druid is one of my favorite builds in the game. I think it is a powerful melee class, that can succeed with little gear. It's been a build I've been playing pretty consistently over the years as early as patch 1.08. It's been a ladder starter of mine multiple times, and I want to share how you can survive in hell with minimal gear. If you like melee but hesitate at the gear requirements then please read on.
I'm writing this with one goal in mind. I want to dispel the that a druid requires "end game" gear to be successful. I decided a few weeks ago to do a single player play through on HC using the plugY mod so I could write this guide.
Untwinked I was able to kill on hell difficulty playing hardcore. The weapons that got me through nightmare, and hell were an Edge, Insight, and Obedience runewords.
The Insight was used to fight through Worldstone level 2, level 3, I cleared the entire throne room plus all of minions before finally killing
So here is the disclaimer: This guide isn't going to come close to addressing best in slot. At times you will see my gear and think "What the hell is this guy doing?". You may think of a hundred ways that you can be better geared at a certain level. Great! That means your play through will be even better than mine.
The goal here is to show you what is possible with a druid on a budget of nothing, and how you can survive in Hell. If we can get you into Act 1 hell killing things and not dying, then in my eyes this guide was a success.
|20 Points (Maxed)|
|20 Points (Maxed)|
|20 Points (Maxed)|
|20 Points (Maxed)|
I want to be clear. These wolfs are not for damage, they are there to take hits in place of you, & your mercenary. Also it makes your grizzly a better damage sponge. Fights such as hell became very smooth.
|20 Points (Maxed)|
|1 Point Wonder|
|1 Point Wonder|
Prerequisites: , Summon , Wolf. 1 point only in each. Your wolf will be useful at low levels so use him while you can. , and the ravens I don't care about. Sorry druids.
Honorable Mention: . This will become a rant so I will put it behind this spoiler, if you don't care just skip it. It isn't necessary for the guide.
The Carrion Rant
Dire Wolf was a new one for me, its normally always been 20 points into . It always was, and is still a solid skill for me. As you will see in the play through later in this guide I tried to make it work here, but it kind of fell apart, and I switched out to dire wolf instead. I want to explain why, and explain why this skill does have a place in a druid.
If you ever played a druid before, and you go to use a regular red life potion, you know how useless those potions are. For all of new players out there you will start noticing this near the end of act 1 normal. By the time you are hitting nightmare/hell, if it isn’t a super health potion it is nearly useless, and what you really need are rejuvenation potions.
You will have to consume several super health potions, only to sit and wait for what seems like an for your health orb to fill back up.
solves this, every corpse it consumes it will heal back a portion of your life instantly. It will eat corpses pretty quickly, and every time it does it acts like a mini Rejuvenation Potion filling you up. Great QOL skill especially in public games like or runs where there are corpses everywhere.
During this run I put a few points in normal, but then didn’t have the spare points to add more, , , and are far more important. By the time I was progressing through nightmare this thing is getting killed instantly.
Now think about why this is. You enter a room, there are some demons, you run in and your minions/mercenary follow behind. You use , and the first demon drops dead at your feet. What does your do? It does its fucking job, and eats that corpse, which is right in front of you in melee range of everything you are fighting. In nightmare/hell with only a few points in this it will instantly die.
This is a much better skill if you are geared out with a lot of +to all skills on gear. Jalah’s Mane, a good amulet, Tomb Reaver etc. This is what I experienced in the past on battle.net, if you are geared out, its end game, is a great QOL skill. If you are progressing/leveling and your gear is trash it doesn’t work out.
So if you one day find yourself with a geared druid, and you have a spare respec, I would give it a shot. At level 20 every corpse your eats gets you back 10% of your life, and he eats these corpses pretty quickly so it like you are using rejuvenation potions. You will love this skill if you give it a chance. You should have enough +skills that your bear will be able to stand on his own without the hard points into dire wolf.
I love that little worm, but I'm biased.
So then my skills would be , , , , . All 5 maxed. 1 point in the others.
Fury Druid Strengths & Weaknesses
- Insanely high HP
- High single target damage with .
- Helpful summons to take hits instead of you
- People will love you for the Buff
- High movement speed thanks to + life leech built into the build!
- High attack rating from skills. Of all the possible melee builds you can make the combination of
Paladins can block better, but druids have the accuracy. & gets you a very high attack rating bonus compared to most others. Lets look at our Paladin friends. A level 20 , & gets you 210% & 135% attack rating bonus respectively. at level 20 comes in at a whopping 335% attack rating bonus, and grants 183% at level 20.
