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“THE CLIMB TO 99-TechJedi’s Experience In Maxxing Levels in Diablo 2″ Part 9

Sunday, November 16th, 2014
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Ok, so here’s the deal.

I’ve decided that yes, I would like to take both paths to 99-as seen in the last entry I made some phenomenal fuck up and the results were that one copy of my character is normal but 9 levels behind-the other is at the right level, but has only HALF of the gear since the stash is messed up, which also drops the Horadric cube.

Path A will be the character at 50 with no stash, Path B will be 42 with proper stash, but a chance to come out better after running Act 5. With path B, I’m still going to try “players 8″ to maximize xp gains. Path A I’ll just tool around in Nightmare hoping to do well.

DAYS LATER:

Ok, so although I decided to do both paths, I haven’t really done that. I’ve continued on with both-moving on through Act 1 without the stash and Horadic cube was irritating, but not impossible. I started act 2 and was lucky enough that the Horadric Cube quest operated just as it should and let me acquire a new copy.

Let me tell you, the Sanctuary skill for Paladins is *ca-rucial* in Nightmare. It allowed me to keep all my resistances maxxed, and Venom Ward, the Gold armor for fortifying against poison, actually got me to 90 resistance for that. I took a good long time getting ready for Duriel this run. Leveled maybe 5 times throughout Act 2. Only died twice against him himself; finding his tomb however, cost me dearly. Going through all those false tombs killed me over and over and over again-for the same reasons it did in Normal-those goddamned Unholy Bolts for the Radament type Unravelers and such. The Scarabs, those electric beetle things, were not so much a distraction anymore with resistance to electricity at 75. I did a lot of re-runs and do overs trying to get better gear. It was difficult. Tons and tons of yellow that wouldn’t do to replace my current stuff. But then I found that you could upgrade things-Horadric cube recipes exist to upgrade even Gold items to better gold items-I jumped up my swords as well as Oriana’s bow.

One amazing thing that happened before I got to Act to was this: to me, unprecedented:

Screenshot021

Yes, that’s FIVE YELLOWS FROM THE SAME CHEST.  That’s pretty damn nutsy. The bow shown is this, which I instantly gave to my hireling.

Screenshot022

This lasted a very long time, through Act 1, through Act 2, and through several sections of 3, until I found a much better Gold bow,  Hellclap. Again, I had upgraded that with runes and the Cube, but eventually replaced it anyway,  with this amazing piece.

Screenshot069a

 

I never really used my Amazon much, so I never paid attention to bows or knew what to look for, so this thing really blew my mind. I threw ORT ETH runes in it to get some serious bonuses. Eventually I started the disaster that was, is, and will forever be, Kurast. Kurast Provided me with a new belt, and I was finally able to use the Natalyas’ Helmet I’ve been saving for 5 levels. I hate that Act, so all I’m sayin about it is that I *did* provide me with a belt that I’m prolly gonna use till the end of the game. It’s seriously sweet!Screenshot066

At any rate,  finishing Kurast got me to Hell, of course. At last check, I had just gotten to 51. I played and replayed and replayed Hell throughout the 50s as I didn’t want to get to Act 5 before 60. As of today, I’m Level 69. I’m trying not to finish the difficulty before where I left off with the Original Character, Antioch 1-which if you remember was 78. I’ve been spending so much time reading about Runewords and Horadric Cube recipes, and then honestly, yes, duping things, that I haven’t really been adventuring so much as farming-which, I realized late today after an 8 hour stretch, is precisely why I stopped the first character, and why I quit ALL MMOS I EVER STARTED.  I really don’t think I can get through the last sequence to Baal with my current shit though, it’s getting pretty rough as it stands, and I’m only halfway through the act. I’m trying to mention neat stuff through out, just drafting these articles a paragraph at a time when something cool happens, but it’s just been grind grind grind.

Oh Lord!

