This is my retrospective on my kickass assassin Bootica and the Low Rent Legion.
I've got years of Diablo 2 experience both online and offline. Back in the early 2000s when finally got broadband Internet, I played at of D2 online with my friends but eventually got bored of it. This was due to game becoming pointless with easy access to public games where people with optimal gear would basically play the game for you and when you got the optimal gear, what was there to do? My friends unfortunately weren't interested in playing untwinked characters so I switched to playing solo offline.
Other relevant gaming experience I have from Guild Wars 1. Got hooked up the PvP side of the game which required great team discipline to play successfully. For example attacks with different attack/projectile speeds had to be coordinated to hit an enemy within a window less than 0.1 seconds to have a chance of scoring a kill against good teams. In my prime years of the game, my guild not being in the world top 16 in the monthly tournament was a great disappointment (shout-out to Seppo Hovi Action Team). So this is where my teamplay discipline backbone comes from.
After Guild Wars, I played some Star Wars: The Old Republic for 5 years or so. There I played in some PvP (not always in comfy guilds) and PvE in comfy semi-casual guilds that that only did 1-2 dedicated dungeon sessions a week. This is the game where Burninator part of my name comes from since I did a Bounty Hunter with that name who uses flame attacks which the Jedi have a hard time parrying.
When Sullla announced Low Rent Legion collaboration, I was very excited to participate and play the Diablo 2 in a more challenging way.
I enjoy playing melee characters the most but the biggest problem when playing untwinked melee characters is getting a good weapon. Assassin solves this problem by using boots as the source of damage and Dragon Talon is more than viable skill available at level 1 and one the best skills to apply Crushing Blow. Assassin also has a lot of fun active defense skills to help with dealing with her enemies.... none of which are allowed to be used under the variant. Oh well.
What to pick up in addition to Dragon Talon? Tiger Strike charges only apply on the first kick and I will have at least 4 and it would make the build more clunky, so that's a no go. Boots aren't claws so no Claw Mastery. Boots don't benefit from off-hand weapon stats, so no Weapon Block. Psychic Hammer is a joke. That leaves Fire Blast, forcing me to duplicate IAndrosov's main skill.
Gearing wise, the overall plan is to get Crushing Blow, a fast weapon, good resist, some Life Leech, a source of Mana Leech, 75% shield block and big pool of hit points.
For damage just needed the highest base quality boots as possible which might lead my character being very slow due to not guaranteed to have Faster Run/Walk speed. As for the shield, Rhyme is always reliable with solid stats and most importantly, a source of Cannot Be Frozen. Getting the runes for Rhyme is almost guaranteed and 2 socket Bone Shield can be bought from Drognan. For the torso armor, Smoke is a good source of resistances and the runes we're very likely to get. For the gloves, crafted Blood Gloves is the way to go for more Crushing Blow and Life Leech and hopefully to get 20% Increased Attack speed for 3 frame follow up kicks.
For the main hand (not) weapon, it's a choice between Strenght and Black. I opted to go for Strenght even though it has only 25% Crushing Blow versus Black's 40%. Strenght has more useful secondary stats: +20 strenght (duh), 7% Life Leech, better options for base item and NO KNOCKBACK. The last one is the most important. Even though Dragon Talon does have a knockback, it happens on the last kick. The knockback from Nef rune happens on the first, forcing me to always knock enemies towards something (or some one) to apply full damage. So in the open, that's effectively a multiplicative -75% dps modifier.
As an assassin, my goal on the battlefield is to take out key targets like revivers, healers or bosses that have no minions protecting them. I did this when it was safe, otherwise I would use Gario's Skeletons to tank damage and take out enemies on the flanks, leaving the center of the enemy force for casters like ElectricTsunami and LRL_Psycho which are better suited to deal with them. This is why Sullla never got the chance to get a screenshot of Ancient Kaa the Soulless since I always deleted him before Sullla had dealt with the main body of the enemy skeleton horde.
I used Fire Blast when the above approach wasn't viable or the enemies were weak to fire and had high physical resistance. Ghosts, Swarms and Gloams belong to this category. Very rarely was there a moment where there was nothing I could do.
