Anything Goes D2 Lounge!

Pyrotechnician

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Cold sorc straight from the start is way more than viable even untwinked and I've always just went straight cold from the start. Fire though is almost always faster if you want to "speed" through the early parts of the game. A leaf staff is super easy to assemble and will carry you for a long while until you get a spirit sword going. If you choose to go fire first then shop for a decent 2 socket staff with + to fireball and look for a tir and ral rune which should be cake to get.

If you don't go fire first just the normal things to pick up for any caster build, use as much mf gear as possible early on to make your life easier later, but its not killer to starting off since you are not really gear dependent. Add in a little bit of fcr if possible because even minimal amounts of fcr will make it seem like you are firing off skills quicker. If you really feel like shopping for something you can try to find some kind of staff or orb with decent +skills preferably including ice blast. Meph is your friend for easy gear farming in nightmare and then again in hell mode when you have a few decent pieces since his cold resistance is low and cold master can bring him all the way down to -100. He is super easy to moat trick, and then just stand across the water and spam blizzard until he dies, repeat for thousands of runs as necessary. It may be cheesy but its effective and safe. Low level runewords that are cheap to make are surprisingly useful, these include a lore helm and rhyme shield which will give you an extra skill and then some res and magic find respectively (of course don't forget the spirit sword of course, but that is probably obvious).

Being straight cold build stinks in hell mode due to the obvious reasons of not being able to kill cold immunes, but the merc should be able to handle it in most cases. Duriel will suck, but luckily you have static, so don't be afraid to spam static on him (and all other bosses for that matter) at the beginning of the fight. Things to watch out for? Cold enchanted + Lightning enchanted monsters, that invisible frost nova ring sucks if you are spamming blizzard on top of them (doing no damage to them and you possibly taking lots of damage) Also, don't cast blizzard exactly on top of the same spot twice, the shards drop in a line pattern so you want to move your cursor either left or right a little so that monsters get hit by the most shards possible.

Orb vs. Blizzard? Orb is great for hybrid builds because it has low skill point investment to be effective. If you want your sorc to be high damage dealing and are not going with a hybrid build blizzard is preferred since you can reach way higher damage numbers (although orb always was cooler in my mind).

Edit: This is going to sound simple and stupid, but if you happen to come across a gull or a ali baba before you get something like occulus, throw that on your weapon switch and switch to it right before killing act bosses (similar to how you would use your weapon switch on your barb for horking). You can boost your MF up by a 100 easy for meph farming to speed things along.

Oh, and one more thing, pick up all the rare orbs, the chances you get something useful is rare, but a good one is worth something and is stylish too.
 
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ResTTe

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That was a little bit longer than i was expecting, but thanks a lot! XD

The things that still bother me:
- shopping lower res wand
- finding balance between blizzard and cold mastery
- best lvling spot
 

Albatross

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LR wands are easy to shop, but level 3 (highest) only comes much later in game. (Un)fortunately for cold sorcs, a lot of cold immunes are unbreakable and thanks to CM messing with wands usually isn't worth it.

It's good you've already settled on blizz because your biggest problem will be deciding which items to socket and the best in slot item is different depending on what you're doing.

Unless you find an absolutely insane circlet, you'll be using shako, but you might want nightwing's for leveling. Overall, just like with barb, the ugly rag is the safest socket candidate.
While vipermagi is a great armor, it's going to be replaced by either Tal's, Skullder's, CoH or Enigma...
Fathom is not only rare, but varies a lot and unless you get high CSD it's another difficult decision because your merc will also benefit from a socket (usually chamed andariel's).
There's also the 180MF sword option ffs' discovered, which will save one larzuk quest.

Stats and skills are simple.
Keep in mind you need 156 str for a spirit monarch (144 hard points with shako and war travs), everything else goes into vita.

1 pt warmth doesn't do much early, but becomes useful in dealing with mana burn in the late game. You can skip it until then.
1 pt static/TK/TP and you don't need anything else from the lightning tree.
IMO, cold armors are not worth it and you can try them out by using staffmod staves (as well as ES) before committing.

My goal with cold sorcs is to get to act 5 asap and level on eld and shenk to 40, then baal to 55-60. It goes really smooth in normal and nightmare.
I think you can't go wrong with maxing ice bolt last. Besides, the build is more or less done at level 80 and you'll get there very fast thanks to blizzard shredding lister in NM baal runs.

Mephisto has 75 CR in Hell, if you'll run him you want high CM earlier. However, I didn't bother much with him and andariel, just went to AT shortly after leveling up.
There are a few options for 95-99, baal isn't necessary and is actually pretty bad for 98-99, therefore saving ancients is a good idea if you'll push for 99.

CtA should be your priority runeword, even a +1 BO is a game changer for sorcs.
Insight is your merc's best friend.
Oculus' random teleport is horrible.
 