- Faster base attack speed with Axes, and polearms. If you look at something like a Decapitator, it will show that druids are faster with it than any other class.
- Bad blocking speed. A druid needs +200% increased blocking speed just so they can block just as well as a paladin with +32% from gear This isn't even factoring in .
- Your HP will get so freakishly high that red health potions will become nearly useless. You will start noticing this with minor potions near the end of act 1 into act 2. Give it enough time you will suck down 5 super health potions, and you have to wait for what seems like forever for your health globe to refill. You need to have rejuvenation potions
- Mana Burn & Drain are a direct counter to your entire build, its worse than what casters go through. Casters don't need to be in melee range, you do. If you are out of mana and you try to use
My advice: Try to position so your minions & mercenary are getting most of the hits not you. Suck down mana potions, and use . When you are out of mana with you will do a normal attack so that is something. your druid will just complain "Not enough mana" and do nothing. Mana burn stops you dead in your tracks.
-While eating Diablo's red hose attack
-While getting manaburned so now you don't have the mana to get back into form quickly
-Finally building up the courage to run at that doll to kill it.
I honestly don't know how this shit didn't kill me, but you get used to it.
My Advice: Before any big encounter, Diablo, dolls, Entering a hot TP, etc, cast in and out of form real fast. This will almost become second nature. skill has a time duration, and there is no timer on screen. At some point in your career you will without warning go into human form at the worst possible times losing your health bonus from . Some of mine include but aren't limited to..
- People hold weird myths about
Another weird is that Increased Attack Speed only matters on your weapon. Not True.
druids. Like that they are super gear dependent. We will cover that one with this guide.
Busting The Attack Speed Only Matters On Weapons Myth
This table is generated for a hypothetical druid that has a level 4 , is using a Large Axe, and has . This is a typical for act 1-2 normal.
The attack speed frame is 11, it is highlighted in grey in the picture above.
Let's pretend that this druid that I created a table for finds the absolute god drop early on that is Twitchthroe a unique armor. That is +20% increased IAS on body armor.
Many people will say that IAS is useless to a druid. But this table above shows what happens if we increase our non-weapon IAS by 20%. We attack faster at 10 frames.
As you increase IAS from non-weapon sources you just move to the right, so our new attack speed frame would be 10. Shown below is an updated chart showing the same druid now wearing a Twitchthroe.
How about we look at another example.
This druid is holding a Thresher, has zero +IAS anywhere, and is level 9. He would have an attack speed of 9 frames. You can look to the right of the number highlighted, if we were to add some IAS to a non equipment slot, it would increase our attack speed slightly to 8 frames.
This is exactly my druid set up currently, if I were to find lets say attack speed gloves, I would want to use them using an Obedience built in a Thresher.
So where is this Myth coming from? I have my opinions.
When you Google something like “Druid guide” every item section has things like Breath of the Dying, The Reaper’s Toll, Jalah’s Mane, Vampire Gaze, Fortitude runeword, Dracul's Grasp, etc. If you aren’t familiar with 2 this expensive stuff that is hard to come by.
In all of these guides they set up for you what your perfect gear should be, and then they tell you somewhere that IAS only matters on your weapon. If you are reading this far I’m sure you’re wondering; are they lying to me?
Well no, they aren’t, they are just keeping things as simple as possible. IAS is complex, your IAS attack frames chart is based on your level, your weapon IAS, Equipment IAS, did you take a shit this morning before or after your coffee? All of these factors are combined to create the complex tables you see above.
If a guide spells out all your end game gear, then the guide author can say "Yes only +IAS on your weapon matters if using this specific gear loadout that I've spelled out for you in this guide."
At some point that transformed into "IAS only matters on the weapon."
Lets look at a possible attack speed table for a geared, end game druid. This following table will show a druid using a Tomb Reaver with 2 shaels socketed in it.
What an absolute monster to aspire to! 100 + IAS on weapon, level 28 , this character has maxed and is getting +8 skills from gear somewhere.
We get 4.4 frames, if we move our finger to the right from the highlighted number, that shows what happens if we add non-weapon IAS. Nothing.
The point of all of this is that most players will read a guide meant for the end game, and take away that non-weapon IAS does nothing for the entire play through. So they may pass on decent gear especially early in a play through where it could really make a difference.
A good rule of thumb is that weapon IAS overrules equipment IAS.
If you are using an Obedience or Insight built in a Thresher, gloves with say +20% attack speed will be good for you, anymore maybe not.
WeaponsWe need to lean towards our strengths and away from our weaknesses. Our blocking is horrible, and our speed with certain weapon bases such as axes and polearms can be the best in the game depending on the exact base.
