Meatbag the Defiant: Introduction
As I write this, Diablo 2 is a very old game. Released all the way back in 2000, it won't be long until it reaches its tenth anniversary. So needless to say, it's a rather strange time to be starting a new solo character, much less devoting the time and effort to write about it on my website. But... dangit, I often get the urge to play old games, and I wanted to play some D2! My weekly druids game was only arousing my interest in some good old-fashioned tactical combat. I decided that I would create a new warrior and see how well I was able to do outside of a team environment.
After looking over some possible combinations of skills, I decided that I would try my hand at a Defiance paladin. I've never played a paladin before with any seriousness, and it would be fun to see how far I could get. Defiance is generally considered to be a worthless skill, and Defense in general is often believed to be pointless in D2, with monster attack rating ridiculously jacked up on the higher levels. Playing defensively fits well with my playstyle, and with the synergy from Holy Shield, I might even be able to get my defense high enough to mean something. Besides, I had never played a melee character since my D1 days, almost all of my D2 time having been spent with sorcies (my favorite class). A Defiant pally actually has a lot of advantages for melee combat: high blocking with shield, extraordinary defense, and (now in D2X) enough purple rejuvs to get instant healing on demand. Another plus: unlike in D2 classic, the inclusion of Act V allows melee characters to stay on the proper leveling curve instead of falling far behind in Nightmare, which helps immensely in terms of to-hit percentage.
So I would build my chracter around the Defiance skill, with Holy Shield as the backup secondary ability. I plan on using Normal attack for most battles initially (yikes!), with Sacrifice as the high-damage skill to be whipped out where needed. Why Sacrifice? It does tremendous damage and gives a goodly AR boost, but the real reason is that it costs no mana to use. My character will already have to make a major Strength investment, plus have enough Dexterity to maintain blocking on a shield, and that wouldn't leave much left over for Vitality and Energy. With Sacrifice, I could avoid ever adding to mana and concentrate purely on the other three categories. No more than one point into Sacrifice in Normal difficulty though; if I survive to Nightmare, I'll add more points there, mostly for the AR boost to maintain a decent to-hit ratio. I'll also make use of Prayer, Cleansing, and (eventually) Redemption as needed. I'd like to get by with a single point into Redemption and get some boosts from +skills items, we'll see what I can turn up. Nothing invested into the Offensive Auras tree though: this character will be geared towards defense and defense alone.
I couldn't think of a serious name for my character, so I went with the somewhat uninspired choice of Meatbag. Meatbag the Defiant, heh. I figured he would spend most of the game as a punching bag, getting beat on while he slowly slugged the monsters to death. I plan on playing the game in pure style: one pass through each area, full-clearing all monsters and optional dungeons, using only the items that I find, purchase, or gamble. No twinking! I will also refrain from hiring a mercenary in the normal sense; I will hire mercs on occasion, but only D2 Classic style: no equipment, and once they're dead no reviving. I plan to use them for the Duriel battle and maybe for the Kurast temples. They might even survive for a while with Defiance aura helping out! I should have made Meatbag hardcore, but chickened out at the last minute and went softcore instead. I intend to play the character as though he were hardcore though: no deaths! I hate dying like a bad cold. Easier said than done, naturally...
Well, here goes nothing.