Meteorb Guide (1.10)
This sorceress is built to be able to solo Hell and be equally useful in groups, small and large. She's tough and combines big damage with high survivability. A single element sorceress does even more damage, but she will pay the price by being unable to kill about 1/4 of the monsters in Hell. The Meteorb Sorceress deals enough damage to be able to kill fast even in 8 players games, and she can deal with anything that comes her way. This is a truly versatile build - only PvP has not been considered when making this guide.
For a sorceress, skills are most important. Her equipment and stat points can help her out in many ways, but unlike most other characters, she kills with her skills alone. So let's talk skills first. To be able to solo Hell, you need two attacks from different trees. The Meteorb sorceress uses Meteor and Fireball from the Fire tree and Frozen Orb (FO) from the Cold tree, and is inspired by Zharous' Damage Reduced Sorceress guide for 1.09. Lets' start with the final skill point distribution for the impatient:
Frozen Orb 20
Cold Mastery 8
Fire Ball 20
Fire Mastery 20 (think about putting a few of these in Fire Bolt instead if you find you use Fire Ball more than Meteor and/or have a lot of +skills)
Static Field 1
Total: 101, finished at level 90. Any additional skillpoints should go into Fire Bolt (or Cold Mastery, depending on how many +skill items you have). As you can see, the Meteorb Sorceress is primarily a fire sorceress with a backup attack in the cold tree.
Why Frozen Orb and Cold Mastery?
1.10 has made the Sorceress' skill points incredibly tight by introducing synergies. Each tree has at least one attack with 3 synergies, which - if maxed - will make the damage of that attack reach incredible heights. But maxing this attack to the full will cost you 20 skill points in the attack itself, 3*20 skill points in synergies, and another 20 points in the relevant mastery, so this requires 100 skill points out of 110 being ultimately available at level 99 - a level most of us will never reach! Having a cold spell which slows the fast monsters in Hell is invaluable, and Frozen Orb is a bargain. It only has one synergy, which is not powerful enough to really be necessary, kicks *** all the way through Nightmare, and does decent damage in Hell. Furthermore, the unique function of Cold Mastery makes a few points go a long way. Each skill point in Cold Mastery will increase the percentage which will be subtracted from your opponent's cold resistance before calculating the damage, down to a minimum of -100%. Only cold immune monsters cannot be affected by Cold Mastery. Let's run a few examples to see how useful this really is. I'll compare skill level 0, 1 (giving -30% to the monster's cold resistance), 7 (giving -50%), 17 (giving -100%) and 27 (giving -150%) in Cold Mastery, assuming an average of 265 damage pr shard for Frozen Orb.
Monster with 0 in cold resistance:
Cold Mastery 0 (0%): 265 * (100 + 0)/100 = 265
Cold Mastery 1 (20%): 265 * (100 + 20)/100 = 318 (improvement of 20% - not surprisingly)
Cold Mastery 7 (50%): 265 * (100 + 50)/100 = 398 (improvement of 50%)
Cold Mastery 17 (100%): 265 * (100 + 100)/100 = 530 (improvement of 100%)
Cold Mastery 27 (150%): 265 * (100 + 100)/100 = 530 (improvement of 100% - remember that -100% is the lower cap)
Monster with 75 in cold resistance (for instance Mephisto):
Cold Mastery 0 (0%): 265 * (100 - 75 + 0)/100 = 66
Cold Mastery 1 (20%): 265 * (100 - 75 + 20)/100 = 146 (improvement of about 120%)
Cold Mastery 7 (50%): 265 * (100 - 75 + 50)/100 = 199 (improvement of about 200%)
Cold Mastery 17 (100%): 265 * (100 - 75 + 100)/100 = 331 (improvement of about 400%)
Cold Mastery 27 (150%): 265 * (100 - 75 + 150)/100 = 464 (improvement of about 600%)
You see how up to level 17 Cold Mastery improves the Meteorb Sorceress' damage against all monsters (more against cold resistant monsters than others), but over level 17 the extra skill levels only improve the damage against resistant monsters. About 45% of the monsters in Hell (and more in Nightmare and Normal) have 0 resistance against cold, and about 25% are cold immune, so raising your Cold Mastery above level 17 will only affect your damage against about 30% of monsters, raising it above level 22 will only affect 24%, above 27 only 6%, above 32 only 1% and skill levels above 37 will not affect your damage against any monsters. As you can see, it is very much like a diminishing returns formula - where exactly to cut off will be different for different builds, but it should probably be somewhere between 17 and 27.
