The BlizzWaller - A Rambling Character Guide

FoghornLeghorn

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The BlizzWaller - A Rambling Character Guide

I have a confession to make. I've fallen in love; but it's more complicated than that. I've fallen in love with a little computer character.

Let me tell you how SugarCookie and I first met...


[highlight]The BlizzWaller - A Furtheration and Complication of wise_man's Mini-Guide[/highlight]

Code:
[B]Before I continue...[/B]
[I][SIZE="1"]Brief notes about the Author's playstyle[/SIZE][/I]
I play strictly single-player, mostly hardcore (or SC with a HC attitude), and
almost exclusively on "/players 8" except for that first Hell run-through.  I'm
not rich - nearly everything I own, including all gear on SugarCookie, was
found strictly by her.  Oh, and I'm a sucker for crowd control.

I apologize if the following guide isn't strictly according to form.  I play
much of the game by feel, swapping equipment as adjustments are needed
but not stressing on the base calculations.  I can work on that, if ye like.

And lastly, I will not go into "twinking" information with this guide, as #1: I
haven't done it myself, and #2: I think it's kinda silly to run around with
godly equipment when it's hardly necessary to do the job.


[highlight]SugarCookie's Adventure Begins[/highlight]

It was a bright and beautiful April morning when I sat down at my computer and double-clicked the ol' D2 icon. I had already made up my mind to start fresh with a new woman, even though the painful memories of yesteryear's BlizzSorc failure still haunted my dreams. It was time to move on; I deserved better.

At first, she looked like any other Cold sorceress with the obligatory points in icy projectiles and armors, warmth and teleport. Coldcrow, Bloodraven, the Countess; easy victims for my young SugarCookie. At level 18, Andariel and her minions were the first to meet the dreaded G-Spike/FireWall combo that would soon become SugarCookie's famous "finishing move". It was a glorious barbecue...


Strategy Discussion 1a: Primary Skills Selection

20 Blizzard (+3 prereq)
10+ Glacial Spike
15+ Cold Mastery ...you can spend less if you're doing well with +skills items

20 Firewall (+2 prereq)
20 Fire Mastery

Blizzard is a pretty obvious choice to start any Sorc build - from a pure damage standpoint, it has a good hit% for enemies in it's area-of-effect and drops tons of fragments. It also adds the standard Slow bonus, and is great in normally-scary situations like being surrounded, or having a dozen quick critters running at you. Cast a blizzard, and run behind it to make them run through it. And even though it's on a timer, they last a while (4s) so you can overlap them. Most enemies come in groups; Blizzard can deal with that.

"Why Glacial Spike and not Ice Blast?"
Ice Blast does more damage with a longer freeze length, for a slightly lesser mana cost. But I do not consider Ice Blast to be HC-viable, because the Blast shoots far too slowly, and only freezes one opponent. Heck, that's even crummy in SC. Glacial Spike fires fast and true, and locks down chunks of enemies ('cept for the CBFers like Undead Stygian Dolls, Frozen Creepers, and Blood Lord-types - beware). And eventually, you'll get enough damage from it to help out in attacks.

"Why FireWall? Meteor and Fireball are teh ROXXOR!"
Yes, lots of skills rock with damage. FireWall is at least comparable to those others in terms of damage; at level 28 with 28 Fire Mastery, FireWall does 6600/sec over 3.6s - that's 24k damage per casting. And where Meteor and Fireball are weak, FireWall stands strong - there's no delay, you can hit multiple enemies that aren't even near eachother, and ...my favorite part... you can often kill enemies without ever having to look at them. The hard part is getting used to USING FireWall. We'll get into that later.

"Is Order Important?"
For Blizzard and FireWall, hard points are always better than synergy points - EXCEPT for that first point spent in Fire Mastery. Cold Mastery is another good 1pter early on, though you'll want to get it to 10 (or at least near) before you enter Hell. Raising Glacial Spike is a personal preference, and depends on how much you're using it. I'd target it for 10 before entering Hell.

