For the most part, Sloth keeps Blade Shield active and uses Burst of Speed to quickly thread her way through and around every foe she can possibly avoid. When she gets stuck, she spams Teleport until it decides to work (casting any skill is hit or miss with Blade Shield active – it usually takes multiple tries to get any skill to actually work). If and when she needs to kill something, then if it is not immune to poison, she overwrites Blade Shield with Venom and pounds on her foe with Normal Attack (which is faster than any of her attack skills). Things die quickly to the poison damage as long as she keeps attacking. If it is immune to poison, then a combination of Blade Shield (assuming it is not immune to physical damage) and Crushing Blow (which works even against physical immunes) will bring the foe's life down to a mere fraction of its total, at which point she either keeps pounding on it (non PI), or finally casts either a few CBS traps (for fire immunes) or a few WoF traps (for lightning immunes) at its feet, after which it soon dies. She's not the fastest killer in the land, but there are very few foes she can't handle with just her own skills – no need for a damage jewel! I think that the only thing she can't take on are monsters immune to everything but magic damage, of which there may possibly be only one, and she will never have to kill that foe, at least not to finish this tournament. I can't think of another, anyway.

Finished Baal, Act V, and Hell difficulty at level 476. I have no idea how she killed enough monsters to rake in 100 levels, but there it is. She killed Shenk and a few of the toads around him. She killed several dozen Abominables getting to and freeing Anyanka. She killed all of the riff-raff around the Ancients, and then killed the Ancients. She didn't kill anything in the WSK until she had to clear the area around Baal in the Throneroom. She killed Baal's Minion packs, then half of the monsters getting to the Worldstone itself, and then she killed Baal. That doesn't sound like 100 levels to me...

Regardless, she did it! She made it all the way through all three difficulties at p127. Now to kill a few thousand Chimeras and boost herself up to level 10,000. :)

She stepped into Wayside of Woe, threw up Venom, and teleported around until she found the first pack of Chimeras. That was one of the more intense few minutes I've ever had playing Zy-El! Her poison resistance is close to -200, so even with just under 5M life (when she started the run), her life bubble would drop down to half in just a few seconds. She killed a pack of Chimeras, and she could slay each one in the time it took for her life to deplete by 2/3rds. Then she moved to the next pack, leaving the unique Chimera behind. After the third pack, she started getting low on potions, both full rejuvenations and antidotes. The problem was, there was no clear space on which to open a portal to town, and all of the Darth Smalls, Mini Mauls, and Blood Witches pushing her around made it nearly impossible to try! She finally found a space, opened the portal, and I danced the pointer around like a drunken idiot until I finally was able to get her through it.

A simple Shard of Elements fixed her right up in the resistances department.

After killing all of the Chimeras and Tim the Enchanters (and a handful of other monsters, just to see how difficult or easy they were to dispatch) in her first WoW incursion, Sloth emerged victorious at level 1195 (719 levels gained). Even with their poison immunity, Mini Mauls were as easy to kill as Chimeras, which is to say that they are among the toughest things in WoW, relatively speaking. Everything but Chimeras, Tims, Mini-Mauls, and Blood Bosses are quite quick to kill – if only they were worth taking the time to kill them!

Even with the time taken to fix her resistances, it didn't take her more than about 10 minutes total – much faster by several orders of magnitude than any of the previous three characters! For them, the time was anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes, and 30 minutes was pretty darn rare.

Her second WoW experience yielded 355 levels, putting her at 1550 total. There were no Tims, and two of the Chimeras were boss packs. The unique Chimera boss bug kicked in, so she was only able to kill two normal Chimeras in each of those packs.

Another run, level 2300 (750). Level 2894 (594).


The next run of WoW brought her up to level 3609 – a gain of 715 levels. There were half a dozen Tims who demanded satisfaction during her sojourn, so she accommodated their requests. :P

Another WoW run with more Tims to go with the main course of Chimeras, bringing her up to level 4370 (761). Level 4562 (192). Level 5242 (680).

:rotf: Well... complacency strikes again! Or stupidity. Incompetency? Maybe a combination of all of the above, plus a few other negative modifiers thrown in for good measure. At level 5589, Sloth was executed by a Voorlon! Immediately, I thought, “Ooooooops! I must have forgotten to lower her belt's life BoCL again after that last run... But really? A Voorlon??” Then I couldn't help but chuckle a little at the idiocy of the whole thing. I had specifically noted that her total life was up dangerously high at the end of the last run, but the thought took flight the moment that I restarted the game.

That is... disappointing, but not tragic, I suppose. I'm just glad this is not Hardcore!!! I guess that I will have to move on to Avarice now, and Sloth will be the last to reach 10k. At least I hope that there are no more stupid deaths, and that she will be the last... The worst part is that she wasn't more than a couple of hours, tops, from finishing. She's definitely the fastest Chimera slayer of the team. Normal difficulty, she's the bees knees, and then she is great in the Hell Insanities as well (Normal and Nightmare Insanities would be even easier than the Hell versions, but I never tried them out with Sloth). The middle part is more work than most, if not all, of the other characters, but the start and the end are a ton of fun.

