Quest Five: Rite of Passage
- Quest Name: Rite of Passage
- Triggered by: Reaching the Ancient's Way triggers Qual-Kehk to speak of it. Or you can go straight to the Arreat Summit and click on the altar.
- Given by: Qual-Kehk
- Location: Arreat Summit
- Reward: Bonus to your Experience. Normal: 1.4 million, Clvl 20 required. Nightmare: 20 million, Clvl 40 required. Hell: 40 million, Clvl 60 required. This bonus is not cut like experience from monster kills when you are past Clvl 75, so this quest is always a huge boost, but if you can save it (borrow a portal to the Worldstone Keep) until you are Clvl 80 or 85 it's even more valuable.
- Quest Priority: Not mandatory if you can get a portal inside the Worldstone Keep from another player, otherwise you must defeat the Guardians to get in. The reward is enormous though, so we recommend you do it.
Once you advance to the Ancient's Way, the last ice caves level in the game, and then return to town, Qual-Kehk will be eager to talk:
"Every time I hear of you, warrior, your deeds become more legendary. But take heed. You are approaching the very summit of Mount Arreat. I have never dared venture there. It is sacred -- our most holy place. The legends say it is guarded by the Ancient Ones, who block the path of all who are unworthy. Your reputation here does not matter...It will be the Ancients who determine your worthiness. Good luck."
You don't need to talk to Qual-Kehk or anyone about this, you can just advance through the Ancient's Way to the Arreat Summit, and do it. This quest seems straightforward, but has a very tricky element to it you see in no other quest in all of Diablo II.
Quest Prompt: Travel through the Ancient's Way to find the Ancients at the Arreat Summit.
Aside from the quest, the Arreat Summit is probably the most impressive area in the entire game. The screenshots don't do it justice, the amazing part is walking along the edge with the landscape far far below. It's awesome with perspective mode, which the game automatically turns on there, your 3D card permitting (the option for it in the Options menu is grayed out at this point) for the ground moves much slower than the edge of the cliff you are walking along giving a nice illusion of depth. It has to be seen in motion to be appreciated.
The Summit is a small area, not much larger than two screens end to end in 800x600 mode. The center is the raised circle with the three statues, and there are pillars around it in a large circle with some open snowy ground outside of that, with cliffs bounding the area on all sides and a barred stairway to the far right. In the center on the dais you see these three statues, each with a unique name and stats. Click to see more about Madawc, Korlic, and Talic
|Melee and leap attack,
huge axe weapon.
|Sword and shield,|
melee and Whirlwind.
The altar highlights when you point and it, and when you click a long speech is heard with three voices speaking in harmony.
"We are the spirits of the Nephalem, the Ancient Ones. We have been chose to guard sacred Mount Arreat, wherein the Worldstone rests. Few are worthy to stand in its presence; fewer still can comprehend its true purpose. Before you enter, you must defeat us."
Recall that Nihlathak stole a relic and gave it to Baal, allowing him to enter the Worldstone Keep without having to face these guardians. When the speech ends, the action begins.
The statues come to life, and they are all Barbarians (of course) in glowing red armor. Yellow flaming light radiates from them, and they are very impressive in action. As you see in the screenshots, they use Warcries to boost themselves, and they all have skills. You'll see Leap Attacks, Bashes, and even very fast Whirlwinds, which don't look like much in a screenshot, but are amazing to see in action, with the streaks of light left behind. The small shot on the right here is of one mid-WW.
You must kill them all, and when they are beaten they explode in a huge burst of yellow flames, and return to statue form. There is another long speech about how Baal must be defeated, and the dire consequences for the world if he's not destroyed. Death animation
So what's the tricky part?
If anyone in the party casts a town portal during the battle, the Guardians immediately vanish and return to statue form. And you have to click on the altar to fight them again, with full regenerated hit points and new random mods, until you kill them all. The stairs down to the Ancient's Way are barred once you reach the summit as well, so portals are the only way out.
This isn't so hard in normal, but prior to being nerfed in v1.09, all three of the ancients spawned with 3 different magical modifiers each time, which stacked with their usual high resistance. It was not uncommon for each of them to have 2 or more immunities, making them extremely difficult to kill without a party of mixed damage types. They also dealt much more damage in v1.08, and dealing with three big damage, very fast bosses at the same time in a small area that could not be an area too small to retreated from was pretty nasty.
