Sept Sept Finished & Summary (by Nightfish)

PhineasB

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Mar 14, 2020
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Originally posted by @Nightfish on August 11, 2008

Sept Sept Finished & Summary

Well, finally done with my septuple sept. Gotta say, it was quite the long haul... Time for a little summary, methinks. Thanks to Thyiad for providing some questions to fill out. Makes this whole process much smoother.

WTF is this septsept anyway?
Long story short: a couple years ago I started building guardians with the goal of having 7 per class, for a total of 49, with somewhat unique builds. In this, I follow my own rules, as I deem them fun. Some were untwinked, but most weren't. Part of the idea behind this project was to make a point, but I chose to make that on my terms. My number one goal when playing games is that I have fun. If I can kill another bird with that stone, sweet. But I would not play by someone else's rules just to make them happy.
Due to miscounting on my part the total count is at 51 instead of 49, but that's okay.

I first got the idea for this sept sept thing by stealing it from butzull who was going for 7 guardians, under somewhat stricter rules, though. I made my own rules but expanded from 7 chars to 49. Just because I felt there was a lot of variety in D2 that people rarely make use of. Sure, everyone has the cookie cutters, but there's so much you can do outside the box. And I don't mean wacky, haha builds like mojomancers or anything else that has to watch the merc kill. I am talking about „Oh wow, I wouldn't have thought of that“ builds that don't surrender much, if anything, to cookie cutters like meteorbs. No, few things can match hammerdins' or blizzsorcs' damage output, but a build can do less damage than that and still be awesome. And a lot more fun to play.

Fishy Evolution
So, why go HC in the first place. Well, for one, I was getting bored with SC and I barely ever died there anyway. Might as well go HC for real, I guess. And of course, back then people were still sceptical about whether or not 1.10 ruined D2 forever and made SP and especially SP HC unpossible. Can't say no to a challenge sometimes.

Back when I started out I still did a lot of things I would consider stupid by now. For one, I used a lot of points on summonable crowd control. This is just not needed if you know what you're doing. Granted, back then I didn't know what I was doing and had the FE bug to consider, but still.

One of my main advantages, though, was that I had never played 1.09 much because I didn't find D2 very interesting back then. It was just too easy. So I didn't have baggage from earlier versions to get rid off, like that amazons must have pretty much base vitality and max dex. Even though an extra 150 dex doesn't really do that much for your damage, whereas those same points in vit might actually double your HP.

Some of the key things that helped me improve my game is to let go of things I consider set in stone. Just like this „an amazon must have 20 points in valk“. No, she does not. She doesn't even need a valk at all. There were a lot of otther things people told me from time to time, like you need X% leech or you cannot use item XYZ. Usually that just made me prove them wrong.

I've also spent quite some time looking at all the items D2 offers and when something has an interesting property I try to find a way to use it. Darksight Helm with Cloak of Shadows? Very, very nice. Iratha's Set? Low level, yes. Useless? Far from it.

On a random note, I always run, I never walk. Walking looks stupid. I don't care if my defence / blocking is reduced while running, if something manages to touch me while I run I have obviously been running the wrong way. It's kinda like... „Dude, running hurts. Also, my forehead always starts bleeding when I hit roadsigns or trees too often“. That's not the fault of your running shoes, mate, it's a problem with your choice of direction here... I guess my point is: Don't run like a beheaded chicken and you're fine.

Other than that, the one ... concept, if you will, I figured out for all my builds is „If you don't need it, don't get it“. That, and min-maxing. It's funny sometimes, to see people try to squeeze another 20 damage out of their character instead of trying to get his AR over 3k so he could actually hit something. It's like this, there's a maximum amout of anything you can achieve. Defence, Life, Damage, AR,etc. It's all limited by what you can fit on your char. Now the trick is to figure out sweet spots where costs vs gains are ideal. Take life for example (not literally, put that gun down already), you've got 100 spare status points. You can either put them in Str for 100% ED (which, tallied up with what you already have is actually only 3% more damage or so) or you can put them in vitality, which increases the life you have by 20%. Guess which is more cost efficient. When I plan my builds, I evaluate my choices like that. How hard is it to get XYZ? Do I even need it? What could I get instead?

