Purpose of this Guide
This guide is mainly intended for middle to upper-level Rogues (levels 20+), but most of the principles can be applied to a Rogue of any level. It is also intended to be a guide for play on Battle.Net, but much of the content also applies to IPX or Modem games.
Multiplayer vs. Single Player
If you have been playing the Single Player version of Diablo and are ready to move to multiplayer, then this section (and a lot of the multiplayer page, if you plan to play a Rogue) is for you. Here, I’ll explain some differences between the single-player
version and the much more enjoyable multiplayer version.
How to play Multiplayer
There are four ways to play Multiplayer: IPX network, Direct Connect, Modem and Battle.Net. Note that each player must have his/her own copy of Diablo, no matter which type of game is played. For all game types, you must also have the same version of the game (e.g., 1.04). If you don’t not, you’ll have to download the patch from Blizzard.
Some other things to note. You can play a multiplayer game by yourself. In other words, you can create a multiplayer character and choose IPX, Direct Connect or Modem, then Create a game. The only thing missing will be human beings. By doing this, you can play with your multiplayer character when you can’t connect to the Internet (damn busy signal) or no friends are available to join you. This is much more fun than playing the single player version, and your character can become much more powerful. Once you build up your character by yourself by playing IPX or Direct Connect games, you could then take that same character onto Battle.Net. NOTE: I wouldn’t use the Modem option to play a multiplayer game by yourself: if someone calls you, your modem will pick up the phone….
IPX. If you’re computer is on a network that uses the IPX protocol, you can play with others on the Network Up to three players can play in an IPX game.
Direct Connect. You may connect your computer to one other player to play Diablo. Of course, only two players can play in this type of game.
Modem. You can play Diablo by dialing up another computer. Either player can host the game. Here, too, only two players may be in the game.
Battle.Net’. Arguably the best part of Diablo. You can play with other players around the world for free (as long as you don’t count the cost of the game and the cost of your Internet connection). When you choose to play a Battle.Net game, you will be dropped into a chat room on one of Blizzard’s servers. From there, you can talk to other players, create a private chat channel, join public games that already exist, create a public game that other players can join, create a private game or join a private game.
The multiplayer game has three difficulty levels: Normal, Nightmare and Hell. Increasing the difficulty of the game does several things: the monsters are (much) tougher, you find (much) more gold and you earn (much) more experience from each kill. In the single player game, you will reach a point that you no longer gain experience points from monsters you kill. When this begins to happen in the multiplayer game, you can just increase the difficulty of the game.
Note that even the Normal level of multiplayer is more difficult than the single player game! In other words, the multiplayer game is more challenging right off the bat.
In the single player game, you can save whenever you want. If you die, you just restore from your last saved game. In multiplayer, you can not save the game. This has a couple of important implications.
Leaving Stuff in Town. In the single player game, you can leave anything you want in town and it will still be there when you load the game. In multiplayer, once the current game is over (i.e., everyone in the game quits or Diablo is killed), anything that was on the ground is now lost into the ether.
Playing without a Net. In the single player game, you could save the game at any time, so that dying just meant restoring from the last saved game. In Multiplayer, you can’t just restore/load a game when you die. See the next section for what does happen when you die.
When a monster kills you, you drop all of the items you were wearing along with half the gold in your inventory. When another player kills you (this does indeed happen, whether the death is intentional or accidental) you drop half of your gold and an ear. Yes, an ear. When you die, your screen will turn red and you won’t be able to do anything except
Access the Options menu (press Esc or click on the Menu button).
Watch the monsters who killed you desecrate your corpse. This can actually be helpful if you are playing with others. You can give them a report of how many monsters (along with the type of monsters) are around you so that they don’t walk into the same situation that lead to your death.
There are three things you can do when you meet your demise (in addition to screaming and crying): Restart in town, have another player resurrect you, or start a new game. Here are some details for each:
Restart in Town. If you restart in Town, you appear there with nothing on (well, you’re not naked, but you have none of the armor, weapons or jewelry that you were wearing; if it was in your inventory and not on your “body,” it’ll still be in your inventory), and half of the gold you did have. If you want that equipment back (and your money), you will have to trek back to where you died and take it forcibly from the monsters standing over your body!
Resurrection. If a player resurrects you, you will come back to life where your body fell to the ground. You will have to pick up your stuff and re-equip it. Also, when you come back to life, you will only 1 hitpoint until you cast Healing or drink a potion.
New Game. If you start a new game, you will appear in town with none of the stuff you were wearing when you died. Go find new stuff….
There are two spells you will see in multiplayer that you would never see in single player: Heal Other and Resurrect. The former can be learned by reading books (in other words, it goes into your spellbook just like Heal). The latter is only available as a scroll (Pepin always has them in stock) or as staff spell charges. Both of them are pretty self-explanatory, but just in case:
Heal Other. When you cast this spell, you get a pointer that allows you to select another player to Heal. When you click on him/her, some amount of life will be restored to them (based on your spell level).
Resurrect. As mentioned earlier, this spell allows you to restore a dead character to life. Cast it, and a pointer appears. Click on the dead body and, in a flash of light from the Heavens, the dead character is now alive.
Obviously the best part of multiplayer Diablo is, well, having multiple players (up to 4) in a single game. You can team up with other players to go and kill Diablo. You can chat with them while playing. Role play if you want (no one does, though). Take on the harder difficulty levels with an ally at your side. The majority of my Diablo site is devoted to how to play with other people and have fun (mainly for those playing Rogues, but much of it will work for any class). It is written with the idea of playing on Battle.Net, but the principles apply to other ways (IPX, Modem, or Direct Connect) ways of playing the game.
There are a couple of negative aspects introduced by multiplayer gaming: Player Killing (PKilling) and Cheating.
PKilling. Some players decide that it is more fun to kill other characters than to kill the monsters. A few of these players do this is a form of role playing. Others just do it to torment other players so they might feel that they have some power in their otherwise meaningless, downtrodden lives. If you are killed by another player, you will drop half of your gold and an ear. You will not drop your equipment as you would when killed by a monster. The ear is meant as a trophy or simply as a proof that you have been killed (you can find Bounty Hunters on Battle.Net and hire them to hunt down someone; they will bring you an ear as proof that the character has been killed).
The best way to handle a PKiller is to laugh it off and leave the game. Some of them can be extremely annoying (repeatedly killing you and resurrecting you so that you can do anything else), and some are downright malicious. The malicious ones may pretend to be friendly, lure you into a group of monsters then attack you. They’ll weaken you enough that the monsters can easily kill you. Of course, you will then drop all of the items you are wearing onto the ground (this is called MKilling, or Monster Killing).
Cheating. Cheating is possible in a single player game, but if you cheat, you hurt no one but yourself. People who cheat in a multiplayer setting can ruin the enjoyment of others. This type of cheating includes: using a hack program to alter your character’s statistics (say, by giving him/her a million hitpoints), to make him/her completely immune to attack (called “God Mode”), to render your character invisible to other characters (called “Ghost Mode”), etc. Another form of cheating is to duplicate items through a bug. The current version of Diablo recognizes duplicate items and removes them from the game (when they are dropped to the ground).
Note that “duplicate” items do not just have the same statistics (i.e., two swords that both happen to be +10 to strength are not necessarily duplicates). When Diablo generates an item, it assigns a random number to it. If to items have the same name and the same random number, the game will see them as duplicates.
I’m not going to tell you how to cheat here, because I believe (from personal experience–I used duplicated items with one of my earliest characters) that cheating will hurt your enjoyment of the game. My site is here to try to maximize your enjoyment, not minimize it.
Limited Inventory at Wirt and Griswold. You will no longer be able to buy rings and amulets from Griswold or from Wirt. They just don’t sell the things. This makes getting good jewelry much more challenging.
Player Attack vs. Player Friendly. You can make it harder or easier to hit and hurt other characters by switching between player friendly and player attack. You do this by clicking on the icon showing two swords on your screen. In player attack mode, the two swords are crossed. When in player attack mode, you will automatically attack a character, just as if he/she were a monster, by clicking on him/her. You will walk up and attack or fire an arrow. You will also do more damage to another character in this mode. In player friendly mode, clicking on another player will do anything, though you can hit the character with spells and arrows. You also do less damage in player attack mode.
Play with 2 or 3 people, not 4. My experience and the experience of those I’ve talked to and played with is this: games with four players have terrible lag, even when all players appear to have green lag to each other. For this reason, many try to play with fewer than 4 people in the game. You may also find it easier to coordinate 3 people than 4, and, of course, there are fewer people to take a slice of the experience point and treasure pie. 8^)
Playing with characters below your station. Resist every temptation to be overly generous! Giving a low level character (levels 1-10) even moderately powerful equipment has several detrimental effects. First, they quickly grow bored with the upper levels of the dungeon and want to “skip ahead” to more difficult areas. This shortens the amount of time the game is enjoyable and may also cause a character to get over his/her head. Second, they will not learn the skills required for advanced play. A low level Rogue should be afraid of a group of skeletons and should learn to fire-retreat-fire-retreat, or to use corners and grates early in the Church. I have played with Rogues of moderate level who fight like a warrior, standing toe-to-toe with their opponents, and this is very often due to having equipment that is too good for their level.
