I was once a heathen; I felt that only Sorcerers could truly be the kings of Diablo. I understood little about warriors, and how REAL warriors do battle with the creatures of Hell. I felt that the warrior was underpowered and severely weakened by his lack of ranged attack.
I slowly learned, however, that warriors are often poorly played by even the best of Diablo’s heroes. This neglected class often leaves players frustrated when the going gets tough, when they are taunted by the powerful denizens of the labyrinth. This can all change for you if you’ve never seen a knowledgeable warrior do his stuff!
Welcome to my guide for high-level warriors. I’m here to outline what I consider the BEST way to play a warrior and what equipment you should be looking for as you move onward to the upper levels of the game. Bashing heads in Hell is much harder than bashing heads in the church, and it only gets worse as the difficulty rises.
Throughout this treatise, you’ll see described many different ideas and tactics, many times followed up by MY OPINION. In other words, I want you to choose YOUR way. There are many other experienced warriors who will refute my claims. This does not make them wrong (heh). Learn from all. Observe how others play high level warriors and learn from them all, and then draw your own conclusions.
Why a guide for HIGH-level warriors? In my opinion, that’s when the fun begins – when you start moving away from pure brawn to brains and brawn. You’ll be using magic more and you’ll be developing your character in order to kill smarter and faster than just walking up and swinging.
- 1 Some assumptions
- 2 PART 1: SPELLS
- 3 PART 2: EQUIPMENT
- 3.1 HELMS
- 3.2 SHIELDS
- 3.3 WEAPONS
- 3.4 ARMOR
- 3.5 JEWELRY
- 3.6 GENERAL EQUIPMENT NOTES
- 3.7 DREAM SETUPS
- 4 PART 3: STRATEGY TIPS
- 5 PART 4: TACTICS
- 5.1 TELEKILLING
- 5.2 KILL EFFICIENTLY
- 5.3 HEALING
- 5.4 CORNERING
- 5.5 THE SHIFT KEY
- 5.6 ARMIES OF MELEE
- 5.7 STONE CURSE
- 5.8 FIRE WALLS
- 5.9 DEALING WITH DIABLO
- 5.10 DEALING WITH LAZARUS
- 5.11 VS. MELEE/RANGED COMBOS
- 5.12 ADVOCATE/LEVEL 16 TACTICS
- 5.13 AVOID TAKING FIRE
- 5.14 VAMPIRE SWORD TACTICS
- 5.15 MULTIPLAYER CO-OP TACTICS
- 5.16 ITEM RECOVERY
- 1: You’re playing Diablo Classic Multiplayer, version 1.07 (note that future versions may change or make some of these strategies out of date), NOT Hellfire or Diablo Classic Singleplayer;
- 2: You’re “high-level,” which I consider arbitrarily to be over the level of 35 – Really high is 45+;
- 3: Your stats have not been ruined by black deaths and shrines (more on that later in the guide);
- 4: Your stats are getting to be around max or are maxed;
- 5: We’re NOT discussing dueling strategies, but strategies against monsters! If you want to talk about dueling, make your own post about it, as I’m not really interested. All throughout this post I will be referring to the best methods against monsters and not other players;
- 6: We’re discussing general warrior strategies, not subclass strategies.
- 7: You’re legit. No dupes, no hacks, no trainers. Cheaters don’t need strategy; there’s no point in playing.
PART 1: SPELLS
Spells represent the most misunderstood and often misused element of warrior tactics. Basically put, those warriors who ignore the usefulness of spells, thinking mana to be totally unimportant, won’t last long deep into the game. I’ve met many people who thought that way, and even convinced a few of how important your mana and spells are.
A warrior needs to have a high magical prowess in 3 spells: Healing, Teleport, and Stone Curse. These represent (although only slightly for Stone Curse) the backbone of the magical support arsenal for warriors.
A warrior’s best friend in shrines is the Enchanted Shrine. The Enchanted Shrine raises all of your spell levels by 1 except for one spell, which gets lowered by 1 level (if the spell to be lowered is max, level 15, it gets lowered by 2 levels). Once you’ve reached the point where you can’t raise your spell levels from book reading, these shrines are what I recommend you look for! Be sure to carry jewels of Wizardry to help you read as many levels of books as you can before you heavily search for Enchanteds.
A warrior needs badly to get this spell to level 15, in order to maximize its usefulness. Its mana cost goes up as you rise in character level, so get it to level 15 as quickly as possible. Discussions on using Healing properly will be covered in the tactics section.
This spell is a crucial one for traveling in Hell. It will allow you to kill the enemies who tend to run away from you, such as witches, more easily. You need to get this spell to level 8 in order to use the minimum mana per cast. Anything beyond that doesn’t improve its effectiveness, so don’t bother if you don’t want to. Discussions on using Teleport effectively will be covered in the tactics section.
You won’t be using this nearly as often as Healing or Teleport, but you’ll find it comes in great handy occasionally. Just like Teleport, you need to raise this spell level to 8, and anything beyond that isn’t improving its mana cost efficiency. Level 9 Stone Curse stones a creature for the maximum period of time, and any additional levels beyond that do not add to the length of the stone effect. Discussions on using Stone Curse effectively will be covered in the tactics section.
Don’t waste your time! Obviously, these are nice to have at high levels to fool around with, but you’ll find that a warrior’s low magic stat makes their accuracy ridiculously low. Don’t even begin to think you’re a mage and start flinging fireballs or casting Chain Lightning in Hell/Hell (note: many warriors will use fireball from time to time to kill some ranged attackers; however, unless you raise your magic stat to a very high level it will be far more effective to use other methods). If you do enchanted shrine hunts, you’ll get spells such as Fireball up there in level; just don’t expect to use them much. There are some other spells that are “offensive” in nature and CAN help in particular situations, and I’ll cover using those in the tactics/tips sections. The ones I recommend you develop are Fire Wall, Guardian, Elemental, Flame Wave, Holy Bolt, Charged Bolt, and Golem.
KNOW THE MONSTERS’ RESISTANCES
Yes, warriors, you WILL have to learn the monsters’ resistances and immunities. Early on, you don’t even need to think about it, but as you get into the Hell levels the monsters will have various resistances and immunities and knowing what they are can save your hide. An example: casting a fire wall on a line of Soul Burners is simply a waste of mana. Knowing which spells work on what creatures can help you separate them to take on one type at a time (more on that later).
PART 2: EQUIPMENT
Being a high level warrior has its perks! You’ll have access to high-end equipment as you dive deep into the pits of Hell time and time again. This allows us goons to pick and choose among the best equipment in the game. However, often times we may need to make tradeoffs. What items to keep, and what to throw away?