In retrospect I would build a lot of my chars differently, more on that as I spotlight each one of them briefly. It's kinda funny looking back at what I did 3 years ago and thinking „omg, noob!“...

Deeds
To be honest, I don't remember most of them. What I do remember is that I lost about 3 characters in nightmare trying to conform with the policy at that time that it is safer to level to 75+ before entering hell. Guess what, I have no patience at all. I shouldn't have done that and stopped levelling for hell after the 3rd death. Haven't died in nightmare since and definetly never lost anyone in hell due to not having levelled.

One particularily stupid deeds I remember is my conversion thornadin whom I didn't rebuild after the event. He converted something and when it unconverted, he killed himself on that same monster. You see, auras persist for a very short while, kinda like a buff that is refreshed once per second with a one second duration or so. So, when it unconverted, it had my aura, and when I zealed it... Was like attacking with iron maiden on. Very stupid way to die, really. Typical paladin.

I did have a couple deaths due to the FE bug before RTB produced a fix for that but I don't really count those as real deaths.

One of my druids had a very near death when he attacked with iron maiden on him. Luckily, he cannot kill himself in wereform and unshifted with 1 hp left and couldn't attack again with fury because he was not a wolf anymore. A timely rejuv saved him then. Close, close call.

Overall what kills my chars the most is routine. That's why I never did rountine runs but went for the WS K instead. Keeps you on your toes. I know for sure if I did more than 5 pinlde runs I would kill my char sooner or later, but in the WS K I always felt like I was actually playing the game and it always helped me get a feel for how durable my builds were. Also it was good fun, even if nothing dropped.

Total body count... Maybe 5-8. Something like that. Very few. It helps if you play a good amount of SC before going HC. If you already have a good feeling for how much damage stuff will deal and how much you can take before dropping things are easier. You can learn that a lot faster in SC since in HC you would have to rebuild each time you learn something. Of course I still learned a lot in HC and always improved by builds bit by bit, but the essentials I got in SC.

My style of play
So, how does NF get through the game? Well, first and foremost, the way it's fun for me. I play as fast as I can because going slower would feel like going 30 kph on a road where 100 kph are allowed. In other words, I wouldn't do that.

The first couple guardians I played untwinked, just to prove that I can, after a few I started optimising things because, let's be honest, normal and nightmare are just a lengthy way of character generation.

In normal, if I twink, I like using items socketed with „of envy“ until I can use the raven claw. That speeds things up nicely until around level 30 the characters real skills start kicking in. Typically I will finish normal around level 40, doing a max of 2-3 baal runs. Players 8 all the way except for act 4, XP there just doesn't seem worth it to me.

For nightmare, I have a few choice items that are incredible for the level they can be used at. First and foremost, the upgraded ribcracker. Just amazing damage for a lvl 56 item. Second, an oath ettin axe. 200-400 damage, one handed. Also gg. The list goes on. Players 8 all the way as NM is way too easy. Normally I will not level at all in NM. At most I will get to 70.

In Hell I almost always drop back to P1. I usually get there somewhere between 64 and 70, depending on whether I forgot to play on 8 in NM for a while or not . I usually finish hell before level 80 these days.

Questwise, I usually do the useful ones and leave the others unless they happen along the way. I just don't see any point in rescuing cain for the 100th time. Literally. 50 guardians would mean 150 cain rescues. I probably didn't do quite that many.

What I don't do is to speed things up via MP. I rarely bypass stuff, I just don't like that. I know I could, but I always try to plan my chars so that they can kill everything. That is just a lot more satisfying.

I try to avoid abusing the game's stupid AI as far as possible. I will make exceptions here if it's unavoidable. Of course this is in part due to the fact that I just don't have the patience to split packs and stuff. The time it takes me to charge something is about as long as I can wait to kill it. I know most people advocate patience in HC, I kinda don't. Trying to force patiene killed me far more often than giving in to bloodlust and wanton slaughter.

On average, I'd say a guardian takes 8-10 hours of play time. Some took way less (see Speedy), others took a little more. I don't usually time them, though. I don't rush myself but I don't dawdle either. Since I rarely see other people play I didn't consider this to be fast until some people pointed out they were going slower. Each to his own. I like living on the fast lane in D2. I don't think I could have stomached more than 2 chars if I didn't play my chars aggressively. What's the fun in being a barbarian if you have to play like a sissy? What's the fun in being an assassin if you cannot dart in and out of combat at breakneck speed like some sort of highspeedninja?

