The Normal Set Project

Maltatai

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@Luhkoh

It took a single click :p I wasn't even farming the rack. And funny enough, she dropped another in nightmare act 2 from a monster a day or two later.

But in all seriousness, I think racking is surely the way to go if you're searching for sanders helm or blinkbats specifically. Sanders helm has qlvl 20 and racks drop items of ilvl=alvl-1. So normal LK (alvl 22) should be able to drop it. And sets should be 1 in 125 as i understand it (mf doesn't matter). So if you can reroll maps in normal LK till you get a stable cap armor rack, it should take no time at all. Or no more than a couple hundred runs anyways.
 

Maltatai

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I must be doing my own clicking in the wrong way then...o_O:)

What is a stable cap armor rack, can you score one that drops only caps? What sort of frequency of dropped caps is reasonable to look for otherwise?

The attentive reader will note the logic in that the player who has started a completely item-based character collection has just about no idea about item finding mechanics beyond the use of a simple drop calculator...
 

Maltatai

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@Luhkoh
Haha no problem. Racks in diablo 2 are weird and you can find a few other threads on them. Note that 1.07 racks are much more stable than those in modern versions. But in general, yes you can roll a map with an armor rack that drops only caps. If you approach the rack from the same direction each time (or telekinesis it from same spot if you are sorc), and there are no monsters around it, a rack usually drops the same item most of the time. So I would say your goal is to find a rack in LK that drops a cap >50% of the time. It should only be a matter of a handful of hours after that. So if drops caps 50% of the time from your rack, and 1 in 125 are set, and 1 in 2 sets are sanders rather than infernal, then that's 500 average runs, which shouldn't take too long if you just tele to the rack and s/e. So not trivial though. Would take a few hours. ~3hrs if 20s runs.

And its probably already clear, but just to reiterate. LK is probably the best spot for this just because there's a a waypoint and tons of racks, but if you stumble on a stable cap rack elsewhere, definitely check to make sure alvl >= 21. Would suck to find one in tower lvl 1 and wonder why it only drops infernal's :p
 
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Maltatai

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Mimmi has made a good deal of progress through Act III.
It is in many ways easier than Act II for her with more open spaces and organic enemies more sensitive to venom. On the other hand the dark dungeons are dangerous and many fast enemies can catch her when I play impatiently, which I have done far too much.

Mimmis lack of defenses is really starting to tell now. Luckily her regeneration is an awesome 22 so she can recover from most scrapes.

Sszark was rather dangerous but Kundri could shoot him while Mimmi knocked him back with psychic hammer. Stormtree was another matter entirely. Look at that thing... I don't even want to live in the same town as that arboreal abomination. I managed to outrun him and cross the river, putting the moat and a bush between Mimmi and Stormtree. Her speed is a very concrete advantage sometimes. She also split a champion zakarumite pack that way in the Kurast Bazaar, which would otherwise have been very nasty.

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Last picture partly dedicated to @Mest666

As you can see Mimmi has diched the unfitting bone shield for a more discreet small shield that goes better with her other equipment. I only used the bone shield because I expected to make Lore in a bone helm before finding the Peasant Crown. Mimmi can't block anything so the stats of the shields don't matter the slightest. She can get the upper hand when she goes toe to toe with...goblin toe...but if she fails to knock the adversary back she will almost always lose a huge chunk of life.

Mimmi is currently in Upper Kurast and at level 80. She managed to evade Sarinas packs but there were tons of crazed rogues and wailing beasts down there and they nearly caught Mimmi, costing her all purple potions. Next awaits Icehawk Riftwing and the rest of the temples.

I have failed to find any myrmidon greaves to my great dismay. I did however gamble a platinum circlet of life everlasting that Kundri got (21 PDR) which should help her somewhat. Very sloppy play on my part has led to her death two times already during the act. Embarrasing.
 

Maltatai

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Hsarus is blowing things away and also blowing his life off since he has far too little defenses to stand close to enemies, which is unfortunately sort of required to make the most of hurricanes. Now at level 55 and having cleared half of Tal Raskas tombs, helped by the fearsome Gaile who lacks damage sorely (Zephyr razor bow...). Hsarus has a good path to nightmare Andariel but his insignificant poison resistances have been a detriment. Fortunately Andariel dropped the Venom Ward during the last visit and Hsarus need only one more level befor ehe can use it and still swing his knout. Andariel is truly being her own worst enemy.