I’ll divide this into Helms, Shields, Weapons, Armor, and Jewelry, and provide my recommendations for what to wear of each type. However, those are my opinions, which will probably be debated. 🙂
Remember also that I’m covering the IDEAL equipment setups for a warrior. This is what you WANT to get. You will, of course, not find these fantastic items right away (or perhaps never), so improvise – take these recommendations and obtain the best equipment that you can of its nature.
Here’s where you’ll find quite a lot of variety. There are a number of fantastic helms for warriors, and choosing between them can be tough! Here’s a rundown of the various great helms that many warriors may wind up having to choose between.
Royal Circlet Stats: 40 AC; +10 to all attributes; +40 Mana; +10% Light Radius.
Pros: Great AC, +10 to all attributes helps, and the mana boost is like having a Drake’s Helm. This helm is, in my opinion, the best all-around helm for a warrior, as it gives great AC and increases your ability to cast the spells mentioned in Part 1.
Cons: it’s not the best AC you can get, and the light radius will actually tend to activate more monsters at a time, which can make things a little more hairy at times.
Helm of Sprits
Helm of Sprits Stats: 4 to 6 AC; Steals 5% life.
Pros: The 5% life steal is incredibly fun. This helm basically adds the suffix “of blood” to any weapon you’re carrying. (No, a sword of blood plus a Helm of Sprits does NOT equal 10% life steal.) In my experience, this makes Nightmare/Hell, and, in fact, anything but Hell/Hell much easier. With this helm, you could stay down almost indefinitely as long as you’re not taking damage faster than you’re stealing life. Really high level characters (45+) should wear this all the time, as their need for AC lessens – and the life stealing effect is simply awesome when combined with great equipment, high damage, and high character level. The most important thing to do when wearing this item is to use a sword of speed or haste; that way you steal life quickly.
Cons: PITIFUL AC. No other bonuses other than the life steal. This helm just cripples your AC and makes you a target for melee monsters. If you’re wearing this and it drops you under 230 AC against melee monsters, you’ll probably have some troubles. It greatly depends on your character level and where you’re fighting. Notes: This helm is very rare. You can only find it in the church, levels 2-3, in Nightmare or Hell difficulties, from a boss. I recommend doing repeated level 2 Nightmare difficulty runs to find one of these.
Gotterdamerung Stats: AC 60; +20 to all attributes; All Resistances = 0%; -4 damage from enemies; -40% Light Radius
Pros: The highest AC helm you can find in the game, period. A whopping +20 to all attributes is equivalent to a perfect Zodiac suffix on a HELM! -4 damage from enemies helps to keep from getting stunned. -40% Light Radius is actually a blessing, since you’ll be in a semi-stealth mode and you’ll activate fewer monsters at a time (more on stealth later).
Cons: The big one – all resistances are set to 0%. This kills. Note that wearing a Constricting Ring (a ring which will max all resistances) will NOT cancel out the 0% resistances of the Gotterdamerung. This helm leaves you WIDE open to getting creamed by magical attacks. However, it is the ultimate helm when used against melee attackers.
Notes: There are a number of things to discuss about the resistance factor. For one, if your resistance is set to 0%, your warrior can block enemy spells with a shield. This is effective against fireballs (although the splash damage will still hurt you), blood stars, and charged bolts as long as you don’t face too many, but won’t help you that much against lightning. Last of all, some people use this helm when it’s unidentified and leave it that way, making sure never to allow Cain to identify it. This allows them to take advantage of the 60 AC without having their resistances sliced. Just make sure, if you use it this way, NOT to accidentally let Cain identify it.
Godly Helm of the Whale
Godly Helm of the Whale Stats: Base AC of around 10-15 AC; +171% to +200% AC; +81 to +100 hit points.
Pros: High AC, possibly up to 45. Massive addition of hit points.
Cons: Doesn’t add to statistical attributes or provide anything in the way of increased mana.
Notes: Only buyable from Wirt and not findable in the dungeons, this is a rare helm. Hit points are a hot commodity for warriors, and this helm can pack a punch.
Obsidian Helm of the _______
Obsidian Helm of the Suffix Stats: Base AC of around 10-15; +31% to +40% resistance to all; Depends on suffix
Pros: Gives resistance so that you free up a jewelry slot for a good prefixed jewel.
Cons: Low AC. The Helm is not a good slot for resistance, in my opinion, when the unique helms out there offer you SO much more in terms of AC and/or special magical bonuses. If you want resistance in an item other than jewelry, you’d best be looking for a shield.
HELMS – BOLTY’S RECOMMENDATION
I’d go with a Royal Circlet for a high level warrior. A great combination of AC and a significant mana boost to help you out. Once you get really high in level, over 45, the Helm of Sprits is the way to go. With other great equipment, you’ll be able to afford the loss of AC and it allows you to clear whole levels without using any potions, depending on the monster spawn.
A warrior has a couple of choices for a quality shield to help defend him from the monstrous hordes of Diablo. Here’s a rundown.
Stormshield Stats: 40 AC; +4 Damage from Enemies; +10 to Strength; Fast Block; Indestructible.
Pros: Nice AC, +10 to Strength adds a few points to damage. Indestructibility reduces repair costs, although money really isn’t a factor for a high level character.
Cons: +4 damage from enemies makes it easier for them to stun you, and you’ll take additional damage from ranged attacks (not too big of a factor).
Notes: Not a bad shield, but you’ll want to find something better than this, a few of which are listed below. Fast Block is pointless for warriors who already have a built-in, natural fast block.
Awesome Shield of the Mammal
Awesome Shield of the Mammal Stats: 35-50 AC; +30 to +50 hit points, depending on suffix.
Pros: Hopefully, better AC than a Stormshield, and a large hit point boost. Compared to a Stormshield, you’ll do less damage, but have more hit points, more AC, and less chance of stun.
Cons: Pretty much none; this is a great shield to have.
Notes: It is possible to get a better shield – a Holy Shield of the Mammal. This is very difficult, however, since due to the method Diablo uses to determine what can be sold at what character level, a Holy Shield of the Mammal can only be purchased when your character is levels 18-21, from Wirt. This makes this shield VERY rare, since Wirt is your only source for this item.
Emerald/Obsidian Shield of the Mammal
Emerald/Obsidian Shield of the Mammal Stats: +31% to +50% resistance to all; +30 to +50 hit points, depending on suffix.
Pros: The idea with this shield is to sacrifice AC for resistances, so that only one jewel will be needed to max you out. This can be handy when there’s no melee monsters, so you can use a prefix such as Dragon’s instead on a jewel to get more mana. Also, extremely high level warriors, who need less AC, can get away with wearing one of these and still battle melee monsters very well.