Here is the most heretical thing you will ever hear on d2. We aren't using shields on this Hardcore Play through. 2 handed weapons most of the run. We won't worry about blocking, and using two-handers will give us access to higher damage that we need. This is going to open up some interesting weapon choices.
What follows are the three weapons that I used to progress through the Hell difficulty.
Edge Runeword (Tir-Tal-Amn)
Yes its is a runeword for missile weapons. YES DRUIDS CAN USE BOWS AND CROSSBOWS IN FORM!!!
Honestly this entire class of items is the most slept on by druids at large, especially Edge. Later on in this guide I cover my play through, and this runeword got me through most of nightmare, and into hell where I was using it to farm successfully in act 1 hell. It is by far my favorite early game weapon for a druid, and I think this is hands down one of the best early game weapons any can get his hands on.
- IAS on weapon
- Insane increased damage vs demons & undead. Act 1 Hell farming becomes accessible with this.
- Life leech
- Prevent Monster heal
- for your summons & merc. Hey every little bit helps.
- 15% reduced vendor prices!! Amazing for gambling
Just be sure to equip Bolts/Arrows or it won't work.
Obedience Runeword (Hel-Ko-thul-Eth-Fal)
This is the most expensive item in this entire guide. You will need to divorce Jeff Bezos so you can afford the Ko, and Fal rune, but its an incredible weapon. This is the best weapon any person can realistically get, and it will take you through all of hell. I got Fal from nightmare forge, and the Ko dropped in on Hell.
- level 21 . Damage bonus, and a big attack rating boost
- Crushing Blow
- Resist all 20-25%! See! Who needs a shield?
- -20% requirements. Less points in STR/DEX means more in VIT for a higher health pool.
- 370% enhanced damage with no RNG on the rolls. Every single roll is 370%
- Hit recovery is amazing
- The largest perk is that the will allow you to damage & kill physical immunes.
Insight Runeword (Ral-Tir-Tal-Sol)
For the same reasons that millions of casters make these for their act 2 mercenaries is exactly why we would want to hold one as well. To drive the point home of how good this runeword is for us, this was the weapon I used to kill on hell difficulty. This includes clearing worldstone levels 2, 3, the entire throne room, and all of minions. A full run on hardcore with a Insight in hand.
- I'll start with the least obvious,
Remember earlier in this guide when I was bitching and moaning about mana burn? This solves that entirely.
Imagine you get hit by a mana burn minion, and now your mana is zero. If you don’t have a Mana Potion you need to disengage as you can no longer .
Let’s assume you have some mana leech somewhere in your gear. All you need is 4 mana. 4 Mana means you can do 1 Fury attack, and hopefully leech more mana back to Fury again. So when you get mana drained to zero, will get you to that 4 mana you need quickly. This item will negate that entire downside of this build aura is fucking amazing. If you don't use this yourself put it on your mercenary ASAP.
- Here is another not obvious bonus, the faster cast rate. As a we are a summoning hybrid. You will need to recast minions quickly in the heat of battle in between attacks. This helps you do that slightly faster. Not necessary, but this mod isn't wasted on us.
- Enchanced damage is not as high as Obedience, but it comes with
- A nice Attack rating boost
The Play ThroughNormal
For normal difficulty, and nightmare players were set to 3, by the time I entered Hell I set it to players 1
Put your skill points into , and . For now only put 9 points in , the rest go to , , and filling out , wolf, dire wolf, , with one point.
Once you hit level 30 is the highest priority. It should get every point until maxed. Then , & , then Dire Wolf, then in the late game last.
Starting out you will have a 1 handed weapon, and may even pick up other better one handed weapons, can’t help that.
Get your up so you can use a Large Axe. A socketed Large Axe with some chipped gems is all you need to get you through act 1. Remember Druids have better attack speed with two handed axes than other classes. It will surprise you how quickly you are swinging.
Once you get to level 21 you will be able to gamble for poleaxes. This is what I did; I gambled pole axes, large axes, battle axes until I came across something useful.
Large axes will be faster than poleaxes, but the damage on poleaxes will be higher. It just depends on what you find.
If you get a Tir + El, make a Steel runeword in a 2 socket Battle Axe base.
One of the best parts of the normal difficulty druid play through is act 2. As soon as you craft , USE IT. This is literally the best weapon you can get your hands on at the time. Have fun with it until you have to give it up to get to . The striking sound effect is best in slot for a weapon, so enjoy that. This is a gateway drug for a Ribcracker one day, but don’t worry! You will see later in this guide I made out really well with a different staff weapon. Bonus points if you know the staff weapon I'm talking about, it was mentioned earlier in this guide.
