4 Socket Monarch Farming for Spirit in D2R
D2R Item Guides , Diablo 2: Resurrected , Game Guides
With the new ladder season approaching fast, let’s revisit one of the farming classics to make sure you’re ready for the new season. Whether your objective is gaining wealth quickly, or to ensure you can climb as quickly as possible by acquiring one first, this guide will give you everything you need to know to effectively farm your Monarch base.
Monarchs are the only shield base outside of Paladin only shields which can roll 4 sockets, meaning they have intrinsic value as Spirit users (most meta caster builds) will require this runeword. Additionally, the low cost of each Spirit component means that farming Monarchs, especially early into ladder seasons, can be very lucrative given the high demand for the Shield base. The value of a base is determined by a few factors:
1. How early on into the season you find it
2. The rolled defense (148 being highest possible non-superior roll)
3. Enhanced Defense (15ed being highest possible superior roll)
4. Perfect enhanced durability + perfect enhanced defense (coveted 15/15 for collectors)
Spirit Shield Stats:
+2 To All Skills
+25-35% Faster Cast Rate (varies)
+55% Faster Hit Recovery
+250 Defense Vs. Missile
+22 To Vitality
+89-112 To Mana (varies)
Cold Resist +35%
Lightning Resist +35%
Poison Resist +35%
+3-8 Magic Absorb (varies)
Attacker Takes Damage of 14
Significant dropoff in price for any other FCR, generally the dropoff in values are dictated by FCR requirements of current meta Spirit-wielding builds, with lower FCR being used as CTA buffers, or early ladder temps.
2. High mana (112 maximum mana)
Secondary factor that raises the value of 35FCR Spirit shields, but will not likely affect the value of lower FCR rolls. 100+ mana is preferred by many, with perfect 112 being very desirable.
3. Magic Absorb (8 maximum)
An ancillary factor that is preferred by some optimizers. This generally does not affect the value of Spirit unless all rolls are perfect as this is the least important variable mod.
4. The base of the Monarch (Important dictator of value for 35fcr rolls)
Lower defense bases are generally slightly lower in value than higher defense versions, though this is largely unaffected in early ladder where there’s a scramble to get your hands on any Spirit as early as possible. If you are optimizing for perfect rolls, then a perfect base defense 148 is preferred. 15 enhanced defense is more desirable again.
Where should you farm Monarch Base?
Monarch bases can very rarely be found on Nightmare Difficulty, so you should focus on farming hell. As with any other white or socketed base item, you should farm dense areas, as those are the places where the most base items drop.This is one of the few instances where you will look for dense crowds but not specifically Boss-packs (Cow runs are great for this). Any high monster density levels are great. Spirit Monarchs, or plain bases are a rewarding farm target with its high drop rate, meaning it is quickly farmable in common areas (you may be selective and work around your characters, immunities, etc). even without items like Infinity which may be difficult to obtain Monarchs early into a season.
Magic Find and Clear Speed
An important thing to note is that having magic find actually hurts your chances of finding a Monarch base, as magic find increases the likelihood of normal bases being upgraded to magic, rares or uniques. While a Stormshield drop might be nice, it will overall hinder your consistent farming efforts, by increasing your magic/rare drops which aren’t likely to be of value (an exception being the coveted Jeweller’s Monarch of Deflecting or JMOD which rarely drop and are more often gambled). With this in mind, high clear speed with little MF% is the ideal setup for monarch farming. The Javazon is particularly good for this reason given she is one of the highest clearspeed characters in the game, who struggles to stack any magic find with core gear.
What is the most effective way to get a 4 socket monarch?
The most effective method to get a 4os monarch is by finding a white, non-socketed one and socketing it via the Larzuk quest. The base item will receive the maximum number of sockets, in our case the Monarch will receive 4 guaranteed sockets. If your socket quests are in short supply, you may consider the socket recipe (Tal + Amn + Perfect Ruby + Shield base), note this only works for non superior and non-crude Shield bases and has a 50% chance of rolling 4 sockets, the other 50% is distributed between 1-3 sockets (approximately 16%). Larzuk quest is able to socket Superior bases, perfect for when you find a superior version. Depending on your socket to monarch ratio, it may be more important to preserve your quests for higher value items.
