Forgive me for butting in as the "voice of reason." I just have this to say for Smitty's guide-
I've had the pleasure of pub LLDing on both Ladder Season3 and on NL. An LLD101er was on my /f list WAY before I played Ladder3 and got me into the "sport" of it.
That being said, I built my first "real" LLd's on Ladder3, where I met among others, Smitty and Paddington. I'll say this much about Paddington-he didn't always 7v1 a pub game, he didn't win every time in a 1v1. However, he never whined about it and always tried again. He takes great pride in his build, and knows its strengths and weaknesses. He's had more seat time in the build than all of the cookiecutter Ebay-purchased-geared guys have, guaranteed. His build DOES work, even if it isn't "perfect."
Now on the other side of things, Zangief's thread elsewhere(way before this forum's lvl 30 Fury guide) inspired me to make my own some 1.5 years ago I suppose(?). He's been rebuilt 3 times now and is still far from perfect, though he's getting closer.
THAT being said, this isn't the place for complete and utter arrogance, especially when critiquing something that someone has poured their heart and soul into. I could have done the same thing, and pointed out the places where he deviated from the "norm," and suggested the "norm" in place of it. I could also have done it with some tact. The point? We don't need another Ce Olba here, speaking out of his arse 90% of the time. Do that elsewhere please.
Smitty knows his little bear, and he knows what is working for him. He's PASSIONATE about his build, which is more than we can say about some.
Just for the record, I had no problem at all with the suggestion of different gear. That's why I included those specific items mentioned in the guide. Someone could very well look at this and think, "Well, I like the basic idea of the build, but I think it needs some tweaking".
What I took offense to is the manner in which it was done. It could have easily been a discussion about gear choice, opposed to simply stating my choices were wrong without asking for further clarification.
Regardless, in order to at least try and stay on topic, I'll re-clarify my choices for the helm and shield.
Helm: I think what you need to shoot for is a +2 SS pelt that has the Visionary mod on it. Other useful skills and mods would help a load, but that's really what you're going for. Again, the reason is because your only real source of AR is Maul (I don't include HoW because it could easily die without you even taking a swing in a lot of duels). The drawback is that after a point, Maul is just an AR boost because you will not reach your max damage in most duels after ~level 15 Maul. That said, it's better to try and get AR from your equipment than your skills, and aside from Angelics, Visionary is the largest AR boost you can get. Plus, if you get lucky and end up with 2os then you can throw maxers in there to your heart's content.
Shield: If someone is intent on not using a Rhyme, then I'd still pick Whitstan's Guard over an ATSoD. You need the defense, period. If you don't have high defense, then you will lose. Like I said, someone may disagree, and there's nothing wrong with trying out the ATSoD (or even having it in your stash to swap in), but you're going to primarily be dueling non-casters, so you need to focus on defense just as much as anything else. I am fully aware that the ideas I put forth are odd, but there's a reason why my mauler is the only one I've seen that can complete in most LLD games vs. other dedicated melee characters.
That said, I'm done discussing the Helm and Shield selection unless someone has a specific question about them instead of a general remark expressing disapproval.
I don't think the thread needs a fresh start. In my Fury druid guide people were just flaming me for using a single duped classic ring.
My comments in this thread haven't been personal flames, but have all been oriented about the LLD bear gear selection.
It's easy to say that "Smitty knows his little bear, and he knows what is working for him," but the truth is that it's not working. Looking at stats alone it's clear that it could never contend with a decent melee character.
It's easy to say that I'm being arrogant, but I know I'm right. Maybe if Smitty were a little less arrogant himself, he would take my advice and see how much better his bear would be.
i believe he said he tried the maxer route and it didnt work as well as what he currently recommends. most arguments with you seem to go around in circles with you never budging on your beliefs. maybe just maybe the guy that has made a mauler might know what he was talking about. ofc you've made a lot of them so you know better, huh? one time, just one time maybe you could say "oh well i dont know as well as you because i have no experience with that," but again you have made everything perfectly and do indeed know everything.
calling smitty arrogant is like calling you modest.
i won't bother commenting the previous posts but what i'd like to know is wether you've built a high level pvp mauler? if so, do you think this does better compared to high lvl mauler? i've built only one mauler in .09 and it sucked but so did i. what i've read is that maulers aren't that effective in high lvl duels.
Great guide, I've been thinking of making a lld char for a while, and I'm thinking making a bear like this may be the way to go. I noticed at the end you mentioned making a new bear that uses shockwave. I love it and find it immensely helpful on my fc druid, but is it worth the extra skillpoint for this build in your experience?
Cppo-The-Wild: I tried out a 54 Mauler, but the weapon I picked (Phase Blade with 110ias and 60ed from jewels) just didn't do enough damage for it to be viable. I'm going to try again with a higher damage weapon at some point, but right now I'm focusing on the LLD, which I think is likely more viable than a MLD or HLD mauler, but where I haven't tried either, so I'm not really one to talk.
Skull Bash: Honestly, not really. If you happen to have it on whatever Pelt you're using, it might not hurt to use it. However, I tested it out recently and I didn't notice much of a difference. Ultimately, what I'd like is to be able to turn into both a Bear and a Wolf, because there are cases where either one is better than the other. Depending upon the skills on the helm, I may stick a point in Shockwave at that point, but the short answer to your question is that it won't make or break the build either way.
CDM: It's not a bid deal. I haven't seen one of his posts since the last one I posted in response to him. If he hasn't dropped it since then it's his problem, not mine.