Gouda, the Orb/Ranged Enchantress

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At the risk of sounding uppity (not meaning to), I thought I'd try to add my 2¢ to the sum of knowledge maintained here at the Basin. Sort of an Almanac of one Sorcie's trip from Rogue Camp to Guardian. Please feel free to point out any errors, omissions etc. (Keep in mind that an extensive gear list wasn't an omission, it's not really in the spirit of the thing.)



I'm not real comfortable with the idea of calling this a guide, since it's just one person's experience with one character. Let's just call it "This Worked Well For Me, Hope Maybe Someone Finds It Helpful." Also, since I'm in Single Player, I can't really speak for the majority (online) experience, though the only Single Player hocus-pocus used was '/players 8' up to the end of NM.

Aaand, the definitive guide to Enchanting already exists, courtesy MongoJerry, (along with a definitive guide for EnchantLESSing, courtesy SSoG). My character owes her success to a lot of fine reading here at the Basin.

[/End Disclaimers]

Orb/Ranged Enchantress

This was actually my first Enchantress, but my most-played classes are Sorcies and Bowazons, so you might say this character was the culmination of many (maa- http://www.theamazonbasin.com/d2/forums/style_emoticons/default/wacko.gif -aannny) hours of D2. This was also my first HC Guardian.

Ironically, when I started her she was meant to retire in her sixties to a sedate life of babysitting youngsters up to A5 Norm, where their skills would carry them on their chosen path. Also, I figured in keeping with the theme she could open cow portals for older characters.

Hence, I named her Gouda.*

*For those who are lactose intolerant, never fear! Very little actual cheese went into the making of this report. http://www.theamazonbasin.com/d2/forums/style_emoticons/default/tongue.gif

I found this character to be extremely versatile and fun—so fun in fact, that I never retired her, and played her all the way through to Guardian.


Hard Points:

20 Warmth
20 Enchant
20 Fire Mastery
(1 ea pre-reqs)

20 Orb
(1 ea. pre-reqs)
1 Cold Mastery

1 Static
1 Telekinesis
1 Teleport

(6 unspent points)

When Orbing, she has +5 to all skills.

She has L32 pre-buffed Enchant.

Because my original goals for this build were somewhat limited, she focused exclusively on the Fire tree all the way up to max, only spending the 3 points in the Light tree and casting Orb from an item (more on this in leveling).

My recommendation would be to get pre-reqs and 1-pointers in each tree as they come available, placing one point in Orb and CM at 30, but focusing on maxing the fire skills first. Building up Enchant makes you and your merc stronger. Warmth 'til 18, then Enchant 'til it's maxed, 1 Fire Mastery at 30, finish Warmth, max Mastery.

Frozen Armor is another useful one-pointer to pick up along the way, especially HC.

Eshield takes 4 additional points to get, so whenever possible, I get it from items. Currently, all my sorcies run with some level of Eshield, and none of them have a hard point in it, or extra points in TK.

As you approach A4 Nightmare, be conscious of where your orb is at. You will likely want to be using it on NM Diablo, and Hell and FIs will be a concern soon. With Gouda, I left a few points unspent before Diablo (Izual points help here) in case she needed to bolster her Orb. She did fine with a L5ish Orb and CM.

By the time you enter Hell, your Fire Tree should be set, and all points going to strengthen that Orb. Gouda was around L72 (recommended to get into 70s) when she entered Hell.

After Orb, hmmm. I am still undecided on Gouda's own extra six points, Cold Mastery, TK, a little more comfort range on Static; depends on what you feel needs a little something extra.


When it comes to gear, there are a lot of thorough and knowledgeable guides out there already, so in keeping with with the idea of a TWWFM (I pronounce it 'twuhfm' personally http://www.theamazonbasin.com/d2/forums/style_emoticons/default/tongue.gif), I'm mostly just going to talk about what she used and why it worked—not to say "use this" or "this is the best" (often it's not)—but more for inspiration; work with the gear that's available to you, you can do just fine with less than the best.

