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Co-op Strategy & Tips

Do not touch any cauldrons or goat shrines. Before you touch a shrine, know what its effects are (they can affect the other players in the game). Keep a Shrine List handy (there's one here and in Jarulf's Guide to Diablo).

Read Jarulf's Guide to Diablo and Desslocks Guide. They contains a lot of information about the game, but no strategy. Everyone should have a copy of these guides. I highly recommend downloading and printing them for future reference.

Aiming Magic Spells and Arrows
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The keys to aiming arrows and magic spells are: according to the pic above, red 1's are your perfect shots, you will have your best chance of hitting the target, the blue 2's are very good shots, you will also have a very good chance of hitting your target, but oddly enough, the 2's are also semi-safe areas for your companions(this is not true for fireballs) and the green 3's are blind spots, you will almost never score a hit on a target in a 3 zone. Another key to aiming, is where you position the cursor (hand pointer) for targets such as witches, knights, skeletons, etc.. aim for the knees and feet area, not the head, and for targets such as drakes and vipers, aim for the tail, not the head.. you will have a better rate of successful hits.

In private/guild games, leave gold in town before you go into dungeons. This will free up space. In public games, your money will be stolen.

How upset would you be if you lost your best equipment? I'd be heartbroken if I lost my Arch-Angels Staff of Wizardry. If the stuff you're wearing is important to you, then back-up equipment is a great idea. Carry in your inventory an extra suit of armor, a bow, a helmet and jewelry. When you die, getting your things back is much, much easier. As a bonus, those you are with will be impressed with your forethought. ;) The drawback to this approach is that you will take up a lot of your inventory space, but I see that as a very small cost when I'm going back to retrieve my goodies from a pack of Lava Maws.

If you're concerned about space in your inventory, a small backup set of equipment would be:

Items of the dark let you operate in stealth mode. The more you reduce your light radius, the fewer monsters you will wake up. If you reduce it enough (around -80%), a monster will not see you unless you are standing right next to it! This should keep you from being swarmed while getting your stuff back. The jewel of harmony should keep you from getting stun locked by whatever monster or two you do wake up.

A facet of the game that appears to be somewhat obscure is how experience points are given to players for killing monsters. If two people contribute to the death of a monster (i.e., by each landing at least one blow/shot/spell), they both will receive experience points for the it when it dies. (The amount each receives will depend on their respective levels.) This can be a very good thing, since the Stone Cursing friend is that he/she can still get some experience if he/she lands at least one blow on the Stoned monster.

Tread carefully. When you click to move, click only a few "squares" away from your character. When you reach the spot you clicked, wait a few seconds to see if any monsters have become wise to your presence. Kill them before they get close to you, then move a few steps again. It is slow going, at times, but this is a skill and patience you must learn if you ever want to be an effective player. Skulk! Rogues and mages shoot from a safe vantage and take no damage. Warriors draw out a few monsters at a time, then dispatch them and repeat.

Withdraw strategically. When the ugly denizens of the church begin to close on you, retreat a few steps, turn around and kill. Repeat as necessary. Don't let them get so close that you can see the whites of their eyes! On a related note, do NOT retreat into unexplored territory. This will make matters worse, as you stumble into more enemies that didn't know you were there.

This point can't be stressed enough: you will almost certainly die (and probably cause your allies' deaths to boot) if you retreat into unexplored territory. Always keep your map on the screen so that you can see areas you know are cleared. Try to establish a pattern when exploring the dungeon (e.g., "always turn right," or "clear everything you can before opening a door, then clear everything before opening the next door").

Fear Unique Monsters. "Unique" monsters are those that have personal names, like Goretongue, Fleshrot or Bonehead Kneeaxe. These monsters are surrounded by a glow that you can see even through a wall. If you see a bright square on the other side of a wall (with no torch to light the square), there is a unique monster standing there. Why fear unique monsters? They are much tougher than their "normal" counterparts. A unique skeleton is usually faster, has more hit points, is more likely to hit you and does more damage than a normal skeleton. Also, unique monsters are usually surrounded by some of their non-unique friends. Don't let unique monsters get anywhere near you. Fire and maneuver!

