thoughts on the game from a new player perspective
(played a bowazon, got to level 120 and did all the easy/moderate uber quests except rathma square [how is this moderate] and bull prince rodeo [cannot kill dbaal])
note that these come from the perspective of a bowazon, which heavily weight my experience.
-tiered uniques are a good way to have an easily obtainable baseline of gear
-most of the mobs are unique or different and make the game more interesting
-i never liked runewords in d2 so i think the simpler version in this mod was a better execution
-there is a wealth of knowledge that helps guide new players, specifically uberquest info, base/tus/sus item lists
-completely reworked skill trees are cool and change the game fundamentally which makes it fun to play even though it has a lot of recycled content
-the base quests are the same, which I like, even though all the enemies are changed, the quests still have the same goals - so basically this mod just adds a bunch of extra stuff to do after you have beaten the game besides just grinding tc85 areas.
-crafting and honorifics are a great addition specifically for early game.
-level challenges are a good idea. add more!
-some enemies/attacks are basically memes that one shot you
duncraig barrels that you cannot see because of terrain and dark environment, this is especially noticeable in the areas with the arches where the barrels hit on other sides of walls and an invisible fire hits you through the windows.
tran athulua arrow volleys (especially hard to see when you have a million reanimates going off and wyrm shots shooting everywhere)
early game a lot of the stealth mobs (i forget the names of the ones in durance 3 specifically)
heretics in plains of despair (dumb)
-really questionable design choices in some areas (mostly ubers)
duncraigs (MULTIPLE) rooms that you have to teleport into the middle of 100 mobs. not sure why this was included. just make them hallways you can walk down? maybe do it for one of the minibosses, but there is just way too many of these rooms that make it impossible to survive.
all of K3K BA is pretty much a joke. i am not sure what is going on with that area, but some of the totems clearly have a bigger radius. not to mention doing this as a bowazon is a complete nightmare in general. the idea is there and its cool, but the radius of the totems is just too large. just make the radius smaller but then add more totems, that way its a more consistent rather than running through 1000 mobs to suicide on a totem and hope you kill it in one life
the blood legacy uber in toraja jungle stands out as a really bad example. why put it in such a small room? just makes it impossible for a bowazon without suiciding and letting singularity from jitan's kill everything over the course of 20 deaths
cathedral of light same issues as k3kba/blood legacy. small room, invulnerable mobs that run just as fast as you so they cannot be kited and one shot you
-drop rates are too low to support the population.
at first i was holding every set and sacred unique i found, but eventually i realized that there is not enough demand so you cannot trade, and any item you may want no one is going to have because they know that they cannot trade it so they do not hold onto items either
no reliable source of life leech. life leech is completely gutted, and i never found a decent item with life on striking. this is especially bad when combined with the potion mechanics in this mod. i am still not entirely sure how the pots work, but it seems like they stop ticking if you take damage. which i think is a fine idea, but without a good way to regain life naturally it becomes obnoxious against enemies that do constant undodgeable damage.
my view on the skill trees:
sun strike - use it for early leveling and wyrmshot synergy. I have read that shooting mobs against walls with sunstrike actually does a lot of damage, but from what I saw any mobs that lives long enough for this to matter dies to crushing blow, not your actual damage. and barrage is 100x better than anything else for procing crushing blow.
barrage - fine skill, not much issue with it. its a skill that does the most damage but requires you to be in melee and in danger in order to use it to its full potential. also good for kiting mobs. good skill.
phalanx - i have read a lot of people saying this skill is great once you learn how to use it. i must have not learned how to use it because it seems truly awful in execution of a skill and in its actual viability. feel free to call me bad.
dragonlore - passive that gives damage, no comment.
wyrmshot - at first i didnt like this skill, but it grew on me. i think its a good skill and once you have some points in it and sun strike it grows into its own. good skill.
the bowazon skills i think are all fine except phalanx. if phalanx was replaced with some skill that was good for single target damage against enemies you cannot face tank and be barraged, i think that is the big hole that the bowazon class needs filled.
wild and free - seems fine, maybe could use a bit more spicing up.
fire elementals - have their uses, but i feel like the mobs that are truly difficult and something you would want to summon these for just one shot them with some aoe, so they become useless. maybe make it so you summon 5 at a time or something so that it doesnt take 20 years to resummon them after they are 1 shotted.
balance - alright i have a big issue with this talent... mostly because of the talent right after it. why have a talent that grants defense and then another talent that removes all defense you have? change this talent into something useful imo.
ecstatic frenzy - i think its fine. sort of 1 dimensional and uninteresting since it takes away a whole element of items (their defense rating), but its sort of required since it makes your wyrmshot and kiting ability so much better... probably should be changed in some way.
defensive harmony - pretty bad. you get one shotted or 2 shotted mostly. this talent doesnt ever really save you. the things that would kill you will kill you anyway through this.
the neutral skills are a big letdown. really uninteresting talents all around, some that are directly in opposition to a skill in the same tree.
lvl90/ennead/brc challenge skills:
man i dont know where to start on these. the ennead and brc skills are completely underwhelming. maybe they are better for other specs of amazon, but for bowazon, really bad. the damage from war spirit is negligible, so you basically are just putting points in for crushing blow. spellbind is just mediocre and doesnt even seem to increase damage, since the mobs that you would actually cast this on die to crushing blow, not your damage. there are some times where spellbind is useful. but this game for the most part seems pretty feast or famine. the dangerous mobs dont care about spellbind, so its not worth casting.
further thoughts on skill trees:
so i really do not like how the skills are in this game. since everything is directly tiered and the other talents specifically do not let you put points in other trees or else you do not get the bonus. there are really no "builds" when it comes to your skills. its all really cookie cutter. maybe the items in the late game change this up, but i see no real depth to the skill builds (at least for a bowazon).
definitely had fun playing. if i would play again i would do more research on what classes are stronger or "broken" so that I can see more of the ubers. i would also play on single player, since i have read that the drops are significantly better, and trading on multiplayer seems pretty dead. there are definitely some questionable decision with some of the zones, enemies, and skills. but at the end of the day it is fun wyrm shotting a bunch of stuff off screen and getting loot, and just playing D2 again.
my final gear:
wep: Magebane (6) with 6 p rubies mo'd with ED, EWD, and Life after KIll
helm: Siegfried RW in eifenjhar (6) mo'd with MF and fhr
gloves:feather claw (6) with 4 p onyx mo'd with reanimate and MF
belt: deadfall (6) with 2 p bloodstone mo'd with reanimate, fhr, and mf
boots: zealot rush (6) with 4 p amber mo'd with reanmiate, fhr, and mf
body: jitan kanon (6) with 4 p turqouise and 2 p blood stone mo'd with reanimate, fhr, and mf
amulet: rare with min dmg, all skills, -enemy lightning res, some resists
rings: random rares with skills and dmg, assurs bane x2 for duncraig farming.
quiver: random rare with skills, damage, life, and some resists. (never cubed a hanabigami... askijhfjksaohfjsahfr)
8/10 may play again in the future.