Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Something else came up. Again.

I'm doing my best here, but a series of real life events is reaching its conclusion with a permanent international move. See you on the flip side whenever I get a gaming machine.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Vaal Pact, necessary or even recommended?

I made a 211pdps wand courtesy of Elreon's metamod. For the first time since game start, wanding is actually within my reach. Seeing as I'm in an old-fashioned phase at the moment, CI wander it is.

Since the change to VP went through, I've seen a marked decrease in the number of CI builds using it. That said, I'm way out of touch with CI in general.

build link

Because, well, why not. The alternative is to head down to Ondar's, for a similar point count and some more dex, as one of the CI guides does. A quick poke at the CI wander guides available show that none (out of 3) go to VP; of the HP wanders, two (out of 5) do. It definitely looks like VP isn't as essential to CI as it used to be.

If not for VP, the build would probably do better from shadow start. Guess we'll find out eventually.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Wand marauder

Random thought as I'm picking through the build lists to find wanders. Can you make one (okay fine you probably can) and how playable is it?

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Bringing back the good old days

Okay, not really. But Tiurakh is now running an LS build, and LS has pretty much dropped off the map otherwise (Mjolner notwithstanding, and man did my predictions for that item ever turn out badly.) I don't believe LS is all that bad.

I don't have a link to the thread any more, but if you were around in beta you probably know about Invalesco's CI crit dagger build.

updated passive tree

Everything else maybe as listed, maybe not. LS LMP AFD WED would be the 4L, since the latter two affect both melee and ranged sides of the skill. DS, Vaal DS. Maybe possibly. I'd run Hatred and Discipline. Incandescent Heart maybe? Looks pretty good for CI, only the light radius thing, it's like the CI equivalent of Lightning Coil. In any case it's possible to force offcolours now so a good Vaal Regalia will also do fine.


Monday, 15 September 2014

Well, that didn't work out.

I specced my 67 marauder in SC to this planned build.

Didn't work, not enough DPS. No, not really. DPS was...not spectacular, could clear docks, didn't do as well in maps as I'd've liked but it was more a survivability issue than a damage one. Also the single target sucks.

See that post for skilltree. Links: flicker - multi - prolif - increased burning - WED. Got to about 10k armour with Grace, I think. Realised I rely a lot more on block than is actually visible, most of the time. Tooltip DPS is no good for burn builds, didn't count it.

I tested with splash (prolif gave higher clear speed and takes its place pretty well), never needed chance to ignite, got more straight damage from the combination of WED and increased burning than from fire pen in either of those slots. Tested without multistrike and it was unbearably slow. So much for that.

Vulnerability self cast is too much micromanagement - works fine for stationary type builds like poison arrow, but when you're flickering all over the place it's trigger gem or nothing. Not sure putting it on trigger would work either but it's gotta be worth a shot.

Used blood dance boots, because didn't have a fire leech anything handy. Didn't really matter because I was taking way too much damage. Two ways to solve that, and one might get me killed on reflect because I'm pretty sure the other already hit diminishing returns. In any case, I'm very map mod limited on this build, so it's not much fun there.

Really, the essential problem here seems to be that prolif builds are once and done, whereas a flicker build relies on constant motion. Therefore, I'd need disproportionate DPS to play flicker proliferate.

You know what? This was a non crit build and I can clear docks with it. Might be a crit version has enough damage to manage the other. Gotta plan that one to try. Might be I can put splash instead of prolif because damage is sufficient, and then I'd get the benefit of culling strike.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Finding that perfect balance

not quite my build, but close enough

There was a point in Cruel where I realised my DPS with cascade had dropped sharply. Pretty sure that wasn't supposed to happen with absolutely no gear changes...but wait, there was a passive change, I'd taken another AoE node.

Conc.e fixed that real quick.

Character is currently 77, running EB+AA without MoM, no trouble holding his own in a map group. Links are GC - added lightning - conc.e - PCoC.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Oro's Sacrifice flicker multi for HC

What do you mean it won't work, not enough DPS? Try me.

Concept: flicker multi with Oro's Sacrifice. It's been done before, though there are no 1.2 updated builds.

skill tree

RM - Grace - Herald of Ash?
flicker - multi - splash? - prolif? - increased burning or WED, or both, or chance to ignite, or fire pen
CDT - the usual
Vulnerability, that leech curse, TC, enfeeble

- Current tree doesn't do AA, but we'll see, some way of getting around increased damage taken would be cool
-  Lots of HP nearby if this proves insufficient

- Ideally I want something with fire leech. If I can corrupt the sword to something useful, like fire leech, so much the better.

