Back in mid 2010, Metropolis Man started a thread entitled Zy-El vs. Eastern Sun Summoners' Smackdown. It looked like a lot of fun, and I've always wanted to give it a try, and I figured that this would be the perfect venue in which I could get my Zy-El feet wet again. I chose a Necromancer named Necrosys for two reasons. First, this was the first character I ever played in the Zy-El mod, so... nostalgia? Second, I hate the Zy-El Druid's minions with an undying passion. True, they are simply amazing at lower level, and one almost needs to be blind not to succeed with them in the early Acts, but soon and very soon they become completely unplayable (from my perspective - plenty of people have successfully played Druidic summoners in Zy-El, I admit that).
I actually started back on the 19th of July. I had completely forgotten the pain of getting a character to level 5 without any lucky breaks and without the benefits of charged summons! What a slog... Sooooo many restarts. Run out, look for a Quill Rat or a Kobold to beat on. None around? Make sure you are not threatened in any way and restart. Try again. Get hit by poison? Run back to the entrance to town and restart. Low on life, run back to the entrance and restart.
Necrosys' first skeleton at level 5 made a difference, but not a big one. He could at least stay out in the field, but the killing was not at all fast. The first day, I think I played for 4 hours and made all of 10 levels. It was a lot of fun, though, I hasten to add!
The second day, I played for 4 hours, then later for another 4 hours. Took on the Den of Evil around level 18, then graduated to Cold Plains. I think I was using p4 (players 4) from level 15 on, then p8 after a first circuit of Cold Plains. My previous playing experience informed me that the skeletons could handle p127 and that would be a huge time saver, but the risk of death is massive with such incredibly low life. He had no real equipment, no good life charms, nothing. In fact, his inventory consisted almost entirely of hex and tall charms with 6% to 10% Extra Gold on them. No Elixirs, nor rare charms, so no ChoMs yet, of course.
By the time Necrosys was level 23, I decided that I would give the merc a try, so down we went to p1 again and tentatively cleared out the Burial Grounds. Blood Raven was no sweat with 10 skeletons and 4 levels of Skeleton Mastery. At players 1.
After playing a while longer, I decided that I could no longer tolerate the mass usage of ID scrolls to find out what all of the rings, amulets, and jewels were, so I started storing them unidentified and again set p1 and pushed through to rescue Cain. Done and done at level 33, and that is pretty much where I ended the play session.
The rogue kept up quite well, to be fair. I'm usually pretty down on what a useless pile of trash they are, but she kept out of harm's way better than most, it seems. Necrosys lucked out and received a cold merc as a gift, so there was no pondering whether it was worth it to obtain one manually. She had some pitiful jewelry, a rare torso, rare boots, and it was all pretty much a big pile of refuse. She needed Mist and Patiently, and how!
Necrosys wasn't much better off, still with nothing better than tall and hex charms with very small amounts of %EG on them... a real classy operation, let me tell you. Just over 100% EG, actually, but at the cost of 80% of his inventory.
We had stopped putting points into Raise Skeleton at a hard 10 (total 12 with a +2 wand), instead concentrating on pumping up Skeleton Mastery and keeping it maxed for his level. The Mastery made a world of difference - those Skellies rocked pretty hard at that point!
The next day I made her the Mist and Patience runewords, and those helped somewhat. They were not game-changing, but they were worth the investment. Necrosys also crafted his first ChoM at level 34 - a Healer - after a rare charm and a third Elixir finally dropped.
Somehow, Stony Field was not a complete disaster at p8, or at p16. At first. I was quite surprised. Later I realized that the merc must have had some extreme luck not to have been hit by a single Shadow Rogue the whole time we were clearing it that time.
Still on p16 going into Dark Wood again, all was still well until Treehead Woodfist and his wrecking crew. The 14 skeletons lost the war of attrition with those meanies. Sometimes, for other monsters, briefly upping the players setting to 127 would allow his army to pound down their adversaries, but in that case it just made them die more quickly. I broke it off with them rather than push a losing situation.