Here's a table commemorating her progress:

Code: Select all

Name              Class             Level          Deaths
Pride             Amazon         10,000               1
Sloth             Assassin        5,589               2
Avarice           Necromancer        49               1
Lust              Barbarian         375               1
Wrath             Paladin           144               1
Gluttony          Sorceress      10,000               0
Envy              Druid          10,000               0
Deaths: 6  Levels: 36,157  Multiplier: 9.994  Score: 361,353

Avarice the Necromancer

First, Avarice picked out a pair of 30%+ FRW small charms. He punched a hole into one of them and socketed his life jewel, giving him 3.8M life and 260k mana. Second, he converted two of his eight ChoMs into Speeds and the other six into Masters. He kept those, a large charm with 5% FRW on it, and a greater charm with 7% FRW on it. Everything else in his inventory he jettisoned.

He donned his life BoCL belt, a unique Cantor Trophy with +5 Nec skills, a Carrion Wind Burnt Wand with +6 Nec skills, a unique Bone Helm called Necromancer's Channel with +3 Nec skills, and Filbert's Stomping Light Plated Boots for the 63% FRW on them. He also pulled from the stash five grand charms and two narrow charms, each with +1 Summoning Skills on them. Finally, he chose two more small charms, one with level 6 Dire Wolves and the other with level 1 Fire Golem. All total, that gives him +172 to his Summoning skill tree and +165 to the other two skill trees. His army should be quite effective at annihilating everything in their path! :twisted:

Avarice did not return to town until Andariel was dead, at which point he was level 97. He changed out his gear for his set of Artifacts, including his wand, shield, and two Idea rings. The new gear boosted his +skills by 85! Woohoo!

He removed the non-Necromancer skills from his Requiem and added a truckload of +Nec and +All skills to the helm and his gloves, giving him another +112 skills and a total of +364 to his Summoning skill tree. He left a few +All Skills scrolls in the stash (about +35 worth) “just in case.”

With Teleport and 150 mages, he started his quest to clear out the vermin in the deserts surrounding Lut Gholein (not to mention the tunnels underneath). Okay... 60 mages to start, then 70, then 110, and finally 150 when Mithril Knights started coming onto the scene.

He finished Act II at level 136. The True Tomb of Tal Rasha was one of the quickest I've experienced – it must have taken less than five minutes to stumble into the room!

I find that Poison Nova is a pretty good area of effect spell at times. So far, anyway. I seem to recall that it isn't that great in most situations later in the game, but for now it works pretty well on at least half of the monsters he encounters. When not using that, he uses Lower Resist.

He finished Act III at level 179. I never think of resists as having anything to do with poison damage, but it sure does! Using a combination of Lower Resist and Poison Nova is devastating in Normal difficulty... I never knew that before. :P


Seemed like there was very little time to play today, but Avarice did finish Act IV at level 224, and made it to the last Waypoint in Act V.


At level 294, Avarice defeated Baal and moved on to Nightmare difficulty.

He completed Act I at level 300. Made it to the Canyon of the Magi Waypoint before packing it in for the evening.


I didn't get much time to play today, but Avarice did finish Act II at level 323.


Finished Act III at level 329. It took forever trying to kill dolls, but once I gave up on that useless endeavor, it took even longer to avoid killing them – or so it seemed. I may have to rethink the shield idea – he gets block locked a lot, which is especially noticeable when trying to teleport around with 10,000 little tiny maniacs beating on him at once.

Act IV completed at level 363. Act V and Nightmare difficulty finished at around level 385.

Act I of Hell difficulty finished at level 392. I don't know how I managed to fail making notes for Acts II or III, but there it is. I remember that there was a whole lot of teleportation involved, and the entrance to Tal Rasha's Chamber took about 90 seconds (even faster than in Normal difficulty – quite a boon!).

Finished Act IV at level 495.

A couple of times, I did do a weapon switch to remove his shield from the equation, just to get out of a block lock situation or to quickly jump through a few nests of block-lockers. Losing 30 Magi is worth it for the lesser frustration, and with 335 Magi still in play, the 30 are easily and quickly replaced.


Finished Act V and Hell difficulty at level 543. Time to get busy!

First clear of WoW gave Avarice 1232 levels, bringing him up to a total of 1775. That's a lot of levels! He did clear out 95% of the monsters in there, but that still seems unusually high. There were lots of Chimeras and lots of Succubus Magi, which give around a level each, but there were no Tims or Immortals.

Not wanting to waste a good army that takes so much time to assemble, he moved on to OtO for another full clear. That area was good for 582 levels, giving him 2357 total. Finally, a run of Suicide Sanctum brought him up to level 3000 even (643 levels). Lots and lots and lots of Bunnies and Tims in there! All in all, 2447 levels for a single army of Skeletal Magi is not a bad return. :)

I sent him into the Secret Cow Level on a lark. He only gained 113 levels (3113 total), but it was pretty fast killing in there.