I will focus mainly on the weapons, that is what is important. Though I got the god drop of an Hotspur early on, that is what you see there. Everyhing else is of a similar level to the Poleaxe: crappy. I got this Poleaxe from gambling back when I was in act 2, it killed , and as well.
I started the pictures with Diablo as this was the first time I felt any real sense of danger in the game, that red is no joke, it.
Chance to hit & your level
after a level up
Two pictures at once so I figured it would better to throw in a spoiler. Your chance to hit is calculated from several factors only one of them is your attack rating. One factor is your level vs the level of the thing you are trying to hit. The point is even leveling can help, though I will be honest, I wish I went with the mercenary instead.
Ancients was pretty straightforward, your grizzly will easily tank 2 while you handle a 3rd.
For the 3rd, 4th, and 5th waves kite the minions back. Wave 3 you don't want to fight in the middle of hydras. I like to clear the entire throne room before fighting the minions if I'm playing by myself. It allows me to use the whole map to kite them around so they can be separated. Once 1-2 break away kill them. Never try to take on the entire Lister pack by yourself, that will get you killed on any difficulty. Lister and Diablo were really the only things that made my health globe move in uncomfortable ways.
If you can kill the minions of , then shouldn't be a concern, tedious, but safer. My Poleaxe is now rare! I found this from gambling of course. With a few points in it gives you the idea of what you need by the time you get to . (Yes I have a gambling problem)
I want to point out that I would do one thing differently, that is making an Edge if I could, though I lacked an Amn rune at the time.
Before moving on to nightmare you need to improve two things.
Your level, and your resistances. The resistances are far more important, you could be lvl 45, but if your resistances are negative in nightmare you aren't ready.
Yes I'm level 36. With my resists being what they are I'm fine in act 1 nightmare at this level. Instead of running worldstone keep over and over, I will be better served just moving on into nightmare. This only isn't true if you are online and have access to back to back runs with a sorc teleing, then sure get to lvl 40 something. Otherwise we can continue.
I forgot to get screen of the l whoops, I used the same weapon I did for .
More importantly this beauty I'm holding!! I came across a Siege Crossbow in act 2 nightmare, I can't remember if I cubed the three sockets or if I found it this way. Either way I turned it into an Edge right away.
Took out no problem.
I'm trying to keep this weapon focused but it is worth pointing this out. is a resistance check. Before I was okay with my resists being positive, by now I need them as high as possible.
Keep an eye out for a 3-4 socket armor you like so you can do this. Fill it full of Thuls, Orts, Whatever you need to get your resists higher. This armor never changed the rest of the play through, I was wearing this on the Hell kill.
and the entire council & Durance of hate experience was smoother than I thought it would be. Those areas are full of undead, and demons. I have the Edge against them Sorry. I couldn't help it. Give me just one.
The game got slower at the because it is a lot of living non demon enemies and many of them just tend to run from you. It was annoying more than anything else.
Diablo took time just by the nature of how I fight him. Hit and run with . More on that in the advice section later on.
took time, but I just hate the fight, but I never felt unsafe. Just tedious. If you can handle Lister you can handle , just be patient.
Entering Hell Difficutly
Upon killing on nightmare this is what my druid looks like in hell. Before entering nightmare we don't care if we are 36 or 43. I tend to get bored of normal and move on diving into nightmare just fine as long as my resistances are right.
Hell is different. You. Will. Die.
You need to stay in nightmare farming worldstone keep levels 2,3 and even the throne room. I didn't bother with minion waves. I was more interested in items.
Aim for the low 70s, 72 is a good target. If you are on battle.net please drop out of the telebaals a few levels early at around 65. We need more than just experience that the tele sorc is working overtime getting for you, we need gear. Worldstone level 2, 3, & the throneroom is a good place to do that, and you will get decent exp. You are giving up solely on experience gain so you can focus on both that and item collection at the same time.
Another large red flag is that -5 fire resist. Trying to push hell with that will get you killed.
Being a guide all about showing what is possible with the worst gear, I still attempted to push hell with the stats above, and it didn't go well. I couldn't even clear The Den of Evil. I was taking too much damage, and my Edge which was the golden ticket to power me through nightmare is now no longer enough damage. Back to nightmare we go.
Once I finished farming nightmare worldstone I had the following gear, and I was ready for act 1 hell. Its all in the spoiler below. It's a lot of pictures so I put them in this spoiler and cropped them to be smaller.