For the Meteorb Sorceress, who has to be very stingy with her points, 17 is the right number to shoot for. As +skills items are some of the most useful to the sorceress, your Meteorb is bound to end up with some of those. When I recommend 8 points in Cold Mastery, I've made the assumption that you'll eventually get around +9 to your cold skills - check out the equipment section (e.g. shako, occy, 2*SoJ and Mara will get you there). If you're going to play untwinked and not do a lot of magic find runs, you'll probably not have that many, and could consider spending more points in Cold Mastery. If, on the other hand, you already have a nice wardrobe for a Sorceress which will get her +11 to her Cold Mastery, you may want to put only 6 points in. However, a few points over skill level 17 will not hurt, especially against resistant monsters like Mephisto and Baal.
Why completely ignore Ice Bolt, Frozen Orb's only synergy, some of you may wonder. Well, one point in Ice Bolt will only increase your Frozen Orb's damage with 2%, while each point in Cold Mastery will increase your damage with at least 5% - much more against cold resistant monsters. The rest of the Meteorb's points will be needed in the fire tree. Many feel tempted to pump Frozen Orb further - coming from Nightmare where the Orb rules supreme it feels clumsy and difficult to get used to the Meteorb's fire attacks. The important thing to note is that the Meteorb is designed with versatility in mind. She needs a big damage attack to make her fun to play in big games and a backup attack that makes her able to solo. If you have an even skill point distribution between your two trees, none of your attacks will be powerful enough for 8 player games. If you're mostly or exclusively planning to solo, your build won't suffer as much if you decide to pump your Orb and weaken your Meteors and Fireballs. Just remember that about half the monsters you'll encounter won't be immune to either of your attacks, so in my opinion it still makes sense to make one attack stronger than the other.
I really like cold, and would rather use cold as a main attack - Blizzard with synergies is extremely powerful. But the other trees just don't have an attack as cheap and effective as Frozen Orb. Anything in the lightning tree without extensive use of synergies is too weak to be of any use. The best bet is probably Fire Wall, which doesn't have any synergies, but will require maxed Fire Mastery to be really useful in Hell, which will cost 42 points. Compare this to Frozen Orb which you get for just 33, thus making your main attack that much stronger.
The Sorceress' stat points are not at all as tight or as valuable as her skill points, so there will be much more room to play around in. She doesn't need strength (as the melee characters) or dexterity (as the ranged attackers) to do damage, dexterity for attack rating is irrelevant and she gets a lousy exchange rate on her vitality - viz. 1 stat point for 2 life - so really, the sorceress' stat points are less important than most characters'. Still, let's look at what will suit the Frozen Orb best.
Frozen Orb has two important features for stat points distribution:
1) It's timered, meaning there is a 1 second interval after you cast one Meteor before you can cast the next. That puts a lid on how much mana you use, so you don't need a large mana pool
2) It's relatively short ranged, meaning you have to get quite close to the monsters (though the shards will hit just about anything on your screen, you have to hit your opponent squarely with the orb to really hurt it in Hell)
Consequently, you don't need many points in energy, but can spend some to help you survive attacks better:
Energy base to 75. If playing untwinked, some points in energy will prevent you from losing patience with this build - all sorceresses suffer from mana hurt in the beginning, but if you know you have some good +mana gear waiting for you, it makes this period easier to bear. If you don't, collect +mana charms and equipment, socket your gear with sapphires, and spend as little as possible in energy. You get 2 extra mana per level without spending a single point in energy, so your mana pool will eventually grow.
Strength The sorceress doesn't use strength for anything other than meeting equipment requirements. If you already have your ideal equipment ready, check the highest strength requirement and subtract any strength boni. If not, I'll recommend holding some stat points back and put them in strength as your equipment dictates. The highest you should ever think about getting in strength is 156 (for Stormshield - see the equipment section) including boni from items, so you don't ever need to hold back more points than that.