I've found the most effective gear setups are those that evolve over time, carefully tuned until everything works just right. Builds are a bit like racecars in that regard—throw a bunch of L33T gear on them, and they may still drive pretty rough until the bugs are all worked out.

Twinking—I'm uncertain about No-Twink, because there are a few key items that it would be hard to do without. I may not be the best judge on this, though, since I'm a devoted twinker. More power to you guys, you are amazing. I end up tearing my hair out before the end of A1 Norm, just trying to decide which stuff to pick up/drop. http://www.theamazonbasin.com/d2/forums/style_emoticons/default/dizzy.gif

That said, I think she would do pretty well Low-Twink. Gouda made good use of alot of low-mid level gear and the best of her end-game stuff she found herself. (I have to say, she was the luckiest toon I have ever played. Not meaning most %MF, but the sheer felicity of drops she got—more on this later)

The Weapons

One piece of gear I'll go into a little more depth on is the ranged weapon, since that's the real biggie for this build.

Following are the weapons that offer the Explosive Arrow mod (henceforth ExArrow). Get your hands on one of these. There are other bows out there, but the difference between sending whole packs of monsters into hit recovery vs. just one is huge.

Bow (ExArrow Level), Base Firing Rate for a Sorc, Lev. Available[/size]

Demon Machine (6), 12 Frames, L49 This is the good life, right here. Fast (8% IAS will have you maxed at 11 frames), 66% Pierce, straight AR for your Enchant to send through the roof, even a lil' extra mana for your utility spells.

Kuko Shakaku (7), 16 Frames, L33 I've not gotten to try this one, but it would certainly get the job done. 50% Pierce, extra fire damage for your Mastery to boost. To reach 11 frames, this bow needs 65% AR vs. Demon's 8%. OTOH, if you can pile on 102% IAS, it'll reach 10 frames. (no, I'm not recommending this)

Raven Claw (3), 16 Frames, L15 If your baby sorc is anxious to start firing those ExArrows, this is the bow. It's also the best option for low-low budget and easy availability. Maybe you could even find one no-twink. A high level Enchant will turn this humble bow into a powerful weapon. Gouda was still using hers to kill stuff dead in A1 Hell. ('til she killed a skelly boss in the Crypt with it, and he kindly dropped her a Demon. http://www.theamazonbasin.com/d2/forums/style_emoticons/default/w00t.gif)

Hellcast (5), 18 Frames, L27 Not unless you're trying to win a bet http://www.theamazonbasin.com/d2/forums/style_emoticons/default/tongue.gif Jokes aside, the speed on this is just too slow for me. If you're a patient person, and this is all you have, maybe give it a try. You'll still be taking on the whole pack at once, so it might kill more quickly than a faster bow without ExArrow. My inclination would be to just use a low Orb, and let the merc deal the fire damage, tho.

Two Runewords Worth a Mention

"Leaf" - Tir, Ral Shop a 2 socket, +3 Enchant staff from Normal Drognan, and add 6 levels of Enchant at L19. +3 takes alot of patience, and the runes are cheap. Grab a +2 one when you see it.

'Memory" - Lum, Io, Sol, Eth Starting in NM (maybe some late A5 Normal), keep an eye out for staves of the Gnarled or Battle variety. These can have 4 sockets, and if the staff mods are right, it'd be worth having Larzuk socket a white one. War-type staves can also spawn with 4 sockets, but Larzuk will give you too many. Unlike Leaf, a Memory staff with +2 or 3 inherent Enchant will also boost your Orb and CM by 3, as well as give you a +6 Eshield and breathing room for your static.

Eventually (by Hell, at the latest) you'll probably want to get a shield—especially HC, and stash the staff for buffing, but you can get pretty far with a good runeword staff as a primary weapon.

To Buff or Not To Buff

You will need to decide on your personal threshold where buffing is concerned. I don't consider myself to be especially patient, and I wasn't put off by Gouda's 5-piece routine, or the stash space that I gave up for it. If you develop a specific routine you follow every time, letting each item you put down pick up the next one you need to swap, it becomes habit and goes very fast.

