I've never played Diablo 2 all the way through before, so I decided to install it on a netbook and start playing it. I'm not an expert when it comes to action role playing games. I've only played Diablo, Diablo 2, and Torchlight for short periods of time. I only expect to be able to put in 3-4 hours a week due to other time commitments.

If it helps in making the decision, I'm playing a Paladin (I tend to play a mixed magic/strength character in most games), and I'm playing solo.

Should I try to follow a character build guide or just play through and figure things out as I go?


I'd recommend just playing. It will likely be more fun since you will be discovering as you go and building up the skills you enjoy (even if they aren't the most powerful), and many builds are likely min/maxed for level 99 with top-tier gear, something you are unlikely to hit at 3-4 hours a week.

Now that you can reassign your character's abilities, you can always re-spec to a particular build later on if you so choose. However, bear in mind that you can only do so once per difficulty without special items.

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    I think you should emphasis in your first you only get one re-spec per difficulty level. – Wipqozn Oct 25 '11 at 16:52
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    @Wipqozn Technically, you can get as many as you want in Hell after combining the essences dropped by all of the Act bosses, but the OP will most likely never play enough to be able to do this. (They drop ~1/10 of the time per boss in Hell) – AndyPerfect Oct 25 '11 at 17:46
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    @Wipqozn don't misunderestimate the addictiveness of diablo 2 :P – l I Oct 25 '11 at 19:14
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    @yx. I don't think misunderestimate means what you think it means. :P – antony.trupe Oct 25 '11 at 19:17
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    @antony.trupe don't misunderestimate my capability to misunderestimate the definition of misunderestimate, ok, ok, I'll stop now :P – l I Oct 25 '11 at 20:02

The answer to your question will depend on a few factors.

If you want to play through every difficulty or want to make sure that you don't inadvertently handicap yourself by choosing poorly, go with a predetermined build. I would recommend the Fishymancer for ease of use and simplicity for beginners.

Otherwise, take solace in forging your own path, bearing in mind that you may wind up wasting precious time out of your life if something goes awry. Also remember that you won't ever max out all of your skills. It's best to choose a 'theme' (as most builds already do) and stick to it.

Either way you've made a great decision to play a great game.

Have fun!

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    yes, the only caveat of doing what you want is the risk of being stuck with a bad build, not enjoying the game, and then giving it up. Experiment, but do it with guidance. – l I Oct 25 '11 at 17:35
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    +1 for Fishymancer making the game (especially on Normal difficulty) a cakewalk. – Shinrai Oct 26 '11 at 14:36
  • @Shinrai Indeed! It's crazy how effective it is. Even in Hell you can run with crap gear. The only thing I don't like about it is its inability to jump from game to game due to needing corpses. – FCTW Oct 26 '11 at 14:45

Most builds are designed with long-range goals, and optimized for high level play.

Between your casual play style, and the addition of multiple respecs, you're best off just going for assigning skill points as you see fit. If you find that what you picked isn't working well, you can always respec and improve.

However, you may want to look into some of the guides strictly for perspective on recommendations on attribute point distribution, as you cannot fix those later on, and a poor choice of how you distribute your attributes can severely impair your ability to play even at the mid-levels of the game.

  • Any recommendations for a particular guide? Should I just grab one of the recommended guides on GameFAQs? – technomalogical Oct 25 '11 at 16:55
  • Unfortunately, I can't look at any guides right now (they're blocked), but most of the popular guides should be fine, since you're more concerned with, say, "how many points should I put into strength vs. dexterity". However, even that might be more detail than you really need to go, since that only comes into play for maximizing blocking with "ideal" shields. For your purposes, an understanding of why vitality is a far better investment than energy is probably sufficient. – Beofett Oct 25 '11 at 17:05

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