Started out the day by creating an army of 250 Magi and stepping into the Suicide Sanctum. A handful or two of Vorpal Bunnies later, I caught the flicker of Avarice's life ball emptying as he dinged level 3179. Once again, I failed to remember not to forget to reduce the life BoCL on his belt so that he would not hit the life cap! Unbelievable... Somehow he survived long enough to get back to town, where I applied a double whammy of flawless rubies to his belt, restarted the game (which was a terrible idea – gone went the carefully conscripted army!!), and headed back out to resume his pillaging of the three major Insanity areas.

SS cleared – level 3420 (241). WoW and OtO cleared – level 3672 (257) – but only one pack of Chimeras in WoW and two packs of mini-Diablos in OtO. :(

SS – level 3920 (248). WoW – level 4374 (454) – three packs of Chimeras, I think, very few but more than last run. OtO – level 4740 (366).

SS – level 4959 (249). WoW – level 5988 (1029) – at last another decent Chimera population! OtO – level 6480 (492).

There is absolutely nothing that is difficult about playing the Necromancer in the Insanity levels (or about getting him through the three difficulties once his surge point had been reached, for that matter), but compared to the other characters, he seems very slow. I would venture to say that, at this point in my experience with him, he is the slowest to power-level to 10k (though I've obviously not refreshed myself on the experience of doing so with the Barbarian or the Paladin as yet). If, as I claimed above, power-leveling the Assassin is orders of magnitude faster than the other characters, then it might also be fair to say that the Necromancer is orders of magnitude slower than the other characters. It might be fair to say, but I doubt it. Perhaps he is half an order of magnitude slower. :P

SS – level 6794 (314). WoW – level 7881 (1087). OtO – level 8325 (444).

SS – level 8617 (292). WoW – level 8968 (351). OtO – level 9307 (339).

SS – level 9451 (144). WoW – level 9998 (547) – soooo close!!! I thought for sure he was going to make it to the end in there.

A few Mini Diablos in Orifice to Oblivion and Avarice was done! Level 10,000!!

What did I learn about the Necromancer that I would like to write down for the next time I do this? First of all, always use Lower Resist. Duh! Secondly, Poison Nova is nice in the Insanities. It works slowly, but steadily, against Vorpal Bunnies, Chimeras and Mini Diablos, the various types of Imps, Tims, Darth Smalls, the squatting Succubus that have bat wings but sit on the ground, Hellspawn, and some Immortals. A good portion of the Denizens of SS, WoW, and OtO, in other words. Even better, I learned that Bone Spirit is very strong against Chimeras and Mini Diablos! When there are lots and lots of those clustered around Avarice, he spams Poison Nova as the Magi slowly work their way through the crowd. If there are just a few of them, then Bone Spirit is faster. I guess that's about it.

Next up is Lust the Barbarian.

Code: Select all

Name              Class             Level          Deaths
Pride             Amazon         10,000               1
Sloth             Assassin        5,589               2
Avarice           Necromancer    10,000               1
Lust              Barbarian         375               1
Wrath             Paladin           144               1
Gluttony          Sorceress      10,000               0
Envy              Druid          10,000               0
Deaths: 6  Levels: 46,108  Multiplier: 9.994  Score: 460,803

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Posts: 405
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Re: New tourney: The softcore rotation tournament

Post by Clersius » Sun Oct 14, 2018 12:52 am

Lust the Barbarian

Lust was fairly easy to ready for embarking on his journey through Nightmare difficulty. He had two Shield ChoMs and two grand charms granting 15% max life in his inventory that were about to be obsolete, so he was able to jettison those. The rest of his charms were related to damage, so those stayed. He added a rare charm with 24% enhanced damage, a Manny poster with over 900 max damage on it, his Zy-El's Marker small charm with the DS/OW/CB jewel prepared for him, and a random small charm with a little fire damage on it socketed with his life jewel. He kept his two Phoenix Resurrection phase blades, his life belt (no +skills on it), his jewelry (two Static Field rings and a TC amulet), and his Giant Skull unique jawbone visor, but replaced his torso with a Decorum, his gloves with Vice, and his boots with Stride. Really, that was it. This put him at 4.4M life, 50k mana, and Frenzy damage of 29k to 57k. He only has +39 skills, but his damage output is phenomenal regardless of that shortfall – if it even is a shortfall. He set p127 and took off like a shot.

Soon, he discovered that Misshapen, Rock Golems, and to a lesser extent, Monoliths, have a lot of life in Nightmare. Or they are somewhat resistant to physical damage. Or both. He decided to don his Requiem after all – just for a little while, he promised himself – to increase his damage. This bumped his max way over the cap, so after just a few minutes of use, he put his Manny poster into his “used” pages in the stash. Now he's doing 51k to 56k, which is an increase in his average of over 10k damage per hit.

