Don't waste too much time in areas where items like Tyreal's Might can't drop... say running Pindle or Meph. These guys drop the bulk of the items quicker, but you're wasting your time with the hunt for the grail. It takes a long time... and a lot of runs. I recommend running the Pits and/or Ancient Tunnels instead of running Baal+minions, but to each his own. It was once figured out that it would take more time to complete this task than getting a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science.
I plan to look for a items grail + runeword grail (this one is a little, insane... Just count the number of Ber-Cham runes needed). That means lots of AT action with sorc. I dunno why I hate pit runs...
I made what shags told you not to do before restarting (4k+ meph and 4k+pindle runs). You end up with grail -20 and will have to spend the same insane amount of hours looking for the TC 87s and some 85s.
Since I need runes as well (a lot of them), I plan to spend some years in AT while taking breaks from d3 (it's a very different passtime, since there's no such thing as grail there due to the lack of space...). I play LOD since the presale and have little/no interest for other games. What's wrong with more ten years of play? I don't consider it a one-year-thing...
I won't play d2 to test builds and actually use the items anymore, I'll do it just for the sake of hoarding... Maybe that is the insane component of the pastime.
Since I need runes, I don't know if I run both grails as separated tasks (like faster AT and council runs) or try to do both things at the same time (p4-7 AT packing ~500-700 MF). Opinions?
I second on the sacrifice kill speed for mf, as nothing is more boring than a yellow sacred armor...
Start liking pitruns with a well equipped posion necro and run at p7. Your combined uniques/rune hunt will thank me. It's probably a bit worse for unique finding than a good AT sorc, but sixtyeightbillion times better for rune finding.
Edit: The above isn't based on math, so my intuition might actually be wrong and doing whatever maximizes your Uniques finding chances might be better. It's possible finding an entire rune grail's worth of runes in AT with a sorc takes a shorter time than finding a Tyrael's, I don't know and I'm too lazy to figure it out. I still think a p7 pitnecro is the most efficient way of accomplishing your goal though.
I was thinking AT since you will get many more TC87s due to run time differences, and byu the time you find all of the uniques you're bound to get most or all of the runes you need. But that's just my assumption. I can see the appeal to doing the pits because getting way more runes will help yourself keep motivated, I think.
I can try both for a time and see what happens. I don't know the exact numbers/odds.
I don't know how hard it is to find tyrael's might, but I know 1 Zod, 3 Cham, 12 Jah, 9 Ber seems to be a little too hard...
Since I don't have poisonmancer gear yet (aka dweb), I won't be doing pits at players 7 right now, but I agree that there is a better place for rune. After some time lurking several IFT, most of the screens of HRs I saw were on LK, trav and them pits.
I plan to focus on the numbers later. I found a Cham on Council before my restart (that obviously won't be used) - if finding 2xcham on trav proves to be easier than finding 1 Zod on Pits/AT, maybe I'll stick to that. Like pharpis said, I have motivation to do trav runs, since it was the only place I had expressive results ever... In that case, I will only make the cham runewords after finding all 5 Chams or 1 Zod...
Note: If you're asking yourselves, saying "I plan to find 12 Jah and 5 Cham" makes me doubt my sanity too. Like I mentioned before, I don't really expect to make it in a resonable time - like a couple years... I'm confident that d2 has more 10 years of replayability to me.
You would sooner finish RW grail then S/U grail I'd say. Ofc it all depends on luck, but I'd bet you would have RW grail sooner then actually have all set and unique items that can drop.
Once again, it's all luck, but I found 4 Zod runes, at least 7 Cham runes (and I'm sure some screenshots are missing by now) etc and only 1 (one) Tyrael's Might. And that is with good chunk of my D2 career spent in 1.12, so if I played 1.13 all time, difference would be even bigger. Thing is, you can force runes to drop. Both Travincal and LK are very stable sources of runes, and you can really force runes to drop when you run those areas. Not to mention runes do drop occasionally when running Pits, Chaos Sanctuary or AT, especially on high player settings.
I agree that couple RWs would help your game a lot, but you really want to keep in lvl 85 areas as much as possible, so hunt down some runes to make RWs that would be staple of your future characters and then go in lvl 85 areas and don't look back too much. All monsters can drop runes while only selected few can drop Tyrael's Might and couple other really high end TC 87 items. There are people playing D2 close to 10 years and they still haven't found Tyrael's Might. Just go and check ITF thread and count number of Zod Cham Jah Ber runes comparing to number of Tyrael's Might found. It's really depressing...