On the other hand, there is a reward for killing a unique monster. They will also drop some magic item, and they are usually of better quality than magic items dropped by normal monsters.

Barrels can be deadly. It is embarrassing, but you can be killed by a barrel. Exploding barrels can do more damage than any of the creatures you will meet in the church. If you are low on health (about 3/4 of your life globe is empty), be careful about breaking open a barrel, or it just might kill you. Heal yourself before breaking it open. Barrels are evil and they must all DIE !!!

Watch out for traps. As a Rogue, you can determine when a chest, sarcophagus or door is trapped. Put your cursor over the object in question and read the description on screen. If it's in red letters, the object has a trap (it will shoot an arrow, firebolt or bolt of lightning at you when you open it). Try to disarm the trap using your disarm skill. You will probably fail at least half of the time, but it's worth a try. If you fail, you will hear some kind of "click" to let you know that the trap has been sprung. When you hear it, step away quickly and the trap may still miss you. Unlike the other two classes, your skill is free, so use it!

Keep your eyes peeled. Quite often, treasure is left lying about by the monsters. You can find scrolls, potions, gold and even magic items just laying on the ground. However, some of the smaller items are difficult to see on the dungeon floor. Sweep your cursor around rooms to see if anything lights up! Also, be sure to open all chests and sarcophagi. You will usually find helpful things in them.

Start a library. Early on, you will find a lot of books that you can't read. Keep them anyway. Once you gain a few magic points or find an item that boosts your magic, you'll be able to read them. Just drop them on the ground in town until you can read them or until you're ready to end the game. Some spells are not worth learning until you have gold coming out of your ears. Sell those books and scrolls to get money to buy good spell books, a good bow, etc. Peruse my page about spells to help you decide which spells are worth keeping.

Scavenge. When you find items, use them. If you find some rags and are not wearing armor, put on the rags to boost your AC. When you find a new item, compare it to what you are wearing. If it's better than what you have, put the new item on and put the old item in your inventory. Sell the item that you don't want to Griswold or Adrea. Pick up pretty much anything to sell (non-magical clubs, rags and caps are probably not worth the trouble, as you will get only a few pieces of gold from them). Also, it is a good idea to keep spares of items you might lose (e.g,, keep an extra bow in case you lose or break the one you've been using).

Keep a list of names and account numbers of those you have played with so you can look for them later. It is surprising how quickly you can forget character names or find other players using the same name.

Many people use the same name and password all the time (or most of the time). The benefit to this is that people you know can join you if they see that you are in a private game. The drawback, of course, is that you could have a bad experience with someone and they then know your password. There is no set etiquette on giving out a password, but you should be very careful about it. If you're playing with someone who has not met your buddy whose password you know, do you want to give out the password? It's a judgment call, and the best idea is to make sure you know in advance whether it is acceptable to invite "unknown" people into a game.

One more note on game difficulty: from most people's experience (and according to officials at Blizzard) game difficulty has only a small effect on the items you find. This means that a very good way to go "item hunting" is to play a normal game. A high level character will gain very little or no experience, but will kill most bad guys with one or two shots (which can be very satisfying in its own right ;-).

The quality of items depends mainly on how deep you are in the dungeon, and less on the level of difficulty. Many of the items you find in the Church and Catacombs will be cursed (e.g., a sword of Trouble) and the ones that are not cursed will still be of low quality. As an example, you will tend to find items "of the Sky" in the Church, items "of the Moon" in the Catacombs, items "of the Stars" in the Caves and items "of the Heavens" in Hell (ironic, I know ;-). If you expect to find an item "of the Zodiac," get thee to Hell. Playing on a higher difficulty level mainly affects the base quality of the items you find (e.g., plate mail instead of leather armor, full potions instead of partial ones).