Act 1 Hell Ready Druid
The biggest gear change is my Edge runeword. The damage wasn’t enough for hell so I replaced it with another Edge runeword! The main theme for most things was my resists. I did find an angelics amulet, and a ring, they dropped back in nightmare I got lucky. Though even without the bonus my chance to hit Fallen in hell is 81%
This is an Edge runeword in a Pellet Bow base, which is an elite version of the Light Crossbow.
Aside from your resists, and level, another big reason we are farming nightmare Worldstone keep is for gear.
Elite bases drop there, useful ones. You need to keep your eyes peeled for things that you can turn into a new Edge or even an Insight. The base damage on the Pellet Bow is almost doubled from what I was using.
Keep a look out for resist charms of any size as well. All the charms you see in those pictures are either life or resistance charms of various types.
The Circlet I gambled for, the main reason I’m wearing it is the resistances. There are great things to be found by clearing world Stone keep levels 2, and 3. You will be well served doing walks clearing worldstone level 2 & 3.
With the gear pictured above I was able to clear den, and start progressing through act 1 hell!!!
Just a reminder to please check out the HC advice section of this guide, one of those strategies is being executed in the picture above.
Now if you make it to this point where you are comfortably killing different parts of Act 1 hell. Effectively I feel like I’ve done my job. At this point you have access to areas that can drop anything in the game, you can level and collect gear until you feel comfortable progressing.
Early Hell ProgressionThe absolute best place to farm is going to be the . This is a level 85 area, this means anything in the game can drop, even better is that it is only full of skeletons and zombies, while still dangerous it is safer than the pit by a mile. With an Edge this is where we want to be.
The actual run is easy, you start at . Kill shit, have fun, show some Fallen who is boss. Build charges while doing so and follow the road right to where the is.
All we need from here are what we have always needed, good bases.
Theshers - Try for either 4 sockets or 5 sockets. If 4 you have a good Insight, if 5 you have amazing base for the Obedience runeword.
Colossus Voulge – This is a great base for one reason. It only gets 4 max sockets. This is a great candidate for one of your socket quest rewards. When you use that quest reward on a base it always gives max sockets possible for that item’s level. If you get a Colossus Voulge from hell it will always be 4 sockets. This will be an easy Insight runeword in an elite base giving you very high damage. (4.4k at level 83), though it will be slower than the other options.
This is a terrible base for your mercenary because he will need to be level 90+ to even use it due to the high strength requirement.
Elder Staff – Yes a staff. Max 4 sockets, This is the base I used for the Insight that I killed on hell with. One of the incredible things about this base is the low stat requirements, one of the things that helped with hell is all the extra points I could dump into . With this weapon I went into the fight with 4.5k hp.
Shillelagh – I will add this on here because it can also get 4 sockets, I would make an Insight out of this in a heartbeat. Though from what I understand this base is quite rare. The Elder Staff Insight was and is better than expected, so this must be good too?
These bases are absolutely necessary to your progression. Anything else you find is gravy. During my time grinding I found a Ko rune in , Aldur's Advance which you will see me wearing, arreats which I mentioned before, and some skill grand charms that I vendored.
This is also mentioned in the advice section, but STAY OUT OF THE PITS. That is a dangerous area that will get you killed. I will also add where you find The Countess as well, I’m of the opinion that place is a trap.
Dark archers in hell difficulty are among some of the most dangerous enemies you encounter in the game, if they roll the wrong combination of mods you will be staring in disbelief at your corpse.
When you google “easy places to MF in hell”, you will see people that say the pit is easy. Those are absolutely softcore players saying that. Don’t listen to them. (Sorry no offense my softcore friends.)
Even progressing through the rest of act 1 and even into act 2 is a much safer adventure than walking into the deadly abyss that is the pit. This is what I did, if I got bored of the I pushed into the catacombs and act 2 just fine.
As I said before you can progress through Act 1 into Act 2 at any point. I was able to take out Andy with the Edge Pellet Bow. Though.. we run into issues with act 2.
Act 2 & 3 will become slow with all of the creatures that have immune to physical. If you go with a merc, that means that they have a lot of elemental cold damage on their melee attack. It is Azrael not me that is bringing down these locusts. So why the fuck am I attacking it you ask?
Well, one of the dangerous and beautiful things about is that it attacks random targets around you. Even though I’m targeting the Black locust, the other 4 attacks are wiping out those baby maggots allowing Azrael to focus on the Locusts. A beautiful example of teamwork.
The dropped this 5 socket Thresher. I already had a Fal rune from nightmare forge, and the Ko dropped from in a1 hell. This is the most expensive item in this entire guide, and god it is good.
