Cause and Effect Project

Cattleya

Member
Sep 8, 2021
41
83
18
She woke up with a start. The dream quicky faded from her mind, but there was one thing she clearly remembered — that she had died.

Background

I started a Fireball/Frozen Orb sorceress when D2R launched with the plan of using her to start building up my item pool for future characters. I got through Act 2 normal before I found myself without any gaming time for a couple weeks. Not being able to play didn't stop my brain from planning various builds (and checking in on the forum.) The untwinked 99 thread also took up residence in the back of my mind. Given that my natural playstyle is very inefficient and slow, I think 99 is pretty much guaranteed to burn me out, so despite the temptation I've been able to resist. I also like the idea of running a team of characters together that share items, which isn't truly untwinked (semi-twinked? team untwinked?) Still the idea of going team-untwinked with a goal beyond Matriarch/Patriarch really appealed to me. I've always been a bit sad that my characters who weren't item-finding based never got much play after Hell Baal died.

It was at this point I realized starting my return to D2 with a character whose purpose was to find stuff for builds I really wanted to play wasn't what I wanted to do. So, Amethyst cleared all of her stuff out of the in game shared stash tabs and I started planning my project.

Introduction

Cause and Effect was the name of the "time loop" episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. As my plan involved restarting characters that died before Mat/Pat (but keeping their stuff) the name felt like a good fit.

There are two phases for the project with some different rules for each phase. Phase 1 lasts until all of the characters on the team earn the Matriarch/Patriarch title. Phase 2 takes the characters from Mat/Pat to level 96. Why 96? Well, it feels like it would still be a good challenge, but the level difference XP penalty hasn't yet hit full steam for champions and uniques in high level areas. It's also when a couple of the potential build plans I've got finish.

I consider this a long term personal project, but if the rules I've laid out catch anyone's interest, I wouldn't mind some company on my journey.

Cause and Effect Project Rules

Both Phases

  • Character teams can consist of two to seven characters.
  • Softcore. Phase 1 has a harsh death penalty, but softcore allows me to keep items from dead characters and remove the death penalty for Phase 2 — where the in game XP loss mechanic will already hurt.
  • Extended stash is allowed.
  • Save and exit to avoid death is allowed.
  • Respecs can only be used to optimize/tweak builds. The core build must remain the same.
  • Reruns of areas are allowed.
  • Only items found by characters on the team may be used.
  • Items may be freely shared between characters on the same team with the following exceptions:
    • Hellfire Torches may only be used by characters that have completed the Pandemonium Event.
    • Annihilus Charms may only be used by characters that have defeated Diablo Clone or completed the Pandemonium Event.
  • If a character falls behind (as a result of a death restart or level differences at the end of Phase 1) then all other characters are frozen in time until the character catches up.

Phase 1: The Quest for Matriarch/Patriarch

  • All play will be done on the same players setting.
  • All WPs must be found. (Although they don't have to be activated for Anya shopping/Pindle killing goodness.)
  • All quests must be completed before moving on to the next act. (Rewards can be saved for later.)
  • All bosses and superuniques must be hunted down and killed.
  • Characters may not start a new act until all characters have completed the current act. They can travel to the next town, but they cannot shop/quest there.
  • If a character dies they must be restarted. All of their items can be kept for use by the team.

Phase 2: Beyond Titles

Phase 2 begins when all characters on the team have achieved Matriarch/Patriarch status.
  • Characters gain immortality. (Dying no longer requires restarts.)
  • The players setting may be changed freely with the exception that chest/poppable cheese is banned.
  • Characters must remain within one level or each other.
 

Cattleya

Member
Sep 8, 2021
41
83
18

Team Bloom

Number of Character: 3
Phase 1 Players Setting: /players 1


Code:
Character     Build               Level   Loop   Progress
———————————— ——————————————————— ——————— —————— ———————————————————
Galanthus     Frost Zealot         17      0     Lut Gholein
Lunaria       Bowazon              17      0     Lut Gholein
Poppy         2-H Enchantress      18      1     Lut Gholein

Galanthus — Frost Zealot

Frost zealot has been on my to do list since shortly after I started playing. Given paladin’s strength with things like the Pandemonium Event, if felt like a natural addition to the team. (While each character will have to defeat the event on their own to earn their torch, I strongly suspect the other characters won’t be a whole lot of fun to farm them on.)

The build plan for him is to max out Zeal, Holy Shield, Holy Freeze, and Resist Cold. From there, I’ll decide if I want to focus on defense (Defiance) more cold damage (Salvation) more physical damage (Sacrifice) or some combination of the three.

