Meshuggah, a Berserk Druid


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Guide Author
Mar 14, 2020
Originally posted by @T72on1 on July 10, 2017

Meshuggah, a Berserk Druid

This thread will be devoted to the Druid in my Oskill Sept. The principle of the Sept is simple: every character will use an oskill as main attack. In the case of Meshuggah this oskill is Berserk, granted through the Passion runeword:
+25% Increased Attack Speed
+160-210% Enhanced Damage (varies)
50-80% Bonus To Attack Rating (varies)
+75% Damage To Undead
+50 To Attack Rating Against Undead
Adds 1-50 Lightning Damage
+1 To Berserk
+1 To Zeal
Hit Blinds Target +10
Hit Causes Monster To Flee 25%
75% Extra Gold From Monsters
Level 3 Heart of Wolverine (12 Charges)

This character will be played on SC SP, twinked. Player setting will be adjusted depending on killing speed. For most of my twinked characters this means /p8 for at least normal and nightmare. After that player setting is set so that killing speed is still good. Respecs are allowed. In my past 2 Septs this was only allowed to optimize stat distribution, but for this Sept any respec is allowed. I'm not going to level up that Wolfbarb to 79 with just normal attack available ... :). I will try to keep respecs somewhat limited to the theme. So for example the Sorc won't be a Charged Boltress early on, or that Bear Paladin a Hammerdin.

On to the plan ...

Character name
Meshuggah. Not much inspiration, but this one seemed very appropriate as well. Meshuggah is the name of one of my favourite bands, and it's derived from the Yiddish word meshuga, which means crazy, or insane. Fitting for a character who will go Berserk ...

Berserk Druid, based on this guide. My skill setup will be different though.

Planned skill layout
Cyclone Armor, Hurricane, Twister, HoW: maxed

Grizzly and Carrion Vine: 1 point

Rest of the points probably in Carrion Vine

Planned endgame gear

- Helm: Jalal's Mane

Being a Druid is reason enough; all the stats on the item are even more of a reason to use it

- Body Armor: Fortitude

huge ED%, resists, chilling armor

- Belt: Verdungo's or rare

fhr, major life

- Boots: Gore Riders

The melee boots

- Gloves: 20% ias needed, probably Laying of Hands

20% ias needed, combined with Highlord's Wrath, to reach a 9 frame attack with my current weapon of choice

- Amulet: Highlord's Wrath

ias, DS, +skill, lightning resist

- Ring 1: Ravenfrost

CBF and massive AR

- Ring 2: rare with life steal, AR, min damage

- Weapon: Passion Shillelagh

Other weapons have higher average damage, but Shillelagh would be something different for a change, fits very well with a Druid and reaches 9 frame attack speed with Fortitude, while other, more damaging weapons, probably require Treachery; an alternative would be to go 1H + shield, probably using a Passion Cadeceus in that case, but for now I want to try 2H first

- weapon switch: CtA and Spirit shield

Act 1 Rogue with Faith Bow, Treachery and Andariel's Visage

Build before Passion
Not sure. Probably Rabies / Feral Rage or just plain Feral Rage

That's about it as far as the theory is concerned. Time to start things in practice. I will give a few updates here as I progress. As I said before, suggestions, criticism, advice is more than welcome to help me get the most out of this character.
Meshuggah <3 Catch 33 is one of my favorite albums of all time. Carrion vine is underrated, in my opinion. For a character that has so many ways to kill that don't involve physical melee attacks, it can easily supply all the health one needs. Definitely looking forward to this one
Good luck with this one, hope he turns out to be fun!
Thanks :).

First update: Meshuggah has completed Normal, after a few hours of tremendous fun.

Gearwise I started out with the usual stuff: shield and body armor full of jewels of envy, Crystal Sword and helm with max damage jewels, Arctic belt and gloves at first, Death's at level 6, Hsarus' boots. Skillwise I immediately started to pump Poison Creeper, and I had so much fun with it, plus it was so strong, that I continued to do this until it was maxed, only stopping for Rabies and HoW at level 18 and their prereqs a bit before that. After that I maxed out Rabies, which is now maxed as well.

I mainly rushed through the game, only doing quests and killing boss packs on my way of doing so. Sounds familiar from my previous character, right?

Like I said, PC was very strong, especially versus big packs of enemies, where it really shines.
This way I even got xp when just passing next to enemies. PC would still poison them and take them down at times, even on /p8. It's that strong !!!.

Before I knew it I had beaten Andariel and was level 18. From then on my main routine would be to charge up Feral Rage, then unleash Rabies once when encountering a large group of enemies, and finish them of with Feral Rage. This way I ended up at Duriel really fast, at level 25. To my surprise he even dropped something useful:
Nokazan Relic !! My go-to twinking amulet.

O yes, before I forget: the area before that, Duriel's Tomb, was incredibly fun. This place is so cramped with enemies, which made my PC scream with delight. I hardly had to do anything there, as he (she?) did most of the work.

