A 1.10a beta +2 all skills BK ring seekers miniguide:
Here is a report on a project that I did a while ago that I'd started to write up but never finished up or posted: getting 1.10a +2 skills Bul Kathos Wedding Band rings. It is feasible and I found it pretty gratifying.
The goal is to find the elusive +2 all skills Bul Kathos rings. It's easy to see why these rings are desirable: it's the only way to get +2 skills from a ring slot. Normally, SoJs are quite desirable for builds that really need +skills, as those are often caster builds who benefit from the +mana more than they would from the life leech on an ordinary +1 skill BK ring. But for the additional skill point, casters will generally happily give up the useful mana mods on an SoJ. +2 skills BK are particularly desirable for builds that use OSkills in a melee setting, as there the +skills affect the OSkill and the life leech may be an added bonus.
The only version these exist in is the beta version 1.10a, which has synergies (unlike 1.09 and earlier) and the harder monsters in hell that we've all grown used to in 1.10a and later.
A few things to keep in mind:
ATMA doesn't work on the beta 1.10a, and neither does GoMule. So that meant that muling was a pain. Muling off meant for me self-MPing with two computers both running 1.10a, which was tedious and meant losing the map seed. So to keep muling to a minimum, I left an awful lot of things on the ground and pretty much just picked up rings and amulets. The downside was that I probably left some decent things there, but the upside was that the runs were very quick as I wouldn't bother picking stuff up, let alone IDing it, in general. To my mind, as someone who has done a lot of 1.11/1.12 MFing, the list of items that might reasonably drop in 1.10a from Andarial that I don't already have a zillion of in 1.11/1.12 is quite short, and is mainly just the +2 skills BKWB.
Where to find a BKWB
There a good discussion some years ago about trying to get SoJs efficiently. There was a nice writeup on the Strategy Compendium (I can only find it on the Wayback Machine at this link ) summarizing that. The analysis there was that NM Andy is a great choice for single-mindedly focusing on SoJs, as Andy not only has a decent chance to drop jewelry, but also there is the Andy quest drop bug which means that you can drop some MF in exchange for speed because of essentially what amounts to "free MF" from the quest drop bug.
Much of that analysis applies to BK rings. Of course, NM Andy is out since she can't drop a BKWB, but the arguments lead to Hell Andy as an excellent choice for a BKWB. Again, the quest drop bug is a big plus and her jewelry drop chance is relatively good. Running Hell Meph is a better choice if you are interested in other items that may drop, but its to my mind a slower way of getting BKWBs in 1.10a.
Running Hell Andy
So basically the idea is to get a character in 1.10a who can run Hell Andy quickly carrying decent but not over-the-top MF. Sorcs win here because of teleport, of course, but what build?
Blizzard is ordinarily a good choice for Andy runs, but in 1.10a cold mastery is weakened enough to make that a sub-optimal choice to my mind. I went with a straight fireball sorc with a decent ES. It's a pain not being able to kill some of the monsters in her chamber but the plan is just teleport straight there and then kill her quickly. Usually it was quick and easy- sometimes a nasty boss would be nearby which complicated things and slowed down a run.
My method was as follows:
1) Rush and level a character in a version earlier than 1.10a
Starting a character from scratch in 1.10a who can effectively run Hell Andy with decent MF would take a while. So it's quicker to gather gear and level in a patch previous to 1.10a and then bring the character forward one she is ready to go.
I used 1.07 since I have a stable of characters there and it was easier to do but 1.09 would probably be easier for many. Even though 1.07 doesn't have synergies, I selected her skills knowing that she would later be in 1.10a.
2) Bring her forward to 1.10a and then kill Andy over and over again until those lovely rings drop.
I wasn't sure if the "quest drop bug" applied in earlier versions, or for that matter whether or not it applied in 1.10a. So I played it safe by only rushing her to A1 Hell in 1.07. That was something of a pain, as that meant she could not do Hell Cows in 1.07 which is a great place for levelling there. (You can't enter the cow portal in pre-1.10 unless you already killed Ball in that difficulty, and the A5 Bloody Foothills experience runs that we so common in 1.09 are similarly out of reach for a character who has only gotten to A1 Hell.) I fitted her out with resonable MF gear- not top-notch but reasonable and things I have many 1.07 copies of. I did actually stop briefly in 1.09 with her as I had a Gull there for switch and the Gulls in 1.07 have a lot less MF than 1.09+. And at that point I didn't know if the quest drop bug would work in 1.10a.
