I'm going with an orb/fireball sorc with a prayer merc wielding insight and kelpie snare in cube for boss kills. I'll be running countess/andy/tunnels/summoner/meph. I'll be playing hardcore ASAP. I love this build because you can clear all areas in hell with ease, gets a little difficult with more players in the game, but with optimal equipment it can be done.
i'll be going Fire / Energy shield (max telekinesis, max fireball/bolt/meteor), going to start out with nm andy/meph, then hell andy/meph, then i'll do keyruns once i get a decent merc and decent gear.
Well with respec, you dont have to differentiate between an early throw-away char or an endgame keeper char.
Start off with a fire sorc through Normal, they get good damage early on and arent too mana-hungry. Then switch it up to a dual-elementer, CL/FO is still viable though nerfed, and of course Meteorb. You can switch it to a specialist (e.g. Blizzard for Meph) after you finish Hell and have some decent gear.
The "LEAF" runeword in a +3 fireball staff can be aquired fairly easily with runes from normal countess. Go fire bolt/fire ball first, then respec whenever, possibly after getting some OK gear from NM andy.
...or just find a half-decent group to play through with, and go right for blizz/mephbug until the needed gear for running the rest of hell presents itself
i find it strange, that most of sorc items are dropped in NM, not hell or any where else, but nm, i ll explain why:
Spirit runes for Crystal sword easily found in nm
Vipers = best found in nm
4os SC for spirit = nm
gold wrap / tal belt, damn it, whole tal set can be found in nm ( amulet can be found as early as countess :O )
all can be found in NM, 80% of items are easier to find in nm then hell for sorc.
naah guys, i am sticking with nm finding, nn hell mfing for 2 reasons:
a) over kill with immune's
b) less chances of finding what i am after
and build... fire baal in normal. it does silly damage, like, REALLY silly, final build would be FO/ES so i could run NM dia more efficient.
That's provided you can get the Tal Armor from trading. NM won't do, but getting to hell Mausoleum could be good enough.
EDIT: IIRC the amulet can be found as early as bosses in normal act2 false toombs.