Cons: Weakens your AC, of course. Can make it tough to break 250 AC.
Godly Shield of the Ages
Godly Shield of the Ages Stats: 45-60 AC; Indestructible.
Pros: Great AC! Not much else to say here. If you can get one with an of Ages suffix, it helps reduce repair costs. Cons: “of Ages” is the only real suffix possible on this shield. You won’t find any hit point adders, etc, since a Godly shield can only be purchased at Wirt and any suffix other than Ages would cause the shield to be too expensive to buy.
SHIELDS – BOLTY’S RECOMMENDATION
Awesome Shield of the Tiger all the way. Great AC and the hit points are always a bonus. If I were into carrying a backup set of equipment, the Emerald/Obsidian Shield of the Mammal would be the way to go. Also, as you get really high in level (45+), you may want to try the Emerald/Obsidian Shield of the Mammal as you’ll need AC much less.
This is where the largest amount of debate breaks out. Many people have favorite weapon types and will defend them very well in debate! Here’s a rundown, starting with King’s Swords.
The King’s prefix is the best one for one-handed weapons. Giving a whopping +76% to +100% to-hit bonus and an impressive +151% to +175% damage bonus, it is indeed a great asset to a warrior’s arsenal. You want to find a Bastard sword version with this prefix, of course, but in general any sword type except the very weak ones will come in great handy.
The question arises as to what SUFFIX you should be looking for. I’ll list the suffixes under the assumption that we’re talking about a King’s Sword, so the stats to them are already listed above.
King’s Sword of Haste/Speed
King’s Sword of Haste/Speed – Haste/Speed, quite simply, rocks. You’ll swing much faster than the normal rate. Swinging faster means killing faster. It makes it easy to prevent a melee monster from recovering long enough to strike back, and thus cuts down on the number of times you get hit. It makes it tougher for an enemy who likes to run away from you to do so. And, best of all, it keeps the dreaded Advocates in stun lock (it also keeps Illusion Weavers stunned, which no other weapon does). Use the life stealing effect of the Helm of Sprits with this sword and you have one mean combination. Note that, due to a flaw in design, Speed is just as good as Haste in terms of frames used per swing, and is cheaper to repair!
King’s Sword of Vampies
King’s Sword of Vampires – Steals 5% mana per hit. This sword allows you to stay down almost totally indefinitely, as by recharging your mana you can use mana to heal yourself. This is a major advantage over Haste/Speed. However, it lacks the fast swing, so you can’t stun lock Advocates, and you’ll kill enemies much more slowly. The real key of this sword is that it cuts down on potion usage – I’ve heard of warriors clearing Hell/Hell without using a single potion thanks to this sword. I’ll cover some strategies for using this weapon properly later.
King’s Sword of Blood
King’s Sword of Blood – Steals 5% life per hit. This is along the same concept as a Helm of Sprits or a King’s Sword of Vampires, as it will let you stay down much longer without using potions. However, I consider this to be less efficient than a King’s Sword of Vampires for that goal. Retrieving 5% of a hit to mana will have a bigger impact than 5% of a hit to hit points, and you’ll be swinging slower than a haste/speed sword.
King’s Sword of Carnage/Slaughter
King’s Sword of Carnage/Slaughter – Adds points of damage. Used to really brutalize your enemies, this sword can pack a wallop. However, without the features of the three swords above, I consider this sword to be the least useful of the King’s line. Considering how a Haste/Speed suffix will do less damage, but do it faster, this sword would do less damage per unit of time than a King’s Sword of Haste/Speed. Note that a perfect King’s Bastard Sword of Slaughter is not possible to obtain legitimately.
King’s Sword of the Heavens
King’s Sword of the Heavens – Having +to all attributes on your weapon can give an overall improvement which is impressive. Up to 30 more hit points, 15 more mana, and 15 more dexterity are possible here, adding even MORE to your to-hit%. You’ll do more damage. All in all, a fine sword to have.
Now for non-King’s prefixed Swords:
Strange Sword of the ________
Strange Swords of Any Suffix – Strange is a prefix that adds 101% to 150% to-hit to your warrior. Only buyable at Wirt, this powerful prefix can be hard to come by. Don’t pass it up if Wirt is selling one – this prefix may be necessary for you to reach the high to-hit% values needed against monsters in Hell/Hell. Remember, at a high character level, most of a warrior’s damage is coming from his extremely high strength stat, not his sword. Even a Strange Short Sword of Haste can be better than a King’s Bastard Sword of Haste in Hell/Hell if you need to raise your to-hit%. Generally, if you have good equipment and a decent dexterity, a King’s prefix is all you’ll need. However, if you’re not getting to 180% to-hit% and a Strange sword can get you to 200%, you may want to use the Strange prefix in Hell/Hell.
The Grandfather Stats: +5 to all attributes; +20 life; +20% to-hit; +70% damage; One-handed Great Sword
Notes: Great for lower-level warriors, this difficult-to-find sword packs a lot of damage and adds a modest amount of to-hit. As time goes on, however, you’ll probably want to go for a King’s Sword over this fine weapon – it does not have enough of a to-hit% bonus to be effective.
Axes – Don’t bother. Yes, axes pack a huge amount of damage, but they have one massive drawback: they prevent you from using a shield. This simply kills you in any game against melee monsters. Plus, even an Axe of Haste/Speed isn’t fast enough to keep an Advocate in stun- lock; they’ll keep getting away from you and you’ll wind up doing the old chase-the-Advocate game. Only use axes when you’re playing in a game or location of easier difficulty, one where you can get away with the lack of AC and blocking that a shield provides. It can help against magical monster levels to dispatch witches more quickly.
Bows – Haha! No. Useless on warriors.
Civerb’s Cudgel Stats: -2 to Magic; -5 to Dexterity; +200% Damage vs. Demons.
Notes: A unique mace that, at first glance, looks useless. So what if it does +200% damage vs. demons? That only adds up to 3-32 damage. However, this fascinating weapon doesn’t add the damage to the weapon – it adds it to your OVERALL damage. So, take a look at your damage in the character information screen, and triple it when using this weapon against the demons of Diablo. I recommend you check Jarulf’s Guide for data on which monsters are considered as “demons;” a link to this fantastic resource is at the bottom of the guide. As you can imagine, it’s easy to do over 300 points of damage with this weapon, which allows for quick and deadly dispatching of your foes. However, this extreme damage comes at a cost – you have no to-hit% boost. The lack of to-hit% makes this weapon unusable in Hell/Hell, unless you stone curse every monster.
Emerald Sword of the ________
Emerald Sword of the Suffix Stats: +41% to +50% resistance to All, Depends on suffix.
