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Brainstorming a PvM Fire Claws + Armageddon druid. Skill + equipment recs welcome!

Discussion in 'Druid' started by Chzn8r, Mar 28, 2012. | Replies: 13 | Views: 3782

  1. Chzn8r

    Chzn8r IncGamers Member

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    Brainstorming a PvM Fire Claws + Armageddon druid. Skill + equipment recs welcome!

    Hey all. I'm a long time Druid player, and while in the past I have done Elemental and/or Summoning builds, my mainstay has always been Fury Wolves.

    But, you know, I've been doing that for 10 years... and in the twilight of Diablo II's life, I'd like to try something different!

    Inspired by the old Earth Shifter druid guide that does Fury with Armageddon backup, I was thinking instead I could possibly get a ton of fun fire damage going by combining Armageddon (castable in Wereform) with Fire Claws as they have common synergies (with the fallback plan just being physical damage with a gigantic maul... seems fine!). When I encounter Fire Immunes I'll be worse off by a lot, but, it's not like I'm making a god-tier build lol.

    Here are my ideas:

    Skills:

    13 points for the direct prerequisites to Armageddon + Fire Claws
    20 points in Armageddon
    20 points in Fire Claws
    1 point in Lycanthropy

    That's 54 so far. While there are theoretically 110 available, I usually only get to the high 80s. So let's say I'm working with 98.

    Functionally, that's 2 more maxed skills and a couple of dump-off points. I think one for sure has to be a pure damage synergy for Geddon/FC. I'm not sure if I'd ever even use any of these other spells (as I'd have to be non-shifted), but which is the most compelling? If it doesn't matter, let's just say we max Volcano.

    At 73/98 now, and it gets trickier. How important is increasing the timer on Armageddon? It's an expensive spell, but if I expect to be mana leeching with my attacks, I should be fine with frequently re-casting. So Fissure is probably out.

    Now it's basically between:

    -Maxing another damage synergy (Molten Boulder, Firestorm)
    -Maxing, or at least putting more points in, Lycanthropy (for survivability)
    -Making a run down the Summon tree to put a point in Grizzly Bear and max Dire Wolves to make it the best possible tank.

    Any advice there is welcome.

    Stats:

    The most basic part of all. Enough strength to equip Earth Shifter (more on this next), the rest in Vitality.

    Equipment:

    Weapon: Earth Shifter, though other suggestions are fine (perhaps weapon/shield combos with high +skills / + fire skills). Assuming Shifter though.
    Because this is a hybrid magic/physical build, it's hard to want to slam all the way up to 250+ strength for Thunder Maul eligibility. A 'Hel' rune would make this equippable for ~50 less, which translates directly to hundreds more life via vitality. A Shael rune helps it not be tankishly slow. There aren't many other great choices, really.

    Armor: I'm really compelled to pick Enigma here. Once again, with such significant savings in the strength category, we're talking hundreds more life. Everybody loves +skills and being faster, and hell, the teleport is useful despite not being castable while transformed.
    Other choices are probably the usual, tankish stuff. Skills, resistances, damage reduction, etc.

    Gloves: Hard to argue against Drac's here, though anything with +skills is compelling and Magefist covers both our mains.

    Totally open to suggestions for the rest. I will probably be piece-mealing this thing together so it would be a while before I could make a perfectly optimal outfit.

    After that, it starts to get fuzzy

    Merc:

    I'm such a homer for Act 2 Nightmare Defensive Holy Freeze mercs that it's hard to pick anything else. Counterarguments will be heard, though.

    :D

    Fire away.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2012
  2. Snerra

    Snerra IncGamers Member

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    Re: Brainstorming a PvM Fire Claws + Armageddon druid. Skill + equipment recs welcome

    I remember reading about a build taking advantage of Earth Shifter... Take a look at this if you haven't already.

    Now, you're considering fire claws instead of fury. The problem is that Earth Shifter is an incredibly slow weapon, even socketed with a Shael rune, you'd have 12 frames per attack (2 attacks per second) at the most. I don't know if that's enough speed.

    But assuming you do go for the Earth Shifter, I would say:

    20 Firestorm (synergy with fissure from earth shifter)
    20 Armageddon
    20 Fire Claws
    1 Oak Sage or HoW
    Enough points in werewolf to reach 12 fpa (depends on your gear, how many +skills).
    The rest split between lycanthropy and volcano, depending on preference. Maybe one point in grizzly and prereqs; +skills could make it a short-lived distraction, at least.

