All Spelled Out - Arkana the Untwinked Sorceress Reaches 99

Luhkoh

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Arkana, my untwinked sorceress, and my first character made after resetting to join the SPF, reached level 99 on Sunday!

Start: January 4, 2019
End: March 1, 2020




First, here is a video of the final few nihlathak runs, dinging 99 on ancients, and getting matriarch afterwards.


I aborted two nihlathak runs in totally non-dangerous situations in the video, but I was getting really nervous about screwing something up on video :p. Also I thought about making it so that i got the finally 99 ding on Baal himself, but decided I didn't want any increased risk. My ~500 hp in the throne room makes me think that was a solid decision ;).

Gear and Build
Fire Sorceress (98-99)

Code:
Harlequin Crest (Sol)
Mara's Kaleidoscope ([email protected])
Heart of the Oak ([email protected])
Skin of the Vipermagi (Shael, [email protected], 13mdr)
Phoenix Monarch
Swap: Call to Arms (4bo), Spirit
Magefist
Arachnid Mesh
2x 11 PDR Nature's Peace
Sandstorm Trek
Gheeds (40mf)
4x fire skillers (1 with 12fhr)
Assorted life/fire res/fhr sc's
Merc: Delirium, Infinity, Treachery
Corpse Recovery: hoto, 1bo cta, spirit, shako, vipermagi, [email protected] amulet, natures peace, raven (for the dex), 24 str belt, bloodfist, aldurs boots
Build: max fire ball, fire bolt, meteor, fire mastery, 1 in warmth, and teleport, enough in static to hit nihla from distance, rest into inferno
Video of sample runs and gear:
Approx avg exp/hr: 3.5 million

Gomule dump (to be added later):

Blizzard Sorceress (pre 98)
From 94-99 Arkana was a blizzard sorceress running Chaos (2 seal runs) with the following:
Code:
Harlequin Crest (PTopaz)
Mara's Kaleidoscope ([email protected])
Heart of the Oak ([email protected])
Skin of the Vipermagi (PTopaz, [email protected], 13mdr)
Spirit Monarch (35fcr)
Bloodfist
Snowclash (did first half with string of ears)
Stone of Jordan
Dwarf Star
Aldur's Advance
Gheeds (40mf)
3x cold skillers (started with 1)
Assorted life/res/fhr sc's
Merc: Delirium, Insight, Chains of Honor
Corpse Recovery: similar to above
Build: standard blizzard sorc
Video of sample runs and gear:
Approx avg exp/hr at lvl 97: 4.6 million

The Journey
Beginning/Questing/Gearing
I started Arkana on January 4th, 2019. I played diablo 2 for the first time when a buddy convinced me to try it out in May 2018. After playing a few months, I realized the SPF was the place to be, and reset to join following SPF rules. Arkana was the first character I made, looking forward to joining @Kitteh's Untwinked 99er Tournament. I honestly didn't have any aspirations to finish the project in the foreseeable future, but ended up making nice progress.

After starting the character, I set myself many restrictions, most of which were totally unrealistic. I did stick with questing throught game on p8, just for some extra challenge, and using no extended stash just during that questing period. I think I mentally underestimated how much effort goes into 99ing a character and these long term restrictions such as no LK, hydrid spec, and no hell Mephisto were quickly ditched. I blame the noobness :p. Now I would recommend a player going for 99 leave their options open. There is a LOT of time to change your mind on stuff in such a long journey.

Anyways players8 questing went smoothly and at a reasonable pace. I started hell with some reasonable gear and finished questing on February 8th, as a meteorb sorc. I saved a link to what I call my D2 existential spiral, where I realized this project would take some serious effort. And shortly after, I started LK. For the next couple of months, I played Arkana more sporadically, as I was questing characters of the other classes, and trying to get budget characters up and running for the 2019 RFL. Sometime in the midst of this though, I did some Mephisto runs and found arachs. I had already found a shako really early on from a handful of mephy runs. I then did a focused LK grind over a week or so, and got the gear I needed for hoto and cta at the beginning of May, so 4 months after starting. At this point, I also decided I wanted to just be a full blizz sorc. Cookie cutter ftw (but at the moment I would say blizz sorc is still my favorite d2 character, so no regrets :) ).

Ancient Tunnels (lvl 86-94)
After that, I moved into the Ancient tunnels and did runs on p3 or p5 with plenty of mf in hoped of more nice finds on my way into the mid 90s. Shortly after that, I got lvl 90, and a [email protected] maras! Then in the beginning of june, Arkana scored an soj from a couple of random pindle runs. I continued to do my ancient tunnels runs. Here is a video of what the runs looked like. They now look super super slow to me. At least that means I've gotten better :). I tested some exp vs mf efficiency of the different psettings for my runs, and dinged 94 in mid June.