He also discovered that his Attack Rating was fairly pitiful – he only had a 62% chance to hit Blood Raven. He went through the actions necessary to add a Shard of Spider to his inventory, and together with the Requiem, his AR problem is “done and dusted,” as the Maestro would say. :)

He finished Act I without further incident at level 377.


I didn't do much documenting for Nightmare difficulty... Lust killed Baal and moved on to Hell difficulty at level 439.

There is something seriously strange about Lust... he takes damage like a sponge takes water. It's like he has no defense or something. He has the normal 240% Damage Reduction (of which he utilizes merely 50%), but it doesn't seem to be working very well. In the Worldstone Keep and the Throne of Destruction, for instance, packs of Hell Lords or Death Lords beating on him can take off chunks of 100,000 life in a matter of a second or two. I don't know, maybe that's normal? I certainly don't remember any of my other characters taking noticeable damage like that, either cruising through Nightmare or Hell, or power-leveling in the Insanities. The poison damage in SS, WoW, and OtO can – and does – quickly deplete the life ball of every one of my characters, but non-poison damage certainly doesn't, and never has. Like I said, it's seriously strange.


The first thing Lust did upon entering Hell difficulty was to quickly socket his damage jewel into a small charm. The increased physical resistance in Nightmare was bad enough – he knew that Hell was going to be hell on his damage output! By the way, his damage output before the jewel was 57.8k to 61.6k.

Finished Act I at level 443. The damage jewel is simply delightful! :mrgreen:

Actually took a few seconds here and there to kill Maulers and their kin for the 20% of a level that they each give. Finished Act II at level 475. Finished Act III at level 497. Finished Act IV at level 838. Venom Drakes and Komodos were so incredibly easy for him to kill that he went ahead and cleaned most of them out of the River of Flame and the Chaos Sanctuary – hence the 300+ levels.


Lust finished off Baal, Act V, and Hell difficulty at level 870. He kept his p127 setting throughout. He was able to get through Nightmare without his damage jewel, but the difference between having it and not having it was night and day for the Barbarian, more so than for the Amazon, the Assassin, or the Druid. I will have to keep that in mind for the future.

Just to expand on that a little bit, in Nightmare difficulty, the added physical resistance of the monsters caused him to have to spend considerably more time killing them. Noticeably more time, that is. Maybe I just forgot how it was for those other three physical damage dealers. I know that the Assassin blazed through Nightmare using gobs and gobs of teleport charges, so maybe that's why she didn't seem as affected. I'll try to pay attention to how the Paladin fares between Nightmare and Hell, as he and the Barbarian are similar beasts in this regard.

During Lust's first run of WoW, he almost immediately ran into monumental problems – two of them, in fact. First, his woeful poison resistance rendered him seriously vulnerable to Chimera poison. They don't poison all the time, but when they do, it eats his 6.5M life like it was 10k. A Shard of Elements inserted into his Decorum fixed that problem.

Second, he can sliver the life bar of a Chimera in about six or seven seconds, but then it takes another 20 to 40 seconds to kill it. That might not sound like very long, but 1) when you are used to taking them down in five to ten seconds, max, that is a very long time indeed; 2) when you realize that there are somewhere between 1100 and 2000 Chimeras standing between you and level 10k, 30 seconds is a ridiculous amount of time to spend on each one of them. To fix this problem, he rooted around in the stash until he came up with a scroll that would create a Fade Away ring for him. It only has 30 charges of Lower Resist on it, but that should easily be enough for one run of WoW.

Sure enough, using the ring he could kill Chimeras in about four or five seconds, and a few minutes later he had risen to level 2154 – a gain of 1284 levels for his first ever WoW run. For some reason, I failed to realize that the Fade Away ring not only has charges of Lower Resist, but it also procs it! You can't see it, but I'm shaking my head in disbelief that I spent half of those 1284 levels casting LR on packs of monsters, when it was completely unnecessary to do so. Now I know...

The next WoW run brought him up to level 3100 (946). Level 3794 (694). Level 4225 (431). Level 4675 (450). Level 5373 (698). Level 6195 (822).

The next run yielded zero levels. Not a single Chimera, not a single Tim the Enchanter anywhere in the entire area! So sad...

Back to normal with the next run – level 7144 (949). Level 8189 (1045). Level 9405 (1216). I'd say those last few runs more than made up for the run with nothing. :) He's on the home stretch!!

Level 9549 (144). Level 9858 (311). Level 9999 (141). So close! New game, two more Chimeras, and he was done. Level 10,000 for Lust the Barbarian! Unbelievably quick, too. That Lower Resist ring is godly in conjunction with a damage jewel... Crazy effective!

So, it took him 15 runs of WoW to rise from level 870 to level 10,000, and all of it done in a single evening. Very nice. I hope that the Paladin is even close to this easy. I don't remember much about my HC Paladin in the Insanities, but I'm hoping that Conviction works as well as Lower Resist. It probably works even better – that's my guess, anyway. If not, you can bet I'll dig up another ring of Lower Resist if there is one in that ginormous stash! If there isn't, I'll probably re-roll uncommon scrolls on the off chance that one shows up. That's a stretch, though – they don't show up very often, in my experience. I do think there are a couple of them in the stash somewhere, though.