Amazons
One of the classes I really enjoy. They offer a lot of variety and while I did use some skills more than once, the builds tended to be quite different. They're strong in melee and range a like, spells or physical damage, you name it, they got it. And of course they're easy on the eyes...
Best build... Definetly Valkyria.

Velvet – Poison LF
Concept

Lightning Fury to kill poison immunes, Plague Javelin to kill the rest. Jab for gloams. A sound build overall. Named after an assassin like character from a book I read when I was a kid.
Speed & Fun?
Average on both accounts.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
0 points to Valk and all prerequisites, only 1 in pierce and prereqs. Those points could be spent better elsewhere. 20 LF, 20 CS, 20 Plague,20 Poison.

Celes – Strafe / LF
Concept

Strafe is her main skill, LF just for immunes. As this is one of my earlier guardians I still used a Valk. 20 points. Back than that was pretty much a given for amazons. Named after Celes from Final Fantasy 3. Sweet game that.
Speed & Fun?
To be quite honest, it is too long to remember how fast she was. I always enjoyed Strafe, though. She probably wasn't too fast, mostly due to me not building her correctly.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
A lot, seriously. I've learned a lot since then. I would definetly skip the valk altogether. Get 20 CS, 20 LF, 20 penetrate, rest in strafe and pierce. Should to loads better against bosses and in areas as well. I'd also use different gear, try to get about 50% slow target on the strafe switch.

Mavina – FA / Strafe
Concept

Class specific Set build, obviously. FA is the main killer here, otherwise the set wouldn't make sense. Strafe to kill cold immunes. Named after the set, duh.
Speed & Fun?
Average speed, above average fun, I think. I really like FA.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
Shouldn't have skilled the valk. As I said in the corresponding thread, 20 guided arrow would have been smarter. Heck, 20 LF would have been smarter... 20 decoy would have been smarter... Never mix strafe and dodge skills... It just sucks.

Valkyria – Fendzon with lightning support
Concept

Probably my best amazon. Definetly the one I liked best. This one took some planning. Making two-handed fend work isn't quite as easy as it could be, what with the dodge bugs and all. A pretty specific combination of items takes this from a novelty build to a lean mean killing machine, though.
One of the key items here is the upgraded Kelpie Snare. 75% slow to everything around her is golden. Damage isn't too shabby either. To further help her tank I combined the Soul Drainer gloves with Ondal's Almighty. Since they both have the same level of ctc weaken, the chance to cast it adds up and that's enough to keep it going pretty much all the time. This was one of the first chars I used a fortitude armour on and that just took her killspeed through the roof. Between defiance and shiver armour she has a pretty good defence, too. I wub fortitude.
She does have 60 points worth of lightning skills but barely used them. It's just that fend alone doesn't require more than 20-25 points, especially if you use demon limb for enchant's AR instead of penetrate.
Named after the Valkyries of nordic mythology. They were known for using spears and lightning, I think. They sure were blond and busty.
Speed & Fun?
Great speed and probably the most fun I ever had with an amazon. I love it when a plan works out as it should.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
I might try to drop the defiance merc in favor of a might merc. It should work. I would probably drop the 20 points in either lightning strike or lightning fury in favor of penetrate.

Viridia – Strafe WWS
Concept

Everyone should have a strafe WWS amazon. Pretty much a rebuild of my first strafer, turned out much better, too. A lot of FRW + slow target by 45%, ctc amp damage against PIs, takes a while, but works. Name was randomly made up on the spot.
Speed & Fun?
Good on both accounts. Very fun and acceptable speed against anything not PI. I love strafe.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
Get LF and CS as backup skills. That would make her a full fledged area and boss running queen. Oh yea, I'd use a windforce, too. WWS is cute but really doesn't do that much damage.