He hit another wall at level 43 in the Black Marsh. Still playing at p16, but Monoliths were more than a match for the army when there were more than 2 or 3 of them. The Skellies just melted before them. Even at p127, after spawning the Monoliths at p16 hp, they easily bested the Skeletons. Again, I broke it off and went back to easier prey rather than beat my head against that wall.
At 44, I finally broke down and made him a rare charm for his second ChoM - a Finder. That freed up 16 inventory spaces and added +3 skills, which is always a plus! At 46, he found the last piece he needed for his first poster - Sailor Moon with rock-bottom life (easily fixed by re-rolling, obviously).
The next day, I used up vast amounts of Necrosys' resources in order to punch 6 holes into an 18% EG Hex Charm, as zero CCS (common cube scrolls) had dropped that would give 6 sockets to an item. In that he made a Gigantor giving an incredibly disappointing 8% to max life and 16% to resistances. At that point, he had 1100 life.
I do not remember the exact circumstances (as in, I don't remember what the players setting was,but I'm certain that it was at least p16), but the rogue died twice in Stony Field to Shadow Rogue poison before I could portal home and have Akara heal her. So I made her a Blend runeword armor for the high poison resistance. It, too, was rock-bottom: 110% poison resist and 10% to the other three resists. Still, in conjunction with a some low resistance jewelry, she was infinitely more robust to poison attacks.
When it came time to enter Dark Wood the third time (I tend to do full clears of practically everything once I summon an army, just so I don't waste it, so it takes a while to get around to doing areas again), I lowered the setting to p8... for some ethereal reason. I had no solid plan in place as to what I was going to do next, but I had this vague notion that maybe I wanted to push through to take out Andariel and gain access to runes in Act II. This I did, over the course of a couple of days, keeping the players setting low to avoid any further walls and to avoid taking forever to get the Act done. Oh, right... and the battle with Treehead and his cronies went much better than previously. That could have been due to p8 as opposed to p16, or to increased Skeleton Mastery, or a combination of the two.
During this time (around level 50 or 51 iirc), Necrosys finally amassed enough Treasure Cards to fashion several amulets. The first was from 2 of Stars. It was good only compared to a 90% EG amulet, though it was 1100 life better than that. 1100 life on a 2 of Stars/Talons/Swords is actually quite pathetic, so he kept trying. I don't have screenshots of any of these, so generalities of description will have to suffice. A couple of levels later he made one from 2 of Swords which had 2300 life and 170 resistances, but it was level 72. Finally, at level 57 he made another 2 of Stars which was level 56, had 2400 life and 125 resistances. He's still using that one to this day, though he's almost done hoarding 4s to make a better one (hopefully). The merc took the low level amulet, giving her a much-needed boost as well, finally maxing all of her resistances.
Soon he had that magical number of levels - 60 - and life became a lot easier. Immediately he had level 15 Skeletal Mages and his Mastery was up to level 53. That made it pretty much game over for anything to which he could get the Mages to pay attention. By the way, here's something I've (re)learned in the last 10 days about minions in general. If they are staring off into space and not helping out the way you think they oughtta be helping out, simply cast a couple of curses in the same spot in quick succession. Or hold down the shift key and strike at the air with your weapon a few times in the same spot. Your minions will start milling about chaotically, like a nest of red ants when you disturb their anthill. This will cause them to path back and forth around you until they find something on which to focus their attention, and voila! You've caused your minions to engage without having to move yourself any further into danger. If the target is near the edge of the screen, this is less effective, as only a few of your own minions will be able to engage - they tend to effectively block the rest of them because they stopped right at the edge of where they can perceive the threat. It works pretty well most of the time, though, and many times better than just standing there hoping they wander in the right direction in the next 30 seconds.