Conversely, as a new player, don’t ask for gifts. Many players, even legit ones, _want_ to give them to you (I know the urge is very difficult to resist), so don’t tempt them to ruin part of the game for you and thereby make you a lesser Rogue (ok, or warrior, or sorcerer).
My personal view is that gifts of cash are much less detrimental. Griswold and Wirt know what items to sell a low level character, and the amount of money he/she has won’t affect that. For me, having to scrounge for money to make repairs or buy potions was not a fun part of the game and taught no good lessons about being a Rogue (although it may have stretched out the number of hours I played early on). This is, of course, a matter of opinion. A player who doesn’t even accept gold from other players is more “legit” than a player who does. Just have to decide how legit you want to be.
Cheating. Dupes (making copies of items) and hacks (using a third party program to modify the game) will minimize your enjoyment of the game. The worst offense, in my opinion, is actually altering your character’s statistics and abilities using a third party program. Getting your character to a high level can be immensely satisfying and cheating to do it is not. Another form of cheating is “duping” items or, by extension, accepting duped items. If someone offers you a great item (e.g., Godly Plate of the Whale) you can safely assume that it is a duped and perhaps hacked item (i.e., an illegitimate copy of a real item). Some items you can acquire from other players are not a legitimate part of the game (e.g., Lightforge Helmet and Dreamflange Ring), and were created by hackers. Don’t accept them if they are offered to you. You might believe that such items are necessary for survival, but they are not. Surviving Hell/Hell using your skill and items you have legitimately acquired, and having to depend on others, is a very rewarding experience. Getting your third dot using a hacked character or by using duped items says very little about your ability as a Rogue, and the game will seem less fun to you than to a legit player.
Customize your macro keys (F9-F12). Do this by opening the file diablo.ini in your Diablo directory in Windows Notepad. Simply type the message you want to appear after F#=. One key should be a “Need Help Now” key, another should be a “Retreat” key. The other two can serve as phrases you frequently type (e.g., “Do you have room for this?” or “Move out of the way please.”)
Backing up your character. Some consider this cheating, and it’s pointless to argue the fact. There are programs to back up your multiplayer characters (and it can be done manually). Blizzard did not include this function in Diablo for several reasons, one of which is that it could be used to cheat. I use a back up program to protect myself against the most dangerous, harmful creature in Diablo: lag. You WILL lag out of games and lose equipment. It’s a fact of life. I am unwilling to put up with losing my equipment to the vagaries of technology (power outage, lag, etc.), so I will restore my character if she loses stuff due to that type of thing. On the other hand, restoring after being killed by monsters is cheating, in my opinion.
You’ll have to decide whether you feel comfortable backing up your character. Many people who call themselves legit back up their characters in this way. Hell, if you back up your hard drive (and thus your characters), some would consider it cheating….
Know Common Abbreviations. Or create them 🙂 This means you can type less and your companions will have to read less while getting the same message across. Some common abbreviations are listed below. Working out other abbreviations with people you play with often can be very helpful.
- PLS: Please
- TX: Thanks
- AFK: Away From Keyboard
- NP: No Problem
- WRU: Where are you?
Visit Van_Damned’s amazingly complete set of Diablo, Forum, and Internet abbreviations.
The Right Mix
Deciding on the best combination of character classes is a very subjective area, and you will come to have your own preferences. Here are some of my feelings on the matter:
If only two people are playing, I believe that the Rogue + Sorcerer or Rogue + Rogue team is the best. Rogues and Sorcerers have the best understanding of each others’ tactics since we don’t want to get up close and personal with the bad guys. Further, Sorcerers find us very handy to have around when they fight creatures that are immune to all forms of magic (e.g., Soul Burners, Advocates and Obsidian Lords on Hell/Hell). Warriors are helpful, but it can be very difficult not to hit a warrior running around chopping on the enemy. Also, there are many situations that require a Rogue to fight a running withdrawal. Warriors may think they are being abandoned and you may hesitate to leave your companion. On the other hand, warriors are able to occupy monsters while you pick them off.
A three person game can be much more versatile. Three Rogues can produce a withering amount of fire on the enemies but can sometimes find it difficult not to hit each other (in enclosed spaces, this can be very difficult). Two Rogues and a Mage or two Mages and a Rogue work quite well, but can experience the same problem: friendly fire. One character of each class works quite well, especially if liberal use of Stone Curse is made. The warrior is probably going to experience some friendly fire, however.
Playing with sorcerers is really a mixed bag. They are extremely powerful at high levels, which means that, unless they practice good control, you will be roasted and electrocuted far more often than you’d like.
Warriors, on the other hand, can be great allies: they liked to be swarmed and, if they stay on point, they will attract most of the enemies’ unwanted attention. However, you must practice great control so that his back does not begin to resemble a peacock’s tail due to the arrows adorning it.
Carry Back-up Equipment
How upset would you be if you lost your best equipment? I’d be heartbroken if I lost my Royal Circlet. If the stuff you’re wearing is important to you, then back-up equipment is a great idea. Carry in your inventory an extra suit of armor, a bow, a helmet and jewelry. When you die, getting your things back is much, much easier. As a bonus, those you are with will be impressed with your forethought. 😉 The drawback to this approach is that you will take up a lot of your inventory space, but I see that as a very small cost when I’m going back to retrieve my goodies from a pack of Lava Maws.
Don’t Pester Others
Some people are completely unwilling to accept things that you wouldn’t think twice about. There is a wide spectrum of “purity.” Some players will accept anything you give them. Others will not accept an item that you find in that very game. Criticizing accomplishes nothing except to lessen enjoyment for all. Similarly, don’t beg for equipment. If you want something, ask politely and be gracious if the person says “no.” This is simple common sense, but people sometimes forget their manners.
Don’t Use Mana Shield
Unless your mana is much higher than your hit points and your hit points are very low, you’re better served using your hit points for life and your mana for spell casting. This is a matter of taste. Some feel that you double your effective life by using mana shield, but there are many drawbacks. Mages can afford to have their hit points and offensive spells coming from their mana pool, and their hit points are so low that one hit from a monster in Nightmare/Hell or Hell/Hell would doom them. Neither of these is true of Rogues. If you have 200 mana, that amounts to about 5 Stone Curse spells. If you have mana shield active and you’re getting hit, the number drops significantly. Also, the Healing spell is very mana economical. If you have 200 life and 200 mana, you will go through far fewer potions by casting Healing than by using mana shield. (If you take 100 points of damage and heal using the spell, you lose only about 15-20 mana points, so you can heal yourself completely 5-10 times for the cost of one mana potion. Whereas the 150 gold may not be important, that slot in your belt/inventory can be.) The Rogue is a fairly fast spell caster, and I’ve rarely had a problem stepping back out of the way and casting Heal when my hit points drop to about a quarter full.
Ok, ok, there’s been a long argument on the Strategy Forum about this. Thecla and a few others posted vociferous defenses of the use of Mana Shield. I’ll be adding some arguments they posted this weekend (1/10/98)
A facet of the game that appears to be somewhat obscure is how experience points are given to players for killing monsters. If two people contribute to the death of a monster (i.e., by each landing at least one blow/shot/spell), they both will receive experience points for the it when it dies. (The amount each receives will depend on their respective levels.) This can be a very good thing, since the Stone Cursing friend is that he/she can still get some experience if he/she lands at least one blow on the Stoned monster.
Boost Armor Class more than Hit Points
If you have to choose between an AC 75 plate of the Wolf or an AC 25 mail of the Whale, you’re better off with the former. The difference in HP (probably around 50-60) is almost insignificant when you get into a fight, but the difference in AC is not. A Blood Knight can do more than 100 points of damage if he hits. Further, you might be stunned by the attack, meaning you will get hit again (and again…). Better that he not hit at all than for you to have 30 extra HP. The exception to this rule is when you are fighting creatures that do not physically attack you: Succubi, Hell Spawn, Soul Burners, Snow Witches, Advocates, Cabalists, Counselors, etc. In those cases, Resistance is what matters, not AC. A Rogue’s AC can be very close to a Warrior’s, despite the fact that we cannot use shields. Our Dexterity, when maximized, provides a high natural AC. That is, if you strip naked, you will still have AC about as high as normal Gothic plate. By boosting your Strength, you can wear the same armor as a warrior. Remember to play close attention to the base AC of a piece of armor, not just the prefix. Godly chain is not as good as Saintly plate.
Resistance Is Not Futile
Nightmare/Hell and Hell/Hell require very high levels of resistance, or life becomes tenuous and painful. It is difficult to have maximum resistance to all forms of attack (magic, fire and lightning). Typically, you may have maximum resistance to one and low or no resistance to the others. This might bother you, but don’t let it. You typically do not need to have resistance to all forms of magical attacks at the same time. The solution is to carry multiple items (usually jewelry) that grant different forms of resistance. For example, I have a Diamond Ring of the Zodiac and a Garnet Ring of the Heavens. If I’m on a level with no fire-based monsters (e.g., Lava Lords or Advocates), then I wear the Diamond Ring (since it grants +17 to all instead of +14 to all). As soon as I see that there are fire throwing bad guys, time to switch rings. Ditto for lightning resistance. Just be prepared to shift your resistance based on what you face on a particular level. You will never need lightning resistance on level 16, for example.