Haley - FA/CS/LF
Concept

This one is pretty much the combined wisdom of all my previous zons. I wanted to build one to run the WS K with and seeing how +skills and MF happen together a lot more often than MF and stuff like deadly strike, open wounds or crushing blow, the spell like abilities won out. I just took the best one against bosses (CS), the best one against everything else (LF) and the best one against stuff that LF doesn't work against (FA) and maxed all those and one synergy each. Which was already a given for CS and a given and unneeded for LF, so that left me exactly the 20 points for ice arrow that I needed. Named after Haley from the order of the stick webcomic. She's into hunting shiny things as well and uses a bow. That's as far as similarities go, though.
Speed & Fun?
Very fast, very fun.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
No, she's perfect. Okay, okay, I would leave out the points I wasted on dodging skills. I thought it wouldn't matter on skills like FA and LF... it does.

Thyiad – MS/Immolation
Concept

Use some skills you haven't used before. To be quite honest, this is pretty much the pick of the litter build. I didn't have a lot of skills left I didn't use before. Named after Thyiad, obviously, for putting together that website with links to all my stuffs.
Speed & Fun?
Well, let's say she got through hell and I'm not doing that again. (technically this is true for all my builds but you get the point). Immolation arrow sucks. It's like fireball with a timer... MS isn't half as good as strafe is, either. It is about equal, maybe a bit better, against a lot of monsters in open terrain coming at you from the same direction and worse in all other scenarios
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
None, really, as far as immo+MS goes this one was built as well as she could be. I guess I just wouldn't build her this way a second time...

Sessaria – MS/LF
Concept

Due to my inability to keep track of my septstatus I managed to play 8 amazons. That's pretty much the whole concept here. I forgot I already had 7 and got one with multishot because I knew I hadn't used that one a lot yet.
Speed & Fun?
Average, pretty much.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
Make her something that counts towards my goal instead of making her the 8th amazon... On the plus side, I did build her pretty much the way she's supposed to be. No wasted points this time around.

Assassins
One of my favorite classes. Again, very versatile. Melee, ranged, casting, you name it, they got it. Also arguably the best crowd control skill in the game: Cloak of Shadows. My very first D2 char was a (very messed up) dual claw assassin. Hehe, kinda embarrassing how I skilled and played her when I think about that now. She must have died a million times, poor girl...

Araya - BF/DS
Concept

Bladefury to kill something, DS to blow it up and kill the rest. Tried and true concept, never fails. Eth weapon for BF as it doesn't eat durability.
Speed & Fun?
Quite fast, quite fun, mostly due to her gear, though. Seeing how she has no%ED of her own, fortitude is about half her damage.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
Don't use shadowmaster again. Never ever. Probably add more trap support, instead.

Tifa - WWsin
Concept

Uhm... Get chaos, whirl, yay? That's about it, really. Added venom and LS + DS just because I could. For some reason I like WW on sins better than I do on most of my barbs. Traps make dealing with IM and PIs more comfortable, too. Name, FF7.
Speed & Fun?
Very fast, very fun. One of my best chars to date.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
Use fortitude, which I didn't have at that time. Probably use LoH instead of Dracul's. Other than that she was pretty good.

Annah - DC
Concept

Dragon claw, Venom, Traps (LS / DS). Focus is on mods benefitting DC, like DS, CB, etc. (<3 abbrevs.)
Speed & Fun?
Fast and fun, assassin never dissappoint.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
None, really, she was pretty perfect for what she was supposed to be.

Daevana - TS
Concept

This was one of my ribcracker themed, well, if you can call using a ribcracker a theme, builds. The damage this does with 3 charge ups of tiger strike is just ridiculous. Also used the complete disciple set, which has always been one of my favorites. Name randomly made up.
Speed & Fun?
Good speed, good fun. Hell, great fun. 3 charged up TS one-shots pretty much everything.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
Maybe use better items, but it's not really needed. She doesn't need foritude at all since she already has like 2000% ED. Perhapy ditch shadowmaster in favor of venom... but that wouldn't make a big difference either.

FallFromGrace - PS
Concept

Prove that you can fully synergise PS. Apparantly I also used DR gear on her, which I had completely forgotten. Worked nicely, though, and I still had a lot of +skills. No shadow, good call. Named after one of my favorite characters in planescape: torment.
Speed & Fun?
Decent Speed, quite fun. A little stressful at times.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
Probably stack up on +skills instead of damage reduction gear. Then again, I did have +12 to martial arts which was quite enough. Big mistake I made was not to get a finishing skill because I thought a regular attack did it. Well, the regular attack lacks AR... Just dumb not to get at least one point of DC. I would definetly need to address her general AR problems too.