It’s been a couple days since the last paragraph; boy howdy, has getting any further along at all SUCKED. I’ve made it to 73 by doing a lot of grinding and rerunning areas with varying degrees of /players x on; usually 6. Not getting a lot of good upgrades-only little dinky ones. A new helm that might not really help, different gloves, finally, which did help a bit. But ah, finally, a really good shield!

Screenshot084 Screenshot090

Well, comparatively so to the ones I’ve had; it lacks all resistance, so I’m gonna have to make that up with other gear and Sanctuary.

At last, I got sick of grinding and said to myself, “Bitch, we gotta finish this shit-Hell Awaits!” So I went to the Worldstone keep, plowed through the enemies at all levels, and went to see Baal. Got through all his minions pretty easily, but then I thought, “well, that just got me a lot of xp; do it again”.

At which time I had my ass summarily handed to me.

OK, that really seriously hurt. SO it’s back to the gear grind drawing board. Wait-I’ve got all those socketable armor pieces, and lots of perfect topazes to put in them. So I started going back through the entire game again with varying levels of /players x. Got tired of that after about two hours, and went back to the Worldstone Keep. Got wiped JUST as badly! God, what’s to do? Now, now is where I remember my greatest tribulations!  Now I remember all the loot swapping between computers, now I remember all the constant restarts and save and exits before dying!

THIS WAS NOT THE FUN PART!

Somehow I had gotten to Level 78 last time-somehow-I can do it again and complete the next 21 levels!

Honestly, it may be two weeks or more before the next installment. I have jury duty, yard cleaning, a full time job, comics to read and a podcast to record. If anything changes, I’ll start a new entry. Who knows, maybe that last Gold I need to power through Ball comes tomorrow.  Stay tuned!

 

 



Episode #187-“My Hatred Of 90s Comics Is Due Mostly To Lack Of Blimps”

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014
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“My Hatred Of 90s Comics Is Due Mostly To Lack Of Blimps”

We’re very disappointed at the loss of She-Hulk, while watching STAGE FRIGHT; we note the lack of DC 3d’s in our pile; We eventually get to to the second half of August Indies. We get in on som SAGA 22,filled with family drama and relationship issues; TREES 4, showing us mystery biomechanical flowers; THE FADEOUT 1, glorious return to crime noir we love so; Extinction Parade 2, gimmicky zombie death dancing on display. UBER 16 detailing the misadventures of the first POC Battleship; CONAN THE AVENGER 5, with twists an plot turns and rescued blondes. THE GOON, OCCASION OF REVENGE 2 is some talky stuff. GROO/CONAN 2 develops Sergio’s insanity and Groo’s incompetence and Conan’s incredulity; MANIFEST DESTINY 9 Giant Mosquitoes. SKULLKICKERS 30 shows us amusing but seemingly pointless variations on the crew. LOBSTER JOHNSON: GET THE LOBSTER 5wows us with a final battle on a giant dirigible. BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA 3 Jack recants the tale of his 4th wife, and insults teh boss level mob that has what they need.

Come check us out on Facebook, twitter @themeanergeek, leave us voicemail at 203 533 4910 and mail us at themeanergeek@gmail.com, and occasionally see what we have to say textually at www.themeangeek.com

Episode #187



“THE CLIMB TO 99-TechJedi’s Experience In Maxxing Levels in Diablo 2″ Part 8

Sunday, November 9th, 2014
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Well kids, in my mad dash to get ever greater gear for Antioch in D2, I dug up my old backups-my really, really, REALLY long term backups-copied off of CD- COMPACT DISK, DAMMIT-and found my original 2000-2003 characters. Since they have to go into the same folder in the D2 program directory, I carefully copied out my current incarnation, which , if you remember-was Lvl51; and put these old ones in it’s place.

It was so damn cool.

