Ah a rare thing, actually finishing a game…I finally beat TL2 on elite (not hardcore) vanilla. It took over 60 hours with a single character to win it… that was with just a bit of help from sensless with a couple of items that I could only use at the end of the game. Elite was very very difficult– I died about 500 times and probably could have died a lot more but just wanted to get it done. I know I could have farmed at lower difficulties or with other characters, but this was about being almost pure with Elite– going through the whole game from start to finish with nearly zero help. I finished the game at level 52 and I can say that most of my gear was about 10 levels lower, so I definitely hadn’t farmed up enough to really run the end game comfortably.
The next time I go through I can farm up with a higher level character and pass items down, potions, spells, everything because the elite hair on the chest has been grown…
I used a berserker and focused on Shadow Dash/Wolfstrike with Frenzy Mastery and Blood Hunger as primary skills. All of this is for survivability rather than damage output. Essentially she would heal whenever she landed a critical and could shadow dash for insta heal and escape when she got in trouble. The key path is to stay on the edge of a mob and use your normal attacks to build your frenzy meter since when you are frenzied it’s all (well almost all) criticals. Once frenzied, you can stand toe to toe with any boss that cannot one shot you (which aren’t many!). For my primary weapon, I used a large mace that I placed the rift ember in (+10 Mana steal on hit) for max amount of DPS for my AOE’s (Wolfstrike/Shadow Dash) and then switched to two rather lackluster claw weapons when I was frenzied for any bosses– increasing my attack speed by triple or more. I just could never find any better claws by the time I finished the game.
In addition to the skills above, the berserker extra pet (via Wolf Shad) was huge and I maxed points whenever I could. The summon gives damage output increases, attacks stuff itself for mass damage and heals you when it does damage. I would say it’s the best skill in the game. However, I have this feeling that there was an XP drop when wolf was on the screen…like very little XP at all.
There’s a lot more to explore with the berserker, but I won’t be doing it on Elite unless it’s my Hardcore character who is the sole survivor of our early days hardcore elite group. With him I use very different tactics (sword and shield and a lot less gung ho). The end bosses of TL2 look extremely difficult on Hardcore elite so the farm up will be necessary. If I was to do it again, I would have started on Normal, finished the game and then passed items up to a character on Veteran who then passed items up to a character on Elite. This is tough to do on Hardcore since, well, your characters get croaked.