AssIsGrass - by Zed-F
Battle report of a solo Slackers variant.
Yesterday, after a long break from playing her, I finally took the time to take AssIsGrass from toddlerhood all the way to adolescence.
Her main damage source is blade fury-delivered crushing blow, which of course means it takes several hits to kill any monster, but monster hp is largely irrelevant to how many hits it takes. This is supplemented by a modest venom skill, a weak death sentry, and, of course, her shadow. Generally speaking she operates with 2 Strength katars, Rattlecage, Goblin toes, and crafted KB gloves on her main setup, with a pair of +skills wrist blades (+2 all, +3 shadow) on the switch. Combined with a +3 shadow mask, during toddlerhood this gave her BoS, Venom, and SM at 9 with precast. Of course, she wasn't able to actually equip these claws and hat until around the end of act 2 and the beginning of act 3. Before that, she was using a Lore circlet.
I don't remember too much about Acts 1-3 anymore. As I recall, so long as there weren't more than 2-3 players in the game, things were manageable, though progress was of course slow by conventional standards. Like most ranged characters, for the most part her biggest worry was having enough room to maneuver. Even at slvl2, in NM act 1, SM makes a reasonable tank. She did have some problems with the shadow waking up mobs she wasn't ready to deal with yet, especially boss packs, but ultimately she managed. Resurrectors were occasionally a nuisance as well; she does have some tools to make handling those a bit easier, such as CoS and DS, but her defenses were weak enough that she was frequently forced to scare away things like fallen using blade fury to apply rattlecage terror, rather than concentrate on the resurrector like she would wish to. Still, with DS around to blow up corpses, it was always just a matter of time. She did suffer the occasional death, but was not very frequently. Andariel was not a great challenge, she was pinned with shadow master and blade furied. It did take a number of SM recasts and a couple trips to town IIRC but no deaths were incurred.
In act 2 I was a bit concerned that skeletal archers might pose a problem, but their damage was less severe than I had expected, and slvl 2 shadow master was still performing adequately (if barely so) as a tank. Frequent recasts were required. In normal diff, before she could equip her CB gear, AssIsGrass was trap-dependent and drank like a fish; in nightmare she still had to drink fairly frequently, though less so as time went on and she got the levels to use better +mana gear. More dangerous were the beetles in the a2 deserts, since their sparks were sometimes difficult to evade and AssIsGrass had only the Lore hat for lightning resists. The maggot lair was painfully slow, but not super-dangerous. What WAS dangerous was the Temple of the Serpents. AssIsGrass is a slow killer that can handle threats from pretty much only one direction at a time. Unfortunately, when she entered the 2nd level of the temple to get the amulet, as she was heading toward the upper part of the temple, some serpents came from the lower side and trapped her, killing her and guarding her corpse. Lack of maneuvering room = a bad thing. She had quite a time trying to recover from that situation, leading to many deaths, as there always seemed to be some mobs blocking the stairwell up to the altar. Eventually she managed to retrieve her corpse and find the path up to the altar open, and from there she was able to pick off the rest of the mobs in the altar room, before claiming her amulet. The remainder of the act was fairly standard. She levelled up to 42 just in time for Duriel, so she was able to use one of her switch wrist blades to give her slvl4 SM for that fight, which was sufficient to take a couple hits before going down. Duriel forced her to use her TP escape route a number of times, but she was never killed.
Act 3 was not too bad for the most part, though getting too close to a flayer shaman was a painful experience. Blowgun flayers were annoying but still didn't do enough damage to be more than that. Flayers in general didn't take too much punishment to kill since their relatively low hp total meant that venom made a bigger dent in it. Dolls were a bit more of a concern, though a manageable one so long as they focussed on the shadow. Around about the time she got to Kurast, she hit 45 and was able to use her +3 shadow claw on the switch and her +3 shadow hat instead of the Lore circlet, boosting her BoS/Venom/SM to slvl9. Combined with a clvl47 req rare ring with +83 mana and +10 strength she was soon able to equip, this meant a further reduction in the number of blues consumed. Sometime in Kurast she was able to equip this as well and her gear setup was, for the moment, complete. Once I got her to Travincal, I took a break to play other characters for a while. Eventually, however, I got around to playing her again. She started by clearing most of Travincal, ending up with the council, who were accomodating enough to separate nicely so AssIsGrass could deal with them individually. As a result she had no real problems getting the flail and opening the Durance. Once inside, she had a long fight to clear all of Durance 1 before she found the stairs, and almost all of Durance 2 before she found the stairs and WP there as well. In Durance 3, Bremm was a nuisance, but eventually he got stuck in a corner where his sparks were not killing AssIsGrass's SM too quickly and got blade furied. Voidbringer and Maffer were not nearly as big a threat. Mephy was lured to the edge of the moat and blade furied from a safe distance until he went down, which took a while and several mana potions.
