My sorc doesn't have teleport researched, so if I use Engima, I can save the 2 skill points needed to get teleport and put those 2 points into cold or fire mastery or other spells. Plus Engima offers +2 to all skills.
It's way better for you to work in those points to learn teleport. Makes everything about a sorc much better (travel, survival, merc placement).
I would suggest spirit for the shield because of the FHR, resists, skills, mana and most importantly to me is the 35% fcr potential.
For armor, a good, and relatively easy to make runeword is smoke. It adds something like 50 to all resistances, though I can't really remember. I do know it only takes nef + lum, though, and lum you can get from NM countess (or at least cube up to it easily enough). A few plus skills aren't going to make or break a character like this. For your weapon, HOTO is very good, however. The unique orbs are also very good, though you actually have a really decent chance to find and make HOTO, as the only high rune it needs is a vex.
Enigma is a good armor, and some of its benefits are really great, but it's probably not worth the investment for this character unless you really have nothing better that you want, and already have a decked out mercenary :P
I'm going to plug the suggestion of using vipermagi armor again, because of the resists, magic damage reduction, ability to socket it, and fcr (and + 1 skills).
I finally found a damaged war scythe, which should have a max of 6 sockets. I looked at the cube recipes, and it says I can upgrade low quality normal items to normal items. Is there any recipe to upgrade the normal item to an exceptional or elite version? I only see ones for Rares and Uniques.
No, unfortunately you can't do that for white or grey items. If it has a high enough ilvl to get 6 sockets, and you were to "reroll" it to a plain, not damaged way scythe, it will have ilvl of 1, which means it can't have even 4 sockets anymore (I'm not sure if it can have 3).
Any way I can boost the ilvl of that war scythe to what I need for 4 sockets so I can finally put in the Insight runeword?
And no way of upgrading white items to exceptional or elite ones? That kinda sucks cuz you can do that with rares and uniques. The reason I went for war scythe is for its fast attack speed. I looked on the Wiki, and it says that the "popular" choice, the cryptic axe and the colossus voulge (high STR requirement for the voulge tho) are slow attack speed, but have roughly 15 more damage per hit. I prefer fast attack speeds over slow ones cuz my merc's doing *all* the melee attacks.
Also, what's a good spot to consistently find a 4-socket fast attacking polearm (like war or grim scythes) and 4-socket staffs?
No, you can't do that, unfortunately. I agree with your decision for faster attack speed (even if the average dps is slightly lower) because eventually your merc should probably have some crushing blow and stuff like that, and the more often he hits, the more often takes percent life away from enemies. Lower requirements are a nice bonus, too.
You can't find them at all in normal, but in late NM act 1 you can find them , I believe. If you check the area lvl of the area you're interested in, and it is high enough, then just run that area until you get a white or 4 socketed one, and socket the white ones with the cube recipe. (It's something like Ral, Amn, P-Ruby, jewel? It's easy enough to find on arreat summit, if I'm wrong. I can't think of any reason one area would be more likely to drop a specific type of item over another, like polearms (and fast ones, too).
Another strategy would be to try your countess map, and she has several weapon racks on the way up to her. If you try to follow the same paths to a rack on a given floor, it will usually drop the same small handful of items. Because the 5th floor is the smallest, and you can teleport right to the racks with ease, your best hope is to have that weapon rack drop your scythes.
I just found a "Double Bow" which is an exceptional bow in the Barracks area off one of these skeleton guys. I checked the Wiki and it says the Double Bow is decent for amazons, with "Very Fast" rate. Dunno how good a bow amazon would be to play as a second character later on after I max out my sorc (mostly for finding items and stuff).
So I wonder, maybe I can find scythes and staffs here in the Barracks and the catacombs? I tried doing the countess, and I decided to try /players8 to make enemies drop more items, but I died pretty fast in there cuz of hordes of blue / yellow named monsters. So its back to /players1.