Chaos Sanctuary (lvl 94-98)
I took a little break from the character till mid July, as I knew I wanted my next step to be starting chaos running. I started asking some questions about how to gear for it. Thanks to everyone who helped, but especially to @Bewitch, who helped me decide on most of my setup while chatting on his twitch stream. He also conveyed to me the importance of delirium. While not needed on an hdin in my opinion, I would say delirium is pretty much necessary for comfortable chaos runs on a sorc. Unless you're a pro and/or have some sick gear, but if that's you, then you know who you are. Anyways, I got my gear together and started the runs. It was a learning process, but went well. I finally found my first eth elite 4os polearm for an insight base early in the chaos runs.

I also started asking questions about what other sorcs in the tourney were getting for exp/hr in chaos. My runs were pretty slow at that point, and extrapolated to 3.7m exp/hr at lvl 97. Fortunately after some advice, I was able to speed up my runs to ~4.6m/hr during lvl 97. Which isn't quite as nice as the rate some of the other sorcs achieved and is a far cry from the speed of Gripphon's twinked sorceress mentioned in the 99er compendium. But I was glad of the improvement anyways. Also took a break from the character in august to prepare my budget pitzerker for the 2019 mfo and to participate in that tournament. I also think I finished questing my untwinked playthrough of all classes during that time. I was back to Arkana soon though.

Between 97 and 97.75, I had no deaths and was starting to think I might make it through the lvl without one. Then I died to stupidity shortly after. Then at 97.98, I got one shot by a fanaticism stormcaster in vizier's pack. Don't think that one was really avoidable, but I sure was angry. I'm sure I died a few times pre 97 too, but the penalty (provided you have a successful corpse recovery) doesn't feel too bad till 97. I found the mental grind during this stretch much more taxing than I expected, despite having a good idea of the time involved. I was eager to get lvl 98 so I plowed through it, but I wanted to show again how much effort these final two levels take. Much respect to the madmen with more than one 99er in this thread, and especially @PhineasB of course. Lvl 97-98 ended up taking ~65 hours with the deaths. Not an impressive rate, but these runs made me rich in runes, and I had ancients saved for the last level, so no regrets at all. I always knew I wanted a character who ran chaos rather than baal, and that paid off nicely for me. Here's a video of what my runs looked like near the end. And here are the updates I posted during that time in chaos.

Level 96.3 (July 28)
Level 97.5 (end mini-RFL) (October 22)
Level 97.75 (November 4)
Level 98 (November 15)

Runes found from 97-98: cham, cham, jah, sur, sur, lo, ohm, ohm, vex

Nihlathak (lvl 98-99)
I then had a big theorycrafting session, debating and estimating the difference between going light and fire sorc for nihla running. Made a very thorough spreadsheet for the analysis and had a lot of fun. I ended up choosing to go with a fire sorceress, and am glad I did. I died once in the first ~50 runs since I was experimenting and trying to see how hard the snakes hit and such. So no loss there. Then I died again at ~4% into the level, trying too hard to pick something up in a pile of loot. This prompted some reconsideration of my picking behavior, and I made this post of the safety setup I chose to run as well as my (reduced) picking choices during the run. I didn't die again, so I would say that was a success!

I really liked my build for nihla. I had fire sorc with phoenix, with 29 pdr, 85 fire res, 105 fcr, and 60 fhr. Now that I'm done running nihlathak, I feel like I can finally say this without jinxing myself. I think nihlathak runs were pretty easy and pretty safe with this setup and behavior. Yes safe :p. I had far fewer NDE's than I did in chaos. The runs are just so repetitive and short, it feels easy to s/e in most situations in plenty of time. I think the pdr was huge for safety. However since I was too scared to do some runs without it, I don't know for sure. I'll plan to do some nihlathak test runs with other gear in the next couple of months though. Also I made my mercs infinity in an elite base. With the 85 fire res, CE's usually did very very little dmg. Ofc CE has a very wide dmg range. I remember a single time where I saw a CE chunk ~1000 of my hp. Which was scary, but I had plenty of hp left, and think I even finished the run.

My key points, were ALWAYS insure the step-away from merc to avoid nextdelay issues. If I didn't achieve this, if there were no snake clouds, I would teleport to a new spot and try again. If there were snake clouds and step-away was screwed up, I would s/e. Next is with a character like this, picking items up is by far the most dangerous part of the run. I minimized the items I was picking up, and when I did pick one up, I really took my time clearing the room before doing so. So my runs with no pickups were ~22s, and runs with pickups were 30+. Also s/e immediately on might witches. Just not worth it. Ofc might/fana snakes and be careful when cursed etc. Here's a video of some sample runs. Also here are the updates I posted during my time at nihla.

Level 98.25 (December 31)
Level 98.48 (February 3)
Level 98.58 (February 10)
Level 98.66 (February 17)
Level 98.78 (February 24)
Level 99 (March 1)

Runes found from 98-99: jah, ber, sur, ohm, ohm, ohm, vex
Noteable S/U's from 98-99: astreons (from a minion), dragonscale, azurewrath, spirit keeper, boneflame

Also random point, but I did not roll a map with shrines on the way to nihla. It has been discussed elsewhere that it's dubious if they decrease your time overall, but that its helpful in that it lessens the total runs, thereby reducing your opportunities for death. I think I disagree with the last point. Seems to me im just as likely to die stopping to check/tag a shrine as I am on nihla's platform. Another random point. I don't know anyone else who plays with the perspective setting on (in video settings if you're using glide), but I do since I like the look of it. I realized after i was already 10k runs in, that turning it off allowed me to see more of nihla's platform, reducing the chance of missing an offscreen drop. Doh!