I have yet to decide whether trying t build Hsarus to a close range character with damage reduction or something to use hurricanes and the generals flail more, or going for throwing which was my original idea but which would sacrifice hurricane damage. The most prabable outcome is that hell enemies wil be so fast and dangerous with no tank that they will render such questions moot.
 

Maltatai

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And now from the 20:th of June 2020, present day, and onward with the thread having migrated

I have done other things for a long time but picked some of the characters up the last days.

Alice has advanced to level 76 and is doing well after a hard start of hell. The thing is, Alice has a strong set of skills and abilities to start with. Geraldine the valkyrie is tough enough to block most things, Alice has has seven or so cold charms to augment the freezign length, her arrows are very powerful against non-immune enemies and she is very fast and tough with over 1300 life. Then she has Hoku the barbarian... Hoku advances faster than the valkyrie, invariably engages the enemy and pursues retreating and knocked back enemies to his own detriment. And he completely lacks the strength to do so and is being cut to pieces in no time. For that kind of approach to work, your employer needs to follow you into the fray or shut down the enemy completely with curses and minions and stuff. Alice has neither, though she does have a Nadir bone helm, very stylish, yet lacks the income to use it regularly and needs her other hat for resistances and poison damage. The result of this is that the need to watch over Hoku and prevent him from getting himself killed negates Alices advantages of mobility and the ability to skirmish and be protected by Geraldine.

My irritation with this state of affairs in hell reached such levels yesterday that I decided to do no less than sack Hoku Horton in favor of Ajheed the cold mage. This unorthodox decision (effectiveness and ease of play favored before role play and style...what has the world come to...) saved the character and her war party completely. Not only is Ajheed scarcsely less sturdy than Hoku, since he can devote more equipment to protection without detriment to his role, he also has the cunning to undertake a revolutionary maneuver when attacked - he runs away from those nasties hitting him so they can't hit him anymore. Brilliant tactical insight! Now Alice has a mercenary that she doesn't need to watch over constantly and who adds a third damage type tot he party and helps the valkyrie a lot with the freezing. Alices freezing lasts long but she deals miniscule cold damage, therefore the addition of the iron wolf was most welcome in that regard too. With the new effective comapany, Alice has advanced to the Outer Cloister. The countess gave a Sol rune, actually very good for Ajheed could add it to his hat for more protection.
 

Maltatai

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Alice, free of weak untanking tanks, has completed Act I in hell without casualties and in almost completely leisurely manner. It galls me to having to be rid of Hugo but on the other hand they aren't actually together at work so maybe Ajheed is Frank taking minutes in the council meetings, or Jim. He'll get to be the latter I think.

Valkyrie Geraldine: Ajheed, freeze those ghouls!

Ajheed: No, no, no ,no ,no, yes, glacial spikes incoming.

Dark ones, ghouls, tainted, all dangerous melee-eaters shatter and melt before Ajheed. He can actually kill enemies in time, while slowly. But who's in a hurry when the enemy is perpetual ice cubes?

Powerful valkyries backed by a cold mage has to be the most relaxing party possible for an amazon. Two damage types, three quarters of the monsters in the game frozen and only he recastable minon really being exposed to danger. Alice reached level 77 in the catacombs, which was a very significant level. None of the monsters or their leaders even came close to catching Alice.

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Having reached level 77 and put another five points into strength, Alice could get rid of her useful strengthening Raven Coil ring, replacing it with the awesome Rune Band, which added regeneration to her, which she had hitherto lacked. :cool: My favourite defensive item mod, which has an irrational effect on me as a player and makes me play much more calmly and effectively. Also, 8 is high enough to have effect, letting countless minor scrapes heal before the next battle and saving several potions in the long run without running with lower life. That ring was a gift from Akara for rescuing Cain, possibly the best reward ring I have ever got. I also started storing extra mana and rejuvenation potions in the cube, which was an excellent decision to compensate for the small belt of the set. Since Alice is so fast and has such sturdy tanking at her disposal it's no noteworthy hassle to open it and restock the belt.

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Andariel was the only one to come close at killing Ajheed. She tore Geraldine apart and the huge cooldown after casting a new valkyrie meant that ALice could not fire immolation arrows or summon another before Andariel had smashed apart the just recently resummoned Geraldine. Decoy is really the way to go against Andariel, valkyries are good to have when going down through a portal or the stairs but a waste of time to recast in the middle of the battle. So Andariel broke through and Alice had to sprint through her doors to save Ajheed and quickly shift him a rejuvenation potion. But that was that. Around the lake, immolation arrows took her down at a ridiculous speed. Look how angry she is in the lower picture.

