Can an act III mercenary be (reasonably) effective?

neumein

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Jul 19, 2006
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Can an act III mercenary be (reasonably) effective?

The title says it all, I suppose.

I am levelling my HC fire-druid through normal at the moment, and got myself to act III. Just to be different, I picked myself up a lightning mage, gave him some half-decent stuff (spirit-sword donated by my singer, stealth runeword armour, cast rate circlet, and a 3 Pdiamond shield). The damage he does is reasonable. The charged bolts he spams don't do much damage, but they stun most things, but his lightning packs a reasonable punch.

Will his damage suffice for the rest of normal? I don't need a tank, as I have a nice bear, and I have physical damage from molten boulder.

Keep in mind that I have a blade of lower resistance (charges of level 3 LR), and will be applying it liberally.

The point of this post:

Will he be able to kill anything past normal?
As he levels up, does he start to use lightning more often, or does he continue to spam charged bolt?
What skills do the other magi use?
Am I an idiot for trying this? (I think we know the answer to that one :rolleyes: )

Any advice you guys can provide will be welcome.
 
they're good until Hell - then they're useless.

I tried a cold one with my MA 'sin, since I already had a second tank in my shadow master. I found that if they get swarmed by 2 (or more) monsters in hell, they die - it doesn't matter if the monster is immune or not. After about 20 resurrections in Act1 & 2, I said to heck with him and got a defiance merc.

He also had very good equipment (eth. Culwen's Point, Vipermagi, Resist/FCR Circlet, and a near-perfect eth. Lidless Wall).
 
I think that using a fire/summoner hybrid you might do well with an Act 3 merc.
You would have at least one good tank so the merc could operate fairly well.
The last FCR breakpoint at 140 is unreachable (35x2 for spirit, 30 for vipermagi makes 100, no helm has 40 FCR as far as I know) so you'd be shooting for 90 FCR or more. 2 spirits and vipermagic would be good, then you would have to socket for +str (and preferably use an eth monarch for lower str req) to get the merc able to use the spirit shield. If you could find a suitable +1 skills helm then overall +6 to skills should give him at least reasonable skill levels. Using a cold or lit merc would complement the druid's weaker areas (FI/PI) nicely.
 
I agree with sirpoopsalot.

I don't know about the lightning one, but I used an Act III cold mercenary with my LF/PJ Amazon. He was effective enough until late NM, and in Hell he was completely useless. I wound up resurecting him so often that I ran out of gold and couldn't hire a replacement for some time.

In Hell difficulty his glacial spike did poor damage, and many monsters were immune to cold. In addition, the freeze time is reduced. To top it off, Act III mercs have low hitpoints and cannot take much abuse.

I think freezing enemies is a good idea, but an Act II Holy Freeze mercenary would probably be much more efficient.
 
I had success - or fun - through early Hell with a A3 cold merc with my Avenger. We rocked through NM, but his damage wasn't great even with Conviction in Hell. The freeze was very helpful with a one-swing-at-a-time meleer. I got Deeds to Radament early in A2, so I don't know how he would have fared later on. Spirit/Lidless/Lore/Flayed Skin, and he was pretty sturdy in my opinion.

YMMV,
DudSpud

PS - In my research I came across statements that the A3 Lightning damage was bugged, though I cannot verify this.
 
I've tried a3 Mercenaries a few times. I think they are at their best when hired in Normal act 3 and equipped with early +skill equipment. Can be really helpful for melee characters who are struggling with all those little suckers running around. Caster is better off with a2 Merc.
I once tried it in early Hell with my Conviction Zealot. I went for Lightning Wolf and gave all my best caster items for him. He killed quite well actually, but only when shooting Lightnings. The bolts were just a pain in the butt... And they really don't shoot the nice sparkly archs as often as you'd like.
I also tried Cold and Fire Wolves, but Fire was just bad and Cold didn't do enough damage. Provided nice crowd control, but so did Holy freeze from a2.
 
"Spirit" is one of the new runewords, available only on the Ladder Realms OR to SP'ers
who download the Runeword Mod (one of the few mods allowed to be discussed here, though still not considered legit by all - check the stickies). Spirit can be made in swords and shields, but the word calls for 4 sockets, and the lowest str 4 os (non-paladin) shield is an eth Monarch (146, IIRC). So while an A3 merc could equip a Spirit crystal sword almost as soon as you got him, the shield will be much more difficult. It's a great RW - +2 skills, 25-35 FCR, 22 vit, 55 FHR, and around 100 mana, not to mention elemental damage (sword) or resists (shield), usable at lvl 27.

And according to the Facts and Formulae archives, 140 is the last BP for A3 mercs - check it out in the drop down menu at the top left of the page.

Good luck,
DudSpud
 
I had great use of a Lightning mage in the first Set/Unique worshipper tournament. I played a (semi-crippled) Concentrate barb there, and got all the way to Guardian. I played Hell on /players 1, and I do not think that the merc´s lightning damage sucked. My merc had good gear (Culwen´s Point, Skin of the Vipermagi and Lidless Wall). As an example, my barb did not have to use Berserk against the Specters in the Arcane Sanctuary - the merc shot them down pretty well.