Anyways, if I had to do it all again, I might go light sorc (even though I didn't have griffons), solely to have the option of doing some chaos or baal runs for variety when bored. I'm glad however I went fire sorc this go-around, because not having the opportunity to do chaos/baal made me buckle down and focus. And plus I think my fire build was more tanky, and the extra minions kills likely led to more runes, as well as that astreons. Here's screen of my runcounter. Was very happy with the runtimes, despite ~3s additional time from s/e and loading. Was averaging around 3.5m exp/hr. Note that maybe 400-500 runs were done off the runcounter while trying to get a Hall of Records entry.

Conclusions
Was loads of fun and I'm so happy I reached 99! Big thanks to everyone who makes the thread fun, as well as to @Kitteh for hosting it. I will say though that 97-99 was quite a grind, and one that I am not eager to take on again. I'll never say never, who knows what I'll want to do, but I don't plan to start another character for the thread. I don't plan to grind for 99 in any sort of focused fashion on twinked characters either.

Now Arkana's gear is mixed in with the rest of my characters, which I found sooo satisfying. I don't love working to keep gear sequestered. And Arkana will likely respec and reappear as my trav sorc for RFL round 2 this year. Thanks everyone! Let me know if any of the links in the writeup don't work or point to the wrong address.
 
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Luhkoh

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Posting old update posts to preserve in case disappear from old forum.

Jan 7, 2019
Alright put some good time into Arkana this weekend. Got to 46 and am parked in a1 nm until I farm up an insight base, provided it doesn't take forever. Managed to cube a 4os crystal sword and make spirit with my only perfect amethyst! In retrospect I probably shouldn't have cubed the flawless amethysts and gone and found a gem shrine. But hopefully I'll find some more to roll some potential insight bases.

Also I have some combination goals for the character just to add some fun/challenge, and I thought I'd list them. And since she'll save the ancients as long as I can tolerate it, consider "end of questing" completing the Anya quest in a5 hell.

Goals
  • Small stash
  • Hybrid the whole time
  • Players8 until end of questing except tower lvl5 reruns
  • No hell mephy reruns
  • No hell pindle reruns
  • No LK
  • No larzuk quests until end of questing
Of course I reserve the right to go back on these if it gets absurd ;). I originally intended to do no respecs until after questing as well, but when at lvl 18 I accidentally put a second point into telekinesis instead of teleport, I scrapped that :p.

I would like to go meteorb the whole time, but if I find chaos is super tough, as it looks like @darkstarhub did, then I will plan to go to blizzard with a weak fireball (maybe boosted by infinity then). But I hate not having two elements, and I also hate having less than ~50 block on a sorc, so I'll plan to not compromise on those.

I want to try to farm up the "necessary" uniques from nm mephy and skip him and pindle in hell and get right to lvl 85's, even its a little bit less efficient. Just because I'm sick of farming mephy lately, I want to do most of my farming where tyrael's CAN drop, and I think it will be an interesting challenge.

For the no LK, I was inspired by a guy on reddit called ubeogesh. He refuses to do LK and still found enough runes for some crazy stuff, though of course with a ton of play time. I kinda want to do no LK for all my future characters and see how it goes, but I figured this sorc would be a good one to try it out on. She's not too high rune dependant, and if I get desperate I can farm cta and hoto from countess.

I am not used to small stash or untwinked players8. Haha have already died a couple of times. Whats the general space management strategy for small stash? Chipped gems for rune cubing early on, cubing up other gems, runes for intended runewords only? And then later I guess you use most of the space on a body recovery kit? Having fun so far!
 

Luhkoh

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Jan 17, 2019
Alright time for an update. Started hell with Arkana. Farmed nm andy till vipermagi, which dropped pretty quick, but with 23 all res. Was hoping for goldwrap too, but decided to move on without it after ~100 runs total. Found a 3os mask when lvling on Baal, and shoved a ral ort thul in for resists. Will probably replace them with ptopazes when I finished questing and start in on pits/at. I did doe in hell, and a white cv and a white thresher drop. I'm like ok awesome I'll go farm up 2 amethysts and socket these, then before i was out of doe, a 4os thresher drops!! So merc got a nice upgrade. And he needs it. This players8 the whole time is slow, and is tough on the merc. Never done p8 hell before.

Merc's currently wearing boneflesh, undead crown, and insight thresher. And I just switched from prayer to HF.

I'm wearing ral ort thul helm, a nice little amulet i found in normal (ill s/s with my stats), spirit, vmagi, rhyme (58%block), sanders gloves (for the 40 life), a +mana magic ring, sigons belt (for 20 life and fire res), a 21 nagel, and waterwalk. Having great fun and am feeling nicely geared, but p8 hell is even slower than I expected :eek:.