Even more impressive than the item, Azrael is alive no reviving him in town. Once I kill hell you will see how bad his gear is. The only reason he lives is due to the grizzly. makes this fight relatively safe for hell.
Not much to say about act 3 & 4. The Obedience cleared both act 3 & 4 Insight.
Funny story about that, I was determined to get an Insight on my druid all the way back at the beginning of nightmare, believe it or not the Edge runeword was a happy accident born out of desperation because I couldn’t find any Insight base, not for me or my mercenary. I just thought it was weird RNG, and I would have to be happy writing a guide just shilling Edge, and Obedience.
I was in killing and pushing my way for that kill, when all of a sudden as if the skies parted, and RNGESUS himself laid down a Elder Staff base in front of me. As soon as that staff rattled on the ground I knew what I was going to do, I brought that staff straight to . That beautiful bastard drilled 4 sockets into the Elder Staff, and I had my first Insight the entire play through ready to go.
I restarted the game, began with the Elder Staff in hand, and progressed through world Stone level 2 & level 3.
Yes Obedience is strictly a better weapon, but I was determined to showcase what a druid can do.
Hell ancients was done with the Obedience because I didn’t have the elderstaff until Worldstone level 1 or 2.
Honestly, better than expected, there were a few moments where I thought I was going to die. The damage Lister can put out is scary, but my grizzly can take it. You can’t see the Insight aura, but the only reason my health is 4514 is because of the low stat requirements of the Elder Staff Insight.
took longer than I'm willing to admit, but overall a fun weapon. The Elder Staff base is quite fast, if I can use it on Baal, then please keep an open mind on Insight in general if you are hurting for a weapon.
Here is my mercenary gear as of killing
I don’t even remember when I got the The Tannr Gorerod. What really helped my merc shine was the max level , along with strong minions. This shows how hard of a time I had finding an Insight base.
I learned a neat trick mentioned in the advice section. Partizans drop in normal cows, and if you use your socket quest on one THAT YOU FIND FROM NORMAL COWS, it will be a guaranteed 4 socket base.
When D2r ladder hits, I will farm normal cows when I think it is safe.
If this was D2R and I were to keep grinding for levels, runes and items, my next goals for this character would be an Oath Runeword in a Feral Axe. As far this guide is concerned it is too expensive but save any Feral Axe bases you find for this runeword you won’t regret it.
The following isn't my picture, I googled it but I want you to see it.
Rain runeword, personally I enjoy the on striking effect. You be better served with a Smoke runeword. To each their own though, just make sure your resists are right.
Lastly another thing to keep an eye out for are good two socket druid helms that are with useful +skills. You can make really good Lore runewords out of them, and they will keep whatever +skills they have.
Boss Strategies& - I lump these two in the same category because your strategy to kill them will be relatively the same. Your grizzly summon is the star of the fight here. When you cast grizzly these bosses at least for me always seem to prioritize killing the grizzly first, so much so that you can see that even my mercenary is surviving the fights in hell difficulty.
When your grizzly is about to die resummon it, and the boss will more than likely go back to wailing on the poor thing. If not just step away a few yards, and it definitely will. There will be times when you are casting your grizzly often weaving casting it in between .
Sometimes the grizzly will die often, there was one encounter where the bear could only handle 3-4 hits. I feel like this was still in nightmare, I just kept consistently recasting.
Use antidote potions for Andy, not only does it cure the poison but it gives you a temporary poison resistance buff. Thawing potions does the same to your resistances for cold damage, great for .
– Make sure your resists are high for . Before fighting him on nightmare is a good time to socket an armor with thul, Ort, and anything else you need.
his attack, and a cold orb known as “ missile”. Both are high damage, you may want to be light on your paws similar to Diablo.
There are pillars near the moat where I will always try to fight him. Just in case I take too much damage I can back off, and those pillars will help protect me as I run to heal/tp/cry in a corner etc.
Your grizzly will be helpful, just please if your health drops below say 70% back off and heal somehow. You don’t want to be hit with one of his spell attacks with low hp. I see players die this way all the time, a single spell can wipe you out if you aren't prepared.
Diablo - On all 3 difficulties I didn’t even bother using at all if I had it. Honestly , and will get you killed on Diablo for the same reasons.
Let’s say you commit to a attack. That is 5 quick attacks, now I could be wrong, but as far as I understand the instant you click , there is nothing you can do. Your druid can’t move until you complete those 5 attacks. If Diablo decides to cast his while you , you could be killed before you even complete those 5 attacks, and you can’t move. This is a common way I see zealot paladins die online.