Gouda pre-cast a L8 Eshield in addition to her L32 Enchant. Using a +2 All Sorc Circlet helped expedite this (and it could just as easily have been L10 Eshld—I never got around to twinking her a +3 Light ammy, so she was using a +1 that she found). The Eshld didn't last nearly as long as the Enchant, and it depended where I was in the game whether I would run without it for a little while or head back to town. Either way, it's a friendly reminder that the clock is ticking.

'DO' double-check to make sure you have got all your correct offensive/defensive gear back on before venturing into the wilds. Don't find out the hard way you were running around with negative res.

And I Gotta Mention

Magefist, Level 23 20% FCR 25% Mana Regen +1 Fire Skills

Gear: Other Thoughts

•Weapon swapping is a big part of this build. If you rely heavily on a shield for resists, you'll be vulnerable every time you switch to bow. Try to get your resists to a safe level without the shield. "Smoke" is good for this; rare jewelry with resists; if you've got a Kira's (drool), I'm sure that would help.

•FCR is not a huge priority. Orb is timered and arrows don't care. A little fast cast is good, for a quicker Tele and Static, but save the Wizzies for another build. The one other thing you might want a little fast cast for is spamming Glacial to shatter corpses. If you have 0%, you may find you can't keep them frozen very well in Hell.

•Two things Gouda lacked, but I would recommend having: leech and FHR. Leech would have been a nice little fill'erup when she was in bolt/arrow mode. FHR would be a Very Good Idea. She had very little FHR to speak of, and I had to be extremely careful about getting hit at all. Sorcies are painfully slow on the uptake when they've been hit hard, and without good FHR you can easily be trapped next to some thug (let alone a fast-moving mob). Eshield was helpful to reduce the chance of going into hit recovery, and I was able to cope by being careful about entering new territory and using Tele to keep her bodyguard at her side. I would highly recommend getting some 'balance' in your life. http://www.theamazonbasin.com/d2/forums/style_emoticons/default/rolleyes.gif

Sorcie FHR Breaks: Frames / FHR needed 14 / 5 13 / 9 12 / 14 11 / 20 10 / 30 9 / 42 8 / 60

The Mercenary

For a ranged character like this, I think the best results will be with a tank. I went with NMA2 Holy Freeze (Defiance through Normal) for Gouda. While her Defiance Merc was a little more durable, I really liked the idea of slowing the CI monsters that her Orb couldn't touch. On Ladder, a Prayer/Insight would certainly make life easier, and my L76 Orb Sorcie thinks her Baba and Ethereal Crainte Vomir are teh besto (then again, she doesn't have access to a Prayer/Insight guy).

Blessed Aim and Thorns won't really do anything for this build. BA is made superfluous by Enchant's huge bonus, and Thorns requires getting hit—something we will be avoiding, thankyouverymuch.

Might will add some physical damage to the mix, but this's not really the build to get optimal benefit from this guy. If the Fire Immunes are giving you grief, and you think your merc should hit a little harder, you might give him a try, though.

On With the TWWFM...

I'll start with Gouda's end setup, and then include some key leveling points:

Guardian Gouda, Level 86

Gear: Iratha's Set (complete) Natalya's boots Naj's Armor Demon Machine Rare +2 All Sorc Orb, 42 Mana, Res Fire 24 Rings-Dwarf Star/Magic Ring +78 mana, Regen +7 Visceratuant (PDiamond)

In Stash for Buffing: Leaf Staff (+6 Enchant) Circlet +2 All Sorc Ammy +3 Fire +3 Eshld orb +1 Lightning Skill Ammy

Stats with gear: Str: 98 Dex: 96 Vit: 290 Eng: 35

Life: 873 Mana: 325

Resists: 85/85/85/70 (on switch, poison dropped to 51, others held steady)

Damage* with Demon Machine + L32 Enchant: 4108-5154 AR: 4237

Mizan (Holy Freeze Act 2), L86

Gear: Corpsemourn Bonehew (Amn) Rockstopper

Damage* with L32 Enchant + Holy Freeze: 2132-3924 (W/O Enchant+Freeze was 524-2010)