On a related topic, many people go on "Lazarus Runs." This typically means that you start on level 13 and get to 15 as quickly as possible. The purpose for this is to find magical items. In Lazarus' room you will find a minimum of 3 magic items. That number is guaranteed because there are 3 unique monsters in that room. Often, all three are very poor quality items, but you are guaranteed 3 chances at finding a good one. Also, the fact that you are on level 15 means that your odds of getting a good item are almost maximized. A Lazarus Run on Normal Difficulty is a cake walk for a moderate to high level character (level 30+) and can quickly yield a good item. It only takes a little longer to continue on to level 16 and there are good items there also.

The Church and Catacombs, while not offering high quality items, do offer benefits of their own: shrines and books. A moderate level player can clear the Church in less than an hour (by using Teleport, Chain Lightning and Flame Wave). Once your Rogue/Warrior needs 255 to read a spell book, you'll want to search for Enchanted Shrines. On Hell Difficulty, the Church and Catacombs are still fairly easy and even a level 40 player will pick up some experience points there. Searching for shrines can help increase your statistics (e.g., Dexterity with Abandoned Shrines) and increase your spell levels. Many Mages search repeatedly for Hidden Shrines to boost the durability of a Thinking Cap. (On the topic of Enchanted Shrines: my "policy" is that a Mage should never be use an Enchanted Shrine when Rogues or Warriors are in a game. Mages can easily reach level 15 on all of their spells by finding and buying spell books, Rogues and Warriors cannot.)

Caves offer a few interesting items, most notably, the "of Swiftness" suffix for bows. This is the best place to find these items and most rogues love their Swiftness bows. Hell Caves is a great place for the level 40+ character to get experience.

After reaching a high level (36+), getting experience can be difficult. Typically, you gain experience only in Nightmare Hell or on Hell Difficulty. Nightmare Hell can provide a challenge to a Rogue by herself, depending on the monsters present. A better way to gain fast experience is to clear the Catacombs (or Caves) on Hell difficulty. Teleport, chain/flame wave, repeat. Clearing all four levels takes very little time (about an hour or so) and will net you very close to 4 million experience points. Of course the bonus for getting experience in this way is that you might also run across a good shrine.

Many new adventurers immediately sell anything they don't want, but this is generally a bad idea unless you need the cash on the spot. If you don't want an item you found, drop it in the treasure pile. Having extra equipment on the ground can save your behind if you should die in the dungeon: you then have backup equipment to retrieve you goodies! The heavy bow of lightning may look pretty pathetic when you're using Eaglehorn, but will look awfully attractive when you need to get Eaglehorn back from greedy monsters. Also, if a player joins in the midst of the game, a piece of equipment you sold earlier might have been very good for him/her. At the end of the game, sell all the stuff you don't want and divide the gold.

Put the stuff you carry from game to game far away from the "treasure pile." This will allow you to carry more potions and grab more treasure in the dungeon. The drawback, of course, is that timing out can really ruin your day. Two related notes:

When playing with people you know, make a community gold pile by Adria the Witch and by Cain. As long as everyone contributes, everyone benefits. If you've ever walked to the Witch and discovered you have no gold, you will understand one of the benefits here. As a courtesy, check with other players before draining the reserve to buy a very expensive item (e.g., that book of Blood Star or a Merciless bow). If you are playing in a public game or with people you don't know, decide how generous you want to be and remember that others can learn from example.

On entering a game, check Wirt, Griswold and Adria and announce their inventory to your comrades (if any of it is any good). Each town person has a different inventory for each player (based on character level), and what you might find worthless could be a real prize for another player. Depending on character levels, you should check to see if anyone needs elixirs (most seem to reach their maximum Strength, Magic, Dexterity and Vitality somewhere around levels 30-35). What spell books do other players need? (If you time out and re-enter the game, be sure to check the Townspeople's inventory again.)

