This morning I made my third Slayer, Clyde. He's a Bonemancer (hopefully obviously) who's in the Inner Cloister NM. I've got a lot of questions, that I'm hoping can be answered by those with lots more experience than me.
Character info (this won't be perfect, I haven't got him open at the moment)
Dexterity 46 (both including charms)
Energy 90 (with quite a few unused stat points)
Life 221 (it wasn't like this when I killed Baal, I was wearing a circlet of the colossus then)
Circlet of Revivification (+13 regen life)
Ume's Lament (thanks Summoned)
Rare Shrunken Head (with 30% block and +9 resist all, with +13 extra fire resist)
Exceptional Studded Leather (name escapes me right now, with +25ish cold resist)
Ocher Gauntlets of Fortune (16/25 I believe)
MF Amulet (14%)
Two rare rings, with resists and +Mana bonuses, found early on in act 1
Belt (no notable mods)
Tireless boots of chance (yeah, I'm lame, I'm looking for something better)
Jade Tan Do on weapon switch (cause I have it)
Poison -3% (with two items with the "of remedy" bonus)
Skills (with the+skills from Ume's Lament)
Bone Spirit-Level 11, avg damage about 500
Bone Spear-Level 13, avg damage close to 400
Fire golem-Level 4, with lvl 3 Golem Mastery
Bone Wall-Level 9
Bone Prison-Level 4 (these two are currently planned to synergize Bone Spirit/Bone Armor later)
Corpse Explosion-Lvl 4
Now the questions:
Merc: the burning question, right now I have a Cold Iron Wolf, should I get a Holy Freeze Merc (from Act 2) when I get there?
Skills: Right now my plan is to max Spirit, Spear, Prison, and ultimately Wall, with extra points in FG, GMastery, and SR. Do I need some more levels? (I'm planning to go back and do the Tamoe Highland and Pit tomorrow)Should I a)change the synergies b)choose a different golem c)focus on one golem spell over the other two? I would like reasons, please.
Gear: Do I need more poision resist? What can I do to improve the gear? Should I cut back on MF? (I found six sets/uniques in about an hour and a half...I really don't want to, but I will if I have to) Is there a way to get even better skill bonuses (White runeword perhaps?)
Stats:Specifically, vitality and dexterity. I don't want to become dead meat from blood mana in Act V. Will I be able to acquire good +life gear and take off some +mana stuff before Act V NM? Or should I pump vit for a while?
The other thing I really want to know is blocking. Is it worth the reduction in life/mana? And if so, would it also be worth it to equip a shield that actually blocks instead of a shrunken head with a 30% chance (and giving up +skills from said head)? Is there a runeword that will help?
I'm quite a newbie, so any help is greatly appreciated. This is a lot of questions, so I would certainly like a lot of input if possible. Thanks. You people are great.
Most ppl use act 1 fire rogue mercs since you bone prison the baddies so any melee mercs won't help.
a) If you're not using marrowwalk bug maxing Bone Wall and Bone Armor would be best since both bone wall and bone prison are kinda redundant.
b) Best golem is clay golem in many cases, more life and he has slow target whenever he hits something.
c) See above
Well you're gear seems mostly untwinked except for the wand, you could easily upg to mid range +skill gear. Poison resist shouldn't be too important, you will be casting Bone Prison on most everything so gettting hit by poison shouldn't be happening too often.
White is the best for +skills, try finding one with either +3 bone spirit or bon spear depending on which you use more.
Well either go max blocking or all vitality, don't know how much mana you will need but don't be afraid to jug a few pots once in a while. With good gear you could probably get by with base energy but don't bring it up to more than 100.
I've never liked max block for casters but it really all comes down to personnal preference. But this build is more a vitality one since most of what will be hitting you will be elemental thanks to bone armor and even at that, that shouldn't be too often thanks to bone prison.