Nefalna - Traps
Concept

Max LS/DS/CBS and FB. Great damage on 2 elements, perfect runner, small surprise there. Name randomly made up.
Speed & Fun?
Awesome speed, decent fun unless you don't like laying traps.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
Not really. She's good as she is.

Kitsune – DragonTalon
Concept

I'm gonna kick you in the ... Well, cartman's favorite threat aside... She likes kicking people. Dtalon, Venom, LS / DS. Cannot go wrong with that. As usual, I did most things with her trademark skill and used traps mainly for Iron Maiden and stuff like that. Name is japanese for... fox, I think. I know I have it from some japanese video game from the early 90ies.
Speed & Fun?
Decent speed, decent fun.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
Nah, can't think of any. Most of my later guardians turned out as they should.

Barbarians
Barbs are okay, although I am not a big fan of the masteries tree. It kinda does little for a lot of points invested and doesn't offer any interesting builds by itself. Warcries are slightly better, but again, no (reasonable) builds from war cries alone.

Butzull - WW
Concept

Whirwind, 2 Fleshrippers. GG. I almost didn't play this one because people had been preaching how you need long ranged weapons with whirlwind. You don't. Other than the unconventional gear he's straightforward. Whirl, kill, repeat. Named after the guy who initially came up with the idea to get one guardian per class and named it sept.
Speed & Fun?
Very fast, very fun. Definetly my favorite WW barb. Maybe even my favorite barb altogether, close call with Minsc.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
None. Maybe try to figure out what to do with all the spare skillpoints. Max natural resistances?

Eternal - WW
Concept

Your basic IK WW barb. One of my other guardians got the IK Scage questing so I had to get an IK barb. Since I had to use the good attack skills more than once anyway I was like, what the hell, let's just whirl again.
Speed & Fun?
Good speed, not quite as fun as my dagger whirler for some reason.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
Not really. Not a lot you can do wrong with IK Whirlers anyway.

Bul-Katho.- Frenzy
Concept

Always wanted to use the BK set on some barb. Basically he's a crappier version of Minsc, though.
Speed & Fun?
Decent speed, average fun. Nothing really original about him.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
Nah. Seeing how he's a copy of a good char he was pretty sound.

Minsc - Frenzy
Concept

Frenzy with underused items. I upgraded 2 Vile Husks for this one. Works amazingly well. Huge damage vs undead, ctc amp, nice. LoH provides a nice bonus vs demons. Adds up to an unhealthy amount of damage. Named after a character in Baldur's Gate who's slightly off his rocker.
Speed & Fun?
Very fast, very fun. Probably my best barbarian. Perhaps a tie with Butzull.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
No, he worked out just like he was supposed to.

Ulath - Berserk
Concept

My first HC barb, untwinked berserker. This is the one my guide is based on. Works pretty well. Good idea by me to use howl to synergise berserk instead of shout like most people recommended. Warcry was a good addition as well.
Speed & Fun?
Average speed due to being untwinked, decent fun. Single target attacks aren't really my piece of pie but other than that he's okay.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
Not much. Would only change his items if I twinked him but untwinked he was as good as he could be.

Dashy - Conc
Concept

Max conc, shout, BO and just smack stuff. Named after some nub.
Speed & Fun?
Average speed, below average fun. Considering the sacrifices you have to make for conc the gains in defence are in no way worth it.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
Not use conc again. If I wanted physical damage I'd use frenzy / WW, else berserk.

Belkar – Double Throw
Concept

Uhm... throw stuff at enemies. Named after a cool character from the order of the stick webcomic.
Speed & Fun?
He would be fine if he didn't have to repair all the time. Puts a damper both on speed and fun.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
For what he is, he's okay. No changes. Maybe use better weapons if I had them.

Druids
I hate druids. They're the second worst class and definetly the ugliest one. The only way I found to improve a druid's looks by shapeshifting him was to put a vamp gaze on him first. That made the shifted one *slightly* less ugly. I guess my main reason to hate druids is that they have too many skills that are not properly balanced compared to skills other classes have. Also they lack crowd control. Boo.