Lunaria — Bowazon

Of all the hardcore characters I’ve gotten killed, Clarissa from the MET tournament was the one that has always haunted me. So, Lunaria will be following her build plan.

Magic Arrow and Valkyrie will be maxed. Everything else in the passive tree will have at least one point, with extra points as needed to get them to good levels. In the Bow tree, she’ll have at least one point in Multishot, Guided Arrow, Cold Arrow, Ice Arrow, and Frozen Arrow. I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to invest more into Frozen Arrow to use it for more than crowd control or if I’ll want to focus on the passive tree for a super-valk.

Poppy — 2H Enchantress

I couldn’t run a set of characters without a two handed enchantress, could I? The plan right now is to run Insight as her main weapon for some ES tankyness. (Untill mana burn, of course.)

She’ll max out Warmth, Enchant, Fire Mastery, and Telekinesis. Lightning Mastery will get a point, and the rest will likely funnel into Energy Shield, but some points may end up in Teleport for easier escape from mana burners.
 
Last edited:
Mar 14, 2020
5,127
541
113
Sounds great! Just FYI: From what I've heard the red portal to Pindleskim will stay open in D2R even if you take the WP. (and you can reopen the Cow level even if you kill the Cow King)
 
  • Like
Reactions: Cattleya

Cattleya

Member
Sep 8, 2021
41
83
18
Sounds great! Just FYI: From what I've heard the red portal to Pindleskim will stay open in D2R even if you take the WP. (and you can reopen the Cow level even if you kill the Cow King)
Ooh, I knew about the cow king but not the portal. That would certainly make farming keys easier.
 

Kartongen

Active member
Jan 20, 2021
171
236
43
[...]Not being able to play didn't stop my brain from planning various builds (and checking in on the forum.)[...]
This sounds so much like me it is almost disturbing.


A lot of this project sounds so interesting to me, and share one of the build ideologies I usually follow:
  • Respecs can only be used to optimize/tweak builds. The core build must remain the same.

I have been mainly keen on untwinked, but partly hesitant since e.g. finding a really nice "barbarian only" as a sorceress would mean I could never use it. So I have been eye-ing this idea alot too. I even considered it for my two upcoming 1.11 septs, but ultimately decided against it just cause I really wanted to have them wear the armour at the first possible level.
  • Only items found by characters on the team may be used.

Given enough time I would have joined this. But I will have my hands full with my three septs for an unforeseeable future. I will, however, follow this thread with glee and excitement. If it's still around in 2050 when I finish my septs, I might join. :p
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Cattleya
Mar 19, 2020
3,315
1,315
113
Fun project! I'm definitely interested to see how it goes. I think this will end up being the most frustrating rule:

Characters must remain within one level or each other.

Having to stop MFing with a certain character until all others have caught up in levels certainly adds a cool twist to the dynamic of the entire team.

Good luck!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Cattleya

Cattleya

Member
Sep 8, 2021
41
83
18
Having to stop MFing with a certain character until all others have caught up in levels certainly adds a cool twist to the dynamic of the entire team.
I really wanted some way to prevent one character from complete carrying the others. (It made me feel less guilty about going with the nice safe Frost Zealot as one of the team.)
If it's still around in 2050 when I finish my septs, I might join.
Hey, maybe I'll have them all Mat/Patted by then!


So, I've already managed to have my first death. Galanthus made it through Act 1 just fine, but Poppy... let's just say a two handed Enchantress should not try to take on Rakanishu at level 5 with all her points in strength.
 

Babyhell

Well-known member
Mar 13, 2020
2,173
1,685
113
Interesting stuff starting here! If I follow this route to I'll go with the D2R shared stash as a core functionality - when an item is muled out it can't be used anymore by any team member.

I'll add this thread to my todo list (initial theorycrafting post here)! Good luck with your team!
 
Last edited:
Mar 16, 2020
5,251
1,063
113
This project really appeals to me! I enjoy playing untwinked, and I can't have all the builds I want to make run for 99 anyway. I will join you in this quest, although I will be staying in 1.14d and going strictly HC. I totally expect to have some deaths in Phase 2, but each deeds is a lesson!

