Conqueror Cosmo, 1.11 vanilla HC naked Druid [by Insane Wayne]

Mar 16, 2020
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Originally posted by Insane Wayne on Apr 14, 2007:

Conqueror Cosmo, 1.11 vanilla HC naked Druid

I'd like to introduce Conqueror Cosmo, level 77 vanilla HC naked Druid. Some of you may remember the adventures of Alkithoe, my naked zon, during her improbable run to Guardian several months ago. Back then, I said I wasn't going to try this again, but I changed my mind. I want to try and pull this off again. Thus, I started Cosmo, and worked on him between my tournament characters, during the past few months.

I chose a Druid because I made Guardian in the Single Skill Tree tourney with a pure Summons Druid, and this druid will be similar. More recently, I just finished the Green tourney with a fully-synergized Bowler Druid. The experience I gained there will be very helpful. Now is the perfect time to resume Cosmo's quest. I'll share his progress with lots of screenshots.

My personal rules:
1. No ESC to avoid death.
2. Full clears, including all evil urns. (Norm and NM were completed at p8)
3. Single-pass, no re-running areas or bosses.
4. No gear of any kind, no jewelry, and no charms.
5. Merc is allowed to wear gear acquired during the quests. No twinking.
6. ATMA allowed as an extended stash.

Normal Difficulty:
I quickly built up my Ravens. They did all my initial killing easily. Later, they would function as defensive helpers, but in Act 1 Normal, they inflicted good damage. Soon I had a Fire Rogue and a level 1 Spirit Wolf as a tank. Cosmo's first stair-trap, a sign of things to come I'm sure.

In Act 2 I hired a Blessed Aim merc. I also had 3 dire wolves, but I kept them at a low level, opting to boost Oak Sage. This ensured that the merc would score nearly all the kills (for MF purposes). I cubed several Savage polearms, eventually scoring a Partizan, which I re-rolled and stuffed with -req% jewels. A nice starter stick. His armor was pure topaz (and it would remain so indefinitely). We had no problems making rapid progress at p8. With more points dumped into Sage, the merc/wolves had unstoppable tanking power. Whenever I run into a really nasty pack, I use level 1 Arctic Blast to slow them. It can be sprayed back and forth like a fire extinguisher and affect entire groups. I added a nice circlet to the merc's stash. The ravens' damage quickly became insignificant, but they are far from useless. On the contrary, high-level ravens have 100% chance to blind with every peck, with a long duration similar to Dim Vision. This has many uses, like breaking apart mob attacks, stopping ranged attackers, preventing resurrections, and disabling some special attacks (e.g. Frenytaur frenzies). Observe ravens in action!

Close call with an urn pack: nearly surrounded.
Shoddy door installation (lousy demonic contractors).
 
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Insane Wayne said:
Nightmare Difficulty:
Upgraded the merc's body armor. (4-socket plate dropped in Catacombs)
Jemali the Might merc joins our team.
Awesome drop from Radament! (this was the first death mask, of any kind, that dropped. Merc continued with his topaz helm.)
Scary entrance to the Stony Tomb.
Conviction Dark Elder, worsening my horrible resists.
Upgraded a new merc weapon, using Rals, Orts, and Thuls to manufacture the required Amn. Cool weapon. Unfortunately, the amp and blinding overwrite each other. At this stage, I went ravenless unless things got nasty. Amp allowed faster progress.

Another nice weapon, from a lowly regular spear cat. As you can see, the ED rolled very poorly (near-worst), nevertheless, this spear will have many uses down the road.
NM Duriel has no chance.

Battlemaid Serena gave us a scare.
Awesome assorted-rares super-chest.
Merc helm upgrade. He's up to 168% MF.

The dreaded Burning Souls arrive. My ravens soon shut them down. It's still very risky. Ravens are not as controllable as Dim Vision.
Excellent NM Forge drop. I'd prefer Um (Duress) but Pul will enable a unique weapon upgrade, if I ever find a Lum (or 2 more Io).
NM Diablo, feeling a chill. He dropped a merc weapon upgrade. Hmm... like the Kelpie, it rolled near-worst ED. Crap. But it's still better than anything else, for pure damage output.

