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Ranged Druid by Takedown

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Ranged Druid is a very strange build for the Druid class. I had tried to play a Druid through before, but they always turned out much too weak by my Frenzy-Barb/Berserker standards of melee. So I created another druid, Dronius, as a throwaway project, and what I found was intriguing. I haven't taken poor Dronius very far yet, but I'll display what information I know so far about this strange build.


Ranged Druid
Game Diablo II
Class Druid
Primary Attack Throwing Knife/Firestorm
PvM/PvP PvM
Can Solo Hell? Probably not
Creator Takedown
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Stats

Stat Starting Amount Final Amount
Strength ?
Dexterity ?
Vitality ?
Energy ?

The great thing about this build is that your stat points don't really need to be placed anywhere. Firestorm costs very little mana, so only a few points in energy are really necessary. The Ranged Druid's weapon of choice is a throwing knife, so points in Dexterity and Strength help with Attack Rating and Throw Damage. Points in Vitality are perhaps the most important, because this character will run into massive difficulty when faced with large groups of powerful monsters.

Skills

This is where I will baffle reality and common sense. The Ranged Druid does not tamper with summoning or shape shifting. Instead, dump your points into Firestorm, Molten Boulder, and Volcano. Using Arctic Blast for another elemental category is also fine. If you can accomplish this with skill points leftover, dump them into Raven. Just trust me. Do not put any points into any Shape Shifting skills.

Gear/Gameplay

The Ranged Druid's gear is very important. His weapon of choice are Throwing Weapons, preferably a stack that has been imbued by Charsi in Act I. If you can obtain a charm or item attribute that inflicts cold damage, you must use it, because in order to survive, the Ranged Druid must be able to hamper his enemies' movements. Give him a socketed shield containing diamonds. A good chance to block helps as well. The diamonds will bolster his resistances and preserve him in numerous situations. He will need high defense and resistances from his armor and weapons, because he will likely get slaughtered in the later parts of the game. Finding an item with the Knockback attribute is crucial because, again, the Ranged Druid must be able to immobilize foes. An absolutely excellent item for the Ranged Druid is the set item chain gloves, Cleglaw's Pincers, because of its Knockback and Slow Target attributes. Life leeching is not necessary, but is always helpful.

Another unique aspect of this bizarre build is that it does not require the second weapon set to be used. My pet project Dronius uses what I think is a very helpful set of secondary weapons; A shield with a Strength bonus and a high chance to block, and a dagger with cold and poison damage attributes. This is a defense mechanism in the event of being surrounded or out of throwing knives. The dagger's fast attack speed coupled with the slowing, long-term damage of cold and poison make an excellent defense tool. Just switch weapon sets, shank an unlucky attacker, and run away as he chases in slow motion with draining life. The shield will add defense and block incoming blows, and its Strength bonus adds damage to the dagger thrust. And remember to always use Fast Run/Walk boots, because this build does more than its fair share of backing up and hurling knives. Witnesses to my Ranged Druid always inquire after my choice in Skills (Firestorm). The explanation is simple - monsters will be charging your Ranged Druid. You will be panicking and hurling knives to hold them back. Several will die, but some may reach you from time to time. Instead of wasting knives in close range or switching to your cold-and-poison dagger, simply release a few high-level firestorms. It has saved wretched Dronius several times.

Mercenary

The diverse nature of this build allows you to select really any mercenary, but it will be extremely difficult to survive in Nightmare and Hell difficulties without a Holy Freeze hireling from Act II (Nightmare).