Best Monarch Farming Locations
Monarchs are found mostly in Hell difficulty Act 2 or higher areas. We will cover five popular farming locations that offer high monster density, making them ideal for finding the shield, or in Terror Zones where monsters have an increased ilvl.
Bloody Foothills is an excellent location to farm Monarch shields, as the monsters in this area have a similar drop rate and are relatively easy to defeat (and closely packed). Focus on eliminating Shenk and Eldritch, as they come with minions that have a high chance of dropping the Monarch shield. Additionally, this run provides the opportunity to find other valuable items such as armors, amulets, and rings.
The Pit (Found in Tamoe Highland):
The Pit is considered one of the easier high-level end-game areas and is popular for the best Magic Finder (The Hork Barb), making it ideal for beginners and veterans. Monsters in this area have a high chance of dropping Monarch shields and are not too dangerous. To farm in The Pit, ensure your character can handle cold and lightning immunities. The pit, much like the Den of Evil, should be just off the path in Tamoe Highland.
Ancient Tunnels is a great option for farming Monarch shields while also looking for other end-game items. However, this location can be challenging to find and might be dangerous for less-geared players. Be prepared for a bit of searching before you find the entrance to the Ancient Tunnels, outside of Act 2 town. There are no easy paths, landmarks to look out for in the desert.
Chaos Sanctuary offers a high monster density and a good chance for Monarch shield drops, as well as a host of other possible elite item drops given its one of the highest ilvl areas in the game. However, this location can be more challenging depending on your character class, build, and gear. If you can clear Chaos Sanctuary quickly, it can be a rewarding farming spot. It is recommended you use S tier PvM builds to clear Chaos runs alone, or run them for a party. Builds like the Javazon, Mosaic Sin, Summon Necro, FOH Dins and Lightning/Cold sorcs excel.
Flayer Jungle is another suitable location for farming Monarch shields, as it has numerous weak monsters that can be cleared quickly though are more sparsely packed. Ensure your character can handle cold immunity to defeat the monsters in this area effectively. Flayer Jungle provides a good chance to obtain the Monarch shield while also offering a change of pace.
The Cow level is the most popular monarch farming spot, given it is the level with the highest density of non-boss monsters, with no immunities. It is a farmable spot for many builds in D2R, including non-meta builds provided they have a decent base level of gear. High AoE damage builds excel in this area in particular:
2. Corpse Explosion (Summon or Poison necro)
5. Fire Druid
6. Mosaic Assassin
8. All Sorceress variants
How to get runes to create Spirit runeword?
Killing the Act1 Boss Countess is by far the most efficient way to find lower tier runes. You can farm Nightmare or Hell Countess, as on either difficulty it shouldn’t take you more than 10 runs to collect the necessary runes. The obtainability of the runes mean the Monarch shield base is the most important and expensive piece to the runeword, however, if you have an overabundance of these easily obtainable low runes, you can roll 35FCR versions for greater trade value. This process involves using Hel + TP scroll recipe to reset any spirits that don’t roll 35FCR. A perfect roll 35/112/8 with a perfect defense or 15ed base can be worth a small fortune if you’re lucky enough to roll one, however any 35FCR roll should hold decent value.
Don’t throw away your ethereal Monarchs! While less valuable in the early season, later on these can even be preferred for PvP builds given the lower requirement and its use as purely a switch item to enhance Battle orders from CTA. As such, ethereal Spirits can command a high price in late ladder or Non-ladder.
Why farm Monarch/Spirits rather than other items?
The Spirit Monarch sits in an interesting place in terms of cost to make vs usefulness. It should theoretically be one of the cheapest items in the game given the ease to find its components. However its utility for casters (the fastest and most popular early ladder build type) means that demand for this item is generally high, especially when racing in a new ladder season. Spirit, like a climber’s first Shako is an important milestone in any ladder race. Additionally, Monarchs or Spirits can be farmed fairly easily and consist of specific and targetable components (Monarch - Cow levels), (Low runes - Countess). This makes farming Spirits much more consistent then if you are targeting low probability drops in high ilvl areas (Crown of Ages in Worldstone Keep, etc).
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