At the end of the fourth day, at 315 am, Necrosys killed Andariel at p4 (two Sol runes, a diamond, and the Elixir). He ended the day at level 63 with over 3.8k life, 480 mana, level 15 Mages (seems as if that should have been 16), level 53 Mastery, and level 25 Skeletons. He had exactly one runeword - the hideous Gigantor - and the merc had two of them - Mist and Patience. He had three ChoMs - a Healer and two Finders. At that point, I planned on another 10 points in Mages, then he would focus on Mastery until he maxed it, then back to Mages, but only as many as he needed at the time. I wanted to avoid a heavy mana cost, as that makes building the army take longer. He also needed to make Teleport boots stat. As well, he was starting to get to the point where a Life BoCL belt would actually be useful.
I started the fifth day by making some items. First, a Spiderweb Sash (easy to get the materials, and no need for adding strength to wear it) which Charsi was glad to craft for Necrosys. This was turned into a belt with 4.5 life/level, giving him 300 more life than he had (taking the 8% Gigantor into account). We gambled six Unraveller Heads for a total of 270k gold, but received neither Exceptional nor Elite versions of it. Took one of those and used "any item to mag item" on it and, miraculously, it didn't have +necro skills on it that would have made it too high level for him, and it also came with the three sockets that he needed it to have for the Dead On runeword.
The wand he wanted was not available until level 70, so the last item made were the boots. We used just regular boots to create crafted boots and added 96 charges of Teleport to them. He doesn't need them very often yet, but they are great for hopping over walls in the Catacombs to get to Andariel faster! Plus, taking out Monoliths, Sunders, and Andariel by focusing the Magi with Teleport helps to take out monsters that might otherwise win a war of attrition.
He did a bunch of gold/Elixir runs (the next day) by slaughtering things on the way to Andariel and then snatching that Elixir that she always drops. With 5k life and a 6k Bone Shield, he is able to do runs at p127 now in almost complete safety, which makes everything in life much, much better.
Finished up at level 78 - and we never did get that wand made during the fifth day.
I spent most of the sixth day fiddling around with the new Zy-El wikia pages. When I finally got back to playing, we made Necrosys that wand runeword he's been hinting about - a +6 Deceased in a wand that already had +3 Skeleton Mastery on it.
He made it to level 93 by dinner time, then to 102 before I quit at 2 am. He switched from Amplify to Decrepify, as it is safer, if a tad bit slower. It's actually not much slower at all, because the Mages are doing most of the heavy lifting. The Skeletons are just getting in the way of the front lines, preventing them from rushing the cannons. Decrepify ensures that they walk and attack in slow motion, just in case.
The Blood Golem was (and still is) an amazing asset as well. I thought that he would be just another stepping stone to the Fire Golem, but his damage is not heinously lower than the Fire Golem's, and his ability to top off Necrosys' life is quite nice. In fact, because of the Blood Golem Necrosys actually allowed himself to have life drain from more non-Healer ChoMs than Healer ChoMs could overcome.
At that point, he was keeping 30 mages and 20 Skeletons, as well as the Blood Golem and the rogue.
This was the day that I started changing my collection practices. Before, it was all gems of any type, all scrolls, all runes (selling the excess lower tiers), all charms, and of course everything that only drops occasionally. I wasn't picking up magic or rare items apart from the above list. I stopped keeping and upgrading the chipped gems. I started selling them instead. I stopped picking up non-magical charms. I stopped picking up El runes and Eld runes, even to sell. Midway through Act II, I stopped picking up Tir runes as well.
I only played enough to make 5 levels on this day. The little time I did play, I managed to make Necrosys a Pride runeword in a Cuirass (Exceptional Breastplate). It had 18% max life and 47% mana regen on it - almost as low as either of those stats can get! Woohoo!
Instead of playing very much, I spent a lot of time thinking about what my goals should be, and actually were. I started a document for this purpose, wherein I made lists of things I wanted, what would be needed to get them, and then putting all of the various parts together to see the holistic bucket list of all those items. I just wanted something I could look at to see why, exactly, I saved all of the jewelry I found. I wanted to be able to understand all of the practical ways that keeping jewelry would help me later on, and which types and grades were going to be most important for which goals. I could have just played and let it sort itself out, but I like that sort of thing.