When you reach the point that 50 gold is pocket change, it is worth the investment. Wirt almost always sells worthless items (a Godly cloak of the Mammoth just isn't that practical), but the operative word is "almost." Every great bow (aside from Uniques) I've ever found came from Wirt: If you want to find a Merciless bow of Thunder, he's the guy who can get it for you. You might want to fireball him most of the time, but when he sells you a great item, you'll wax his leg for him.

If Wirt has a "cheap" item (depending on your cash flow), buy it even if you don't want it. This will cause him to change his stock, maybe to something you will want. You can then add the "Wirtless" item to the treasure pile.

Before entering the dungeon, ask if everyone has resurrection scrolls, and be sure you have one yourself. Even better, carry one scroll for each member of the party (if three other people are adventuring with you, carry three scrolls of resurrection).

The map is tilted, so people may disagree on where "north" is. If you all agree that "north" is the top corner (or whatever), things will be much easier when you're trying to tell someone where your dead body lies. Another direction system is to use the clock metaphor: the top corner of the map is 12 o'clock, the right corner, 3 o'clock and so on. Also, top, left, right and bottom.

Agree on a party leader. It can be frustrating when everyone starts to walk off in a different direction, then stumbles around trying to decide who to follow. Pick someone who will lead, so that everyone knows which direction to go in. Take turns leading on different levels.

Immediately cast a town portal somewhere away from the stairs. Each member of the party should do so (in different places, of course). If you are killed at the entrance (a not uncommon occurrence) it can be very difficulty to get back onto the level and retrieve your equipment. Each additional entrance makes the task a little easier. Once you clear a little of the level, you may want to recast your portal in a secured location.

Do not move from the entrance, as long as you are not under attack, until your friends arrive on the level. Stirring up the locals is a bad idea when you have friends coming through the portal/down the stairs (especially if one is a Mage who needs to cast Mana Shield). Another note: moving or chatting while players are using the stairs/portals seem to affect lag, please wait until all are down to chat or engage the enemy(unless there is no other choice).

Once you encounter monsters, let the others know what they are. If someone is in town, it might affect how they equip their character. Also, take the time to adjust your resistance producing items and hotkeys based on what you find lurking there.

When money is important (and when isn't it? ;), grab anything magical that drops, even rags, caps and leather armor. Some of these can be worthless to you but valuable to Griswold. Selling those Obsidian Rags of Harmony might go a ways toward buying something good. In fact, when you are playing on Normal Difficulty, even a normal suit of Full Plate Mail can be a good way to get some cash.

Don't worry about who grabs an item in the dungeon as long as you are willing not to be stingy later. It will be easier to determine who should get what item(s) when the game is near completion. Some items people may want to use immediately, however. If you find spell books or elixirs, for example, someone may be able to use them immediately. It often happens that two people need that book of Fireball you've found. One reasonable approach taken by many people (to avoid unpleasantness) is to give the book to the person with the lower spell level. If you have a level 8 Fireball and mine is level 10, then the book belongs to you. A similar approach can be taken with Elixirs. Either take turns getting the spoils, or give them to the less "able" player.

If you hear the "ting" associated with the appearance of jewelry, be sure to ask "Who has the jewelry?" If you assume the other person got, he/she may assume the same. (On a related note, it can sometimes be difficult to find the ring/amulet when it drops. Try pressing Z to "zoom in." You'll be much more like to see the item, assuming you've narrowed its location down to a dozen squares or so.)

On some levels, you may need to carry a lot of potions, etc., leaving little room for you to pick up items. Designate a part of the level a "treasure room" and drop items you find there. When you need to return to town, go to the treasure room and carry up what you can. (One way to mark the location is to put a portal or some potions there.)

These are the yellow zombies you find in the lower levels of the Church or in the Catacombs (levels 3-5). Do not let these guys touch you. If they land a hit, you lose one hit point permanently. Retreat and pick them off from a safe distance. If you see another player fighting them close up, warn him/her. It is apparently not common knowledge that they have this effect (they don't bother mentioning it in the official strategy guide). Warriors would be well advised to cool their heels or start casting holy bolt when they see that putrid yellow zombie.