Vitality This is the obvious place to put points to help your sorceress survive better, and I recommend a healthy investment here. However, bear in mind that the sorceress gets a really rough deal on her life - 1 stat point for 2 life. You can get two full levels' worth of life on a single small charm of vita (+20 life).
Dexterity The sorceress doesn't use dexterity for anything, except one: block. When you have a shield equiped, your dexterity, level and the shield's block percentage will determine how likely you are to block an incoming attack entirely, after this formula:
Total blocking = (shield block %) * (dex - 15) / (level * 2)
So the higher your level, the more dexterity you need to maintain a high chance to block. The highest chance to block you can ever get is 75%, and I suggest you aim to get that. As I have argued, the sorceress is really hard pressed to get value for her stat points, and I suggest that avoiding 75% of incoming attacks is the best option - especially for an Orb user, who has to get pretty close and personal with the monsters to kill them. Remember, however, that some elemental attacks are unblockable (lightning is the best example) - but these can be reduced through high resistance and absorb. Here's a table which includes the dexterity required to achieve 75% block with various shields (thanks to Chem for posting it):
As you can see, only some shields are adequate for a block sorceress - don't plan on using a shield with less than 60% block full time. You may be tempted to put the points in vitality, but remember: You can get two full levels' worth of life on a single small charm of vita (+20 life). Therefore, invest the stat points where they'll do the most good, and stock up on +life equipment.Code:Dexterity required for max block (75%) for a sorceress shield str block dex/lv LV30 LV50 LV80 LV99 ------------------- --- ----- ------ ---- ---- ---- ---- Lidless Eye 58 40% 3.75 128 203 315 387 Lidless Eye + Eld 58 47% 3.19 111 175 271 331 Moser's Circle 53 57% 2.63 94 147 226 276 Grim Shield + Rhyme 58 60% 2.50 90 140 215 263 Sigon's Tower 75 64% 2.34 86 133 203 248 Stormshield 156 67% 2.24 83 127 195 237 Sigon's Tower + Eld 75 71% 2.11 79 121 185 225 Visceratuant Heater 77 72% 2.08 78 120 182 222 Gerke's Sanctuary 133 74% 2.03 76 117 178 216 75% blocking shield 75% 2.00 75 115 175 213 Whistan's Guard 53 87% 1.72 67 102 153 186 Whistan's + Eld 53 94% 1.60 63 95 143 173 Bone/Grim Shields with Rhyme, Sanctuary, or Deflecting suffix have 60% block Sigon's Tower + Eld and Moser's Blessed Circle + 2 Eld's both have 71% block Gerke's Sanctuary and Stormshield with an Eld rune both have 74% block
Strength: enough for your items
Dexterity: enough for max blocking with your chosen shield, i.e. 15 + 75 * (level * 2) / (shield block %)
Vitality: everything else
Energy: base (if you have the items to increase your mana enough) to 75 (absolute max)
Why Meteor, Fire Ball and Fire Mastery?
As already stated, Frozen Orb will not put a huge strain on your mana pool, so a lowish energy with 1 point in Warmth will be sufficient. This same setup is what should be used for a Meteor Sorceress. Meteor is also timered - there is a 1.2 second interval after you cast one Meteor before you can cast the next. That means quite low mana use so low energy and Warmth are in order. Though Meteor is not short ranged, it has the annoying delay between casting and impact which sometimes lets monsters reach you and get a few hits in before they're toast, making block and high vitality very important. The lightning attacks (Lightning, Nova, Chain Lightning), are non-timered and relatively mana hungry (need more Warmth and energy), long ranged and hit/stun instantly (making high vitality and block less important), so they don't fit the profile of Frozen Orb as well as Meteor.
Meteor also has a very high damage (more than 11000 impact damage once Meteor, Fire Mastery and Fire Ball are maxed), enough even for large multiplayer games in Hell. Fire Ball adds 5% to this per skill level, which is additionally increased by Fire Mastery (if you have Fire Mastery at skill level 20, each point in Fire Ball will actually add 13% to Meteor's damage).