The upshot of my "thinking" session was that I decided that I wanted at least level 120, 10k life, a Master Mega ChoM, and two Defender Minor ChoMs before I was ready to plow through to Meph and start doing Zy rune runs. With the Pride, a Master Mega, another poster, and the Gigantor, 10k life should be in range, or very close.
In preparation for making the Mega, I made Necrosys three more Finder ChoMs and converted his Healer into a Finder as well. Then I did runs on Andariel until 120, gathering gold, more Elixirs, and several rare charms to help with the rest of the process of making the Mega. Then I finally started the work on making the Mega ChoM itself. It took a while, but it's a nice piece of machinery to have! It will undoubtedly prove useful in the weeks to come.
I don't know when it was that Necrosys made the Calvin poster, but he had been using it in place of the Sailor Moon ever since. After the Mega was done, he added Sailor Moon and the Gigantor back into his inventory and switched his last two existing Minor ChoMs into Shield Minors (200 life each, but more importantly, 25% damage reduction each). That put him at 10.3k life with a 10.5k Bone Shield and +34 skills. He also had 485% EG and 320% MF for his trip to the Durance of Hate.
The last few levels that he gained in Act I, he switched over to using Lower Resist as his main curse, with Decrepify on hand if needed. He continued with that practice until... well, until the present.
When he found a CCS for a Kiwi Seed just a bit into Act II, he immediately punched three holes in his 40% EG grand charm and socketed it. Several hours later, he found a second scroll for a Kiwi Seed - "used and abused" as Al-T would say.
He stuck his head into the True Tomb at the end of this day, but didn't get very far - I was too tired to continue.
Throughout the trip through Act II (done at p16 in order that he gain at least SOME benefit from all the baddies he was destroying), I'd taken up a new obsession - loading collectors with magic and rare items for which he has no need. I would do this until his inventory was full, then dump his inventory into the cube and keep going. Since there was then stuff in the cube, I couldn't load collectors. After a trip to town and a cleaning out of the cube, I would start loading them again. The point is that he had 7 full 500 point collectors at the end of this session. Those will be useful when he needs 1k collectors to build full Zy-El Scrolls later on. The process slowed the progress down considerably, but I think it will have been worth it in the end.
When his life was still over 10k after removing the Gigantor, he took it out of his inventory permanently.
He maxed out Skeleton Mastery during this session as well. He put a few more points into Mages, but stopped when he hit around 45 to 48 total points (not hard points). The mana cost was getting too high for no benefit other than more Mages, which he doesn't need yet. He actually stopped summoning regular Skeletons at all, except when something big was coming up, like Fangtooth. But after that, even in Duriel's lairs, there was no need of them at all. The Blood Golem was sufficient in conjunction with 30 to 35 Magi. He used 30 through most of the Act, upping it to 35 for the Arcane Sanctuary and its portal death traps, but even with portal-mobbing, there was no danger. I love how those Mages start casting the nanosecond that they hit the other side of the portal, or when the teleport lands, and a few milliseconds later there are bodies piling up all around them.
Played a couple of hours before finding the third Kiwi Seed to fill the last socket in his %EG grand charm. That brought him up to 615% without any Finders (which he hasn't had since leaving Act I). Shortly after that, he finished Act II.
There was really nothing at all to say about Act III. He had the setting on p1 from start to finish, including Mephisto, who dropped zero Zy runes. Surprise! At p1, I expected nothing less. The next run, done at p1 and then setting p16 before running in to engage Mephisto, Meph dropped 3 Zy runes. So that's a plus.
The Meph runs (I've not counted them for this character - I don't want to be depressed at how few I can do with him in a given block of time; at how slowly I do them with him) have been a mixed bag. I tried a run at p16 all the way through, and it was terribly, terribly slow. I didn't use teleport very much until I realized that I'd be there all day waiting for Majat to die - those things have massive amounts of life even at p16. I also took in the same number of Magi that I'd been used to having - 30 to 35. I think at higher settings, at the skill level of Mastery that I had, it would have taken a LOT more of the Magi to be effective at higher settings.
