Long time reader, first time post. Iíve played D2 long enough and lurked here for a while. Thanks to everyone on this site for the really useful and comprehensive info. I used to play online, but I have recently turned to single player.
I am trying to get a frozen arrow/strafe bowazon through hell, because Iíve never donít this with any character on single player. I have no ATMA or ladder rune words (just doing it as the game and expansion, with patch 1.13).
Iíve come to a halt in act 2 and would like some advice how to get past the tombs and Durial (and progress from there). I am lacking physical damage and survivability of my merc (who does decent physical damage, but dies and leaves me and Valk not doing much).
Iím level 84 (I think), with maxed Frozen arrow (plus synergies), strafe and level 17 Valk. I have an act 2 might merc.
I have enough str to equip a Grand matron bow, around 600 life (not a lot) and the rest in dex.
A quick run down of equipment:
Melody bow (in a +3 bow skills, Matriarchal bow)
The spirit shroud armour
2 rare rings (combination of leeches, str and some res)
Rare boots with FRW, some res and MF
Honour in Eth Mancatcher
Magic armour with >1000 def and life based on char level
*Iím really proud of the amulet: +1 amazon skills, 5% FRW, 4% mana leech, 3% life leech, 20 dex, 11 life and 2 ok resistances.
I am looking for a Lem rune to make treachery in a dusk shroud. (the 45% IAS along with 20% on gloves and bow should be enough for 8/2 strafe on the Mat bow Ė if my calculations are correct)
And looking for a Fal for Lionheart for my merc (although I donít have an armour yet).
My current bow is great for speed and +6 bow and crossbow skills for FA, but lacks physical damage.
I have an Ist rune and 2 Gul runes, which I can up to a Vex.
Is the rune word Silence realistic to put into a bow for a frozen arrow/strafe bowazon? Would it help my physical damage sufficiently? Given that, it would have to go in a crusader or hydra bow. Should I save the runes for other rune words?
(My other plan is to find a titanís revenge and respect to a javazon to finish hell)
Any advice into gear setup etc, that could help would be good. Durial is a pain and getting to him is tough but manageable.
Melody bow is sux for strafe. Get rid of it and put 40 points into exploding arrow and it's synergy ( fire arrows for cold immunes ). Or use a javelin-> charge strike/lightning fury for immunes.
Either way will leave you with not much points for valkyrie, but don't worry. Use 'peace' armor ( ShaelThulAmn ) to proc level 15 valkyrie. You'll need a hard point in it to make it stay alive. Remaining all points go into pierce. You must have 1 point GA for dual immunes ofc.
Fal, lem runes can easily be gotten by running the countess. It isn't as easy as with a sorc, but should be doable.
Also, I have no idea how you are managing without insight on merc.
I can not see 'Silence' being a realistic use for those runes. It is certainly not good for physical damage, the +skills is low compared to melody, the low ias and the fact that you have to put it in a slow 6os bow means it'll probably suck for FA too. I know it sux, but there's no really good usage of Ist/Gul/Vex runes for a bowazon.
I think Silence is a decent choice. It has huge resists, 2 all skills, and a slew of monster disabling mods(hit blinds target and HCMTF). It certainly better than melody. Most monster should either stand there blinded, or run away from you after you shoot them so you can shoot them some more in peace.
I'd get those points out of the valk immediatly, and put them in penetrate. You need ALOT of attack rating. Aim for 8-10k. It also helps freezing arrow, as the more it hits, the more it pierces, the more damage it does to crowds.
One setup I really like, and that I use on my level 84 hardcore amazon(who is in act1), is harmony bow + peace armour. Having harmony means I don't need any hard points in valkyrie to prevent the valkyrie from peace from poofing. Let's not forget Peace also gives +2 to amazon skills, and + a few points in critical strike aswell.
IIRC, there is no such thing as a 2 frame strafe. It's a client-server glitch. Don't think it's been fixed. You're better off getting a 3 frame strafe, and using your equip slots for resists and AR. Strafe also has a 4 frame next delay. Those dudes at Blizzard do not like amazons.
I really think you should take the time and get GoMule. Just because blizzard want you to have many items doesn't mean you shouldn't. Also get rune word mod. That's how you can get Harmony and Insight.
HMCTF is a very annoying mod. And honestly you do not need the 'hit blinds target' mod either. A bowazon's best crowd control is knockback, which melody has just by default. Use 1 point strafe to knockback everything. Explosive arrows knockback as well, and freezing arrow.. well it freezes stuff. 'Slows target' mod is also helpful. And if everything fails, hide behind the valkyrie. That works. I don't see the point in using high runes to make a bow with 4 less skills than melody, and being much slower. You shouldn't really need resistance either. Just have some charms to swap on in an area full of gloams or other elemental attackers.
I hope your bramble mitts are 2/20 BC gloves cause you didn't say.
Mav belt is again a kind of weird item. If you don't need FRW, just shop something like 'ocher belt of the squid' for ~25 literes 70 hp.
2 frame strafe works on single player. It may not work on bnet I'm not sure.
I second the notion to not waste runes into silence. Harmony will do more damage and vigor will make the game a lot more fun. Edit, but harmony requires the rune word mod. If you choose not to use it, shopping a cruel bow is an option, otherwise look for the highest ed rare you can and up it.
If you are just trying to get through hell, I would put the ist into delirum and wear it. When you morph, wp to town and switch acts. The confuse will help out your merc quite a bit.
If you don't do that, look into a life tap wand for when the merc fights unleechables (the skeletons). You might also want to figure out a way to remove corpes to make your progress through the tombs easier. An amulet with charges of grim ward should work there, but something I never have personally tried.
Explosive arrows put monsters into hit recovery, which is sorta like a knockback.
If you want to use strafe at all, get a different bow for it on switch. Buriza can be easily gotten from NM Meph or Baal runs.
Melody is better than harmony for +skill based build. Also you may need to reroll the harmony a few times to get a nice roll, and that can be difficult if you don't have a stack of Lums and Ko lying around.
There's absolutely no reason to get strafe if you have a low damage bow. Explosive arrows does about ~60% the damage of freezing arrows, which is plenty fine for immunities. Penetrate is okay, but not hugely necessary.
I guess the easiest option would be to re-spec and use Immolation / Exploding Arrow with a Melody bow to kill Cold Immunes. For what it's worth, that build can solo Hell with a cracked Short Bow. As ioupainmax said, Ice Arrow is useless as a synergy.
IMHO Strafe is only usable with very few bows in the Vanilla game (upgraded Buriza, upgraded Witch Wild String or - unrealistically - Windforce) and it might take a lot of running to get these. Harmony is a bit easier to obtain but you need the Rune Word Mod for it.
I like your attitude of playing the game unmodified, but you might consider using GoMule - it's basically nothing more than multiplayer with yourself to mule off items without losing your map file.
Just a little add on. I didn't notice any source of CB in both builds. Do you have trouble killing bosses? Monsters in hell is buffed in both hp and DR. A Duress would be a nice change from your merc's blue armor. A Guilamme would be best. IIRC, ranged attacks suffer 50% effectiveness (on top of other penalties). Though it's been a long time since I play that build so YMMV.
I third the advice on Razortail. It'll make a lot of differences in FA. Strafe and FA also need somewhat different mods, you'll be quite pressed to combine them. You either need to respec or spend some time gathering the items listed.