I have always loved Strafe. I have also made a lot of bad, failed characters. Really. A lot.
When Pindle was nice enough to drop me a Windforce a couple of months ago, I decided that I might as well try to actually make one right, so I headed to the build guides. And I read the strafer ones. And promptly forgot all about them, but this time I managed to end up with a viable Pit runner anyway.
It didn't hurt that I don't mind to twink like a mofo. This lady was sporting her Arctic Gear at level 2 thanks to a large stash of +Strength and +Dex grand charms. The cold damage was great and all, but the most fun I had the entire game was at level 28 when I started using Skystrike -- gogo Meteor goodness. Level 6 Meteor actually puts quite the hurt on the monsters in normal difficulty.
Normal and Nightmare at /p8 were a breeze thanks to the massive twinkage. I actually played through to the Hell Inner Cloister before I remembered to switch back to /p1 (I'm rather impatient in Hell). The sizeable punch of the Windforce along with a super-tanky Valk really kept me breezing through the first 2 acts without any problem.
Act 3 brought on her first of 2 deaths. I had been using my Decoy as a scout to draw the pack of flayers, but started to get a little lazy and a little cocky. I was jogging along at a pretty good pace when I crossed the invisible line separating the Spider Forest from the Great Marsh. And of course we all know what lives in the Great Marsh: ridiculous Gloam boss packs that are like multi-shot, cursed, extra fast, death enchanted, or something. I swapped out for a Kira's Guardian and the rest of the act went without incident. Had a couple of near misses with undead dolls but survived.
Act 4 went much easier than expected. HF dropped me a Lem -- could be worse, I guess. The valk and I left our dead moron 2 steps inside the Chaos Sanctuary and cleared the rest very quickly. I brought Alhizeer back to the party for the fight against Big D, but even that fight was over before I knew it. I had to dodge 2 lightning hoses, but the whole fight took about 20 seconds. I would have been more excited about his drop if I didn't already have a Lenymo, but still seeing a gold Sash from Hell Diablo did make me smile.
Act 5 was slow going. I had learned my lesson from the gloams, though, and was very careful with the Decoy as we advanced through the foothills all the way to the Glacial Trail. I love how strafe finds the doors and towers just as dangerous as the cat-people chucking spears at me.
I feel bad because the Glacial Trail is the only time through the whole adventure that I rerolled monsters. I'll admit that I just didn't feel like dealing with the PI Frenzytaurs. After rescuing Anya, I dealt with the bugged snakes on the way to Nihlathak as penance. The bug didn't really affect me since I was easily able to stand still and Strafe away. I never actually saw Nihlathak, but I guess I killed him since I got the quest reward.
It took me 2 tries to get past the Ancients. On the first attempt, I was done in by a single double-throw. That did not bode well for any further attempts. I got lucky on my second try, however, and was able to park whirlwind at the bottom while my Valk and I ran to the top with the leaper and the thrower. I spent the next several minutes running back and forth between columns, firing the occasional guided arrow while my Valk wandered around and poked things as she could. Once the leaper went down, I felt like I was in pretty good shape. My Valk was able to tank the thrower while I finished him off. Whirlwind died very quickly after that. Fortunately, none of them had spawned stone skin.
I don't even remember what spawned on WSK1, but it went easily. WSK2 had Rat Men and Poison Mages. WSK3 had the fabulous combination of OK's and Frenzytaurs. It made me very glad to be playing a ranged character. The throne room had the most bizarre combination I've ever seen -- Gloams and Gloams. There was *1* Vampire about halfway to the throne and *1* Hoaradrim Ancient in the actual throne room. Everything else was a Gloam. Baal's minions went down -- surprisingly easily. During the fight with Baal I had a close call with some festering appendages, but they and their master fell like all the rest.
Clicky for LCS goodness
134 Str (to use WF without +Str gear)
Weapon -- Windforce
Armor -- Naj's Light Plate
Helm -- Stealskull
Gloves -- Laying of Hands
Boots -- War Travelers
Belt -- Razortail
Amulet -- Atma's Scarab
Ring 1 -- 20dex/235AR Ravenfrost
Ring 2 -- 100AR/1 max/17% LR/8% LL/5% ML
Overall, I found my strafer to be just as fun as I had hoped to play. Firing a frickin' laser beam of arrows and watching crowds of monsters explode is very satisfying. I probably could have optimized the gear a little better, but what I had was working. And I'm a little lazy.