Anyway, the point is that it was terribly slow, so I went back to p1 runs and bumping to p16 just before engaging. The process for the runs is that I summon the Blood Golem at p127 in town, then p1 and into the Spider Forest to let the rogue and the golem kill 10 or so baddies, raise those up at p127, then hit the Durance after lowering it to p1 again. By the way, the map Necrosys has for Durance 2 is perfect - the pad and the entrance to Durance 3 are next door neighbors.
After killing a few things, he raises more Magi - up to 25ish - and then blows through as quickly as possible (for him), teleporting across the huge chasm between the two long walkways to save a little time. Sometimes I try to push it a little faster and use teleport more, but the rogue is not very robust (she only has 3k life - that's why the plan was to give her the first fruits of the labors of their Mephisto runs - a Requiem - that would allow her to wear a high defense belt crafted with life BoCL) and can't take a punch so well. After the third death for her (NOT due to teleport, mind you), I called it a day on the rogue until the Requiem and the belt were ready for her. But after I had thought about it a little bit, I began to wonder what it was, exactly, that I was trying to accomplish by having the rogue in the first place. Sure, once she is tricked out with half a dozen Artifacts and a few unique damage jewels, she will be a good damage dealer, but... is it worth expending such a massive amount of resources just for the damage of 4 or 5 more Blood Golems? Static Field and Crushing Blow are the only things for which I would truly need her, and I am not convinced that either of those two effects are truly needful - at least not in any scenario in which I have Lower Resist and as many Magi as I care to summon. And perhaps not at that price, either. Anyway, I am still debating whether or not she will ever come back.
After fighting through the Act, Necrosys only did a few runs before it was time for me to stop playing. But he had made it to level 164, with 10.8k life, 1.9k mana, and 15.5M gold saved up (I'm guessing this will mostly be used for building PGems both for re-rolling Zy-El Scroll Fragments and for the Cube Locks to upgrade his belt). Over 7k collector points, as well. He has enough for the 5 1k collectors he'll need to make his first non-fragment Zy-El Scroll, whenever that might be.
After deciding not to rez the merc, that made it possible to at least try to do the runs faster. It's very, very difficult for me to do that, as I want to stop and collect things that I know will be useful in the future, but I am trying to train myself. Ideally, he will put up his Bone Shield and just start running, teleporting when he gets hemmed in or when he needs to cross the chasm. The problem with this "ideal" plan is that the Magi can and will disappear if he does that. So will the golem, sometimes. And landing poorly without a cannon to start blasting away the surrounding press of baddies can be dangerous. Theoretically, anyway. As well, it is more time-consuming to create a small army in the depths of Durance 3 than it is to do so in the Spider Forest. Which means that he has to run a screen or two, then teleport to keep the Magi happy. It's a skill I've not quite mastered yet, but I guess I'm learning. Another problem is that by teleporting, the Magi kill things almost instantly, which leaves stuff on the ground, which I want to pick up... heh. I can get over that, though, I'm almost certain of it.
I finally stopped picking up chipped gems, as well as magic hex charms. Rare ones I still grab - all rares, in fact. I cube the non-charm rares into a collector once back in town. Only Tal runes and above get picked up, too. Making some progress, I guess. The other thing I stopped doing after a dozen or so Meph runs was opening the chests around his chamber. Too time-consuming, by far.
I took a small break at one point to search through Necrosys' collection of CCS for the "any helm to circlet" scrolls. I only remembered seeing one in the 600+ that he has and, sure enough, there was only the one. Sad clown is sad. It yielded a Tiara, but that was still good news in my opinion, as it cut down on the needed Circlets by a third - from 27 to 18. Daunting. He started gambling for Circlets, and for almost 10 minutes didn't see a single one! I thought that maybe I had forgotten that they can't be gambled, but I was pretty sure that they could be... finally he found one, then another couple, then suddenly a Coronet popped up on the gambling screen! THAT I don't remember at all! He bought it (at merely twice the price of a Circlet, which is great news), and it came up as another Tiara. Yay! I figured that I was not going to waste any more time on Circlets, since a Coronet will at LEAST be a Coronet. Another 10 to 15 minutes (I guess... at least it felt like a long time) passed before another Coronet appeared, and it came up as the third Tiara. Upgraded them to a Diadem, ran them through the Trinity Demon Recipe, and he has a crafted Diadem to use to make their first Requiem. Not sure what to do with the 8 circlets he now has, but... not much of a problem in the grand scheme of things.
