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Help:Writing Build Guides (Diablo II)

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Any user is encouraged to add a build guide to the wiki. To those unfamiliar with wiki code, writing a guide may at first seem daunting, but the code is very flexible and, among other things, allows you to insert images and tables very easily and effectively. This page will provide you with step-by-step instructions on the very basics and help you out with the more advanced formatting tools available.

Before starting your own guide, please take the time to look through our Class Builds section. This page lists all of the guides we currently have in the wiki. You should make sure that the guide you intend to write is sufficiently different from those already present. For example, having 5 Skellymancer guides that all recommend the same stat and skill placement and gear choices is redundant and unnecessary, as well as being an inconvenience to users looking for guides. In this case, it would be better to write a guide for another build instead. If the guide you want to create doesn't exist or you feel it is sufficiently unique from an existing guide, you can get started by claiming ownership of your guide.

Claiming Ownership[edit source]

DiabloWiki Build Guide
Game Diablo II
Class Sorceress
Primary Attack Fire Bolt
PvM/PvP Both
Can Solo Hell? No
Creator DiabloWiki

Before you begin writing your guide, you need to take ownership of it. Although other users are allowed to edit your guide for spelling or grammar mistakes, broken links, etc., only the guide's creator is allowed to make substantial changes to the content of the guide. Therefore, establishing ownership is an important step to ensure the integrity of your guide. At DiabloWiki, this is done by appending "by your user name" to the end of the page title. For example, if user ABC wants to write a Bonemancer guide, he should create his guide on the page Bonemancer by ABC. This is done to avoid naming conflicts in the event that multiple users want to write a guide for the same build. To do this, simply insert your page name, complete with your appended user name, in the search box at the top right and click the Go button. The Wiki should come back telling you that the page you searched for doesn't exist. Click the red link that says create this page.

When naming the page for your guide, you should strive to choose a name that will easily describe your build to potential readers. MeteOrb Sorc is a good choice, because it very simply states that the guide is a Sorceress who uses Meteor and Frozen Orb as her primary attacks. ABC's Druid Build is not acceptable because it doesn't describe what the build is. Clever but vague names, like Whackadin or Pwnmancer, are allowed, but are not recommended; remember, it's in your best interest for the title of your guide to be self-explanatory if you want people to read it.

Once you're ready to begin writing your guide, the last step to claiming ownership is inserting the Build Infobox. Simply copy the following and paste it in at the very top of the edit box on your new page and then fill in the fields appropriately:

{{Infobox Build

|Name    = 
|Image   = 
|Game    = [[Diablo II]]
|Class   = 
|Attack  = 
|PvM/PvP = 
|Hell    = 
|Creator = {{u|Your User Name}}


This will insert the box you see to the right. The Image field is optional; all other fields should be filled in.

Now that you've established ownership of your guide, let's learn a little bit about the basics of wiki editing.

Getting Started[edit source]

Most guides tend to be divided into three main subsections: Stats, Skills, and Gear. Many guides add a fourth, for the Mercenary. More on this in the next section. To clearly differentiate the subsections, you should divide them with headlines. This can be done by clicking the box with the capital 'A' at the top of your edit box, or simply by surrounding your headline text with two equal signs (=). To demonstrate how this works, the section you are currently reading begins, in wiki code, as:

==Getting Started==
Most guides tend to be divided into three main subsections:

You can see above the effect that this has on the actual page. Keeping your page organized with headlines is an easy way to improve the look and readability of your page. Pages with 3 or more headlines will automatically have a Table of Contents added to the top of the page. You can add more sub-headlines by increasing the number of equal signs you surround your headline text with. For example, if

==Two Equal Signs== shows up in your Table of Contents as "1 Two Equal Signs", then
===Three Equal Signs=== will appear as "1.1 Three Equal Signs" and will be located within the section created by the first headline.

As you are writing your guide, you should be mindful to include plenty of in-text links to other pages in the wiki. Mentions of skills, items, item mods (such as Crushing Blow), etc. should all be linked to for a reader's reference. When linking, it is important that you follow the conventions set forth in the Style Guide. Linking is done by surrounding a page title in double brackets: [[Page Title]].

DiabloWiki features many templates to ease linking in flowing text for improved readability. For example, to link to the page Frenzy (Diablo II), you could write [[Frenzy (Diablo II)]], but having the (Diablo II) appendage isn't necessarily conducive to flowing text. Instead, you can use the following template: {{2|Frenzy}} (notice that templates use double braces - {{Template}} - instead of the double brackets that regular links use). This links to the exact same page, but the template adds the (Diablo II) "behind the scenes," removing it from the flowing text: Frenzy.