Fire Ball is really the last but not least attraction of Meteor: you get a very useful non-timered attack for free. Having a non-timered attack which you can cast in the dead interval between your timered attacks makes for the highest damage output. Fire Ball, though untimered, has low enough casting cost to be usable with the low energy build we're looking at. Meteor and Fire Mastery in turn increase Fire Ball's damage (with 620% when both Meteor and Fire Mastery are maxed), so this combination really gets the most out of the synergies. Any level you may attain beyond 90 will add a point to Fire Bolt, increasing the damage of both Fire Ball and Meteor.
Some people wonder why it's not more advantageous to max Fire Bolt and be satisfied with one point in Fire Mastery as Fire Bolt gives almost the same bonus to Meteor as Fire Mastery (7% versus 5%) and double the bonus to Fire Ball (7% versus 14%). The reason is that Fire Mastery's 7% is added after the synergy bonus, whereas Fire Bolt's bonus only works on the base damage - a huge difference for the Meteorb who already has one maxed synergy for both Meteor and Fire Ball. Take an example with a Fire Ball of average base damage 250. The Meteorb's maxed Meteor adds 20 * 14% = 280% to that giving a total damage of
250 * (1 + 2.8) = 950One more point in Fire Bolt means 14% extra synergy:
250 * (1 + 2.94) = 985But put that point in Fire Mastery instead and she gets a 7% bonus to her whole damage:
950 * 1.07 = 1016.5(Ignore for the moment that the first point in Fire Mastery gives a 30% bonus - the principle should be clear).
However, at high levels Fire Bolt gains on Fire Mastery, especially for Fire Ball. If you feel that you end up using Fire Ball more than Meteor, you may save some points from Fire Mastery and put them in Fire Bolt instead. This is even more notable with a lot of +skills, as they will not help your synergies but will add to your Mastery.
As a rule of thumb, if you play untwinked or mostly have low level items, you'll probably use Meteor as much as if not more than Fire Ball and not have that many +skills - so use the suggested skill point distribution. If you're twinking and will end up with more than +10 skills and feel more comfortable with Fire Ball, think about putting up to 5 points in Fire Bolt instead of Fire Mastery. If you're planning an mf-career for your Meteorb (see end game notes), bear in mind that she will have fewer +skills in full mf gear. Never take less than 10 points in Fire Mastery, as that will hurt your Meteor a lot and not be that much better for your Fire Ball. Check the skill calculator to finetune the optimal skill point distribution, bearing in mind that it doesn't count the after burning of Meteor which is enhanced by Fire Mastery but not by Fire Ball/Bolt.
Other skill points explained
The one point in Static Field will help you take bosses down a lot faster, and your high block and life should keep you alive even though you have to get pretty close to use it. Teleport is a necessity and convenience without comparison. It helps keeping you and especially your mercenary alive and lets you do magic find runs faster than anybody else.
Why not energy shield - that was a stable on the damage reduced sorceress, I hear some complain. Two reasons not to use it:
1) The synergies have put too much strain on the sorceress' skill points to splash out 4 points to get Energy Shield.
2) Even though I've found an orb with Energy Shield on it, I only use it for special occasions. The reason is that your energy shield absorbs elemental damage before your resistances are checked, meaning that your mana bulb is drained in absolutely no time, especially with a low energy build like this. If you have 75% lightning resistance, and you take 500 lightning damage, you'll actually only take 125 damage - harsh, but survivable. If you were using Energy Shield, the same attack would have drained 1000 mana - or your whole bulb, making you unable to attack or teleport to safety. So if you have high resistances (and you should) Energy Shield can be more of an inconvenience than anything else. Still, if you feel you can't live without it, get it on an orb on switch.
The cold armors are in my opinion more useful than Energy Shield, but again: there aren't enough points to go around, so get it on your switch orb if you want it.
