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Beginner/Veteran's Mini-Guide To Muling
Diablo II Strategy Guide Info:
- Patch: v1.09
- Class: Amazon, Assassin, Barbarian, Druid, Necromancer, Paladin, Sorceress
- Author: limitbreaker, Flux
When you play the game, you acquire many items you want to use, but not at the right time, or they are best suited for another character class. So what do you do? You "mule" or transfer them to another character for storage. It would be crazy to hold everything you find on your character until he or she is full. What would happen if you find a godly item and have no room to hold it?
This is a bigger issue for HC characters, where holding items in your stash will lose them forever when you die. You might get looted and have your equipment saved, but stored items are gone forever. If you are paranoid or prone to death, you'll want to mule anything really good immediately, and not carry around spare equipment you can't afford to lose. It's also wise to not put too much of your best stuff on the same character, especially things like Charms that are useful to every type of character. As soon as you don't really need some charms, put them on other active characters, or mule them.
The majority of the players in Diablo2 have at least one mule if not, many accounts full of item holding "mules". This guide is mainly for the people who are starting out, or for the younger players out there (despite the M rating) and because there is no muling guide in the Strategy Compendium. It is also to give the more veteran players advice from my own downfalls and errors of muling.
First of all, just about everything that is going to be explained from now on is basically common sense. If you mule with a friend (friend you know personally, not some "friend" you just met in a game) then this guide would be nearly pointless for you, because transferring items with friends in a password protected game is the most safest way to go.
Use a Cube. Leave a Horadric Cube on each of your mules, and in D2X you can keep it in the stash and open it up there, just like it was in your inventory. A cube takes up 2x2 spaces and contains 3x4 spaces, so it's 8 more spaces. Don't forget you've got stuff in it though. It's easy to drop your cube on a mule, and then pop to the Halls of the Dead in Act 2 with your main character and get another one.
Be sure you play your mules often enough! This is very important, since Bnet will usually erase a character if they've not been accessed in 90 days.
Also a new account (which you'll make a lot of for muling eventually) must be logged on for at least 2 hours in the first 48 hours after creation. It's a good idea to make the account, play the first mule for a bit, and just leave them AFK in a game or channel while you do other things, to be sure you are on long enough. We've heard from players who didn't do a new account long enough in the first 2 days, and then played it more later, but after a month or two the account just vanished one day.
Muling with a Friend
Go as fast as possible here, especially if they are just holding the game for you. If you are using a common muling game with various friends or guild mates, and they are off playing then you don't have to hurry so much, but if they are waiting on you, don't keep them waiting. If you take 20 minutes screwing around with 50 mules, your friend will probably find a sudden need to be AFK next time you ask them for muling help.
1. Godly (very important or very rare, includes runes) items MUST be held by the friend via trade screen. It's not safe to leave them on the ground since the game might crash at any time. As soon as you get the great item, leave the game so your character will be saved.
2. Less important items (mid-level charms, gems, starter equipment etc) can just be dropped on the ground and be picked up later by your mule. But make sure that when you pick the items up, don't spend time looking at the stats too long if you did a mule to character transfer. If your connection gets interrupted, whatever you just picked up is gone. Make sure to save and quit after you pick up the items.
3. This tip might not apply to most but make sure your friend is doing something while you transfer. Maybe finishing a quest or leveling up are good things to do. For some reason, some of my friends get disconnected if they stay idle for too long. Transferring with more than one friend in the game is much safer. You can have them duel each other for fun while you mule.
Muling Solo in Public Games
What if you don't have any friends (joke), or you find yourself playing in the middle of the night and your friends aren't awake, or if none of them are readily available to help you transfer? You do what many people do and transfer in public games. Oh how risky it is to do such a thing. But what else do you if you find an item that you really want your barb or paladin or whatever character to use? Below are tips that I have learned from experience and from common sense.
