Cain’s Journal #2: Rat’s Nest

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DevinRogersWhen we last left off with Diablo 2, I had just rescued Deckard Cain and was ready to proceed into the Black Marsh to challenge The Countess.  Having bumped the player count in my single-player game to 8, I’ve quickly out-leveled the areas I’m in.  The quick descent through the tower basement to The Countess’ lair was a cakewalk, but depressingly she only dropped a Tal rune.

I thoroughly enjoyed working my way through the Tamoe Highland, the Jail and eventually the Catacombs.  Usually when rushing I’ll play up until Deckard Cain and then join an Andariel run, so re-experiencing those areas was a blast from the past. Fighting Andariel wasn’t too bad, but my skeletons were knocked out quickly by her poison attacks.  Nothing of note dropped from her, but along the way I found a rare Zombie Head that granted +3 to Skeleton Mastery and +1 to Raise Skeleton, among other things.


I began Act 2 as a fresh level 20 and started looking for socketed armor to pump up my magic find (MF). I haven’t found any MF rings or amulets yet, but I’m at 63% MF across all my gear at the moment.  A combat Act 2 hireling replaced my Act 1 mercenary, so now all of my minions have constant health regeneration.  My hireling is particularly strong, me having found a 16 min/74 max damage, monster-healing-prevention pike while fighting Radament for him to use.

After that, though, the first half of Act 2 was relatively uneventful. I did find a unique Snakecord Light Belt with some great early defense against poison, something much needed in Act 2, but I’m sure I’ll replace it before Act 4. I’ve found another four or five runes, but nothing worth socketing or rune-wording. Fighting through the Maggot Lair was a total pain as a Summancer due to the tight corridors and one-minion-at-a-time battles.

Having finally collected all of the Horardric artifacts to make the Staff of Kings (the second most infuriating quest in the game next to gathering the pieces of Khalim’s Will in Act 3), I’ve arrived at Arcane Sanctuary at level 25. Usually when rushing online I make it to Act 5 Baal by now, so I’m not expecting to level up very fast for the rest of my Normal campaign.  Arcane Sanctuary is one of the coolest looking areas in the game, but as a Summancer it provides the same challenge as the Maggot Lair due to its thin walkways.

Next week we’re going to take on Duriel and make a move towards Mephisto in Act 3!


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