Do not downplay resistance! To see how much of a difference it makes, have someone hit you with a medium level fireball when you have resistance to fire and when you do not. When facing swarms of Succubi, a high magic resistance is a must. (Note that resistance to Magic will protect you from the Blood Stars of succubi and from the Flash spell of Advocates, Cabalists, etc. If you’re not fighting Succubi, Magic resistance is almost completely worthless.)
Use a Bow!
It can be fun to play around with a sword and shield, but the bow is our forte. Warriors get a “critical strike” that doubles their damage on a proportion of attacks. Warriors swing a sword much faster than we do. We can withstand much less damage than warriors, so toe-to-toe fighting is a bad idea for us. Further, you can develop bad habits that will affect you when you switch back to a bow.
A few possible exceptions:
On easy levels or when playing with characters of lower levels than you are, you might be better off with a melee weapon (you don’t have to worry about killing a friend in one shot). Also, bows seem more expensive to repair than melee weapons (depending on quality, of course), so it doesn’t make sense to use a great bow against monsters you can kill by sneezing on them.
On levels that are dominated by knights and drakes, some Rogues prefer to switch to a sword and shield combination. This boosts your AC to an almost untouchable level. If you do this, the best combination is a Storm Shield (which allows you to block more quickly than a normal shield and has a good AC) and a King’s Sword of Haste (bastard sword).
Don’t Seek Indestructible Items
Early on, things that you don’t need to spend money to repair seem great. However, you give up valuable suffix slots by using items “of Ages.” Rock of Ages is a great album. Plate of Ages is lousy armor. 🙂
In any public channel with Rogues, you’re bound to hear the question: “What is the best bow?” Answering the question is a “chicken or egg/tree falls in the forest” experience. The “best” bow depends on entirely what you want from it. One very important thing to remember when judging between bows is to look at their base damage/weapon type. A long war bow does more damage (1-14; 7.5 on average) than a long battle bow (1-10; 5.5 on average). Looking at the average damage can be helpful, for example, when deciding between a bow that does 4-8 vs. a bow that does 1-10. Although the latter can do more damage, the former will do more on average; 6 vs. 5.5. This difference becomes more important when you add damage modifiers: a long war bow that does +100% damage does 15 on average points of damage on average and a long battle bow does 11 points on average. So, if you find a Merciless bow and a Massive bow, look at the bow type before immediately deciding to keep the Merciless. A Massive long war bow can do more damage than a Merciless long battle bow.
When deciding among bow prefixes, my preference (and the preference of many) is to get a bow that boosts damage. Bows that increase your accuracy can be good, but your accuracy will be quite high because of your Dexterity. Even with a non-magical bow a Rogue with 250 dexterity will have a 175% chance to hit an opponent not wearing armor. Alternatively, some Rogues choose bows that increase their resistance, and this approach is reasonable if you can’t find jewelry that will do that for you. All things being equal, however, a bow that increases your damage will be best, when considering prefixes.
As I mentioned on the Home page of the site, I recently read a post to the Strategy forum by Lissa about the Emerald prefix. She makes the argument that the different in damage between, say, a Merciless long war bow and an Emerald long war bow is almost inconsequential. A perfect Merciless bow of this type would yield an average damage of around 21 points of damage. A normal (in this case, Emerald) long war bow would provide an average of around 7.5 points of damage. Lissa makes the argument that 14 points of damage will very, very rarely save you a shot when killing a monster. She is correct.
The only problem I say might be that your chances of stunning your opponent might be lower, but I doubt that small amount would make a difference even then. The upshot is, if you find an Emerald bow, hold onto it! At the very least, use it on levels with Witches, or Advocates and their ilk (as I’ve said elsewhere, resistance to lightning is almost pointless as the damage you’ll take is low already). If you get tired of switching bows depending on which monsters you are fighting, using the Emerald bow all of the time is not a bad idea at all!
Thanks to Lissa for pointing this out to everyone!
The question is much more complicated when considering weapon suffixes. The bows most in demand seem to be ones that increase all statistics (e.g., heavens or stars) or bows that add additional damage (e.g., bows of Thunder or bows of Burning; possibly bows of Slaughter, though these seem rare). The choice here is mainly one of personal taste, and here are some of the arguments:
Bows that increase your character’s statistics can have a very wide effect: you will have more hit points, a better AC, a better To Hit, more mana. You will also be able to wear heavier armor and will do more damage (though only slightly more).
Bows that increase damage mean fewer shots per monster, so you will probably be hit less often, need less mana for healing, attack and defense, need fewer hit points and will probably not need the best armor.
I prefer a bow of Heavens. Bows of Thunder and Lightning are less helpful when creatures are immune/resistance to their effects (i.e., you don’t get the extra 1-20 damage from a bow of Thunder when the creature is immune to lightning). Also, on Hell difficulty, at least, creatures have so many hit points (sometimes more than 1000) that an extra 10 points (on average) per shot doesn’t seem particularly helpful. If you have a bow that increases all statistics by 10, you gain 15 more hit points, 15 more mana (hit points and mana increase by 1.5 points per point of Vitality and Magic, respectively), and a few more points to AC, To Hit and Damage. Having the strength to wear heavier armor is also a great boon.
If you have to choose between a bow that increases Dexterity, Magic, Vitality or Strength, choose Dexterity (assuming you don’t need the Strength to wear a piece of armor). Increasing your Dexterity, as mentioned above, affects three very important attributes. Raising any one of the others has a much more limited effect.
Some people, including Blizzard’s Technical support, will tell you that King’s Bows exist. The “King’s” prefix increases damage and accuracy, so such a bow would be incredible. However, they do not exist. No one I know and no one they know has ever found even a Champion’s bow (slightly less powerful than a King’s bow). Further, if such bows actually existed, dupes of them would be all over battle.net. You can easily find duplicates of every other good bow, but not a single King’s bow to be found.
As far as Unique bows go, only two are really worth having (for a high level Rogue): Eaglehorn and Windforce.
The lovely Eaglehorn: Damage 1-10, +100% Damage, +50% To Hit, +20 Dexterity, Indestructible.
Eaglehorn, for most people, is the better bow. It increases your To Hit, your damage and your dexterity and is also indestructible (repairing a Merciless Bow of the Heavens can get very expensive, as much as 10,000 gold per level on hell/hell). A very handy bow all around, but not a drastically high damage (11 points on average, before considering the dexterity bonus).
The “repulsive” Windforce: Damage 1-14, +200% Damage, +5 Strength, Knocks Opponent Back.
Windforce, in my opinion, is a very good bow that many people hate (with a good reason). Windforce does more damage than Eaglehorn (22.5 points on average) and gives a probably insignificant increase to your Strength. The controversial benefit to the bow is that it knocks your target back. Aiming with Windforce can be very annoying until you become accustomed to it. Unless your target is coming toward you in a straight line (as opposed to moving toward you at an angle like Vipers and Balrogs tend to do), it’s really no different than aiming a normal bow. With practice, however, most people can compensate. The benefit of the knock back attribute is incredibly helpful when facing Knights and some other beasts that want to do some hand to hand damage to you. You can hold off a half dozen Blood Knights easily once you know how to use the bow. It is, however, harder to stun witches and advocates with Windforce than with a “normal” bow. One of my Rogues loved the bow, the others avoid it. Go figure. 😉
Determining the best armor is a less difficult endeavor than picking a good weapon.
Prefixes. For the prefix, aim for armor that increases AC. Finding or buying Blessed, Saintly or Awesome Plate shouldn’t be too difficult, although finding one in Full Plate form and with a nice suffix will be. If your AC is lower than 200, Hell/Hell will be very difficult.
Suffixes. When evaluating the suffix of a piece of magical armor, go for one that increases a statistic that you feel needs improvement. Since I don’t use mana shield, I prefer armor that increases my HP (either directly or by increasing vitality).
Here’s an interesting tidbit. Say you have a strength of 75, and you want to wear a full plate of the giants, +20 to strength.. You have an amulet of Titans, +25 to Strength, that will allow you to wear the plate, but it would mean giving up your Dragon’s Amulet of Wizardry for it. Try this: put on the amulet of titans and then put on the full plate. Now take off the amulet of Titans. You can still wear the plate because your strength is over the minimum of 90! In other words, if you have a plate that increases strength, you can use that bonus to wear the plate as long as you can use some other item to put the plate on in the first place. A little fact I was made aware of when I played a puny sorcerer. 🙂
None of the Unique pieces of armor is suited to a higher level Rogue. Some are good (e.g., Demonspike Coat, Naj’s Light Plate) but non-Unique armor can be much better than any of the Unique pieces.
To summarize, prefixes that increase AC are the most desired, as this is where the bulk of your AC is going to come from.
Use criteria similar to those used in choosing among armor.
Prefixes. For headgear, a modifier that influences AC is not as essential as it is for armor. Consider that a Godly Great Helm that has base AC 15 and a modifier of +200% will result in a helm of AC 45. Compared to the increase gained for armor: an Awesome Full Plate, base AC 75 & +150%, results in an AC of 188, and increase of 113 AC! Compare that to the increase of 30 AC for the Helmet with the best modifier possible on the highest base AC. A helm that increases Resistance might be a better choice, especially if the base AC of the piece is relatively low.