Pros: Frees up a jewel slot, as you won’t need two jewels for resistances.
Cons: Poor to-hit% and no damage bonus, although damage isn’t what you’re going for here. This would be a great sword for item recoveries, but I wouldn’t use it as my main weapon. WEAPON BOLTY’S RECOMMENDATION : The King’s Sword of Haste/Speed is, in my opinion, simply THE best overall sword for a warrior. Easy stun locks even with low to-hit%, quick kills, and prevention of getting hit make this sword strategically superior. A VERY close second in my preference would be a King’s Sword of Vampires, simply because you use so few potions while fighting with one. In a perfect world, a warrior would have both swords and could switch when the situation required it. This item type, the weapon, is the one argued about the most among high level warriors.
This category’s pretty brainless. Warriors need AC. They need as much as they can get. The highest prefix legitimately available for armor in Full Plates is Awesome, so that’s what you’re looking for. Awesome adds 131% to 150% AC to your plate. Awesome Full Plates with a suffix are extremely rare, so you’ll usually wind up taking what you can find. If you do happen to get a chance to actually pick which suffix you want, I’d recommend a Mammal suffix to add to your hit points. “Of Stars” is also very useful to have, but that’s even MORE rare. Don’t overlook the Harmony suffix, as it would be a great addition to an Awesome plate, giving a warrior super-fast hit recovery.
A warrior is no fashion nut, but even he understands the importance of fine jewelry. Know this – the four things you’re looking for in jewelry are hit point adders, mana adders, dexterity adders, and resistance adders.
Jewels of the Tiger, the Lion, or of Life greatly help a warrior. Hit points are obviously necessary for survival, and the more you have, the longer you’ll live. Note however that a perfect Zodiac suffix still gives you +40 hit points, so I’d recommend a Heavens/Zodiac suffix over an “of Life” suffix any day. You’ll get somewhat less hit points but better stats all the way around.
You’re looking for a prefix here. Dragon’s, hopefully – which will add 51 to 60 crucial mana points. Having a Wizardry suffix can only add up to 30 mana on a warrior, so leave them for your sorcerer or rogue friends.
Dexterity is key for warriors, because of the three classes they have the least. Dexterity affects your AC, your to-hit%, and most importantly, your ability to block. The higher your dexterity, the greater the chance you’ll block a hit that gets past your armor. Look for either Heavens/Zodiac suffixes or Dexterity suffixes such as Perfection.
If you’re not using an Emerald/Obsidian shield, you’ll need two jewels to maximize your resistance. Naturally, you’re looking for two Obsidian jewels. The Constricting Ring, which maxes out all your resistances, can be nice – but I’d move to a somewhat better combination of two jewels when I find one. Side note: a Gotterdamerung cancels out a Constricting Ring’s maximum resistance effect.
With Jewelry, the key is to find the best combination with the jewels you find. This would be easy if we all found Dragon’s Zodiac and Obsidian Zodiac jewels, but naturally that doesn’t happen. 🙂
GENERAL EQUIPMENT NOTES
It’s tough to find that perfect set of equipment we all dream of. You’ll have to constantly make tradeoffs in your equipment setups, and may wind up going with different setups according to what monsters you face. Try to find the best combination of AC, hit points, mana, dexterity, damage per second, to-hit, and resistance you can. It’s no small accomplishment. Check the Tips section for guidance on what AC, to-hit%, and dexterity you’re looking to achieve for good results. What’s also implied here throughout is that what’s listed here is the BEST equipment of each type, and if you find something that has a similar effect but isn’t as good, go with it. For instance, until you find an Awesome Full Plate of the Mammal, a Saintly Plate of the Mammal is just fine too. 🙂
While we’re dreaming of the ultimate setup, here’s what I feel it would be (warning, this is very much my OPINION!).
- Awesome Full Plate of the Stars or Harmony
- King’s Sword of Haste/Speed
- Royal Circlet
- Awesome Gothic/Tower Shield of the Mammal (Tiger)
- Obsidian Jewel of the Zodiac
- Obsidian Jewel of the Zodiac (this jewel combo is next to impossible)
- Dragon’s Jewel of the Zodiac
A really high level warrior (around 45+) should replace the Royal Circlet with a Helm of Sprits. This would give a decent AC, around 250, max resists, haste/speed, high dexterity for blocking, and the life stealing effect of the Helm of Sprits. This would allow clearing of all-melee levels without using a single potion! That means faster clearing of Hell/Hell, avoiding having to go to town so much…
PART 3: STRATEGY TIPS
And now, some general tips for managing your warrior, and to maximize his potential.
See a full shrines list. These Shrines are good: Abandoned, Creepy, Cryptic, Divine, Eerie, Eldritch, Enchanted, Glimmering, Hidden, Quiet, Religious, and Spooky.
These Shrines are either bad or not worth touching: Fascinating, Holy, Magical, Mysterious, Ornate, Sacred, Secluded, Spiritual, Stone, and Tainted.
Note that I consider Mysterious to be not worth touching since a high-level warrior should have his stats near maxed; thus, applying +5 to one attribute and -1 to the others could easily have a bad effect if the stat chosen for the +5 addition is maxed.
Shrines to ESPECIALLY avoid are Fascinating, Ornate, and Sacred! These shrines will reduce your mana PERMANENTLY! If you don’t think it’s a big deal for a warrior to lose, say, 20 mana, believe me – it is.
Also: NEVER, EVER, EVER TOUCH A CAULDRON OR GOAT SHRINE. These give a random shrine effect, which means that according to Murphy’s Law, it’ll be a mana-reducing effect. I don’t care HOW lucky you are, it won’t take long to trash your character if you can’t learn to avoid these. Treat them as obstacles that need to be given wide berth – be careful when you’re swinging near one so that you don’t accidentally click on one.
On using Hidden Shrines: Hidden Shrines increase the durability of 3 of your items (assuming you’re using a shield and weapon), but decrease the durability of 1. This is a GOOD thing, because over time all of your items will eventually raise their durability. However, before you touch a Hidden Shrine, make sure you replace any indestructible items you are wearing with another item of decent durability. It’ll reduce the chance that one of your normal items gets the durability reduction.
If you find jewels of Wizardry, keep them around to help you read books. If you can get one more level of a spell due to equipping jewels of Wizardry, it’ll help in the long run.
