Hello, my dear friend! This article is made for all those who have just started their journey as a PvP player in Diablo 2. I will try to show the bigger picture, give you some tips (to guide you on the right path, so to say) and motivate.
Diablo 2 — is an iconic Hack'n'Slash game of all time. This game was indeed done wisely and thoughtfully. It was made from the heart and was intended for ages. Back then game developers did not think that much about a profit. The goal was to create something truly unique and worthwhile. Nowadays people have become greedy, their goal now is just to make money. Such analogies are in fact common not only for computer games but also for music, films, and cars.
Compare Mercedes W210 1995 and the cars they do today. They are specially made badly so that they break down and people have to invest additional money to repair them. So that in a few years they have to buy a new car and again spend their money on it. Everything is just for profit.
Remember "Lord of the Rings", "Matrix" and the current shite like "Jupiter Ascending" or "Fantastic Four". Tons of computer graphics, an epic and spectacular trailer - but in fact a one-time piece of crap, a dummy made for money laundering, not interesting, dull, boring and pointless. Remember the songs of "Queen", "Beatles", Frank Sinatra and compare them with modern music.
So Diablo 2 - this is indeed that "standard of quality" among all games of this genre.
Gameplay, plot, atmosphere, music - everything here is done phenomenally. This is an amazingly thought-out game, which can be played for years and even decades and you will never be sure that you have learned all its nuances by 100%. I myself playing it for more than 10 years often discover something new.
In addition to the unsurpassed PvM-component in the game, PvP mode is available. Perhaps Blizzard themselves messed up and missed some points (maybe they knew all in advance), but later PvP players found many "bugs" and soon some unusual "techniques" related with them, such as Lock - teleport on a rival outside of your game screen and many others. You might say it's for the worse. ~Bugs~. No! Everything turned for the best and thanks to these "bugs" we (probably accidentally) have gotten a very unusual PvP mechanic. Not just unusual - it can be rightfully called the best one ever created. Neither LA2 nor WoW nor any other game can compare with it. You won't understand what I am saying about until you try it yourself. Knowing a lot of such tricks and bugs, your skill and understanding when and where to use them, your reaction, experience - that's what you need to master and work on if you decided to become a PvP mate.
Sadly, I must admit that the "Golden age" of PvP is gone. In 2008-2013 there was the peak of players, skill, and techniques. Unfortunately, almost all of the "legends" of this era don't play anymore. Some started a family, some immersed themselves in work.
Here are the pure legends. The skill of some of them can be still seen in some old VODs, some guys didn't film their duels at all. But even the vids won't show you the full power of their skill. It should have been seen live.
But do not worry. Not all of them are gone. Some of them still play but mostly in private games.
Where to start with?
If you chose the path of PvP dude and you want to reach any heights in a relatively short period of time, then the two most preferred options are:
On these two servers, you can quickly build your PvP character and immediately to get down to business.
The first option is Asgard PvP realm.
It's a Russian free PvP realm with hosts in Moscow and London. All items spawn with perf stats. Any item can be transmuted in the cube or simply taken from in-game accounts. Any character (build) can be made in 5-10 minutes. Ping is good for the most part of Europe.
The second option is EU Non-ladder.
In order to play here, you need to buy the official version of the game (cd-key) worth ~15$ each. Here you can use bots so you can build a character in a pretty short period of time. It may take some time (several months) — but it's free.
It is also possible to buy things for real money (common character usually takes $ 30~). In case there will be problems with ping (host is ~ in France), you can use a program called Battle Ping. With it, ping can be reduced to playable values (70-80~). There is a decent online here, so the range of players varies from complete newbies to the best players in the world.
Let's imagine that technical part is already gone and you are in character creation menu. I'll try to give a few tips here as well.
First, take a look at the balance considering two equal players, good ping, and gear.