*NOTE! Both FireWall and Blizzard work on a "timer" - after you cast them, you have to wait before casting another timer-based spell. Keep Glacial Spike on your left-click button and fire off a couple in between every casting!


Strategy Discussion 1b: Secondary Skills Selection

I first intended to make this section very open-ended. After all, a good guide only sets the guidelines, and the player makes their own fine-tunings. But I thought it important to clarify a few things that I felt made my BlizzWaller particularly potent - and also clarify those few things that wouldn't be of much use.

We've already spent a ton of points on primary skills, so let's keep it simple:

1 Frozen Armor
1 Teleport (+1 prereq)
1 Warmth

That totals 94 skill points, done at level 82. A bit pricey, but an untwinked BlizzWaller who plays on high /players settings would be finishing around there normally. So it's fair. Plus you can save points on Cold Mastery if you bulk up on +skills.

"No Static Field? That's Crazy!"
It would take a non-twinker quite a while to build up enough +skills to get a good radius on Static Field - frankly, it's a dangerous business, trying to sneak up to enemy troops for that sneak attack. IF you're going to load up on +skills and Faster Cast Rate gear, then knock yourself out. It would take ~15 points (over 12 yards) for me to be comfortable, and I certainly won't be spending hard points on that.

"Energy Shield is a Life Saver! I won't live without it!"
Hey, they're your skill points. But ES definitely requires hard-points to be spent (70% transfer occurs at skill level 16), and you'll want to have Blizzard and FireWall at full capacity at all times if you're playing at a high /players setting. It could be a reasonable choice after the build is finished, though. It looks to me like a twink-only (or lucky-finds) option, since you'll want lots of Plus-to-All or Plus-to-Sorc items.

"Why'd Ya Pick Frozen Armor?"
Lucky me, the cheapest Armor just happens to be the best. Anything that whacks you for melee damage instantly gets frozen for a lil bit - which means you can move away before it whacks you again. If you want to get crazy and upgrade to the top-shelf Chilling Armor, you could get some benefit from the slowing of archer enemies. I chose not to early on, and I won't really need it for my trip to lev99. Sadly, the BlizzWaller is NOT an effective Pit-Runner.


I was tempted to try on Frost Nova, but frankly, a quick Teleport+Glacial Spike is much more effective AND a much safer strategy to program into your fingers.


[highlight]SugarCookie's "College Years"[/highlight]

SugarCookie is a regular gal - like all youngsters, she runs off to college full of piss and vinegar, throws herself pell-mell into her academic field-of-choice, and falls madly in love with the first schlepp that draws her picture on the inside of his Chem textbook.

So, those things don't actually happen in the world of DiabloII, but they closely mirror the development of the BlizzWaller. For the entirety of your Normal and most of your Nightmare career, you will bury yourself in the power of Blizzard. In fact, it will always be your first instinct.

But hear me well - don't get too caught up in the glory of Blizzarding, because there are some important things to learn when your Sorc is still a youngster. Glacial Spike is fairly easy to learn; the only real methods involved are "tele+shoot back" and "the tight arc" for those wider groups of attacks.

Your primary responsibility, as keeper of your Blizzwaller, is to practice practice practice your FireWall! Don't bother spending points and worrying about the damage of your FireWall right away. At this point in the game, your Merc can handle most attackers, and Glacial Spike can protect you as well. Just get a handle on using it.


Strategy Discussion 2: Controlling the Raging FireWall

Here's the deal. I hope you didn't hate Geometry, because that's how FireWall is best explained.

Your character is standing in one spot. You click on another spot, and that's where the Firewall starts - that's the easy part. It then spreads outwards, in both directions, in a direction PERPENDICULAR (or "normal" or "orthogonal" depending on your Geom.teacher's preference) to your character. Think of a Tangent Line on a circle - your character is the Circle's midpoint, the Point of Tangency is the spot you click, and the Tangent Line is where the FireWall goes.