Anyway, done for the day! Next up is Wrath the Paladin, who will be starting in Act III Normal, I believe.

ps – All this time, my tables have been misaligned! How embarrassing. :|

Code: Select all

Name              Class             Level          Deaths
Pride             Amazon           10,000             1
Sloth             Assassin          5,589             2
Avarice           Necromancer      10,000             1
Lust              Barbarian        10,000             1
Wrath             Paladin             144             1
Gluttony          Sorceress        10,000             0
Envy              Druid            10,000             0
Deaths: 6  Levels: 55,733  Multiplier: 9.994  Score: 556,996
Wrath the Paladin

Wrath started off with the usual business of ejecting the garbage he was wearing and/or carrying, then adding in more useful items for the demon hunt. He kept a Speed ChoM, but discarded the rest of them. He also kept two tall charms that had 40%+ FRW on them – he won't be using Vigor all the time. The Phoenix runeword long sword he was using (long sword? really?) was melted down as scrap metal and replaced with Zy-El's Vengeance. He replaced his shield with Zy-El's Suffrage. He added his life jewel, his Marker socketed with his OW/DS/CB jewel, and added another small charm with FRW on it.

Assessing his damage when using Fanaticism, he noticed that his max damage was too high, so he tossed one of the two Manny posters he had. This left him with a respectable 40k to 60k physical damage, a robust 4.2M life, and a more than adequate mana pool of 54k. Now he was ready to finish the scavenger hunt necessary to destroy the Compelling Orb.

30 seconds later, I'm back to write a sentence about how much I miss Whirlwind!!!! It was so absolutely perfect for getting to the other side of a wall of monsters while avoiding having to kill anything altogether, or whirling through a pack of monsters in order to sidle right up beside the only monster in sight that you did want to take out. Ahhhhh, well.

Also, it is already clear that he will have AR issues in the near future, so he will need a Shard of Spider. Hopefully I'll remember when he goes to town again. :P

Once again, my enthusiasm for the task at hand obliterated all thought of documenting the character's progress... Wrath finished Normal difficulty at level 202 – that much at least I am able to write down.

Finished Act I Nightmare at level 207. He did add that Shard of Spider, but there is no evidence that it has helped anything. He started off the act quite strongly, and I thought to myself that this seemed to be quite a breeze. By the time he entered the Catacombs, however, the same old problems with physical damage dealers cropped up. It is actually going to be a long and arduous process, one which will need to be augmented heavily with teleportation. I might try Conviction, just to see if the elemental damage on his gloves and his Artifact weapon help with the killing speed. Regardless, I think that I am going to be obstinate in my refusal to allow Wrath to use his damage jewel before Hell difficulty. None of the other three were allowed to do so, after all! It's the principle of the matter... :P

Amazingly, using Conviction did help! Not hugely, but noticeably. Wrath must still sliver the monster with Crushing Blow, but then rather than stand there and beat on the foe for another 10 to 20 seconds (the painful evidence that there is a problem regarding physical damage output), it only takes a couple of seconds before it falls. I will try adding a few +skills to his Requiem to increase the effect, as well as add his other Manny poster back into his inventory to make up some of the lost physical damage due to the lack of Fanaticism.

I did both of those things, and it was slightly better. Good enough for now, I suppose.

For the first time in a long time, I actually killed things while searching for the exit from the True Tomb of Tal Rasha into Duriel's chamber. And there were a ton of things to kill – more so than normal, it seemed like. That was one of the reasons that I was doing it in the first place: there were often too many foes milling about to make teleportation very effective. Even without a shield, lots of monsters beating on Wrath at once can make teleportation difficult.

That being said, once Wrath did make it into Duriel's chamber, something happened that has never happened to me before while playing Zy-El. I've read a few hints on the forums of the fact that it can happen, and that it has happened, but never to me, never even a hint that it really would be possible. QL is the one who wrote about it, and that was long before I started playing the first time.

Duriel went down without any problem. Wrath went straight for him, rather than cleaning out most or all of the open floor first (with these last few characters, I've changed my approach from the latter to the former, though probably not permanently – just for this tournament). He killed the few monsters left after Duriel's death, then continued to the left and into the stone hallway. He rushed right in, and my intent was to get to the “L”, then clear out the hall, then blitz down the ramp, talk to the angel, and return to town.

Before even getting to the “L”, however, one pack of Mithril Knights and who knows how many dozens of packs of Dark Shapes crowded Wrath against the wall and trapped him there. The sound was one I'd never heard before – the clanking of hits against his armor was so fast that it was like static. Really loud, terrifying static. I momentarily thought to start swinging his way out of it, but that was a non-starter, as he could not initiate Zeal to start hitting anything. Perhaps he could have used normal attack, but against that many foes... again, a nonstarter.