This is the team I have decided on for my first attempt:

Team Hope
Number of characters: 7
Phase 1 Players Setting: /players 1

Code:
Character     Build               Level   Loop   Progress
———————————— ——————————————————— ——————— —————— ———————————————————
Imala         Strafe/FA            1       0     Rogue Encampment
Zurina        Kicker               1       0     Rogue Encampment
Darius        Concentrate          1       0     Rogue Encampment
Cerberus      Fury/Rabies          1       0     Rogue Encampment
Vishnu        Bone Mage            1       0     Rogue Encampment
Omari         Fanatic Zealot       1       0     Rogue Encampment
Stormy        CL/FO                1       0     Rogue Encampment
 

Babyhell

Well-known member
Mar 13, 2020
2,173
1,685
113
Here I am too. In green the builds I never played in SC. For names, a C.& E. pattern had been chosen.

As stated in my dedicated post, I add some personal ruling too:
Code:
D2R shared stash only.
Muling out allowed but items
not usable anymore by any
team member, except for
Torch/Anni in respect of
the existing sharing
limitation rule for those
items.
Given the fact that I would go for a Sept, I will add a personal first leveling mark at 90.

Team Mates
Number of characters: 7
Phase 1 Players Setting: /players 1

First character to boot:
OZMpa6Al.png


Rich (BB code):
Class | Character name  | Build          | Lvl | Loop | M/Pat
Ama   | ColdEsperanza   | Frostmaiden    |  00 |   00 | No
Assa  | CrudEviscerator | DSKicker       |  00 |   00 | No
Barb  | CrazyEraser     | Frenzy         |  00 |   00 | No
Druid | ClawsEnhanced   | FClawsGrizzly  |  00 |   00 | No
Necro | CausesExplosion | CESummoner     |  08 |   00 | No
Pal   | ClunkEmitter    | Smiter         |  00 |   00 | No
Sorc  | ClassicalExcess | StaticBlizzard |  00 |   00 | No
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Cattleya and Pb_pal

Babyhell

Well-known member
Mar 13, 2020
2,173
1,685
113
@Cattleya one question: for Barbarian, is the weapon mastery set in stone or can be updated at some point during a respec?

For example mace at start, then swords for endgame, while Frenzy is kept as core skill.
 

Cattleya

Member
Sep 8, 2021
41
83
18
is the weapon mastery set in stone or can be updated at some point during a respec?
That would be your call. Weapon choice can be built into a character's theme, at which point it does become core, but that's not a requirement. If you see your Barbarian as a swordmaster who looks down on maces as a crude weapon, then the mastery would be a part of the core build. On the other hand, if you see your Barbarian as a practical survivalist who uses whatever gets the job done, then the mastery would be flexible.

Your main attack skills (like Frenzy) will always be core. The utility and side stuff is more flexible, and so the individual player decides which of those things they want to declare as part of the core build.
 

Cattleya

Member
Sep 8, 2021
41
83
18
All 3 characters have made it through Act 1.

Galanthus had the best magic find luck picking up Cleglaw’s Shield, the Infernal Cranium, and a Torch of Iro. I had a couple of chipped topazes stuck in a helm, so it was nice to see them pay off. None of it was particularly useful, although Poppy did inherit the helm for some resistances. He had one scary moment early on when I popped into the Stony Field at a low level and was met by a double boss pack. (He managed to retreat and break them up a bit to kill them.)

Poppy had my first death. Like Galanthus, she found the Stony Field entrance early and decided to go WP hunting. She ran into Rakinishu and it ended poorly. He and his group chased her all the way back to the Cold Plains entrance before killing her. She did find a +3 Frozen Armor orb, so at least her next loop started with an extra gift on switch. I was a lot more careful after that. I didn’t even look at the Stony Field until I’d cleared the Cold Plains, Cave, and defeated Blood Raven. When I entered the Stony Field, the first thing I saw was the stones. So, I noped in the other direction and cleared out the rest of the Stony Field first. Then, I carefully planned my approach direction so I’d minimize the bolts I ate and as I was getting ready to engage… the merc took him out before I could get to him. Very anti-climactic. She continued on, and found the Black Marsh WP right next to the tower! After running the Countess to 16 I decided to try out a Steel Large Axe on her. It did less damage than the one I had stuffed with chipped gems, but it was a lot faster. As I was getting close to level 18 and enchant, I decided to stick with it figuring the faster attack would be better once I started adding fire damage.

Lunaria had the easiest time. (Magic Arrow is OP at low levels.) She almost immediately got a 2 chipped topaz helm. It didn’t pay off as well as with Galanthus, but she did pick up an Arctic Belt.

With everyone into Act 2, it’s shopping time! Galanthus has a Drognan friendly shopping map and at level 17 makes it easy to spot potential Enchant staves for Poppy, so that’s next on the to do list. (I tried for a bit but when the game crashed I decided I needed a break anyhow.)
 
Discord

Latest News