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DIABLO 2 HIRELING MINI-GUIDE: THE ROGUE - Jaimas's Rants - Where Laughter Goes to Die
July 1st, 2008
07:23 pm


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Earlier, I made a generalized list of Diablo 2 Hirelings, their advantages, disadvantages, and abilities. SInce Hype, Dave, Mouse, and I have been playing Diablo 2 again, I feel it's long past due time for an update. With that in mind, I'm putting up a simple 4-part guide to Diablo 2 hirelings, and covering their advantages, disadvantages, abilities, and uses. Enjoy.

Part the First - The Rogue:

Official art of the Diablo 1 Rogue. Because Diablo 2's Rogue Hirelings are the same character, it's relevant.

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The Rogue is a familiar sight for many Diablo 2 (there are Rogues everywhere in Act 1, both with you and against you), and more so for Diablo 1's veterans (the Rogue was a PC Class in that game). Available in Act 1, the Rogue is an archer - a ranged-specialized hireling that boasts considerable archery skills. The fact that she uses a long-ranged weapon makes her an excellent backup for the likes of both melee combatants (she can shoot at foes you encounter whilst you basically tank for her) and ranged combatants and casters (Her ranged attacks let her give you additional fire-support). Because of this, she's very flexible.

Part the Second - The Rogue's Skills:
A given Rogue hireling has only two skills - Inner Sight, which causes enemies to give off light and cuts their defense - and either Fire Arrow or Cold Arrow. Fire Arrow adds fire damage to a Rogue's arrows, and Cold Arrow adds ice damage (and a slowing effect, as all cold damage effects have).

Part the Third - The Rogue's Advantages:

The Rogue can be incredibly advantageous, especially for melee-based classes, but she can also be extremely valuable for other classes. The foremost advantage the Rogue has is her ranged prowess with a bow; because she snipes from afar, she doesn't get in your way like melee hirelings. Moreover, because she uses a physical weapon, her damage scales a lot better than the magic-using Act 3 Iron Wolf Hireling.
The Rogue's Inner Sight ability is a big reason why she's so useful for melee classes. As Inner Sight cuts enemy defense and makes them light up, she can cut enemy defense enough so that classes like the Paladin, Barbarian, and Assassin can more easily land hits on high-defense enemies. The damage cut generally isn't gigantic (until late-game), but is generally sufficient to ensure that your strikes land on-target - a huge advantage in and of itself.The Rogue's arrow skills differ depending on which Rogue you hire - they can have either Cold Arrow or Fire Arrow. Fire Arrow adds more damage (and fire damage), but the advantage is minor; Cold Arrow in contrast does less but adds chilling effects to arrows and can slow enemies as a result. Which is better is largely a matter of conjecture - Fire Arrow may not slow enemies, but on Nightmare and Hell Difficulties, cold lengths are reduced by 50% and 75% respectively, which means enemies stay chilled for  only a few seconds, given a high-level arrow, on the higher difficulties, so Fire Arrow can actually pay of better in the long run. With the right gear, the Rogue can back you up with area-effect damage (Fires Explosive Arrows is a valued commodity), and is flexible enough to help you out in a variety of different roles.

Part the Fourth - The Rogue's Disadvantages:

The Rogue has poor defense and middling endurance, stemming from the fact that her weapon of choice is 2-handed and her strength and vitality are comparatively low - you'll have trouble keeping her alive in particularly bad scenarios. She never gets the strength you really need to equip the most powerful heavy armors, a disadvantage that severely cuts into her available options.
The second issue is that the Rogue has rather poor skills. Inner Sight is amazing and constantly undervalued by players, but Cold Arrow and Fire Arrow are nothing to write home about when contrasted to the various special abilities provided by the other Hirelings. Getting more use out of a Rogue, much as is the case for a Barbarian or Iron Wolf, is a matter of tracking down good equipment as a result.
The final issue is that the Rogue does not count as an Amazon - so she's not able to use Amazon-exclusive items at all - this doesn't seem like a huge issue until you start tripping over Rare and unique Stag Bows and Ceremonial Bows, causing you to scream in annoyance each time you encounter a borderline-godlike bow that your Rogue will never be able to use.

Part the Fifth - Equipping Your Rogue:
Because the Rogue's skills are lackluster, there isn't much of a reason to buff them with + to Skill items. This works in your favor, as the Rogue relies more on damage bonuses from weapons and equipment than she does + to Skills items. Note that the Rogue's defense is poor; in order to get the most out of a Rogue Hireling, you will need to actively seek out lightweight Exceptional and Elite armor, such as Ghost Armor, Demonhide Armor, Dusk Shrouds, and Shakos.
It goes without saying, but you generally want the best bow you can find damage-wise. It helps to seek out rare and unique helms, armor, and circlets that provide damage bonuses; a circlet that gives good lightning damage, for example, is something of a golden goose for a Rogue, and definitely something that approaches "must grab" territory.
As is the case of the Iron Wolf and Barbarian, you can improve your Rogue's utility by getting her a piece of equipment that provides an Aura, though this does take a little foresight (and some luck with rune-hunting or unique drops!).

Part the Sixth - Why Take a Rogue?:
Take a Rogue as your Hireling if:
* You want solid, high-damage ranged support.
* You need to cut enemy defenses so they're easier to hit.
* You want a female hireling.
* You want to go through the game with your original Act 1 hireling.

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