First Hardcore Character
Now with several characters
with several classes finishing Act One, it was time to begin a Hardcore
character. With my current CPU, and lousy CD-ROM, lag is a big concern,
so I needed something that could withstand the possibility of a few seconds
ambush during level load. I chose the Paladin, and the Necromancer (with
his never-lagged minions) will be the second choice. My earlier Paladin
tried a little splash of everything skillwise, but that would not be good
for this HC. I would need extra Prayer, extra Might, a lot of Zeal (if
I lived long enough to see it) and skipped out on Holy Bolt, the Resists,
and Smite. I'm writing a guide on Paladin skills, but suffice it to say
for now that Zeal rocks, and that by clvl 12 or so, or when you find a
mana steal weapon of some kind, you will never use 'regular' attack again.
The other KEY item to Zeal is that the first attack goes against the targetted
monster, but subsequent attacks choose from all monsters in range. For
a mob situation with lag, this may just save the HC life.
As my first HC, Simba would take it slow - this cat had one life to live.
Early quests were not bad, with the Den of Evil not a problem, and waiting
til clvl 6 before taking on the Blood Raven. I was rewarded by Kashya
with one of the best NPC rogues I've seen yet - one who fires flaming
arrows. (Game ended with a crash, I'm hoping the NPC will return in the
next game!) He also got a sweet drop for his level, the Greyform unique
Greyform - Quilted Armor
DR-10 Defense Dur-100 Str reqd-12
+5 life stolen per hit
-3 Magic Damage
+20% Resist Fire
+20% Resist Cold
The Hands of Broc - Leather Gloves
+3% Life stolen per hit
+3% Mana stolen per hit
+10% Poison Resistance
+20 to Mana
Early skill points went as follows:
1 Sacrifice (+100% dmg, even with just 1 slvl point, very nice)
4 Might (would be useful with ALL attack forms, including later Zeal)
plans for the next ones:
9 Defiance (this will be my "go down stairs" aura)
10 Might or Smite
12 Zeal, Cleansing
13 Zeal or Charge ...
I plan to pass up on Holy bolt, and wait til much later on Resist Cold/Fire/Ltning,
Charge. Likewise Thorns, I don't want a HC to be in a position where this
is doing good :) In a non-beta game with higher level skills, some such
as Blessed Aim and others would get one point as prerequisites for better.
I'm debating a point to Smite and Charge. Why? The way Charge is controlled
is great for tough bosses and for panic situations. For tough foes, it
'stuns' them and does a knockback, and if you alternate charge with Sacrifice,
you might kill it before it ever hits you. Also, you can click 'beyond'
a monster and it will attack whatever is in its path and run on. If trapped
by a mob this might get you out of danger. The main downside is the high
mana cost, 9 pts, vs 2 for something like Zeal.
Simba found his way to the Dark Wood and is now looking carefully for
Treehead Woodfist, evil enemy of HC. Then off to try to rescue Tristram.
Wish him luck... (Dark Woods? In the Jungle? The Mighty Jungle?? Hmmm...
... shift ahead a day...
Not only did the NPC return in town for me the next game, but when I crashed
I had a potion in hand... it was still there ??! With Elly's help, and
a powerful Sacrificial trident, Treefist went down, and went down hard.
I had to be careful with Rakanishu who is a nasty lightning enchanted
boss - both for my sake and Elly's. We were fortunate in facing the Countess
- her half dozen Vile minions all came out of the room in a pack to greet
us. This was not easy, BUT it left the Countess all alone. One on one
is the Paladin's forte - with the choice of Defiance, Thorns, Might, and
Sacrifice. I also ended up learning Holy Bolt, feeling sorry for Elly
who I was unable to heal fast enough in Prayer vs a certain Moon Goat
Clan... This leaves just two tough quests and foe left for the Hardcore
title of "Count" the Smith on the Horadric Malus quest, and Andariel.
You'll hear that story before too long...