Don't cast too many fire walls. There is sometimes a temptation to fill a room with fire walls and to cook the bad guys. This can have a dramatic negative effect on you and your allies, however. The game is limited in the number of "sprites" (graphical units) it can handle. Fire walls seem to eat up sprites so that no other spells can be cast, no arrows can be fired, etc. If you cast a bunch of fire walls, your buddy may be plunking a useless bow for a while.

Be careful about walking in front of another player. You can't call an arrow/spell back once it's fired, and we all must click very quickly sometimes. You could get two or three arrows/fireballs in the back before your partner realizes you have moved in front of him/her. Conversely, do your best to note where your partners are. With practice, you can hit monsters that are in melee combat with them, but until you develop that skill, Stone Cursing their opponents might be a better idea.

Don't be greedy when killing the monsters. One of the most boring games I've ever played was with a person who would teleport into a room and kill everything (this person used a bountiful staff of apocalypse and chain lightning) instead of waiting for the rest of us to get there. This is typically more of a Mage tendency, but I have seen Rogues do it too.

Do not get swarmed by monsters. You can stand in front of a doorway and kill them one by one.

Do not use the warrior or sorcerer's repair/staff recharge skills. They bring down the maximum durability/charges. It's not worth it.

If you see a friend getting hacked on by a group of bad guys, Stone Curse liberally before adding your help to the fray. The odds of survival for both of you are increased when the monsters can't move. Maybe your beset upon friend needs a breather to restock his/her belt; Stoning the opposition can provide some time. Even if you are engaged in combat yourself, Stoning your companion's opponents can be helpful (if you are experiencing less opposition than he/she is).

Be very careful about talking when danger might be around the next corner. No, the monsters won't hear you, but the worst part of how the "talk" function works is that, while the chat window is open, you can't access your belt using the number keys. Too many times I and others have died and then discovered why frantically pressing 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 produce no result.

Repair your equipment with every trip to town. You never want to see that icon announcing that your weapon is ready to break. If you don't get into the habit of repairing your items constantly, it becomes easy to forget for a while and wind up suddenly kicking or punching your opponents. (In the thick of things, you probably won't notice that fairly unobtrusive icon, and it's quite a surprise to start kung fu fighting a bunch of Azure Drakes.;-)

Notify other players that you are going to town. This serves at least two purposes: if you're in town and you see "I need help! Come here!" you're not going to be able to get to them in time, when they might expect you to. Also, you can serve as a gopher: if another player just needs some potions, you can bring them down for him/her, saving a trip to town. Of course other players can do the same for you when they visit town.

When you enter the dungeon with other players, you need to decide whether you're going to stay together or go off in different directions. Of course there is no hard and fast rule for deciding the best approach. The following are some rules of thumb:

  1. Fight together at least long enough to evaluate the level. What enemies do you face? Resistances? On a level where half of the monsters are immune to lightning and the other half are immune to fire, it's probably a good idea to stick together. (Maybe one person should concentrate on the fire immune, another on the lightning immunes; one person kill the ranged attackers, another kill the melee guys.)
  2. Honestly evaluate your character's ability. Could you complete the level alone? If everyone agrees that they could do so, then split up. If one character is not confident, at least one other person should stick with him/her (pairs are often easier to coordinate than a group of three or four anyway). When you die (and you will at some point ;-), direct your rescuers to your corpse and let them know what kind of critters are around you.
  3. If the level is one where chain lightning is useful or essential, you might want to split up. Chain lightning can be devastating to allies, and not being able to use it can really hurt your offense (and can almost cripple a Mage). Splitting up means you can electrocute the critters to your heart's content.
  4. If there is a warrior in the party and some of the monsters have ranged attacks, stick together. He'll appreciate the help.
  5. If the level is full of Knights or Lava Maws, stick together. Three or more of these critters can cause real problems for a Rogue. If a Maw starts to hit you close up, you may not be able to move, cast spells or counter attack. Having someone else to Stone them or pick them off can be a real life saver.