  • According to LCS

Yep, she wore a Level 15 original D2 set to Guardian. Providing good resists, and +max resists no matter which weapon slot she was using, (IAS, too) it served her well. However, every slot this set occupies does negate using other potentially great gear. Helm and Ammy, which could be devoted to nice +skill rares, Gloves (Magefist), and belt (Razortail). If you can cover your resists ('Smoke' runeword would be a good start, I think), there's plenty of better options skill-wise. Since Gouda was buffing from her stash, the lack of +skills didn't affect her enchant, and I found she could easily take out large mobs just with the pierce on the DM. Did I mention +10 max resists? Really, I think the hardest thing to live with about this set was actually the 3 row, non-upgradeable belt.

Getting Started

Gouda hit the ground running with a Hellforge Hammer (didn't say NO cheese, did I? http://www.theamazonbasin.com/d2/forums/style_emoticons/default/whistling.gif)

At Level 11, she donned her

Boot Camp Leveling Gear™
Cathan's Mask
Cathan's Rings X2
Cathan's Armor
Civerb's Icon
Civerb's Ward
Civerb's Cudgel
Sigon's Gloves
Sigon's Belt
Sigon's Boots

I've tried a lot of different gear set-ups, and this is my outfit of choice for toddler Sorcies. Until she gets those high-end spells, and has a grown-up mana pool, the average Sorcie will spend a lot of time just hitting things. This is the way to keep her safe and effective while she's doing it.

When equipped in the above order, it takes only 25 strength to wear the whole ensemble. That means lottsa Vit, right off the bat.

You will also get: Resists at 65/75/50/25 22% Life Leech http://www.theamazonbasin.com/d2/forums/style_emoticons/default/w00t.gif 40% Mana Regen 4% Life Regen 30% IAS 20% FRW 50% MF http://www.theamazonbasin.com/d2/forums/style_emoticons/default/cool.gif A weapon with scaling (+max per level) damage, That does extra (250% total) damage to the often unleechable undead Plus defense, AR, mana, a little extra blocking, a little fire damage... AND 4 rows of belt space!!

This won't work well if you want a bow on switch, though. Without a substantial investment in strength, every time you switch you will be partly n00d. http://www.theamazonbasin.com/d2/forums/style_emoticons/default/blushing.gif OTOH, Iratha's and Raven Claw are both available at L15... coincidence?

Gouda just kept an orb she found with Frozen Armor on switch, and cast it when there weren't any monsters around to notice her immodesty.

At level 15, if you want to trade a little of that life leech for mana leech, just make sure you've added 10 more to strength, and swap out one of the Cathan rings for a Manald Heal.

The Merc

As soon as you reach Act 2, I recommend getting a Defiance (defensive) Merc. As you have no minions to tank for you, keeping the Rogue will make life pretty tough, and Duriel will be a Real Big Problem.

•Quick tip on Merc Gear- If you give him Sigon's Helm+Armor, you can focus on damage/speed on his weapon and not worry about leech.

Handy Cube Recipe: 1 Staff + 1 Kris + 1 Belt + 1 Diamond = 1 Savage Polearm (My first, impoverished, HC, untwinked Zon used this recipe, and got a great roll first try... so great the merc couldn't equip it for another 8 levels! http://www.theamazonbasin.com/d2/forums/style_emoticons/default/dizzy.gif)

Growing Up

The way I decide that a Sorcie is ready to step out of her trainers is when she's no longer swinging her weapon at all. Once she has spells full-time on the right- and left- click, she's ready for a new outfit that will better support her skills. I generally find this happens late 20s, definitely by 30. (single player, /players 8, so YMMV) Make sure you have the necessary stat points ready to accommodate the new gear.

For Gouda, I chose the following


Irathas Set (complete) Rare Battle Staff: +2Cold,+1CM,+2FO Leaf Staff (+5 Enchant) Breast Plate-3 Topaz (later Skullder's) Boots-rare, resists Rings-blue/rare, mana/resists

I've already outlined the benefits/drawbacks of Iratha's above, and it's a great transitional option, even if you have better end game gear.