It had all this stuff:

This was the best stuff I could find over more than two years playing, gambling, buying, imbuing, inscribing. I felt like a damn KING when I looked over this stuff. I remembered everything! So many GOLDS! I looked in my stash, so many SETS! so many SKULLS! So many wonderful things I could trade to Antioch-New. I wasted no time cranking up the laptop and installing D2 there. I tried for several days to get the new character to join games with the old characters. I knew Battle.net would never let me play with the old ones-the ones I’d modded all to hell; So I made several attempts to work out TCP/IP games between the two machines. finally, I gave up and decided I would just continue on with the big machine, and occasionally try to eke out another level on the originals.

I put my carefully backed up Lvl 51 character back in place…

…And half my stash was gone.

All the sets. The waiting yellows. All the skulls and most of the Gems; worst, the Horadric cube itself.

No, that’s not the worst: if I go back to my supposed back up…It leaves me back at Lvl 42.

I have NO fucking clue how that happened-did the one time I actually connected to Battle.net run some kind of add on cleaner/disabler, clearing out my extra space, then turning it back on, leaving the stuff that was in those spaces LOST? Some random save glitch just ruin the file writing process? Did the modded characters I loaded interefe with some other gamefiles or settings, clearing out what it thought should be clear space? I don’t think there’s a way to know.

Which leaves me in a pickle-one which, by the time you read this, will have been cleared; well; gotten over/powered through. It won’t be fixed.

DO I: Redo 9 Levels, hoping to get even better loot, more dough, maybe even more XP,

OR

DO I: power through the first Act and a half of Nightmare till I can get another cube, hoping those extra dozen spaces arent necessary or I need to transmute something.

It’s a damn difficult call; one you won’t read the answer to until long, long after it’s been made.

OR…………

Do I play each version of the character on a different machine, seeing how things develop?

Wait, that’s a damned interesting concept.



“THE CLIMB TO 99-TechJedi’s Experience In Maxxing Levels in Diablo 2″ Part 7

Saturday, November 1st, 2014
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Well kiddies, Baal is dead, his loot dispersed, accolades given, Heroes thanked, so it’s off to bed.

 

Wait.

Antioch is only Level 50.7. No Reason To Stop Now! Yes, per standard procedure, the Game now restarts in NIGHTMARE MODE, back in Act 1; everything is reset except for your character and hireling, and all their equipment held, and anything in the stash. However: (credit Diablo Wiki)

Changes

“Each difficulty plays through the same acts, areas, quests and monsters, but with changes to make it harder for the player and to adjust the areas for higher level characters. A player might be around lvl 40 when defeating Baal in Normal, so upon entering Act 1 in Nightmare he will still be lvl 40. In Normal Difficulty, the Fallen encountered in the Blood Moor are Level 1, so their level is increased in Nightmare to match the player.”

As is clear, I’m now 11 levels above where a player would generally be.

This affected gameplay significantly. I found that although the enemies were expectedly more difficult, they didn’t give me shit for XP. This is stressing, because it may now be necessary to PLAYERS 8 through Act 1! This seems vaguely wrong somehow. Here again from Diablo Wiki, is the break down of changes from Normal to Nightmare:

 

“Nightmare

  • Increased monster levels and stats (hit points, defense, damage, etc.)
  • Monster resists are often buffed, making them more resilient to damage.
  • Player and Hireling resistances are reduced by 40.
  • Death results in a loss of 5% of the experience required to reach the next level. Retrieving your corpse restores 75% of the lost experience.
  • Hirelings and Summons deal 35% damage to Act bosses.
  • Duration of Freezing and Chilling effects and AI-affecting curses (Dim Vision, Confuse, Attract) are reduced by 1/2.
  • Life and Mana Leech effects are reduced by 1/2.
  • Static Field cannot reduce a monster’s health below 33%.
  • Many area maps are increased in size.
  • Act V has additional “Guest Monsters” from other acts to increase the difficulty.
  • Titles for Completion: Champion (Normal); Conqueror (Hardcore)

Thank fuck for Salvation being nearly maxxed out, as it give me +107% resistance to anything but poison currently, which still puts it above the resistance cap of 75%. Once I finish putting all possible points into that skill (20) I can start putting points into VENGEANCE, which will be necessary for HELL, since I’ll start running into things that have *immunities* to things like, I dunno, physical! A simple sword swing won’t do shit to those guys, and most of the Uniques and Super Uniques will have it, and if I remember right, Any Act bosses and Quest Uniques. Let’s see where Antioch stands right now.

