Sets need to roll Ethereal and staffmods

There is a world of issues with sets and uniques that will require a more in-depth analysis of the issues but the most overlooked properties for sets often overlooked is their inability to roll ethereal or include staffmods on class specific gear and staves/scepters/wands.

Sets and bows are the only items in game that can’t roll ethereal. The logic for bows/crossbows is they have no durability. There is no logic as to why sets were exempt from the ethereal roll. Having ethereal sets would open up some early game merc gear options and even LLD builds.

For clarity for those new to the game, examples of staffmods:

  • The +1-3 of individual skills skills you find on on staves, wands, scepters , orbs, shrunken heads, and class specific helms.
      Up to 3 skills different class specific skills can appear on any of these items with examples being:
      • +1 to +3 Enchant on staves
      • +1 to +3 Zeal with +1 to +3 Holy Shock on a scepter
      • +1 to +3 Find Item with +1 to +3 Sword Mastery and +1 to +3 Berserk on a Barbarian Helm
  • +1-3 all bow or spear skills on Amazon class specific gear.
  • +5-45 resistance or +10-65% Enhanced damage/+15-121 Attack Rating on Paladin Shields
  • +1-80 mana or +1-60 life on Sorceress Orbs.
  • 2 to 7 up to 25 to 50 poison damage over 3 seconds on shrunken heads

These staffmods make low level runewords absurdly superior to Uniques or Sets of the similar level requirements:

    The Salamander is a level 21 requirements unique staff. It has the following fixed stats:
    • +50% Damage To Undead
    • Adds 15-32 Fire Damage
    • Fire Resist +30%
    • +2 To Fire Skills
    • +3 To Warmth (Sorceress Only)
    • +2 To Fire Ball (Sorceress Only)
    • +1 To Fire Wall (Sorceress Only)
      This staff provides a total of +4 to Fire Ball or +3 to Fire Wall at level 21. These + skills are fixed attributes and are not staffmods.
        You can have a build using this staff to have a synergized Fire Ball of level 14 (10 hard points +4 from staff) with 12 hard points in Fire Bolt. Your Fire Ball damage would be 332-379 (355.5 average) at level 21.
        Alternatively, you can have a build using this staff to have a synergized Fire Wall of level 7 (4 hard points + 3 from staff) with 16 hard points in Warmth. Your Fire Wall damage would be 533 to 572 (552.5 average) per second at level 21.

    LEAF is a level 19 requirements runeword that requires a 2 socket staff and the rule Tir and Ral. It provides the following bonuses:

    • Adds 5-30 Fire Damage
    • +3 To Fire Skills
    • +3 To Fire Bolt (Sorceress Only)
    • +3 To Inferno (Sorceress Only)
    • +3 To Warmth (Sorceress Only)
    • +2 To Mana After Each Kill
    • + (2 Per Character Level) +2-198 To Defense (Based On Character Level)
    • Cold Resist +33%
      Leaf starts off with just +3 to Fire Ball or Fire Wall but you can shop for a +3 Fire Ball or +3 Fire Wall base staff(you can even find both staffmods on the same staff since it can roll up to 3 different skills) to get a total of +6 to Fire Ball or + 6 to Fire Wall on the staff. We will keep the build comparison the same level even though you can use this staff 2 levels earlier than the unique.
        You can have a build using this staff to have a synergized Fire Ball of level 16 (10 hard points +6 from staff) with 12 hard points in Fire Bolt. Your Fire Ball damage would be 422-486 (454 average) at level 21.
        Alternatively, you can have a build using this staff to have a synergized Fire Wall of level 10 (4 hard points + 6 from staff) with 16 hard points in Warmth. Your Fire Wall damage would be 928 to 966 (947 average) per second at level 21.

    The Leaf staff build does 27.7% more Fire Ball damage or 71.4% more Fire Wall damage than the Salamander staff at the same level. Leaf is also exponentially easier to find/make than the Salamander staff as you can farm Normal Countess and buy the right base from Act 1 or 2 vendors.

Lets compare another:

    Infernal Torch is a level 5 wand from the Inferal Tools set that got "revived" this patch. It's stats are (let's ignore the fact that every low level caster set is designed around melee):
    • +1 To Necromancer Skill Levels
    • +8 to Min Damage
    • 150% Damage to Undead

    Alternative is to buy a + 3 skills wand from a vendor from Act 1 or 2 which provides the stats relevant to your build. Let’s just assume Teeth for simplicity. At level 5, all 5 of your points will be in Teeth (you should have den done by level 5). Lets compare the damage:

    • Infernal Torch provides +1 all skills so your Teeth will be level 6. You will summon 7 teeth that will do 7-9 (8 average) magic damage each.
    • A +3 Teeth wand that you found off Akara will yield a level 8 Teeth. You will summon 10 teeth that will do 10-12 (11 average) magic damage each.

There we have it, a white wand off a vendor yields 37.5% more skill damage than a set wand that you will never find at level 5 on your own. If you are all about that melee caster life, find one with 2 sockets and throw some chipped rubies/topazes in there.

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I do feel that the Aldur and IK helms are a probably respectively the worst pieces of their sets.

Agreed. IK helm is great for the MF or completing the set for the bonuses, nothing more.

An ethereal IK maul would actually make the set much stronger as a whole considering it rolls indestructible.

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+1 for at least ethereal weapon pieces

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I can’t +1 this enough. The unfortunate fact is that you can’t enjoy sets with most builds. Imagine for a second an ethereal Natalya’s Mark. Or a M’avina’s bow with +bow and crossbow skills.

Almost entirely, we don’t use the sets because the sets are not just bad, they’re worse than stuff you can get long beforehand. It would be nice to wear Natalya’s Set and get a nice boost to damage on mercs or on some niche builds.

But it’s simply never going to be good enough to replace Enigma or Grief without sizable changes.

One thing I want to see though, is that one item from Diablo 3, that will fill in one part of a set item. You wouldn’t get the green bonuses on whatever item it’s meant to replace, but your x piece set bonus would increase by 1 on everything. Perhaps a lower level unique large charm?

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Yeah, 1.10 really left the game in a bad spot in hindsight. 1.09 was peak D2 for me.

Yeah well both of these issues still plagued patch 1.09. The Meta then was in favor of uniques over sets. It just transitioned towards runewords from uniques starting with 1.10…

I think you could justify IK over Grandfather much better than IK over Grief.

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Shoutout for eth Children of Bul Kathos!

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Sets in general need to be revamped, as much as I love a Tals helm mana leech and life leech on a sorc build when spells don’t benefit from it makes absolutely no sense.

Trang’s 2 piece gives +18 fire ball… and 4 piece gives +10 to meteor

Even eth IK maul is no match for Grief or BOTD. It should probably always roll eth. It’s not a good weapon for anything other than WW. WW still sucks without any indication of improvements.