End Game: Before Killing Diablo

  1. First, it seems that not everyone is aware that you can kill Diablo without ending the game. As long as one of the people in your party is not on level 16 when he dies, the game will continue and those on level 16 can rejoin.
  2. Selling the booty (G rated). When you're finished with the game (before leaving or before killing Diablo), decide what to keep and what to sell. Basically, "You guys want any of this junk?" One thing to consider, given that you have a small inventory space: if you find jewelry that no one wants, check its value at Griswold. If he is willing to pay more than 5000 gold for it, keep it. If you have 10 slots open to carry gold or items, that one 7000 ring is much better to carry away than 5000 gold, since you can sell it the next time you need money.

 

Message Hotkeys

f9 = hold/wait/refilling belt
f10= retreat to choke
f11= out of potions/help
f12= lead on/clear out this mess/Your turn

Everyone always has some RL emergency that needs a f9. Belt refilling is common. If you are playing together, a retreat to choke is nice. Out of potions is a panic message for your buddy to bail you out. The lead on/your turn message is good for routine switching.

Etiquette

  1. Ethical players bring up the whole haul, identify the items and drop everything. Then they argue over who gets what. This puts object gathering as a second priority to taking care of the battle at hand, and optimizes the carrying capacity of the party. This also means when the *party* is full, the *party* goes to town rather than having play interrupted by an endless series of town runs.
  2. Buy 2 resurrect scrolls before going down. One for you, and 1 for your buddy who forgot one. After all you want him to have them.
  3. Do all your business at each shop once. A good pattern is Cain, drop stuff, Griz & repair, Pepin, Adria & portal.
  4. Carry a reasonable number of potions with you to clear at least one level. A good number is 15 - 6 in your belt, 9 along the bottom row of your inventory, with the extra space on the bottom for gold < 5000. A nice gesture is to buy an inventory full of potions on your first trip and drop the excess for general consumption near the portal. This makes a quick run for potions possible. To speed your buying of potions put the mouse on the item you want, and your other hand on the enter key. Rapid click the potion with one hand, and enter to select the default yes option.

Extra Gold at game end:

  1. Buy up the full rejuvs from Pepin and Adria for your belt.
  2. Wirt surf - buy what Wirt has, drop it, go down the caves, go right back up the stairs, buy what Wirt has, .. Repeat until you can't afford what he has. Gather up all the worthless junk he sold you and go Griz surf. Great for getting that haste weapon or great shield.
  3. Griz surf - buy the cheapest item Griz has, see what he now offers, sell it back, buy the next cheapest, repeat until you run out of money. You stand a chance of finding some decent armor this way.
  4. Adria surf - check Adria for elixirs, books. Go down the catacombs steps, then right back up them. Check Adria for elixirs, books. Repeat until you have spent all your money.

You can backup your characters:

  1. Open Windows Explorer
  2. Under View, go to Options, make sure the Show All Files radar button is selected.
  3. Go to C:\Windows.
  4. Look for dlinfo_x.drv, where x is a number. Each of your multiplayer characters has its own dlinfo_x.drv, so if you have more than one multiplayer character, you have more than one dlinfo_x.drv.
  5. Copy the dlinfo_x.drv files to a floppy disk, a separate directory, or anything else. There, you just backed up the characters! I do this right after every time I play, because once I lost all my characters and hadn't backed up.
  6. To find out which character is which, just play with one on battle.net. Exit and go back to the windows directory, right click on each of the files, go to Properties and see which one has been modified last. That one is the one you just played with.
  7. If you ever need to restore a character, just copy the character's dlinfo_x.drv from the floppy or separate directory and move it into C:\Windows. Make sure it's the right character. Click "Yes" you want it to overwrite the existing copy. You have just restored the character!
  8. Note: It is up to you to decide when it is legit to restore your character. For me, I do not think it is fair to lose characters by a hard disk crash. But I also don't think it is fair to give someone an item, and restore the character as a way to dupe it. Also, some people don't think it is ever legit to restore characters.