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Andariel had apparently confiscated a very anti-Andarielly amulet from a previous interloper. Not too bad actually, but Alices are better and the Cats Grace is infinitely funnier.

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Alice is now in Lut Gholein, having cleared its sewers which was slow with all the fire immunes and boring therefore, but not really difficult or dangerous. For a palce infested with immunes, a character can do much worse. Onward out to the deserts!
 
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Maltatai

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At level 78, the Lost City awaits Alice
The Halls of the Dead was the dullest place of them all with the tiresome greater mummies. Mana ran out in no time. The Maggot lair was not quite as bad but some bugs were very dangerous, this one in particular being a tremendously eager teleporter. Eeeek! Stay away you bloated infested terran wannabe!

Coldworms bolts hurt a lot but fortunately Alice could stay away from most and still set her on fire. Quite the contrast from another set characters tiresome slug.

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The outside areas were a complete vacation in contrast, no trouble at all. Beetles make great targets for immolation arrows, and swarms too. Only poisoning enemies stood a chance against Geraldine.

Fangskin beckons... Alice has got a teleportation amulet and a Nadir hat. Will it be enough to make it to the mound?
 
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Maltatai

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Now let's have a look at Sigon...
...who did in fact make some progress earlier before Alice but I haven't written it down until now. Sigon and Neeraj made slow but steady progress in Act II but the swarms of skeletons were tiresome indeed. I'm longing for some paladins now to come and put those bony pests in their place. Which they already are in, being in the Halls of the Dead where incompetent intruders appear to tell them that their Horadric Cube, that has even been stolen already, belongs in a museum. Being close ranged, Sigon had more trouble with the beetles than Alice. The Beetles wanted to hold hands, which was out of the question since they generate lightning, and torpedo Meshifs ship from some sort of yellow underwater vessel. Clearly a gross violation of the laws of the sea and not innocent but very guilty passage. Sigon told them to get stuffed and proceeded to the maggot queen. That proved to be the hardest battle of hell so far. The chamber was filled with maggots and beetles and just to add to it they were fanatic. Orange abounded. It took a great deal of patience to wade through the young maggots until the eager beetles had been lured out. Then he had to quickly jump and sprint down to the lower corner to have some flank protection when starting to hack away at the older maggots. Does anyone know if there is a limit to how many eggs they can lay, as with the sarcophagi?

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All this time Sigon suffered from the ever present poison damage and had to worry as well about the repair costs of his sword. i was very happy to have found the Bloodmoon elegant blade earlier. Really missed a tyrant club with the Black rune word to blow things up.

Both among the undead and the maggots the slowing and stunning proved to be well worth the time to deal out before starting to chip away the enemies life with bash. It's a bit annoying that concentrate is so synergized it outclasses bash damage-wise despite me not focusing in it directly. I had to use it among the maggots because Sigon was so constantly bitten and hit by poison spit. Currently at level 80 and preparing to summon the courage to descend to the serpents, having explored the Lost City.
 
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Maltatai

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Mimmi has reached Travincal! And gained a level. A minor step in view of distance but it means she has survived the last two temple stairs and potential stairtraps, one of them turning out just like that with vipers and scarabs. Now she will have ample space to maneuver in until the caves of Act V. She is so fragile, but with about 20 replenish life she can regrow most limbs pretty fast, it is really a significant effect which bodes well for other characters for I like regeneration a lot.
 

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Restles defeated Fangskin today at level 78, in the easiest possible way.
The luckless reptile spawned on the mound where his pack was trapped and no other stairtraps were there to trap the slithering summoner. Lazy as he is, he has put off visiting the tedious maggots but now has only that area left until the palace awaits. Many hold the Arcane Santuary to be hopeless for summoners but because of Diane, and to a lesser extent the mages, I am not worried about that. The skeletal army is far form invincible, lightning enchanted bosses are their bane, but so farRestles and Diane have stayed pretty safe. Terror and Restles' damage reduction has proven to be of great use, allowing him to clear a space at doors and lead from the front to inspire his minions to push forward and reach greate rmummies and other important targets. I have noticed that I forgot to post some of the pictures from the timeframe of the last post about Restles, so here is a small resumé.