As you can see, resistances are as stated; gear is ok I guess-but comparing stats, that shield is just about on the edge of usefulness-I’m definitely going to have to find a 3-socketed shield with at least comparable and hopefully significantly improved stats otherwise, just to keep even on the resistances-RalOrtTal runewords will be invaluable there. Due to the one half effectiveness of life steal, I’ll have to find lots of sockets for weapons, for perfect skulls and AMN runes.

Face it, it’s gonna be an adventure.

At any rate, look for these posts to continue, but slack off in frequency-it’s going to take very long periods to level, so I may go at a pace of only every 5-10 levels. More likely ten, As I distinctly remember dying many, many times inAct 2-mostly because of Duriel, and those damn Unravellers. We’ll see. But for now, we’re halfway through, so sit tight!



Episode #186 “DAMN YOU SOLO-ZARRRRRR!!!”

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014
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We give you part one of Augusts’ MASSIVE indie pile! Mention that we haven’t really been watching comics TV. Tech did watch Flash, and dug it. We start talking Rogue’s Gallery as a result.Finally get to some Indies with teh exciting and well done THE FUSE 5 and 6; STARLIGHT 5, giving us the kids backstory. UNITED STATES OF MURDER INC 4, giving us dumb mooks sticking up Wall Street. I digress to talk about old Diablo 2 characters. Star Wars 20 ends the series on a significantly EH? note. BALTIMORE: WITCH OF HARJU 2 finds the group in a graveyard surrounded by zombies. STAR TREK HARLAN ELLISON 3 gives us more and more recognizable story beats we love. NAILBITER 4 gives us the awesome WTF KILLER. kinda. not really. OUTCAST 3: flash backs and lunch. REVIVAL 23 possibly treats us to Em’s original murder and the Brooklyn shmoo catches up with Hines. Tune in next week for the remainder of the indie set in episode 187.

Come check us out on Facebook, twitter @themeanergeek, leave us voicemail at 203 533 4910 and mail us at themeanergeek@gmail.com, and occasionally see what we have to say textually at www.themeangeek.com

 

Episode #186



“THE CLIMB TO 99-TechJedi’s Experience In Maxxing Levels in Diablo 2″ Part 6

Saturday, October 25th, 2014
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Well, it’s been some time since I went through new areas in D2. I’m cheating a little bit and grinding back through levels I’ve been to already-I killed Diablo another 4 times trying to get better gear, and really didn’t. I was able to get a gem shrine to make me a perfect skull, so that was good; I socketed a new Helmet in Horraggoth, using a perfect Emerald to up my Dex by 10. I’ve completed maxxing out Zeal, and put a couple points in Salvation-since as noted before, soon as this act is over, resistance go into the toilet. I’ve got roughly 60 more skill points to put into things, and even maxxing Salvation I’ll have points left over for Vengeance-all the time not yet counting the extra skills from quest rewards. So as long as I don’t leave an area, or a difficulty, before it gets *too* easy, 99 should be in reach. And I still haven’t factored in the “exploit” of “PLAYERS 8″ yet for XP gain. Do you know that one? I didn’t until my buddy Joel researched it in 2003 after it became just too damned hard. The idea is that if the game thinks there’s 8 players, it adjusts the xp reward way up, but you can do it on previous acts and difficulties, so the monsters themselves are not insurmountable. I wonder if that was taken out in patch 1.13?