You can also change the text of your link by adding a pipe after the page name and then inserting your text before closing the brackets. For example, [[Class Builds (Diablo II)|this]] will look like this. This can be used in combination with the link templates as well: {{2|Class Builds|tada!}} becomes tada!

Some link templates that you might find useful for writing build guides include:

{{2| }} - which appends (Diablo II), as explained above.
{{2q| }} - which appends (Diablo II Quest).  For example, {{2q|Tools of the Trade}}.
{{r| }} - which appends Rune.  For example, {{r|Vex}}.
{{rw| }} - which appends Rune Word.  For example, {{rw|Breath of the Dying}}.

A full list of link templates can be found at Category:Link Templates.

Making it Shine[edit source]

Now that you've got the basics of wiki editing down, you can start adding content to your guide. A few things to keep in mind as you're writing: the best guides are those that are most informative. However, you don't want to hit your reader with a never-ending wall of text, so it's best to strive for brevity while still providing all the important details. It's usually best to assume that your audience has little knowledge of Diablo II slang; experienced users won't be turned off by the fact that you wrote Breath of the Dying instead of BotD, but readers who don't know what "BotD" means will start to feel lost and your guide won't be informative to them. One of the best ways to learn how to make your guide really shine is to find another user's guide that you like the look of, click the "edit" tab at the top of the page, and see what they've done. While we encourage users to write their guides using their own preferred style, there's nothing wrong with copying the style of another user's guide. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, after all.

To begin your guide, it is a good idea to write a short synopsis of the build: what skills it uses, the playstyle, the challenges and benefits of the build in comparison to others, etc. A good example of this is the Fire Wall Sorceress guide. The purpose of this is to give the reader a chance to learn a little more about the build so they can decide whether or not it's something they're interested in before reading through your entire guide.

As mentioned in the previous section, most writers divide their guides into 3 or 4 sections: Stats, Skills, Gear, and Mercenary:

Stats[edit source]

Stat Starting Amount Final Amount
Strength 20 100
Dexterity 25 120
Vitality 20 300+
Energy 15 15

This is usually the shortest section of the guide. Typically, users simply express the stat goals for their build, possibly with a very brief explanation, and then move on. You can use the Build Attributes template to display your build's stat placement. Simply copy the following template and add the expected final values of each stat in the appropriate field. Replacing the {{1}} with the name of a class (i.e. Amazon) will automatically fill in that class's starting attributes. If you don't want the starting values included, just delete the |{{1}} (including the preceding pipe) and it will not appear. You can see above how this template will look in your guide.

{{Build Attributes (Diablo II)|{{1}}

|Strength  = 
|Dexterity = 
|Vitality  = 
|Energy    =


Skills[edit source]

This section is often skimmed over, despite it being the defining section of the build guide. For example, a MeteOrb guide that simply states "Max Meteor, Fireball, Fire Mastery, Frozen Orb, and Cold Mastery" simply isn't sufficient. It doesn't explain why those skills were chosen or why other skills weren't. Why not max Fire Bolt or Ice Bolt? They're synergies for Meteor and Frozen Orb, respectively, so why aren't they chosen? Of course these are good questions which are simple to answer, so it's important to do so in your guide.

It can be useful to divide this section into three subsections: one for each of the class's skill trees. Within each section, discuss which skills the build will use, why and how it uses them, how many points to put into them, and any other information you deem necessary. As discussed earlier, make sure that you include a link to each skill you mention in this section. This is a great section to include images, as we will discuss shortly.

You can also use the Build Skills template to easily display the amount of skill points for each skill. The template is fully customizable; you can add as many skills as you want and even control which skill trees are or are not shown.

Gear[edit source]

In this section, you should recommend the best gear for your build for each gear slot. Some guides will recommend several choices for each slot. Most guides expand this section to include the weapon swap and charms. Though this can sometimes be considered the most "fun" section to write, some guides, specifically those for Single Player builds, will not include a great deal of specific suggestions here, due to the fact that Single Player builds will have to rely on whatever gear they can find since trading with other players is not an option. Some guides simply list the gear, while others make use of the item templates in the wiki. DiabloWiki has created templates for all Diablo II items and runewords, so that you can easily include them in your guide. To do so, simply surround an item name with double braces and append the item name with (Diablo II). For example:

{{The Grandfather (Diablo II)}}
{{Faith (Diablo II)}}
{{Immortal King's Pillar (Diablo II)}}

will make the following appear on your page. To see how these templates can be used in an actual guide, check out the Savior.

