i decided to make a hammerdin, since it's so good, and as you all know popular, but i've never tried him before. i read a lot about him, but never found out one thing - what do you do up to lvl 24? I am playing SP and have so far finished A3 without much trouble, and without dying once. I am leveling holy freeze, thats about it. i have 70 points in str, just in case, for some items, 45 i dex, the rest in vit and zero in energy. since im playing on the new version, i cant change stats/skills, so i know ill transfer to the hammerdin build later, i just want to know when? i know which spells to max, or um, at least put points in, so far, but when is it a good time to transfer?
Paladin is one of the classes I've played least in DII, so my advice is going to be general. I played a lot of DII before respecs though, so I am used to leveling characters who are waiting for a late skill, and saving points. The truth is that the first couple of acts of Normal are pretty easy- a sorc can beat them pretty easily with no skill points at all spent, and using only found equipment.
The first thing I'd suggest is playing at players 8 except for the hard spots, like bosses. This does a couple of things- it makes sure you are always way over-leveled for a given area, which makes things easier for you, and makes your merc very strong at the beginning. It also gets you to lvl 24, and your main skill, early- generally sometime early in Act II even if you aren't doing full clears. It also lets you take on the hard spots at players 1, which makes them a breeze, since your level is so high. A merc that is over-leveled is pretty much able to solo in Normal, if need be (though that won't be fast.)
You should also look into how to get reasonable gear, particularly for your merc, easily. 3os (or even 2os) bows and chipped gems work well for both your character and your rogue merc in Act I. Some early runes/jewels are also good for bow sockets. There are much better options for young characters than that, but that's generally easy to get. Any Pike will make your Act II merc good enough- a Pike with some damage mods will make him unstoppable.
There are a lot of tricks to making the early game easy if you are saving points. If you are twinking things become really easy- some of the early sets (like Sigon's, etc.) make things a breeze. If you're not, strategic shopping is useful. I am too impatient to look for really nice stuff in the shops, but even things you can find easily in the can be very useful.
Now that there are respecs you can just pick a skill that is powerful at early levels and respec at lvl 30 or so, whenever you have enough points to put into your main skill that it becomes better than the early one.
There is a very detailed guide for Hammerdin in the Paladin Forum. It's even written with SP/untwinked in mind.
To give a VERY brief summary:
Skills to max-Conversion, Vigor, Blessed Aim, Blessed Hammer (in that order, though it's not absolute. Blessed Hammer is maxed last, or at least later, because the mana cost increases as the skill level goes up. SP Hammerdins will have severe mana shortages, especially earlier on) Dump rest into Holy Shield
1 pt. Wonders - Redemption, Salvation (look up the guide for explanations on these)
For equipment, it's unrealistc to expect an Enigma, etc from SP. Use whatever you find. The mods to prioritize are: +skills, FCR, resists, FHR. Don't forget the essentials like CBF, FRW, etc.
Hammerdins should be viable enough with pretty much any gear setup. The build is more about getting a feel for using an Hdin and maximizing efficiency.
Last edited by Rice_Farmer3; 05-07-2011 at 01:10.
Reason: Oops, Insight is Ladder-only.
I believe Rice_Farmer3 meant to say Concentration not Conversion. Other than that it sounds great.
Just want to add that I used to max Holy Fire and use Zeal until my mercenary was level 27 for an insight pole-arm, that is if you plan on using the RWM. Then I respected to a level of hammer that felt comfortable with the Meditation aura from the mercenary.
im not investing anything in energy, should i get items for +mana?
You can invest in Energy until you have better equipment with more Mana and then respecialize you character. Or, like i do, you can try to shop for a Wand that gives more Mana and FCR. Your Hammerdin will like it.
Oh, and don't be afraid to drink Mana sometimes, it isn't that bad! :grin:
I would respec that character at L30, if at all. Before we could respec characters, I used the hammerdin prereq skills for BH, HS, conc and hammer synergies at level 1 or just the standard attack to kill enemies without a problem... and I'm not a particularly skilled player.
Paladins can be leveled to that point very easily with e.g. Sigon's set, Civerb's Cudgel, Cathan's Seal, Manald Heal and one of the low-level unique amulets. Act 1 merc: Hunter's bow with a chipped sapphire, a poison dmg jewel and chipped topazes and whatever random helm and armor you find. Act 2 merc: Dimoak's Hew + Sigon's armor + Sigon's helm. L27: Insight polearm, preferably in an eth exceptional one.