Kay Part III

8/31/2016

Kay, Part III

I really miss Kay, now that I’ve been writing these random memories out.  I lost touch with her years ago, after college ended, but she was a spectacular person.  She was extraordinarily chill, and had this great understated laugh that you’d get to hear best when it was just the two of you, distanced from the noise of whatever raging house party we were attending at the time.  We’d become friends very early on during freshman year of college.  I can’t recall how we met, honestly, but I remember her being one of my favorite people soon after arriving at school.

The first time we ever hooked up was probably about three years after we’d become friends.  It’s another Memory Without Context.  I have a perfectly clear snapshot of this moment, but no idea when it happened, or what occured before or after.  It’s an island of a memory.

I have no clue why we were in Kay’s basement, but I distinctly recall being in her basement.  Maybe I was hanging out, and we were smoking together, and she went down to change some laundry?  That sounds plausible, as I can’t manufacture any other reason to be down there.  I’m fairly sure I went down so that we could keep smoking while we changed clothes from the washer to the dryer.

I recall that I was leaning against the wall near the basement stairs, and we’d been talking and laughing, and as she came over to smoke, I decided to pull everything out of her reach – I was taller than Kay by a good foot.  She reached up to try and grab my hand, and suddenly we were just an inch or two apart.  It’s funny how those little moments can appear out of nowhere, and without reason.  But I feel like their random appearance is one of the most fun and interesting things about life.

Kay Part II

8/30/2016

Kay, Part II

Oddly, my upstairs room on the third floor of my then apartment on 32nd and Brandywine, where Kay would stay on occasion, had much of the same quality, somehow.  The light was never quite as soft as in Kay’s place, but I’d still get these amazing sunsets where light that was streaming in, reflected off of the buildings in the city, would filter through my shades and create these pretty and calming lightscapes in my room.  It was still that amazing orange, but a little brighter than at Kay’s.

For some reason, the time where Kay and I were “seeing” each other or whatever you wanna call it – that time period in my mind is defined by constant days spent relaxing in that warm autumn light.  The kind that is perfectly warm when you’re wearing jeans and a hoodie, right before the true chill of fall in the northeast rolls in.  It feels almost strange to associate that lighting with that brief period in life, but it was a damn good time in my life, so it’s not like it’s a bad thing that all of my memories from that period seem bathed in that delightful glow.

Kay Part I

8/29/2016

I thought I would try something this week, and post some random musings, rather than recommendations.

Kay, Part I

Earlier today I was oddly and randomly daydreaming about 2003, when I was casually seeing this gal Kay.  Seeing is a good word.  I wouldn’t even say it was casually dating.  Just casually fooling around, really.  Casual dating would imply we would actually go out to dinner, or do something out of the ordinary, and it certainly wasn’t that.  We’d just get drunk and spend occasional nights together whenever we had nothing else going on.  Life seemed very straightforward and easy then.  I guess it still is now, but without quite as much “do whatever you want whenever you want” as there was then.  Not showing up for class because I was up all night with Kay wasn’t a problem.  Not showing up for work nowadays would probably not be as cool.

I was thinking of the time period where we were seeing each other because I remember it having beautiful lighting.  That probably makes almost no sense, but in all of my memories – and I’m pretty sure these memories are not manufactured or sweetened by time – the light is so gorgeous.  Kay house had this great quality about it both early in the morning, and as the sun was setting.  In Kay’s room in particular, the light was this spectacular and beautiful soft orange.  I have all of these random moments recorded in my head with zero context – I couldn’t tell you what was happening before or after – but I have these little moments of laying in her bed, and that light was filling the entire room.  I think maybe it had that great quality because it was bouncing off of all the brick homes and picking up the extra color, but it was such a warm color, and so relaxing.

Dragons Tail Assassin

8/28/2016

Skkra recommends… Dragons Tail Assassin!

Man, do I love playing the assassin.  This class being introduced in the game-changing expansion was one of the best things that ever happened as far as my fun goes.  I love absolutely everything about this class.  I love the class-specific claw weapon.  I love the blinding speed you can get with your skills.  I love the fact that there are a dozen viable and fun builds.

Dragon’s Tail is simply the explosive kick finishing move that releases the charges you build up.  It’s my favorite way to play this class, as I just think that skill is spectacularly entertaining.  There isn’t much to this one – get fast, get good gear, build up your charges and let em loose!  But damn it’s a good time.

The biggest issue with this build is that you are going to need some good gear.  You’ll want to have a good claw for sure, and you’ll want to have some really good boots with high boot damage.  You’ll probably need a lot of charms in order to build up enough strength to wear the biggest boots, and boots in this case become a good choice for imbues.

Holy Fire Paladin

8/27/2016

Skkra recommends… Holy Fire Paladin!

Yeah, it’s another Paladin, but unlike the Frost Zealot using Holy Freeze, this is probably one of the hardest Paladin builds in the entire game.  Without a doubt, it’s the absolute most difficult of the Zeal variants.

What makes this so hard to play?  Well, mostly because it’s insanely underpowered.  The Paladin’s fire damage never gets very high compared to their Cold and Lightning attacks, even when maxxed out.  On top of that, the as you progress into Nightmare and Hell, monsters tend to have high fire resistances, or even immunity.  In the end though, I ended up maxing out Zeal, Holy Fire, and the Resist Fire Synergy.  Some of the rest of the points went into the additional synergy, but I also needed some extra physical damage and some 1-point wonder skills.

I geared out with as much crushing blow as I could muster, the fastest weapon I could find, and damage reduction.  I figured I needed to build that way because I’m playing hardcore, I don’t do a ton of damage, and I’m likely going to be taking a lot of hits, since I’m not killing monsters very quickly.

A Holy Freeze merc is your best friend here, since you need to try and keep monsters from absolutely swarming you.  Giving your merc a weapon with Slows Target or Crushing Blow are both good calls, as you need all the help you can get here.  Your playstyle is very in-and-out, as you don’t ever want to be standing for too long in a giant pool of enemies.  Holy Fire actually draws monsters toward you each time they’re pinged with the aura, so you’re going to be getting a lot of attention.

I do feel that defeating Hell Baal with my pure Holy Fire Paladin was one of the most rewarding playthroughs of Diablo II that I’ve ever completed.  It took a very long time, was very difficult, had several near death experiences, and required a lot of ingenuity with equipment choices and using Paladin’s skill tree to the max.  When something was totally immune, you had to find ways around.  Sometimes this meant using an alternate weapon with a small but serviceable amount of lightning, cold, or magic damage.  Other times, it meant digging into my skill tree to find a solution.  If you love Diablo II and have never attempted this build before, give it a shot.