The Meteorb needs a good tank to get the optimal killing speed. Though she can tank some herself, the cut to damage reduction (75% to 50%), the loss of Energy Shield (due to the elemental damage bug) and the faster and harder hitting monsters of 1.10 has diminished her tanking abilities from 1.09. To compensate, the mercenaries are much tougher now. Therefore, get yourself a good tank as your mercenary - act 2 and 5 are the ones worth considering. I've always found the act 2 best for their auras and extra range. The defensive act 2 mercenary from Normal and Hell uses the Defiance aura, which will increase both your and his defense, making him a very nice choice. However, the defensive act 2 mercenary from Nightmare has the invaluable Holy Freeze aura, chilling all monsters around you. Chilling monsters is the best possible defense, since the sorceress is a very frail character with an incredibly impressive offense - her best defense is really her offense as she's meant to kill enemies before they reach her. Once she's crowded by fast, hard hitting melee monsters, she's as good as dead. If the monsters around her are chilled and therefore slow it will give her that much more time to kill them before they reach her, which will do more to keep her alive than any amount of defense. Though you'll chill monsters yourself with Frozen Orb, Holy Freeze also works on Cold Immunes (one fourth of the monsters in Hell), chills them instantly (you must notice the monster, cast your Orb, and the Orb must reach the monster, before it's chilled - and in this period, it's probably more than halfway to you) and at higher levels has a very nice range. The best and most expensive option would be a defiance mercenary with a weapon with the runeword Doom, which automatically give the Holy Freeze aura.
Always keep your mercenary your level. This can't be stressed enough. If you're five levels ahead because you've played in multiplayer games where you get more experince than he does, take the time to let him catch up in a private game. Having him lag behind just makes it a pain later on to level him, makes you waste money on more frequent revives and makes him much less useful. Check the equipment section for tips on how to outfit him.
Strategy tips to get through the game
Getting through normal is always a pain for the sorceress, because the character is really made to kill her enemies before they reach her, but her main skills will not be available until level 24 or 30. I find the most painless way is to get the cold attacks first, which will be useful in slowing down your enemies in addition to the damage they do.
Being out of mana is a major annoyance in the early game, so your first skill point should be placed in Warmth. Start out by casting first Fire Bolt until your mana runs out, then melee. When you get Ice Bolt, use it to chill your enemies and melee them to death. Stat pointwise, you should work on strength in the early levels to be able to use the euipment you have or find. At level 6, get Frost Nova - this will be your main attack until level 24 (some will use Ice Blast and Glacial Spike when they become available, but I find them too mana intense - Frost Nova will chill everything around you and only needs to be recast once in a while). The strategy is to chill monsters, then melee them while keeping them chilled. As soon as you reach act 2 you can get a defensive merc who will make sure you get hit less, and let him melee the monsters. Alternatively, join groups and let them do the meleeing. Put a point in Static early on - it will help you a lot with bosses. When your strength is around 60, spend any points you plan on putting in energy - you'll need them now more than ever. Don't be tempted to use too many, though. You'll regret it later. After that, pump dex until your blocking is what it says on the shield (hover over your defense rating in the character screen to see your actual block), and keep it there while spending any extra points in vitality, with the occasional points in strength to use better equipment.
When you reach level 12, feel free to put some points in Fire Ball - but without being heavily twinked, you won't have the mana pool to keep them going. I have better experiences with focusing on Meteor first, and only pump Fire Ball later, when your mana pool is bigger. Still, a Fire Ball once in a while will help your merc out some. Get teleport when it becomes available - it's a life saver, especially for your mercenary.
One challenge for young sorceresses is end of act bosses which will kill your merc and you soon after - especially Duriel is feared. The easy way to do these quests is to be in a group and let others do the tanking. If you want to do it solo, make sure your mercenary is as high level as you and well equipped. Feed him healing potions as soon as you see his life dropping. Remember to Static first, and keep the boss chilled. Make sure you have max blocking, and tank to relieve your merc from time to time. Trips to town are not shameful - get a portal up the minute you get there, so you can revive your merc when he looks like he's dropping.
