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Leveling builds?

Ed from Russia

New member
Oct 21, 2006
Leveling builds?

With the introduction of respecs in 1.13 you can level a logical question arises: what is the best way to level for each class?

Here are my suggestions (open for input)


No discussion.

Put 1 pt in Skeleton mastery, then max Raise Skeleton, and then max Skeleton Mastery (don't argue, this is the best order). Put 1 pt each in the following skills when available: Amp Dmg, Skeleton Mastery, Clay Golem, Golem Mastery, Decrepify, Summon Resist. After you max RS and SM you can put points in Corpse Explosion. Focus gear on survival, get a wand with +3 to Raise Skeleton from vendor as soon as you have money for it. Put 30-40 points in strength to wear some equipment and the rest in vita.

DRUID - Fire Druid

Fissure is awesome to get through Normal and Nightmare.

Until lvl 6 put 1pt in Raven and the rest in Firestorm. At lvl 6 get 1-3 Spirit Wolves (no need for 5, 3 is plenty for leveling), 1 in Oak Sage, the rest in Firestorm. From lvl 12 put all your points in Fissure, except at lvl 18-20 get 3 Dire Wolves and at lvl 30 get a Grizzly. When Fissure is maxed continue with Volcano (synergy for Fissure and attack for bosses). Use Grizzly and merc as shield and cast Fissure to kill very quickly. Insert some Tir runes in leveling gear to regenerate mana quickly. Increase energy to about 50 for comfort, 30-40 in strength for equipment, and put the rest in vita.

SORCERESS - Fireball

I think this is the most effective setup though both Lightning and Cold are pretty close.

Put pts in Firebolt (and 1 in Static) until Fireball is available at lvl 12, then put all in Fireball. Obviously, get Teleport at lvl 18. After you max Fireball continue with Fire Mastery and Fireball synergies (I think the right order is first FM, then synergies). Invest enough in energy (about 75-100) to make things go quicker. Insert some Tir runes in leveling gear to regenerate mana quickly.

PALADIN - Frost Zealot

Frost Zealots are very easy to play; as soon as Holy Freeze is available (lvl 18) you'll do a lot of damage. Until that point use Might and Zeal.

From lvl 6 put all your points in Resist Cold except for prerequisites for other skills and 4 pts in Zeal (for 5 swings). From lvl 18 put all points in Holy Freeze. Get a fast weapon; damage doesn't matter but a bit of mana leech will help a lot. Once Holy Freeze is maxed continue to max Resist Cold. Put 50 pts in Strength (around lvl 20-25) to use most Normal equipment you find along the way, the rest in Vita. You don't really need dex/block at lower levels.

BARBARIAN - Double Swing / Frenzy

The only effective attack available until lvl 24 is Double Swing, and it doesn't cost any mana (from lvl 9).

Invest in Double Swing until lvl 9 - more isn't necessary. On the way get all all prerequisites and one-point wonders. From lvl 24 start investing in Frenzy and put all saved points in Battle Orders. After Frenzy max Battle Orders. Get yourself 2 decent weapons; consider low-level runewords such as Strength and Steel. Put about 45-50 points in strength to wear most Normal equipment. Put about 50 pts to use most equipment you find, and perhaps a bit in dex if it's necessary to use your weapon. The rest in vita.

AMAZON - Lightning Javazon

I think this is better than Multiple Shot for leveling because it will do a lot more damage. But Multiple Arrow is a decent alternative if you have some mana leech.

From lvl 6 put all points in Power Strike but get all prerequisites and one-point wonders on the way. From lvl 18 put all points in Charged Strike. From lvl 30 put all points in Lightning Fury. Get a fast javelin and shield with resists. Mana leech is great, and you may also increase energy to 50-ish.

ASSASSIN - Charged Bolt / Lightning Sentry

This one is hardest for me because I never play assassins. But leveling a trapsin must be a lot easier than a MA 'sin.

From lvl 1 put all points in Fire Blast, and at lvl 18 switch to Charged Bolt Sentry. Get all useful utility skills (shadow tree) along the way. You may want to respec at lvl 24 so you can focus on Lightning Sentry (and put all available points in its synergies). Otherwise just continue with Charged Bolt Sentry and its synergies and respec when you're ready to switch to your main character. Focus gear on survivability. Traps cost a lot of mana for early-level characters so invest a bit in energy (50) or put some Tir runes in your equipment.
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Re: Leveling builds?

For assassins, fire traps are pretty great in the beginning from what I've seen. But that's just judging based on someone's speed run (a straight playthrough of the game) in normal.

You should probably include some ending-levels too. For example, I think bone necros or poison builds beat pure summoners in leveling ability around nightmare baal. I think blizzard sorcs and orb sorcs beat fireball pretty early on as well, though I also think they're pretty close. Frost zealot loses to hammerdin around normal baal I believe. For barbs, whirlwind seems to win around mid-nightmare but that's just a guess. Java wins. And I think lightning traps beat fire traps around beginning nightmare.
Re: Leveling builds?

For a Fireball sorc, I'd put points into its synergies first instead of Fireball. You get around the same damage (more? less? equal? not sure, don't have access to D2 right now) but the mana cost doesn't go up. This holds true for a lot of builds but people never really think about it.
Re: Leveling builds?

Why holy freeze on zealot`? I agree that holy fire is great at low levels, but at holy freeze level hammers also become available, and with a +3 hammer scepter, they are unstoppable from the first level.
Re: Leveling builds?

This discussion is pretty much synonymous with LLD character building, so you can look to that community for guides and advice.

I also wouldnt worry about NM, just Normal, as by the time you're a few levels past 30, you have the full, just unsynergized, skill palette at your disposal, and by the middle of Nightmare, its gear more than your build that's the limiting factor.

I think what we'll see as far as self-rushing now is a lot of people dumping points into early skills like Jab, Charged Bolt, Double Swing, etc., and then once they hit L18 or L24 or wherever they get their "main" skill, using their Normal Den credit to respec to a mid-tier build. Then, once they reach NM, they can use their NM Den to fine-tune their build. The Hell Den credit will most likely usually be saved for reclaiming stat points once you're in your endgame gear.

The only thing I'd change, in light of that, is for Amazons, I'd recommend going for a Jabazon instead of lightning. Jab with additional points and a spear is awesome for the fast, huge damage, especially if you find a Goblin Toe and make a Strength spear for 50% CB, and you can use CS once that becomes available still too. You dont really want to switch to javs until you get a skill worthy of them in LF at 30, and at that point you get Valk which will super-tank own everything and you can switch to bows if thats your endgame plan.
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