First of all, since you are transferring in a public game, your items are free for anyone to pick up. It is all up for grabs. That is the reason why it is risky. Here are some tips for public game transferring:
Before you mule, I highly recommend that your mules are higher than level one. Many players (including myself) get suspicious if a level one character joins a game with a lot of high level characters and then leaves a minute or two later then rejoins with another character from the same account. So level your mule probably to level 20 or so to be safe. Also make sure that your mule characters are on another account and different from accounts that you actually play. Makes transferring less noticeable. Another idea is to transfer Classic Diablo 2 characters that are useless in the expansion and have them as your mules.
Remember to write down the name of the game that you hid your items in. Sometimes your short-term memory might...well...I dunno, and then you forget the name of the game. I hate it when that happens.
When choosing a game, try to find games that have at least two people in it and no more than four or five, and one that's been up for at least five minutes, if possible. If you transfer in a one person game and he or she leaves, and the game isn't old enough to be saved, your items are gone too. Similar instance goes for nearly full games, or ones that are likely to fill up, like Bloody or Cow runs. If the game fills up, you can't get back in.
Another thing is to be smart when hiding your items. Don't hide items in the Blood Moor or in the Rogue Encampment in a game called "Act 1 Starting". Be logical when hiding items. If you are in a "Act 1 Starting" game, hide them in Act 2 or 3 in places where players don't usually go. Some examples are the bar in Act 2 just north of the town portal area where Atma is usually located in, and the south side of town in Act 3. Many people hide items in the corners of town in Act 1 because their mules are level 1 and can only go to Act 1. Yea, so can everyone else, so I usually avoid Act 1.
Never party when transferring. If you are in a party when you then decide to mule because you just found a really good item for later use, leave the party immediately and hide the item in an Act opposite of where the party was in.
As stated in muling with friends, make sure to save and quit after picking your items back up. I don't know how to express this enough. You go transfer and pick up your items and equip them and see how strong you are and you feel all happy and then..."connection has been interrupted". You go back into a game and see that your item isn't there anymore. Sucks, doesn't it?
Try getting fastest run/walk items equipped on your mules. You just want to get the transfer over with so you can get back to playing the game. Since your mules are hopefully level 20 or higher, I recommend Vidala's Boots. Easy 30% fast run/walk and the boots are really cheap. Way better than base running/walking speed.
When transferring in public games in general, only transfer one, two, or at most three items at a time. Never a whole character setup. Always do it with friends if you need a whole character setup at once and have no patience.
If you do come across someone who is following you as you try to get your items back, lead them away from the area of where your items are. This is where having fast run/walk boots really shine (unless the player is a super-fast barb). Also this is why you only transfer a small amount of items. If the player finds the place where your items are, chances are that you picked them all up ready before he/she can even see them.
You don't have to leave items in town either, items on the ground last for the same amount of time in town or in the dungeons. Other players roam around town constantly, but there are areas of each act that hardly anyone ever goes to, especially if an area is already cleared out. You can go to any uncommon Waypoint and drop items there, or run some direction for a screen or two, to get out of sight of the waypoint, and drop them there. The problem with this is that your mule will need to have that waypoint, which isn't likely if they are a very low level.
This is possible since once a game is up for more than five minutes it is "saved" and won't vanish if you leave it. You can stay in the game (go run Baal or gamble or something to kill time) for that long after you create it, and once you are sure it's been long enough, drop something worthless, a key or potion or the like, and leave the game, then rejoin it to be sure it's saved. Make sure you can rejoin it before you drop anything valuable! If you are going to be muling stuff you really can't stand to lose, or going to be switching to a different account, you should log off of your account and then back on, to be sure the Bnet log-in server is working. Often the realms are working fine once you are on them, but you might have trouble logging on to begin with. You only have a few minutes with no one in the game before it vanishes, so even a temporary "Realm Down" will ruin you.
Once you make sure the game is stable and you can log on, drop your stuff, and go go fast fast. If you are just muling a few things that you have to get off your character for space (or in case you die if HC), get on your temp mule, and grab it all there. You can sort it to your permanent mules later on when you have a more permanent game. If you are muling multiple items, grab the most valuable stuff first, possibly all of it on your temp mule, and then get your gems, charms, runes, mediocre items, etc on the correct mules for them.