Watch out for these yellow zombies! They can be found on dungeon levels 3 to 5. They move very slowly and have a low to- hit, so their chance of hitting you is low, but DON’T take the chance! NEVER get close to a Black Death. If one hits you, you lose one hit point PERMANENTLY! I suggest you use offensive spells against them such as Holy Bolt or Chain Lightning. If you see a group in a large room, cast some guardians in there to clean them out without having to risk entering and getting hit by a Black Death just inside the doorway. Another great tip is to hold down the Shift key and swing at them as they approach, to help keep them away from you (more on the Shift key later). Some warriors even skip the level or go to a new game upon sight of these dangerous monsters.
I recommend you ALWAYS hotkey Healing, Teleport, and Stone Curse in whatever order you’re used to. MEMORIZE YOUR HOTKEY ORDER! This is VERY IMPORTANT! You shouldn’t have to even THINK about what hotkey Healing is; the extra half second of finding the spell could kill you. As for the fourth spell, hotkey whatever seems useful for the situation, such as Chain Lightning in the Catacombs for killing groups of Night Clan archers. I recommend Golem for level 16 – more on that later.
I never use Red potions on my high-level warrior! Reds are inefficient! Since money isn’t a factor to a high level character, you can afford to splurge on those Full Rejuvenation potions that Pepin sells – make sure to stop by his place and buy as many as you can. My belt usually contains 2 to 4 Full Rejuvs and 4 to 6 Full Manas. You want to use Healing to restore lost hit points because it maximizes how long you can stay down in the dungeons. If you can cast 4 to 5 Healings per Full Mana, that’s saving 3 or 4 potions. More on this in the Tactics section.
For some reason, people give me a lot of flak over this. There’s just no point, in my opinion, in buying Reds, when Pepin usually has enough Full Rejuvs to go around. What difference does it make? You should always have enough money to buy them, and they’re much nicer in usage than simple reds. If you find yourself guzzling Full Yellows too quickly, you’re being too aggressive. Pull back some when facing hordes of monsters. Only buy Reds when you’re low on your Yellow supply and Pepin doesn’t have any to sell.
GAINING EXPERIENCE QUICKLY
Nightmare/Hell is a great place for high level warriors (up to level 47 or so, when the experience you get there dries up) to gain experience and yet also have the chance to find good equipment. The two other great places to go for quick experience points are Hell/Catacombs and Hell/Caves. One advantage of Hell/Catacombs is that while gaining experience, you also have the chance to find Enchanted, Creepy, or Hidden Shrines, which are great for warriors.
BE YOUR OWN BANK
5,000 gold is the most you can carry in one inventory slot, right? WRONG! With Diablo’s economic system, you can easily carry items that are worth more than their inventory space in gold. The most common “gold items” are jewels that you don’t use on your character. Classic gold items would be jewels of the Heavens or such. You can collect jewels that are worth up to 10, even 15 thousand gold. This lets you carry around a lot of wealth without having to lug tons of cash around every game – plus it impresses your friends. 🙂 Other good gold items are Demonspike Coats (worth around 65,000, more than double its inventory gold space), Good Prefixed Staves of Blood Star, etc.
Stealth Mode involves using items with reduced light radii to prevent activating many monsters at a time. Diablo’s monsters are attracted to your light radius. If you use stealth items and use scrolls of Infravision, you’ll be able to see them WAY before they see you. Important note: when using items that decrease your light radius, they have to be on as you enter a level for stealth mode to work. If you ever remove your stealth items (thus increasing your light radius) and put them back on, you’ll still have your light radius reduced as before, but monsters will now be activated according to the higher light radius you had before you put the stealth items back on (a bug in Diablo). With maximum stealth (-80% light radius), a monster will only see you when you’re right next to it. Stealth mode is great for item recovery, mind you…
HOW MUCH AC SHOULD I HAVE?
A question often asked. The fact is that as a warrior climbs in level, he needs AC less and less. A really high-level warrior (45+) can do with under 230 AC if he’s got a high dexterity for good blocking. Here’s a handy table (thanks to Da O’Toth for calculating these values) to help you decide if you need more or (yes, it happens) LESS AC than you currently have.
|Character Level||Armor Class|
As you can see, it goes down by 2 every level up. Note that this is the MAXIUMUM, so attaining it isn’t everything in the world. This is the AC you would need to defend yourself against Blood Knights on Hell difficulty. Any additional AC over this amount is a waste of resources. Also, no matter HOW high your AC is, you’ll still be hit by monsters occasionally. AC is not everything in the world – if you keep your dexterity high, you’ll do fine.
HOW MUCH TO-HIT% SHOULD I HAVE? – Experienced players generally have a “feel” for what a good to-hit% is, but this table of data (thanks to concre+e for these calculations) gives a straight idea as to what you’d need. If you have over the maximum amount you need, you’re wasting – you’ll always miss 5% of the time, no matter how high your to-hit%. A high level warrior with a King’s sword will usually be over these values.
Maximum To-Hit% Values Needed in Diablo
As you can see, it goes down by 1 every level up. These to-hit% values are needed against Diablo’s toughest melee monster, the Blood Knight, in Hell/Hell. Attaining them isn’t necessary for survival, but if your to-hit% is too far below the values listed above, you’ll have a hard time.
DEXTERITY AND BLOCKING
Blocking attacks is crucial for a warrior. Since no matter how high your AC is, you can still be hit, the shield is your last line of defense before you are injured by an attack. You want to be able to block attacks 100% of the time, ideally.
Maximum Dexterity Values for Blocking in Diablo:
Note: You need these values to ensure 100% blocking of enemy attacks. It’s not easy to reach, which is the way it should be. In fact, 150 dexterity is nigh unreachable realistically. Only until around level 45 will you have a chance of reaching the needed dexterity – and that’s exactly when warriors can start concentrating on AC MUCH less and gain power in other categories. If a 45+ level warrior can lower his AC and keep his dexterity high, he can perform quite well! Don’t go crazy trying to reach these values, just remember that even a dexterity increase of 5 can make a big difference in your blocking percentage vs. tough melee monsters.
Also, “100% blocking” can be a misleading term. If your character is swinging or standing still, he will block an attack. If a monster hits him while he’s blocking, he WILL be hurt. If a monster hits him while he’s recovering from a hit, he’ll be hurt again. “100% blocking” means that you will block every attack as long as you don’t get swarmed and you don’t move your warrior around.
PART 4: TACTICS
Here’s the meat of the warrior strategy guide! I’ll cover tactics when facing certain monsters or situations, how to use your spells, and other general strategies.
THE GREAT EQUALIZER – Ever been frustrated by the enemies who always turn tail and run from you just as you get close to swinging range? All warriors have. It’s our major disadvantage, our lack of ranged attack. When facing groups of this kind, warriors who have ignored the importance of magic really suffer. We magic- using warriors, however, show no fear! We have the great equalizer – Telekilling.