That's easy to understand and "see" on paper...but in D2's isometric view, it's a bit tougher. It takes practice. My favorite exercise was to stand just before an intersection/corner, and search for the perfect spot to click in order to make my FireWall parallel to that wall. That's an attack strategy you'll use PLENTY often!

Anyways, here are some fun ways you'll use FireWall at the end of this build:

(A) Glacial Spike+FireWall - Freeze 'em in place, then roast 'em in flames! Great when you're down to a single opponent (even bosses/uniques, with GS slowing them) or want to deal mass damage to a single critter.

(B) Attack Multiple Enemies - Sometimes, FWing on one enemy will cause the FW to spread directly to another enemy, even one that's a good distance away from the first. You can either position yourself just right to get that angle, or learn to find the "sweet spot" in between two monsters.

(C) Around the Bend - Learn it, and your BlizzWaller will be a Hell Countess-running machine. A maxed w/+skills FireWall will stretch 40 yards or more. So use it for clearing tough areas like WSK, the ice caverns in ActV, etc! And you can kill all the Countess' minions without ever having to look at them.


[highlight]SugarCookie Graduates, Heads for Real World[/highlight]

Before you reach Hell, you're going to want a couple things.

Firstly, when in Act2 Nightmare, switch over to the Holy Freeze Mercenary (combat). While it may seem redundant with your own chilling attacks, it will come in quite handy, I promise.

Secondly, you'll want to have maxed Blizzard and FireWall with significant points in Cold Mastery (10 is good, since you'll likely have a few +skills for it by now), along with a few extra points in Glacial Spike - let's say 10, for a bit of damage and 5s freezing. Remember that Hell cuts those times down significantly, 1/4th if I remember correctly. Once you get into Hell, you'll find that you want to spend all your newly-acquired skill points on Fire Mastery.

You're also going to want a good stash of items to work with. Running Pindleskin on Nightmare is a good way to accomplish this. How do you "run Pindleskin"? Simple - when chasing down Nihlatik in his cursed Temple and it's various Halls of Discontentment, do NOT activate the waypoint on the 2nd floor. If you succeed in failing to activate the waypoint, then the little red Portal next to Anya stays open, and you can visit/kill Pindle&Co in roughly 25-30 seconds with a combination of Teleporting and Blizzarding. Pindle, even on NM, is a very easy source of rare/unique/set items that will be crucial to your Sorceress.


Strategy Discussion 3: Items

I won't be getting specific on items. If you have Godly amounts of dup ...err... items that I'm sure are 100% legit, then go ahead and assemble the typical assortment of 'nigma/hoto/perfect anni/torch/ or whatever else you can get your hands on. Of course, if you can get all that stuff, you don't really need a strategy guide to begin with.

There's only one item I recommend above and beyond all others: an Insight (runeword) polearm for your Act2 mercenary. Ral Tir Tal Sol. The Meditation Aura is perfect for your mana needs; and frankly, you shouldn't settle for less than the perfect lev17 Aura. If your first Insight is less than 17, plan on making more until you get it.

It should be easy to spot great items. You'll want to focus on Resistances, Faster Cast Rate, and +skills, as well as +Magic Find if you plan on getting even more groovy stuff. Replenish Life +(X) is also a fun mod, especially after getting rid of the Prayer merc.

Here are a couple good items that SugarCookie found during her ascension - fantastic items for a BlizzWaller, especially before the build is finished. I've left out certain items that are good for lots of builds, because they're fairly easy to identify when you pick 'em up (i.e. Moser's, Stone of Jordan).