Suffixes. As for suffixes, pieces that increase Hit Points, Mana or all of your character’s statistics (e.g., “of the Stars”) are quite beneficial. If you do choose to play a Rogue with mana shield, then increasing your Magic/Mana is a priority. Otherwise, go for increases to Vitality/Life or to all characteristics (for a Rogue, this last is usually the best).
The best Unique pieces of head gear for a Rogue are the Royal Circlet and the Gotterdamerung.
Royal Circlet: AC 40, +10 to All Attributes, +40 Mana, +10% Light Radius
The Circlet is, in effect, a Godly Great Helm of the Stars, with an additional bonus of 40 Mana (huge for a Rogue!) and only a small negative effect (the increased light radius will wake up more monsters). It also appears to be one of the rarest pieces in the game. If you find it, cherish it!
Gotterdamerung: AC 60, +20 to All Attributes, -4 Damage from Enemies, -40% Light Radius, 0% Resist All
This one is great, except for the huge drawback of 0% resistance to all. The decreased light radius makes your more stealthy (won’t wake as many monsters as quickly), and the -4 Damage from Enemies is insignificant. The real question is whether the +20 to all attributes is outweighed by the complete lack of resistance.
If you find this item, you may not want to ID it (you can tell it is the Gotterdamerung by the 60 AC and, well, look at the picture ;). The 60 AC is the highest you can get from a Helm, and you might want to keep it unidentified just for that (you won’t get any of the bonuses or drawbacks with an unidentified item). Or, identify it and only wear it when you do not need resistance.
Oh, and some people have wondered whether you could circumvent the 0% resist all by wearing a Constricting Ring (which gives maximum resistance–75%–to all). The Helm wins. 8-(
Prefixes. The most important possible feature of jewelry is probably resistance. Finding rings and amulets that boost your resistance means that you can seek damage modifiers for weapons and AC modifiers for armor. When considering prefixes, give the greatest weight to those that increase resistance. While jade and obsidian items, which increase resistance to all forms of magical attack, are very nice, items that increase resistance to a single magical realm can be better, if you have a variety of them. You rarely deal with more than two types of magic at the same time.
The best combination, and probably easiest to achieve, is one ring/amulet that provides resistance to all and then a combination of other rings/amulets that provide high resistance to a single realm of magic. When you find a ring or amulet with very high resistance value, hold onto it and use it when you need that resistance. Each takes up only one spot in the inventory and can be a life saver in the right situation.
Another good jewelry prefix is one that increases your mana level (e.g., “Dragon’s”). Increasing your mana by 50 points can have quite an impact on your ability as a spell caster. A high level rogue can have close to 400 mana points while still being well balanced in terms of AC, Damage, Resistance, etc.
Suffixes. When considering suffixes, most players choose jewelry that boosts all statistics (e.g., “of heavens”). Alternatively, choose jewelry that boosts the statistic that needs the most aid. For example, if you are not strong enough to wear Full Plate, a ring of Titans is a wonderful thing to have. If you can already wear your armor, then give precedence to increasing Dexterity since it influences AC, To Hit and Damage. However, hold onto rings/amulets of Wizardry. Consider that three pieces of jewelry with the Wizardry component can raise your Magic statistic as high as 90 points. Use the boost to read spell books you couldn’t normally read. Even after you can no longer read spell books (even with every possible magic bonus), hold onto them. When you find an Enchanted Shrine that lowers a spell (almost always Chain Lightning, unfortunately), you will probably be able to read a book to bring the unfortunate spell back up a level.
Probably the most sought after (and, therefore, most duped) jewelry have the prefix “Obsidian” and the suffix “Zodiac.” Finding even a Jade amulet of the Heavens is cause for celebration.
Unique Jewelry Pickings are very slim for Unique jewelry. Two rings you may come across are the Ring of Engagement and the Constricting Ring. The former is worthless, except for very low level characters: it reduces damage taken by -1 (or -2 on the rare version of the item), causes 1-3 points of damage to your attacker and damages attackers’ armor. None of these is a great boon unless you’re dealing with Skeleton-level creatures. The Constricting Ring has two attributes: it increases your resistance to the maximum (75%) for all realms of magic and it causes you to constantly lose hit points, at the rate of about 1 per second. That drawback may seem terrible, but is actually not that harmful to higher level characters. A Rogue with 300 hit points will barely notice the drop. If you find the ring, hold onto it. One of my characters uses it whenever she needs resistance by swapping in for one of her other rings. A level full of Soul Burners and Counselors will be much easier if you wear it. Just be sure to take it off when you finish the level.
I was originally going to list only the most useful spells, but decided to list them all and evaluate them from a Rogue’s perspective. For each, I give the damage and mana cost for the level Shuri has the spell (level 15 for most of them). I’ve rated them by placing from 1-4 dots (•) by them. The dots mean:
- • Mostly worthless. You may get some use out of it as a lower level character, but will soon forget you have it.
- •• Has some applications, but will probably never see your hotkeys.
- ••• You’ll use it very frequently, but can probably get along without it on your hotkeys.
- •••• This will almost always be on your hotkeys, depending on your opponents and style of play.
First Level Spells
Firebolt’ • Worthless, unless you are still very puny. Level 15: 3 mana, 33-42 damage. (Only value comes when using Guardian, which uses this spell to determine the damage of the Guardian’s firebolts.)
Charged Bolt •• I thought that this spell was worthless, but I’ve changed my tune a bit. Playing a warrior (with low mana) taught me that this spell has its uses. It’s a good way to scout for creatures that are not lightning immune. Just launch it once into a room and let the bolts bounce around. They’ll wake up a couple of monsters who will come looking for you. This will help keep you from getting swamped. Also, several people (thanks Alan) pointed out that filling a room up with these does indeed do quite a bit of damage for a small mana cost. Also can be effective against player killers. I will even admit, shame-facedly, that Shuri was once killed in a duel by a mage who filled a room with them (I had 0 lightning resistance, since I expected him to with Fireball). Level 15: 6 mana, 1-35 damage .
Holy Bolt •• Low mana cost, but only works against the Undead (Skeletons and Zombies) and Diablo. You may want to use it on Diablo to prevent hitting another player who is attacking him. Also, you can use the spell to “wake” Diablo without waking his body guards. Open his room by throwing the double switches, then just start firing Holy Bolt into his room. You’ll hear his grunt when you hit him, and the spell will pass through his friends without disturbing them. Now you can kill Diablo by himself. Level 15: 3 mana, 53-62 damage.
Healing •••• Unless you use Mana Shield, you will use this spell a lot. It’s quite cheap to cast at high levels, though the cost goes up with character level (Shuri spends 38 mana to cast it even though her spell level is 15). The higher the spell level, the more health casting it will restore. Don’t try to cast this in the heat of combat or you’ll get hit while doing so. Back off a bit and cast it. Cast it frequently so that your health stays topped off for the next battle. If you’re missing even 5% of your health, it’s probably worth it to cast the spell. Level 15: 38 mana for a 44th level character.
Heal Other •• Not that useful of a spell, but it is friendly. I rarely cast it on anyone during combat. It can be hard to target another player with it when he is in the middle of a mob, and it can also distract them. However, I use it in two cases: I accidentally hit them with an arrow or spell, or we finish a battle and he/she has some hit points missing. Note: avoid casting this repeatedly on anyone who is surrounded. If they are stun locked, it may be better to let them die than to keep them alive. The reason is that their equipment will be taking damage along with them, and they may lose a great item instead of coming back to get it off the floor after dying…. Level 15: 38 mana.
Inferno • Sort of a flame-thrower, but worthless. Level 15, 6 mana, 3-72 damage.
Second Level Spells
Firewall ••• A reasonably useful spell. Creatures crossing it take damage, or you can cast it right on top of a mob. Try casting it right in front of a door, then use telekinesis to open it. Now cast it on the other side of the door. In the catacombs, many creatures die by the time they cross the two firewalls. Limited use in Hell (make Snow Witches cross multiple firewalls to get to you, and you’ll hear a lot of screaming ;). A good strategy is to cast several of them, then use Teleport to hop back and forth over it, making the monsters repeatedly walk through it. Level 15: 16 mana, 92-128 damage.
Telekinesis ••• This spell is very handy for extricating your lost equipment from a mob of monsters. In case you haven’t noticed, the spell will work through walls. This means that you can hide behind a wall, cast telekinesis and grab things off the ground. When Balrogs are walking all over the place you died, you will appreciate this spell greatly! Another small benefit is that you can use the spell to activate shrines, open book cases, open chests, etc. If you don’t feel like clearing a room (or you’re not powerful enough), just use Telekinesis to grab the stuff there. Use it to open trapped chests so you don’t get hit by Nova. One little trick I tend to do is to use the spell to activate Murky Pools. When you touch a Murky Pool, you get temporary infravision (don’t you just wish this would last an entire level???). So, if you use the spell to “touch” it, you can now see what monsters are in the room with the Murky Pool. Level 15: 8 mana.
Lightning •• A fair spell, even for higher level characters. Very handy for killing spitters in the catacombs, not mana intensive. May use it to replace Chain Lightning when playing with others. Level 15: 6 mana, 2-46 damage.