Instead, I tried to have him teleport out. Two seconds of that and nothing, but the little armor silhouette in the upper right corner of the screen suddenly popped up, showing that his Requiem was taking a beating. A split second later both his gloves and his boots were also yellow on the armor avatar. Uh oh. It might occur to the reader what that meant, exactly, but it hadn't occured to me, not yet.

I tried to move him a little, to see if I could get the monsters to re-position themselves, which would give him a split second of respite from the barrage of attacks, which might allow him to teleport. No such luck.

After another few seconds, there was no response at all to the teleportation attempts. The silhouette showed all red, and that is the moment when I realized what it meant – if his boots were broken, he had no teleport skill available. There was, quite literally, no escape. Worse, there was no hope of escape.

As mentioned, the same barrage that prevented him from using the skill of teleportation also prevented him from initiating a swing with his Zeal skill – not that it would have mattered in the least, as he'd already gone through three of his eight full rejuvenation potions. Five million life eaten away three times in a handful of seconds.

There must have been at least 75 or 100 Dark Shapes, more than I've ever seen in one place before, and I'm guessing that there were a whole lot more than that. What makes them so dangerous – as QL hinted at so long ago – is that they stack on top of themselves. They are not reliant on finding a spot on which to stand next to their brethren. That means that all 100, or 300, or 1000 of them can be beating on Wrath at the same exact moment in time.

I don't know what the game mechanism is that prevents a character from casting teleport when getting hit (when the character has no shield, that is – obviously when it does have a shield, that mechanism is Faster Block Rate), or for initiating the Zeal skill, or whatever other skill one may wish to use, but it was going nuts with all those hits coming in, and there was no way for Wrath to deal with the onslaught. I would guess that the mechanism is Faster Hit Recovery, except it is my understanding that FHR deals with recovery after getting hit for more than X% of the character's total life, which is clearly not the case when the character has millions of life.

I will be watching out for mass numbers of Dark Shapes in the future – I now have a healthy respect for them! I can't say that I ever disbelieved QL's admonition that the most dangerous foe for a Paladin is the Dark Shape... I had just never seen a situation in which that could possibly have been true. Until today. Death the Seventh!

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Name              Class             Level          Deaths
Pride             Amazon           10,000             1
Sloth             Assassin          5,589             2
Avarice           Necromancer      10,000             1
Lust              Barbarian        10,000             1
Wrath             Paladin             222             2
Gluttony          Sorceress        10,000             0
Envy              Druid            10,000             0
Deaths: 7  Levels: 55,811  Multiplier: 9.993  Score: 557,719
Sloth the Assassin

Time to take another pass at getting Sloth to 10k now. At least there is nothing to do before jumping into the fray. I'll re-read the pages surrounding her previous death, of course, just to make sure I fully comprehend the problem and its context.

That done, she wasted no time in throwing up a Blade Shield, applying liberal amounts of Venom to her... not her blades, I guess, but her fists???... and seeking out the entrance to WoW.

Level 6121 (532). Level 6530 (409). Level 6619 (89). Level 7226 (607). After slowly, in stages, removing all of the life from Sloth's belt, I started on her Requiem's Vitality BoCL. Except that I didn't think about what I was doing carefully enough... in one fell swoop, I removed all of it! So now she is stuck with barely 4.7M life, which goes pretty fast in Wayside of Woe! I'm sure there are bookies willing and eager to take action on whether or not I can get her to 10k without getting her killed again. :P

Level 7872 (646). Level 8466 (594). Level 8865 (399). Level 9368 (503). Level 9576 (208). Level 9744 (168). Level 9927 (183). Level 10,000 (73).

No sweat! I don't have much to say about the Assassin that I have not already said in her previous write-ups. Now back to the Paladin.

Code: Select all

Name              Class             Level          Deaths
Pride             Amazon           10,000             1
Sloth             Assassin         10,000             2
Avarice           Necromancer      10,000             1
Lust              Barbarian        10,000             1
Wrath             Paladin             222             2
Gluttony          Sorceress        10,000             0
Envy              Druid            10,000             0
Deaths: 7  Levels: 60,222  Multiplier: 9.993  Score: 601,798
Wrath the Paladin

Ugh... I think the worst part of this fiasco is that he has to search through the True Tomb again! Ugh, I say, Ugh!!

He was done with Act II – finally – at around level 224. He then blazed through Act III lickety-split, finishing off Mephisto somewhere around level 240 to 245. He took the time to kill a majority of the Venom Drakes that he met in Act IV, so he finished there at level 330.

Another disaster, of sorts, at level 338. This time it was a combination of Abominations and Shadow Mists. Between the two of them, with a shield he was block-locked, without a shield he was stun-locked. The rest of QL's message from long ago dawned on me while this was happening (backed up by several mentions since then by Al-T) – using Smite to attack trumps being stunned. It was too little, too late, though... for some reason Wrath only had two full rejuvenation potions in his belt. I'd obviously been lax in the maintenance department! So that constitutes Death the Eighth...