We will, at least I will always use instead. It is less damage, and I may hit less but this is not a fight that we want to go toe to toe with the big red guy. The absolute safest thing you can do is run around him in a circle until he casts his red attack. As soon as he completes it that will be an opening to get in a quick strike or two. Then run back out repeat. Pretend you are playing dark souls. You will get good at timing this; watch out for successive red hose attacks. This will be slow, but it is your highest chance of coming out alive. To my zealot paladin friends consider putting aside and using instead for the fight.
Oh yea pull him out of that central pentagram. You need him in an open area to pull this off.
Remember Float like a butterfly, bite like a .
Hell Difficulty was the only time this fight was scary. Ancients roll with random mods on higher difficulties. The first thing you need to do is do not engage, look at their mods. You will have to make a split second judgment on if you think you can take them or not.
I had two out of the three with physical immune, so that was an easy choice. Remake the game.
With my gear the Obedience will allow for 1 physical immue, but I don’t think I want to deal with two.
If you decide you are happy with the immunities, consider their damage. By this point of the game you should have a good feel for judging incoming damage via your minions/mercenary. Even with my mercenaries’ gear which was posted earlier he was able to hold his own, he was able to handle tanking one of the ancients while I dealt with one. By the time I killed one my mercenary died too, yea he was jugging health potions.
If your mercenary drops, and your grizzly is melting away there be some combination of extra strong/spectral hit/extra fast that we just don’t want to deal with.
On nightmare, and hell they get random modifiers 1 on nightmare, and two in hell. Remember on hell be sure to judge if you even want to engage them based on the mods, otherwise back out and remake the game rerolling the mods.
Finally drop potions on the ground, put them everywhere so you can pick them up as you or your mercenary needs them. I like to put a town portal scroll in my for this fight, so if I’m running low on potions I can make a fast town portal.
Minions & Act 3 council
I lump these together because the idea is the same for the lister pack as it is for the council.
Pull them out, and separate them.
Clear some of or all of it first so you have room to pull out the council members, run near them, then run away. Some will follow, and you can kill a few 1 by 1 this way.
You want to do the same with minions particularly the Lister pack. Playing on your own without a group I would personally clear the entire map. This gives you plenty of space to kite Lister along, sometimes you will be running in circles, but you need to separate them.
This was one of the more dangerous encounters on any difficulty.
As the minions of chase you, 1-3 will eventually break away. Take those out first. Spreading out, and separating the pack is the to victory here.
I know you can park them in a corner then go on and fight , but I feel like killing Lister even though hard is an important benchmark. If you can survive Lister you have nothing to worry about fighting .
Minion wave 1 & 2 are the only two waves I would attempt to engage head on without trying to pull a few away first.
Tedious fight, his moveset is not a good time for a druid. You’ve got his cold attack that knocks you back across the screen. You’ve got a mana drain attack he will consistently hit you with. If not that he is cloning himself, and you aren’t sure which is which because you were knocked a screen away.
I’ve never felt unsafe in terms of dying, just very tedious on all difficulties. Honestly if you can clear the Lister pack then is a slam dunk just be patient.
Use his tentacles to build charges, they are very easy to hit.
I’ve learned that if you town portal to town, and run to crying his clone will disappear when you go back to the fight.
Useful Cube RecipesYou will notice that we really care about weapon bases here. We want those to drop more than anything else. (Save for like a Jalal’s Mane, Tomb Reaver )
1 Ral + 1 Amn + 1 Perfect Amethyst + normal base weapon = sockets on that base item.
The number of sockets are random and capped by the level of the weapon. Between this recipe, and all the Edge runewords you will make you will be hurting for Amn runes. Horde them.
If you aren’t finding 3 socket bows/crossbows or 4-5 socket polearms/staves on your own this great to do.
Crafting is more for your merc, but you may be able to make a useful blood . I didn’t this play through, but if you have the mats and a base it is worth a gamble.
My favorite bases for axes are the Large Axe/Military Axe/Feral Axe or the Battle Axe/Tabar/Decapitator
The Blood Helm, or armor will give your mercenary useful life leech mods.
The hitpower or armor will give your mercenary the chance to cast when struck. I love this mod on a mercenary if you aren’t running .
It’s honestly up to you, I will list out my three favorites.
Normal Act 2 offensive – .
This is going to be a great source of attack rating. There were times I wish I had this instead of . In retrospect I wish I went with this at the start, on d2r this is what I will do, then load him up with chance to cast on being struck.
Normal Act 2 Combat – .