Town Portal ••• Duh. You’ll go nuts until you get this spell. I would never hotkey it (unless my Rouge were very puny or just trying to get my stuff back–grab something, then cast a quick escape route). As mentioned elsewhere on this page, cast a town portal when you get to a new level so that you can use it as a way to get back if you should happen to die. Cast it far away from the stairs (when an area is cleared), so that you won’t face the problem of being killed as soon as you come down the stairs. Level 15: 18 mana.
Anyone know how getting a higher level Town Portal spell helps (after the mana cost stops decreasing, of course)? If you do, please let me know. 🙂
Flash. I’m not even going to give this a single star. Arguably the most worthless spell in the game! Although the listed damage is high, it doesn’t seem to do much. This spell is counted as “magic,” for resistance purposes. It would be effective against Azure Drakes on Nightmare (no magic resistance), except that they will just hit you while you try to cast it. Worthless. Level 14: 16 mana, 315-630.
Stone Curse •••• An expensive spell to cast (40 mana minimum), but well worth it. You would be hard pressed to survive Hell/Hell without this spell. In general, I Stone Curse almost everything that moves when I enter a room (unless they are easily dispatched with one or two shots or a Fireball). Also a great co-operative spell. If your friend is surrounded, turn her enemies into a statue garden! Only Diablo is immune to this spell. Level 15: 40 mana.
Third Level Spells
Phasing ••• I don’t use this one myself, but I know some Rogues do. The spell is like teleport except that: it is cheaper, it’s cast faster, and your landing location is random (not truly random, as it turns out. You will land in one of four general locations. I will add a graphic for this later, when I can remember who studied it and determined how landing works). This means you could go from the frying pan into the fire with a click of the right mouse button. However, if you think the situation can’t get any worse than it is, casting Phasing may get you some breathing room. Some players put a scroll of Phasing on their belts so that they can use a hotkey for it. A small tip: when you land, you’ll be facing in the same direction as you were when you cast it. Not that helpful, but nice to know. Level 15: 4 mana.
Mana Shield •••• I don’t use this spell, but plenty of Rogues do, to judge by posts on the Strategy Forum. This spell puts a golden globe (no, not the award) over your head, and causes any damage you sustain to be taken from your mana supply instead of your hitpoints. When the mana runs out, damage starts being taken from your hit points. Supposedly, higher levels of this spell decrease the amount of damage you take from each attack. Testing by several members of the Strategy Forum show that it only decreases the damage taken by 2-3 points. Level 15: 33 mana.
Elemental •• This is sort of a guided Fireball. It runs at the nearest attacker (you can influence where it runs by the location of your mouse pointer). It seems to do too little damage to be worthwhile, but you can fire at attackers you can’t see. That is, it will attack your enemies if they are around a corner or through a door. Level 13: 20 mana, 411-582 damage.
Fireball •••• This spell is excellent when you have one that is around level 8 or above. Prior to that, it is too slow and does too little damage (arrows will do more, very often). A high level Fireball can be very handy, however. Even on Hell/Hell, a level 15 Fireball will kill Snow Witches in one hit (most of the time). Bloodknights go down in three or so, and they have 1000 hit points and fire resistance! The spell is often useless on Hell/Hell, though, since most of the creatures are immune to it. You can cruise through Nightmare/Hell like a Goddess of Fire, though (well, unless you happen on Fire Maws or Balrogs…). When playing with others, be very careful with Fireballs, of course. Getting a high level Fireball in the back is most unpleasant. Level 15: 10 mana, 519-735.
Flame Wave •• A moving Firewall. If you’re facing a large room of creatures that do not resist fire, cast this a couple of times to clear the room quickly. However, it often passes over monsters without hurting them. Also, it is mana hungry. The damage done just isn’t worth the time. Certainly don’t hotkey it. Level 14: 20 mana, 270-324.
Chain Lightning •••• The casting cost is pretty low (15 or so) and it does an astounding job of clearing a room. Lightning bolts sizzle out toward your enemies (the number of bolts appears to depend on your level, the spell’s level and the number of enemies) and electrocute them. When using the spell, try to make sure that all of your enemies are in the same direction away from you. Otherwise, the bolts will shoot off in many directions so that each creature may be hit by only one bolt. If the monsters are packed in together (like in a narrow hallway or a doorway), each one may be hit by a dozen bolts or so. Unless they are lightning resistant, they will go down quickly in these cases. Level 10: 18 mana, 4-92 damage.
One thing to note is that the spell will track creatures who are not visible; that is, they will fire toward a wall that has monsters behind it. This can be useful and annoying. You can use it to assess whether there are a large number of monsters beyond that wall or doorway. However, this factor will pull bolts away from enemies that could be hit. You can counter this problem and use it to your advantage. When facing your enemies, make sure they are between you and the wall I just described. The enemies behind the wall will cause more bolts to be fired into the mass of your assailants!
This spell is not so good for multiplayer. Even playing very carefully, you will often fry your friends. I almost always remove it from my hotkeys when playing with other people. If you split up, though, the spell is back in the game. If Lava Maws are in a game, I find the benefit of using the spell to be greater than the cost of not having allies close by me….
A final caveat: Chain Lightning uses up a lot of sprites. At higher levels, you will see many “breaks” in the lightning that issues from you, so that you’ll miss enemies who are somewhat close to you. Many people prefer to keep the level of their chain lightning spell below 12 or so. (Enchanted Shrines almost always lower this spell, so try finding one of them to lower it if you need to do so.)
Guardian •• A rather nifty spell, with some nice uses. Casting this spell causes a single dragon to rise from the floor, which will then begin belching fireballs at enemies in range. Try casting a mob of these into a room of creatures and you can sit back and collect experience points while the dragons do the work. Not as useful on Hell difficulty, where many creatures are fire immune. Also not effective unless you cast multiple times. Finally, you need to keep the monsters within a fairly close radius (half a screen) of the guardians, or they will stop firing. A slightly expensive use for them is to cast them as scouts: cast them so that they can see around the corner, and they’ll fire at enemies if they exist there. Also kind of nice to use against Hidden, Unseen and Illusion Weavers, since they seem to fire at them even when invisible. Level 12: 30 mana, 82-122.
Fourth Level Spells
Golem ••• Casting Golem is an expensive proposition (around 60 mana), but it can be helpful. It doesn’t do a lot of damage, but it will keep pounding away at a bad guy. The best two things about a Golem are: it draws the attacks of your enemies, taking the attention away from you and it is immune to spells cast by Advocates and the like. On Hell/Hell, it is often easier to cast a Golem and let it kill the Advocates than it is to kill them yourself. You can help your Golem by Stone Cursing his targets (prevents the Advocates from teleporting away). Of course one swipe of a Blood Knight’s sword will probably crumble your Golem like a cookie. (Ditto for the bloodstars of Soul Burners.) You won’t use this spell often, but it can be handy. A tip: you can control, to some extent, the direction your Golem walks. Face the direction you want him to walk, and he should walk in that direction. A couple of limitations of the spell:
- You may have only one Golem at a time. The old Golem breaks when you cast the new one. Level 12: 60 mana, 11-17 damage.
- The Golem will break when all the players leave a level (to go town for example).
- If the creator of the Golem leaves the level but at least one other player remains, “control” of the Golem shifts to the remaining player.
- Multiple Golems (cast by different players) will fight each other instead of your enemies. While amusing to watch, it isn’t exactly helpful.
Teleport •••• An extremely useful spell in several ways. It allows very quick escapes when you get into something you can’t handle (as long as being hit doesn’t prevent you from casting it). Teleport through a wall (back into explored territory, of course!) to get away from those rampaging knights and flying bloodstars. Once you are a powerful, competent Rogue, you can teleport around a level, killing as you go. The spell also allows a Rogue to keep her distance from incoming attackers. Shoot a few times, then teleport half a screen away from the attackers, then repeat until they are all dead. If you don’t have enough explored territory with which to do this, “leap frog” over your opponents: shoot until they get close, then teleport over them. Shoot them some more, then jump over them again. You’ll keep them confused and keep yourself alive. Note also that a teleporting target is very hard for ranged attackers to hit. Level 8: 15 mana.
Anyone know how getting a higher level Teleport spell helps (after the mana cost stops decreasing, of course)? If you do, please let me know. 🙂
Bone Spirit • Takes 1/3 life from target, and is guided like Elemental. An almost completely useless spell. I use it in two situations: when facing Azure Drakes (on less than Hell Difficulty). They don’t resist magic, so you can suck their life dry with it. Just cast it a few times, and they’ll be dropping like flies. Ditto Flayed Ones (or Overlords, can never keep them straight). Some of those guys have a mountain of hit points, and you’ll get tired of pumping arrows into them (and wearing down your bow). A single Bone Spirit makes it go much faster. Drawbacks of Bone Spirit even in these situations: not on your hotkeys (you’d be an idiot, to be polite to put it there), so you have to look for it and it costs both mana and life.
Blood Star. This one doesn’t deserve a single asterisk. It does puny damage and costs mana AND life. Further, it is slow moving. Odd that it is also the most expensive spell book to buy. Don’t cross the bridge in Tristram for this piece of crap.