 
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Luhkoh

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Feb 8, 2019
Questing is done!! With completion of Anya quest and gaining the ancient's way waypoint, Arkana is done with questing material, at least in theory, till lvl 98. I had never done hell on p8 and wanted to experience it, though with a sorc so it wouldn't take forever. Though it was tough! And took quite a bit of patience.



Hephasto was the toughest part of the whole playthrough and I had only 400k gold after merc revives after finally finishing him off. However, after thinking further afterwards, I'm wondering if Hephasto can be knocked back with telekinesis. Anyone know this? If he can, I'll be kicking myself, because that would have made the most difficult part of this playthrough a joke haha. Anyways, with 400k gold I went back to nm mephy and farmed him (still p8) till I had full stash gold, and I bought lower res and life tap wands during this time. Found aldur's boots here, which were welcome. Shopped a 99 to life belt, and some 30 light res gloves, which allowed me to use whistans (75 block) instead of rhyme (50 block) for the rest of the playthrough

Then it was time for CS. It took a very long time (just under 2 hours), but was really pretty doable. Holy crap the life tap wand was indispensable. I was spamming it liberally, and i finished CS with no deaths myself and only like 2 merc deaths pre-diablo. Diablo flatlined the merc of course even with life tap, but was surprisingly easy to deal with. I struggled with him far less than Mephisto. First I tried meteor and fireball, but he ran around too much on meteor, and fb locked me into place a bit too much to where I'd take the lightning hose a bit too long. So I figured out my best strat was using frozen orb and running around the whole time. The slow from orb, and the open space of CS to run around Diablo made this work very well.



Then finally, Frozen river gave me some serious trouble, as expected. I think it's the hardest area in the game. Idk about drifter caverns or something, but definitely harder than wsk/throne room/CS in my opinion. Even though I attempted it every time, I had to s/e like 4 times in a row, nearly dying to souls. I got a map with ghosts and chargers on that fifth time though and managed to tele all the way to the back and clear a little area, and set up shop there. Frozenstein was close thankfully and i was luring his minions out one or two at a time, but then near the end of this process i accidentally clicked an eveil urn and nearly died. But thankfully frozenstein's herd was mostly thinned by then and I just tele'd to Anya and finished off the group.



Finished at lvl 82, and then promptly, blessedly, set the players down to 3, and allowed access to her larger untwinked stash. Got some low level mf gear going and started playing some pits/AT/mausoleum. Got up to lvl 85 from that. Do you think I should make a "patmat, sort of" thread for her? She was documented ok here, but I guess I could make one with more detail on gearing and challenges and such.
 

Luhkoh

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Jan 4, 2019
Alright am I posting this table right? Entering Arkana, a SC sorc for my dii.net reboot!
 

Luhkoh

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Feb 11, 2019
@AlexTheNextOne That's just awesome.

I'm looking for some input on my sorc. So after my initial enthusiasm from having completed questing with Arkana, and having been successful with my inefficient questing goals. I've run into a few issues. First off the original goals were:

1. Small stash
2. Hybrid the whole time
3. Players8 until end of questing except tower lvl5 reruns
4. No hell mephy reruns
5. No hell pindle reruns
6. No LK
7. No larzuk quests until end of questing

Small stash was done while questing, but has been scrapped for the post game, and the p8 questing and no larzuk quests were a success, but I'm running into the issues on the others for the post-game. So the first misconception was that I thought I'd be able to do p3 pits/tunnels/mausoleum in a reasonable amount of time as an undergeared meteorber. However I've found that even with 50% block, archer packs in pits lvl 2 make pits just too dangerous for me. And mausoleum just has awful density. But more importantly, I timed some runs, and was taking ~7min per area :eek:

Needless to say this is rough. If it was even like 4-5 minutes I might be ok with it. But this makes me think I just need to go blizz and focus on AT. However theres also my second big misconception to consider. I thought pits/tunnels/maus at p3 would yield decent runes in a reasonable amount of time. However, I calc (guessing 6 bosses, 36 minions, and 36 normals) that it'll take ~4000 AT runs for an ohm. Thats right, an ohm, not a ber or jah. Cubing up gul and vexes would reduce this to 2500ish, but at 7min a run, that time before CTA is just unacceptable. Perhaps more comprehensible with better runtimes after a blizzard respec, but with 2min per run (seems optimistic) its ~70 hours including cubing. So fathomable, but about 10x as long as LK.

Also trav is not an option in any reasonable sense for now. I'm far more willing to bend on the hybrid build than on no LK/mephy, so I'm leaning toward a blizzard respec and focusing on AT efficiency a lot harder. And just hoping for a lucky ohm. Would trav be remotely feasible as a weak blizz sorc without infinity?

Or am I giving up on the ole meteorber too easily? Would a few hundred runs be likely to improve my efficiency (through gear or playing skill) enough to consider sticking with it? Thanks all!
 

