Diablo 2: Resurrected is here, and it's bringing a fresh crowd of players to the world of Sanctuary. Whether you're completely new or just haven't been around for a few years, you're likely on the hunt for the best starting build when the ladder eventually kicks off. I've put together this guide for a Frozen Orb and Fire Ball Sorceress build that should be able to take you all the way from Act 1 in Normal to Baal in Hell difficulty. Let's take a look at the attributes, skills, gear, and strategies to use for this journey.
Early game and respec'ing your Sorceress in Diablo 2: Resurrected
The Diablo 2 Sorceress is an incredibly popular first build for many players. Her mobility thanks to the Teleport skill, her damage thanks to cold, fire, and lightning skills, and her best gear's penchant toward adding magic find are a trifecta that is tough to beat even in the late game.
Your run through Normal difficulty as a newcomer without any gear in your shared stash will involve a lot of scrounging and shopping around at vendors. If you have a mid- to late-game build in mind right from the start (like the one I've laid out below), you can begin sinking attribute and skill points into the proper channels. If instead you're thinking of playing one build for a while to get the hang of things and want to change it up later, you do have some options.
Diablo 2 affords one free "respec" — a move that resets your spent attribute points and skill points for reuse — in each difficulty when you complete the Den of Evil quest in Act 1. One for Normal, one for Nightmare, and one for Hell difficulty. You can save the respec, even when moving up to the next difficulty, giving you some flexibility in what skills and attributes you choose in the early game. For example, you can sink all of your skill points into the lightning skill tree at the start of the game, only to respec at the start of Nightmare to something more versatile that can better deal with monster immunities.
Your free respecs are valuable. Do not waste them. Once they've been used, your only option to respec is to use a Token of Absolution. It is gained by gathering essences from Andariel (or Duriel), Mephisto, Diablo, and Baal and combining them in the Horadric Cube to create one Token. Not an easy task. Be sure to save your respecs only for when you truly need them; say when you've collected a bunch of great gear and don't need as much strength or dexterity, or when you've hit a wall with damage and need to invest points into new skills and synergies.
Key stats for your Sorceress in Diablo 2: Resurrected
Diablo 2: Resurrected throws a lot of different terms your way, but some should stand out more than others when playing as the Sorceress. Faster cast rate, faster hit recovery, magic find, resistances, and vitality are all key ingredients. The energy attribute can also be important if you're planning an Energy Shield build, but otherwise your standard gear will afford you enough mana.
Vitality is rather easy. Add as much as possible while still being able to wear your gear's strength and dexterity requirements. Resistances are just as simple. Max them out at 75 (or higher with some gear) in Hell difficulty for best survivability. It can be tough, but it is crucial. Use charms to your advantage here.
Magic find (MF) determines the chances of finding magic, rare, set, and unique items. It is afforded by the gear you wear. The most successful players in Diablo 2 will almost always have a high-MF Sorceress they use to run areas over and over in hopes of finding valuable gear. Most people say somewhere around 300% MF is something to shoot for in the end game, though there's not really a golden number.
Faster cast rate and faster hit recovery
Faster cast rate (FCR) determines how quickly the Sorceress can cast successive spells that don't have a built-in delay. Skills with the delay (like Meteor, Blizzard, Frozen Orb, Hydra, and Fire Wall) are not affected by FCR. The faster you can cast spells, the more damage you're going to deal out. It also means you're going to move faster while teleporting.
Diablo 2: Resurrected plays a little trick here that involves "breakpoints." You must hit a certain percentage of FCR in order to actually see a change due to how many frames it takes to display the animation. Many people get away with at least 63% FCR, but if it seems too slow you will want to hit 105% for the next breakpoint. The breakpoints and number of frames it takes are as follows:
Note that Lightning and Chain Lightning breakpoints are different from all other Sorceress skills. They are as follows:
Faster hit recovery (FHR) works the same way as FCR does in terms of breakpoints. You will receive FHR from gear; the more you have, the fewer frames it will take for your character to recover from being hit. This is a crucial stat that can get you out of a jam when multiple monsters are attacking at once. The Sorceress FHR breakpoints are as follows:
Diablo 2: Resurrected Sorceress Frozen Orb and Fire Ball skills
The Frozen Orb and Fire Ball skill combination has been popular for years in regular Diablo 2. It helps especially in the Hell difficulty when monsters become completely immune to damage types. You will still find some monsters immune to cold and fire, but that's where a party of friends or a reliable mercenary come in handy.