Spells not in Spell Book (Scroll and Staff)
Infravision ••• Can’t get this one in your spell book, but the scrolls are worth the cost (600 GP) on higher difficulty settings. If I have one, I cast it as soon as I enter a level so that I can see through walls and know what enemies I’m facing before I actually face them. If you do this, be sure to report what you see to your comrades. Also, the spell allows you to Stone Curse an enemy who is behind a wall, which is helpful in many cases (e.g., Stone Curse Lazarus’ cronies this way before entering his room.
Identify ••• Duh again. Buying a scroll of identify (100 GP) is no more expensive than having Cain ID an item. The advantage, of course, is that you can ID your item while you’re in the dungeon. If it’s a good item, you might want to equip it. If it’s a bad item (cursed or just worthless), you can just dump it on the floor, making room for new treasure.
Resurrect ••• Need I say, “Duh?” If you have an ally, it would be damn nice to bring him back from the dead, should the need arise. This is even more true if you are the cause of his demise….
Nova ••• A fairly good spell if you come across it. Does quite a bit of damage to creatures close to you, and very little to those further away. Use them if you find them, but they’re probably not worth buying. I have heard that a staff of Nova can be very fun. With multiple charges, you can clear a room pretty easily. See the note about Nova and Apocalypse below.
Apocalypse ••• This is a powerful spell, so smoke ’em if you got ’em! It causes jets of flame to explode around all nearby enemies. It strikes many opponents and harms even those who are immune to all! That’s right, blow up Soul Burners and Advocates on Hell/Hell with this spell. It requires 149 magic to use it, which can be a strain for Rogues. I like to save these until I have 3 or 4, then cast them all at once against triple immunes. Takes a few games of hoarding them to do this.
Note: Several people have written me about these last two spells, thinking that they were available in Diablo as a book. They are available in book form only in Hellfire, the add-on for Diablo made by Sierra.
Before you know many people on battle.net, it can be difficult to find the right group to play with. Being a member of a Guild will almost insure that any group will be a good one (you at least can be more relaxed about being pkilled or having your equipment stolen or that the players are legit). Eventually, you will probably find people you most like to play with and can look for them. Otherwise, try announcing to people in the channel what kind of game you want to play (e.g., Nightmare Hell, Hell Church, Hell/Hell) and see if anyone is interested. You will usually get some takers, but don’t give up if you don’t immediately find someone to go with you. Wait until some new faces appear, then ask again.
Keep a list of names and account numbers of those you have played with so you can look for them later. It is surprising how quickly you can forget character names or find other players using the same name.
If you are not in a guild and don’t know anyone who is on at the time, try to chat with people for a while before playing with them. It is usually easy to tell the good, co-operative players from the bad.
Get ICQ! This little program, by Mirabilis, allows you to chat, send messages, etc. to friends who also have the program. A lot of people use this to coordinate games on Battle.Net (you can see if your friends are online and send them a message to see if they want to play). Also, if you die in a game, you can ask for a rescue from any of your friends who are online. Oh, and it’s a free program. 🙂
When you start a game, use a password and, this may seem silly to mention, don’t announce it publicly. Whisper the game and password to those who are going with you.
Many people use the same name and password all the time (or most of the time). The benefit to this is that people you know can join you if they see that you are in a private game. The drawback, of course, is that you could have a bad experience with someone and they then know your password. There is no set etiquette on giving out a password, but you should be very careful about it. If you’re playing with someone who has not met your buddy whose password you know, do you want to give out the password? It’s a judgment call, and the best idea is to make sure you know in advance whether it is acceptable to invite “unknown” people into a game.
One more note on game difficulty: from most people’s experience (and according to officials at Blizzard) game difficulty has only a small effect on the items you find. This means that a very good way to go “item hunting” is to play a normal game. A high level character will gain very little or no experience, but will kill most bad guys with one or two shots (which can be very satisfying in its own right ;-).
The quality of items depends mainly on how deep you are in the dungeon, and less on the level of difficulty. Many of the items you find in the Church and Catacombs will be cursed (e.g., a sword of Trouble) and the ones that are not cursed will still be of low quality. As an example, you will tend to find items “of the Sky” in the Church, items “of the Moon” in the Catacombs, items “of the Stars” in the Caves and items “of the Heavens” in Hell (ironic, I know ;-). If you expect to find an item “of the Zodiac,” get thee to Hell. Playing on a higher difficulty level mainly affects the base quality of the items you find (e.g., plate mail instead of leather armor, full potions instead of partial ones).
On a related topic, many people go on “Lazarus Runs.” This typically means that you start on level 13 and get to 15 as quickly as possible. The purpose for this is to find magical items. In Lazarus’ room you will find a minimum of 3 magic items. That number is guaranteed because there are 3 unique monsters in that room. Often, all three are very poor quality items, but you are guaranteed 3 chances at finding a good one. Also, the fact that you are on level 15 means that your odds of getting a good item are almost maximized. A Lazarus Run on Normal Difficulty is a cake walk for a moderate to high level character (level 30+) and can quickly yield a good item.
The Church and Catacombs
While not offering high quality items, do offer benefits of their own: shrines and books. A moderate level Rogue can clear the Church in less than an hour (by using Teleport, Chain Lightning and Flame Wave). Once you need 255 to read a spell book, you’ll want to search for Enchanted Shrines. On Hell Difficulty, the Church and Catacombs are still fairly easy and even a level 40 Rogue will pick up some experience points there. Searching for shrines can help increase your statistics (e.g., Dexterity with Abandoned Shrines) and increase your spell levels. Many Mages search repeatedly for Hidden Shrines to boost the durability of a Thinking Cap. (On the topic of Enchanted Shrines: my “policy” is that a Mage should never be use an Enchanted Shrine when Rogues or Warriors are in a game. Mages can easily reach level 15 on all of their spells by finding and buying spell books, Rogues and Warriors cannot.)
After reaching a high level (36+), getting experience can be difficult. Typically, you gain experience only in Nightmare Hell or on Hell Difficulty. Nightmare Hell can provide a challenge to a Rogue by herself, depending on the monsters present. A better way to gain fast experience is to clear the Catacombs on Hell difficulty. Teleport, chain/flame wave, repeat. Clearing all four levels takes very little time (about an hour or so) and will net you very close to 4 million experience points. (I wouldn’t bother picking up most items, since going to town to ID and drop them takes time and you won’t find very good items there. Check for Unique items, however. I found both Windforce and the Constricting Ring there. Also, pick up rings and amulets since they take very little space in your inventory). Of course the bonus for getting experience in this way is that you might also run across a good shrine.
Starting the Game
Stock Your Belt Well. My strategy is this: RRRYYBBB (Red = Health, Yellow = Full Rejuvenation, Blue = Mana). My thinking is that if you have expended enough potions to reach the middle of your belt, a good dose of Health and Mana couldn’t hurt and 600 gold for a full rejuvenation potion is a pittance fairly early in the game. (Of course you could alter this in several ways: go heavier on red when you are facing a level without much spell casting, you might want to place a scroll of Phasing in a slot, etc.). (I like to have the red potions to the left of my belt so I can reach them while my left little finger is still on the shift key.)
A couple of alternative approaches:
Go heavy on reds (RRRRYYBB or RRRRRRBB) since your belt is your life saver in an emergency. Refill your mana, whenever possible, directly from your inventory. At high spell levels, you can cast a lot of spells for two potions of mana.
If you are using mana shield, then go BBBBBBYY. The yellows are for use whenever your mana shield drops, since you’ll start losing hit points when that happens.
Set Spell Hotkeys
As a general rule your hotkeys should include, Healing, a fire-based spell, a lightning based spell, and an “emergency” spell. By the last, I mean a spell such as Stone Curse, Town Portal or Teleport. Low level characters can benefit by having Town Portal ready as a fast escape route. Teleport works extremely well in many situations (described in the spell section). Stone Curse is mana hungry but is extremely useful (also described in the spell section). My typical setup is: Healing, Fireball, Chain Lightning and Teleport/Stone Curse (Teleport for easier levels, Stone Curse for harder ones). One thing to remember: if you are on a level where all the creatures are immune to one type of magic (fire or lightning, that is), you can change one of your hotkeys to suit that situation (e.g., replace the lightning spell with another fire spell). IMPORTANT: If you time out and rejoin the game, remember to redo your Hotkeys. It is easy to forget to do this since you may have just set them before dropping from the game.
Make a Treasure Pile
Many new adventurers immediately sell anything they don’t want, but this is generally a bad idea unless you need the cash on the spot. If you don’t want an item you found, drop it in the treasure pile. Having extra equipment on the ground can save your behind if you should die in the dungeon: you then have backup equipment to retrieve you goodies! The heavy bow of lightning may look pretty pathetic when you’re using Eaglehorn, but will look awfully attractive when you need to get Eaglehorn back from greedy monsters. Also, if a player joins in the midst of the game, a piece of equipment you sold earlier might have been very good for him/her. At the end of the game, sell all the stuff you don’t want and divide the gold.
Leave Baggage in Town
Put the stuff you carry from game to game far away from the “treasure pile.” This will allow you to carry more potions and grab more treasure in the dungeon. The drawback, of course, is that timing out can really ruin your day. Two related notes:
If a player times out leaving stuff on the ground, save what you can for him/her! You can certainly sacrifice the gold in your inventory to save a friends equipment, and he/she will greatly appreciate it.