Luhkoh

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Mar 6, 2019
Thought I'd post a quick update. After my ut99er existential spiral, which came after finding out I was SLOW with Arkana as a meteorber, I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do with the character. I eventually decided I wanted to hit up LK after all, with the thought being to farm an infinity and go light sorc. A more conventional approach for sure, but I've actually never played the build and am thinking I would enjoy it.

So yesterday I decided to try and find an ok LK map. While looking, (on p1) I popped like 2 chests total, and this fell out.


Well alright. Good start early :p. Sorry forgot to ss the pattern, but it was a tad hot in the hut, as you can see from my health bulb.

Then after about 20 minutes total of map resetting, I sent a message to @sir_cyclops complaining that looking for maps wasn't any fun. The very next map after that was this one:


o_O Alright alright complaining helps. Productive night! Only issue now is I have neither spirit nor fcr gloves, so can't get to 105fcr, and my mephy map is looong. Not that I'm complaining. A couple hundred runs on that map for gloves is a small price to pay, if i don't find a 4os monarch first. Gonna try out these racks for that.
 

Luhkoh

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Apr 4, 2019
So I have an excellent LK map on arkana and am not willing to reroll maps because of it. However I really could use reapers for round 2 of rfl on my other characters. So I've been doing mephy runs with arkana on a 25+ teleport map (while using long tele trick) just in case this would happen:



Woo! That was shako in <50 runs, and arachs in <300.
 

Luhkoh

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Apr 23, 2019
Alright done with RFL round 2. Time for some grinding.

The goal: Infinity + respec to lightning
The plan: LK of course
The map:

Current progress: 1 sur
Items needed: 1.5 ber, 1 ohm (for cta), any 4os eth elite polearm, 4os monarch (still need spirit shield), crescent moon
Avg runs for 1.5 ber: 1,640

Gonna be a challenge, but with a little luck should be possible. Planning on burning this map up till I have the runes and then racking for the infi and spirit bases. The backup plan for rfl round 3 is to sacrifice a ber to my other characters so I can make enigma for them (already have a jah on those chars), but lets hope it doesn't come to that :)

Lightning sorc is pretty good for chaos right? I feel like I only see her mentioned for baal these days.
 

Luhkoh

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Apr 30, 2019
After some input from you all (thanks!), my goals here changed, as I will just stay as blizzard till 98 and make a light sorc on a non-99er. Took some of the pressure off for this grind, as I was now only looking for cta and hoto.

The Results
Days: 7
Runs: 1800
Total time: 14:45
Avg runtime: 29.5 sec
Total runes: 590
Grand charms: 231 (7 skillers)
Small charms: 218
Jewels: 220
Flawless gems: 800

The Runes
(I have a bad habit of scooping up a rune as soon as it's dropped, then realizing I wanted a drop pic and re dropping the rune to take one :p)



Lem: 5
Pul: 2
Um: 1
Mal: 1
Ist: 2
Gul: 1
Vex: 0
Ohm: 1 (run 1794)
Lo: 1 (run 882)
Sur: 2 (runs 1135 and 1263)
Ber: 0

Skillers
burning
burning of vita (25)
fletchers of sustenance (33)
lion branded of dexterity (3)
sounding of dexterity (5)
sparking of greed
spiritual of maiming

Was hoping for a few more, but these are at least mostly useful :)

Best small charm: 19life/[email protected] This will go well with arkanas 20life/[email protected] sc.
There were 4 other 19 lifers, zero 20 lifers, and one 7mf.

No gg jewels, at least as far I can judge. Zero jewels of fervor, which seems kinda strange.

The plan now
With these finds, and a couple of more runes I had on her before this, I have exactly enough (meaning no leftovers even) pul+ runes to make cta, cube a vex for hoto (don't have a base yet), and give an ist to my other characters. My other characters need exactly an ist to cube to a non ut99er cta. Feels good. I'll post the rw's when I roll them, hopefully this afternoon :)

Arkana also had another sur before starting this stint, so shes up to 3 total. However 1 sur is going to my non-ut99ers to make my very first enigma! The Lo will go to my barb for very first grief! And the other 2xSur will stay on Arkana for now, though I expect that whenever my other characters have enough runes for another ber, they'll be taken from arkana for first infinity. I'll hope arkana herself drops the runes for infinity on her way to lvl 98. But if not, it's not like I won't be motivated enough for more LK with a lvl 98'er sitting there!

Next I think I'll level Arkana a while in the tunnels, and when she gets to lvl 94 or 95, make the switch to chaos. Just for some mf and area variety.

Which skillers should i keep on her for the eventually nilly running? (Assuming I eventually get that far) The fire or the lightning?
 

Luhkoh

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May 1, 2019
After 5 nm cows runs for both bases, ready to start getting some exp. Very happy with both rolls.


 

Luhkoh

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May 5, 2019
Alright. After making hoto and cta on the sorc, I started running tunnels. Took a little longer than I thought to get the last lvl today, but finally dinged 90 and thought that was a good place for an update.