Thanks to my experience in D2, I was able to pull this off on nearly on auto-pilot, even with just 2 hours of sleep on our Febuary 25th session. I did suffer about 5 deaths during our sessions, mostly due to kicking Lightning Enchanted enemies with 3 frame kicks, causing a tsunami of bolts hitting my face nearly instantly killing my character.
As for the final stats, I ended up with sufficient resist, less Crushing Blow that I would have liked, good Hit Point pool, very good amount of Increased Attack Speed and most surprisingly 40% Faster Run/Walk. I had a bit too many points in strenght which I could have respeced into more vitality. Going for Myrmidon Greaves would have cost me at least about 300 Hit Points but would have increased my dps 20% but I opted for more survivablity since we were already killing the enemies at a good pace. Defence was a bit low and could have increased it by getting a Smoke in a elite armor but I was doing just fine without it.
As planned, Bootica wasn't relying on god like drops to be effective and drops were quite mediocre for my character. No boots with Crushing Blow nor Guillaume's Face. However Peasant crown was solid with a +1 skills, +20 Vitality and +15 Faster Run/Walk and Sandstorm Trek were decent too with more Strenght and Vitality and +64% Poison Resist which allowed my not to worry about poison at all.
Remember when I said during our first session that I had found my end game weapon. After we found an Amn and Tir runes, I turned the two socketed Scimitar into a Strenght and even personalised it and used for the rest of the game and it served me well.
I was worried that I wouldn't get a decent Blood Gloves but Skull Grasp turned up just fine, it's Mana Leech allowing me for more freedom in ring options.
Rest of the gear is just random drops that our team got and the belt is vendored from Nightmare Elzix.
Boro (LRL_PunchingBag): Our Lord of Terror and Horker of Potions. Very solid player providing Crowd Control, which our team was lacking, and maintaining our inventory of Full Rejuvenation potions, which was very handy. Also did good damage once he got a decent Colossus Sword and Raven Frost, allowing him to Bash two-handed.
Dp101 (ArchaicMight): Dp101 had most difficult time of our team by far. Unfamiliarity with D2 melee mechanics and gimped skill options was very steep hill to climb but big kudos to them for soldiering on despite leaving a pile of their own corpses behind. Maybe emphasized too a bit much maintaining a high Might level, I would've tried out using a Black Scourge for some Crushing Blow to at least do more than a scratch while smiting the enemy. I bet I wouldn't have noticed the slighty lower Might level but would have noticed the increased survivablity and damage from them. Should have I given them more advice on their build during our run? I was worried that I would've sounded arrogant and overbearing if I did, so I opted not to do so.
Gario (LRL_Gariomancer): The Most Valuable Player of our team. Cleary one of the more experienced players of our team. Provided a meatless shield with Skeleton Warriors and tripled our physical damage with Amplify Damage on Hell difficulty. When not around at the start of some of our sessions, his absense was clearly noticed, feeling like having only a plank between one and perdition. Late game he did end up with a Boot Golem who sometimes got stuck hitting towers with the Skeleton Warriors.
IAndrosov (LRL_Psycho): Our only source of true AoE damage. Did a solid job despite being a bit unexperienced. They did have a habit of wandering off on their own, leading to some unfortunate deaths.
Sullla (ElectricTsunami): The legate of our Legion. As expected, he played his role to near perfection, not dying a single time. Made very use of the godly drops that we got for the character. Big thanks for organizing this event!
Overall our team played very well, not having any insurmountable obstacles in out way. Only time we had real trouble without Gario was on our first Hell Cows fight when the skeletons crumbled and our team got routed. We did do a comeback after diving in a few times town portal parking enough cows away and regrouping properly. When we did it again with Boro nad his Howl skill, the fight turned into a more or less a routine encounter.
Also our team maintained a comfy chatter during our sessions with no drama going on. Sorry if I wasn't very talkative, I'm a very quiet person by Finnish standards. Then again, aren't assassins supposed to be silent killers?
It was a great pleasure to finally play with Sullla and the community. Even Sullla plays many games with his community, this was the first game that I had played before and I was able to play with him. Looking forward to more adventures with Sullla and the folks in Diablo 2 Resurrected and I for one aren't afraid of taking up a melee position again.