This didn't really change in Act 3, certainly the first few parts.
Lots of fast moving enemies? Perfect for PC and Rabies !!! Act 3 and 4 only took some 50 minutes in total, so I definitely got to speed there.

Ever since level 18 I had been using a 2os Antlers with +3 Rabies. At level 27, I could finally turn it into ...
Things didn't change in Act 5. I didn't care to take any notes anymore, but there's not much to say anyway. Did a few Pindle runs to gain 2 levels at level 37. Anya's quest reward to rescue her was actually quite useful for once, so I decided to keep it:
I also did Baal waves 3 times before actually killing Baal. This way I was level 44, almost 45, and more then ready to enter NM.

That won't be the next thing I'll do though. The endgame weapon I have in mind, the Shillelagh, requires level 62, but I want to go the Passion route the moment I can ... which would be now. Problem is that I still haven't got a proper base. Since I also need a Ber for the last character in the Sept, the Paladin, I plan on hitting LK (and maybe Travincal) in search for that Ber, hoping that a suitable Passion base will also drop along the way.
Great stuff. Funny to use some different skills for twinking! Have you considered using Ravens? They blind (Dim Vision) stuff around you quite nicely, might be useful for a character who's using Berserk?
I usually have at least a 1 point Grizzly, and as such also at least a 1 point (and +skills) Raven, which I actually use more often then not. They are indeed very useful.

I must admit that after getting through Normal, I realized that just maxing out HoW and then some points in Hurricane would have probably gotten me through that difficulty level without issues as well, just not as fast. The latter is why I did end up doing things the way I did them :).
Three times Passion to be able to proceed with Berserk at this point, at level 44, and then have an improvement a bit past level 50, and to finish it off his endgame weapon, which got a perfect 210% ED roll !!!
Ok, after getting sidetracked by my 99er Sorc, the MFO, PoE, Grim Dawn and probably some other stuff in D2 too, I'm finally back to this character as well !! So about time for a progress update. The problem is that I seem to have lost my notes from the start of NM until where I picked this character back up, at the start of Act 3. I assume those first 2 acts were quite uneventful though.

I was level 57 starting out in Act 3, using the Passion Ettin Axe in the link above. I started on /p8 but lowered to /p5 quite fast. Not because /p8 was too hard, but I like the leveling process to be speedy, and /p8 was just a tad too slow. The act flew by without any issues. I forgot how great it was to have a well synergized Cyclone Armor. The Gloams in the Great Marsh couldn't scratch me for a bit !!! Other than that, the slowing effect of Hurricane and combat casting my Grizzly provided all the safety I needed.

At level 59 I switched out the Treachery I was using for Fortitude. Slightly lower attack speed, much higher damage output !! It didn't take long to reach Mephisto:
Act 4 didn't really slow me down. Again, these kinda monsters would normally scare me, but with Cyclone Armor (shielding some 700 - 800 elemental damage at that point), I could just laugh at them:
Dinging level 62, I could finally equip the Passion Shillelagh. I really like it, fits with the Druid so well, and atm hits like a truck. Reached Hephasto soon, but my merc just gained a level prior to the meeting, so he assured me this fight wouldn't be a problem:
Unfortunately the forge gave me the lowest possible outcome, Sol :(.

At level 63 I switched out Death's gloves and belt for LoH and Verdungo's. With this setup, I took on Diablo without any issues.
I only had to recast the Grizzly once, but other than that everyone stayed alive.

Not far into Act 5 I finally reached level 65, when it was time for the last major changes: Highlord's Wrath as amulet and getting back to normal to hire an Act 1 cold Rogue. As gear she got a Faith bow, Treachery armor and Vampire Gaze helm. At that point things even got better, as the Fanatism aura let me reach 9 frame attack speed. Really, Faith is such a gamechanger, making 2H builds not only viable but most of all fun. Without it, things feel so slow.

This way I steamrolled the rest of the act in no time, killing Baal at level 70:
Drops were crappy yellows and Bloodfist gloves.

After that I did some more /p8 Pindle runs to get me to level 71. Next time I'll probably gain another level at him, and then proceed to Hell. There my resists will be awful, but I'm curious to see how safe Cyclone Armor will still keep me.
That's a sweet weapon right there. How often do monsters run away with it? Is it annoying to run them down or do you just let them go?
Happens quite often, but so far not really annoying.
Cool idea for a build :)
I'm sad to say that, due to a computer crash and me not backing up data regularly enough, I have been set back to 19 July 2017 when it comes to D2 :(. Everything else was recovered, but for some reason D2 save data is the one thing that the guy who fixed it for me didn't recover (even though it was definitely possible :( ). So the progress I made with this character after picking him back up at level 57 ... I'll have to do it again. Someday, as for now the setback has severely lowered my urge to play D2.
That sucks :( I do back-ups almost everyday on my Dropbox since my PC is starting to get old and unstable. Yesterday the game crashed for me two times. Luckily I did not loose any good drops.
Coincidentally this is how your druid was able to learn the skill Berserk, due to anger issues with having to redo all that progress once more over. Better luck next time..? A bit offtopic, have you considered moving onto SSD if you haven't already, reason I'm saying this is I've found SSD more stable than HDD, but if you have already well.. it's time to complain to the manufacturer.