While it's obvious that Frozen Orb and Fire Ball are to receive a full 20 natural skill points each, there are plenty of other skills required as synergies and unlocks. This build uses skills from all three trees, including fire, cold, and lightning. Here's a breakdown of the skills you want to learn.
Add points to Fire Mastery as you can, but be sure to add at least one point soon after level 30 in order to boost damage.
Note that Cold Mastery need not be above 17 points after adding +skills from gear.
Just need a few points here to reach Teleport. Static Field is also extremely useful when facing bosses; cast it a few times to quickly cut out the enemy's life then go back to your regular attacks.
Best Sorceress gear for Frozen Orb and Fire Ball build
Your Sorceress will cycle through gear quickly when you first begin the game. I lay out some mid- to end-game gear below, but until you find or trade for that gear you'll likely be wearing other random stuff. That's OK, and it just means you're on your way to glory. Still, there are some items with stats you should hold onto.
Look for items with +Skills that make sense for your build. In this case that's Frozen Orb, Fire Ball, and its synergies. Look for faster cast rate and faster hit recovery to boost your speed. Look for resistances, vitality or life, mana or energy to make you stronger and better able to cast spells. And look for magic find to help you find the gear you really need for the end game.
Early runewords for your Sorceress
I put together a guide to Diablo 2: Resurrected runewords that contains all possibilities in the game. Here are some standouts for your early Sorceress that can be made with common runes often dropped from the Act 1 Countess.
- Leaf (Tir + Ral) — This is made into a two-socket stave and will boost your fire damage considerably. Look for a socketed stave to buy from Akara in Act 1 that already has some +Skills centered around your build.
- Stealth (Tal + Eth) — This is made into a two-socket body armor and will add FCR, FHR, mana and regeneration, faster run/walk, poison resistance, and more. Check Charsi's shop for a two-socket armor to use here.
- Lore (Ort + Sol) — This is made into a two-socket helm. The runes are a bit less common than the previous two runewords, but this is still a great item that can even help you through Nightmare. It boosts all your skills by one, adds lightning resistance, energy, and more.
- Spirit (Tal + Thul + Ort + Amn) — Spirit is one of the most popular and powerful runewords in the game. It can be made into either a four-socket sword or a shield (with a few differing stats depending), granting an extra two to all skills, FCR, FHR, vitality, mana, and a ton of resistances (for the shield). This will take some time to put together, but a Sorceress with a Spirit in each hand is a force to be reckoned with.
- Insight (Ral + Tir + Tal + Sol) — This is made into a four-socket stave or polearm and is generally handed off to a hired mercenary from Act 2. The real treat here is a Meditation aura that gives all party members quick mana regeneration. With this in your party, you should find that you're sipping on far fewer mana potions.
Mid- and end-game gear for your Sorceress
There is so much gear in Diablo 2: Resurrected that you're likely going to find a bunch that's not quite cut out for your Sorceress. If you don't save it in your shared stash for another build, you can always try to trade it for gear that makes sense for your build. Or you can just get lucky and find a bunch of the following gear naturally.
The Frozen Orb and Fire Ball Sorceress build pairs extremely well with the Tal Rasha's Wrappings set of gear. These green pieces grant huge bonuses when worn all together, on top of the bonuses each individual piece grants. Finding all five pieces is incredibly difficult, but you will be very powerful if you can pull it all together. The set includes:
- Tal Rasha's Lidless Eye swirling crystal (weapon)
- Tal Rasha's Guardianship lacquered plate (body armor)
- Tal Rasha's Horadric Crest death mask (helm)
- Tal Rasha's Fine-Spun Cloth mesh belt
- Tal Rasha's Adjudication amulet
That leaves rings, gloves, boots, and shield open for whatever you choose. I've laid out some gloves, boots, and shields to use below, but rings are a different story. Keep an eye out for Nagelring, Dwarf Star and Stone of Jordan unique rings, as well as any magic or rare rings with FCR, strength, and resistances.
As for amulets, even magic types can come with +Skills. Also, keep an eye out for Mara's Kaleidoscope, one of the best amulets in the game. Tal Rasha's amulet will still be best in slot if you're running the set.