The Battle Staff was an incredibly lucky find by one of my other characters, and was actually in part what sparked the idea for the build. I thought, with a staff like that, I ought to be able to level a sorc pretty far, just using the orb off the staff. At Level 37, a Memory staff with inherent Orb might have done even better. The entirely more practical (and recommended) approach is to just spend the points in the Cold Tree, and wear as much +Cold/+Skills as you can. A point each in Orb/CM and a few +skills really will take you a very long way.

I kept the Leaf staff on switch at this point. Orb is plenty powerful, the Merc is dishing the fire damage for you, life is easy. If you're anxious to get started with the bow aspect, then unless you have a good Memory staff to boost Enchant and Orb, you may want to start with the pre-buff routine. +2 Fire Circlets and Ammys are available at L30, Magefists came in back at 23.

Even with all that warmth, mana will be a little tight at this stage. Less perhaps if you're using the bow alot. Whenever I wasn't Orbing, I'd switch to Leaf for the big boost to warmth. A couple good +mana items help here. I keep a muled collection of the best +mana rings I find to help out my mana-hungry sorcies. I swap them out for a better one whenever she meets the level requirement. If you're lucky, maybe it'll have another nice mod. Even one of these will be a help.

Mana Rings
Wyrm's/41-60/Level 22
Great Wyrm's/61-90/Level 29
Bahamut's/91-120/Level 37

The first two can also spawn rare, so it's possible to get some res along with your mana.


If you have another source of leech for him, or can socket it with an Amn, Hwanin's Justice makes a pretty good mid-level merc weapon. The Sigon's setup will work for leech, but eventually you'll want to get him something better. Gouda's merc used Hwanin's and I think Wormskull for the leech. A really nice rare Light Plate dropped at some point, with 2 open sockets, 24 FHR and 28 Lightning Res, and he wore that.

A2 Nightmare, she traded her Defiance Merc for Mizan the Holy Freeze Merc.

The Bow

Gouda got by with her 'borrowed' Orb and her rockin' merc until around NM Act 3 or 4. At that point, she took up Raven Claw with her Cold staff on switch, and her buffing gear in the stash. If you have access to one of the better bows, then definitely use it—if not, Raven Claw will do plenty well at this point.

In Stash: Leaf (a shopped +6 gnarled staff) Circlet +2 Fire Ammy +3 Fire

In a perfect world, it would be a +3 circlet, but I've yet to see one.

Once More Unto the Breach

Gouda leveled on NM Baal and his minions until around 72, and made some more fortifications to her defenses before entering Hell.

New Gear:

+2 cold skill Rare Orb (She now had hard points in FO/CM) Visceratuant Shield (PDiamond) Rare Chain Boots- 30 FRW, 28 CRes, 33LRes

New In Stash: +3 Eshld orb +1Light Ammy +2 All Sorc Circlet

Her inventory was by this time jammed with the best res charms I could supply her. And any time any of my characters find a res+fire charm, it automatically goes to her.

Other than the Demon Machine, which she found while leveling in A1, her gear stayed pretty much the same from this point up to Hell Ancients, where she changed to the end gear.

Also in A1 Hell, a Crown of Thieves dropped, and Mizan made use of that.

If Life Is A Bowl Of Cherries...

Once she reached the Outer Cloister, I used Pit runs to get Gouda into shape for her journey through Hell. Even if you don't have tons of MF, don't despair—elite, socketed items are useful too! And green/gold will still fall from time to time. The Naj's Plate she used end game was found while leveling in the Pits.

If you find the Pits are still too harrowing at first, level awhile in the Crypt and Mausoleum under Blood Raven's yard. Nothing but LI here, except any bosses that spawn another immunity—Go get 'em tiger! Nice drops to be had, too. Gouda got her Demon there, and my Necro found a Griffon's Eye once. (for the record: I now have a Griffon's Eye that none of my toons know what to do with, and have yet to see a single Vipermaji, Guillaume's, Laying Of Hands... not that I'm complaining, mind)

And Speaking of the Drop Gods and Their Twisted Sense of Humor

The first time progress really ground to a standstill was in Act 2, Tomb of Tal Rasha. This unholy place spawned not one, not two, THREE CI/FI Bosses. (At least they weren't all in the same room.) Now, she had encountered a lot of these monsters already. I never noticed how many there were before. I'm pretty sure the first time, she wasn't even out of Normal!