Nice place to hang out. I sent some wolves and vines in there. Gotta get my full clear if possible. (They did the job).

Horrible Drifter Cavern center entrance. We couldn't stand up to these guys. I ran for my life, straight into another disaster. The monsters joined into a mega-pack and I was forced to take a side road. Raven blinding kicked in and all were left behind (wolves barely delayed the bosses). Close call. I'd forgotten to mule in the runes for Malice, so I needed to improvise against the PI boss, via rapid switching of Jemali's temporary weapons. The boss teleported a lot and healed some, but we got him eventually.

I took a chance on making an eth "Honor" lance, but failed.
More nasty Frenzytaurs, and one of them dropped a nice armor. (The only decent non-MF armor as of yet.)
Stupid Madawc Cursed us. What am I doing standing so close to Talic?! :badteeth:

NM Baal was catatonic thanks to our combined slowing. Beautiful drop (although useless to us. That's the wrong Winged Helm!!!).
Tyrael played a joke on us. (couldn't enter portal, I had to S&E).

Act 1 Hell is partially complete, mostly at p5.
Cosmo was very careful to avoid these bolts.
Ravens blinded Coldcrow's gang. She was defenseless.
Griswold rolled horrible stats. It took half an hour to OW him. Lack of elemental damage is going to plague this build. I will probably do p1 in areas with likely PIs. I may eventually switch to HF merc, but for now I like Might.

Tower level 5 opened into a stair-trap. Killing the Fallen wasn't so bad, but then we woke up her. And her. And her! That was really wild. I only managed to take screenshots near the end, after dispatching the mob of stumbling blinded minions. Went through lots of purples.

Hell Countess was stingy. Looks like I'll have to seek that Lum rune somewhere else. Lum runes are not that rare but I know I can't count on it happening.

next post--- stats/skills and merc gear...
 
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Insane Wayne said:
Cosmo's Stats / Skills:

Level: 77
Str 15, Dex 20, Vitality 415 (2223 life w/ Sage), Energy 20 (172 mana)
Damage: 1-2
AR: 70
Defense: 5
Resists: all at -80 :shocked:

1 Firestorm (prereq)
1 Molten Boulder (I added this for its defensive Knockback value)
1 Arctic Blast (for slowing)
1 Cyclone Armor
20 Oak Sage
16 Raven
1 Spirit Wolf (prereq)
20 Dire Wolf
1 Poison Creeper
1 Carrion Vine

22 skill points saved. This is where I need the most advice. I'm leaning towards Cyclone Armor, because it works as if my resists were at zero. Not so helpful if my resists were high, but in my case, it's very appealing.
Or I could max Grizzly, and have a truly mighty tank, comparable to a valk.
Other options include spending a few points to max raven (increase blinding duration) or a few in Arctic Blast (increase range and cold duration).

Might Merc Gear discussion:
Jemali is primarily using the Husoldal. In sticky spots, I'll swap with Kelpie or Malice as needed. If I do find a Lum, I'll need to decide which unique to upgrade. I also have an ethereal Hyperion Spear as a potential imbue. It's probably a good idea to make a "Strength" ASAP, since we lack CB.

He still wears the MF armors. I'm prepared to switch to Tal's Mask when needed. However, the massive life pool and regen provided by Oak Sage, make leech and resists less important (as long as the wolves are absorbing the brunt of attacks)

Rich (BB code):
Husoldal Evo
Bec-de-Corbin
Two-Hand Damage: 54 to 255
Durability: 41 of 55
Required Dexterity: 91
Required Strength: 133
Required Level: 44
Polearm Class - Fast Attack Speed
Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
Item Level: 62
Fingerprint: 0xaded0029
+163% Enhanced Damage
+248 to Attack Rating
+20 to Minimum Damage
+32 to Maximum Damage
Replenish Life +20
20% Increased Attack Speed
Prevent Monster Heal