The balance is written for the most popular rules — GM (Good Manner) Rules (EU).
non-block necro > dclaw / 174 sin
non-block necro > bvc
non-block necro > bow-java zon
non-block necro > hdin
non-block necro > smiter
non-block druid > non-block necro
non-block druid > bvc
non-block druid > hdin
non-block druid > smiter
dclaw sin > non-block druid
dclaw / 174 sin > hdin
dclaw sin > bvc
sin(block) > smiter
bow-java zon > non-block druid
bow-java zon > bvc (BvA > zon)
bow-java zon > hammer
bow-java zon > sin(block)
hdin > smiter
hdin > bvc
smiter > bvc
smiter > bow-java zon
Sorceresses aren't common in duels at all (unless Fire 95% ES). So I wouldn't advise it as a first character. Let's look at the Sorceress balance:
95 es fire soso > necro
95 es fire soso > smiter
95 es fire soso > hdin
All other chars > 95 es fire soso
Of course, if the skill of the player to the right is higher then the one to the left — the situation can change till the opposite.
Afterall I would advise you to begin your journey in the PvP world with a Necromancer or Druid. These are the most simple characters for the beginner.
- The damage is magic (there is no resistance to it)
- Auto-aiming Bone Spirit, straightforward but very fast Bone Spear, and Teeth, which is good to get rid of the enemy's stack
- Stack (Golem+Oak)
- The ability to attack from a far distance
- An opportunity to IBS
- Low HP (4-4,5k)
- High HP thanks to Oak Sage (7-8,8k)
- Good stack (5 wolves + Oak Sage)
- Tornado can't be blocked if you stomped an enemy. It has huge damage and can hit up to three times
- Cyclone Armor that makes elemental attacks almost useless against us
- Low FСR
- You need to be relatively close to an enemy to attack
So yes, Nec is clearly the strongest character in the game, but in the NvD the Druid has a great advantage. So the choice is yours.
In general, this is just my advice. If you prefer another character, then, of course, try it. But Assassin and Barbarian are more difficult to master and a lot of time will pass before you reach at least some skill-level and begin to implement your character.
Also PLEASE forget about builds like:
Sure, some of these builds are very fun, and YES, they can be strong in skillful arms, but it is very difficult to call them worthy or skill dependent. Most of them are narrowed to either passive play and/or luck (catching with Rabies, Poison Explosion) and the lack of resistances (of your opponent). By playing with such builds, you never will reveal the potential of your character.
For fun — please, but never take these duels seriously.
What matters in PvP?
2. Your skill
Obviously, with a high ping or spikes of it, you'll often lose. There's nothing you can do about it. In many duels, one-second delay = rip, or a loss of half HP. Ping is super important when playing Barbarian and174 Sin.
There is no limit to perfection here. The concept of "anti-character" is applicable only to a single duel:
95% ES Sorc> Bone Necro
All your efforts here are futile and no matter how hard you try, Necro can't win 95% ES Sorceress in a serious duel.
IN ALL other "unbalanced" duels one side is an "advantage". And with proper training and skill, the weaker side(the character) can win the strong side, in spite of that "advantage" on the opponent's side. So you understand, a strong Hdin can cope with a 95% ES Fire Sorc, PnB Necro with Wind Druid, and Traps-Sin with PnB Necro.
While breaking the worldview of some individuals, I must say that Enigma is a must-have in PvP for all classes, except Amazon. Poor-shitty builds like Hdin with Lionheart or Traps-Sin with Vipermage is a slag that was born on the PG server because of poor 1.11 rune-drop and as a consequence - the inability to make that runeword. Without it, the potential of your character is seriously limited.
As for the difference in the rare, crafts, inventory and other things. If one (let's say) Necro has a 2sk/20fcr/clear Amul, a 10fcr/clear ring, and a clear skillers pack — he will most likely lose to the same (skill-wise) Necro with 2sk/20fcr/15str/30hp/60mana Amul, 10fcr/20str/80mana ring, and 35+hp skillers pack. The difference in HP would be too big, about ~500+ hp.