When you reach level 24, get Blizzard and use it pretty much the same as Frost Nova. Do some bloody runs when you reach the Bloody Foothills until you're ready for the Anya Quest and Baal runs, which should get you to level 30 and the Frozen Orb. When you reach level 30, you should have at least 9 points saved, so you can put one in both Cold Mastery and Frozen Orb for the next 8 levels, and one in Fire Mastery at level 30. After that, work on Frozen Orb until it's maxed. Your strategy through Nightmare should be Frozen Orb for everything that isn't cold immune, and Meteor (or Fire Ball if you opted for pumping that) for the few monsters that are. Get the Holy Freeze mercenary once you reach Act 2 in Nightmare (unless you're rich enough to equip your Defiance mercenary from Normal with the Doom runeword). After Frozen Orb is maxed, max Meteor and then Fire Ball (though Fire Ball/Frozen Orb is a winning combination, my experience is that you don't have the mana pool for it until later). Last of all, max Fire Mastery - you'll really feel every point doing wonders for your Meteor and Fire Ball. Around level 75-80, you should start Hell. Get a switch orb with Energy Shield or a cold armor, and make sure your mercenary is always the same level as you, and he'll tank the monsters leaving you free to kill them quickly with your Orb or Meteors interspersed with Fire Balls.
For those interested, I made this list of how I'd distribute my skill points (note that you may complete the skill quests at different points than mentioned here - usually, the bigger your party the more experience you'll get). Needless to say, you don't have to do it this way.
Strategy: cast Fire Bolt until your mana runs out, then melee - get the best melee weapon you can.
level 2 Warmth (1)
level 3 Fire Bolt (1)
level 4 Ice Bolt (1)
Strategy: cast an Ice Bolt to slow monsters, then melee.
Den of Evil nothing (saved 1 point)
level 5 nothing (saved 2 points)
level 6 Frost Nova (1), Ice Blast (1), Static Field (1)
Strategy: cast Frost Nova to slow monsters, then melee. When you get the rogue mercenary, she will help you finish the chilled packs. When you reach Act 2, get a defensive merc to tank the monsters as well as deliver damage. For Bosses, use Static.
level 7 Inferno (1)
level 8 Telekinesis (1)
level 9 nothing (saved 1 point)
level 10 nothing (saved 2 points)
level 11 nothing (saved 3 points)
level 12 Fire Ball (1), Blaze (1) (saved 2 points)
level 13 nothing (saved 3 points)
level 14 nothing (saved 4 points)
level 15 nothing (saved 5 points)
level 16 nothing (saved 6 points)
level 17 nothing (saved 7 points)
level 18 Glacial Spike (1), Fire Wall (1), Teleport (1) (saved 5 points)
Strategy: you can now freeze the monsters with Glacial Spike, if you have the mana for it. Remember to let your mercenary tank for you and use Teleport to position him and get him (and occasionally yourself) out of danger.
Radamant nothing (saved 6 points)
level 19 nothing (saved 7 points)
level 20 nothing (saved 8 points)
level 21 nothing (saved 9 points)
level 22 nothing (saved 10 points)
level 23 nothing (saved 11 points)
level 24 Blizzard (1), Meteor (1) (saved 10 points)
Strategy: Finally hitting some mass damage attacks - chill with Blizzard for your mercenary and Meteor to finish off. When you get to act 5, you can level fast in Baal runs if you want to.
Izual nothing (saved 12 points)
level 25 Meteor (2) (saved 12 points)
level 26 Meteor (3) (saved 12 points)
level 27 Meteor (4) (saved 12 points)
level 28 Meteor (5) (saved 12 points)
level 29 Meteor (6) (saved 12 points)
level 30 Meteor (7), Frozen Orb (1), Fire Mastery (1), Cold Mastery (1) (saved 9 points)
Strategy: Frozen Orb will own everything - you'll hardly need Meteor except for the rare cold immune boss. Only problem will be mana - look for +mana items and always keep pots handy.
level 31 Meteor (8), Frozen Orb (2), Cold Mastery (2) (saved 7 points)
level 32 Meteor (9), Frozen Orb (3), Cold Mastery (3) (saved 5 points)
level 33 Frozen Orb (4), Cold Mastery (4) (saved 4 points)
level 34 Frozen Orb (5), Cold Mastery (5) (saved 3 points)
level 35 Frozen Orb (6), Cold Mastery (6) (saved 2 points)
level 36 Frozen Orb (7), Cold Mastery (7) (saved 1 point)
level 37 Frozen Orb (8), Cold Mastery (8)
level 38 Frozen Orb (9)
level 39 Frozen Orb (10)
level 40 Frozen Orb (11)
level 41 Frozen Orb (12)
level 42 Frozen Orb (13)
level 43 Frozen Orb (14)
Strategy: Start Nightmare around now, or a little earlier if you feel cockey. Frozen Orb is the king all the way through Nightmare, and the occasional Cold Immune will not last long in your Meteors. When you reach Act 2, get a Holy Freeze mercenary who will really help you a lot.