Kelpie Snare
Fuscina
Two-Hand Damage: 76 to 140
Durability: 19 of 35
Required Dexterity: 25
Required Strength: 77
Required Level: 33
Spear Class - Normal Attack Speed
Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
Item Level: 48
Fingerprint: 0x48bd5412
+10 to Strength
+145% Enhanced Damage
+30 to Minimum Damage
+50 to Maximum Damage
Fire Resist +50%
Slows Target by 75%
+93 to Life (Based on Character Level)

Malice
War Fork
'IthElEth'
Two-Hand Damage: 21 to 62
Durability: 21 of 28
Required Dexterity: 95
Required Strength: 80
Required Level: 25
Spear Class - Fast Attack Speed
Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
Item Level: 57
Fingerprint: 0x45e2e739
+33% Enhanced Damage
+50 to Attack Rating
+9 to Maximum Damage
Drain Life -5
+0 to Light Radius
-25% Target Defense
Prevent Monster Heal
-100 to Monster Defense Per Hit
100% Chance of Open Wounds
Socketed (3: 3 used)

Tal Rasha's Horadric Crest
Death Mask
Defense: 115
Durability: 14 of 20
Required Strength: 55
Required Level: 66
Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
Item Level: 52
Fingerprint: 0xb653ccc0
+60 to Life
+30 to Mana
+45 Defense
All Resistances +15
10% Life stolen per hit
10% Mana stolen per hit

Gemmed Great Helm
Defense: 35
Durability: 27 of 40
Required Strength: 63
Required Level: 18
Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
Item Level: 46
Fingerprint: 0x377d19dd
72% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
Socketed (3: 3 used)

Twitchthroe
Studded Leather
Defense: 59
Durability: 16 of 32
Required Strength: 27
Required Level: 16
Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
Item Level: 62
Fingerprint: 0x80cf1b3e
+10 to Strength
+10 to Dexterity
+25% Increased Chance of Blocking
+25 Defense
20% Increased Attack Speed
20% Faster Hit Recovery

Jeweler's Ancient Armor of Protection
Defense: 224
Durability: 60 of 60
Required Strength: 100
Required Level: 47
Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
Item Level: 80
Fingerprint: 0xb3979248
Damage Reduced by 2
Socketed (4: 0 used)

Gemmed Gothic Plate
Defense: 135
Durability: 33 of 55
Required Strength: 70
Required Level: 18
Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
Item Level: 42
Fingerprint: 0xe1f22f99
96% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
Socketed (4: 4 used)

Jewels:
My jewel selection is poor. These are the best I have. :embarassed: 

Sapphire Jewel of Wrath
Required Level: 14
Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
Item Level: 23
Fingerprint: 0x734279fc
+8 to Maximum Damage
Cold Resist +27%

Bone Whorl
Jewel
Required Level: 13
Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
Item Level: 23
Fingerprint: 0x691c4ffc
+16 Defense
Fire Resist +24%
Adds 1-4 cold damage over 2 seconds

Jewel of Thunder
Required Level: 49
Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion
Item Level: 60
Fingerprint: 0x929bae77
Adds 1-84 lightning damage
Runes: Pul, Io, Shael, Sol (3), Amn (3), Thul (3), plenty of lower runes

Gems: Hundreds for rerolls, enough for ~75 Pgems

I still have my socket quests and imbues available.
Comments/suggestions welcome!
 
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aitrus said:
Another one, great!
This place is turning into a TV show, we had Alkithoe and some Green dudes, we have supa'dave and now our belowed Wayne again 😁

GG Wayne, great and fun read ... keep up the good work and most of luck through Hell :wink3:
 
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StealthBlade said:
Wow, that is quite the challenge Insane Wayne! Congrats for just getting this far into the game!

Two main question for you to consider though:
1. If you max grizzly, would you be using this to increase the dmg of the dire wolves, or as a replacement to them? Do you need the three wolves to provide more protection, or do is one large giant tank good enough for you?
2. Are elemental attacks really that important to you? I know it will provide a cushioning and a safety measure, but do you need it? Are the ravens blinding the ones casting the elemental attacks fast enough and are the rest of the minions drawing enough fire?

