This guide is for the expansion set, though if you've played classic you're likely familiar with a build similar to this, though not broken like this one is. Now, before you're like wow this must be the best build ever there are of course some caveats. 1. You won't kill super quickly. Your kill speed is fine for a few players, but you're not going to solo 8 player games that quickly. 2. You can't pick up anything, though you have zero MF so it's really not going to matter much. 3. People are going to tell you your build sucks, because they don't know how to play D2. 4. You won't be able to wear your ideal gear until 85 and won't be super viable until the mid-90's.
So without rambling on further, the build:
20 Frozen Orb
rest into cold mastery (max at 99).
You're wanting tank gear, and the gear you want is probably not the gear you're used to. You want the following stats: integer damage reduction, magic damage reduction, FHR, DR, resist, block, sorb/stack. Lol does this even do damage? Actually yes. My sorceress does 360/bolt. While this isn't an enormous amount compared to your 1,200+ pvp orb sorcs, it works fine for PvM.
There are plenty of gear choices with these stats but I've been using the following setup for a few levels now and it's working out well:
Helm: Artisan's Diadem of Life Everlasting (25 integer DR, 3 sockets, Ber Ber Ber)
Chest: The Gladiator's Bane (Ber)
Belt: Thundergod's Vigor
Amulet: Arch Angel's amulet of Life Everlasting (+2 sorc, 25 integer DR), prefix doesn't matter much here. Mana is fun too.
Shield: Gerke's Sanctuary (Ber), if you can get one a prepatch safety shield would rule.
Rings: 2x Dwarf Star
Boots: Treks, if you can get them prepatch boots are cool too.
Weapon: Wizardspike, fhr/@res jewel, stats are good too. Switch: I use memory, everyone else has BO anyway.
Charms: Add scs to hit 86FHR Breakpoint, 70 resist all OVER the hell cap, dex for max block, str to wear gear, and all in energy. Torch/Anni then fill your inventory with life scs.
Fort, Andy's (FR/IAS jewel), Insight.
You're basically going to regen mana faster than you can take damage to it (like 1150% mana regen), and you're not going to take damage versus many enemies at all. I've tanked ancients, crazy packs of multiple uniques, and bosses for fun. I've survived mobs that have total party killed full Baal games, and I haven't died after equipping gear and not afk leeching to 85. I should probably just play Hardcore.
I'm approaching 98 atm, legit ofc, so I'm looking forward to actually doing my Baal quests and being able to rush people on my character.
So why is this so broken?
Well, most monsters don't actually deal much damage per hit. While rare packs of uniques can deal ~500 per hit, you're going to find ~100 is the common range for most monsters in the game and that damage is reduced to zero. Let's work with 500 though, physical damage only:
75% chance to just block it. NOTE: always walk.
90% of damage absorbed by energy shield. (50 left)
50 damage absorbed by PDR, zero damage taken.
Or without ES:
75% chance to block
~85 absorbed by PDR (415 left)
40% absorbed by DR (249 left) (of course with a 75% chance to block it anyway. But it gets even better.
Monsters that do this kind of damage are generally of the type or unique with mods that makes them do both a type of magic damage and physical damage; so you're MDR and PDR are both applied to the attack. In addition, if the damage overflows one; say all magic damage is absorbed by MDR, a bug in the game makes the MDR absorb physical damage at its full amount so you take even less. I just tank dolls while friends kill. They're totally harmless.
I hope you have fun with this not so cookie cutter build and let me know how it goes. I'm happy to offer hints or help for anyone who asks, or show you my character in-game on USEast.
See that's what I thought doing the numbers myself when I initially made this character but after thousands of runs it just hasn't happened. I had to juv/s&e out of 1 situation with 3 unique packs. the mob needs mana burn/extra strong/amp to see to do much at all to me. I don't have a good mathematical explanation for this. Perhaps it's the order mana damage is applied? is it applied after the normal damage? my orb regens to full in ~1 second. Is it possible that mana draining attacks simply don't break ES? I'll need to test this but it is really sturdier than I thought it would be.