Act 4 went slowly. She managed to find the stairs from the Outer Steppes to the Plains of Despair a couple of times before I had to leave the game and do something else. Eventually I was able to find a day where I had enough free time that I was confident I'd at least be able to get to the City. Fortunately she got good draws; at least I didn't have to deal with any gloams this time. She did die once to bats when teleporting somewhere she didn't intend to teleport, but otherwise was able to take it slowly and carefully enough not to die. It did take a long time to clear out maggot infestations, though, even with DS to help out. She made it to the River WP and went back to kill Izual in about 3-4 hours of play. After another break while I played other characters, yesterday I started again, and having most of the day available I decided to spend it on AssIsGrass. So I cleared most of the CS, and started on the Infector. I expected I might have to lure him all the way back to the river so I could park him and shoot him from another platform, but instead his minions all spread out, so I tackled them in ones and twos within the Sanctuary, eventually slaying the Infector. Then my game dumped; that was no good, so I started a new game with AssIsGrass, cleared the CS and Infector with my clvl 82 summoner necro, and then hopped back in with AssIsGrass. Next up was DeSeis. With fanaticism up, his Doom Knights could kill an slvl9 SM pretty quickly, so I tried to lure them away from him and outside his fanaticism radius, with mixed success. Eventually they all went down anyway, and DeSeis himself wasn't a big problem. Neither was the Vizier.
For Diablo, though, I didn't think I'd be able to count on my slvl 9 SM to tank, and blade fury leaves you vulnerable to counter attack since, like Inferno, you have to be stationary to use it. I decided on a different approach. I stashed all my blade fury gear, went to act 1, and shopped for fire resist gear, +hp armour, and faster walk/run boots. Then I swapped BoS for Fade and Death Sentry for Lightning Sentry (more efficient damage/time since it has 10 shots) on my hotkeys. I then proceeded to shoot nightmare Diablo around the corner using slvl 3 lightning sentry. It took a LONG time and many trips to town for potions to kill him, but no deaths were incurred. He dropped a Skystrike.
Act 5 - I swapped back to my regular gear and, having achieved my goal of defeating nightmare Diablo while still a toddler, graduated to Child status. This meant that I could now actually have skills at more than slvl 1+! I took the obvious choice of SM 10 (+, and decided that an improved corpse explosion radius was more useful than extra venom damage, so went for DS 10 as well. I then continued with the usual progression through Act 5. My resists were back to -30 pretty much everywhere, so Imp fire attacks actually stung, but otherwise she didn't encounter anything too unmanageable right away. Her new and improved shadow managed to kill off Shenk by herself, not from meleeing him but from repeatedly casting DS to chain reaction corpses from his mass of troops after I had killed one or two with blade fury. He wasn't even onscreen when he died! Further up the mountain, things started to get a bit more hairy when she started to encounter Slingers. Piercing javelins with elemental damage = ouch. Still she managed to make it through to the Crystalline Passage. This wasn't so bad, though the freezing arrow rogues were a pain, but the Frozen River had lots of gloams. Not nice! Lots of use of CoS and hiding around the corner when she could meant that she didn't die, but there were some close calls. The Glacial Trail was quite a bit easier for all it had serpents in it; the wookies and bone warriors were not that hard to deal with. The improved Death Sentry explosion radius was really making itself felt here, and in later areas as well, making CE chains a much more common occurrance. AssIsGrass cleared the Glacial Trail and the Frozen Tundra areas, stopping in between to visit the Drifter Cavern. There she got a rude surprise when her SM woke up a frenzytaur champ pack while she was working on a cursed-blessed aim frenzytaur boss pack. Ouch! Two-hit killed, with the second hit coming while still in hit recovery. Recovering her corpse was a bit of an adventure too since she couldn't rely on CoS to blind the mobs and let her reach her corpse unscathed. She did eventually dispose of the boss, though he could take even an slvl 18 SM down fairly quickly.