It is important to fight both Act bosses and cowardly runes. It is surely also important to yell to your army of mostly bone creatures with no ears that they should do what they are supposed to do when they actually do it.

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This fellow was no joke. Summoners may be safe but not from everything. For a long time I had no idea how damaged the scary unknown boss was and consequently how close to explosion of deeding doom the Devil Heart was. Luckily my impatience did not get the bette rof me at that time, despite making a good effort.

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The omens were against the green worm. I kept the charm, tossing out a life charm and losing 11 life in the trade but gaining about 20 % more mana to revive monsters for.

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d2lover

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Hi @Maltatai , how do you edit the pictures to get such a nice frame around them?

This looks like d2 should be framed as standard!
 

Maltatai

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Basically you take one picture as background which has the desired size and paste the screenshot in it so you get it to the desired, uniform, size. Then you have the frame saved in a format which allows for transparence, such as .tga that I use. That way you can load the frame and paste the frame only on top of the edited screenshot. Since both the background picture (I've usually named them "canvas" this or that) and the frame is of the same size you don't need to move or crop or edit anything more, just anchor the frame and save. I use the free program GIMP but the principle is the same in any picture editing software.

I've made a tutorial of this to be included in a nonsensical epilogue to my amazon story, just to cheer someone up in these dreary quarantine times, and it's almost finished. As soon as I am done rewriting Wasps Harder - Faster it will be ready to post.

I have a folder with frames ready to use, one for each class although I have mixed them a bit so far. I save a copy in the folder for each character and edit all the characters pics in the same way. It's quite efficient, only takes a few seconds per screenshot. When I remade the amazon story pictures it was way harder since many were too small and I had to paste them on top of a color themed background and manually add a second frame around the smaller motif.
 

Maltatai

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Restles has now dug out the staff from the maggots at level 79.
It took a long time and was tedious and dull, but manageable. I switche dout the tome of identify he carries in the inventory in favor of a tome of town portal and used them liberally to collect the army and most importantly bring Diane in postition to shoot. I listened to the Zerg themes from Starcraft to pass the time, it seemed fitting.

There were many corners and rooms that took ages to gain a foothold in but there was rarely any danger, except when I ran into minon beetles and got trapped, costing two purple potions before I Restles could reach a town portal. His damage reducing gear (Iron Pelt and a Ruby Amulet of Life Everlasting) is of great help when you want to push forward to lead the army along and out of a bottleneck entrance. Against Coldworm the whole battle hinged on Restles' army making its way far enough so he could portal up and back and get Diane out of the corridors confines. Once out in the room, it was only a matter of time and some replacing of skeletons before the expedition under the sand was finished.

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Summoners are often described as being helpless and useless in the Maggot Lair, doomed to wait for their mandatory town guard to do all the fighting. That may very well be the case if you load up on skill points and casting equipment but a summoner with good defensive capability can take a much more active role and that will make the army much more effective tactically, often compensating for the minions having weaker stats than if the caste rwould have had only summoning gear.

Restles did actually find the Angelic Wings amulet before climbing down to the maggots. He has the amulet and two rings, but I find the resistances and damage reduction of his current jewelry to be more useful. He only need to hit every eight second to process open wounds from his shield in order to do his part offensively, otherwise the tactical freedom and subsequent leadership gained from the defense is much better. And this is also hardcore after all so protection is a priority.

Now forward to more open areas. The usually dreaded Arcane Sanctuary is unlikely to pose a problem for a prudent summoner with mages and a quick rogue.
 
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Maltatai

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Nokoz meanwhile has advanced to level 47 and reached Act II in nightmare. He has made fazel the foolish town guard switch to a thorned aura that matches the golem better in colour but Fazel remained his stupid self and has already died to radaments poisons despite a sizeable bit of health showing on his bar. Nokoz will maximize corpse explosion along with fire golem, there aren't exactly many other infernal fire skills to choose from as necromancer and since Sander will probably not find his set I am interested in how a maxed explosion will work out. Otherwise Nokoz will busy himself with casting low level orange curses, weaken, amplify damage or dim vision according to the situation. All will have short durations so he will likely be very busy with that along with hopefully applying open wounds to some stubborn targets.
 

Maltatai

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Restles stands triumphant, and slightly bored, atop the rotting slime of Duriel!
As is often the case, the palace cellar included some nasty skeletal commanders.