Amulet: The Rising Sun (+2 fire skills, repl.life, fire absorb, CTC lev17 Meteor)
Jewel: Rainbow Facet, either Fire- or Cold-style (+damage, -enemy resist)
Weapon: Hexfire (+3 fire skills, +10% max fire-resist)
Gloves: Magefist (+1 fire skills, 20% FCR, 25% regenerate mana)


[highlight]SugarCookie in the Big City[/highlight]

This is it - your BlizzWaller vs. the Denizens of Hell, with nothing but Pride (and hopes of that sweet Deckard Cain screenshot) hanging in the balance. By the time you start your adventures through hell, the gameplay strategies will work themselves out. Blizzard the crap outta any groups that aren't Cold Immune, and FireWall the crap outta anything that is (using your Merc as tank, of course). Here's a small selection of "highlight" areas:


#1) The Countess. As I already mentioned, the BlizzWaller is a Countess-running machine. Be sure to stockpile the FCR, because you will want to be a VERY quick hopper when short-cutting through the first four levels. On level 5, teleport yourself immediately to one of the wing-rooms on the side of the Countess' chamber. Stand next to the 2nd pillar, on the "inside" of the candle-stand, and FireWall at the doorway - sending the fire into the Countess' chamber. After a casting or two, you'll hear her minions dying off. Wait for 5+ to die, then run in and let the merc tank the Countess. She's CI/FI, but clearly has low hit points. A steady diet of Blizz/GS along with the Merc's attacks will do just fine. Occasionally Cold Enchanted, so don't get too close.

The Countess will occasionally have Moon Clan-types or Fallen-types in her room. They fall easily enough to a couple GS/Blizz castings.


#2) Duriel. Firewall is the obvious choice, but your "strategy" will be to load up on fat purple potions to keep your mercenary alive. Throw in an occasional G-Spike; it will slow him a little. And since 99% of Duriel's damage is physical, it might be a good idea to give your merc as much Armor Rating as you possibly can.


#3a) Undead Stygian Dolls. They'll kill you with a couple melee attacks, and they'll kill you if they die near you. And they won't be slowed by cold attacks (though they will take damage). Tele away, run away, until they all surround your merc - then bring down the Blizzard.

#3b) Mephisto. Moat Trick. Wake him up, draw him towards you, and then teleport back over the moat where he can't follow. He'll shoot little lightning stuff at you, so be sure to stand behind your merc and give him plenty of anti-lightning treatment - lightning absorb and "+% to max lightning resist" (e.g. Blackhorn's Face, ridiculously-expensive Dragon or Phoenix shields) are nice. For attacks, whack him with occasional G-Spikes (to slow him down) and burn him up with FireWalls. If your merc is tough enough, you may be able to handle him without the moat; mine isn't very well-equipped at the moment.


#4) Diablo. Always a freakin' beast. On /players 8, this will still take a very long time. On easier settings, there isn't really much to stress about. Chances are, he's going to eat your merc alive, so let him feast and plan on doing this one alone. He doesn't like to stand still, so scratch FireWall. I recommend maxing Cold skills as much as possible with equipment, and wielding the Infinity Polearm yourself (or, if you're super-lucky with drops, make an Infinity Staff that has +skills for blizzard and/or CM). Hopefully by this point you have +6ish skills on your helmet, armor, a ring or two, and an amulet. Then, just cast tons of Blizzards down on the big lizard, and don't let him hit you.


#5a) Act V, in general, is a good place to run through without fighting everything. It's a slow-progress area to begin with, stocked with tons of monsters, and it's even slower for a BlizzWaller in hell with a bunch of Cold Immunes. For the sake of your own sanity, I'd recommend tele'ing through the big frozen tundra areas - the CI Rascals are an awful pain to track down, and they won't hurt you much if you're just passing through.

#5b) Ancients. It's absolutely crucial to take these guys one at a time, so touch the altar and then quickly teleport away. If you can draw them out one at a time (I got lucky, pulled it off on my first try), you+merc will easily wear them down regardless of immunities. And, of course, try to stand perpendicular to the path of the WhirlWinder - so he's taking FireWall damage all along the route of his attack.