By the end of the day, Necrosys had amassed 24 Zy runes. The plan was to make some Scrolls - at least the first few - out of Fragments, as this saves 4 Zy runes per Scroll. Of course, gold must be spent in order to re-roll fragments, but that's a decent trade off, as it has been my experience that after amassing 3 or 4 Scrolls worth of Fragments, the re-rolls tend to be more useful than when just re-rolling for a single Scroll.
He ended at level 185 with just shy of 10k life (he removed the second poster to make more inventory space), over 2k mana, 23.3M gold remaining, 675% EG, and 400% MF.
I was up early in the morning, but my attention was consumed for over 4 hours by the needs of the wikia pages. I added anchors to all of the rings, amulets, and jewels, then linked the CCS and UCS "rare jewel to X" entries to those anchors so that people could just click on them to see what they were. Plus a bunch of formatting. Anyway...
The first thing I did in-game was to turn 21 of the Zy runes and seven empty collectors into Fragments. There were only two duplicates of the seven Fragments, but instead of re-rolling them, I decided to collect more Fragments in order to possibly lower the need for re-rolling. I'm not sure how many Fragments I plan on amassing before making Scrolls, but it won't be too many more.
Back to the Meph runs went Necrosys. Seven or eight runs later, he was level 190 when I teleported him off of the entry dais out onto the main floor, him and his Blood Golem and 10 Magi. Boom! His health dropped by maybe a third. Then it popped back to full. Obviously the golem had been hit, too, and filled up Necrosys' life. I recast Bone Armor, thinking I had forgotten to cast it, but as I was doing so, I remembered very clearly that it had been cast as soon as he entered the game. And even if I had forgotten, nothing in the Durance had ever hit him hard enough to create so noticeable a health drop... By that time, what few moments I'd been given in which to react was eaten up by my focusing on the wrong thing... Boom! Boom! Down a third, then he died.
I had teleported into a group of Majat and Harathnars, and I had forgotten to set p1 again after summoning the meager handful of mages at p127 in the Spider Forest. I should have teleported back onto the dais, in hindsight, but I was not thinking that there was actually any danger because for two days there has not been the least hint of danger on these runs. My mistake. It would not have mattered if I'd had 300 Magi summoned. They could not possibly have taken out even one of those Majat at p127 in a single volley - with or without Lower Resist - much less the half dozen that surrounded us. All I can say is that at least I'm not a 1-hit kill.
If I continue, it is obvious that I will need to do a couple of things. First, always check the map to ensure that the setting is where I want it. Second, I need to take the time to max out his life BoCL belt. Maybe I can add "start using potions" to the list. Full rejuvs are only in the last slot on his belt, and he's only used them twice, to save the merc from dying from Medusa or Jem Hadar poison. If I was in the habit of using them, maybe I could have lived long enough to teleport away? It's also entirely possible that I was doomed as soon as I left the dais at p127, but I don't know for sure.
The question is, do I keep going with this? Or is the fact that I cannot achieve a perfect score enough of a deterrent for me to move on to another challenge? To be honest, the idea of doing countless Meph runs with an incredibly slow Necromancer is not much of an incentive in the first place, so I'm still debating how to proceed.
So far, though, I can say that I've thoroughly enjoyed almost every moment of playing him, if for no other reason than that I'm back in the game that has given me so much entertainment in the past.
I'm going to put in a code table for my "score," though I won't include the other players from that tournament in it - I think that would be kind of... rude? Something negative, for sure. I just want to keep track of how I'm doing by the scoring system of that tournament.
Code: Select all
Player Character, Class CL SL PP SSC SM TOT -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Clersius Necrosys, Nec 190 5480 1200 0 0.975 6698