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Beyond Naked Mage 101

From Diablo 2 Wiki

Beyond Naked Mages (BNMs) are Sorcerers who use only "cursed" equipment with negative stats. This style is meant to add some balance to the overpowered Sorcerer character, thus making the play style more challenging and the game more fun.

This guide to playing a "Beyond Naked Mage" was written by Armin in 1998. It is reproduced in this wiki with some grammatical and formatting fixes, but no changes to the content.

BNM Tips and Tricks

As there are some new converts to the beyond naked way, I thought I'd share some of the tips 'n tricks that helped me through the last, say, about 1,3 billion BNM experience points ;-)

Go Slowly

The #1 basic secret of the whole style is: go slowly ;)

Sounds easy enough, but just what exactly "slow" means can differ greatly. The main point is:

Never activate more monsters than you can kill before they reach you.

That can be as few as 3 skeletons in the beginning, as much as 10 Balrogs and 6 Azure Drakes if you're a lvl 48 BNM in hell/hell ;)

(Did that yesterday... eaaaasy going with lvl 15 Stone curse, Fireball and lvl 11 CL ;)

And a trivial, yet important matter: turn corners on the OUTSIDE. If you choose the long way, you'll have a moment to react, if a monster is waiting just around the corner ;)

NEVER be frugal with mana. Mana is your lifeblood, your offense, your defense, never try to save mana. Fire away and fill up on blue pots. Small ones in the beginning, and only big ones as soon as money is galore (and it'll soon be). Money management is easy as can be: sell EVERYTHING you find for blue pots and books.

Learn to make every shot count. Even a BNM starts with the most powerful starting weapon that there is: lvl 2 firebolt kills almost everything in one shot on levels 1 and 2 of the dungeon. Practise to line up for the kill. Shots along the dungeon axis or at 45-degree angle are much more likely to score a hit. Use doors and natural choke points to line up critters for the kill.

Know your enemies. A normal sorcerer has some error margin and can allow himself to think a moment which spell to use. The name for a BNM shooting Fireballs at Lava Maws is: Corpse ;)

I suggest you get a copy of Jarulf's Guide, print it and look up monster's resistances and immunities. Soon enough you'll know 'em all by heart ;)

Shrine Hunting

Go on some shrine hunts.

Important ones: Religious shrines - the only way to repair cursed gear. Hidden shrines raise the durability of all equipped items by 10, while lowering the durability of one item by 10. (Usually the shield slot is lowered). In the long run all items will increase in durability.

And the most beloved one: enchanted shrines. Raise ALL known spell levels by one, decrease only one (often CL) by 1. THE way to get all your spells to level 15. Remember: spells are all you have. Invest some time (and lotsa money) in your spell levels! ;)

HANDS OFF bad shrines or ALL goat shrines/cauldrons: you can't afford to lose 10% of your max mana to a sacred, fascinating or ornate shrine!!!

Scout ahead with magic

Use recon spells and filters.

My #1 favourite of all is guardian. Sees invisible foes (no trouble with illusion weavers ;), fires around corners, stuns and kills non-fire resistant critters even in hell difficulty. I always have a Guardian ahead of me to scout ahead and look around corners.

Listen to the sounds when it fires. Do you hear an angry hiss? Get ready for snakes. Do you hear an Argh? Get ready for Knights.

Do you hear nothing? get ready for fire immunes.

Elemental goes around corners, too and hits packs of mages while you're safe from their shots. Same goes for Bone spirit for non-magic immunes.

Flame Wave, cast down a corridor will bring out non-fire immunes and once they are fireballed to death, dealing with the immunes alone gets much easier.

Charged bolt is nice to flood rooms with (even deals good damage at high levels! ;)

Cherish your Golem.

It'll be your ONLY weapon against triple immunes later. The difference in efficiency between a lvl 3 and lvl 15 Golem is ENORMOUS. More pointers on Golem and lotsa other spells are in my Guide to Spellcraft.

Put ALL lvl up points to magic.

While this is prudent for any mage, it is the only sane thing to do for a BNM. No other stat gives you ANYTHING. Magic and mana are everything ;)

You're not going to hit ANYTHING over the head. You're not going to live if they reach you. Str, dex and Vit don't help a bit.

Get Mana Shield ASAP

Even for 16000 at Adria ;)

Avoid and Evade

Learn "Happy Feet"

Keep moving. Keep an eye on your enemies, NOT on your own character. Learn to dodge spell attacks. With some practice, you can move up and down in front of a row of witches or Advocates without ever getting hit. The quick casting time of a sorcerer lets you throw out Fireballs or CL on the move, while dodging attacks easily. Just keep zig-zagging and fire balling and don't stand still ;)

When in doubt: stone curse some more =)

Statues don't hit back and are almost never missed with spells. Learn your hotkeys and to switch between offensive spell and Stone curse quickly and automatically.

Learn to line them up and block narrow passages with statues. Stone curse is simply the #1 most powerful spell, period ;)

If shit happens: Die like a man. Don't run blindly. Don't panic and risk activating even more monsters... pick a good spot to die rather than try something rash ;)

Remember: you get stronger if you lose your equipment... no need to run to the stairs and make the situation worse ;)

And most of all: I hope you have as much fun as I had... I wouldn't still play Diablo after 2 years if not for BNMs and other fun variants of play ;)