While most dueling on the realms is quite cut throat, most regular duelers obey something of a code of honor. Agreeing not to drink potions, or to limit some overpowered skills or items makes dueling more fun for everyone, so the same build, or equipment setup doesn't win every time. Whether the random strangers dueling on the realms follow these rules is hard to know, but legitimate duelers are often able to come to an agreement.
Before I go into anything I would like to clarify some things. While writing that little intro I didn’t use the word ‘PvP’. That is because it’s an abbreviation and I didn’t want to scare people already. However, while you read on you’ll be more likely to find the word ‘PvP’ then ‘dueling’ because they mainly mean the same and PvP is shorter. PvP means Player versus Player. When you play the game like it’s intended you’re playing PvM, Player versus Monster. What could be better though, then finding a monster that can think for itself, not only trying to kill you, but also trying to outsmart you. Finding a way to beat every opponent while they are trying to do the same to you gives great satisfaction even though it will take some time before you’ll actually do it.
I also would like to say this up front. Probably a big reason why people don’t get into PvP is because they think PvP is all about having the best gear. People that are rich have better items and will kill someone who isn’t rich at all. Well, you’re right. However you’re only right for a small part. It’s true that you need some good items to compete in the PvP scene, but it’s not all those high end runewords or extreme uniques. Probably some of the most hard to find items per PvP characters are the charms. Skill charms are somewhat hard to come by, but when you put some effort into it you can start rerolling charms and trade skillers. You’ll see in this guide that you can get by with a lot of PvP builds by just gear you can easily get from Mephisto. It is of course true that once you want to infiltrate the PvP scene and build the most ‘godly’ dueler that can take on everyone out there with ease, you’ll need some high end gear that is expensive. We won’t go into that aspect, since you’ll just be starting out here, but it nice to have a goal. As I’m writing this guide I still have plenty of goals and I don’t have a lot of high end runewords (yes I have some, but not too many) and still I’m enjoying PvP thoroughly.
In short, a glossary, under rules and clarifications I’ll take a look at the generally accepted rules that exist in the SP PvP games. The rules are important to look at because they affect every player and more importantly they affect the build you’re going to pick and play. In characters and builds we’re going to take a look at quite a few builds. I’m going to list the builds per character and try to find at least a couple per character that can do fine without a hefty dose of richness. In useful items, item mods and goals I’m going to take a look at how you could build a dueling stash with items that are very useful to have. What comes to mind for example is the Angelic combo where any character that needs attack rating would wear angelics ring and amulet to get the +12 per character level bonus to AR. I’m going to see what mods are useful to have and what items can fit multiple characters. We’ll head home with a FAQ that answers a lot of known questions and things that might not be mentioned yet in the guide. Good luck reading and remember to have fun.
Rules and clarification
Copy/paste from the PvP thread’s first post:
Questions about dueling in general
Q: Will I lose experience when I die?
A: No experience is lost when you're killed by another player. Just try not to let a stray quill rat finish you off if you're stuck at 1 hp.
Q: How do the different mods affect PvP?
A: With 1.11, the RW's granted by the RWM have become useable even in a game hosted by a vanilla player. If the game host specifies vanilla, however, please leave your RW items at home if you intend on joining with a RWM character. As far as 'taint' goes, my personal feeling is that it's a non-issue when it comes to duel games. The characters aren't gaining anything in the form of items, gold, or experience (except the host who usually clears the field of monster beforehand) and will generally leave the game in the exact same state that they came in.
Q: Will my *insert character here* do well?
A: Generally speaking, the best PvP characters are those made and equipped with PvP specifically in mind rather than a normal PvM character. Nevertheless, you can get a general feel of what does and doesn't work by reading through the rules. If you're still not sure, join a game and find out firsthand.
These are the generally accepted rules for PvP that try to make it fair for a variety of characters and players. In any given game, however, the host may set his or her own rules that may differ from those listed below. In any case try to respect the host's wishes, or create your own game with your own rules if you so desire.
- Please try to be polite, so don't town guard, corpse guard, steal gold, etc.
- High level dueling takes place in Nightmare difficulty, low level dueling takes place in Normal.
- Potions, wells, shrines and mercenaries are not allowed.
- The only minions allowed (with the exception of the Amazon’s decoy) are those that can be summoned in town. Other minions, like the Necromancer’s revives, skeletons or magi, are not allowed.
- Duels only start when both parties have clearly stated their readiness.
- Characters requiring arrows or bolts must have their full supply on their character (in their hand, inventory or Horadric Cube). They will not be allowed to return to town if they run out of arrows or bolts during a duel, although extra quivers may be dropped just inside town to facilitate easier replenishment between duels.
- Leaving the Blood Moor is a loss for you, or your team (whichever applies)
- In a team duel, you must stay in town if you die until the duel is over.
- Bugged, hacked or duped items cannot be used – 1.07 crafted items are included in this category.
- All “1.07/1.08 vita” items like Arkaine’s Valor, Harlequin’s Crest, Baranar’s Star and Gerke’s Sanctuary are not allowed. The 1.09 or 1.10 versions of these items are acceptable, however.