Confident that I could get out of a sticky situation with Smite and eight full rejuvenation potions, I went back and let him get surrounded by Abominations. They can stun him, and they do stun him, but not enough to incapacitate him. As well, I had him wade neck deep into huge packs of Shadow Mists (eliminating any Abominations first). They don't do much to him at all. But together, they are absolutely deadly to a Paladin? I find that incredibly odd. It is useful information, however.

Wrath killed Baal and finished Nightmare difficulty at level 353.

The first second thing he did upon entering Hell difficulty was to socket his damage jewel into a brand new small charm with 40% FRW on it that he had picked up in the Worldstone Keep minutes earlier. The real first thing that he did was obtain the Den of Evil quest and race out into the wilderness to get started. He didn't make it more than 20 paces into Blood Moor before he remembered that he'd been dying to get his hands on that jewel for many Acts now!


Finished Act I at level 360. Finished Act II at level 384.

This seems like a good time to comment on something I've noticed about Paladin skills. Perhaps I missed the part of the description of Conviction that states how it grants Ignore Target's Defense for uniques and champions, but... it does! I tend not to use Conviction constantly because my perception is that it takes just a wee bit longer to kill normal monsters with Conviction than without it. Besides which, it is much more convenient to have Vigor active most of the time to keep him moving through the Acts as quickly as possible. However, at some point I discovered that when Conviction is up, when Wrath's foes have that eerie, green, swirly pattern dancing about below their feet, almost every single swing hits uniques and champions. When it is not up, he has no more than a 5% chance to hit them (I haven't looked at the LCS to see what the actual percentage is, but he whiffs at least 19 out of 20 swings).


Finished Act III around level 422.

In the River of Flame, there were a virtually uncountable number of Venom Drakes, Komodos, and Urdars. At one point, Wrath picked up a timely Experience flag and used that for as long as it lasted. When he'd explored most of the area, he finally decided to move on, but in the process of killing all of those delicious morsels of experience, he'd gained over 500 levels! He finished Act IV just a little while later at level 981.

Finished Act V at level 1025. Time to start on the last 8975 levels... his first experience with Wayside of Woe netted him 430 levels, bringing his total up to 1455. Next run, level 1573 (118) – there were lots of Tim the Enchanters, but no Chimeras. Level 1755 (182) – very few Chimeras and lots of Tims. I can see that I am wasting my time killing anything but Chimeras... Level 2336 (581). Level 2968 (632). Level 3302 (334). Level 4414 (1112) – finally a phat run! :mrgreen: Level 5173 (759). Level 5825 (652). Level 6905 (1080). Level 7401 (496).


Level 8330 (929). At this point, all of the life was off of his belt and he was approaching the life cap again, so it was time to take some Vitality off of his Requiem. Let's see if I can do so gently, rather than all at once as I managed to do to Sloth the Assassin's Requiem. Success! He removed 3 1/8th increments of Vitality BoCL from his hat to bring his life down from 8.3M to 7.9M. On with the leveling... the end is nigh, and I can almost taste the sweet relief of being done with this tournament, of besting Zy-El in Softcore.

A quick detour, though, down the path of remedying his resistances. He only had an average of -60 or -70 to his resistances when he entered Hell (thanks to his shield), but when he ditched his shield for good in Act V Hell to get by the masses of Stone Ghouls clogging various underground passages, it dropped his poison resistance (all of his resistances, really, but poison was the one that made a difference thanks to Chimeras) to around -200. I put up with it for many runs, as you can see from the lists above, but during this last run he had to return to town in the middle of the fun in order to resupply himself with antidote potions, and that's just a waste of time that I can't condone. Anyway, he stripped his Decorum of all of the +skills to classes other than his own to reduce the number of stat lines on it, then dropped a Shard of Elements into it, and that, as they say, was that.

I'm not sure why, but I'm always amazed at what a difference strong poison resistance makes. Whether on a character venturing forth intrepidly into Stony Field for the first time, or a seasoned warrior braving the tempests of Wayside of Woe and that killer venom from a Chimera bite, the difference is night and day. Poison which was taking little more than six or seven seconds to deplete Wrath's life bubble now takes 100 or 120 seconds!

Level 9083 (753). Level 9781 (698). Level 9781 (0) – not a single Chimera in there! Level 9983 (202). Level 10,000!!

He, like every character since Gluttony the Sorceress, kept his p127 setting the entire way through. There were many, many times when it seemed that this personal goal I set for myself was ill-conceived and a monumental waste of time, but I'm glad I did it. I wanted to experience Zy-El at its most difficult (from the game's side – I won't argue that using life jewels and damage jewels didn't affect the difficulty from the player's side) with all of them (except the Sorceress – I don't think that I would choose to take her through at p127 even if another of the characters had been the ones twinking the team, as that sounds like a mini-tournament all on its own!), and I'm quite glad that I did!