Respect the equipment of other players
If you want to look at or borrow a piece of equipment, ask. It is very awkward for the owner of the equipment when you decide to use it without asking.
When playing with people you know, make a community gold pile by Adria the Witch and by Cain. As long as everyone contributes, everyone benefits. If you’ve ever walked to the Witch and discovered you have no gold, you will understand one of the benefits here. As a courtesy, check with other players before draining the reserve to buy a very expensive item (e.g., that book of Blood Star or a Merciless bow). If you are playing in a public game or with people you don’t know, decide how generous you want to be and remember that others can learn from example.
Go Window Shopping
On entering a game, check Wirt, Griswold and Adria and announce their inventory to your comrades (if any of it is any good). Each town person has a different inventory for each player (based on character level), and what you might find worthless could be a real prize for another player. Depending on character levels, you should check to see if anyone needs elixirs (most seem to reach their maximum Strength, Magic, Dexterity and Vitality somewhere around levels 30-35). What spell books do other players need? (If you time out and re-enter the game, be sure to check the Townspeople’s inventory again.)
When you reach the point that 50 gold is pocket change, it is worth the investment. Wirt almost always sells worthless items (a Godly cloak of the Mammoth just isn’t that practical), but the operative word is “almost.” Every great bow (aside from Uniques) I’ve ever found came from Wirt: If you want to find a Merciless bow of Thunder, he’s the guy who can get it for you. You might want to fireball him most of the time, but when he sells you a great item, you’ll wax his leg for him.
If Wirt has a “cheap” item (depending on your cash flow), buy it even if you don’t want it. This will cause him to change his stock, maybe to something you will want. You can then add the “Wirtless” item to the treasure pile.
Check for Resurrection
Before entering the dungeon, ask if everyone has resurrection scrolls, and be sure you have one yourself. Even better, carry one scroll for each member of the party (if three other people are adventuring with you, carry three scrolls of resurrection).
Agree on Directional Terms
The map is tilted, so people may disagree on where “north” is. If you all agree that “north” is the top corner (or whatever), things will be much easier when you’re trying to tell someone where your dead body lies. Another direction system is to use the clock metaphor: the top corner of the map is 12 o’clock, the right corner, 3 o’clock and so on.
Lead, Follow, or Get out of the Way
Agree on a party leader. It can be frustrating when everyone starts to walk off in a different direction, then stumbles around trying to decide who to follow. Pick someone who will lead, so that everyone knows which direction to go in. Take turns leading on different levels.
Into the Dungeon
Make an Escape Route. Immediately cast a town portal somewhere away from the stairs. Each member of the party should do so (in different places, of course). If you are killed at the entrance (a not uncommon occurrence) it can be very difficulty to get back onto the level and retrieve your equipment. Each additional entrance makes the task a little easier. Once you clear a little of the level, you may want to recast your portal in a secured location.
Stay Still! Do not move from the entrance, as long as you are not under attack, until your friends arrive on the level. Stirring up the locals is a bad idea when you have friends coming through the portal/down the stairs (especially if one is a Mage who needs to cast Mana Shield).
Heads Up! Once you encounter monsters, let the others know what they are. If someone is in town, it might affect how they equip their character. Also, take the time to adjust your resistance producing items and hotkeys based on what you find lurking there.
Stick Together or Split Up? When you enter the dungeon with other players, you need to decide whether you’re going to stay together or go off in different directions. Of course there is no hard and fast rule for deciding the best approach. The following are some rules of thumb:
Fight together at least long enough to evaluate the level. What enemies do you face? Resistances? On a level where half of the monsters are immune to lightning and the other half are immune to fire, it’s probably a good idea to stick together. (Maybe one person should concentrate on the fire immune, another on the lightning immunes; one person kill the ranged attackers, another kill the melee guys.)
Honestly evaluate your character’s ability. Could you complete the level alone? If everyone agrees that they could do so, then split up. If one character is not confident, at least one other person should stick with him/her (pairs are often easier to coordinate than a group of three or four anyway). When you die (and you will at some point ;-), direct your rescuers to your corpse and let them know what kind of critters are around you.
If the level is one where chain lightning is useful or essential, you might want to split up. Chain lightning can be devastating to allies, and not being able to use it can really hurt your offense (and can almost cripple a Mage). Splitting up means you can electrocute the critters to your heart’s content.
If there is a warrior in the party and some of the monsters have ranged attacks, stick together. He’ll appreciate the help.
If the level is full of Knights or Lava Maws, stick together. Three or more of these critters can cause real problems for a Rogue. If a Maw starts to hit you close up, you may not be able to move, cast spells or counter attack. Having someone else to Stone them or pick them off can be a real life saver.
Make Friends and Influence People: Stone Curse. If you see a friend getting hacked on by a group of bad guys, Stone Curse liberally before adding your arrows to the fray. The odds of survival for both of you are increased when the monsters can’t move. Maybe your beset upon friend needs a breather to restock his/her belt; Stoning the opposition can provide some time. Even if you are engaged in combat yourself, Stoning your companion’s opponents can be helpful (if you are experiencing less opposition than he/she is).
Shhhh! Be very careful about talking when danger might be around the next corner. No, the monsters won’t hear you, but the worst part of how the “talk” function works is that, while the chat window is open, you can’t access your belt using the number keys. Too many times I and others have died and then discovered why frantically pressing 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 produce no result.
Stay in the Lines. When you need to run or simply back away from your attackers, try your best not to run into unexplored territory. Most likely, you will simply add a number of enemies to the fray and be trapped between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Keep your automap on so that you can see where you have been (this is a good reason not to touch secluded shrines).
Fire and Maneuver. Keep moving while you’re fighting so the monsters don’t get close to you. You should be able to reposition the cursor while you are still walking, so that you can stop and shoot at your new target.
A good tactic for Rogues is “teleport and shoot.” Use this tactic when monsters try to get in your face (especially Lava Maws and Knights): shoot at the approaching horde until they get within 2 or 3 steps of you. Teleport away from the to the edge of the screen. Resume shooting until they get close to you again, and then teleport once more. Repeat this process until only one or two attackers are pursuing you, then clean them up. This basic tactic requires a fairly large cleared territory behind you. If such is not the case, modify the procedure by jumping over the opposition: when the opponents first approach, teleport back away from them, then shoot them. When the get close again, teleport to their rear, on the edge of the screen. Shoot some more arrows into them. When the approach again, just jump over them again. You can keep a large group befuddled and full of arrows using this technique. The important part of the strategy is to teleport a few seconds before they can hit you, since the spell takes a second to work.
To Shift or not to Shift. Holding down shift while you fire your arrows is usually the best approach since you won’t accidentally run toward the monsters or step in the way of another player’s attack. However, when you have a good bead on your opponent (e.g., when he’s close enough for you to smell his breath), take your finger off of the shift key. You will then automatically track whatever you have the cursor on, hitting much more often. I’ve found that this is a very good approach when fighting critters that insist on “dodging” your shots (e.g., Balrogs and Goatmen). When they dance around you in circles, you will track them with arrows by keeping your cursor on them and your finger off the shift key.
Raise Funds. When money is important (and when isn’t it? ;), grab anything magical that drops, even rags, caps and leather armor. Some of these can be worthless to you but valuable to Griswold. Selling those Obsidian Rags of Harmony might go a ways toward buying something good. In fact, when you are playing on Normal Difficulty, even a normal suit of Full Plate Mail can be a good way to get some cash.
Dividing the Spoils. Don’t worry about who grabs an item in the dungeon as long as you are willing not to be stingy later. It will be easier to determine who should get what item(s) when the game is near completion. Some items people may want to use immediately, however. If you find spell books or elixirs, for example, someone may be able to use them immediately. It often happens that two people need that book of Fireball you’ve found. One reasonable approach taken by many people (to avoid unpleasantness) is to give the book to the person with the lower spell level. If you have a level 8 Fireball and mine is level 10, then the book belongs to you. A similar approach can be taken with Elixirs. Either take turns getting the spoils, or give them to the less “able” player.
Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend. If you hear the “ting” associated with the appearance of jewelry, be sure to ask “Who has the jewelry?” If you assume the other person got, he/she may assume the same. (On a related note, it can sometimes be difficult to find the ring/amulet when it drops. Try pressing Z to “zoom in.” You’ll be much more like to see the item, assuming you’ve narrowed its location down to a dozen squares or so.)
Treasure Room. On some levels, you may need to carry a lot of potions, etc., leaving little room for you to pick up items. Designate a part of the level a “treasure room” and drop items you find there. When you need to return to town, go to the treasure room and carry up what you can. (One way to mark the location is to put a portal or some potions there.)
Know Thy Shrines. Be sure to have a list of Shrines handy. Some shrines should be avoided at all costs (those that decrease your total mana permanently, for example). When you find a good shrine (Hidden or Enchanted, for example) let others know before you use it. The Enchanted Shrine, for example, is very valuable to a person who can no longer read books but is not at level 15 on many spells (i.e., most high level rogues). A person who can still read quite a few books should allow such a person to use that shrine. Evaluate the effects of the Shrine and who could most benefit from its use. The person farthest from maximum dexterity should use an Abandoned Shrine (assuming all characters are rogues). Be considerate in using shrines, and refrain from using ones that affect other players.