- Items with the “Slows Target by X%” modifier are not allowed on physical-damage attackers (for example, Cleglaw’s Claw or Blackhorn’s Face). A caster character like a Necromancer or Sorceress, however, can use Blackhorn’s Face or other items with the “Slows Target by X%” modifier if they want.
- Items with the “Knockback” modifier are not allowed on any character class. Skills that provide a knockback effect (for example, Smite, Bash, Charge or Leap Attack) are still allowable.
- Total Life Replenish from items and skills combined is limited to 25.
- Poison damage is limited to 200 from items, per player. Poison damage from skills (for example, Venom or Poison Nova) is allowed in any amount.
- All duellers may use items that provide auras, with the exception of the “Doom” runeword as it provides the Holy Freeze aura.
- Each character is only allowed to wear two sources of +max resist/absorb per element. For poison, Poison Length Reduction gear will count as absorb. For example, you may wear 2 Ravenfrosts or 1 Ravenfrost and a Guardian Angel, but not 2 Ravenfrosts and a Guardian Angel. Items like Thundergod's Vigor with both +max resist and absorb will count as both of your two sources for that element, so you may not wear Thundergod's Vigor in conjunction with another item that provides +max resist lightning, +max resist all, or +lightning absorb. Finally, putting points into the paladin's passive resist skills will count as a source of +max resist.
- The Rising Sun amulet is not allowed on any character class.
- Blackoak Luna is not allowed on any character class.
Faster Run/Walk Restrictions
Maximum of 110% frw combined from skills, gear, and charms. For example, a Barbarian with 30% frw from Increased Speed can have no more than 80% frw from gear and charms. The skills that give frw are Frenzy, Feral Rage, Increased Speed, Vigor, and Burst of Speed. If you're going to be using any of these skills, plan your frw accordingly.
The following skills are not to be used at any stage of a duel. They may have points invested in them as a pre-requisite for higher-tier skills or for synergy benefits.
- Amplify Damage
- Iron Maiden
- Bone Prison (Necromancer)
- Decrepify (Necromancer)
- Blessed Hammer and Concentration at the same time (Paladin)
- Holy Bolt (Paladin)
- Holy Freeze (Paladin)
- Blaze (Sorceress)
- Teleport (Sorceress)
These items may not be used in the form of class skills, o-skills granted by items, charges, or chance to cast when striking.
The following skills are capped or have limitations regarding their use in duels.
- Bone Armor (Necromancer) - It cannot be cast more than once per duel.
- Cyclone Armor (Druid) - It cannot be cast more than once per duel.
Well, that was the copy/paste.. now let’s go take a closer look.
First to notice is the rule on the minions. You can’t go out with your fishymancer and have a full skeleton army. It won’t do you any good to try, trust me, but your skeletons can’t be summoned in town. This will bring out golems for necromancers, mostely clay golems for the slow and the occasional fire golem, valkyries for amazons and she can also summon a decoy which will probably just stand around, shadows for assassins and raven, a vine, sages and wolves or a bear for a druid. That’s it. That’s most of them anyway.
Second are some modifiers on your items. Slow is a big no-no. One item that is used often which has slow (which means you’ve got to be careful with it) is arachnids mesh. The clay golem slows too, however as he’s not an item he’s allowed. Knock back isn’t allowed either, however if you use leap as a barb you’re quite welcome to use it to push people aside. Just don’t use it on your gloves.
Now I’ll just ask you to read the comments on absorb and resists as they are very important to us. Also take a look at the skills that are banned. Don’t go running around with a necro casting bone prisons and decrep all over as you’ll soon find out that no one wants to duel you.
The o-skills are interesting too. O-skills stands for off-skills or off-character skills. O-skills are skills that your character normally doesn’t have. You can get charges of skills by wearing items and some items have o-skills as a standard like Wolfhowl, the barbarian helm with druid o-skills. Generally using o-skill in a duel is considered bad manner. You can’t be a paladin and start shooting out guided arrows using widowmaker. (Important though: I’ve seen too many people who do this... sigh, just ask them nicely not to use the o-skills.) Alright, normally the rule on o-skills is this: If you’re character is build around it you can use them. Like being a wolfbarb or a WWsin. You can’t go running around with a druid and have a wand of lifetap on switch, it’s BM in more then one way. Also note, in the rules is the use of items that grand aura’s allowed. This means you can use a Beast axe for the fanaticism aura (like we will..) but also for example a sorc with an insight staff or an amazon with a harmony bow.
The standard Bad Manner (BM) rules is a much shorter list.
- No potions, mercs, wells, or shrines.
- No recasting Cyclone and Bone Armor.
- No minions that cannot be summoned in town with the exception of Decoy.
- No Holy Freeze, Decrepify, or Bone Prison.
- No mass slow (>10%), no mass poison from items (>200), no mass replenish (>25).
- No curse charges (this includes Slow Missiles). Chance to cast is acceptable.
- No overabsorb. Limit 2 items per element with the standard ban on Rising Sun and Black Oak.
Basically it's the minimum required to have interesting and somewhat balanced duels. You'll notice that the basics are the same as the "good manners" rules though.
These rules for friendly, sporting duels are taken from a post laying them out in the DSF. Credit to Sint Nikolaas for compiling them.