    Without testing, it's hard (at least for me) to predict how such a build would fare in hell.
  3. zaphodbrx

    zaphodbrx IncGamers Member

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    Re: Brainstorming a PvM Fire Claws + Armageddon druid. Skill + equipment recs welcome

    I tried one of these a while back when I had bad gear. You can read about it here. I think if I remade it now I would use Chains of Honor, Dracs, SoE, etc. but it really wouldn't be very much better because armageddon is basically crap.

    The key to fireclaws is speed. 'Obedience' while being an excellent weapon ( with -fire res to boot ) has no on weapon ias and falls short. Earth shifter will have the same problem. I know the best is probably a 'Grief' phaseblade but for style reasons ( and the fact that I didn't have one at the time ), I picked 'Athena's wrath', upped and shaeled, to hit at 7 fpa and give +3 druid skills.
  4. Chzn8r

    Chzn8r IncGamers Member

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    Re: Brainstorming a PvM Fire Claws + Armageddon druid. Skill + equipment recs welcome

    Yeah, the weapon is probably pretty contentious... I'm sure I'll need something faster to be *actually* competitive. Thanks for the Athena's suggestion, I hadn't thought about upping one.

    Sucks that Armageddon is as bad as you say it is. I read your other thread and this build sounds like it could be adventurous and fun, but it seems the only practical way to go is basically straight fire claws. I'll think about it as I try some ideas for myself.

    I was actually thinking about Obedience on my merc, not me.

    Also, Snerra, you suggested that leveling up a skill on your tree could add synergy to a skill cast randomly by an equipped weapon - is that true? I never knew that about Diablo, if so.
  5. Snerra

    Snerra IncGamers Member

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    Re: Brainstorming a PvM Fire Claws + Armageddon druid. Skill + equipment recs welcome

    Yes, skills from "chance to cast" affixes on items benefit from synergies in your skill tree. So if you are using Earth Shifter, the level 14 firestorm that is cast randomly will be more powerful if you have points in Molten Boulder and Fissure.

    However, it gets a little more complex if the item has +skills on it (i.e. +2 to Tornado). As a rule, that wont give synergies. Meaning that even though it adds points to Tornado, your Hurricane wont be improved from synergies. However, there are exceptions; apparently points in the summoning tree will still affect synergies - +skills to Dire Wolves gives your Grizzly more hp. It's pretty strange, but there you go. I'm sure there are other examples as well.
  6. zaphodbrx

    zaphodbrx IncGamers Member

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    Re: Brainstorming a PvM Fire Claws + Armageddon druid. Skill + equipment recs welcome

    AFAIK, there is a difference between 'bonus' and synergy. Many druid skills are bonuses.
    +to lycanthropy will help werewolf. +to lightning mastery will help lightning. These are not technically synergies.


  7. Chzn8r

    Chzn8r IncGamers Member

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    Re: Brainstorming a PvM Fire Claws + Armageddon druid. Skill + equipment recs welcome

    Right. Synergies, and the rules that go with them, were introduced in 1.10. Spirit Wolves / Dire Wolves / Grizzly have been "synergetic" in providing bonuses to each other since LoD's inception.
  8. crabjuice

    crabjuice IncGamers Member

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    Re: Brainstorming a PvM Fire Claws + Armageddon druid. Skill + equipment recs welcome

    Chaz,

    I have been playing my fireclaws/geddon bear for quite some time now and would like to share my thoughts.

    So for skills here is what I'm using,

    Fireclaws: Max
    Armageddon: Max
    Volcano: Max
    Molten Boulder: Max
    Firestorm: Rest
    Fissure: 1 +
    Oak: 1
    Shockwave: 1

    Fireclaws is your bread and butter. I use a superior phase blade with 4 shaels and 2 IAS jewel/res jewels for 110% attack speed to deliver the fire damage as fast as possible. Remember in bear form only weapon speed matters, you cannot get IAS from other gear.
    Armageddon is actually good once you pump the damage up but it is not dependable. It favors a mobile play-style.
    You do not need to pump fissure, as Armageddon is a situational you can just recast as needed.
    I have left-click on fireclaws and right click on geddon/shockwave. My oak and buffs on are switch.

