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Bamidele O. Shangobunmi

Diablo II & me

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Nepthys-ofJANG
Character class: Sorceress
Level: 87
Life/Mana: 543/1062
Causum vita:
A humble first Diablo character

Baroness Nepthys-ofJANG

In ancient Egyptian religion, Nepthys is the goddess of the East; hers is the house of the rising sun. In Diablo II, Nepthys is a model of success by personal initiative, passion and perseverance. A weakling in her youth, Nepthys-ofJANG rose from the pits of mediocrity to join the highest echelon of valliant fighters.

This is her story.

History

Nepthys-ofJANG was born very shortly after the release of Diablo II to the public. With no community involvement and very, very little RPG experience behind her, the young sorceress was very much a loner in a vast, hostile world. Realizing from the start that she would need to specialize in one form of magic, she chose the Ice spells over Fire for their slowing and stopping abilities. Of course, this would later prove to have been the best decision she ever made. Today, nearly every sorceress in the world has chooses the same route.

Determined from the start to keep herself set apart from the croud, Nepthys trained to be a "fighter-sorc," a bizarre hybrid class then unheard of in the world of Diablo II. She wanted to grow to be a tough gal able to melee with some of the toughest monsters, using her spells as an accent to, and not a replacement for, old-fashioned physical blows. She switched between a mana-stealing bow and a cold damage inflicting, +strength crystal sword that allowed her to wear heavier armor and a decent shield. She poured every stat point into strength and dexterity through her 18th level. Any astute modern-day player would have condemned this move as fatal to the young sorc's future and recommended that she be destroyed and started again from scratch! Fortunately for Nepthys, she never got this "advice" and carried on, unfazed.

Sadly, the fighter-sorc idea wore off as not even 52 dexterity and an artificial 200+ AR (attack rating) boost from items could make conventional weapon attacks connect regularly. Nepthys' strength was fine, her defense rating quite respectable, but her ability to hit was simply pathetic. Disappointed, but none the worse for wear, Nepthys started putting points into mana as she slowly transformed into a more conventional magic-wielder.

Though never seen in chat rooms, Nepthys always showed great team spirit on the battlefield, creating or joining fighting parties to subdue Diablo's minions with great haste. The first journey from the Blood Moor to the Chaos Sanctuary was long and involved, the young sorc always treading lightly on unknown territory. The second time around, though, she didn't play games. Gathering whatever allies she could wherever she went, Nepthys blasted through Nightmare difficulty like a hurricane raging through a forest of willows, graduating to Hell difficulty at the surprisingly low level of 34.

Then, everything changed...

Up until this time, battle and survival were not the most technical of undertakings. Zoning the field, corraling foes and delivering firepower while managing mana usage was basically all it took to move from quest to quest. In Nightmare Act 4, elemental resistances started to become an issue, but a good set of rare jewelry and armor elements covered this problem quite well.

While Nightmare had been a pushover, Hell was a different playing field altogether. Owning not a single item that aided her hit recovery rate, Nepthys was rudely awakened by the concepts of hit- and block-stun. Groups of undead archers in the Underground Passage nearly took her life several times as she was not able to move about or cast spells while taking hits. Monsters' heightened elemental resists and increased hitpoints meant more attacks had to be made to do less damage to them on a percentage basis. Even with her highly prized, newly-found Frostburns, Nepthys found herself running dangerously low on mana at dangerously inopportune moments. The brash young Lady needed to gain some maturity, and she needed to do it fast.

Nepthys took some of her accumulated rare and unique items to the trading market and purchased a new rare crown and belt set, each item having a "Fastest Hit Recovery" modifier. In battle, she went back to using Glacial Spike to control her foes' movement, developing an impressive talent for controlling large crowds through tactical planning and swift execution. As she levelled, she increased levels in Static Field to start doing more efficient damage and continued to pump up her maximum mana for increased spellcasting stamina. Pacing herself carefully, she slowly caught up with the level of prowess she had been able to display in lower difficulty games. By level 60, she had completed all quests to earn the haughty title of Baroness.

Nepthys had come of age. Highly motivated and stronger than ever, she soon took to almost exclusively fighting by herself in full games to rack up the most experience possible. When level 75 came and went in an evening, the previously unspeakable became certain fate -- the Baroness would move to claim a spot on the USWest sorceress ladder, joining the ranks of Baroness IILina-inverse and Japan's Lady kaori-sorceress. Within two weeks of late-evening work, Nepthys was lvl85 and destiny was within reach!

y this time, Lady Vorpalita, then around #8 on the ladder, had made super fast spellcasting rates all the rage and fly-by-night copycats across the realms were swearing that the "Tweaker" style was the only way to build a "good" sorceress. Funny thing is, the only fast cast items Nepthys had used for most of her life were her incomparable +85 mana fast cast ring [see her items] and Spectral Shard, itself blasted by the Tweaker mobs for its steep 51 dexterity (dex) requirement. Nepthys had met this dex mark in her young fighter-sorc days and was obviously doing just fine without any more fast cast. She tried Magefists at lvl 82 because she had plenty of mana by this time, but switched back to Frostburns from lvl 85 through the end of her Izual hunting days in the middle of lvl 87. Also very late in the game, she picked up a nice rare amulet with +skill, one resist, mana, magic find, and fast cast as just an added bonus.

On October 29, 2000, with many friends and battle-acquaintances watching in suspense, Baroness Nepthys-ofJANG, level 87, broke into the #10 position on the USWest sorceress ladder.

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The moment of truth

With 133 natural strength, 132 points in vitality, 901 natural defense, less than 1100 mana even when wearing a Stone of Jordan, and only +2 skills in items, Nepthys was not a tweaker, a Kristova or anything in between. Her stats were bizarre, her career moves unplanned. She donned a pavise when other sorceresses hadn't half the strength to do so. The player who created and trained her had a full-time, senior-level job, a social life, a live-in girlfriend and a host of hobbies. Against all of these "odds," Baroness Nepthys-ofJANG emerged a winner in every way.

The End of an Era

Nepthys tried hard to continue her momentum, fighting up to the #7 ladder position in what would be her final week of active battle. Battle.net realm outages and congestion exacerbated by thousands of overseas users logging in during peak hours had transformed the excitement of online play into an aggravating, unfulfilling chore.

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Nepthys retires

After thrice watching herself die in chatrooms (having exited games during lag spikes -- the game server didn't register the fact that she had left), losing 20 million experience in the process, Nepthys decided to call it quits. She had nothing more to prove. She had accomplished far more than she had ever dreamed and the paltry condition of the realm servers made it useless to go any farther. Younger sister Isis had proven herself a better combattant by this time, having actually planned her route through life, and Nepthys had grown a bit bored of the Act IV landscape. Sadly, all great things must eventually come to an end.

In the wee hours of the morning of November 7, 2000, Baroness Nepthys-ofJANG officially retired. When the ladder was reset nearly two months later, she was still #11 in her realm.

Stats

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Skills

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Items

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