To effectively use telekilling, you need a decent level of Teleport that won’t suck up your mana in huge gobs. Level 8 Teleport and above uses the minimum amount of mana, 15, per cast.
Here’s how it works: say you have a Hell Spawn annoyingly throwing blood stars at you from 10 squares away. If you run at her, she’ll retreat around a corner where you bet there’s probably 12 more of her friends waiting for you. What to do? Telekill! Activate your hotkeyed Teleport spell, and cast it when your cursor is highlighting your target. After you right click on the target, left-click so that as soon as you arrive, you’ll swing your sword at the target.
As your character teleports, move your mouse cursor to around the middle of the screen to reaquire your target after the first attack, because that’s where you’ll arrive after the teleportation. As you arrive, click to swing your weapon. You should connect and keep the target in stun lock. You’ll always appear to the south (southwest depending on how you consider the screen angle) of your target, UNLESS something is already there that blocks being there.
These are the positions that a warrior will end up teleporting to when completing a Telekill, numbered according to priority. In other words, he’ll always wind up in Location 1 unless an obstacle is blocking that; if so, he’ll appear in Location 2 and so on.
Another method is to implement the Shift key while teleporting. Hold it down and aim your cursor in the direction that the target will be from you (99% of the time it’ll be up and to the right), and click as you come out of teleport. Keep the target in stun lock and finish it. This gives a higher accuracy in telekilling, but the disadvantage is that it uses up your other hand, and can cause the “stretch” as you try to hold down shift and hit a belt number for a quick healing or mana refill if necessary.
This takes practice to get it right. Don’t get discouraged if you have trouble catching your target as you come out of teleport, keep trying. Telekilling is almost the ONLY way to kill a Soul Burner without using Stone Curse, because they won’t stop to shoot at you once you’re chasing them – you’ll go clear across a level.
Why Telekill? After all, you can Stone Curse them and finish them off with ease. The answer is simple – Teleport takes 15 mana per cast and Stone Curse takes 40. You simply can’t go around stoning everything efficiently.
TELEKILLING IN MULTIPLAYER GAMES
Be careful with this tactic when co-oping with sorcerers and rogues. Don’t telekill an enemy they’re shooting at or telekill right into their line of fire. Telekilling causes lag in that your position probably won’t get reported to them correctly. Be careful and use some common sense. In general, if you’re playing with someone adept at taking out ranged attackers, let them do it.
This is a real “duh” to experienced warriors, but when you’re faced with a group of melee monsters, make sure to kill one before moving on to the next! I sometimes see warriors, faced with 3 melee attackers, switch between the 3 as they swing. Finish one off before moving on – that way you have fewer attackers swinging at you at a time. There are three main exceptions to this “rule:”
- you want to finish off a target that a co-op partner has injured.
- a much tougher monster than the others has just arrived within melee range, and you need to kill it first.
- the monsters have slow hit recovery times, so switching between them keeps them from getting enough time to swing at you.
Use healing wisely. Healing should NOT be used when in a group of tough melee monsters! That’s when I suck down a Full Rejuv potion, and not only replenish my hit points but top off my mana at the same time. Always retreat some FIRST and then cast Healing. A good rule for retreating is to walk back TWO steps from your enemy and cast. Drakes make this harder, as they perform a mini-charge to get back to you quickly. When you’re out of mana, you can either drink a Full Mana potion or wait until your health is low and drink a Full Rejuv potion to get both your health and your mana back at the same time.
You don’t need to Telekill everything that runs from you. In fact, most of the time you can corner them when you’re in small rooms.
Chase an enemy into a corner and take them down like so [right].
In this situation, the monster will not try to escape at all. You’ve got it cornered and you can kill it at your pleasure. So, an important thing to note if you get into this next situation:
Here, you should kill the monster on the left FIRST. That monster will run to the south if you let her get away. Since the monster to the north of you won’t run at all, you can save her for last.
Another “cornering” technique is to line them up against a wall. For instance, let’s say you’re in this situation:
Here you need to walk straight to the left first as shown, parallel to the wall. Then close in on the monster directly. The monster won’t know which way to run, and will hesitate – and that spells its doom. Stun lock and kill.
The idea is to try to herd your fleeing enemies into corners or walls to kill them more easily. Telekill when they get out into the open or when chasing them would only activate more monsters. Also, say you turn a corner and see a solitary Snow Witch. An easy way to dispatch her is to go BACK around the corner, so she’ll have to come after you. Wait for her just around the corner with the mouse cursor on the corner. When she comes around she’ll be in range for half a second before she retreats; whack her then and put her in stun lock to finish her off. An illustration:
1) Warrior sights monster and decides to ‘Peekaboo’ kill it, so he runs left.
2) Warrior waits around the corner (one space back) as the monster advances to the corner.
3) At the right moment, warrior moves up one space and stun locks the witch at the corner.
Corners work well, yes, but sometimes you can take advantage of obstacles to act as a corner. Sometimes a witch, being unable to hit you due to an obstacle, will try to come around it in the same fashion as the corner – and the same technique above will kill it. Look for posts, cauldrons, and “hidden” walls in Hell for good obstacles.
THE SHIFT KEY
This is also useful against fleeing monsters. If you find yourself chasing them but only being a step behind them, hold down shift and swing at them. You’ll catch them and you can finish them off. It’s also fantastic for telekilling, as previously described. Another great use is to keep enemies AWAY from you. Aim your mouse in the direction a monster is approaching, hold down Shift, and click a lot. As the monster attempts to enter the square at which you’re swinging, it’ll get “knocked” back. This keeps them from getting close to you! Also, a side effect is that your chance to hit them goes WAY up, since a moving target is much easier to hit. Don’t forget the importance of the Shift key in Co-op games to force you to hold your position.
ARMIES OF MELEE
It happens all too often that a warrior turns a corner and the next thing he knows, 10-20 melee monsters are charging straight for him! What to do? Brains over brawn, remember…
Retreat smart. Pull back and use corners. Use the shift key as described above to slow down a horde. The idea is to slowly, slowly pull back. When a monster tries to flank your position and become the 3rd or 4th attacker at once, it’s time to pull back – and you only usually need to retreat 2 or 3 steps at most! Most importantly, though, use obstacles – walls are your best friend! Move down the length of a wall to severely limit their ability to surround you; melee monsters will “string out” into a chaotic line and actually get in each others’ way trying to get to you. Take advantage of obstacles in Hell to use “virtual doorways” (thanks to Gore for this term) to stop your enemies short. If you stand right behind an obstacle (or behind and to the side), monsters will take longer to come around the obstacle and you’ll usually only have to face two monsters at once!