This was different. Two were Bloodlords, and the third was a Blunderbore. Their regen rates were insane. A Bonehew had dropped in A2 Palace Cellar, but Mizan needed more strength to equip it, so he was still using Hwanin's Justice. Static the boss down to half, then watch as the life bar crept slowly back up. The first Bloodlord, I went back and picked up some Rancid Gas that had dropped. I used it on him while Mizan whittled away. He died. I cleared the entire rest of the Tomb, no more Rancid Gas—coulda sworn I've seen these dropping all the time, hah. I realize that I could have just ignored these guys and got on with it, but I'm stubborn—not patient, just stubborn. So, on the way to Duriel, with Tyrael no doubt drumming his fingers in the basement, she's running around on the Bloodmoor and Cold Plains, killing everything in sight for Rancid Gas. http://www.theamazonbasin.com/d2/forums/style_emoticons/default/dry.gif

After this adventure (she did triumph, eventually), I added one more item to the gear in her stash:

Rancid Gas Potion (x2 Stacks)

Of course Mizan was able to equip his Bonehew before too long, and the CI/FI Boss was never an issue after that. PMH/OW or one good source of poison damage would have avoided the entire episode, but she didn't have access to any PMH/OW options that would work for her setup, and the poison she happened to have on charms was negligible.

Onward to Guardian

Gouda donned a Dwarf Star Ring for fighting Diablo, took him out with Orb, and won her ticket to Act 5, Hell. The biggest battle, the one that had been worrying me since the decision to take her through Hell now loomed before her.

The Hell Ancients were indeed the toughest battle of the game. Prior to facing them she switched to the End Gear listed at the beginning. The first attempt ended in a stalemate, after many rerolls, in which it was down to Gouda vs. Korlic with 2 Ancients and one Merc dead. Exhausted, and nearly out of potions and bolts, she cast a portal and called it a day with Korlic's bar at half. Attempt #2 was made after reading some friendly Basin advice. Mizan was equipped with Rattlecage+Kelpie Snare, and this made a big difference. Random Crazy Thought: Marrowwalks to BP the Ancients and take on one at a time. http://www.theamazonbasin.com/d2/forums/style_emoticons/default/devil.gif 118 Str, though, bit steep. Getting to the summit with the merc in that getup was harrowing, with monsters constantly fleeing all over the place. I would greatly recommend going Guillaume's and some other armor if you have the option.

The WSK also required several attempts to negotiate. The closest call was the dreaded Hell WSK throne stairs. No monsters on-screen, but the merc moved immediately to engage enemies just off-screen. A moment later, no merc, a wall of Gloam Lightning coming at her, and charged-up Frenzytaurs all over the place. http://www.theamazonbasin.com/d2/forums/style_emoticons/default/blink.gif Teleported out from in front of the mass of lightning, to the other side of the wall, and ESC+Saved as more Frenzytaurs bore down on her. If this had been online, even a little bit of lag here could have been the end of her.

Once the way to the throne was clear (a full clear, to have plenty of room to work with), the Minions were all dispatched with relative efficiency, and Baal himself was a pushover. After that experience with the stairs, though, I don't know that she'll be doing any Baal runs any time soon. http://www.theamazonbasin.com/d2/forums/style_emoticons/default/ph34r.gif

Following her trip to Hawaii, Guardian Gouda is now back in her Skullder's, and mixing it up in the River Of Flame, Travincal, The Pits, sometimes a little shopping at Anya's... Life is good. http://www.theamazonbasin.com/d2/forums/style_emoticons/default/smile.gif




Tips For Livin', and Livin' Well...