A White wand is defintely the way to go in that slot, with the right base mods you can get +8 spear, if I remember right. It's not that hard of a runeword to get, if you hav ea little patience. Reroll the guy in Act 2 normal who sells wands until he spawns a +3 spear or + 3 spirit wand, whichever you prefer, and then use the cube recipe to socket it. As far as the runes, hell countess is your friend. As far as the skill distribution you sound alright, but I might suggest not bulking up your golem too much. He's a tank, he's not there to kill things, and since you can recast him whenever you want, dont spend too many points there. I might also suggest a few points in corpse exlosion (can't remember if you mentioned it or not), simply because it will kill crowds in a serious hurry with very minimal investment. makes me think of resurecting my boner for some MF duties...fun characters to play.
I would have to disagree with m'learned colleague--there is never any point in maxing Bone Armour because Bone Prison and Bone Wall synergies both give better results than doing so (they give 15 extra damage absorption per level, whereas levelling up Bone Armour itself only gives 10 per level). Also, Bone Prison's mana cost goes down as you increase its level, to the point where you can cast it for 1 mana--this is quite handy because that makes it free to all intents and purposes (given the mana pool and regen a Bonemancer needs), and you can also use it out in the open whereas monsters will just run around the ends of a Bone Wall cast in that situation.
My own Bonemancer is doing the same as you are--maxing Bone Prison, Wall, Spear, and Spirit--and has got to Act 1 Hell without any nasty experiences. He died once to the Nightmare Ancients when an FE leaper jumped out of his prison and attacked him, but that's the only problem I can recall so far. He uses an Act 1 Rogue merc, by the way--she can still hit monsters even when they're prisoned half a screen away!
[EDIT] Oh, there are a couple of utility spells you might want: Corpse Explosion and/or Poison Explosion are good for corpse disposal, which I fully expect to need in Act 2 Hell (Magic Immune Greater Mummies would otherwise keep resurrecting every skeleton I kill without me being able to harm them myself). I also agree that a White wand is the way to go--it has all the bonuses you need for a build like this, especially if you can make it in a wand with some natural +skills to Bone spells. Dol and Io runes aren't too tricky to get hold of, so White isn't that hard to make either!
If you dont plan on any PvP with him, then you could save yourself 20 points in Bone prison and put them in maxing CE, with the Marrowalk bug
1 point in Clay golem and Golem mastery should be enough, with a decent amount of +skills. 1 in all curses up to decrepify should be enough too. Clay golem will get the most life for the amount of skill points you put into it, and will also slow enemies down if it actually hits them.
If you dont like abusing the Marrowalk bug/feature (personally I think it started as a bug but Blizz didnt bother to fix it), then your skill points will be VERY tight. To get the maximum Spear and Spirit damage takes 100 points. With 3 points in curses and 2 on your golem thats 105. Considering that with all quests and a lvl99 character you have 110 points you will probably end up not maxing teeth. Especially if being able to kill Unravers is important to you (I just ran past them with mine, and as I only use him for PvP I dont mind not pat'ing him)
In nightmare I've been drinking potions about as fast as I've been finding them, the only time I use any is against uniques, who drop four potions when killed. I've already popped a couple points in prison since I wasn't expecting to get any Marrowwalks (and I wasn't decided on whether using the "feature" was abusing a bug either). I was planning on hitting Countess again as well, since her drop the first time was quite dissappointing (I got a Tal in normal and Eth and Eld in NM.) I found a Hel in a chest so I think I should be able to find a Dol pretty much anywhere from now on and an Io pretty soon (here's hoping). Thanks for your suggestions. C'mon Patriarch!
You can actually get some good summons without spending a single skill point. With the equipment my Bonemancer has he gets level 5 Revive and level 7 Skeleton Mastery without having any native points in either skill, and there are occasions where having five beefy Revives around is a better choice than using Walls or Prisons--especially if you're in an area with lots of Magic Immunes. (Revives can also block ghosts and other insubstantial beings, which rates pretty high on the usefulness scale!).
I've got Level 7 Decrep without any points in Weaken or Terror. I think it's pretty damn cool actually. In addition, today on the way to Andariel I found Spirit Shroud and String of Ears, not to mention a Naglering. All very useful. Throw in a "Lore" runeword and I've now got better +skills, better MF, and better resists. All right.