Also, if you have a large group of attackers following you, planting yourself in a corner can help, as only three attackers can face you at a time then. It’ll help keep from being surrounded. However, watch out! Doing this will eliminate your escape route, unless you can be lucky enough to cast Teleport or Phasing to get away (Phasing is faster casting than Teleport).
This spell is used rarely but can be useful in games where you can’t hold an enemy in stun lock. If you don’t have haste/speed or your to-hit isn’t high enough, a monster can escape from your flailing and can become a tremendous pain. Stone Curse these monsters, such as Lazarus, to make it easy. In Co-op games, a monster can often wind up “teleporting” across the screen wildly, as the computers argue as to the true position of the enemy. Stoning them ends the debate. 🙂
Last of all, Stone Curse should be used as an offensive spell aid. Since warriors have a really low magic stat, their magic missile chance to hit is very, very low. Using Stone Curse can save you time and mana. For example, Snow Witches are very susceptible to Fireballs, but a warrior will have trouble connecting a shot. Wait until you have a bunch right next to each other, Stone Curse one in the middle, and fire. The splash damage from the Fireball can kill 5 or 6 Snow Witches right away!
Setting up defensive lines when you see a bunch of non- fire-immune monsters heading toward you can help kill them quickly. It’s also great against Diablo. If you can line up a bunch of witches all in a straight perpendicular line, a Fire Wall can help weed them out while you deal with melee monsters. In the Catacombs/Church, casting it just inside a doorway while you stand in it can kill a large group quickly.
DEALING WITH DIABLO
I recommend you deal with this guy ALONE. Try to isolate him; it doesn’t do good to get beat on by Blood Knights while trying to hold Diablo in a stun lock. That said, remember to keep yourself against a wall so that he can’t knock you back away from him. Casting a Fire Wall in front of you for him to stand in will make it go faster. In my opinion, Warriors have the easiest time with Diablo, as they can keep him in stun lock if their AC/dex is high enough. Also remember to keep potions on “standby” by dropping them on the ground in a semicircle against a wall; that way, when you pull back there to face Diablo, you can restock your belt by picking these potions up off the ground. One way to bring Diablo out of his lair and not activate the other monsters is to use Holy Bolt – it will bother Diablo, but no one else. Chain Lightning works for that purpose as well; casting it will bring out only Diablo and a solitary Black Knight.
DEALING WITH LAZARUS
Lazarus and his posse always reside in a square room in the same place of level 15 – the north corner (or, if you tilt the map, the northwest corner). Laz and Co. can be tough to handle for a warrior. The first thing you should always do is separate the forces. Teleport in and immediately Teleport back out of his lair. This will activate the four witches – Black Jade, Red Vex, and two Hell Spawn. Wait for them around one of the corners, and either “peekaboo” kill them or Telekill them. With them out of the way, it won’t be as hard. You should have a good number of Full Rejuvs on your belt, as you probably won’t have time to cast Heal at first. Teleport in, kill Advocates, and be sure to Teleport back out if you need to restock your belt. Lazarus can be hard to keep in stun lock, so you may need to Stone Curse him.
VS. MELEE/RANGED COMBOS
These levels can be the most annoying – where groups of melee monsters are combined with groups of ranged attackers. The melee monsters will keep you busy while the ranged attackers eat you alive. What to do?
1) Use corners/doors wisely. Retreat to thin out the bunch. If the ranged attackers aren’t followers, you can simply run into a room to activate the melee monsters and run back out, and wait for them.
2) If one group of monsters is immune to a magical form of attack while the other isn’t, you can separate the two groups with ranged magical attacks from around corners. Guardians are useful for this, along with Flame Waves, Elementals, Charged Bolts, and Chain Lightning (be careful you don’t activate too many at a time this way!).
3) Telekilling can let you draw a horde of melee attackers to you, and then flank them – telekill the ranged attackers who are behind them, and play a back and forth game. Once all the ranged attackers are gone, you can deal with the melee monsters at your leisure.
ADVOCATE/LEVEL 16 TACTICS
Diablo’s Advocates are the toughest range attacker you can face, along with Soul Burners. They do vicious amounts of damage with their fireballs, and teleport away when threatened. In packs, they are positively deadly. Here’s some hints as to how to deal with them.
First off, a dinky little dagger of Haste can be FAR better to use than a King’s Bastard Sword of Carnage vs. Advocates. Why? Stun lock. Only a warrior using a one-handed weapon of Haste/Speed can put an Advocate in stun lock. If your normal weapon isn’t a Haste/Speed suffix, you want to switch on level 16. If you don’t, you’ll simply have to Stone Curse every single Advocate or you’ll be playing a long, frustrating game.
Let’s say you turn a corner and sight a bunch of Advocates like so:
Simple. Advocates have two forms of attack. One is devastating; the other is barely noticeable. All the warrior has to do is turn the corner and either walk in a zig-zag fashion to avoid getting hit OR teleport to this position:
If your to-hit% isn’t high enough, Advocates will often escape your stun lock. What follows is something that I’m sure everyone’s done from time to time: you watch the Advocate reappear, head toward it, and just as you’re about to swing at him, he disappears again. Process repeats. How to avoid this? Timing.
When an Advocate is firing his fireballs, he’s vulnerable. You can often Telekill him and catch him while he’s firing to prevent him from escaping again. I find that a good timing is to cast Teleport just as he’s reappearing. By the time you arrive, he’ll be in mid- fire. You can also time this by walking in a zig-zag fashion, or simply Stone Curse the sucker.
Here’s also where a Golem comes in handy! If you’ve cleared an area of Blood Knights on level 16 and there’s just a pack of Advocates left, head in and cast a Golem next to a bunch if you can. What happens is that Advocates will NEVER fire fireballs at a Golem, and that pet of yours will walk up to them and attack. Since he’s a melee attacker, the Advocate will try to use Flash to kill him. Flash is just as useless against Golems as it is against Warriors. Thus, your Golem will keep a bunch of Advocates from fireballing you while you deal with other Advocates.
Advocates tend to separate as time goes on. Often, if you enter an area and five to six Advocates are standing in a bunch, just retreat. Within 10 seconds, the group will many times break up, and that can help because their fire won’t be as concentrated.
While on Level 16, it is very important to separate the two enemy types. You won’t last long battling Blood Knights while the Advocates are picking you off from afar. One way to do this is to use fire-based spells which bother the Blood Knights but not the Triple Immune Advocates, such as Flame Wave, Guardian, and Elemental. Also, a fun tactic is the “Ring Around the Rosie – Run Like Hell” method, which involves running around in a zigzag pattern to avoid Advocate fireballs and yet activate the Blood Knights. Then retreat to a safe place and take the knights on.