First off she got a huge upgrade very early. In the first maybe 10 runs, the first white monarch she had seen dropped and got 4os in the cube. Only like 3 spirit rolls later:
This allowed 105 fcr which I enjoy quite a bit. And yeah thats 4x ptopaz full plate mail. Looks awful, but gotta get that mf. Had a few nice mf drops, along with a nice skiller for another character:



Also forgot to screenshot a Mav's armor she found. Good stuff! The eth 3skill eschutas I thought was quite fashionable, but I never really feel like it's worth using.

Also arkana has been wearing a [email protected] mara's and counting herself lucky to have it, but right before she got lvl 90, a slight improvement dropped:
With my [email protected] hoto and really nice res/life small charms, as well as a shimmering grand and large charm, my res is through the roof, when I would probably be fine with mid range values for it. I'll take it! Also this is my first lvl 90 character ever. And while thats a drop in the ocean on the way to 99, I was glad to get it!
 

Luhkoh

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Jun 4, 2019
Rerolled my sorc's tunnels map this weekend and think I finally have a very good one (still poor runtimes though :rolleyes:) and did 120 runs. I found nothing the whole time till 2 runs before the end last night, when the chest delivered:



Also found a vex with her during RFL round 3, so I could make a hoto and a CTA for body recovery (or at least I'll be able to if I find mal and ist), but I hate to use the runes on something so mundane :p

After that I did 2 pindle runs just because I wanted a full rejuv to top of my belt before logging off. He gave me the full rejuv... and a little something else:



Approx. 1 in 71k odds :) Now she just needs some skillers, as well as better merc gear.
 

Luhkoh

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Jun 13, 2019
Alright, my untwinked 99er is back to being my highest lvl char, so all is right again :p Got lvl 94! Did 930 ancient tunnels runs with Arkana during this phase. First 400 or so were on p3 then I upped it to p5 for most of the rest. Found several grailers but only 1 TC87 (grandfather). Runes were better than expected with vex, ohm (from chest), and ber. Never found an eth elite polearm for merc or an ebug helm for delirium (though this doesn't matter much at all). Fortunately 2 monarchs for spirits dropped early on, but i dont have a 3rd one for a body recovery kit. Also somehow dont have another 5os crystal sword. When I find a mal, I may have to roll her second cta in a double axe -.-

Gonna take a break from her a while and work on other characters, but when I come back to Arkana, it will be to Diablo's lair!
 

Luhkoh

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Jul 5, 2019
I have a few updates.
Lower Kurast


I rolled the map above on "accident" even though I dont need many runes and should be transitioning to chaos sanctuary. But it was such a nice map that I wanted to do some runs. I decided to do 850 runs on it before rerolling it for a better chaos map, to bring my total LK runs since reset up to 3k. I also decided to do them on p5 instead of p7 for an increased chance of a direct ber or Lo. But since there are other reasons p7 is better, it was mostly just for fun. Well I found 4 lems and nothing higher -.- Next time I find myself back at LK, the psetting will be at 7 :p

I put on 200fcr for the first time ever and stopped picking up every single flawless gem, and my runtimes got down to sub 24s. Nothing record-breaking, but a huge improvement for me. Also no deaths despite not using BO, and only 1 close call, where I s.e'd with 200 health in the middle of a pack of might apes. Haha I had almost no exp into lvl 94 though, so the risk wasn't too high.

I also could use better charms for Arkana, in particular, she has no skillers. Despite p5 being worse for charms, this was actually a big success. Found several nice sc's. My first plain 3/20, a 5fhr 8 light res charm, a 7 mf 7 mana charm, and a few decent lifers and plain 7mf charms. But the gc's were such a big success that I can't even complain about lack of runes.

Most exciting in the short term is I did find a cold skiller!
1 skiller doesn't make an enormous difference, but she needs all the dmg she can get, and the chances of finding one during this stint were low, so I was very happy about it. But then in 3 days, I found all 3 of these bad boys, with the last one being the most exciting :)




Chaos Sanctuary
Gear
After completing this little project, I finally geared for and started doing chaos runs (thanks @Bewitch for all the gear discussion). Wearing shako, [email protected] maras, [email protected] hoto, spirit, [email protected] vmagi (13mdr), bloodfist, string of ears (13DR, 10MDR), dwarf star (15mdr), soj, and aldurs boots. I used my second socket quest on vmagi and so have a ptopaz in it and in the shako now. Saving the last socket quest till the first of griffons, fathom, or 98. Bewitch helped me realize you use vmagi at lvl 98 whether fire or lightning spec, so I might as well use the socket quest on it now.

I thought my gear before these changes was sound enough with max res and 105 fcr (but was using ptopaz armor :p), and all these changes felt like small improvements. But holy crap, all together they made an enormous difference. The practice runs went from frantic tele'ing and frequent rejuvs to being fairly chill. I now have >2600 health, 38mdr, 86fhr, and ofc 105fcr and max res. I think it's the huge mdr which makes the biggest difference, but >2600 health helps a ton too I'm sure. I only have 170mf with this setup though, and was hoping for 200+. I thought about subbing the bloodfist for chance guards, which would be fine, but I just kinda like how well all the gear works together, so I'm keeping bloodfist and 170mf for now.