If the difference is not that big (2sk/20fcr/15str/30hp/40 mana Amul vs. 2sk/20fcr/30str/60hp/90mana Amul (same applies to ring and skillers)) — your arms will matter, not your gear.
Everything comes with an experience. Before you learn something, you'll die 100, 1000 and even more times. The foundation of your skill is 1) your experience 2) aim 3) knowledge and skillful use of different techniques and bugs, such as:
- Swirls [Shock Wave / Smite]
- C/T Trick
- Tank Trick
- Strength Bug
- Skill Bug
- WSM Bug
Read and learn. Everything is in your hands. Try, try, and try again. Always learn from your own mistakes. Things that at first seem complex soon will be done without any effort thanks to the muscle memory.
In the beginning, basic techniques will be complex and all duels will be narrowed to their study. After mastering and pinning them, you'll have to pay attention to other details of the duel — micro- and macro-control. You can't have it all immediately. It's like I said — everything comes with an experience.
Assassins and Amazones will piss you off in the beginning with their eternal Mind Blast/Knockback. After mastering WSG and TT you will see that these characters are not as scary as they seemed to be at first.
"If you want to catch a criminal - think like one"!
Always swap sides. Don't look at the duel from one point of view. After swapping sides and playing with your opponent's character, you will be able to better understand how duel looks for him and what he does, where he can make a mistake so later you will be able to catch him at that exact moment.
As soon as you feel confident — be sure to try TvT (Team vs Team).
It will fundamentally change your view of the game. Everything will be darkened and even your skill in 1v1 won't matter much. Now it is a team game and all the rules and perceptions change. It's not the micro-component of the game that matters now, but the macro. You need to understand the actions of your opponents and their movements, because even a small step from your ally will provoke an instant attack, and you can die in a matter of seconds. At the same time, you have to understand, when the opponent has mistaken and now you need react quickly and make a rapid attack, besides not forgetting about the other enemies. Combinations of Necro(Amplify Damage) + Druid(Tornado), Assassin(Mind Blast(Swirls)) + Necro (Bone Prison) (or even both) do not give you the right to do a single mistake because such combinations are extremely dangerous, even lethal.
In TvT you get something new, something that you would you have never experienced in the 1v1 duels.
TvT can be rightfully called the best thing there is in Diablo 2. Don't focus only on the 1v1 skill. It is important, as the foundation, but TvT is different. Be sure to try. You will not regret it and you will understand what I meant.
The two most popular options in TvT are:
- Rush vs Camp (Rush/Camp (r/c))
It's four characters — Druid, Necro, Barbarian and Assassin playing by special FPK Rules. The duel between these characters by these rules is considered the most balanced and skill dependent in both 1v1 and TvT. All builds here are a non-block. It might seem strange and some might say that in this case, Barbarian will easily rekt everyone. Nevertheless, Barb is still weaker than the remaining three chars, ceteris paribus.
Rush vs Camp
R/C is Hdin+Zon against two fpk chars. Hdin+Zon is a Camp side. They stand in one spot and defend themselves from attacks (camping), and the Rush team attacks.
You should definitely try these match-ups:
Dru Trap ~> Barb Nec*
Dru Nec ~= Trap Nec**
Barb Nec ~= Trap Nec
Dru Nec > Barb Nec
Dru Trap ~> Trap Nec
Dru Barb ~= Trap Nec
Bow Hdin ~= Barb Trap
Bow Hdin ~= Dru Trap
Bow Hdin < Nec Trap
Bow Hdin < Dru Nec
Bow Hdin < Barb Nec
Hdin Trap < Nec Dru
Hdin Trap < Smiter Nec
(Hdin and Smiter must know how to Throw>FoH>Tele>Hammer+Conc)
*~> — little stronger
**~= — about the same
And of course the 4v4. That's something
Good Luck and Have Fun!
Wish you good luck in all your endeavors!