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Bare Necessities 101

From Diablo 2 Wiki

This quick guide was written by Armin in 1998. It's archived here without structural changes, and just a few grammatical and formatting fixes.

The Bare Necessities

Even after 2.5 years it seems that character evaluation and equipment discussion never die out... Fine and dandy. But the thing that really disturbs me is the setups most frequently discussed...

Most are completely out-of-reach and outa probability "dream" setups, idealized wishful thinking that is, more often then not, not entirely helpful in what to choose from the things you actually FIND when you're relatively new to the game and your character hasn't done 250 hell/hell clears en route to lvl 50 yet... ;)

Well, what shall I do with "I'd like RC/APoPrec/KSoH/2 obszod and a dragonzod for Warriors" when the things I can choose from are much less than adequate in fact...?

Or, as Chief Miles O'Brian would say: what are the "must have" "should have" and "would be nice" parts? ;)

IMHO, 90% of the things most frequently discussed in the DSF fall into the "would be nice" or I'd call it "luxury" department. In classic Diablo every character can succeed wth much less than par equipment, even if it's not some whacky subclass.

So this is my (entirely personal) opinion about the "must haves" for every class, so that the character can function normally.

"Normally" I would define as: being able to be played everywhere, including hell/hell without major changes in style and tactics from what people would generally regard as "standard" Warrior, Rogue or Sorcerer.

Playing with sub-optimal gear always means you'll be going slowly, carefully and it will require much more skill and practice than a perfect set of items. But not changing your whole style of play and ways to handle a situation completely, like it would be required for some subclasses. Note: it is, for instance, possible to play a shieldless low-AC warrior, but he won't exactly play very much like a "normal" warrior. :)

So this is my opinion about the real bare necessities - or translate: priorities - for the three classes:


  • ANY amount of resistances
  • +5 to magic
  • all the important spells at halfway decent levels

That's IT :) Honestly. That's all the difference between a fully capable sorcerer and a BNM.

Everything above is luxury :) A sorcerer has an insane amount of hit points once he uses Mana Shield. So 1% res all (if there was such an item) would be enough for the only difference that REALLY matters a lot: getting stunned or not by spell attacks. A sorcerer has the easiest time of all classes avoiding to be hit at all - no need to have maxed resists or even be close. Stone curse and some dodging are good enough. The only reason a BNM dies from spell attacks at times is that dog spit, blood stars and firebolts actually put him into hit recovery ;)

+5 to magic is all you need to read EVERY book later on and max spell levels. A naked mage already has more than enough mana, and 100% to-hit with spells.

So, basically, a topaz dagger of magic makes a fully capable sorcerer... (I gotta admit, my "bare necessities" mage back then actually used an emerald staff of Wizardry as his only item - adding an obsidian amulet of harmony as a "would be nice" item already makes it boring ;)


  • Either:
    • a bow
    • decent resists
  • Or:
    • a fast block shield
    • a decent weapon
    • useful AC
    • decent resists

Requirements for the bow are low: a rogue with maxed dex hits almost every time with any bow, the only thing that is important is you do enough damage to stun. Early on a rogue might need a +damage bow and/or some stat adders for that, a naked lvl 40+ rogue does fine with a non-magical short bow ;)

As a rogue doesn't have the sorcerer's insane hit points OR almost unlimited stone curse ability, she needs some helpful resists. Also, her bow doesn't kill as fast as a sorcerers' spells - she'll simply take more punishment dealing with magic attackers.

Max res all would be nice, but are no must. Everything in the 50% vicinity will keep a careful rogue alive.

Note that with a bow, while AC "would be nice", with a bow that stuns it's in no way necessary IF one takes it a bit slow.

Now, with melee weapons, the pick is a bit different. A rogue can be a very good melee fighter, but NOT with just about any non magical sword and shield...A fast block shield is almost a must in order to use her insane blocking to good effect (it actually doubles her block rate - from 0,2 sec to 0,1 sec). She doesn't have the warrior's damage bonus and no critical hit, also swings a weapon slower... a +damage or +speed weapon is a "should have"... She might also consider some +to-hit as her to-hit with weapons is lower than with a bow and might actually be a bit short.. should be around 200% on screen in hell/hell. Note: it need NOT be perfect, but missing a lot is very bothersome.

And in this case I added "useful" AC... Because blocking ONLY would slow a rogue down a lot. A warrior kills faster with most melee weapons, as he swings faster and has critical hit. He also recovers faster from hits, so a rogue who lives on blocking ALONE won't do as well as a warrior doing likewise. Blocklock is very tiresome for a rogue. AC that keeps her being hit down to about every other time is very helpful. No need for the fabled "auto-hit" AC, but something around 240+ isn't that difficult to reach with a shield-using rogue. (Blessed full plate, decent hat and Stormshield is already WAY above ;)


  • a good weapon
  • good melee protection
  • good resists

As most know, a Warrior is the most equipment-dependent class, so I wrote "good" in all 3 cases - but good is still a LOT below KsoH and 2 obsidian zodiacs ;)

What does "good" mean: A good weapon is, mainly, one with a HIGH to-hit bonus. Everything else is "would be nice". Any weapon that gives you around 190% to-hit on screen is OK for hell/hell, again, it needn't be perfect, but hitting 3 outa 4 times at least is very helpful ;)

Good melee protection can be one out of 2 things: AC or blocking (you'll need a shield for that, of course ;). As a warrior goes in close, he needs the ability to handle at least 2 or 3 enemies at once, or he'll be seriously tiptoeing forward and stone cursing like crazy ;)

AC needn't be perfect, but it should block more attacks that get through to keep you out of stunlock. Around 250-260 is OK even against some meaner enemies in hell/hell.

Blocking, if you rely on it, should be as perfect as possible OTOH. The dex needed for that is 220-2*clvl against the toughest enemies in hell/hell. That's 160 dex for a lvl 30 warrior tackling a hell/hell blood Knight ;) Try to get close if it's your *only* protection.

Note: I often found it MUCH easier to get dex to 160 than getting AC above 280... so my warriors were OFTEN low AC Warriors even way back ;)

A combo of the two can work fine as well. AC 240 and 130 (just to pick an example) dex work quite well against MOST enemies in fact. Always as long as you don't get swarmed, of course.

A warrior who goes up close MUST be able to take some magic punishment once in a while without getting into trouble. Resistances should thus be as good as you can get. Above 60% to feel comfortable is a "should have", IMHO.

Well, be glad and rejoice if you find some of the would be nice stuff =) But don't get obsessed about it. Managing without it can often be very fun and rewarding.

Take Care.