Organize your items. Don't just drop 20 things in a pile, that'll take longer to sort through when you get your mules in. Drop your perfect gems one spot, walk a few steps and drop chipped gems, another pile for unique armor, another one for sets, resistance charms, hps charms, etc. This especially helps with small items, such as charms or runes or jewels. Large items like Uniques you can read the names well enough.
Try to keep your mules all on mule accounts, and have your active characters on one or two playing accounts. It'll make it easier for your friends to message you, you won't spam them with joining game messages when you are muling, and it's easier to keep yourself organized.
It's very helpful to have one "temp mule" on your main account(s). This is ideally a retired character that can join at least Nightmare games, and has a lot of free space. Use them if you are muling just a few things, or want to mule quickly, and they can just grab everything, and that's that. It's quicker if they are on the same account, and you don't have to log onto Battle.net again as you do when switching accounts. You can sort stuff from your temp mules later, when you have the time and a stable game.
For your long term mules, it helps to pick logical names. You want to be able to keep your mules straight, and pick the right one each time so you can grab stuff quickly. This is essential if you are muling solo, or don't want to keep your friend's waiting. Name your boots mule "boots-mule", or something like that. You'll be surprised at how many common mule names are already taken on the realms, so modify them somewhat. Put your name first, "Bobs-boots", or call them "AmuletsssMule" or something else that's obvious at a glance, but probably not already taken.
If you play long term you'll end up with multiple accounts of mules, and it helps if they are grouped, so you don't have to try to remember which sort of mule is on which account, and switch around a lot. Obviously this helps if you plan it out in advance, at least somewhat. You might have 2 unique armor mules and 3 unique weapon mules. Put them all on the same account, and remember which account, or even name the account obviously. "Bobs-Umules" for example. Same for other similar item types. You might put your boots, belts, gloves, helms, armor, and shields mules on the same account.
Sets are somewhat complicated, since they are all mixed types of items. Most players keep full sets on the same character, rather than doing set armor, weapons, etc. You'll need multiple Set mules eventually, and naming them by the sets they hold helps a lot. A mule can hold 3 or 4 sets, though if it's a very popular set that you want to keep multiple copies of each item, you might just do two sets on a mule. It's very easy to forget which mule has Tal's set, or M'avina's Set, and you want to keep them organized. It's much faster to switch characters a couple of times when muling than it is to hunt through 10 disorganized junk drawer mules for that Tal's Mask or IK Belt when your friend asks to use it.
Store muled items in your stash as much as possible. If you are muling fast you can just click them up, or grab and put in one spot in your inventory, and sort them into proper rows later when you have more time. Picked up items tend to go everywhere in your inventory, while nothing is in your stash except where you place it.
When making multiple mules for similar items, sort them by what you find most important. If you have a ton of boots and value faster run most highly, then sort one by fast run and another by non fast run properties. If you are not worried about fast run but value magic find most, then have your MF-boots and non-MF-boots mules. Same with other item types, sort amulets to +skills and otherwise, or gloves by IAS and non, etc.
It's very helpful to have a starter stuff mule. Put all of your low level requirement items like charms, equipment, starter weapons, etc on one character. That way when you start up a new character you can just get the starter mule in and drop stuff, rather than having to get your charms, rings, weapons, armor, etc mules and pick out one or two items from each.
To Level Up or Not
Some Mules help a lot at higher levels. Others make no real difference.
Unique Armor mules and set mules are great to have leveled up, since they can equip multiple items. Your temp mules (usually a retired character) are great to have higher levels, since you can mule in Nightmare or Hell, and equip all sorts of spare stuff on them. Retired characters are nice for set mules, but you'll have to remember what they have on, since their name won't tell you at a glance.
Leveling up other mules is generally pointless. You can't equip more than one boots or belt or amulet or helm no matter what your level is, so don't waste time leveling up those mules, and no need to turn retired characters into them. And of course mules for non-equipped items such as jewel, runes, charms, etc don't matter if they are Clvl 1 or not.
Enjoy your item-hoarding, and guard safe your preciousssss.
Article by [limitbreaker], additional comments by Flux. Thanks to Jim and Mike for additional comments.