Well frozzzen if you waste time on LK or Trav, of course you're going to find those Chams etc before Tyrael's. If you spend time where you should (for his goal, AT or Pits), I'm not so sure.
Edit: Finding a Tyrael's isn't *that* ridiculous if you make a real dedicated effort, over a long time. With a great MF character (I happened to use my Pitbarb's numbers ), you average a Tyrael's per 560 hours of running, roughly. That's less than two lvl 99 character's worth of time. I'm too lazy to figure out what kind of rune haul you'd have after ~730* hours of p7 pitnecro running, but I'm betting it would be a pretty nice pile.
* Rough approximation of what my p7 Necro would do based on some shaky assumptions on how much worse he is than my pitbarb. I didn't do any real math here.
Obviously, finding a rune grail is a lot less variance than finding a Tyrael's, and you could pretty easily go 1000 hours without a Tyrael's. But averages etc bla bla usual disclaimers.
Edit2: Actually that 730 hour number is stupid because it includes kills from regular monsters, who obviously can't drop Tyrael's. With my actual pitnecro numbers/approximations, ~970 hours is more like it. Conclusion: <3 Pitbarbs
I'm now leaning towards a good AT sorc being the best character for finding a complete grail and a complete rune grail as quickly as possible (a Pitbarb won't have many runes dropping unfortunately) but again, no real math.
I wouldn't really call it waste of time. LK or Trav are probably needed to get some of your higher end characters (such as poison nec or berserker) started, and both give much nicer results in form of runes/charms/stuff that you can put to immediate use then you would find in lvl 85 areas. You will find that "one" item in couple thousands runs that would be great and nice, but effort/reward is much higher in Trav then in AT for example. That's why people tend to keep their focus on those areas.
And that time you tossed around is with your crazy zerker. How long do you think selffound player would need to get something equally close? No need for charms, but workable char that would cut it? Probably at least half year I'd say. And half year of LK/Trav running
Also, 560h = 3 lvl 99 chars if you dedicate yourself do make lvl 99 characters in given time. Tell me, how many people you know that have 3 x lvl 99ers (1.10+ ofc )? You see, 560h on average to find single item (yeah you get lots of other stuff too) is really freaking lot. And that's one pretty useless item.
You know, up to now, I really didn't understand how rare is that armor :S
I asked on IRC and ~320 hours for a Baal 99'er (which is like 90% of the SPF 99ers so far?) seemed to be a reasonable estimate. I'm sure you could go faster, and I bet you could do it more efficiently than Baal, but three 99ers in 560 hours sounds like a huge exaggeration? Certainly not at the pace most SPF 99ers have happened, anyway.
And I definitely still disagree on the LK/Trav thing. His goal is to find a Tyrael's fast, which is not the same goal most of us have when playing. Yes, effort/reward ratio is arguably higher in Trav than AT, but not any reward he's interested in. If people's goals was to find Tyrael's as fast as possible, you can bet people's choice of area(s) to focus on would change rapidly. If he wanted to "build wealth" or "equip some characters", then we could have that discussion, but it sounds to me like he's been playing for like 10 years already; he'll equip a good AT sorc soon enough if he hasn't already (and it sounds to me like he has). Plus if he can't play a poisonnecro because he lacks a dweb, spending time in LK or Trav is even more silly as far as "farming equipment" goes.
And yeah 560 hours is probably not doable in practice, since you want a character that can have runes drop too, and that character is going to be worse than a Pitbarb at finding Tyrael's. I tossed the number out mostly to point out that it's something you can definitely, realistically, hope to have happen if your time frame is a few years (and you make a dedicated effort, ie not wasting time on unnecessary stuff ) Much like getting level 99 characters
Edit: Just to restate my point with different words, we would see more Tyrael's in the SPF if more people had "I'm going to run nothing but AT for 500 hours this year" as goals. Instead, most people durdle around with all kinds of stuff (Trav, Baal, Pindle, AT, tournaments, LK running, HF rushing, time-travelling, bla bla bla), which is more than fine, but not good for completing grails. Restating it in an even more obvious fashion, it's no coincidence that we've had, what, ~10 Tyrael's drop during ~80 days of MFO running (last 4 years), because lots of people have made a dedicated effort, and usually we have close to no Tyrael's dropping