Christmas is almost upon us, but I received my gift early: on December 20th, I completed the last leg in my latest project, a seven-pack of stylish builds. There were a few tough patches, but on the whole it's a journey I'm very happy to have undertaken.
I had two of the builds done before I had any real thoughts of making a sept. In fact, the jumpstart to the whole project came from Nagisafurukawa holding a giveaway that included his “Passion” Thunder Maul. As soon as I saw it in that stash, an idea popped into my head - Berserker Druid - and I had to have it. Even after this build, the sept idea hadn't crossed my mind - I was just making builds that interested me - but then, in the Pat thread, lionhearthebrave asked if I had further ideas for the mace. I didn't, but as I read that question one came to me. Once that build - Zealot with no points in zeal - was done, there was no escaping the sept. I was already halfway through it and I had acquired a taste for these off-center builds.
That's not to say the rest came easily. I went through several ideas for the last 3 classes (at least 5 different ideas for the Barbarians, 4 for the Amazon and 3 for the Assassin) before deciding on the builds and, even then, there were doubts aplenty whether or not they'd be effective.
But, this is about the characters, not my worries about them, and it's about time we got to them. I'll be going in chronological order.
1. Blighter, Poisonmancer with Lightning Iron Wolf and Iron Golem
Blighter stemmed from an idea I had had for awhile to make a Lightning Iron Wolf a viable killer. The Iron Golem was part of a double whammy decision to test out its capabilities as a tank in Pit running.
The build had its quirks, but it was a lot of fun and extremely powerful. Probably the least accessible build of the group, requiring the most wealth, but that's one reason I tried to make the writeup so thorough. And, let's be honest, where else are you going to see somebody crazy enough to socket a Perfect Amethyst in a Griffon's Eye?
2. Fire_Sparker, Fireball/Lightning Sorceress
I'd seen builds (especially B.net based builds) suggesting Lightning as a backup, but not hitting the 117 FCR breakpoint (typically because they wore full Tal's and dual SoJs). I didn't like the thought of that, so this girl was my way of testing it out.
Fire_Sparker served almost like Blighter's opposite: where Blighter required very high-end gear, Fire_Sparker requires fairly common gear. On top of that, Blighter was rather standard skill wise, but odd in outliers, while Fire_Sparker was standard in gear, merc, etc. but very unusual in skill choice.
3. Patior, Titan Berserker Druid
The character sparked by Nagisa's giveaway. I'm still in love with the concept for this one.
In defensive respects, I've never made a better character. How can that be when the character has no leech (save for Carrion Vine) and low life? Cyclone Armor, lots of slow and big damage. I sort of doubt if I'll ever seen anybody else make one (most people think playing a Titan requires more skill than it does, I suppose), but I'm very proud of this build.
4. Zealalittle, 2 handed Zealot with no points in Zeal
I don't like paladins. I had made 2 before Zealalittle, and loathed them. They were the class that I always figured would keep me from making a sept. However, when the idea of using the Passion Thunder Maul to make a Zealot like no one had ever seen before hit me, I couldn't help but be intrigued. Plus, I really loved the name.
This guy was nifty. I still don't like paladins, but massive power along with a built-in PI and IM solution along with the sheer novelty made completing him pretty easy. Also, I don't know if I would have even made Fortitude if it weren't for this char (in planning it was pretty obvious that Fortitude would be drastically better than other options), so that's a nice note. Actually, now that I think about it, making him really freed me up to making relatively expensive items for a single build if the build was deserving enough, which came in handy a little later on.
5. WhyNot, Frenzied Zealbarb
Once I decided I was making a sept, I had to reevaluate the existing members, to make sure they measured up. Compared to the other four, I didn't feel like Warren_Zevon measured up, so I started toying around with Barbarian ideas. I had a lot, but most were just standard builds with unusual setups or rather obvious themes (Death; though I did like the fact that I planned to call my Death-themed barb “Oppenheimer”) and those didn't particularly strike my fancy. Finally, while I was running numbers for a Frenzy idea that was interesting but not amazing, the thought of zealbarbs hit me. There was a Eureka moment and WhyNot was born.