Merc
I wouldn't mind a bit of discussion on this. I've been testing different mercs. I don't have coh (believe it or not I have 2 bers, but 0 ists and 0 mals), and I also don't have an eth base for insight. So I knew I'd be going without insight. First I wanted to try out a5 lawbringer merc. I think this guy is awesome. The safety is so good with all the knights and stormcasters being knocked back. I tried him with and without delirium and it felt almost the same without it. However I also wanted to try out holy freeze a2 merc with reapers and delirium. Honestly I think he feels less safe than lawbringer merc, but still safe enough. And his advantage is he doesn't push stormcasters out above the lava. So I think I'll stick with him for now. I hope I find an eth polearm and an ist, as I would like to try out the insight merc. I have to drink 2 mana pots or so each run even with 970 mana.

Map
Now this is where I would really like some input. I've tried reading some threads and asking some people, and I have a better handle on it now, but still don't really know what I'm looking for. It seems to me that first priority is forked vizier wing. All the other layouts I've tried have him spawn at the edge with few minions frequently. Then it seems like you want boss packs in the wings, a density that isn't too dangerous for you, and a t-layout for infector is a bonus. Is all this correct and did I miss anything important? I don't care about shrines since I'm not killing Diablo and they just get cursed away immediately. Thanks in advance! Fun to finally be moving to chaos. Its one of my favorite areas in the game.
 
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Luhkoh

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Jul 23, 2019
From @Pb_pal
My spreadsheet shows Eleanor at ~4.8M/hr for 97 in the CS. Don't let those uber 98 XP guys get to you, I'm pretty sure some people in this place aren't human.

From Yng
@Luhkoh I went back through the thread to see what Sophie was getting at various levels in CS as I remember posting EXP meter a lot. I saw someone mention run times and I want to point out that a lot of times having many boss packs near the seals contributed to higher exp/hour than just outright killing seals as quickly as possible.

96: 12-13m/hour
97: 5-6m/hour

CBA going any further, ~140 pages back to find these two LOL
 

Luhkoh

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Jul 28, 2019
@ffs just amazing. Gonna make for one of the most epic untwinked 99er endings for sure. Also, I don't remember if it shows the dmg right with dreams and vengeance, but if the LCS is relevant, show us that dmg!

I finished up my 20 hours of chaos with Arkana, and made it to 96.33. Did a few minutes extra to get to an even 2.8 billion exp. Leaving where we left off, the drops continued nicely for a while.


I have 7 jav skillers now (only 4 of any other type of skiller max), and 4 have life on them. I really should make a java.


With that last mal, I was only an um, mal, or ist short of making another cta, so i went countess a couple of hours and rolled this ugly thing.

But hey works great for body recovery and i cant complain when i got 4BO on my only other one.

Soon after this I hit 96! By far the highest I've ever leveled a character in all my long 15 months playing the game :p


I'm lucky enough to have found 3 shakos from mephy, but I was really excited to see my first non-mephy gold shako.

Was 140 def, and rounds out my body recovery kit quite nicely. I now have all the same gear on body recover, except soj is replaced with a rare ring with strength and res, maras 30 is replaced with a plain blue [email protected] amulet, 1BO cta, and i left the glove spot blank just for a bit more stash space. So final result is 3 less skills and 200 less life, and 60fhr instead of 86. Not too shabby at all.

Nearly had to put it to the test immediately with an NDE.

I had gotten in the habit of popping infector's seal from the top right of it, for quicker access to where his pack usually spawns, but this makes him occasionally spawn right on top of me. Usually that doesn't matter as I can tank several hits and have plenty of time to rejuv or tele out, but this time with might, I had just enough time to hit esc immediately.

Unfortunately lesson wasnt learned, and I soon repeated this mistake. This time the pack spawned with fana, and I must have gotten crit a couple of times or something, because it looked like I was one-shot. This was my only death in these 20 hours. Body recovery was no problem with the recovery gear and I only lost like 40 minutes. This did finally make me learn my lesson though and I popped the infector seal from below it from here on out.

One more rune.

Also found a heaven's light, and then one huge find for me.

I was slightly concerned that I hadn't found this yet. Though with like 90+ hours remaining in chaos, that's surely too early to worry, but I was complaining about that fact to my buddy @sir_cyclops, and sure enough, it drops right before the end of the 20hrs. I have 150mf and found like 4 unique rings the whole time. Worst pdr roll, but I don't mind :)

Summary for ~27 hours of chaos:
Runes

Sur, Vex, Gul, Mal, Mal, Um, Um
Not the best CS rune haul, but I'll take it.

Grailers
Earth Shifter, Blinkbat's, BK mythical sword
Pretty nice!

Skillers
Cold, java (w 26 life), pcomb, barb masteries, warcries

Others
iK armor, shako, heavens light, hand of broc, 38light 36fire 24mf boots, 2/20/15life sc, eth thresher cubed to 15/249/6 insight, monarch cubed to a 35 fcr spirit (first roll) for body recovery, natures peace!!