So why not aura? I like the healing, plus with my gear being utter garbage I feel like the defense bonus wouldn’t be helpful as much as if I was twinked out with Sigons set. If your mercenary has an Insight aura's heal is boosted.
Nightmare Act 2 Defensive – .
Slows everything around your mercenary, also it adds cold damage to your mercenaries’ melee attack making them useful for taking out physical immunes. My favorite by far.
General Hardcore Advice
- If you have never played or it’s been a few years, give Diablo 1 a play through. Even if just the first few levels. It is a fantastic game; I personally believe it aged like the finest wine. The survival skills you need to even beat the first 5 levels I think translates really well into Diablo 2 HC. Slow paced, don’t let yourself get surrounded, use doors to funnel demons for easy kills. The last one is what made the , Jail, Catacombs, and the a safer place to farm in hell, those doorways are really useful.
- Let your mercenary/minions go in first, they should be taking the majority of hits not you. If you are getting hit, take a few steps back, maybe 5 yards or so, and your enemies should quickly engage your summons. Move back in, and Fury something. This is a great way to handle mana burn too.
- Sometimes you don’t want to use , you can’t control what targets near you are hit. Sometimes you want to be surgical with . Such as enchanted, dolls, etc.
- My mercenary killed 90% of all dolls in the play through. Don’t be a hero, let Azrael/Waheed/et al. earn their pay.
- Actively cast your grizzly at dangerous ranged attackers. There will be times you can’t ranged packs. Cast your near them. Most of them will attack the grizzly. The damage will be high, and you may need to resummon a few times. But you can pick off the ranged attackers safely while they hit the grizzly.
- Judge how dangerous an encounter is by how your summons handle the damage. Thinking about taking out that pack of dark archers? Cast your grizzly at them first, if your grizzly’s health melts faster than wax in the Arizona summer then consider backing off.
- Evaluate threats. When you approach unique monsters mouse over them, and read their mods. This will be important in hell. There will be combinations that will kill you quickly if not careful, and others you may just want to walk away from.
- If you cast a town portal from your or inventory it will not cause your character to go through a cast animation. For some fights having a TP in your will be useful so when you run out of potions you can quickly get out of a bad situation.
- When in doubt ESC out.
- Slow the fuck down. With Fallen, nothing worse than a lvl 1 walk of shame back to Warriv. it will be easy to just speed through the game, something and die. Take your time, smell the roses, kill some
- If there are too many monsters to handle at once, get their attention and run away. Some will follow, spreading them out so you can kill a few at a time.
- Speaking of evaluating threats, if a creature has something like fire enchanted, take a few steps back and let your Mercenary deal the finishing blow.
- % Chance to cast on being struck is a great mod for your Mercenary. Keep an eye out for it on helms or armor.
- Hell Difficulty is brutal. While progressing there will be times when your mercenary is dying a lot. If you run out of gold in hell, go back to Nightmare kill Pindle/Shenk a few times. Vendor whatever find you will build back up some gold fast.
- Listen. Some of the most dangerous creatures you can hear before you see them. Dolls are a great example. If you listen you will hear their footsteps, it is very faint but it is there. If you pay attention for this you will almost always hear them coming before seen in places like durance of hate.
- In places that are known to have dolls, fish them out. Don’t run into a room blindly, cast one of your summons in there first. If you are playing in a group, this is a great thing to do to help your party on Swarm your summon, let the sorceresses in your group nuke them from orbit. runs in throne room. Spam your summons down a long hallway. When dolls
- Lower Kurast runs. I didn’t bother this time around because my goal was to go as budget as possible. All I needed was a Fal, Ko, or an Insight apparently. If I’m farming for high runes for endgame gear it is one of my favorite spots. lets you speed through the map, a Harmony runeword on switch will grant for extra speed. The Harmony does require a Ko rune, make sure you have your Obedience first.
Though an unpopular opinion I’ve done this on b.net ladders as well, just watch out for the timer that will ban you if make games too quickly. One of my best geared druids came from this. When I make a game online I will just do something like , , . Thus avoiding any timer issues, I like popping every single thing I find in anyway so I take my time. Keep an eye out for Thresher racks.
Druid is top tier for doing
- I didn’t learn this until after the fact, but Partizans will drop in normal cows. This is the exceptional version of a Poleaxe.
Partizans that drop in normal cows will always get 4 sockets from the socket quest reward.
This is a good way to get your hands on a good Insight base early for you or your mercenary.
- Treat everything you kill in Hell Difficulty as a victory. You are gaining experience to level, and you are getting chances for reasonable things to drop. You can do this!