Then I brought her forward to 1.10a and had her kill Andy in 1.10a on her own, since I was hoping that the quest drop bug worked there. Indeed, that method seemed to work, which was great, as it meant that maxing MF wasn't nearly as important and I could focus more on speed.
I focuesed on speed and survival as I was contemplating also doing this project in HC as well at some point, which I haven't done yet.
3) Find a good map for Hell Andy and run her over and over.
Of course a good Andarial map made things quicker. But every time her stash got full, I lost the map seed from TCP/IP muling. So I didn't pick up much except jewelry, jewels and some charms, so as not to fill up the stash too quickly, and also I didn't try to get the greatest map ever since I knew that in not too long I would have to give it up.
Here was the count of unique rings for my runs, which took place over about a month of intermittent play. I didn't keep track of the number of runs, I just picked up every unique ring for recording purposes. I kept track of all the rings I found for the first stretch and was fortunate to find 2 BK rings relatively quickly (well, if a few thousand runs is relatively quickly!):
57 unique rings from Hell Andy:
2 Carrion Wind
11 Dwarf Star
12 Raven Frost
In terms of relative rarity of items than can drop from Hell Andarial, those are:
Manald Heal 15
Stone of Jordan 1
Dwarf Star 10
Raven Frost 10
Bul Kathos' WB 1
Carrion Wind 3
That the chance that each of these ring drops (given that Andarial has selected to drop a unique ring) is its rarity/(total availble rarities). The sum of the availablity rarities is 55 in this case. So the chance that a given unique ring drop from Andarial is a BKWB is 1/55, same as an SoJ, whereas the chance of a Carrion Wind is 3/55 given that she has selected to drop a unique ring.
Note: these are probabilities that a unique ring that drops will be of various types. First she has to choose to drop a ring, and then choose that it will be a unique. So that probability depends of course on the players count and MF and can be worked out with ATMA for specifics. For example, the chance that Andarial quest drops from the "rin" treasure class is about 1 in 10 or so, and the chance she drops a unique ring with 200 MF works out to be something like 1 in 37, which means that the chance that she will drop a BKWB to be about 1 in 2000 or so.
So I was fortunate to get 2 BKWB over that stretch, but also not so fortunate to get any SoJs. Of course, there isn't anything special about SoJs in 1.10a and I already have bunches in 1.11/1.12, so of course I was much happier with BKWB rather than SoJs there!
I did more runs after that stretch but I stopped keeping track as carefully. I did find a third BKWB but I didn't keep as careful track of all the other rings that dropped in those later runs.
Readouts of the two BKWB I brought forward:
Code:Bul-Kathos' Wedding Band Ring Required Level: 58 Fingerprint: 0x98c721e0 Item Level: 75 Version: Expansion 1.10+ +2 to All Skills 4% Life stolen per hit +4 to Life (Based on Character Level) +50 Maximum Stamina Bul-Kathos' Wedding Band Ring Required Level: 58 Fingerprint: 0xccc5887e Item Level: 75 Version: Expansion 1.10+ +2 to All Skills 5% Life stolen per hit +4 to Life (Based on Character Level) +50 Maximum Stamina
The third BKWB I don't have a readout from as it's still in 1.10a (no ATMA/GoMule) and I may use it there some before bringing it forward, or I may use it for a 1.10final Fireball paladin build I was thinking about or some other odd 1.10 builds.
I also did of course pick up unique amulets- but I was not as organized and I didn't keep or keep track of the lesser unique amulets. The yield there was:
1 Rising Sun
2 Cat's Eye
4 Crescent Moon
The relative rarities for Hell Andarial for amulets is:
Nokozon Relic 20
Eye of Etlich 5
Mahim-Oak Curio 5
Saracen's Chance 10
The Cat's Eye 5
Rising Sun 5
Crescent Moon 5
Atma's Scarab 5
Highlord's Wrath 5
I got some reasonable rare rings and amulets, some jewels and small charms as well. There was nothing really outstanding though besides the BKWBs, which were after all the main goal.
Q: Is it a bad idea to obsessively run one target over and over again to find a specific item?
A: Yes. A much better way of finding items is just to load up on MF and kill things and see what drops, rather than looking for one specific item. But for this ring, it's pretty much the specific item you want from 1.10a.