  • Do whatever it takes to keep your merc alive. He's both your bodyguard and a major

source of additional damage. Tele-position him, feed him pots—I know he can be frustrating at times, but handled correctly he is a very useful ally. If he's dying alot, play around with gear choices a little. Maybe he needs more leech, or maybe he just needs a little more Physical Damage and/or weapon speed to make the leech work. Weapon speed really does help. Let him hit them before they hit back. Note: In places where IM is an issue, you can take away his weapon and let him deal raw fire damage. This should prevent him from vaporizing the second it's cast, but he will be alot more fragile without his leech, and at high levels, he can still kill himself on IM if you don't give him some help.

  • Be careful of taking an HC character into Hell before they're ready. If you are

too low of a level, the merc will get eaten for breakfast. Not all the monsters will fall over as soon as you shoot them anymore. http://www.theamazonbasin.com/d2/forums/style_emoticons/default/tongue.gif Take care of your res, take care of your merc's res, get your Orb going, and test the waters. If you're having alot of uh-oh moments, fall back and do a few more Baal runs. Even after the rest of A5 dries up, the minions in the throne room will take your xp bar up pretty well.

  • Eshield—every little bit helps. With this build, you have automatic maxed warmth,

and one of your attacks doesn't need mana. I ran a L8 Eshld through Hell, incorporated into my prebuff routine. Even with just one hard point in TK, I didn't find the strain on my mana to be too great. Also, since the Eshld would run out well before enchant, when the little gold ball went away, it was a friendly reminder to renew the enchant before too long.

  • Teleport is your friend. Keep teleport at the ready, and learn to use it well. It

is the best form of merc-management in the game.* I personally recommend the practice of keeping tele always on Left-Click, and Shift-Casting your ranged attacks with Right-Click. When Gouda was fighting Hell Diablo, he prisoned her a couple times. Because I already had this routine established, she was able to calmly tele away and cast another orb. IMPORTANT: If you follow my above suggestion, please, please practice this a LOT in low-level non-critical situations until it is do-it-in-your-sleep second nature. You do not want to forget and Left-Click to Orb a bunch of cows when in fact Orb is on the right and TELE is on the left. Trust me on this one. http://www.theamazonbasin.com/d2/forums/style_emoticons/default/skull.gif

  • Merc-bombing is alot of fun. Pick a monster that's not surrounded, cannot one-hit

kill you, and is absolutely not FE. TP on top of unwary victim, then TP away. Works great on fleeing guys in Kurast, just make sure they're not FI or FE first. Please be smart about this HC, and only pick on stuff that's weaker than you are. http://www.theamazonbasin.com/d2/forums/style_emoticons/default/tongue.gif

  • (Blind) Teleport is not your friend. Regardless of the merits or hazards of Blind

Tele in Hell (HC), this is not really the build for it. Fastcast is not her main priority, and she may or may not have a shield. Even in open areas, it's always safer to click where you can see it's clear, rather than the edge of the screen. TP in little hops, and watch you merc closely. If he goes into combat mode, don't keep TPing in that direction. (SC, or HC with 00bur TP gear, proceed at you own risk, I guess)

  • Don't forget Telekinesis. I've never seen a character get slain by a barrel, but

why risk it? http://www.theamazonbasin.com/d2/forums/style_emoticons/default/tongue.gif In places like the Claw Viper Temple, TKing the doors can literally be a lifesaver. Evil Urns are also a prime candidate (be careful with this one, though—sometimes those packs spawn away from the urn too). Shrines can be TKed. 'Distance is no object with Fire Shrines, you will still take the damage.' For additional fun, TK into your stash, get waypoints, and rescue gold from burning buildings. You can even TK the Ancients' little pedestal! http://www.theamazonbasin.com/d2/forums/style_emoticons/default/shuriken.gif

  • Always position for optimal Orb destruction. CoonerTheRed's Disposa-Sorc

guide is an excellent place to learn about the finer points of Orb tactics.

  • For monster types that aren't FI or CI, get a feel for which element brings them

down faster. For example, ghost-type monsters are devastated by fire. Even in Nightmare where they're not FI, a low-level Orb is more effective than a maxed Enchant against Balrog-types. Swap often to maximize your dual-element approach.