"Forward, brave bony minions! Who wish to have the everlasting glory of being the first to charge into that room with the nice green aura and elemental attacks?"

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The minions rested in pieces before long but I managed to lure out the enemy minions and after a while their leaders followed too. Restles and his remaining minions were cornered but stood their ground in a rather even fight.

The Arcane Sanctuary was slow at times (read: stationary at bottlenecks) and I wholeheartedly hate lightning spires, but otherwise it does not live up to its infamous reputation among summoners...derived perhaps from so few investing in mages and ranged hired help...

Restles has as you may remember two set sword and an attract-ive unravellers head on switch. Making the Summoner cast spells at an attracted demon of his is truly hilarious.

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In the Canyon of the Magi Restles deliberately conjured a magnificent battle, five or six boss packs, champions and tons of normal monsters. They showed commendable tactical insight which does not show totally on the picture. While some engaged Restles' forces along the whole line and tied the up, some scarabs made a flank attack against the undead right wing, an excellent display of concentration of forces at a crucial point! The enemy also had substantial ranged support from the hell cats javelineers. Only summoners get away with this kind of foolishness...

Do not be fooled by the blocking animation for once caught on a screenshot, Restles abysmal blocking is only matched by his outrageously insignificant chance to hit enemies.

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While excellent against such crowds, the skeletal scourge fared pitifully against sarcophagi and mummies that swarmed and overwhelmed them if they managed to split the skeletons up. Restles had to work hard to direct and lead his army. The defensive equipment truly shone on many occassions in Tal Rashas tombs, allowing Restles to sprint inside and past the enemy and prevent another bottleneck situation at the door to a room.

The clearing of two tombs and half of the outdoor area culminated in the most pathetic display of Hell Duriel I have probably ever seen, showing clearly why Riphook deserves every bit of praise that is heaped upon it. Duriel managed nothing. One revived monster expired of itself and that was that.

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Restles now has five tombs left to clear out before he can set sail home to the east. I have so far not skipped a single monster in hell except when forced to exit the game earlier than planned. At level 80 nothing yet withstands the restless death.
 
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Maltatai

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Nokoz has found his unofficial fourth set piece...
...the Nokozan Relic! He is named after that fire themed amulet and I very much wanted it to drop, despite not being particularly powerful for him. No matter, what it lacks in power it makes up for in style. The fire golem is almost completely invincible sof ar so I have started to put points in corpse explosion which has made a huge change. Also bought a wand with a point in attract instead of the confuse wand earlier, so the new colors are mor ein line with the rest of the theme. Thorns and holy fire look very similar, I'm quite satisfied with the choice.

Nokoz is at level 49, having effortlessly cleared away the dead and entered the far oasis.

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I forgot to mention earlier how generous the smith was. These blacksmiths of Act I nightmare are really decent fellows, I have gotten a small crescent from Griswold once or twice also. The ogre axe was useless due to the heavy requirements but I appreciate the thought. A shame it wasn't Sander who found it along with some chipped gems to reroll the mods and make a golem.

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Maltatai

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Mimmi has made it out of Act III
...but it feels like half a failure. She cleared every area but Kundri died perhaps ten times to hydras. There was just nothing Mimmi could do about it. She can tank hydra fire fairly well for a while but can not stand up to the ones who cast them and consequently needs to retreat and Kundri is exposed and killed in half a second since she runs much slower than Mimmi. I don't know how you're supposed to do it. Although a good start would probably be to equip yourself with the best available gear and not an underpowered set that should have been revised five patches ago... Kundri also died to a conviction and lightning enchanted blood lord.

Mephisto himself was far less dangerous than the path to him since Mimmi managed to trap him across the moat and she and Kundri could shoot him from afar, slow but safe. Blood lords littered the path and hydras meant no spot was safe. I would probably have had a much easier time letting Kundri be dead until I had cleared out the blood lords so Mimmi could stand still and tank the hydras.

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In any case Act IV has more open areas and less obstacles, and no hydra casting enemies hiding among them, so the pair should have an easier time there. Hephasto is likely to be the most dangerous to Mimmi but with Riphok and psychic hammer they might keep him away. It' also possible that he can be trapped in some place and then shot from a safe distance. Diablo will likely burn Kundri to ashes, and without PDR or blocking Mimmi should probably not risk melee. Lastly a picture from the time of the last update of a nasty stair trap that Mimmi will not need to experience again.

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Mimmi is now at level 81 in the Pandemonium Fortress.
 
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