It’s a few days later, and yes, I’ve factored in PLAYERS 8. Just…damn. I started back from Harroggoth, and before i even finished Frigid Highlands, I leveled twice. I did not go back through again, but went straight through the highlands and into the Arreat Plateau and Abbadon and The Pit of Whatevers, the into the Crystal Caverns, then in to the Frozen Bridge to Rescue Anya. Clearing all that got me to 42! I leveled twice just in the Cavern and Bridge! All the literature, mostly from Diablo 2 Tomb, says that players 8 is not supposed to effect the actual drops, but the *number* of loot drops; initially it felt like that was really really wrong, As I got several yellows and even a couple Golds before leaving frigid Highlands! That cooled off later though so yea, probably NOT a factor.

Wanna see what I got?

And impressive stuff it is! The Golds are always exciting to see come up, even if they don’t match what I can use. The sets are the curious thing-I’ve gotten several set pieces lately, some even doubling up. For once 99 actually seems in reach. I’ve tried to promise myself that i would not finish the game until 50; I don’t know if I’ll get impatient with that, but I’m going to try; I don’t think I was 50 when I left that very first time. Who knows, it was 12 years ago!

Some of the fun of D2 is the monsters. Some have fairly generic video game/pulpy fantasy names, but not this one.

Screenshot042He amuses me. There are several new types of creature in the Caverns and Bridge; The Abominables type we’ve seen before, but now there are harpie types and These Frozen Creeper types. The Harpies CURSE you, but are sick easy to kill; The Creepers have a jetspray cold attack, but now that my Salvation is active, 75% cold resistance disallows their damage. Remaining in these caves are the ROT WALKERS, which are just zombies-but zombies with GIANT ASSED SWORDS, and a run attack that interrupts and causes knockback. Additionally, they get up again, even if they’ve left you loot-and may let you have more. Hit them with cold so they shatter.

So In the past 24 hours since the last paragraph above, I’ve “Players 8″ ‘ed all the way through Level 50! It was rather marathon and took more than 12 full hours. I still haven’t found anything to replace my weapon and shield, BUT everything else finally upgraded. I upgraded my Hireling, Oriana, to a new bow, helmet, and armor, and damn does she kick some ass now.

I got to the Worldstone Keep after fighting the Ancient at the top of Mt. Arreat; that battle took about 10 full minutes. I have fought Pindleskin about 5 times, and although he doesn’t leave as *man* things anymore, he does always leave yellows at least. at about Leve 49.6, I decided that was close enough, and it was time to face BAAL. I had forgotten however just how many minions he had screening him from attach before the Worldstone Chamber, so that was an Adventure! Demons and Undead from every other Act came by, with a Unique each, and boy were they tough! Additionally, I had forgotten about the Super Unique Demon Minions, The MINIONS OF DESTRUCTION; oddly enough the toughest and ugliest of the bunch-that battle, with the six of them, finally put me at 50, and i gambled for a while before facing BAAL, but got nothing worthwhile.

The Baal fight was about 15-20 minutes, as although the bonuses on my weapon are great, the damage no longer is. I had to go back to town twice for health potions despite life steal being about 13% right now. He gave me some Yellows, detailed below, but skimped out on the Golds. Gave me a set though, and a new piece of info-I had no idea the Arctic set featured a bow-there fore, I will not be collecting those. I had hoped all the patches since release would have changed Baal’s quest completion rewards, like giving extra stats or a skill or something, but that was not to be. Tune in next week as i detail what happens when I try to get to 51 on NIGHTMARE!

 



Episode #185-”Every Writer Now Has To Figure Out How To Deal With The Fact He Was FRANKENCASTLE”

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014
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We are watching Return of The Incredible Hulk FEATURING THOR; It’s DC week and that means disaster. It also means that this is the last DC you”ll hear from us for a while because I didn’t buy 3D covers because I’m done with gimmicks. We wax nostalgic about remembering when the 80′s Marvel movies came out. We kick it off with DETECTIVE 43, and the undecuded Bats ‘n’ Bullock bout. We can’t figure out why there’s a squid there. SECRET ORIGINS 5 bored us to tears. SUPERMAN 34 brings us the excitement that is parent-visiting, Powers going wonky, and mechanical wolves. MULTIVERSITY 1 is something we end up talking about twice. SENSATION COMICS 1 was a pleasant read, but needs to leave Gotham alone. SINESTRO 5, THE BEAT DOWN gets read. GI ZOMBIE 2 Meth Heads and biological weapons should never mix. BATMAN 34 finally brings us crime that is not earth-shattering and somewhat personal for once. BODIES 2 has affairs and confusing future slang. UNWRITTEN 8 has a deafeated ogre, a penetant Tommy,  there’s stabbings, and more. ASTRO CITY 14 brings us sweet old ladies repairing robots and unethical, secret keeping nephews.