Yes, the Charged Bolts suck, and they are twice as common as the Lightning. :tongue:


In the second S/U worshipper tournament, I am currently playing a (semi-crippled) Phoenix Strike Assassin accompanied by a Cold mage, in early Hell. This dude has currently no gear that helps his spellcasting, but I must say he is still doing well. He takes down Fallen and Foul Crows etc. by himself, even if it takes a while. However, it´s the freezing that is the best part. No leftover Fallen corpses, and very often a frozen monster to charge and release PS on. Very convenient.



I also have another Ligthning mage deep into Hell. He is accompanied by a weaponless necromancer that is only allowed to summon one minion at a time. I play him sort of like a Golem-/Returnomancer/Lord of Mage. :grin:
Progress is nice (mostly thanks to Iron Maiden and Corpse Explosion (1 hard point in CE is allowed)). I can often boost the lightning damage from the merc with Lower Resist.



What seems to be the common factor here is crowd control. It allows the merc to take their time shooting and prevents them from being swarmed.
 
I don't know about the lightning one, but I used an Act III cold mercenary with my LF/PJ Amazon. He was effective enough until late NM, and in Hell he was completely useless. I wound up resurecting him so often that I ran out of gold and couldn't hire a replacement for some time.

Very strange in my opinion. Were you using Valkyrie and Decoy? My untwinked HC fire magezon hired a cold mage also and had no trouble with him. In fact, she used him, because I considered second (third) tank redundant, and he proved himself very useful. The freezing part is what matters most, just as Jiansonz said.

Still, Iceblast does some considerable damage on its own. Unfortunately, when facing a mix, the merc just aims the nearest target, no matter it's CI. I remember having a hard time in Claw Viper Temple lvl1 with FI Guardians I couldn't kill fast enough and CI skellies which those mummies kept resurrecting. Ultimately, I had to charge those guardians to bring my merc there, while keeping the skellies occupied with Valkyrie and Decoy. Great battle!

With increased skill levels, the fire mage's useless inferno grows in range, and he starts to use it almost exclusively :laugh: which is basically the same problem as with the lightning one.



 
Very strange in my opinion. Were you using Valkyrie and Decoy? My untwinked HC fire magezon hired a cold mage also and had no trouble with him. In fact, she used him, because I considered second (third) tank redundant, and he proved himself very useful. The freezing part is what matters most, just as Jiansonz said.

Still, Iceblast does some considerable damage on its own. Unfortunately, when facing a mix, the merc just aims the nearest target, no matter it's CI. I remember having a hard time in Claw Viper Temple lvl1 with FI Guardians I couldn't kill fast enough and CI skellies which those mummies kept resurrecting. Ultimately, I had to charge those guardians to bring my merc there, while keeping the skellies occupied with Valkyrie and Decoy. Great battle!

With increased skill levels, the fire mage's useless inferno grows in range, and he starts to use it almost exclusively :laugh: which is basically the same problem as with the lightning one.


No decoy, Valkyrie had about 15 points.

I should add that both my mercenary and I were level 71 when we headed into hell difficulty, and this probably contributed to his failure. Secondly, I am rather poor, item wise.



 
Thanks for the input guys (and unknown quantity of EUs)

I don't really need much crowd control, as fissure and molten boulder do that rather well, and I have a recastable tank in the form of my grizzly.

Does anybody know how the lightning merc's damage is bugged? Or if it is in fact bugged? Clarification on that would be good.

I suppose I'll go back and grab myself a holy freeze merc for when I get to hell.

Another question:
Will my (level3) charges of lower resistances break any immunities in hell? I know that fallen and their ilk are all fire immune and will pose a problem, which I had anticipated breaking with LR charges. Will this work?
 
Another question:
Will my (level3) charges of lower resistances break any immunities in hell? I know that fallen and their ilk are all fire immune and will pose a problem, which I had anticipated breaking with LR charges. Will this work?

The charges will break Fallen, Fallen Shaman, and Carver Shaman immunities, but not Carvers, Devilkin, Dark Ones, Devilkin Shaman, and Dark Shaman.

The ones that do break will still have a very high FR (90+), so killing them may prove difficult regardless.



 
noobintraining said:
No decoy, Valkyrie had about 15 points.
Does not compute! Seriously, even with 1 point as a prerequisite, the decoy is very useful with good positioning and frequent recasting. It can shield your merc nicely, before he freezes the enemy.

noobintraining said:
I should add that both my mercenary and I were level 71 when we headed into hell difficulty, and this probably contributed to his failure. Secondly, I am rather poor, item wise.
I went untwinked at P1, though I had some decent luck with items.
 
I use the cold ones now and then. Fire sucks because 1) their skills don't syergize each other and 2) they go melee with inferno. :rolleyes:

The cold and lightning both have main attack skills that synergize each other. I prefer the cold because both of their skills are useful. The blast does good damage and the spike freezes large groups allowing him to blast them. (As a bonus he protects himself with one of the cold armors.)

Since some people say their damage sucks and some don't, it's clearly a matter of playstyle. I like cold mages. They do less damage than rogues, but they freeze instead of chill. Fair enough for me.

Your type of character is ideally suited to a rogue or mage over a barb or act II, so I think you'll be pleased with the results. An Enigmadin will see NO damage increase with a cold mage as well as the fact being in melee range means it's dead all the time. You have lesser damage and can chill in the back with your mage.
 
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