Other Sorceress gear to use
While you're on your way to finding Tal Rasha's set — or if you find a mix of set and unique pieces that works better — you should keep an eye out for some of the following items.
- Harlequin Crest shako helm. Generally just called Shako, this item is one of the most powerful in the game. +Skills, MF, and more.
- Skin of the Vipermagi body armor. Lots of FCR, +Skills, resistances. Great if you're trying to hit an FCR breakpoint.
- Chance Guard or Magefist gloves. The former adds MF while the latter adds FCR and a bump to your fire skills.
- The Oculus swirling crystal weapon. +Skills, resistances, MF, vitality, energy, and FCR.
- Lidless Wall shield. This is a decent alternative while you wait for a Spirit shield (usually a Monarch). +Skills, FCR, energy, and more.
- String of Ears or Arachnid Mesh belt. The former belt is a solid stand-in, while the latter belt is one of the best items in the game.
- War Traveler's or Aldur's Advance or Sandstorm Treks boots. These are all solid options for the Sorceress. War Traveler's give you MF, while the latter two are more for survivability.
If you'd like to buff your Sorceress before going out into battle, the Call to Arms runeword (Amn + Ral + Mal + Ist + Ohm) built into a crystal sword or flail is key. It's expensive, but it grants you access to Barbarian buff skills.
For charms in your inventory, look out for resistances, FHR, life, mana, and MF. Gheed's Fortune unique grand charm will boost MF. The Annihilus small charm (often called Anni) and Hellfire Torch are both end-game items that will take a lot of work to gain but will boost your stats considerably.
Best mercenary setup for your Sorceress
One last ingredient for your Sorceress build is a mercenary hired from Greiz in Act 2. The abilities of the mercs change based on what difficulty you hire them in; I recommend hiring a defensive mercenary from the Nightmare difficulty in order to gain access to his Holy Freeze aura. This slows down enemies who get too close. There's also the offensive Nightmare merc with a Might aura, which boosts his own damage.
As mentioned earlier, the Insight runeword is a potent weapon for this merc. This adds a Meditation aura (along with whatever aura your merc naturally has) that boosts mana regeneration considerably.
The Treachery runeword (Shael + Thul + Lem) can be built into a three-socket body armor for rather cheap. It adds increased attack speed (IAS), cold resist, and a chance to cast the Fade skill which reduces damage dealt to the merc and raises his resistances. Later you can move into other armors, like an Ethereal Shaftstop or the Fortitude runeword.
Finally, the helms you should look out for are Guillaume's Face, Vampire Gaze, or Andariel's Visage. In the meantime, look for anything that boosts damage, resistances, or life steal.
Where to magic find with your Sorceress
Until you really get your Sorceress set up with the best and most expensive gear — usually supporting a pure lightning build — there are still plenty of places to MF. One particular spot I love to go in Hell difficulty are the Ancient Tunnels found in Act 2's Lost City. There are no natural cold immunes here, leaving you open to wreak havoc with your Frozen Orb. Teleport around to find the boss packs, pick up the loot, and move on. There's also a glowing chest at the end.
As usual, running the game's bosses is also a prime strategy for finding good loot when you're just starting out. Andariel, the Countess, Mephisto, Pindleskin, Shenk the Overseer, Eldritch the Rectifier, and the Summoner are all targets.
Baal and Diablo are also keys to the MF game, though they're some of the toughest bosses and require a lot of great gear to make it worth your while. These along with The Pit in Act 1 are best saved for an end-game (usually lightning-focused) Sorceress build.
Be sure to have a look at our collection of Diablo 2: Resurrected beginner tips and tricks for even more information. And if you're worried your current PC won't run the game so well, our collection of the best laptops for playing Diablo 2: Resurrected can help.
It's finally here
More than a fresh coat of paint
Diablo 2: Resurrected includes the original game and the Lord of Destruction expansion pack, with all-new improvements and better graphical quality. It's available now on all platforms.
Cale Hunt is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.
as cool as this looks, i'm not giving blizzard money. get rid of systems and give us content and maybe i will consider resubbing to wow. until then. you get $0 from me. if i can't play wow, because it sucks, then i'm not playing Anything from activision.
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