Nightwolf - Fury
Concept

Ribcracker, Fury. The end. A couple of bad skill placements due to misconceptions at that time. Like „you need oak sage“ and „you need summons“. Oak sage is crap. He lives through the encounters where I didn't need him and dies instantly when I do need him. Named by lack of creativity and sleepdeprivation.
Speed & Fun?
Quite fast unless stuff is PI. One of the more fun druids, too.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
Use better items. Perhapy give him 40 points worth of fireclaw as a backup and boost wereforms a little less in return. Definetly not use oak sage anymore and probably not use summons.

Regret – Fissure/Wind
Concept

Elemental Hybrid, pretty straight forward. Pick 2 skills, max them and one synergy each. I like fissure. Could do a little more damage. I don't like tornado. Too semi random for my taste. Yes, I know it's wind and supposed to be like that, but if I can call wind, why can't I direct it? Druids are idiots. I rest my case. Named after my feelings about the sept sept when I realise I had to play pallies and druids.
Speed & Fun?
Decent on both counts. Surprisingly well, actualy, if you hear people talk. They always assume just because something has synergies it sucks if you don't max them all... So not true.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
Perhaps skip summoning tree altogether instead of getting 1pt in griz + prereqs.

Barak – Mauler
Concept

Maul + Shockwave. Just to have used them. To be honest there is no reason to do that. You don't need shockwave and maul is inferior to fury on all accounts. It deals less damage and attacks slower. I had this guy parked since guardian #7 or so, he was just too boring. Last one I finished. Not sure what I named him after.
Speed & Fun?
Average.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
No shockwave, less points in were forms. Combine fireclaws and maul so maul actually makes sense. Charge up the maul, then attack with fire claw, only maul once in a while to maintain the bonus. Probably use a ribcracker or obedience weapon to make use of the %ED bonus.

Vaarsuvius - Fire
Concept

Pure fire druid. Armageddon is worthless, by the way. My nominee for worst skill ever. I get a bigger kick out of increased stamina. Named after another guy from oots.
Speed & Fun?
Meh. Sucks against immunes. Average.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
No, I had to build him like that or repeat myself too much.

Sudsy
Concept

Fireclaw wolf. Used a wolf because I like wolves better and I don't need one extra frame of attack speed. Also so I coul fury against immunes. Named after a word I didn't think was a real one. Sudsy... sounds funny. I like it.
Speed & Fun?
Decent.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
Skip summons completely.

Contagion – Rabies / FC
Concept

Someone posted that Rabies + FC wasn't viable. 1) I hate the word viable. 2) In your face, whoever it was. Seriously, though, it works nicely. Also, rabies is probably my favorite druid skill. So fun to watch.
Speed & Fun?
Good speed, good fun. Not a good WS K Runner, though, due to wave 4 mostly.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
No, he's good.

Wolf – Rabies / Fury
Concept

Disproving that Rabies hybrids only work with the synergy bug. This was back in 1.10, obviously.
Speed & Fun?
Nice, one of my best druids. I like fury, I like rabies and both kill nicely.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
Use better items. Namely death's web which I didn't have back then. This makes a huge difference for rabies.

Paladins
I hate Paladins. They're probably, no definitely, the worst class in D2 for me. This starts with the fact that I have to use the LMB to attack. I detest that. My typical way of playing is to hold the RMB and have my char attack things automatically when he comes in range. With paladins I need to click way too much to achieve the same thing. Also, they only have very few attack skills which are always combined with some aura. Very monotonous. And when they run they look like they got a stick up their... armour... Still some of them were fun to play. They're just my least favorite class in this game. Funny, since in other games pallies are my favorites. I like the concept, but not the adaption D2 took to them.

Crusader - Zeal/HShock/HFire
Concept

Zeal, fire, shock. Gris set with some damage reduction. Works nicely. Plays like standard zealers do.
Speed & Fun?
Decent speed and average fun for a pally.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
Being my last pally he was built as well as he could be, so no.

Gengis - Avenger
Concept

Ribcracker avenger. Shieldless pally, obviously. Delirium on his merc compensated for that. Skillwise he maxed vengeance and dumped the rest in synergies plus conviction. Named after the guy who I saw use an upp'd ribcracker first. Pretty much his build, except he did it in SC.
Speed & Fun?
Despite his sick damage he is somewhat slow. Nervewracking at times due to lack of crowd control.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
Use darksight helm if I didn't do it already.

