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This is the N-th time I've tried to beat Diablo 2, and it's happening all over again.

I'm a Paladin at lvl 28, ripped through the game without much difficulty until Chaos Sanctuary. As soon as I release the 5th seal there, a bunch of lightning-fast Venom Lords spawn and kill me with one-two hits (an my merc along with me). I opened a portal beforehand so I just grabbed a few spare items from my chest and when I returned to just loot my corpse real quick, portal back and re-supply, I was killed again - in one hit.

Now, why does this happen and what am I supposed to do now (portal gone, butt-naked and no decent stuff in pandemonium fortress' shops)?

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Sounds like you're not high enough level. Best bet: get somebody to join your game and kill everything. – Frank Oct 22 '12 at 23:13
Exiting the game and recreating it will result in your corpse being returned to town. Generally if you get stuck in an area then you can either go back and farm more enemies to get more levels and possibly some items, or join up with a friend who can kill everything for you so you can move onto the next difficulty. – kalina Oct 22 '12 at 23:29
If I recall correctly, that doesn't work anymore after you are killed a second time, however. – oKtosiTe Oct 23 '12 at 15:10
As you are playing in softcore mode: The stat Vitality, which increases your life, is often neglected. It might be helpful to raise your vitality/life a bit, so you could avoid the one-hit deaths. – Juergen Hartelt Oct 24 '12 at 12:07
up vote 5 down vote accepted

The short answer is you were too low level / not geared up enough for the Chaos Sanctuary.

As pixel noted in the comment, you can leave your game and re-enter to have your most recent (or highest valued) corpse returned to you in town. It's best not to wait until you have a lot of corpses, if you need to do it, just do it.

Nextly, you need to go back and run act 3/4 again and find some better gear before attempting the Sanctuary. It's quite common in the Diablo franchise that you don't find the gear you need until after it's useless to you but it's a cross we have to bear. A few levels will help.

Beyond that you'd have to expand your question with your current skill tree, gear and stats for us to give you much more specific advice.

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Is the running prior acts like 3 or 4 supposed to be called grinding? Always curious what the word meant. – ヴァイシャリ Oct 23 '12 at 4:56
@desaivv I'd call it grinding ... anything you're doing repetitively in order to advance further qualifies I suppose. – Tharius Oct 23 '12 at 10:32
Thanks; I'm following more detailed guides on leveling up for my class. I just thought I was doing something wrong, following the game's normal course and still getting my ass handed to me at this precise point. I wouldn't have guessed this could just happend and that redoing previous acts was an established practice. – neuviemeporte Oct 23 '12 at 19:36
@neuviemeporte There is a waypoint "south" of Tyrael that you can use to travel between acts (the acts are at the top, the checkpoints down the list) – Tharius Oct 24 '12 at 18:41
@Stephen Good one, I used to think you had to have a character like Warriv in your camp to be able to travel back and forth, didn't notice waypoints could also be used to travel between acts. :) – neuviemeporte Oct 25 '12 at 13:36

Two comments:

  1. If you seriously get 1-hit death by the venom lords then your equipment is too low, your life is too low, your level is too low, and your fire resist is too low. Even if you manage to kill them eventually by chipping away at them, you will have a tough time with Diablo.
  2. Demon lords have 70% fire resist in Normal. So if you are using Holy Fire, then you need to use a different attack.
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To reduce the chances of this in the future, before you break either of the two seals on the lower-right, have a town portal open right next to the seal.

As soon as you break the seal, if you see venom lords, go through the portal. Then come back by the waypoint and run all the way to the Chaos Sanctuary again. (This will be quick because you've already killed all the monsters on the way.)

You'll still have to fight the venom lords, but you'll at least have a lot more space to do it in.

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You should level your character and focus on increasing your vitality, so you are able to survive and kill the venom lords.

Farming Mephisto at the end of Act 3 is a good place to gain experience quickly.

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