    Gear
    Weapon: 110% ias phaseblade
    Shield: I'm currently using a 5/5 fire facet monarch. Other possibilities include, Phoenix and Stormshield, maybe tiamat's.
    Helm: Cerebus bite socketed with 5/5 facet. I've also tried Ravenlore and Jalal's. Jalal's would probably be the most balanced and would help if you're short on survival stats like FHR and resists. Many people criticize me for my helm choice but Cerebus keeps my AR between 10k-12k. With Ravenlore/Jalal's it's between 7-8k.
    Armor: CoH. Tried Enigma for FRW, life and MF but I can't keep my resists up.
    Belt: Verdungo's
    Gloves: Magefist. Other options - Lavagout, Rends, Bloodfist or some funky crafted gloves. Drac's didn't do much for me.
    Ring1: Ravenfrost
    Ring2: Bul-Kathos'
    Amulet: Maras
    Boots: Gore Riders. I actually like the Crushing blow.

    A2 Might merc using Infinity, Fortitude and Andy's.

    The more I play this druid the more I like him, but he can get overwhelmed easily. I did not go for max block as I've heard very negative things about the bear block animation.
    I try to stay moving and use shockwave on the mobs that like to keep me locked down - basically anything that stuns or slows. Now that I have my Geddon over 10k i notice it helping me out. It also helps that my merc has leveled up and doesn't die all the time. Definitely a fun escape before D3. Have fun and let me know how it goes, may come back in here and clean up this ramble.

    Oh, I like Zaphod's suggestion on the upp'd Athena's Wrath, major style points there.
  9. zaphodbrx

    zaphodbrx IncGamers Member

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    Re: Brainstorming a PvM Fire Claws + Armageddon druid. Skill + equipment recs welcome

    The problem with this approach is that you basically can't do anything against fire immunes. Infinity doesn't break all of them- and they still have high resistance.

    Athena's wrath has okay physical damage. Not godly, but manageable. Again, the best is probably grief pb.


  10. Chzn8r

    Chzn8r IncGamers Member

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    Re: Brainstorming a PvM Fire Claws + Armageddon druid. Skill + equipment recs welcome

    Thanks for all the detail Crab! You definitely have a different take on it - that gives me a few more ideas for where to take it based on my playstyle. I think I'm willing to lose a bit of overall power to more readily deal with Fire Immunes, for example.
  11. Chzn8r

    Chzn8r IncGamers Member

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    Re: Brainstorming a PvM Fire Claws + Armageddon druid. Skill + equipment recs welcome

    Welp, I'm getting there. Last night I found a Verdungo's and a +3 Athena's Wrath (low ED, but whatever) that I'm going to up. Going to have to re-spec to get the appropriate amount of Str/Dex for using that. This will be my 3rd re-spec (wow) so if I change my mind about my weapon to something more Str- and less Dex-heavy in the future, I'll have to find some essences (currently at 3/5 of them).

    Getting started on making a Chains of Honor. I'm making this build from scratch, having recently restarted, so I'm not setting my sights on too insane of gear yet (for example, I'm thrilled that my merc has a mere Reaper's Toll thresher for helping me take down fire immunes).
  12. Chzn8r

    Chzn8r IncGamers Member

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    Re: Brainstorming a PvM Fire Claws + Armageddon druid. Skill + equipment recs welcome

    I came across something that gave me a funny idea to run this budget while I find better gear:

    Steeldriver
    [SIZE=-1][SIZE=-1]+150-250% Enhanced Damage
    40% Increased Attack Speed
    Requirements -50%[/SIZE]
    [/SIZE]


    I found a 249% ED version. Upped it to Exceptional, then upped it to Elite. It is now on-par with the physical damage of an Earth Shifter, but is way faster (especially after a Shael). And... it only requires 127 strength! That's nutty!
  13. zaphodbrx

    zaphodbrx IncGamers Member

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    Re: Brainstorming a PvM Fire Claws + Armageddon druid. Skill + equipment recs welcome

    steeldriver is one of the best normal uniques in the game.
    However, compared to earthshifter it lacks the ctc fissures, +7 elemental skills, crushing blow.
    I would also suggest trying windhammer, if str is not an issue.
  14. Chzn8r

    Chzn8r IncGamers Member

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    Re: Brainstorming a PvM Fire Claws + Armageddon druid. Skill + equipment recs welcome

    If I find one, definitely. I'm building this basically all out of my own gumption. Various elite uniques, and of course high rune stuff will take a while to acquire. Slowly doing countess runs with my Sorc is about the fastest way I can gain wealth.

    Right now my Druid is spec'd so he can switch between Athena's Wrath and Steeldriver, depending on if I want more fire skills damage or a faster/heavier physical attack. Which means I dropped a megaton of points into Vitality with all the spare I had. I switch between Bear and Wolf depending on if I want to tank (Bear) or clear crowds and leech a lot off Feral Rage / Life Tap casts (Wolf). Put 1 point in Fury just because.

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