Next she backtracked to the Halls to go after Nilly -- I managed to locate the stairs quickly in both the Halls of Anguish and Pain, but I had to look for a while to find Nilly in the Halls of Vaught. He went down without too much trouble, however. Finally I went back for the Ancients Way, which had, among other things, Carvers. Those little guys were annoying as heck! They moved fast enough that even when I chased them off with terror they came right back, and they cold damage added to their attack meant I couldn't ignore them either. CoS helped, but it didn't last all that long, and sometimes I had trouble getting close enough to the shaman to use it. Nevertheless, I found the WP and summit without too much fuss. The Ancients themselves were actually quite easy, though they took a while to defeat. They focussed pretty much entirely on my shadow and never really gave me any worries as they couldn't damage her fast enough to really be a threat. I just kept whittling away with Blade Fury. Finally I proceeded into the Keep. WSK 1 had OKs and Fire Boars, but no gloams, so I was alright with that. WSK 2 had Cadavers, serpents, and witches, even better. I cleared that and found the WP. WSK 3 had OKs again, but I managed to find the stairs down quickly. WSK4 had the usual Death Lords, plus Pit Fiends and Vampires. There was even a Pit Fiend boss pack right at the entrance! That was interesting to deal with, but she eventually cleared it, and the rest of WSK4 as well. Baal's minions were not particularily difficult with DS to help out, though Lister & Co. were of course a bit harder. Still, CB eventually wore him down.
Then it was time for the final fight. I again decided to eschew blade fury in favour of traps for the fight against Baal. Back to act 1 to buy some more resist and +life gear, focusing on cold this time. For a trapper, Baal's most annoying attacks (other than the clone) are the tentacles and the cold wedge. I couldn't do anything about the tentacles, but I wanted at least some protection from the wedge. Once I was moderately happy with my gear I gambled a bit in case I should die, and ultimately picked up a moderately nice rare trapper hat with prismatic resists and +2 to traps! Convenient. I swapped that in and wound up with about 65 cold resist and 50 fire resist with Fade up. I knew Baal would take a while to fall to slvl5 lightning sentry even with 10 points of DS synergy, and he did. Still, in the end, there a couple semi-close calls, but AssIsGrass emerged victorious. The drop was crap, unfortunately, but she managed to make it to preteen!
The next question is what path she will take in Hell. I'm thinking she might start to really need more hit points. Accordingly, I'm not planning to take my 3rd skill and start pumping venom. Instead, I might hold off on that and wait until I have graduated to Teen, and then move her to the Stoner path and allocate a bunch of points to Vitality. Extra strength would also help give her a broader selection of gear to choose from. Time will tell.
Next up: A1 Hell!
After another long break from D2 I eventually came back, and started up a few 1.10 characters in the "new" ladder. I also put a few hours into AssIsGrass here and there. Here's some notes I took during her most recent journeys. Not all of it is in story format, but some is.
Den of Evil: No particular problems
Blood Raven: Trying to work through Blood Raven's army was a pain, but liberal use of mind blast tended to bunch the mobs together enough that they could be worked around. This fight required many blues and BR had amassed a substantial army by the time it was over, but she eventually went down.
Cain: Getting through the Underground passage was interesting since there were 3 or 4 boss packs clustered together near the entrance area, but since a couple of them were archer packs and not that aggressive, she was able to split them up effectively and deal with them piecemeal. Treehead's pack split themselves up as well, so she didn't have too much problem with them despite losing half her life and all her mana on any hit. She did suffer one unexpected death dealing with a relatively innocous CE boss pack when she proved to be standing just inside the nova radius when the boss went down, rather than just outside as she had thought. She also cleared her way to the Outer Cloister, trying to level before tackling the Countess's Tower and its many potential stair traps.
Countess: There were indeed several stair traps in the tower, but AssIsGrass was able to either fight her way out, or navigate around, clear some maneuvering room, and come back for each of the first 4 levels. By the time she was ready to tackle the bottom floor, SmOcchi the Bare came along, looking for trouble. The assassin duo ventured into the Countess's lair, cleared the side chambers, and then crossed signals and wound up waking up too many monsters at once, including a moderately nasty goat boss pack. A couple deaths ensued, but soon enough the Countess was dead, dropping a Shael.