Overall though, if you want more killing power/speed I would say to go with the grizzly. However, if you feel that you need more safely and protection, take the armor route. In the end, I guess it comes down to your play style and what you want/need more.

Lol, I know this is a large post that doesn't even really answer your question, but that just my $0.02 on your current situation. Congrats again!
 
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Insane Wayne said:
@StealthBlade-- you summed up my dilemma perfectly, which is why it's hard for me to decide.

Grizzly's damage boost to wolves is a side benefit. I plan to use mostly wolves. For most situations, they protect me better (easy to spread out and recast). But sometimes you can't beat the raw tanking power of a big grizzly against the strongest foes. Each skill has its tanking superiority, depending on the number and type of monsters.

Regarding elemental attacks, I do have a big life pool. But it's nothing when resists are at -80. My zon had D/A/E. Cosmo is a sitting duck. You're correct that ravens help neutralize such attacks, but they're not foolproof. I haven't needed Cyclone Armor yet. The problem is; if I do need it, the first clue will be sudden death. :laugh:
 
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Ashmer Amadeus said:
Another thing to consider about your skill points: Inferno, Arctic Blast and maybe one other skill is are bugged. They only do 1/3(?) of the damage show on the LCS. I realize that Arctic Blast slows things down, but if you want to make it into a killing method, you might not have much luck.
 
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krovak said:
Good luck with your great project, Insane Wayne! Reading through the thread is a great inspiration. Oh, I wish I could make another untwinked guardian myself.

I am not too experienced with playing druids, so I will not try to help you decide where to put your skill points.
 
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Fluffballer said:
If you decided to go the CA route, it may be of more use to put the points in twister instead. You get a (crappy, but) stunning skill and still have about half (off the top of my head) of the protection you'd get from just CA.
 
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Nerigazh said:
Wow!! I'm not sure if you've ever played around with FRAPS or a similar recording utility, but it would be awesome to see how a true expert plays through some crazy area of hell (like the WSK?)... naked :wink2:
 
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Insane Wayne said:
Ashmer Amadeus said:
Another thing to consider about your skill points: Inferno, Arctic Blast and maybe one other skill is are bugged. They only do 1/3(?) of the damage show on the LCS. I realize that Arctic Blast slows things down, but if you want to make it into a killing method, you might not have much luck.
I didn't know Arctic Blast damage was bugged, but it doesn't matter. It would only be used for its ranged slowing effect. I'd only consider adding a few points at most, for longer range and duration.

Fluffballer said:
If you decided to go the CA route, it may be of more use to put the points in twister instead. You get a (crappy, but) stunning skill and still have about half (off the top of my head) of the protection you'd get from just CA.
Good idea, that never occurred to me. I have no experience with Twister, except for CtC on Carrion Wind Ring. I remember its mini-stun effect and that is definitely useful. I'll look into it.

Nerigazh said:
Wow!! I'm not sure if you've ever played around with FRAPS or a similar recording utility, but it would be awesome to see how a true expert plays through some crazy area of hell (like the WSK?)... naked
I play on a Mac (no FRAPS), but it is well-equipped to capture and instantly digitize all A/V types. My PC (same desk, sharing same monitor) is old and crappy, but if it can run D2, I can run S-Video and sound into the Mac and record some videos. Assuming the "feel" of PC D2 is similar to Mac D2, I'll try it.
 
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xduckster said:
Insane Wayne said:
I play on a Mac (no FRAPS), but it is well-equipped to capture and instantly digitize all A/V types. My PC (same desk, sharing same monitor) is old and crappy, but if it can run D2, I can run S-Video and sound into the Mac and record some videos. Assuming the "feel" of PC D2 is similar to Mac D2, I'll try it.
All of the recording programs cause a small amount of lag. It might not be much, but you never know if that 0.5 second will be enough to hit or miss the rejuvenation potion. Hardcore already has enough challenges.

Although, if you did make videos I would for sure watch them.