He was special from the start, as he started his life “wearing” Tyrael's (created him to take my MFO haul pic) and was originally intended to be a Frenzy barb wearing that armor. Months later, that still hadn't gotten started so his future was redirected.
In game terms, this guy is a monster. Seriously, you have to try this. Don't worry if you can't afford Death or Grief, you can do a Frenzied Zealbarb if you can make Passion and hit level 4 zeal. It may not be as powerful as WhyNot, but I doubt you'll be disappointed. I can't overemphasize how much fun this one was to play.
6. HopeThisWorks, Vengeance Amazon with Faith Rogue
I didn't expect much out of this one, as you can probably tell from the name. Thanks to some help from sirpoopsalot (most notably in the form of the Faith on the Rogue) she greatly outperformed my expectations. I love when that happens.
Nothing is immune to her attacks. That's just amazing. It wasn't cheap, though. And the weapon cost is non-negotiable, so that somewhat limits replication of this build, but the Faith would not be necessary. With a minor tweak or two you could have a very similar power level with a mere frame slower attack speed. That would require slower play than mine, but it should be mentioned that my play-style would probably be described as foolhardy by the nice and stupid by the truthful, so that may not be much of a hindrance. Really enjoyed examining the Amazon's passive tree with this one - there are some serious jewels there.
7. Kerrigan, Themed Assassin with Faith Rogue
As I mentioned, I had other Assassin ideas before Kerrigan, but she seemed to provide a very nice balance of skills between the three trees and a good chance to get an all around feel for the class while paying homage to my favorite game of all time and one of my favorite characters out of said game.
The Faith loan was for both characters, mainly because the Fanaticism would free up slots on Kerrigan. You could hit max speed without the aura, especially if you mix claws like I did. It's also a build easily adjusted to work with a lower budget - Bartuc's would work fine as weapons and you could replace Tyrael's with all kinds of things. I thought about using my Jeweler's Ancient Armor of the Whale and going for a more SC2 look instead, but there were too many gg mods on the Tyrael's and I didn't spend years playing SC2.
-Q: That's some impressive characters. But, I don't have Grief, Death, Faith or a CTA, does that mean I can't make any of these builds?
A: Not at all. Blighter's the only one that relies on that exact gear to be good, and, even then, if you go with something other than the Iron Wolf, you can get by with cheaper gear. Kerrigan and WhyNot, especially, could be done with pretty much whatever you have.
-Q: Patior looks interesting, but I don't think I could handle such low life. Could I use a lighter weapon and put more points in Vitality?
A: Sure, if you don't mind running down a large number of monsters you come in contact with. The beauty of that build and weapon is when you hit things they go down, making the CtC Terror a non-issue. Good positioning of yourself and the merc and high damage will help you more than those hit points will. Granted, I wouldn't advise throwing your best gear on him in HC, but in SC you shouldn't have any real problems and even in HC smart play should let you Guardian him. And even if it doesn't, it's not like he's an expensive character. ;p
-Q: So, now that you've taken these ideas does that mean that all the good ideas are gone?
A: Hardly. I still have a few not-too-bad leftovers from the planning process for these and have had another one or two come to me since. An awful lot has been done, but the soil is still fertile.
-Q: So what's next on the docket? More unusual builds?
A: Not for awhile. New characters will be more cookie cutter and I'll be spending more D2 time on MF runs. Maybe some MP with WhyNot, since Gib rolled an excellent Council map and will probably now be retired from MP action to hold on to it.
-Q Anyone you'd like to thank for this project?
A: Of course. I'd like to give hearty thanks for all of their help to the following people:
And I'd like to apologize to anyone I forgot. Lastly, I'd like to thank all of you for reading and commenting. I'll leave you with a group picture, hopes of seeing more unusual builds in the new year and my best wishes.