Question about build viability and diversity in median xl

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So i started Median xl 2 weeks ago and i have played melee sorc, respecced to mana sorc, leveled lightning caster amazon and now i am at the point i really would like to reroll another because i cant get builds to work past k3k. I know this is mostly because i really dont know how the game works and trading would be best option to progress BUT... now that i have been looking guides section i see there is really limited amount of builds compared to amount of skills in the game. So here is my questions:

Are builds that have no guides worth to even try? is median XL's meta so narrow that only good builds allready have guide? ( Example: cant find any fire/cold sorc guides )

Do you guys feel that there is builds that have not been discovered yet or is it more like everything worth to try has been tried and done?

Is there any particular reason why there is not that many guide makers in Median XL?

I really like to experience stuff on my own, but when it comes to game/mod that is really really deep and hard it is better start with guides to get feeling about the game. Median XL guides seems to be focused on few very popular builds and i would like to know why? There is not enough ppl to make guides or is it that other skills are bad?
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I have played Median since 2008, and there are many viable builds.

I think the guide section got reset for the latest version, there are so many random viable builds using whacky O-skills, it is a very diverse ARPG.
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Well, I've played:
Paladin: Melee, Summon, Neutral, Caster
Amazon: Javelin, Hammer, Blood, Bow
Druid: Poison, Traprat - But Wolf and Tree are also viable...

My point is, there are 3 or 4 viable ways to play each class. The builds differ with different play styles and gear sets also. I've only really ever used a couple guides, but there are several pages of guides for all different builds. Some are great, others, not so much. Maybe you are only looking at the first page of the guides?
Keep in mind also that the new patch a couple months ago made a lot of changes so some guides were no longer viable since skills changed. Those were probably removed.
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Blood Golem
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There are lots of viable builds that don't have guides (yet).

Meta builds usually get guides written first b/c...well, they're meta builds. They can usually complete the content faster, so ppl can get guides written faster. And let's be honest, a good chunk of players are only interested in op meta builds anyway (which gives ppl even less incentive to write guides for non-op builds). Plus, writing a guide is a pita, and most ppl would rather just play the game.

You can still find the old pre-Sigma guides here if you want some other build ideas, but don't rely too heavily on them (much has changed).

As for Fire/Cold Sorc specifically, I've written about it a bit in this thread. But the tl;dr is: it's really good in Early-Game, mediocre in Mid-Game, and not so good in End-Game (at least the build variations and gear combos I tried).
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Thunder Beetle
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Writing and maintaining a guide takes a pretty sizable amount of effort. There are a lot more builds you could play than those that have guides written for them. If something does not have a guide yet it's simply because someone hasn't put in the effort to make one so far.
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Azure Drake
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As someone who spent his first 2 weeks of median xl (3rd weekish atm) leveling a series of less popular builds to 110+ with TU4s, I find places like K3K easier than trying to clear the area around Nihlatak, and have found much joy in playing a melee sorc with its design being very lenient in 115+ supplementing you with free defense/avoidance/block and lots of health!

I've gotten very frustrated at many points of this game often wondering where the gap in my knowledge is. I try to fill it in, but it's a tad challenging when half the time the guides are outdated.

In the melee sorc's case, Solfege has put together a very comprehensive guide for it without the vagueries of terms such as 'Early' 'Mid' 'Lately' which I find annoyingly subjective and instead broken down your gear progression according to the 'act' and current difficulty you're on. And... updated.

Why is it in your case it's automatically the game's fault when you're having trouble? Ever considered your build and gear is flat out terrible and you're absolutely bad at the game?

Just pointing it out as a possibility. Assuming that the game is poorly design is usually an outright assumption that the developer is quite incapable and made quite a blunder and you're just too flat out smart to consider other outcomes. Perhaps... you don't know the game well enough to make an educated opinion/assumption/observation?

Perhaps you should take a look at Solfege's guide and perhaps check where you've gone horribly wrong.

Asking nicely in this community hasn't failed me so far, how about changing the way you're approaching this?

For starters, linking your noarmory profile from here and or using d2stats (downloaded from to link your character stats on a thread asking for help works pretty well.
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jamesbowers wrote:...

Is there any particular reason why there is not that many guide makers in Median XL?


Kind of... not a lot of people are commited to writing a full detailed guide, if at all. And I'm talking about the caliber of detail that SuchBalance has used to provide a guide for his Amazon, for example (outdated so you won't find it for Sigma). A few other users obviously have put in some work with their guide, and I won't discredit their effort, but mostly the more meta builds are being covered simply because they are meta.

It makes much more sense to work on through personal experience and provide a guide that a character is capable of clearing most, if not all, content at a reasonable pace. I like the idea of unholy paladin, but holy paladin is stronger in my experience - your lifesteal scales way the fuck better through the game as you upgrade your weapon where life on hit via hymn (the unholy paladin skill) just scales so fucking bad it might as well read in the tooltip "lol, you are playing this build, you fucking masochist." Is the non meta unholydin viable? Of course, it just requires more elbow grease.
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Also, guides need to be approved ... you can't just post a guide and be done.

It has to have early, mid endgame gear and skills ... uber information ... enough to make it a full guide to follow from beginning to end.
Preferably with videos doing ubers and farming etc.

Not a lot of people will go through all that effort, but the ones that did so made excellent guides.
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One thing everyone in this topic is overlooking is builds generally become meta AFTER the guide is written. Did anybody play hammerzon before Crash published? Not really. Neutraldin before millennia and TgTalcon? Not really. SBlade Ssin before mine? Nobody.

These builds are "meta" because somebody else already did the legwork and figured out how to play it and published it. You can make so many other builds work for the majority of the content if you are willing to figure them out but the bulk of the playerbase isn't interested in that, they don't want to learn the game and they want their hand held.
Edited by CallMeCrazySam 2 months.
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If we are talking about guides, they're extremely exhausting to put together a full write-up including all videos and descriptions.


1.) Ideally, a guide is more than a showcase. It has multiple ways of being built and the guide writer has to have tested many options and determined "the best" pairings.
2.) Guide builds are generally done with affordable gear and progression so that any person can hop in and play it without having to skip straight to the end and buy it all. "Good" guides should be able to complete a good bit of content with early and mid-game setups.
3.) Guides require knowledge of the game or at least regular discussion with those who have extensive knowledge of the game to be able to clearly relay accurate information without forcing people to read text walls.
4.) Player skill has to be considered. "Can this build be done by pros and new players or is it pro-only viable?"
5.) Skill-switching. People hate it. Some builds might be really good, but a guide will only prove valuable if it appeals to the mass.

many other reasons.

biggest reason? Imagine playing a character fully, discovering, "hey this is good, ill write a guide" --- now you have to start your character back from scratch, record all your write-ups and content from leveling the character you just played for weeks, do all the same stuff over again, post it about 2 months into the season after all your work, and then the next patch shreds your build into the dumpster. I have a close friend and well-known member in the community who wrote a full guide, then saw patch notes a few days later, and the build was ripped after being one of the big metas.

The trick is finding something people don't already know/exploit and making it work to a competitive level.