level 44 Frozen Orb (15)
Den of Evil Meteor (10)
level 45 Frozen Orb (16)
level 46 Frozen Orb (17)
level 47 Frozen Orb (18)
Radamant Meteor (11)
level 48 Frozen Orb (19)
level 49 Frozen Orb (20)
from here on, maximize Meteor, Fire Ball and Fire Mastery in that order. When you have the mana pool for it, throw a Fire Ball or three in between your Orbs and Meteors. When you're ready to take on Hell, you'll definitely need all three at decent levels. Remember to use Static for bosses and to help your mercenary with the rare Fire/Cold immune.
Your end game strategy will be Meteor/Fire Ball for anything that's not fire immune and Frozen Orb for those. You'll use the high damage Meteor and Fireball the most in big games, but Frozen Orb allows you to solo and is also very helpful in small to medium games - even in big games, the chill is nice and with some patience, your Obs still kill.
My own setup of hotkeys is: stand still (Caps Lock - sometimes annoying when chatting ), Meteor (w), Frozen Orb (e), Static (q) and Teleport (d). Fire Ball doesn't have a hotkey, as it's always on my left mouse key - if you feel like handling even more hotkeys, you could use switch your left mouse key from Fireball to Glacial Spike when encountering fire immunes. Though it doesn't do much damage at skill level 1, the freeze is very usefull - especially recommended vs. Lister&Co. Use a different setup (customize them in the options menu), but be sure they are grouped for quick use.
When you see a crowd of monsters, you teleport right next to it (to position your mercenary), run a few steps back (to avoid most of the hits), throw a Meteor right on your mercenary, hold down stand still and spam two or three Fire Balls, another Meteor, and so on until all are dead. If there are only one or two monsters, Fire Balls alone will be enough. In case of Fire Immunes it's much the same - just use Frozen Orbs (perhaps backed up with Glacial Spike) instead of Meteors and Fire Balls. In Normal and Nightmare, even the spray of your Frozen Orb will kill, but in Hell you need the orb itself to pass right through your opponent. The ideal line-up of monsters for Frozen Orb is a line which will allow your orb to pass right through each monster. Any dual immunes to fire and cold you can static down for your mercenary to deal with. If you get crowded, you can always teleport to safety.
One good retirement plan for the Meteorb is to look for better equipment for herself and your other characters (or mf). Put on what items you have that give a bonus to find magical items (mf gear) and kill some monsters with a good chance to drop nice items. Being the versatile character she is, the Meteorb can do any and all of the popular runs. Mephisto in Durance of Hate level 3, act 3, has always been a sorceress' best friend. Go to the waypoint in Durance of Hate level 2 and teleport along the left wall (clockwise) until you find the stairs down. Teleport across level 3 right up to Mephisto, chill him with a Frozen Orb, tank him if you or your merc can while you static him down and finish him with Meteors/Fire Balls while keeping him chilled. If you have trouble with Hell Mephisto, Nightmare Mephisto can drop a lot of nice things, or you can use the moat trick. Another popular and fast run is Pindleskin (he's the superunique zombie through Anya's red portal), Eldritch (the superunique just north of the Frigid waypoint in act 5) and Shenk (the superunique just south of the Frigid waypoint). Then there are Baal runs, which you should only attempt if you can have close to max resistance with your mf-gear on. If you feel more like clearing a whole area, check out the pit guide which also mentions other profitable areas. Check out Flux's excellent mf guide which is for 1.09 but very usable and mostly correct for 1.10, too (the diminishing returns for unique mf set in ealier, though - to use Jarulf's table, add 100 to your mf, look up the result in the table and subtract 100 from the provided unique mf). Note that for all these runs, there will be other builds that can do them faster - a pure Blizzard sorceress is a faster Mephisto runner, a pure fire sorceress is faster at Eldritch/Shenk/Pindle etc. But no other character can do them all as fast and well as the Meteorb (except the Hammerdin, if he has an expensive Enigma armor to be able to teleport). Versatility is key.