Diablo 2 bows are the best ranged attacking weapon in the game. They fire very quickly in the hands of an Amazon and derive their bonus damage from your points in Dexterity. Amazons have a bow & crossbow tree, but other characters can be effective with them as well, especially Druids and Necromancers, who can take cover behind their minions and shoot from a distance. Necros and Druids tend to become less useful with bows as they advance in levels, since their Dexterity isn’t high enough, and they don’t have any skills to boost their bow attacks.
Bows are not as specialized in Diablo II: every character can wield one and do moderately well with it. However, the Amazon is the best, with a faster firing rate, excellent Attack Rating, and of course, her bow & crossbow Skill Tab, as well as useful passive skills such as Critical Strike, Penetrate, and Pierce.
The main benefit of a bow is that it provides a ranged attack that doesn’t require constant mana expenditure, and can’t be resisted. Successfully hitting the target is based on your to/hit (called Attack Rating in Diablo II) and also their armour class (called Defense in Diablo II.) Another added wrinkle is that monsters with shields can block, rather than just carrying them for decoration.
Monsters are fast and have variety in their AI, and stun-lock isn’t so easy to obtain, so it shouldn’t be as easy to line up your enemies and fill them full of arrows from a distance. The full 360-degree movement system makes shots easier when monsters are coming in a straight line at you.
There are magical and unique bows. The magical and Rare bows boast a huge variety of modifiers. The Unique Bows and Unique Crossbows are very tasty. Like all weapons, bows and crossbows can be socketed with gems, to add magic damage to every shot.
Ammunition is required for every shot. You must have a quiver equipped in one hand, while your bow or crossbow is in the other. Quivers are frequently dropped by monsters, and sold by NPCs for low prices, so keeping enough arrows or bolts around isn’t a real problem for an Amazon.
Bows, not crossbows, are also usable by the Act I Rogue mercenaries, who don’t require a quiver of arrows for their function.
- Sockets: Item sockets changed a lot in D2 v1.08, changing to match the sockets in D2X items. You will tend to find more sockets in items on higher difficulty levels.
- Damage Bonus: This determines how you multiply the item damage by your stats to reach the actual damage. Each 100 points in that stat doubles your weapon’s total physical damage. All Bows are 100 Dex, which means every point in Dex adds 1% of your weapon’s total physical damage, thus each 100 points in Dex will double your bow damage.
- Item Level: Used in many in-game calculations. Monsters must be of this level to drop the item, and your Clvl must be equal to or higher to have that item offered to gamble on.
- Weapon Speed: A relative comparison of one bow to another. 0 is the base, negative ( -10, -20, etc) is faster, 10, 20, etc is slower. The “fast”, “normal” etc displayed in the game is a very imprecise measurement. The numbers are the exact speeds used. Each 10 is equivalent to a normal SIAS item. Characters are abbreviated to their first letter: Am = Amazon and As = Assassin.
Exceptional Bows are found in late Normal, and then all through Nightmare and Hell. Prior to v1.08 D2, they were only found on Nightmare and Hell.
* All Exceptional items are Clvl 25 in Diablo II. Some lower-quality ones are slightly lower in D2X.
Elite Bows are Expansion only since Elite items do not exist at all in Diablo II. You can find Elite bows in Acts 4-5/Nightmare and then all through Hell, though like all Elite items, they drop very rarely.
Arrows and Bolts/Quarrels are necessary to use a bow or crossbow, and they must be equipped in one hand, with the bow/crossbow in the other. They have no purpose otherwise, and are one of the simpler weapon-type items in the game.
In early versions of Diablo II arrows and bolts were sold in stacks of varying size for varying prices, and NPCs only stocked a few of each at a time. With v1.03 the variety was removed, as was the limited number of stacks. Quivers are now always the maximum stack, prices are fixed, and you can buy as many quivers at a time as you’d like. Monsters drop quivers of arrows or bolts quite frequently as well.
Quiver of Arrows
|D2: Up to 250
D2X: Up to 350
|87 gold for 350