Paladin Levelling Guide - D2R 2.6
D2R Gameplay Guides , Diablo 2: Resurrected , Game Guides
Paladin Levelling Guide
This guide will take you through an efficient method to level your Paladin and complete the game on Hell difficulty. There are various approaches to levelling and the method will change depending on your situation (for example if you have been rushed, you will level differently), this guide presents a method for playing through the game yourself and levelling the traditional way. We will also discuss an efficient way of allocating your skill points and useful items to collect / farm along the way.
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The Paladin’s starting gear is a Short Sword and Buckler allowing you to deal reasonable damage from standard melee attacks straight away. When you level for the first time take a point into the Sacrifice skill, this skill sacrifices a small amount of your own life to deal additional damage to enemies – this very useful in the early stages for killing Champion and Elite packs. Your second skill point should be placed into Might aura to further increase your melee damage, allowing you to stroll through the early areas with ease. Our levelling build will focus around the Holy Fire aura which is extremely strong in Normal difficulty. The skill itself is not available until Level 6, however the Resist Fire aura is a synergy and adds bonus damage – so for levels 3, 4 and 5 place your skill points into Resist Fire. From Level 6 onwards, place points into Holy Fire whenever possible. Holy Fire deals fire damage to all monsters around you and also adds fire damage to your attacks, the damage scales extremely well in the early levels and you will have very little trouble killing anything in the early stages.
When you reach Level 12 place a point in the Zeal skill, a single point here is enough and when you level again revert to placing points into Holy Fire. Zeal will be your main attack ability and strikes enemies multiple times, giving you multiple chances to hit enemies with large amounts of fire damage from your main aura. I like to pick up the Charge ability also to provide better mobility to speed through maps, this isn’t a necessity, and I wouldn’t recommend this for beginners but for those more experienced in progressing through the game it is very useful.
For your stat points, the general rule is to put enough points into Strength and Dexterity for the equipment you need to use then spend the remainder into Vitality. Extra points into Dexterity is useful to increase your chance to hit, however the passive fire damage from Holy Fire does enough and I prefer to increase my survivability.
In Act 1 the best place to gain early experience is in the Forgotten Tower beneath the Black Marsh. Each level in the tower has at least 1 Champion or Elite pack, so you will find a minimum of 5 packs and the Countess herself on level 5 making it very efficient. Killing the Countess also provides us with early rune drops and there are some very strong low level Runewords that we can target for the Paladin. You will need to farm Countess until you find a Tal and an Eth rune to make the Runeword “Stealth” (Tal Eth) in a 2 socketed armour (you will find one of these as you play, and if you don’t Charsi sells them). “Stealth” is a strong runeword for every character, particularly when we reset our skill and stat points to focus around the Blessed Hammer skill. I would also recommend farming a Tir and an El rune to make “Steel” in a 2 socketed Scimitar. Scimitars have low damage but a fast attack speed, and with the majority of damage coming from the extra fire damage we only care about how fast we are attacking. Other items to look out for as you play through are Rings, Amulets and Wands with Faster Cast Rate for when we switch to Blessed Hammers. Act 5 Quest 2 will provide you with a Ral, Ort and Tal rune which we can socket into a shield to make the “Ancient’s Pledge” Runeword which provides a big boost to our resistances (I would recommend a Targe or Rondache with some base resistance, or if you do not find one a Kite Shield is also fine).
When you fight Andariel in Act 1 drink 5-6 Antidote potions before engaging, these provide a passive boost to your poison resistance. Similarly, when fighting Duriel in Act 2 drink 5-6 Thawing potions which has the same affect on your cold resistance. Continue working your way through the game with the above build and you will have an easy run until you reach Act 4. Act 4 monsters have relatively high fire resistance and you will notice a considerable drop off in your damage at this point if you continue with the Holy Fire build. At this point I recommend resetting your skill and stat points and focusing on the Blessed Hammer skill. The most efficient skill point allocation is to place 1 point in Might, Blessed Aim and Holy Bolt then as many as possible in Blessed Hammer and Concentration. You will have a lot of unallocated skill points initially, however this means that whenever you gain a level you can place a point into both Blessed Hammer and Concentration simultaneously for the next 10 or so levels. Put on all your Faster Cast Rate gear to try and hit a minimum of 48% Faster Cast Rate. You will need to stock up on lots of Mana Potions initially as the mana cost of Blessed Hammer is high, however the trade off is huge amounts of damage when combined with Concentration Aura! More experienced players should purchase a staff with Teleport charges from Ormus in Act 3 (you will likely need to reset his items by going in and out of town, however this should not take more than 15 minutes) and have this on your item swap to allow for quick progression through the game.
Once you have worked your way through Normal difficulty you can start doing Baalruns to gain experience and prepare yourself for Nightmare difficulty. You should ensure you reach level 40 as a minimum before entering Nightmare, this can be done either playing solo or with a group.
The beauty of the Hammerdin build is there are minimal monsters that are immune to magical damage, and these only appear in Hell difficulty so working through Nightmare is very easy.
There are 2 Runewords that are extremely strong on the early Hammerdin – “Spirit” (Tal Thul Ort Amn) and “Lore” (Ort Sol). Once you reach the Countess you will want to farm her until you gain 2x sets of Spirit runes and 1x set of Lore runes. Make 1 spirit in a Long / Broad / Crystal Sword and one in a Paladin specific shield with base resistance. The sword can be farmed in Normal Difficulty Cows, however a good shield is unlikely to drop until the end of Nightmare / early Hell. Lore can be made in any 2 socketed helmet, it really doesn’t matter which one you use. The Spirit combination on a paladin is the strongest early build in the game, it provides +4 to all skills, up to 70% Faster Cast Rate, Life, Mana and Resistances. Another useful Runeword is “Insight” (Ral Tir Tal Sol) which we can make in a 4 socketed Polearm (farmed in Normal Cows) and give this to an Act 2 Mercenary, providing him with the Meditation aura and sustaining our mana. Once you make these you will notice a huge power spike and progression through both Nightmare and Hell difficulties will be no problem at all.
When you finish Nightmare Difficulty, you will want to do more Baalruns and reach a minimum level of 60 before progressing into Hell. Max out Blessed Hammer and Concentration first, then Vigor and finally Blessed Aim for the most efficient damage progression. Gain a point in Holy Shield when you can to boost your block chance and increase survivability.
The method for Hell Difficulty is very similar to Nightmare. You will occasionally find monsters that are Immune to Magic (particularly in Act 2), however your Mercenary should be strong enough to take care of these.
With the Hammerdin build and recommended items you will have more than enough damage to deal with Hell difficulty, you will still need to take care with your survivability as Hell difficulty can throw up some particularly nasty Elite monster packs! The most efficient farm location for early Hammerdins is The Choas Sanctuary and Travincal, both can be completed with relative ease and are very popular farming locations for Runes and rarer items.