#5c) Worldstone Keep. Be very careful of Gloam-types, who can represent instant death if you don't tele out of their lightning pretty quickly. And make a habit of using your FireWall to scout around corners - get some easy kills to thin out the pack.

#5d) Baal's Minions. The 2nd group (Mummy resurrectors and Cold skeletal mages) is REAL tough; the other four shouldn't be a problem. Use Glacial Spike VERY heavily to keep the Pit Lords from burning your merc when they surround him. Lister can be rough if he's FI/CI, but he can be beaten. Feed your merc with all the potions hanging out on the gore-painted floor.

#5e) Hell Baal. This was the easiest fight in the world for SugarCookie. One item made it so: The Kelpie Snare. If you have it, use it. If you don't, plan on making MANY visits to Pindleskin until you get it.

The Kelpie Snare. I love my Kelpie Snare. I love my BlizzWaller. And my BlizzWaller loves the Kelpie Snare.

Give the Kelpie Snare to your merc. Wield the Infinity yourself. The combination of {Kelpie's 75% slow, Merc's Holy Freeze, and your Glacial Spike}, along with FireWall's constant attack, will render Baal absolutely, positively, and completely useless.

That's right. Useless. He will stand in one place and take swings at your Merc, hitting ~20% of the time for minimal amounts of damage. And each swing takes him about 2s to complete - it's really fun to watch!

Here's the gameplan - Once properly equipped, teleport next to Baal to engage him with your merc, then walk a safe distance away (he does throw in the occasional HoarFrost). Proceed to assault him with alternating Glacial Spike, to keep him at max slowness, and FireWall to "distract" him and do damage.

I've taken Baal down alone at /players 7 with ridiculously plain self-found equipment, with Kelpie and Infinity.

I love my Kelpie Snare.


[highlight]In Conclusion...[/highlight]

At the current time, my lev90 SugarCookie is running Pindle at /players 7 with 400% MF (25-30s/run) to build up her junk collection and make an eventual run at lev99.

A BlizzWaller is a very adept Countess runner, Pindlerunner, Mephrunner, and Baalrunner - a complete package of runes, items, and experience. And I do love her, and I'm not afraid to admit it.

Any and all comments, questions, and equally-rambling posts are absolutely welcome! I hope you enjoyed my little presentation, and give the BlizzWaller a chance.
 
Sorry, I got to go right now no time to carefully read through the guide.

I promise I'll make a detailed comment on your guide.

I'll leave with this; why blizz? I would imagine Orb/Wall would be more effective.

If you're wielding the Infinity yourself, a Lightning hybrid would've also suited very nicely.

Decrep wand can be used if slow is your goal.

sry, really g2g now.
 
best guide ever written. every time i read the name sugar cookie i laughed out loud. you are awesome. =) =) =)
 
I'm going to assume that every time you mentioned "Infinity", you really meant "Insight". If so, you should probably really correct that, because a lot of people are going to take you literally.

In case you're wondering what the difference is... Infinity cannot be made in Staves, carries the Conviction Aura instead of Meditation, and is pretty much impossible to ever assemble legitimately (Ber + Mal + Ber + Ist). I'm positive that's not what you meant.
 
I'll rate the guide 6/10.

My opinion:

-The build is a classic from 1.10 and i have tried it but without a mercenary. I just run away from dual fire cold immunes. Kills slow, and boring at times. I pertaining to firewall. I just don't like it that much.

-freeze lenght in hell difficulty for GS kinda too short does so little damage on that build(without any boosts or synergized). So spamming it is a must... very mana costly... Is this why we need the mercenary?

-Two timered spells have been a very bad idea specially without any non-timered spamming skills. Theres one, GS, buts its too weak to be able to kill in Hell. We can't just always rely on mercenaries.


To the Author:
I mean no insult nor any objections to your guide. Its just my opinion, my reasoning.
 