Goat Shrines and Cauldrons. Avoid these like the plague (or like Black Death, see next tip), since they produce a random shrine effect. It is never worth the risk to use them. None of the shrine effects are worth the risk of losing 1/10 of your mana permanently. Also, you can detrimentally affect other players. Hearing the “glug glug” of a cauldron being used sends shivers down my spine. Be careful where you point your cursor or you might accidentally use one.
Black Death Zombies. These are the yellow zombies you find in the lower levels of the Church or in the Catacombs. Do NOT let these guys touch you. If they land a hit, you lose one hit point permanently. Retreat and pick them off from a safe distance. If you see another player fighting them close up, warn him/her. It is apparently not common knowledge that they have this effect (they don’t bother mentioning it in the official strategy guide). Warriors would be well advised to cool their heels or start casting holy bolt when they see that putrid yellow zombie.
If You Can’t Stand the Heat…. Don’t cast too many fire walls. There is sometimes a temptation to fill a room with fire walls and to cook the bad guys. This can have a dramatic negative effect on you and your allies, however. The game is limited in the number of “sprites” (graphical units) it can handle. Fire walls seem to eat up sprites so that no other spells can be cast, no arrows can be fired, etc. If you cast a bunch of fire walls, your buddy may be plunking a useless bow for a while.
Et tu, Brute? Be careful about walking in front of another player. You can’t call an arrow back once it’s fired, and we all must click very quickly sometimes. You could get two or three arrows/fireballs in the back before your partner realizes you have moved in front of him/her. Conversely, do your best to note where your partners are. With practice, you can hit monsters that are in melee combat with them, but until you develop that skill, Stone Cursing their opponents might be a better idea.
Heal and Do No Harm. Use Heal Other generously (especially if you caused some damage to another player!). Sometimes you have a tiny bit of mana left before you drink a potion. Why not heal the 50 points your partner is missing before drinking the potion? It’s a kind gesture and costs you nothing or next to nothing.
Greed…is Bad. A final point: don’t be greedy when killing the monsters. One of the most boring games I’ve ever played was with a person who would teleport into a room and kill everything (this person used a bountiful staff of apocalypse and chain lightning) instead of waiting for the rest of us to get there. This is typically more of a Mage tendency, but I have seen Rogues do it too.
Trips to Town
Don’t Tighten Your Belt. Don’t let your stock of potions get too low. If all you have left is what is on your belt, it’s past time to return to town to restock. It is terribly annoying not to have enough mana to cast a Town Portal…. (You might ask other players if they have any excess potions before taking the time to go to town.)
Prepare ye the Way. If the level is finished and everyone needs to go to town, have one person go to the next level and create a portal while everyone else goes to town. The portal creator can then join the rest in town. These means that all of the other players need to be in transit less than if everyone went to the next level before going to town. Take turns being the person to create the portal. (Alternatively, if one person has a very fast CD, 12X or greater, have him/her be the portal maker. CD speed seems to make a huge difference when going from level to level: people with 2X drives can spend around a minute in transit, whereas those with 12X+ can spend less than 30 seconds in transit.)
When the Bow Breaks. Repair your equipment with every trip to town. You never want to see that icon announcing that your bow is ready to break. If you don’t get into the habit of repairing your items constantly, it becomes easy to forget for a while and wind up suddenly kicking your opponents. (In the thick of things, you probably won’t notice that fairly unobtrusive icon, and it’s quite a surprise to start kung fu fighting a bunch of Azure Drakes.;-)
Yeehaw, gointa Town! Notify other players that you are going to town. This serves at least two purposes: if you’re in town and you see “I need help! Come here!” you’re not going to be able to get to them in time, when they might expect you to. Also, you can serve as a gopher: if another player just needs some potions, you can bring them down for him/her, saving a trip to town. Of course other players can do the same for you when they visit town.
Drinks on Me! Buy extra potions, whether or not anyone needs them at the moment (assuming you have the gold to burn). Drop the extra potions in the dungeon and let people know anyone can take from the pile. This minimizes trips to town and keeps the action going.
End Game: Before Killing Diablo
First, it seems that not everyone is aware that you can kill Diablo without ending the game. As long as one of the people in your party is not on level 16 when he dies, the game will continue and those on level 16 can rejoin.
Selling the booty (G rated). When you’re finished with the game (before leaving or before killing Diablo), decide what to keep and what to sell. Basically, “You guys want any of this junk?” One thing to consider, given that you have a small inventory space: if you find jewelry that no one wants, check its value at Griswold. If he is willing to pay more than 5000 gold for it, keep it. If you have 10 slots open to carry gold or items, that one 7000 ring is much better to carry away than 5000 gold, since you can sell it the next time you need money.
Don’t leave gold on the ground at the end of the game! If you’re level 26 or higher, buy Elixirs and very expensive scrolls at the Witch, even if you don’t want them. You can sell an elixir you don’t want in the next game for a good bit of gold (1250, I believe which will refill your whole belt with health/mana). Selling some scrolls can also be lucrative.
Also, if you have large sums of cash that no one can carry from the game, “cycle” Griswold and/or Wirt. That is, take the extra money and buy the cheapest thing Griswold has. He’ll replace it with something new. Keep buying the cheapest item until all the money is gone. Sell those items back to him, and repeat the process. It’s a little tedious (depending on the amount of cash), but you might get lucky and have him restock with something good. The same approach works with Wirt, but you actually have to go to the dungeon between purchases for him to restock.
Shrines in Diablo
If there are any inaccuracies or omissions, please let me know. I used the official guide, along with several FAQs to compile the list, but some of these may be questionable. Also, the Fountain of Tears is missing. Drop me a note at [email protected] if you have anything to add.
Full list of all Diablo and Hellfire shrines.
Key: Use Caution Bad
|Abandoned||+2 to Dexterity||The hands of men may be guided by fate.|
|Creepy||+2 to Strength||Strength is bolstered by heavenly faith.|
|Cryptic||Fills Mana, Casts Nova||Arcane power brings destruction.|
|Divine||Restores Mana & Life, gives 2 potions (Blue & Red or Both Yellow)||Drink and be refreshed.|
|Eerie||+2 to Magic||Knowledge and Wisdom at the cost of self.|
|Eldritch||All potions become rejuvination||Crimson and azure become as the sun.|
|Enchanted||One spell -1 level, all others +1 level||Magic is not always what it seems to be.|
|Fascinating||Firebolt +2, -10% mana permanently||Intensity comes at the cost of wisdom.|
|Gilmmering||All items identified||Mysteries revealed in the light of reason.|
|Gloomy (Single)||+2 AC to armor, helmet and shield; -1 damage from weapons||Those who defend seldom attack.|
|Hidden||-10 durability to one item, +10 to others||New strength is forged through destruction.|
|Holy||Teleports player randomly||Wherever you go, there you are.|
|Magical||Mana Shield on character||While the spirit is vigilant the body thrives.|
|Mysterious||+5 to one stat, -1 to all others||Some are weakened as one grows strong.|
|Ornate||Holy Bolt +2, -10% mana permanently||Salvation comes at the cost of wisdom.|
|Quiet||+2 to Vitality||The essence of life flows from within.|
|Religious||Restores durability to all items.||Time cannot diminish the power of steel.|
|Sacred||Charged Bolt +2, -10% mana permanently||Energy comes at the cost of wisdom.|
|Secluded||Map completed||The way is cleared when viewed from above.|
|Spiritual||Fills empty spots in inventory with gold||Riches abound when least expected.|
|Spooky||Heals other players (?)||Where avarice fails, patience gains reward.|
|Stone||Recharges staves.||The powers of Mana refocused renews.|
|Tainted||Other players get +1 to 3 random stats, -1 to other||Those who are last may yet be first.|
|Thaumaturgic (Single)||Refills all chests on level with new contents.||What once was opened now is closed.|
|Weird (Single)||+1 to all weapons’ max damage, reduce AC of armor (?)||The sword of justice is swift and sharp.|
|Goat Shrines||Random Shrine Effect||Depends on which effect.|
|Cauldron||Random Shrine Effect||Depends on which effect.|
Key: Use Caution Bad
A few shrine notes:
For Eldritch shrines, you may want to fill your inventory with all of the red and blue potions you can hold before using it, to maximize the benefit you get.
Be careful of the Glimmering shrine if you are using an unidentified item on purpose (e.g., Gotterdamerung).
For the Hidden shrine, there are a couple of approaches to take:
- If you want to increase the durability of a single item (e.g., Thinking Cap), take off all of your good equipment and replace it with junk. Be sure to carry a single-handed weapon, a shield, and a piece of armor. This makes it less like that the one item you want to increase will be the one to lose durability.
- You can use the shrine to get a net increase in durability. Just wear all of the items you want to use and touch the shrine. One will go down, but the rest will go up. Repeat every time you find a hidden shrine, and odds are that no piece will be decreased repeatedly. (Testing eventually found that shields were most often hit by the -durability.)
For Spiritual shrines, empty your inventory before touching them to maximize the amount of gold you get.
When encountering a Tainted shrine, ask other players before using it!
Don’t use Goat Shrines or Cauldrons!!! None of the positive effects you could get are worth the chance of losing 10% of your total mana permanently. Note that 3 of the 25 shrines will do this, so the odds are not good….