  • Gamble! It's been said before, but I'll say it again—gambling is an excellent way

to improve your gear selection. I always pick up stuff that has good potential for value to sell. Plate armors (or any exept/elite armor), blue and rare, on high level stuff even white can get you the max value when you sell it. Anything with staff mods. Never go back to town empty-handed. http://www.theamazonbasin.com/d2/forums/style_emoticons/default/tongue.gif Also, remember that wands/orbs are an especially good deal because you can get the max value for fewer squares of space. My favorite gambles are jewelry (always), gloves and boots (space permitting), and if I am using a high-level character, I may take a chance on other items that are on my wish-list. If you gamble a lot, you will see gold—Gouda gambled 36% Chancies to give to one of my other toons. REMEMBER: Always gamble last before exiting (multiplayer, you should make a separate, solo game) so that any uniques that spawn in the gambling screen don't cause failed drops in-game. If you gamble and then go kill Baal, when he drops that rare Hydra Bow you'll never know what might have been... http://www.theamazonbasin.com/d2/forums/style_emoticons/default/unsure.gif

  • Take a little luck with you wherever you go (except Arreat Summit). I've found

that incorporating a little MF into everyday gear results in pleasant suprises. Even just the 50% from Sigon's popular Boot/Belt/Glove combo makes a difference. The key is to not sacrifice much, and play normally. I've found that my sorcies can usually get 50-100 through NM without batting an eye. Gouda wore her 3 PTopaz Breast Plate all the way to NM Plains of Despair, where she had the incredible fortune to find a Skullder's Ire. http://www.theamazonbasin.com/d2/forums/style_emoticons/default/w00t.gif After that, well, she wore a Skullder's! http://www.theamazonbasin.com/d2/forums/style_emoticons/default/tongue.gif As I mentioned earlier, this gal was unusually fortunate in her drops, even finding her very own Demon Machine. A little extra MF without risking your neck is a good thing.

  • Work that Cube! I funnel all my clan's gems to one character who is responsible

for cubing them up/distributing as needed. Characters who travel in the highest level areas save undesirable charms and reroll them with surplus PGems; Grand are best for skills and up to 60 mana, Small are best for res, damage, FHR, and life. The only thing that Large can surpass the per-slot benefit of Grand or Small on is Str/Dex. Generally I stick with Grand and Small for cubing. There are a multitude of other useful recipes out there—one really good-to-know thing I've learned recently is that the 3 chipped gem + blue item recipe can net you much better mods than the ilvl=25 rule would suggest, if you start with certain high-level elite items. I'm not sure what all items are included in this, but it definitely works with Sorc Orbs. So if a blue Demon Heart drops for you in the pits, save your chippies and take a shot at rerolling it.

  • Cube Some More! Crafting is a massive topic unto itself. Results vary, but

personally I've had the most useful results crafting Blood Gloves—gogo CB! Caster items can have some useful mods, but generally I've had better results just gambling rares. I've never gotten mods on any crafted piece of jewelry that could justify the exorbitant level requirements, but some folks like them. If your merc is really struggling, and you are really poor, Blood Helm and Blood Armor will get him a little leech.

Couple More Random Things:

  • Static range too small for comfort? Try Hwanin's Refuge—on your merc! My current

Orb Sorcie uses this on her Baba. He's already in the fray, so why not let him cast it for you.

  • Beware the teleporting FE boss. This guy is potentially more dangerous when

you're slumming. I had a L72 Orb Sorcie vaporize quite unexpectedly fighting NM Council (SP-no lag). She was spamming Orbs at the Council Members an Orb's length away, and near as I can tell, one of them TPed on top of her as she released another Orb and... blooey. http://www.theamazonbasin.com/d2/forums/style_emoticons/default/sad.gif Side note: My current philosophy on Eshield (every little helps) stems from this event. She wasn't wearing hers... maybe she'd still be alive if she had been.


Relic, June 2006. Reprinted with permission from this thread.