Barracks, Smith, Jail: Some new gear became available from another character who got deleted, so she made a couple changes. She switched her Sharkskin Belt of the Whale for one of Atlas, which cost her about a fifth of her total life but gave her more flexibility in other areas. It allowed her to unequip a ring she had been using for strength and mana and replace it with a second angelic halo for more badly needed AR. It also gave her enough strength to equip Lava Gout for the CTC Enchant -- more AR and fire damage to supplement her mainly physical (crushing blow) damage. Of course she had to give up her crafted knockback gloves to accomplish it, but the results seemed likely to be worth it. She still had chance to cause monster to flee on her armour for crowd control purposes.
This set up seemed to go pretty well, though losing 83 mana from the ring hurt. Some mana charms partially made up the difference but she was still drinking blues regularily -- though she had been doing that even with the mana ring anyhow. She tried using a Carrion Wind ring she had lying around from Slackers that no-one wanted, but it wasn't any more useful for AssIsGrass; she already has poison damage from Venom, the plague poppy died much too easily, and life steal isn't all that useful to her anyway.
The Smith didn't give AssIsGrass too much trouble, as he didn't have any really dangerous mods and her SM was up to the task of tanking him. Further into the jail, though, she did run into problems a couple times. A cold-enchanted archer pack managed to take her out once when her SM didn't engage promptly, and a lightning enchanted bone mage pack provided similar grief (it was also fanaticism-enchanted, which didn't help.) A multishot bone mage also gave her an instakill at one point. AssIsGrass has noticed that having -80 resists pretty much everywhere is a painful proposition, especially when one has only 400-odd life. Instakills abound. Nevertheless, she's convinced that BoS is still more useful to her at this point than Fade would be -- going from -80 to -40 or so wouldn't be as helpful as having quick enough feet to avoid getting shot in the first place. Something else she would like to have, but unfortunately doesn't, is faster hit recovery... which is not a good thing when she's already close to instakill territory to begin with.
Regardless, she did manage to gain a level and make it to the Inner Cloister with a bit of persistence. I think she can at least make it to Andy at this rate, and probably past her. She can probably make it as far as Temple of the Serpents without insurmountable trouble... though sparky beetles in the desert could be a big problem. But once we start getting to piercing attacks, I'm not sure what she will do. She'll have CoS, of course, which will be an enormous help... but the temple was a disaster last time around, and she'll have an even harder time this go-around. And Duriel, with a bunch of cold damage from HF, will probably be more than capable of smacking her around like a frozen hockey puck...
Inner Cloister to Andariel: AssIsGrass played some more with the Dark Ones, which kept fleeing to odd corners and coming back from inconvenient directions, at least until she managed to kill off the shamen and put them down for good. Still, they were manageable. She had to clear most of Cats 1 before she found the stairs, and about half of Cats 2 to find both the WP and the stairs down. A couple deaths were incurred, once to a surprise attack from a Tainted hiding around a corner, and once to a death nova from a CE Arach boss. In Cats 3, however, she met the most annoying boss of this part of her journey -- a Stone Skin Vampire boss. Her DS didn't really seem to make much of an impact, so she was forced to whittle away with the elemental damage component of her Blade Fury... which was fine so long as she got enough hits in to keep her Venom applied, but that wasn't necessarily the easiest thing in the world. The LCS said her hit percentage was somewhere around 64%, and Venom doesn't last very long, especially when (IIRC) Vampires are partially poison-resistant. If AssIsGrass meets a Phys/Poison Immune boss... she probably will have to park it. In any case, after several minutes of combat and several mana potions, she finally managed to dispatch the boss, and found the stairs down shortly afterward.
Andariel's antechamber didn't present any particular challenges; she was able to keep monsters together so her DS would blow up most of the Dark One corpses before they could be resurrected. Andariel herself was a manageable challenge as well; her poison attack was making fairly short work of AssIsGrass's shadow, but not so fast that blade fury wasn't making a noticeable dent in the meantime. BoS also meant that AssIsGrass was able to avoid enough of Andy's poison sprays that setting up for an attack run wasn't too hard. Soon enough, the Maiden of Pain went down, and AssIsGrass made her way to Lut Gholein.