Look on the bright side at least your character did not poof completely and disappeared into the void, regardless, better luck next time.
I'm on SSD for a few years now, and couldn't do it another way anymore. So much faster.

Windows crashed on me big time, which required a complete reinstall. I figured that everything but Windows was fine, since windows is on one SSD, games are on a seperate SSD and media on a HDD. So I told the guy who would do the reinstall that I didn't need anything from that SSD. Obviously I forgot that D2 saves are on the C drive these days :(. And so is GoMule backup.

The guy still did backup almost everything from the C drive. Almost everything ... but not the saves games.
I'm happy to report that I started playing Meshuggah again, and he is now at the point where I was before the crash: the start of Hell :). Level 72 this time though, instead of 71.
Originally posted March 2, 2018

Normally it is with great pride, but in this case I'm reluctantly saying it is with great relief that I can announce the following:
The first parts actually weren't too bad. After last time I gained another level by doing NM Pindle runs. After that I made the move to Hell. Like I said, killing speed on /p3 was decent, so progress was quite smooth. Especially with maps like this, where the Cairn Stones were right at the entrance:
Skillwise, next to more points in Twister now that Hurricane and Cyclone armor are maxed, I also put some points into Dire Wolves for more Bear hitpoints, as he kept on dying too fast. Gearwise, I finally thought about actually using my endgame amulet, Highlord's Wrath, which allowed for the 9fpa attack I mentioned. I also optimized my charms a bit, something I'm often too lazy about to do properly. I also put an ED% jewel in my Jalal's Mane, because I didn't seem to need anything else really.

At level 76, just prior to Andy, I had my first death with Meshuggah, and a very unnecessary one. I was taking fire damage from some Vampires, and was just too slow to refresh Cyclone armor and use a full rejuv, although I had plenty of time. Really stupid. Shows how sloppy one can get in SC after a while.

After that I had no more issues, and Andariel was taken care off in short order.
Unfortunately no luck on the two rares.

The first part of act 2 also went ok. The build still played the same, killing speed was decent at /p3, and I only had one silly death in the second level of the Claw Viper Temple. It wasn't until the end of the act, in the tomb, that things went down. The Bear started to far more often, sometimes the merc as well with very hard hitting packs, the one enemy per hit nature of Berserk became more and more annoying as damage just wasn't cutting it anymore, monsters fleeing because of the CTC it on my weapon (a problem that doesn't really arise when you hit hard enough and kill fast enough), the constant cycle of recasting BO/BC, Cyclone Armor and Hurricane, the vine that needed recasting a lot ...

So from that point I tuned down to /p1 to speed things back up. This worked for a bit, and the final little stretch of act 2, as well as the first part of act 3, wasn't too bad. I had a death early in the act though, which lowered my enthousiasm once again. The lack of power really began to show, so I decided to just take it and try to finish the character as swift as I could. Just prior to Mephisto I had a nice drop:
Unfortunately the same couldn't be said about Mephisto himself, who I killed at level 80.

From Act 4 on, things really became a grind. I came to a point where I just didn't care anymore, and all I wanted to do was to finish the character as fast as possible. Both things obviously mean slower play speed in the end, because play gets sloppy, you die more, and as a consequence you loose more time

Forge wasn't too bad ... a Pul.
CS was slow and tedious, but to my surprise I didn't die there. Diablo actually fell quite fast.

In Act 5, I just tried to move at one side as much as possible, as such skipping quite some content. Nevertheless, I still died a few times, so I even did something I don't think I have ever done before: I skipped the Anya quest, figuring I'd do that afterwards, when I would respec the character after finishing it.

This way I continued, died a few more times, had a very hard time at the ancients, which needed several rerolls. In the end I managed to get to Baal's Throne Room. The waves actually weren't too bad, as I could split the packs and divert them enough to take them down one by one, slowly. Baal on the other hand was a long and tiresome fight, not in the least because the clone spawned twice. In the end I won though :).
No luck on the items though.

These were the final stats:
Level 81 must be the lowest I ever finished a character in 1.10+ iirc.

So this ends the journey of Meshuggah, the Berserk Druid. I really hate that I didn't like playing him more, but that's how it was.

I will now respec him, do the Anya quest, and then level him some more. I'm still debating as to which build I will respec to: Windy or Rabies/Fury Wolf. The former probably is the strongest, but the latter was one of the most fun characters I've ever played. So I'll probably pick that one, gain some more levels, at which point I'll respec again, to Fire Druid (focus on Fissure), to test some stuff out. For myself, but also for @Pb_pal and his 99er HC Druid ;).

Nah, I'll just respec to Fissure right away. Pb_pal says it should work, and he heard it from Gripphon. Enough said ...
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