Thursday, 28 November 2013

Speed leveling builds

thread 1 Xequi challenging people to beat his 1-69 time of 10:34:11

thread 2 started by vombat911, the winner of the challenge with 10:16:34

One player did it with 2h spec-throw, and considering the original challenge was completed with a 2h axe equipped, I'm going to guess it was either spec-throw or cyclone and more likely the former. A lot of "leveling" uniques were used, along with Foxshade which has added movespeed (and anyone who's raced before knows how important MS is.)

Now here's the question. Is it possible to solo speed-level at this rate, or something approaching it, using a different skill combination? If so what, if not why not?

Firetrap/poison-arrow until LMP then switch to LA, maybe. Storm Cloud -> Death's Harp -> ??? It's a pity about the lack of leveling unique bows past that. Quillrain/EA/Tabula setup, never change gear ever? EA has the well-deserved reputation of being pretty much the most independent skill in the game. Not sure how it does on speed though.

A spellbuild of some sort? Given DoT changes, I imagine a firetrap build with Searing Touch would scale really well, especially if one had a leveled Empower. Now there's a thought, Searing Bond as a burn damage trapper. It's still a support skill, but...oh, I digress. I don't think there are any leveling uniques for other elemental builds. EK's got this stupid long cast time, it's out for sure. Ditto, well, pretty well everything else with spells. Oh dear.

Given DoT changes again, maybe Viper Strike could do something? Flicker, splash, cast vulnerability, move on? Possibly with PA on weapon swap? Someone who's run the Chaos Acolyte build would know more about this than I do. But I don't think that's the solution either. Depends how well it all scales, and multiple leveled Empowers would be necessary.

Yeah, keeps on coming back to easily available uniques and all that. So. Sweep, groundslam, cleave? The usual, basically. Good 2h uniques are freely available. Same applies to this challenge as to races, it's either dw or 2h because 1h/shield is just too slow. Therefore probably not cleave, not any more. I'm pretty sure ST is strictly superior to the other two, too. Bah.

Cyclone rather than ST, or just use an LA build? ST's damage scaling is...not the best, let us say. Cyclone is level 24 requirement though, so there's still something to be done for the earlier leveling. Ditto LA, which only gets good after LMP.

Reave? Of all the stupid things...but I did spend an afternoon (including trading, chatting and miscellaneous time-wasting) clearing 1-50~ using a couple of good rare claws on ST/LMP because I was bored of Reave. Reave is almost always faster, in my experience, but ST is safer by quite a long shot. Did swap to cyclone at level 43 and it's actually really fast given my weapons and I MIGHT BE BIASED HERE BUT CLAWS ARE AWESOME OKAY. If I was going to try this challenge, I'd get a pair of Last Resorts, buy a couple of Cat's Paws from the indexer, and go claw crazy with those + the ones I already have. Bonus points because Whirling Blades is a scary-good movement skill.

Now there's another thought, running using good rares instead of uniques. Ungil's Gauche, Mightflay, Al Dhih. Mortem Morsu is strictly inferior to Mightflay, too bad for it. No unique leveling claws/daggers above that, and 1h swords (Reave, remember?) only have Prismatic Eclipse and Rebuke of the Vaal. Yeah, definitely needs to be rares once you're past Mightflay. Shucks.

In my experience, flat added damage is one of the most powerful things one can get hold of, early game. That makes it a really good idea to run Ignomon, Sadima's, Meginord, and yes Foxshade. Berek's X (pick two) would be ideal after level 20 and until merciless, provided resist caps are met. It's not much by way of added HP, but you know what? I really don't care. Claws are broken and it's not like HP matters until cruel a3 or later. Bonus points, flat damage scales really well with LA, which is a safe (ranged) build too. Only it'd run into boss trouble, or I could just call in a guildie to save like an hour total on act bosses.

Might be that stacking bonus damage is more important to early speed-leveling than a specific skill is. Hm. And that would make weaponry more important to later speed-leveling than skill choice. No, that's wrong, skill choice is important for general area coverage, just that it has to be well supported by good damage availability, from flat +dmg earlygame to good weapons later.

I'm going to pick up a bunch of these things now. Not Meginord, too expensive for me, but I'm willing to spend a few chaos to make leveling any new characters easier.

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