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Pyrotechnician

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I agree with Albatross, LR wands are easy to shop, but they aren't particularly useful for a cold sorc. The natural cold res of monsters in hell is way to high to be broken and cold mastery takes care of the rest since its the only mastery that lowers enemy resistances instead of increasing damage. Always 1 pt warmth. Plus skills will end up carrying that most of the way otherwise. Funny though I always drop 1 point in there almost right away just because, but I'm probably just dumb and want to reduce how many mana pots I pick up. Vmagi, great armor, only real use end end game though is to hit the 200 fcr breakpoint, but that is not a goal for cold sorcs, so agree, don't socket since you will only have 3 holes to punch. Don't underestimate the power of 3 part tals (ammy, armor, belt), it has skills, res, and lots of magic find. It may not be top level gear, but if you happen to find it, it works (but the armor isn't exactly easy to find) until you hit end game gear.

After that we may have some differences in opinion but its not too far off. I play hardcore so you'll have to take some of my words with a grain of salt. I always sink one point into shiver armor. Its an easy way to gain an extra 100%+ defense and slows enemies when they hit you. Sorc's don't normally end up with a ton of defense so this is probably a negligible decrease in chance to be hit but I like it anyway. I also hit one point into energy shield, but once again, probably not a thing you'll do in softcore as it takes way too many skill points to get there.

I agree, get yourself up to about level 45, this can be done with shenk/pindle in normal mode, maybe a few baal runs. This is once again where I deviate a little bit. I don't stick around in normal past that. I always skip ahead and try to get myself to NM meph and just run him until I have sufficient gear or level up appropriately. He is a good source of drops and easy to kill, why deal with baal when I can get way better items in a couple acts. For hell, ancient tunnels is the end game, that is where cold sorcs live, if you are missing something that would help you kill or survive a little better though it wouldn't hurt getting yourself to hell meph and running that.

Cold mastery is subjective. A safe spot is level 17 including plus skills from gear, that is exactly -100% resistance. You'll have to decide this on your own as there are varying opinions on what level to get this too. Its important to remember that they don't have to be hard points in this skill where as every other synergy does.

P.S. I've (mostly) survived with the random teleport from oculus. Its not fun when it happens, but if you are quick enough its usually not a big deal, although many people can't stand it (and I would be happier without it since the orb is really solid otherwise). At lower levels its not a huge deal if it kills you if you aren't in HC and end game you probably won't be using it anyway.
 
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NorthDakota

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Someone explain to me why I can do tens of thousands of LK/AT/Pindle/Cows/Pit runs and I can't tolerate doing 100 baal runs.
 
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PhineasB

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On the question from @ResTTe I will echo the points made. Pure blizz (save that respec if going untwinked for sure), and no need for anything more (including LR wand). Pindle at each difficulty (and Hell Meph) is enough to reach 92-93. Mix in some LK for runes and charms, and she is well on her way. The hardest piece may be 4os Monarch :rolleyes: My HC sorc is 94 following that path (did Three Way Dance, so not purely untwinked, but not far from it).

@NorthDakota I can't explain. I generally do not enjoy Baal, but ran it each of the last two MFOs pinging 98 with an untwinked character. I think MFO is the only thing that makes it tolerable for me a this point in my D2 arc :)
 
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Nano

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LK is an excellent area for the early item grind since no killing power is required. Core runewords for the Sorc can be found here.. Cta, Hoto, and CoH. Infinity and Fortitude is great for Merc although you can probably delay Infinity and hope to find the runes during the Vizier/Infector runs. Crafting materials and solid inventory of charms can be found in LK as well. Mix in some AT since that area can also drop runeword bases that cannot be found at LK or Hell Meph.
 
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Pyrotechnician

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Someone explain to me why I can do tens of thousands of LK/AT/Pindle/Cows/Pit runs and I can't tolerate doing 100 baal runs.
Probably because LK, AT and Pindle you are following a set path and after you get used to the map you can mostly not pay attention for the most part unless you get a dangerous roll on a boss pack in AT.

For Baal you have to go down two different levels and deal with whatever shitty thing spawns in the throne room whether that be dolls or souls. After that you have to wait for waves to spawn which is a snooze fest and then lister and crew and then Baal are damage sponges so it's not as simple as dropping one blizzard and moving on like you can do in other areas. Also their drops are few and far between which makes it more painful.

Edit: And cows are just fun, no one can not like cows.
 
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ResTTe

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Thanks for a lot of information guys! I will make that sorc in the evening today. Want to get to NM and get some lvls today at least.
 

Luhkoh

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@ResTTe dont forget to check LK racks for a monarch rack or an elite polearm rack. I don't necessarily think this is worth farming for, but if you stumble on one early on its super nice. Otherwise, everyone else has already said it all.

@NorthDakota because running baal sucks :p. In all seriousness, have you tried doing CS runs as blizz for exp? Worth a try if you're bored of baal. If you try it, get a delirium merc. Or even just p8 AT works fine. Albatross just told me he's getting higher exp/hr in p8 AT at lvl 97 than I did in chaos. My personal past tests had AT at like 2/3 - 3/4 the pace of CS, but that's why he's the tunnels master. Either way, any of the three arent terrible for getting to 97. Good luck!
 

