Thanks for the offer, but the Batrachos Greaves dropped during my first run-through in normal mode, so their stats are terribly low. They're more of a curiosity item unfortunately, rather than something useful.
"Traps are pretty much all or nothing for early-mid game."
That's what I had figured. A Trapper is on my list of characters to try now.
I read your guide for a pure Nature character by-the-by, and it looks very promising! I'll have to give it a go sometime.
Did I say something about being willing to "chug along normal"? Well, I got my wish, heh. My Harbinger is a mighty level 15 so far, and just before I logged out a Fell Blade dropped. Polyphemus gave me a nice MI Cyclops Club, so things are looking up on the dual wielding front. I've seen others recommend one slow club paired with one fast weapon for best results, and it seems to be working well enough.
I've never messed around much with socketing items (to be honest, Hades and his damned vitality damage is what finally forced me to stop hoarding charms on my Bone Charmer) and it's shocking how much it costs to remove charms from items! I've had to make some tough decisions on whether or not a Boar's Hide charm is worth 70k gold at this stage. (It's not).
Playing a melee character is really giving me a sense of just how many monster exist purely to slow a character's movement and attack speed. It's absolutely infuriating, but so very satisfying when I finally get to wallop them into orbit. I don't think that'll ever get old!
Here's the build I'm using; I'm following the advice I've seen that recommends rushing to max out Temporal Flux as soon as possible, while trying to get Battle Standard as well. I now see exactly what you meant about feeling starved for skill points!
Heading towards the Gorgons now things are beginning to get rough; enough so that I'm thinking about dropping a few points from Lucid Dream to get Sands of Sleep to help CC archer groups. It may be a bad idea, but at the moment I'm spamming my lesser healing potions as soon as the cooldown is over, and the slower killing speed may be balanced out by a less stressful playing experience. But then again, Phantom Strike is calling to me....argh, too many good choices is almost as bad as too few!
While I kill fairly quickly, it's all one monster at a time, so I really feel like I'm wading against the current. I know things will change with more levels, but I think it's a combination of my being spoiled by the mighty marksmanship tree, and my Harbinger being poorly built at the moment.
Only two deaths so far (damn you, Cinderbone, and your deceptively strong fire aura!) and a 3:2 Strength: Dexterity attribute ratio has kept me well supplied with top-tier armor.
All-in-all, I'm having a great deal of fun with my baby Harbinger. Thanks again for all of your help!