Extremely well-written! She sounds like tremendous fun to play. I think the SPF would enjoy reading this (Single Player Forum).

Please do clarify whether you mean Infinity or Insight ...

I absolutely love the way you talk about practicing with using Firewall, and your tips for it. It sounds like it has good 'aimability' ... haven't used it since the olden days of D1. So, you make a firewall and it starts working right away, unlike Meteor where you're waiting for it to hit and keeping your enemy in place, and the timered part is just that you can't cast another one instantly?

I know it depends on playstyle, but I'm just curious ... did you go for max block or did you pump vit?
 
I'm going to assume that every time you mentioned "Infinity", you really meant "Insight". If so, you should probably really correct that, because a lot of people are going to take you literally.

In case you're wondering what the difference is... Infinity cannot be made in Staves, carries the Conviction Aura instead of Meditation, and is pretty much impossible to ever assemble legitimately (Ber + Mal + Ber + Ist). I'm positive that's not what you meant.
You are absolutely right! Egads. I've never had an Infinity, and never plan on it...I must have read another thread that mentioned it just before posting. Thanks a ton...

So, how DOES one edit an old post? C/P it into a new thread, or get a Mod's attention?



 
I'll rate the guide 6/10.

My opinion:

-The build is a classic from 1.10 and i have tried it but without a mercenary. I just run away from dual fire cold immunes. Kills slow, and boring at times. I pertaining to firewall. I just don't like it that much.

-freeze lenght in hell difficulty for GS kinda too short does so little damage on that build(without any boosts or synergized). So spamming it is a must... very mana costly... Is this why we need the mercenary?

-Two timered spells have been a very bad idea specially without any non-timered spamming skills. Theres one, GS, buts its too weak to be able to kill in Hell. We can't just always rely on mercenaries.


To the Author:
I mean no insult nor any objections to your guide. Its just my opinion, my reasoning.
And I appreciate the honesty. I realize the build isn't a Grade-A build, and I'm willing to "take a hit" on my own score as a result.

Regarding your individual critiques:

1) The build moves slowly (I had Mat'd a FuryZon just before this one...yowzer), but quite resolutely and is HC viable. There aren't many fast AND HC-viable builds available, which is why I felt comfortable "gushing" about this one.

2/3) Yep, the Insight-bearing Merc is for spell spamming. Cast a timered, whip off 2 or 3 GS's until the timer pops back. While the non-timered isn't a big damage spell, it's the Sorc's best crowd-control skill and with a small amount of +skills (8-10ish) GS can certainly have an effect on critters in /p8 Hell. It's not fast, but it's safe. Maybe I should have included "HC" somewhere in one of my titles.



 
So, you make a firewall and it starts working right away, unlike Meteor where you're waiting for it to hit and keeping your enemy in place, and the timered part is just that you can't cast another one instantly?

I know it depends on playstyle, but I'm just curious ... did you go for max block or did you pump vit?
#1) The 2nd, and unspoken fun of FireWall is purely visual - much like other hose skills, you get to watch the enemy's health bar "slide" from healthy to dead, rather than the quick+cheap "now it's full, now it's not" effect of straight-damage skills.

#2) SugarCookie is at max block; since 99% of her time has been spent Pindle-running, I think I made the right choice - but neither is "wrong". Max Block helps against fast CBF monsters (undead dolls, bloodlord types) that get inside your guard, while Max Vit helps against ranged attackers that hit you before you attack 'em (archers, gloams).



 
Great you clarified ... Insight requires RWM on SP, right? (on edit: re-checked. Cannot make Insight in Single Player without Runeword Mod.) I keep checking this, forgetting, and it would be good to note in the guide.

If I make one of these and don't have Insight, I'll let you know how I deal with the mana issue. (Don't hold your breath; probably no time for several months. But it sounds like such fun that I will put it on my sorc list!)
 
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