Come check us out on Facebook, twitter @themeanergeek, leave us voicemail at 203 533 4910 and mail us at themeanergeek@gmail.com, and occasionally see what we have to say textually at www.themeangeek.com

Episode #185



“THE CLIMB TO 99-TechJedi’s Experience In Maxxing Levels in Diablo 2″ Part 5

Saturday, October 18th, 2014
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HARROGATH!

Hell is over and it was nothing interesting. Act IV has Diablo dying at your hands, but his brother, BAAL, is still out there somewhere. So the mission isn’t really over. For another 25 bucks, (this was 2001) ACT V becomes available, set in the cold an irritating realm of ARREAT, home of the Barbarian protectors of the Worldstone.

At any rate, I’ve made it to Level 30 and this is my loot and adventures at the first mission, destroying catapults besieging a town and killing the nasty-assed SHENK THE OVERSEER. On my way to him I had completely forgotten about the weird little creature DAC FERREN, a Cold Enchanted Super Unique Demon Gremlin guarding the narrowest part of the Bloody Foothills, about half way up. Accompanied by four minions in Normal, he doesn’t guard very well. Takes about 4 seconds to kill his ass. He didn’t leave shit for me this time.

Shenk_the_Overseer

 

Not a screenshot. Stolen image.

 

An hour later, Shenk gave me nothing I care about for myself, but I was able to swap out Oriana’s bow. After moving on after him, I leveled to 31, added some more strength; soon I’ll need it for armor. A few unremarkable named creatures later, and I found  all the barbarian prisoners, and killed their overseer guard, giving me some YELLOW  demonhide boots and a YELLOW crown; the crown turned out to be dooky, but I finally have some boots worth talking about! As reward for freeing the prisoners, I had totally forgotten Qual Khek gives you a set of RAL ORT TAL runes, which, at this current patch level, are actually RIDICULOUSLY easy to find. So now I have four sets. Honestly, in my original run where I got to 88, Once I got the shield to put those in, I never needed another, never did find anything even comparable, and that shield got me though all of Hell and through Act 5 in Nightmare.

Screenshot029 Screenshot030 Screenshot031

Things I had forgotten about in ACT V: I HATE TELEPORTERS! Crush Beasts are funny, towers are dumb, and the Frigid Highlands are irritatingly complex, terrain wise. The Arreat Plateau is about 60,000 friggin square miles; I had forgotten both Abbadon And Acheron, with their tons of relatively easy monsters and magic chests. I had forgotten about the Lashers that create exploding jerks from the Enslaved type creatures.

In the early parts of THE CRYSTALLINE CAVERN, I dinged 33-an important Milestone-Literally 1/3 through the point of this whole exercise. It occurs to me, this late in the game, only 1/3 through to Max Level, which is of course the point-that I better not leave this difficulty level before 40. Considering how many places in Act V I keep forgetting, and there’s likely to be about 4 more, this seems like it won’t be a difficulty. But if I get to 40 and I am, story wise, ready to face BAAL, I think I’ll try to hold off and get to like 42 or 43 before that. Reason being, I JUST maxxed ZEAL levels, so now I can put all other skill points into resistances. For those of you not remembering or not familiar, in Nightmare and Hell, no matter what your resistance numbers are, they drop significantly. You really have to be ready with those stats before you jump to Hell.  At any rate, As you read this I am partying down in Maryland, so I’m not actually playing; I’ll try to play during the week and schedule a post to keep you updated properly.