Maltatai

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Skimming through the sorceress advice I am a bit curious how almost all of it is centred on the easiest part of being a cold sorceress - melting down enemies susceptible to cold damage and bathing in their shiny loot. What about the cold immunes, the real and true test of a cold tree sorceress? With a single tree focus you need hardly any more skill points from equipment to kill effectively with spells but you can count on needing every little piece to deal with those you can't harm with magic.

I made a cold tree sorceress, with blizzard rather than frozen orb as area attack, and she failed completely to deal effectively with the cold immunes. I say effectively, for she got through, but I would have needed to plan much more thoroughly for how to equip and develop the character.
 

Tears85

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Someone explain to me why I can do tens of thousands of LK/AT/Pindle/Cows/Pit runs and I can't tolerate doing 100 baal runs.
Because Baalruns are the worst part of D2 besides Den Of Evil. Standing in one point throwing stuff at another point can´t be more boring.......ofc that is until u fight Baal....standing in one point throwing stuff at another point.......and GETTING KNOCKED BACK! GG BLIZZARD!
 

d2lover

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blizzard is better at high player settings

FO is better killing lots of weaklings
 

Pyrotechnician

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Skimming through the sorceress advice I am a bit curious how almost all of it is centred on the easiest part of being a cold sorceress - melting down enemies susceptible to cold damage and bathing in their shiny loot. What about the cold immunes, the real and true test of a cold tree sorceress? With a single tree focus you need hardly any more skill points from equipment to kill effectively with spells but you can count on needing every little piece to deal with those you can't harm with magic.

I made a cold tree sorceress, with blizzard rather than frozen orb as area attack, and she failed completely to deal effectively with the cold immunes. I say effectively, for she got through, but I would have needed to plan much more thoroughly for how to equip and develop the character.
The simplest answer to the true test of a cold tree sorceress is don't take the test. Seriously, unless you are going for full clear single pass the effort is not worth the time, and you have teleport. If you are really focused on taking them out though the next simplest answer is 1 pt telekinesis, 1 pt static, and a merc. Static down to lowest health possible based on difficulty level (i.e. half in hell mode) and then apply telekinesis until dead to keep them in constant knockback unless its a super unique.

If you want to go one step further you can probably find something with enchant on it to boost your merc damage in a pinch.
 

Friiser

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...What about the cold immunes, the real and true test of a cold tree sorceress? With a single tree focus you need hardly any more skill points from equipment to kill effectively with spells but you can count on needing every little piece to deal with those you can't harm with magic.
I completely agree...Blizz sorc Baal runs? I'm guessing most trade off blizzard synergies to pump some skills into fireball.
 

Luhkoh

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Nah we just tend to only run certain areas with certain builds, and know that restte does as well. This is why we recommend blizz sorc, because she tears up AT for mf, chaos for exp, and mephisto for early game items. If you want to run baal, not many recommend a pure cold sorc (though it has been done all the way to 99 with a double hel'd bonehew for CE lol... and also see my post above about how baal running sucks :p), and if you are looking to make your first guardian or full clear a single pass game, we wouldn't be recommending a cold sorc either. All context dependant.
 

Maltatai

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Single element characters have great charm so obviously one would want to clear the game with those too. What kind of hero would a character be that left dangerous demons alive and free in her wake to keep terrorizing Sanctuary?

I actually found the mighty bonehew, speaking of it, with the aforementioned cold sorceress but due to her overall frailty and bad preparation for combating cold immunes she could not take advantage of that, or of the also very useful Draculs Grasp she had found.

The simplest answer to the true test of a cold tree sorceress is don't take the test. Seriously, unless you are going for full clear single pass the effort is not worth the time, and you have teleport.
Ehm, what is the point of Diablo II if not to battle its enemies and succeed with as many different characters as you can come up with? It sounds extraordinary strange that skipping great parts of the game should be considered some sort of standard approach for any kind of build.

If you are really focused on taking them out though the next simplest answer is 1 pt telekinesis, 1 pt static, and a merc. Static down to lowest health possible based on difficulty level (i.e. half in hell mode) and then apply telekinesis until dead to keep them in constant knockback unless its a super unique. If you want to go one step further you can probably find something with enchant on it to boost your merc damage in a pinch.
This is terribly boring and often not enough, I found out the hard way. The mercenary needs more dedicated help to prevail.
 
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maxicek

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Groggs used Bonehew CE charges on his 99er Blizzsorc. This was the old days before respecs.
Also have fun in the Claw Viper Temple :) - Telekinesis is also very useful for knocking back CIs wholst the merc deals with them.
 

Pyrotechnician

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I completely agree...Blizz sorc Baal runs? I'm guessing most trade off blizzard synergies to pump some skills into fireball.
If you want to go do baal runs with a sorc you can switch up the build to pure lightning and throw an infinity on the merc and that would be the most efficient after you farm up all the gear while being a cold sorc. That being said, gearing up with that kind of stuff untwinked is going to take some effort, so if you want the practical answer its going to be use a hybrid build. Blizzballer or Orbitaller both work well.

This goes back to the point of what are you going to do with the build, if you want to focus on mf runs and reaching level 99, you are going to want to pick a straight 1 tree build. If you want to make your way through the game and kill everything hybrid is the way to go. Different playstyles for different people.