Sewers: Sewers 1 started off in annoying fashion as when AssIsGrass entered through the dockside door, the first monsters she encountered was a pack of Invader champs, which was too much to deal with when she had no room to work with. However, she was able to enter through the trapdoor by Griez and make her way laboriously down to the stairs without encountering any insurmountable obstacles, so that was ok. In Sewers 2 she again had to clear most of the level to find the WP, and then I had to take a break and play a different character. Just getting to the WP easily took over an hour, possibly closer to two. The next session she started from the WP and managed to find the stairs down without a lot of grief, though progress was still slow. But once she went down the stairs, she hit a brick wall. The first monsters she encountered near the entrance was a Holy Freeze boss pack of lesser mummies. They weren't fast, but AssIsGrass kills slowly enough that dealing with any champ or boss pack without a significant amount of maneuvering room is a tricky proposition. She managed to kill a couple before they forced her back to the stairs... so she ran past them and tried to establish a position to the north. She found a small corner that seemed possible, with CTC flee to chase all the monsters in a specific direction. But she kept having to deal with leakers coming up from the south that she had bypassed. Then she found a second boss pack before she managed to clear a significant amount of maneuvering room... and some horrors came with them. AssIsGrass certainly wasn't ready to face Radament yet. She was forced to abandon her position again, and headed back southward, trying to avoid waking up the HF mummy pack again. Then she met not one, but two PI/Poison Immune mummy boss packs closing from the west. Since AssIsGrass relies heavily on poison to prevent boss healing, those would be pretty much unkillable, except maybe by spamming Death Sentry and drinking blues like a fish. She ran past them, deeper into the maze, past a fifth boss pack of skeletons, ever further from Radament... and never did find a safe place from which to face the various packs of monsters that were after her. She eventually had to bail on the level -- though fortunately without dying.
Since Radament is out of reach for the moment, AssIsGrass continues her quest by heading into the desert, planning to come back for another go-around with Radament later. Of course, right out of the gates she meets a beetle boss pack, and then a second a short distance away, but neither of these prove too troublesome and she defeats them without a lot of fuss. A nice change from the cramped quarters and poison-resistant mobs of the sewers! Next she met a fanaticism-enchanted extra fast leaper boss pack; that fight went all over the place! Good thing she had some room to run in by this point.
CTC flee is frequently more trouble than help when dealing with ranged attackers, but AssIsGrass really cannot deal with more than one monster at a time in any meaningful fashion, so it is occasionally invaluable, especially when dealing with swarming melee attackers. Is the hassle justified by the extra 25% crushing blow and the anti-swarming behaviour? It's hard to say; if I had access to the ability to build Duress, that might be more useful. Another thing that sticks in my mind as "would be very useful" is some PMH. She nearly had to park that Ghoul Lord in A1 over lack of it. One would think that a Malice claw would be a ready solution... but that requires 3 sockets, and she doesn't have anywhere close to the Dex she'd need to equip a suitable claw.
So, to address some of these problems, I go shopping. The first thing I go shopping for is some new armour, and I eventually pick up some Artisan's Light Plate of Precision. I socket a 1-93 lightning jewel for a bit of extra damage, and the extra Dex allows me to equip several new classes of claws. That in turn allows me to go claw shopping, and I wind up picking up a Condensing Blade Talon of Slaughter, a Shocking Blade Talon, and another Shadow claw to replace the Witchhunter's wrist blade. So AssIsGrass winds up getting rid of the CTC flee and adding a bunch of elemental damage (mainly fire and lightning) at the cost of much of her crushing blow, though she does retain 25% from Goblin Toes. She also picks up a Fleshrender club for PMH, as well as open wounds, extra crushing blow, and physical damage, though her AR while using it is considerably poorer. Unfortunately this leaves her without the strength to use Lavagout, so she once again dons her crafted knockback gloves for crowd control.
With some new damage options at hand, AssIsGrass ventures once again into the Sewers. This time she has better luck with not running into insurmountable challenges without having enough room to work around them or otherwise eliminate them. The arcing claw also makes it considerably easier to deal with the burning dead in the sewers. AssIsGrass was a bit worried about the mass of undead surrounding Radament, but Death Sentry and the knockback gloves proved adequate to deal with the problem. Radament himself took a long time to kill due to his massive hit total and the fact that he was stone skin, which took crushing blow off the table. Nevertheless, he did eventually go down.