AVOID TAKING FIRE
When killing ranged attackers, such as witches and mages, a problem you run into often is that as you’re killing monsters, too many others are hitting you while you’re making a kill. For solutions to this problem, I’ll divide this into Happy Feet Tactics and Smarter Target Acquisition.
Happy Feet Tactics – “Happy Feet,” a term first coined by Woody, involves running in a specific way to avoid taking 95% of the shots fired at you. Used when advancing to and retreating from an enemy for warriors, it can help minimize the damage you’re taking while you’re not killing something. The idea is to run in a zig-zag line, crossing over perpendicular to your enemies. An illustration:
Smarter Target Acquisition – Often times, just being smarter about which enemies to kill first can save you a potion or two when facing a bunch of ranged attackers. Here’s an example situation involving a group of witches:
Which point should the warrior teleport to (and Telekill one of the witches)? Answer: Location 2. Location 1 has only one Snow Witch to kill, so while he’s killing the solitary witch all the others are firing at him. Location 3 would only put you next to 2 witches, as would Location 4. Teleporting to Location 2 will let you kill a witch and have three others flee (a smart warrior would kill the witch with the number 3 on it first). When a witch is fleeing, it’s not firing!
One thing to note here is that witches don’t always run from you right away. Sometimes, you can teleport to a position, kill a neighbor witch, and then pick off a witch who never moved from her position next to you. Be sure to take advantage of it when it occurs, as you’re getting two kills per teleport.
The whole idea is to lessen the number of witches who shoot at you at any one time, and simultaneously herd them into corners for easier kills. Now, a warrior could also Teleport to Location 1, kill the witch, and then walk to the left to get himself against the wall and out of the line of fire of the witches to the left. Then he can Peekaboo kill one and commence Telekilling the rest.
VAMPIRE SWORD TACTICS
Using swords of Vampires changes the approach warriors take to killing the monsters. Using Vampires plus Healing magically in an efficient manner can make potions obsolete – some warriors have been able to clear Hell/Hell without using a single potion in this manner, using careful tactics.
When using Vampires, it helps to go with a good AC configuration (over one with lower AC but more hit points and mana, for example), since you’ll want to be using your mana for healing as much as possible. That means more casting of heal in melee situations. However, try to get the most mana you can without sacrificing hit points.
You’ll need to use the shift key more against creatures who like to run away, since you swing slower and they might try to dart off between swings.
MULTIPLAYER CO-OP TACTICS
When playing with other warriors only, it’s a cinch to play a good, fun game. You won’t get in each others’ way, and telekilling openly causes no troubles. Just don’t activate too many monsters at a time. The problems arise when you’re playing with rogues and sorcerers, who use ranged attacks with bows and spells.
In this situation, kill the monster on the RIGHT first, and let your rogue friend whack the monster in her line of fire. I can’t stress the importance of line-of-fire shots enough. Always stand to the side so that you and your partner can hurt the monster at the same time, and use the shift key to hold position before and after the kill.
If you hug the walls, you make yourself much less of a target for the rogues and mages, who can fire out into the open without fear of hitting you.
Also, a good thing to remember is to STAND STILL. Unless you need to retreat, you should use the Shift key to hold your position when fighting, to prevent you from running around in circles. This annoys the warrior because he gets shot at, the rogue because you keep getting in her line of fire, and the mage because he can’t figure out where you’re going to go, and has to hold off on his fireballs.
When playing with mages against Triple Immunes, the mages will probably need to Stone Curse a lot. If he’s using a Civerb’s Cudgel or a good melee weapon, let him take the kills that he’s stoned. Don’t be a hog.
Generally speaking, however, the whole point of teamwork is to cover for your partners’ weaknesses. If you’re playing with an Artillerymage (a sorcerer with low AC but powerful spells), you need to keep the melee monsters off his back. You also need to deal with the triple immunes. If you’re playing with a bow-wielding rogue, let her take out the ranged attackers while you cover her on the melee. Common sense is what is essential.
As said before, be careful that you don’t teleport right into a line of fire. And, most of all, DON’T be the usual warrior who activates a ton of monsters! If you see two Blood Knights headed your way, don’t walk up to meet them – let them come to YOU. For, sure enough, there are probably 10 more behind them, waiting for you to activate them – and then you have a mess on your hands. This is why warriors are often called Golems by the other classes…show that you thugs DO have brains. 🙂
In the end, however, the single BEST way to become a better co-op player is to play the other two classes. Know how the classes operate in all situations. If you can think like a rogue and a sorcerer, you’ll know how they’ll act, and you can predict it. Someone who only plays warriors is really lacking in this area, and won’t understand why rogues and mages can get continually frustrated playing with them.
Warriors have the hardest time with item recovery, in my opinion. Since their major strength is in melee fighting, and they need high AC to pull it off, they’re in trouble when they lose their good plate mails.
I find that playing mage-style is your best bet for item recovery. If you’ve done the Enchanted Shrine hunts, they’ll pay off now. Also, if you’ve kept around a set of equipment (such as jewels) to assist in book-reading, equipping these to help recover items is a smart plan. Leave your gold in town – no need to keep losing half your gold each time you head down for your precious equipment.
Stealth is useful in item recovery. If you can decrease your light radius, and walk one step at a time, you’ll probably only face one monster at a time. Use Infravision scrolls to keep abreast of what’s waiting for you: if you can see them before they see you, you’ve got a key advantage. Keep that in mind if you find a Gotterdamerung and you feel that you won’t use it, or if you find a jewel of the Dark. Remember that maximum stealth is -80% light radius, which only attracts monsters who are one square away.
Here’s where Stone Curse REALLY comes in handy! You should be able to cast two Stone Curses per mana ball without equipment, and with your naturally high damage you can kill just about any monster in the time it takes for one Stone Curse to wear off.
Always walk ONE STEP AT A TIME. See if you activate a monster, and if not, go on with another step. Avoid having to face the mob that killed you again.
Telekinesis is your best friend. Use it when you can see your equipment on the other side of a wall where a mob lies in ambush. You can pick up your equipment without having to face them.
If you die near the stairs, use successive town portals to slowly move the mob away from the stairs so you can eventually walk down and pick up the items in peace. Another tactic is to cast Phasing as you appear on a level; it’ll very quickly teleport you to a random direction, and just might save you. Yet another tactic involves WHERE you die – if it’s on levels 4, 8, or 12, you can try an alternate route by going to the level BELOW it and taking the stairs up. It’s slow, but it’ll let you appear on the level that you died without being mobbed.
Using spells that hang around after you’re dead are a good plan, too. Guardians and Fire Walls can kill a monster long after you’ve died…