With the innumerable archers bosses of Act One finally out of the way, the Rogues were more than ready to move on to Act Two. Waiting to greet them there however was a new threat, in the form of endless mobs of Burning Dead.
This picture is from down in the Sewers; this was a Burning Dead boss from down there. The monsters here have all been chilled by Svava's Frost Nova; these kind of mobs were the perfect situation to use it. All of the Burning Dead are 75% resistant to fire, which drastically reduced the damage that all of the Rogues were doing from Enchant. No one individual skeleton was that difficult to kill, but multiply the threat a hundredfold, and it should be clear that we were in for some serious slogging. When the Burning Dead combined with the undead-reviving Greater Mummies, the headaches only got worse.
Radament's minions had all been lured away from the chamber, and this is taken from when we had gone back to deal with the boss. Mana Burn was not the most dangerous extra ability (though it would be much more troubling for the Blue Rogues!) and Radament was downed in short order. Svava is using the unique broadsword Griswold's Edge here, which has been upgraded to its exceptional equivalent (battle sword).
Another boss battle; this one gave us a fair amount of trouble. I believe this is from the Claw Viper Temple, not 100% sure of that. The Rogues have a nice firing squad set up here, pinning the boss against the wall so that the lightning sparks fly harmlessly past. The other point I want to note here is that by this point in time, we were all using bows that had Knockback on them, usually from socketed Nef runes. Knockback let the Rogues control the crowds (somewhat) by pushing the enemies back from them, or, as in this case, pinning monsters in corners.
This picture is from the Claw Viper Temple Level 2. It's also taken from a somewhat later date, when we had to go back and get the Viper Amulet a second time to catch Moongrabber up to Act 3, but it makes sense to put it here. The first trip through this room we managed it without too many problems. The second time... well, take a look. Fangskin had the unfortunate combo of Extra Fast/Extra Strong, and of course Lightning Enchanted on this venture. When Battle.net lag is factored in, that meant a streaking blur that was downing Rogues who couldn't even see him on their screens. The five or six Hollow Ones in this chamber didn't make things any easier too. We prevailed eventually - in a bloodbath. Just look at all those bodies on the minimap!
Everybody is together down in the Maggot Hole. Unlike our first trip through Act 2 in Normal, we didn't have nearly as many problems with the beetles and their sparks. I don't know if this was due to higher lightning resistance from everyone or just better tactical management (probably some of both, but more of the latter). Coldworm bred quickly, but not fast enough.
One of the many bosses from down in the Palace Cellars; this looks like a skeleton mage boss. As always, the most dangerous bosses were the archer ones, which fortunately weren't nearly so common as in Act One. The Palace was about the only place we ran into them.
Kind of an unusual picture from the Arcane Sanctuary here, but it had me smiling at it. Svava is hacking away at the Lightning Spire; I think it's Sirian with the Bone Shield, but not certain on that. Dathon is easily identifiable by Red_RidingHood's fashionable horned helmet. And spread out all around them is nothing less than a heap of treasure; the phrase that came to my mind was the Warcraft II cheat code "Glittering Prizes". It's a lot of junk in any case; now all we need is some more lumber and oil here. I'll also note that those Lightning Spires take forever to kill once their hit points get ramped up in Players 8.
We had some nasty, nasty fights in the Canyon of the Magi. Not only did we have the massive beetle boss pack you can see here, there was also an Extra Fast furry boss pack running around as well.
Just what we need, extra fast teddy bears running around amidst lightning-sparking beetles - and did I mention the breeding Maggots sending their young every which way? We had to use portals to control the mob and carve out a path through the level. Some of our return trips through the Canyon were just as bad, but FORTUNATELY we only had to full-clear the area once and could skip our way through on other trips. This area was a real pain. A nice introduction to the slog through the False Tombs.
By the way, the two pictures above were taken by Sirian and then emailed to me in putting together this report. Anytime you see Svava's picture at the top of the screen (or DON'T see Red_Rover's), it's one of the pictures that Sirian set to me.
Remember when I talked about Burning Dead a minute ago? Well now they were back! And they had brough a bunch of Radaments (Unravellers) with them to revive them! The False Tombs were absolutely packed with these guys, and the only way to make any progress was to freeze the corpses and shatter them with cold. That tended to take a long time. Progress was very slow, especially so when hitting boss packs like this.
Here's a shot of one of the bosses. This one particular room had the Lightning Enchanted, Might(?) Aura boss you see here and another Multishot, Extra Strong Unraveller. Along with about a million Burning Dead too. It took about 30 minutes to clear out just that one room, with many deaths involved, and a full hour to clear out that single False Tomb - which had, at max, four rooms in it. Wow. We certainly weren't clearing entire Acts in a single session any more!
Here we finally caught up to Kaa in another one of the False Tombs. I like this picture because our Blue Rogues are in mid-running animation; it looks like Cyrene, Jaffa, and Alan are about to charge right up to Kaa and dish out some punishment! Of course, a Mana Burn/Extra Strong boss might as well have a "Blue Rogue BEWARE!" sign painted over its head, so they of course fired from a safe distance with bows. The other thing that can't be seen from this picture is that Kaa is literally flying backwards as he's hit by a bunch of Knockback arrows. It's always fun to see that.
I believe we spent an entire week just clearing the False Tombs, or at least it seemed like that. I've never been so glad to move on to a new area in my life. Eventually, we finished up with that particular nightmare and could move onto Act Three - but first there was one final boss to take care of:
We had experienced problems with Duriel in Normal because everyone had tried to fight him as individuals, not as a team. Here in Nightmare he was a joke.
Amother action shot of the battle. Duriel locked in on Sirian and followed Red_Rover around the room in circles as the rest of the Rogues emptied about 10,000 arrows into him. No one was killed; no one was even threated. Duriel walked right next to Svava at least a dozen times without breaking off and attacking. He fared no better when we ran Duriel a second time to catch MoonGrabber up into Act 3. There you have it folks, Blizzard's wonderful AI programming at work. Duriel seems to be about as intelligent as the AI in Space Invaders.
Next up for the Rogues: Act Three and the first of the Three Prime Evils.