Next, AssIsGrass returned to the Far Oasis, with the intent of proceeding through the Lost City to the Claw Viper Temple. She in large portion cleared the area again, dying a couple times (once to a FELE Raptor boss, and once to a might-enchanted buzzard boss which telekilled her) but also levelling. The poison-tossing slingers in the Lost City were a nuisance, but not as bad as she had thought they might be. She avoided a fanat-enchanted Dark Elder superunique in the Lost City and instead made her way to the Valley of the Snakes. Upon entering the temple, she encountered snakes, of course, as well as embalmed... not a bad draw, though the poison immune embalmed took a bit to kill, and there could be a third, more dangerous monster type present. However, upon taking the left branch at the entrance and proceeding to the end of a short corridor, she found the stairs down almost immediately. Now comes the moment of truth... how to get the amulet in that crowded chamber? If Fangskin spans on the amulet platform, she faces a long but hopefully relatively safe task to clear the chamber, but if he doesn't, possibly her best bet would be to buy a teleport staff. Her plan upon going down the stairs is to cloak, mind blast whatever's on the amulet platform out of the way, teleport up there, grab the ammy, and run. Fortuitously enough, there wasn't anything atop the platform when she arrived, so her plan worked perfectly! Assassins and thieves are not that far distant from one another...
Next up was the Maggot Lair. If the Claw Viper Temple proved to be relatively easy, the Maggot Lair was not... or, more accurately, it was tediously slow. Lots of poison immune monsters here. In the first room she meets a Scarab boss pack and two maggot boss packs -- fortunately not really dangerous since her shadow can take the heat, but a real pain to try to kill, especially since one of the maggot bosses is PI/PI (phys/poison.) She has to resort to pulling out Fleshrender purely for PMH on that one, then furying it for a couple minutes with the condensing claws. Her to hit has dropped to something like 62% as well; clvl-mlvl is not helping her out as she's only 68 at the moment. Ultimately she winds up clearing most of level 1 and about half of level 2, but finds Coldworm without too much difficulty on level 3. She went down relatively easily despite her poison immunity due to multiple corpse explosions from death sentry.
The palace is normally something most people either bypass entirely or zip through in very short order; the monsters there are not particularily tough, normally speaking. Of course, when you have -80 lit res and less than 400 life, it's a different story. Horror archers actually do respectable damage, and with a good damage roll, a single shot from a normal horror archer could wipe out 80% of AssIsGrass's life total. Moreover, since it's dark in the palace and the archers are black, they are often very difficult to see until they start shooting at you. Fortunately, with liberal use of cloak, she was able to make it through the harem with no deaths. The cellar was a different story. In Palace Cellar 1, she met an Invader boss pack almost right away, and was threatened to get boxed in a corner. She ran around the pack, passed a blunderbore boss pack, and managed to grab the WP, but was tagged by a blunderbore champ pack on the way to the stairs to Cellar 2. It was quite crowded down there! Still she managed to hop back via the WP, recover her corpse, then dodge around the champs to the stairs to Cellar 2. However, the first monsters she met going down to Cellar 2 was another Invader boss pack, this time with even less maneuvering room. Back up the stairs she went. She cleared her way around to the other stairwell to Cellar 2, then went down that way; fortunately, no boss packs greeted her on this side. She cleared Cellar 2 from that stairwell to both ways down to Cellar 3, just in case. This proved prophetic, as when she did ultimately go down, the first thing she met was a champ pack of horror mages -- since she couldn't blind them with cloak, shadow refused to tank for her, and she had (again) no maneuvering room, she suffered another death here. Time to try the other side! Fortunately, no stair trap here, so she was able to clear most of the level with some effort and much cursing at the shadow, which insisted on some particularily boneheaded stunts here. Fire Eye was FELE and fire and lightning immune, but Venom did a good enough job on him that she preferred to stick it out rather than head back to town for Fleshrender, and he eventually went down.
AssIsGrass is now up to the Arcane Sanctuary; from here, the next major challenge looks to be the Hierophants and Council members in Kurast; with their self-healing, I'm not certain it's possible for her to kill them, and their elemental attacks will be murder for her. Given how slow she's become at killing things, I'm not sure what her next steps should be. It's not so much that she's incapable of progressing; it's more a question of how much tedium I am willing to endure. Levelling her some would hopefully allow her to find some better gear and improve her position on the clvl-mlvl curve, and claiming Come-of-Age status would potentially help as well, though she hasn't done so yet even though she's defeated Andariel. Still, without a quantum leap in what gear is available for her to choose from, it doesn't seem profitable to do either right now. The condensing and shocking claws help to some degree, but they don't seem like potential end-game weapons; a couple hundred elemental damage per hit isn't that much, all things considered, and she's off-ladder, so the pickings for gear upgrades are relatively slim. Given that her prospects for substantial improvement seem small, do I really want to invest a lot of time in advancing her story? I could reasonably see her past Duriel, but then what?