As the thread title states, I am a 100% newbie to Diablo II. Due to how long this gem of a game has been around, I know there aren't many of my type out there.
To the point:
I have done some preliminary research, if you could even call it that, and was completely overwhelmed with the amount of information out there on all of the classes. Due to this, I decided to make a blind stab at which one I was going to play.
Assassin it is.
I've heard they are a decent challenge, but evolve into a very powerful toon with a little T.L.C. The only problem is, that I have absolutely no idea which path to take as far as builds go. While it probably would be best to just shove points in whatever looks interesting as a first character, and just to learn the ropes, I'd really prefer not to re-roll later on unless I -want- to.
I tried to look over the builds you all have already listed in the forum. The thing us, I really don't understand any of the shorthand yet so it's all foreign to me.
Ideally, I would like my Assassin to be much more effective against the bad guys you find in the game. As such, PvP is not really a concern to me. Also, I like the idea of being melee based, rather than ranged (if that is even possible with this class)
I'll list the two builds that seem the most viable to me when you have no experience with assassins and have no very powerful items.
The standard trapsin
This is an assassin who focusses on the Trap skill tree. Basically, you put most of your points in Lightning Sentry and its synergies. You will also want to spend single points in Fade, Mind Blast and Shadow Master. This will make your assassin be able to deploy traps that shoot out powerful lightning blasts which are quite popular. For those enemies who are immune to lightning, you can also put points in Fire Blast, which shares synergies with Lightning Sentry. It is a safe and cheap build. This is not a melee build though.
The phoenix striker
The type of assassin will focus on the Martial Arts tree, especially in Phoenix Strike and its synergies. It's a more dangerous build than the standard trapsin, but because Phoenix Strike does multiple types of damage (fire, lightning, cold, physical), it can be an incredibly powerful build. You will also want to put a lot of points in Venom here.
The most important thing to remember is that assassins are not the kind of characters who just jump in a pack of powerful monsters and whack away. They have to be sneaky and use a shadow (usually Shadow Master), Mind Blast and Cloak of Shadows to their advantage. Those are skills you just have to play with and see for yourself how to use.
a trapsin is one that lay's around traps (that shoot out elemental projectiles, as opposed to just trapping the enemy, unable to move)
you can just lay around a trapfield (maximum of 5 traps) then lure in a bunch of monsters to that area, and let the traps work
basically, traps are useful against huge mobs of monsters
but weak against singular tough bosses, or mini bosses
to combat this, trapsin incorporate another branch of skills into play: martial arts. these vary quite a bit, lots are "kickers" others use dual claw, others sword and shield
now the martial artist(in general terms) are very powerful against singular opponents, like act bosses. these vary from "kickers" who use a certain feature in items to heavily weaken singular enemies/bosses(see: crushing blow). or WhirlWind (WW) sins, or phoenix strikers
to combat huge mobs, as stated by ava, martial artists rely on their shadow disciplines more so than their trapper cousins. they use these shadow disciplines for crowd control, leaving the assassin to take down monsters one at a time(see: mind blast, cloak of shadows)
just a side note
martial artists tend to be more interesting, as the playstyle is more demanding. martial artists use a lot of hotkeys, and switching of hotkeys
and requires a lot of thinking, as opposed to the careless brutality of sorceresses and barbarians
so, levelling your martial artist will be more interesting, and reaching a high level will be enjoyable, as opposed to being a chore
but of course, your hands might hurt :P
There are actually 3 martial arts builds. The Pheonix Striker and Dragon Talon (Kicker and the Kicker/Trapper hybrid), and the Tiger Strike/Dragon Tail (TS/DTailer). Due to the way that damage is calculated (which I'm sure you really don't care about yet) TS and DTail are very effective combination (moreso than any other TS/finisher combination). TS/DTail gives high physical damage and fire area of effect (AoE) damage that reaches about the distance of two monsters on either side of the target. In addition to the fire AoE, DTail also causes knockback in the same AoE. For this reason, DTail has the advantage over DTalon in crowd control (although DTalon has the advantage against single monsters, ie Bosses).
And since I mentioned finishers, I might as well talk about them briefly. You may or may not already know this, but martial arts Assassins have a very different attack mechanism than any other class. If you look at the MA skill tree, you'll notice that each skill is either a charge-up or a finisher. The way it works is that you can first attack with the charge-up skills (building up to 3 charges for each skill), then use one of the finisher skills to unleash the charges. So for instance, you could land 3 attacks with TS, another 3 attacks with Cobra Strike. These first 6 attacks would just do your weapon damage, but then you unleash all the charged-up damage and dual leach using the DTail finisher (which also adds the fire and knockback AoE).
Just thought I'd mention that real quick since it's an attack mechanic that is very specific to the Assassin class.
Looks like PrkChopXpress beat me to the DTail pimping :grin:
As a newbie you should be aware that some character builds need better items than others to be effective. The Dragon Talon kickers, for example, usually rely on items with the Crushing Blow property. This limits their choice of items, which might not be an ideal situation for someone with little D2 experience.
In that respect, I believe that trap assasins are generally considered the easiest to equip, followed by Tiger Strike/Dragon Tail assasins.
So for instance, you could land 3 attacks with TS, another 3 attacks with Cobra Strike. These first 6 attacks would just do your weapon damage, but then you unleash all the charged-up damage and dual leach using the DTail finisher (which also adds the fire and knockback AoE).
It's a maximum of 3 charges total; not 3 charges per chargeup type. You could do 2tiger/1cobra but not 3/3 before releasing.
err... I have had 3 tiger strike, 3 cobra, and 3 phoenix on me running nearly all the time
unless that changed in 1.1*
<--still playing 1.09
nice post about the charge-up and finishers, porkchop
No, that hasn't changed. It's 3 charges of a particular strike, and I'm not even sure that there is a limit on how many different strikes you can charge before releasing. I think the only limiting factor is that after ~7 seconds the charges start to wear off.
And you have all pretty well missed the most important element. (IMHO)
Lightning Traps are Shock Web [SW], Charged Bolt Sentry [CBS], Lightning Sentry [LS] and Death Sentry [DS]. SW and CBS are low level skills that you use to gain the higher levels so that you can use LS and DS, LS is the more damaging of the two, it has more shots as well. However, there is a very important function of DS, and that’s that it can corpse explode. Corpse Explosion is a necromancer skill that found its way on to our traps, basically a dead monster is exploded dealing damage to the enemies around it. The damage is determined by the amount of life the monster has. (In the case of our traps its 40%-80%) The more points you put in DS the more lightning damage DS has, but also the greater radius the corpse explosion has. This is massively important as DS can work like a chain reaction, the initial corpse explosion many remove most of the life of a nearby monster killing it, this corpse can then be exploded perhaps killing another two monsters nearby. These two monster’s corpses are then exploded perhaps killing some more monsters, very quickly you can end up with a room full of dead monsters.
I mention this because the way most builds should work is that they get the first few corpses for death sentry to work on. If you make a lightning trapper, or a Dragon Tail kicker or whatever, then your expectation should not to be kick, or hit or trap everything to death but to get those first few corpses.
Good luck with your sin, remember to experiment with everything and have fun!
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