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I'm playing through Diablo again and I want to know which of these shrines are actually benefiting me. They all provide cryptic messages that don't really tell me what exactly happened. I probably shouldn't be clicking them all, but alas it is a character flaw that I can't help. What ones should I be avoiding or is it random?

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I'm not so sure. One could argue that clicking all of them is half the fun. :) –  ver Jan 19 '12 at 10:51
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up vote 14 down vote accepted
  • Abandoned: +2 Dexterity
    "The hands of men may be guided by fate".

  • Creepy: +2 Strength
    "Strength is bolstered by heavenly faith".

  • Cryptic: Casts a Nova spell and restores mana
    "Arcane power brings destruction".

  • Divine: Restores health and mana. On dungeon level 1-3, it gives one Potion of Full Mana and one Potion of Full Life. On other levels, it gives two Potions of Full Rejuvenation
    "Drink and be refreshed".

  • Eerie: +2 Magic
    "Knowledge and wisdom at the cost of self".

  • Eldritch: All potions become rejuvenation potions
    "Crimson and Azure become as the sun".

  • Enchanted: Lose 1 spell level for one spell (2 if it is at level 15). All other known spells gain 1 spell level
    "Magic is not always what it seems to be".

  • Fascinating: Lose 10% of base mana and increases Firebolt 2 spell levels
    "Intensity comes at the cost of wisdom".

  • Glimmering: Identifies all items in your inventory
    "Mysteries are revealed in the light of reason".

  • Hidden: -10 durability to one item equipped. +10 durability to all others equipped (never destroys an item)
    "New strength is forged through destruction".

  • Holy: Casts a Phasing spell
    "Wherever you go, there you are".

  • Magical: Casts a Mana Shield spell
    "While the spirit is vigilant the body thrives".

  • Mysterious: +5 to one attribute, -1 to all others
    "Some are weakened as one grows strong".

  • Ornate: Lose 10% of base mana and increases Holy Bolt 2 spell levels
    "Salvation comes at the cost of wisdom".

  • Quiet: +2 Vitality
    "The essence of life flows from within".

  • Religious: Restores all items to full durability
    "Time cannot diminish the power of steel".

  • Sacred: Lose 10% of base mana and increases Charged Bolt 2 spell levels
    "Energy comes at the cost of wisdom".

  • Secluded: Gives complete map of current level
    "The way is made clear when viewed from above".

  • Spiritual: Gives a small amount of gold to each empty slot in your inventory
    "Riches abound when least expected".

  • Stone: Restores charges in all staves
    "The powers of mana refocused renews".

Single-player Only:

  • Thaumaturgic: Refills chests on current level
    "What once was opened now is closed".

  • Weird: +1 max damage to all weapons in inventory
    "The sword of justice is swift and sharp".

  • Gloomy: +2 AC to all armor and -1 max damage to all weapons
    "Those who defend seldom attack".

Multi-player Only:

  • Tainted: Does not affect user but other players get +1 to one attribute and -1 to all other attribute
    "Those who are last may yet be first" (user), "Generosity brings its own reward".

  • Spooky: All other players get life and mana restored
    "Where avarice fails, patience gains reward" (user), "Blessed by a benevolent companion!".

Thaumaturgic, Weird and Gloomy shrines only appear in single-player games and the effects of Weird and Gloomy shrines only lasts for that game. Tainted and Spooky shrines only appear in multiplayer.

An Enchanted shrine can never be found in Caves or Hell, or as an effect of Goat Shrines or Cauldrons.

Source: http://www.planetdiablo.com/diablo/shrines/listing/

In my opinion, the "good" ones are:

  • Abandoned - free stats
  • Creepy - free stats
  • Cryptic - free stats
  • Divine - restorative
  • Eerie - free stats
  • Eldritch - superior potions
  • Enchanted* - good if you have a lot of low level spells
  • Glimmering - save identify money
  • Quiet - free stats
  • Religious - save some money or a trip to town
  • Secluded* - hasten level progress, can sometimes be annoying in that you forget where you've been already
  • Stone - free recharges
  • Thaumaturgic - more loot
  • Weird - more damage is good
  • Spooky - full restoration for everyone

The bad:

  • Fascinating - mana is generally important and firebolt is really easy to get
  • Holy - hello, group of Hell Clans
  • Mysterious - you're a warrior who has just lost 1 off all stats and gained 5 magic facepalm
  • Ornate - holy bolt is just as easy to get as firebolt
  • Sacred - same story as firebolt and holy bolt
  • Tainted - unless you're playing against others rather than with them anyway

And the pointless / hard to categorize as either:

  • Hidden - unless you don't notice the durability icon in the top
  • Magical - unless you don't have mana potions or money
  • Spiritual - tiny amounts of gold at the cost of the pain of having to collate all the gold you've had dumped in your inventory
  • Gloomy - bad if you're a warrior as I'd prefer damage, but good otherwise especially for the mage
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Also worth noting is that you should avoid Cauldrons and Goat Shrines which both give a random effect. The potential 10% max mana penalty is far too steep to risk. –  Decency Feb 1 '12 at 12:56
    
Note that Hidden shrine and Gloomy shrine can be abused by carefully selecting the items you have in your inventory. If you have only one item when using the Hidden shrine, the item will get +10 durability (useful for improving durability on Thinking Cap). As for Gloomy, just drop all your weapons on the floor before using the shrine. –  astryad May 2 '12 at 9:52
    
@astryad Having only one item for Hidden shrines will not work. It's best to simply equip three plain items alongside the Thinking Cap to give yourself a 75% chance of raising it. Alternatively, if your inventory is stable (say an Arty Sorc with Dreamflange, NLP, and a Jade/Brilliance shield) you can just use the shrine. Although TC might go down, over time you'll raise all of your items to high levels. You can also use a Warrior's repair skill in conjunction with Hidden shrines to make any item indestructible: simply reach 255/255 durability and it will become so. –  Decency May 2 '12 at 15:44
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