It was (and remains) possible to use the town portal trick to your advantage. If they spawn with very difficult mods, simply cast a Town Portal and they will all vanish back to statue form. This makes a nice escape possibility for Hardcore characters.
This is a very unique quest and prior to v1.09 it was the hardest battle in the entire game. In v1.09 and later, the guardians' damage has been toned way down, they get fewer boss modifiers, and their resistances are capped so they don't spawn with multiple immunities. It's a much fairer fight, but quite a bit less interesting as well.
Tips: You can't leave for town during the battle, so be sure you stock up on potions. It's not a bad idea to scatter some around the area before the fight, so you can run and pick them up during the action, reloading your belt more quickly than you could by opening the inventory window. Also, be sure you have enough Town Portals to not run out if you need to cast one to avoid death.
Be sure you check out the Guardians' stats early in the fight in Nightmare and Hell, and if one or more of them have very difficult or impossible mods, respawn them by casting a Town Portal.
Reward: Huge experience bonus! 1.4m on normal, 20m on Nightmare, and 40m on Hell. There is a Clvl requirement to get the reward though, you must be Clvl 20 on Normal, 40 on Nightmare, and 60 on Hell to get it. So no partying with bigger characters to get there quickly and get a huge bonus. The bonus experience is not cut by your Clvl exp penalty if you are over Clvl 75, so it's best to save the quest reward on Hell as long as possible. Skip past the Guardians with a portal to the Worldstone waypoint, and never do them for the quest until level 98, if you can wait that long. The huge 40m exp bonus gets more valuable the longer you wait, since it's easy to earn 40m exp at lvl 70 or 75, or 80. By 90 it takes longer, by 95 the monsters are hardly yielding any experience at all, and by the high 90s, when it takes multiple Baal runs to budge the exp bar, 40m is more than you can earn in many hours of monster killing.
- Every time I hear of you, warrior, your deeds become more legendary.
- But take heed. You are approaching the very summit of Mount Arreat. I have never dared venture there. It is sacred -- our most holy place. The legends say it is guarded by the Ancient Ones, who block the path of all who are unworthy.
- Your reputation here does not matter...It will be the Ancients who determine your worthiness.
- Good luck.
- You wouldn't have to test yourself against the Ancients if it weren't for Nihlathak's treachery. He was a fool and deserves to suffer for eternity.
- A test of mettle is a fitting rite of passage for a Barbarian hero.
- Every night, I've prayed to the Ancients to bring us peace...and now you must fight them.
- Huh...Who shall I pray to now, warrior?
- By reaching the summit, you cease being just a simple warrior. When you come back, you will be far more.
- The Ancients are not our enemies. Remember that! They are our ancestors -- our gods.
- Look. I must apologize.
- I feel responsible for your current struggle. If I had only stopped Nihlathak from giving Baal the Relic, you would not have to fight those ghosts.
- We have come too far to be defeated now, my friend. I have seen you complete many difficult quests. Though this may be your greatest trial, it is not beyond your reach.
- You've walked on the burial grounds of our greatest ancestors. I'm not sure whether I should bow before you or revile you for committing sacrilege.
- Tread lightly when you walk with gods.
- Do not doubt yourself. I believe you are worthy to pass through the Ancients' gates, but you must believe, as well.
- I warned you!
- The Ancients are not like the demons you're accustomed to fighting.
- We are the spirits of the Nephalem, the Ancient Ones. We have been chosen to guard sacred Mount Arreat, wherein the Worldstone rests. Few are worthy to stand in its presence; fewer still can comprehend its true purpose.
- Before you enter, you must defeat us.
- You stand before me a worthy hero -- and on you rests the last hope of our people.
- Bear it well, warrior.
- You have proven yourself to these people. They look to you as their warrior, their champion.
- The Ancients have honored you, and in turn, so do we. I have no remaining doubts about you, now.
- I knew the Ancients would find you worthy of Mount Arreat's secrets. Now, stop Baal before he destroys all that is sacred.
- Besting the Ancients in battle is a mighty feat indeed. I hope this means you're ready to battle Baal.
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