Well, that took a lot of work. And time. Was it worth it? Probably so. If the sheer drudgery of creating all of those hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of Zy-El Scrolls is ignored, then it was most assuredly worth it. If one chooses to spend one's free time playing this game, then it is nice to be rewarded with a character screen filled with all seven classes at level 10,000. :D

I think that, if the possibility of ever running a Zy-El tournament again were an option, and I was creating the rules for it, then I would definitely choose to either remove the use of Zy-El Scrolls, or provide some fixed number beforehand for use in any way the player sees fit, provided that they can be paid for. In other words, send a stash to each contestant with the predetermined number of Scrolls already created. The contestant can then use a Scroll once it has been paid for (set a price, or some sort of barter system, or whatever comes to mind) without having to click it together. I suppose that if the number of Scrolls was small, then that would not be much of a savings of time, clicks, or wrist pain, but if that number was 50, 100, or 500, then it would become quite a large savings of all three.

Anyway, I digress. I think that a valuable question to ask would be, “Having finished getting all seven characters to 10k, what would you do differently if you were to do it again?” Sadly, I think that to usefully answer that question would require a clear memory of how the seven experiences played out, what their similarities and differences were, and where the trouble spots occurred. I think that I sort of answered this question as I went along, in a way, but I also believe that the overall picture would help identify the trouble spots much more clearly in hindsight than in the moment. But I don't think that I have that overall picture at this time, is what I'm trying to say.

One thing that comes to mind, I guess, is that I would re-investigate the proper way to use the first few hundred Zy-El Scrolls. I do not, in any way, regret the use of so many Scrolls to create %EG jewels – those are absolutely essential to any level of efficiency in creating the hundreds more Scrolls necessary to complete this task in less than a year. However, it may not have been the best idea to have so much %EG at such a low level. I could be wrong, though... it's sort of a which comes first, the chicken or the egg, type of question. It is inefficient to have too much %EG when you can't carry the gold in any useful quantity, but in order to gain more levels so that more gold can be lugged around, it is necessary to have a proper life jewel, which requires* high %EG to build. A circular reasoning trap.

* Okay, “requires” is a strong word... it doesn't strictly “require” high %EG to build, but building it without high %EG is wildly inefficient. Worse than that, siphoning monetary resources into any projects other than more %EG before the necessary/desired maximum level of %EG is reached is also wildly inefficient! And yet, more life is needed to make the gathering of resources for more %EG more efficient – not just for carrying the gold, but for surviving the killing fields of the Throne of Destruction. Yeah, I definitely need to look into that whole process a lot more closely before I do anything like this again.

I also need to take a closer look at what items I save and for which I actively hunt before doing something like this again. I have a stash filled with useless crap that I spent hours and hours and hours collecting. Actively collecting, mind you – specifically and purposefully wasting time in order to collect. So many types of cube scrolls, 99% of which were of no use whatsoever; all of the pages and pages and pages of Demon Boxes, none of which were useful except, maybe, the “i have a crf jewel” type to save a bit of clicking; the Set and Unique item collections (not one Set item was ever useful, or could have been, and just a very few unique items were useful to speed things up marginally until level 85); low-level charms for beginning a character were also totally worthless, or at best with only the tiniest value. Those are just the ones that spring immediately to mind.

I would employ Fade Away rings earlier and for more characters – specifically the Amazon, the Druid, the Barbarian, the Sorceress, maybe even the Assassin, as it would seriously strengthen her Venomous attacks. I don't think that it is possible to over-estimate its power and usefulness for killing monsters more quickly once a damage jewel is in play.

I would certainly recommend – to myself, at the very least – that damage jewels be used as soon as they are available, or at the latest by the start of Nightmare difficulty.

I'm sure there is more, but it's not coming to me at the moment...

In closing, I just want to say that I enjoyed participating in this contest of the player against the vagaries of Zy-El (thanks timmermac!!), and I especially enjoy having finished it and the freedom to choose what to do next which the finishing makes possible.

Good luck to anyone who chooses to take on this challenge in the future!

Code: Select all

Name              Class             Level          Deaths
Pride             Amazon           10,000             1
Sloth             Assassin         10,000             2
Avarice           Necromancer      10,000             1
Lust              Barbarian        10,000             1
Wrath             Paladin          10,000             3
Gluttony          Sorceress        10,000             0
Envy              Druid            10,000             0
Deaths: 8  Levels: 70,000  Multiplier: 9.992  Score: 699,440

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Re: New tourney: The softcore rotation tournament

Post by timmermac » Fri Aug 07, 2020 4:24 pm

Wow. I go away for a few years and see what happens... Good job, Clersius. I think if I get a computer, I'll have to see if I can do another run of this tournament.
I'd like to apologize in advance for anything that I may say or do that could be construed as offensive as I slowly go NUTS. - Colonel O'Neill

I'm telling you, Teal'c. If we don't find a way out of this soon, I'm gonna' lose it.
"Lose it. " It means, "Go crazy. " "Nuts. " "Insane. " "Bonzo. " "No longer in possession of one's faculties. " "Three fries short of a Happy Meal. " "Wacko. "

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