Difference between revisions of "Amanita (Act I)"

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''This is the sixth part of Stony's Grand Tour, written between 11 July 2003 and 12 January 2004, and originally posted in the Diabloii.net [https://www.diabloii.net/forums/forums/single-player-forum.3/ Single Player Forum]. While almost all original posts are long gone, Vesper, one of our Community Members, contacted him and was given the original documents, and permission to reproduce them at the Amazon Basin.''
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The Assassin is, in my opinion, the most challenging character in Diablo II.  Barbarians and Druids (shapechangers, at least) are extraordinarily straightforward; I'd recommend them to anyone just starting the game for their simplicity and brute power.  Sorceresses, I find, live and die by their skill placement and are usually better off specializing in only a few options.  Paladins and Amazons have a variety of utility skills which are of use in limited situations, and reward the experienced player who knows when to change tactics, but I can usually muddle through with a less-than-optimal strategy.  None require as much attention as the Assassin.  The martial arts system is complex and time-consuming, requiring her to hit more than once to unleash the most powerful effects.  Spending so much time in the thick of combat with a character as frail as Assassins tend to be makes me nervous, and pulling off the maneuvers correctly demands close timing and lots of concentration.  Trap Assassins are simpler, and work at range, which may be why I don't enjoy them as much as martial artists -- the sense of risk isn't nearly as strong.
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There are, naturally, some things about the class I dislike.  The martial arts system is a bit cumbersome, and mastering the timing needed to get the number of charge-ups I want is tricky.  I've pretty much given up on getting only two charge-ups, especially with Burst of Speed at a high level; the character hits too quickly for me to control her that well.  Traps are a nice idea, though I do not think she should be able to put a trap anywhere she can see.  It would be much more logical if her traps were items she could either throw or set up next to her, like real mechanical devices.  The blade skills are awful, which is a pity, as many real world assassins did their work with thrown blades before guns were invented.  And then there's her outfit: a singlet cut very low in front and very high on the sides (so much so that her belt rests partially on bare skin) with elbow-length gloves, thigh-high boots, shoulder pads, and knee pads(?).  According to the expansion manual, Assassins are members of the secret order of Viz-Jaq'taar; in the real world at least, secret societies stay secret by having their members look like ordinary people.  No real ninja ever wore a "ninja" outfit; they wore the same clothes as everyone else.  I refuse to believe that a typical woman in the Diablo II universe goes around dressed like that.
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Now, what shall I do with my Assassin?  My goal with this tour is to play all seven characters in ways I never have before.  I've used various martial arts, and feel confident of my mastery of the tree, so I shall ignore it and use something else.  I've used all the traps, so nothing from there.  That leaves Shadow Disciplines.  My favorites of these are Burst of Speed and Shadow Master, or Warrior if I'm using traps.  Eliminate them, and... hmm, not much left.  For "auras", the tree offers Fade and Venom.  I rarely have difficulty getting enough resistances, so Venom it shall be.  On the other side of the tree are the "mentalist" skills, which I haven't done much with: Psychic Hammer (useful but weak), Cloak of Shadows (Blinding monsters: good.  Blinding player: bad!), and Mind Blast.
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A potentially interesting build comes to mind.  While playing my Necromancer, I'd noted that poison would be most useful with ranged attacks.  Poison takes time to work, and ranged attacks make time a luxury you can better afford.  The Venom skill adds a lot more damage than Poison Dagger, and can be used with any weapon, including a ranged weapon.  In all this tour, I've yet to make a character with a strong ranged attack, and should do at least one.  Another tactic I haven't used much is subversion: sowing chaos and disruption by confusing or converting the enemy.  Mind Blast has a chance to convert, making me friends, or at least keeping the monsters busy while they die from poison.  This could work.
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Now, what weapon shall I use?  Bows?  Thrown weapons?  I've got some nice crossbows on the mules, including a Heavy Crossbow with six sockets that could be fitted out with perfect emeralds.  Crossbows are very slow for the Assassin, but with poison and Mind Blast, she may not need to shoot fast.  Come to think of it, I wonder why the Assassin, someone used to complicated mechanical devices, is so slow with the crossbow, while the Druid is relatively fast?  I would have thought Nature Boy would be more practiced with normal bows.  Ah... no point second guessing Blizzard about this.  Many things in the Diablo II universe make no sense, but if I asked they might offer some bizarre, convoluted explanation for them that would just make my head hurt.  They might even have a pseudo-rational explanation for the female characters' outfits, though we all know the real reasons for those.
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So my Assassin shall be a ranged attacker, using crossbows.  Her main skills will be Venom and Mind Blast, with the goal of converting enemies and killing from a long distance.  I'll be putting points into Claw Mastery as a prerequisite anyway, so I'll make her back-up weapons a pair of claws in case things get rough.  She'll use no summons; minions will be mixed up fresh for each battle.  Also, no mercenary.  One thing that bothered me with Varnae is that my merc killed monsters before his poison had a chance to do its thing, and I don't want that to happen again.  Besides, the "lone hired gun" is a staple of fiction; anyone who walks that lonely road should do so without help.  Moving fast and hitting hard before you know she's there, then melting back into the shadows... that sounds like what an Assassin should be.  In keeping with the build, I'll give her a short bow for starting equipment.  Her name is Amanita, after a variety of poisonous mushroom noble Romans used to bump each other off.
  
 
==Chapter 1==
 
==Chapter 1==

Latest revision as of 23:14, 19 February 2017