Hammerdin
Concept

I don't really need to explain this, do I?
Speed & Fun?
Decent speed, except in the usual places, maggot lair, etc. Fun? Not for me. I hate hammerdins for the same reason I hate winddruids. Also they're boring.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
If I wanted to build a hammerdin I did it correctly.

Ranger Joe - Ranger
Concept

Use a bow to deliver aura damage, shock and freeze. Pro: Immune to iron maiden. Con: everything else.
Speed & Fun?
Too slow, no fun. Should have used zeal. Would be fun if there was an item that gave +strafe as an oskill.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
Limit use of bows to Iron Maiden areas.

Durkon – Fist of Heavens
Concept

Using something that is not zeal. I wanted to know if fist of heavens is as bad as people said it was. Almost, but not quite. At least it's pretty safe. Named after the cleric from oots who can call thor's lightning.
Speed & Fun?
Well, this is okay against undeads. Otherwise it's too slow. The casting timer ruins any fun this skill might offer. I guess it's more of a pvp thing.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
Uhm... as far as fist of heavens pallies go he was built correctly.

Davion - Fana/HShock
Concept

Fanatic Zealer variant with an aura to back him up vs PIs instead of a 1pt vengeance. Works pretty well, actually.
Speed & Fun?
Decent.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
Nah, he's fine.

Knightfish – 2hZeal
Concept

Ribcracker zealer. Sick damage. Kinda unsafe, though. Small surprise.
Speed & Fun?
Very fast if he doesn't die. Quite fun, too, but pretty strenuous to play. Can't afford even the slightest mistake.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
Would change a lot, as this was one of my earlier guardians. Less Str / Dex, more Vit. Use darksight helm. That would help a lot already.

Necromancers
Necros are cool. They've got summons, spells, crowd control. A lot of things to work with.

Dalariath - IronGolemmancer
Concept

Probably my best necromancer right there. He used a synergised (by fire golem & mastery) 1 pt iron golem made from a big badass weapon like an IK Maul to actually deal damage that way. It kills most things in 2 hits. On top of that, the necro himself used a ribracker to help with the killing. CE speeds things up when he gets bored. I kinda like the idea because everyone's first reaction when it comes to iron golem is „ugh, damage returns sucks“. Yes it does, but I am not using it to return damage.
Speed & Fun?
Good speed, great fun.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
Use fortitude which I didn't have back then. That would improve kill speed drastically.

Thanatos – The first mortal Fishy
Concept

Untwinked fishymancer to verify that my guide was okay and the skill progression worked for untwinked HC. It does. Not going into detail about this one. Name from greek mythology.
Speed & Fun?
Awesome speed for an untwinked char and I like playing a summoner. To me, this is a very unique class, relying on minions to deal damage. Pretty much everything else is either casting at monsters or hitting them and when you get right down to it, there isn't that much of a difference between lightning and bone spear, meteor and blizzard, zeal and fury, etc.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
None. Well, I guess I would not use curses besides decrep and amp anymore. But that's really minor.

Sethariath - Dagger(non-poison)
Concept

Wanted to use the first TC87 unique I ever found: Ghostflame. Since I don't believe in poison dagger (it deals less damage to single targets than poison nova, go figure...) I used physical damage instead. Amp + fortitude make it passable. Random name I made up.
Speed & Fun?
Decent. You cannot truly be slow with necros unless you don't use CE.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
None.

Blight - PNova
Concept

Fully synergised Pnova + CE. Trang's set. Not much else to say. I think I didn't find the fire part of the set overly useful.
Speed & Fun?
Quite fast, quite fun. I like him.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
Use death's web which I didn't have back then. Or my +3 Pnova „white“ wand which I also didn't have back then.

Zeriand – Bonespells
Concept

Fully synergised bone spear / spirit. Considering the points spent this wasn't worth it. Funny enough, I was a lot happier with my bone hybrid. Random name I made up.
Speed & Fun?
Average, sadly.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
Not really. Perhaps try using something else for synergies.