Now I think I'll take a month or so off and play other characters, including my barb for MFO. After that I'll come back to Arkana, and it should be less than 20 hours to 97! If I can keep from dying.
 

Luhkoh

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Oct 22, 2019
Got to 97.5! Most of these finds were already posted in mini-rfl results. I wen't from 97-97.4 during that tourney and thought I'd wait till the nice round 97.5 to post here, and I only found one thing of note from 97.4-97.5. Anyways I had some nice rune finds during the tourney:

After that, phoenix suddenly seems very achievable, so I think I'll be going fire at lvl 98 (barring an unlikely griffons appearance).
So I am only an ohm/Lo from phoenix, and I WAS only a sur away from infinity, but the day after the tourney, this baby dropped.

So now infinity is in the bag! Will probably still wait till 98 to make it.

Interesting non-runes:
  • eth skulders
  • aureolic (3mpk) jewel of fervor - may go in my first griffons if (I mean when :cool:) it drops
  • trap skiller 26 life
  • warcries skiller 12 life
  • 11 pdr natures peace
  • leviathan
  • reapers
  • metalgrid!
  • valk wing
Sorry this is mostly the same as my mini-rfl results post, but I thought it would be nice to have here too for this update. I will see you all again in hopefully not too long at 97.75 :)
 

Luhkoh

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Nov 4, 2019
@Shuffleblast condolences. The whole accidentally teleport instead of attack is one of the most frustrating ways to die. Me saying that even from only a SC perspective :rolleyes:.

I made it to 97.75 with Arkana. Quite a few very nice drops for this stint, and still no deaths so far in the level <knock on wood>. First Lets get the big ones out of the way.

First cham ever for me!

From a different map seed funny enough

I'm torn on what to do with these. Whether I want to go full efficiency mode and put one in a shako and one in an andy's. Or cube them up for an ebotd for fun :).

Runes: gul, cham, mal, cham, pul. Still need any of vex/ohm/Lo to complete phoenix.
S/U: boneflame, arreats, griz shield, highlords (grailer believe it or not)
Others: 1185 def 3os hellforge plate, 315def 3os bone visage (these will probably be mercs bases for treachery and delirium for lvl 98, assuming i have the spare ist to remake deli in a cool eth base). eth 4os cryptic axe (second eth elite 4os polearm for the entire journey so far)




Motivation is running a bit low at this point, but I'm going to keep trying to put good amounts of time into it to cross that 98 threshold in a couple of weeks or so!
 

Luhkoh

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Nov 15, 2019
Finally made it to 98 yesterday!


I say finally, because I had a couple of hang ups right at the end. I was just starting to thing I might have a chance of getting through the lvl without dying when at 97.87 I got too greedy trying way too hard to pick up a rare tiara and died. I even had time for a rejuv or s/e if I'd had a closer eye on bulb and finger on esc ready. But so anyways disappointing, but my own fault, ready to move on.

Then I got 50 runs away from lvl'ing on wednesday evening. Thats 97.985. then mid-teleport fanatacism VIZIER spawns and 1 hit KO's me. Nothing to do at all.

Lol this one put me in an incredulous rage. But I was angry and motivated to grind the rest out yesterday and finally got it! Finds were still good this stint.

Runes: pul, ohm, sur, lo, um
S/U's: nightwings (11csd, grailer), titans, stormspire, eth wolfhowl, darksight helm (grailer), homunculus, metalgrid, maras [email protected]
Others: fine (3/14) sc of sustenance (15), garnet (9) sc of sustenance (15), ruby (11) sc of vita (19)





Grinding out this level was a pretty big challenge for me, as someone who thought 20hour sets in the same area were tough back during rfl :p. But I knew I wanted a character who ran chaos rather than baal and I dont regret that decision one bit. Found some decent uniques despite having 150 mf, and these runs have made me fairly rune-rich by my scale anyways. Here's the rune finds over this lvl. Had a few other good ones in chaos from 94-97, but wanted to show this.
Code:
97.0-97.1    gul, pul
97.1-97.2    jah, ohm
97.2-97.3    um, pul, vex
97.3-97.4    nothing
97.4-97.5    sur
97.5-97.6    gul
97.6-97.7    cham
97.7-97.8    mal, cham, pul, pul
97.8-97.9    ohm, sur
97.9-98.0    pul, lo, um

Lastly, I wanted to record and include a video of my runs. When I was trying to go fast, I was averaging around 4.6 million exp/hr around the end. This isn't as much as most of the other 99er sorcs were able to get, so if you all see ways I could have improved a lot, I would still like to hear. But even so I think the runs got pretty routine and fast, and I'm proud of how they look.


Now I'm going to roll these nice runes into an infinty and phoenix! I will hel out the merc's eth thresher insight for the task even though I do have an eth 4os CA. I will also craft 104 caster ammys and reroll 114 gcs on arkana. Hoping for fire skillers for nihla. If I get anything good, I'll post those results here, but thought this post was long enough without them :p.

Then I'll probably take a break and play some other characters or other video games, but I'll be getting started on nihla within a month or two I'm sure!