The Grandfather
Colossus Blade
The Grandfather (Diablo II).gif

1H Damage: (62-87) to (164-474)
2H Damage: (145-203) to (289-649)
Range: 3
Attack Speed: [5]
Minimum Strength: 189
Minimum Dexterity: 110
Durability: Indestructible
Level Requirement: 81

+150-250% Enhanced Damage (varies)
+2-247 to Maximum Damage (+2.5 per Character Level)
50% Bonus to Attack Rating
+80 to Life
+20 to All Attributes

(Only Spawns In Patch 1.09 or later)

4 Socket Missile Weapons
Ohm •  Jah •  Lem •  Eld
Level Requirement: 65

Level 12-15 Fanaticism Aura When Equipped (varies)
+1-2 To All Skills (varies)
+330% Enhanced Damage
Ignore Target's Defense
300% Bonus To Attack Rating
+75% Damage To Undead
+50 To Attack Rating Against Undead
+120 Fire Damage
All Resistances +15
10% Reanimate As: Returned
75% Extra Gold From Monsters

Immortal King's Pillar
War Boots
Greaves (Diablo II).gif

Defense: 118-128
Defense: 278-288
Kick Damage: 39-80
Minimum Strength: 125
Durability: 24
Level Requirement: 31

+75 Defense
40% Faster Run/Walk
+110 to Attack Rating
+44 to Life

25% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items (2 items)
+2 to Combat Skills (Barbarian Only) (3 Items)
+160 Defense (4 Items)
Half Freeze Duration (5 Items)

Mercenary[edit source]

Most guides, at least for PvM builds, will indicate the type of mercenary that is best for the build (which in most cases simply involves indicating which Act 2 mercenary should be hired for the most desirable aura). It will typically also include a short suggestion on the best gear choices for the mercenary.

Images[edit source]

Though a build guide can be informative with text alone, adding images and item templates can make it more visually appealing, and thus more enjoyable to read. To learn how to incorporate images into your guide, see our Help:Images page. Images of skill trees with appropriately placed points can be very helpful for visualizing a build. Images of the build in action are fun to see and add a nice touch to the guide.

Completing Your Guide[edit source]

Once your guide is finished, you should add {{Class Builds}} to the bottom of your guide, replacing "Class" with the appropriate class for your build. This will insert a navbox to other build guides for that class, as well as categorizing your guide appropriately. Make sure to use the "Show preview" button before saving the page to ensure that everything has come together how you wanted it to. Once your page has been created, you should add a link to the Class Builds page under the appropriate class and to the navbox template you just inserted in your guide (simply search for Template: (Class Name) Builds and add a link to your guide to the template). Both the builds page and the navbox templates are arranged alphabetically, so make sure to put your guide in the appropriate place.

Expectations for Guides[edit source]

Much of this article has dealt with the basic wiki skills and tools available to allow users to create a polished build guide. We would like to reiterate that most of the suggestions relating to style and aesthetics are just that - suggestions. Users are encouraged to make their guides look the way they think looks best. However, the previous two sections also contain a great deal of content requirements. We strive to make DiabloWiki a place where "content is king" and where players can come to know they are getting the best available information. For this reason, all guides on our wiki will need to adhere to a high level of quality information. We have done our best to explain what this entails in the preceding sections. Users should create their builds with these standards on the top of their minds, as guides that do not meet these quality standards will be deleted.

Deletion will occur when the staff determines that a build guide is incomplete, either by the standard definition or due to an overall lack of quality information. In the event that a guide is marked for deletion, a notice will be posted at the top of the guide page and the guide's author will be sent a PM on the DiabloFans forum (if they have a username there). The guide will then be deleted no less than two weeks after the last substantial edit, provided it is not brought up to meet our quality standards in that timeframe. You can see all guides that are currently marked for deletion by visiting Category:Guides Marked for Deletion.

Hacked and bugged items are, unfortunately, as present in Diablo II as they have ever been. We accept the fact that many builds are created around the use and exploitation of bugs and hacks. DiabloWiki does not condone such actions, however, build guides that exploit bugs and hacks are permitted, so long as no explanatory details are given as to how to hack or the specific mechanics of cheating the game. If any of this information appears in a guide, the offending passages will be immediately deleted and the author will be given a warning on their user page and via PM on the DiabloFans forum. Repeat offenders will be permanently banned from DiabloWiki.

Plagiarism, in any form, will not be tolerated on DiabloWiki. Instances of suspected or actual plagiarism will be handled and researched by the wiki staff on a case-by-case basis. If a user is found to be plagiarizing the work of another user, either on DiabloWiki or from any other site, the author will be given a warning on their user page and via PM on the DiabloFans forum. Repeat offenders will be permanently banned from DiabloWiki.

Need More Help?[edit source]

If you need help with any aspect of creating your build guide, we encourage you to simply ask on your build's talk page. To do this, click the "Discussion" tab at the top of your page once it has been created. Ask your question there and a DiabloWiki staff member (or possibly another helpful user) will answer it for you. If you prefer, you can also create a thread in the Wiki Forum at DiabloFans.