Fetharioth – Lord of Mages
Concept

See if mages suck as bad as I thought they do. They did. Used fire spells from trangs set to speed things up a bit. Worked better than it did for the poison guy, mostly because this one didn't have Pnova's kill speed. Random name I made up.
Speed & Fun?
Average. Below average for a necro.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?

Not really, for what he is, he's built correctly.

Avernus – P&B Hybrid
Concept

Max Nova and Bonespear and one synergy each. Single tree build. Worked nicely. Didn't get LR because I had death's web + trang's partial set bonus for -68% resistance already.
Speed & Fun?
Decent. Of course not quite as fast as something using CE but okay.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
Nope, he's fine.

Sorceresses
I like sorcs. They're fun. That will be all.

IceQueen - Blizzard
Concept

Not my first blizz sorc. Nor my last. Everyone should have one, though.
Speed & Fun?
Quite fast. Not quite fun because I don't like bypassing stuff.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
None, can't do wrong with blizzard.

Dawn - FO/CL
Concept

The obligatory 21+prereqs in FO, rest in CL plus synergies. Mana hungry. Nice build though. One of my better area runners.
Speed & Fun?
Quite fast, quite fun. I love CL. Cool skill.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
None, I did well with her.

Dunamis - Meteorb
Concept

One of my chars using Iratha's Set. Also shaftstop and a chromatic ire (+%life). Not as durable as it sounds, though. Standard meteorb build, aside from that.
Speed & Fun?
Good on both accounts. I like orb and I like meteor.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
Include blocking. Single biggest mistake I made here. Of course, I wanted to use a staff so there was a good reason. What I hadn't considered is that I wanted to run with her and for that a shield would have been beneficial. Not like I killed her, though.

SpeedyII - Blizz
Concept

See how fast I can get a sorc through the game. I forget why I did this exactly. It's 3 hours 20 minutes, anyway. I actually did that twice, regular Speedy took about 4 hours. I cannot recall why I did this again. Perhaps I thought it was fun at that time. It's not like it took long anyway.
Speed & Fun?
Coulda been a little faster. Fun though.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
Don't slack as much.

Patience - Enchantress
Concept

Another of my ribcracker chars. Yep, melee enchantress dealing a lot of physical damage. Packs a mean punch but is somewhat fragile.
Speed & Fun?
Single target attack makes her slow for a sorc. Fun though.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
Use better items, namely fortitude.

Flare – Hydra
Concept

Single tree hydra. The end.
Speed & Fun?
Too slow for all the points spent. No fun for me since I needed to bypass stuff.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
See how this works with the 21+ FO support. Probably a lot better.

Alustriel - Nova/FO
Concept

Prove that Occulus doesn't suck. Nova, FO, Static. The idea is simple, teleport on top of stuff, spam nova / static. If she gets hit, occulus bails her out. Works great.
Speed & Fun?
Great speed and my most fun sorc ever.
Changes if I were to rebuild the char?
See if I can squeeze a bit more +skills or -lightning resistance out of my gear.

Take home message
If you take no advice from me, take this at least: If you feel like doing something, do it. Never mind if people tell you it doesn't work, is underpowered or morally not okay. Next time you find yourself asking „is this viable“, the answer is „Yes“. It might not own a blizzsorc's killspeed, but everything is viable if you try to make it work.

Oh yea, and don't forget that this is a game. Just a game. Every once in a while there's people that take it a little too seriously and get really worked up about one thing or another. Take a chill pill, guys... It's just a game.

Sayonara!
Well, that's it for me. This time I can say with some confidence that I am indeed done with D2. Perhaps if I think of a random build I want to do I'll give it a shot, but I doubt I'll be playing this game a lot anymore. I've pretty much exhausted the possibilities.
Thanks to everyone who influenced me one way or another in my time here and on other forums, you guys are too many to list but I think you know who you are.
So, not much left to say, except „Goodbye!“. I'm sure I'll keep checking the forums every now and then. Perhaps write another guide if I find the time and an interesting topic but I'll be around a lot less than I was in my prime.

Cheers,
NF

P.S.: The first person that suggests I redo this completely untwinked and single pass is going to be tracked down and kicked in the shins until I get bored. And be warned, I played the same game for 5 years, I don't get bored quickly.

Links to most Guardian threads
 
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