- Multistrike isn't nice, considering loss of damage, but it's probably a necessary sacrifice.
- I have no idea how to level this character up, but I bet it will be fun! Fire traps probably.
- 5L dropped for me in the right colours, so I'm planning for a 5L

Mostly I'm thinking about the links after flicker strike. If splash gives multiple frenzy charges with Oro's the way it does with power charges and Voll's, then sustainability is not an issue and multi is not necessary. Probably. At the cost of attack speed. There's 15% chance to ignite on the tree, 20% more from the sword, 10% from a q20 increased burning if I'm doing that, 40ish from chance to ignite but let's try not to go there.

Oh well we'll see.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Nothing is legacy any more. Almost nothing.

This has consistently been one of the most popular previous posts. I'm glad to say it's no longer relevant.

Most recently, with Forsaken Masters patch, Zana offers the chance to run maps as though you were in a previous league - including legacy drops from that league. Recently confirmed, though I've suspected something was up from day one of the patch when Shavronne's Revelation was updated in patch notes.

And hell, I'm glad they did something about it. I'd rather see my "investment" values dropping than not, because of what it represents. I don't know that people will consistently run anything but Onslaught and in 6-groups, considering Nemesis costs 2ex, but prices are easy to tweak, and even if they aren't tweaked, when headhunter prices go high enough people will start trying.

As usual, GGG has come up with a better solution than I could ever have thought of. Major props to them, and this is why I'm a player and not a dev. 

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Oh, we're just winging it...

...the guys who actually planned their builds are over in room 7.

True story from guild voice chat. I decided on my skill of choice when looking at the quest reward selection. Mostly I did it because apparently FP got a buff and I already knew what the skill gems were. I finally sat down to make my plan at level 49, with 5 points to allocate and with a decent idea of how much %HP to aim for.

proposed skill tree

FP - GMP - LL - something something. It's been lovely so far.
IS - increased crit damage - PCoC - increased crit chance? Got ICD from act 1 normal reward at Merveil, found out it freeze-locked really well, never looked back. The others I don't know about. In particular, I hate having to deal with power charge generation by single target.
Herald of Ice has been awesome. Might run Clarity, might run Discipline, go for AA, the usual EB MoM thing.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

I have a problem with the skill tree update.

If you're reading this, you probably got here from one of my two guides on the main forum. They've made it through multiple skill tree revisions more-or-less intact, though the original classes they were posted under are no longer the optimal ones for them (go figure). When I respecced characters for it, I went with the ones who were already geared up, so I knew the stats both before and after.

And now I have a problem. 

With the same gear, the former 220%~ HP and the new 160%~ bring me to roughly the same number, which is about 4.5k. I'm short 150-200HP from before. This is a bit distressing, considering I'm using a legacy Rain and some really good HP gear, but there's always that circle below Scion and there's DW block there too.

I specced my ranger with all the easily reachable HP nodes, and am down 600HP from before. (The difference was in the nodes below and in duelist, my builds are fairly similar otherwise.) Whoops, 3.5k, not going there. I guess there's still that circle below Scion, gonna take a bit of juggling to get there though.

"There's always that circle below Scion." Why do I have to go for that? This isn't a complaint post about having to change, because change can be good; it's a complaint that I now have to stretch further to meet the same requirement, so I lose flexibility in other areas. I've already taken all the HP-relevant nodes in the areas I pass by.

Oh, we're changing up how HP base and skilltree interact, so you should have less worries about taking HP in the skilltree, and can take damage. Turns out the exact opposite is true, isn't it? I have to reach more HP clusters to get to the same value of HP as I did before. Reaching more HP clusters takes travel points too. Before, I was able to more-or-less pick and choose which clusters to take and what my routes should be. Now, I have to take all of the reasonably reachable ones, and some unreasonable too, and work the rest of my build around them. (Which I'm aware is how most regular HCers always did things, yes. Those builds regularly made 300% HP. My point stands and you can use logic to work out why.)

What gives, GGG? Don't you have someone who can do math?

Monday, 4 August 2014

A build working against itself

It's the last couple weeks before another big reset, and I have a couple of characters to play with. One's a witch and I specced her to a CWS setup. Link to example

Might notice that's an old thread. Specifically, skill builds are gone. I decided to try something else - stun goes through whether or not the damage is blocked, so I figured I could do a high block build and take minimal damage. What damage I did take, I figured I'd leech it back, or use other methods like Shavronne's Revelation, Aegis Aurora, Zealot's Oath, etc.

It might have worked, but for the fact that Aegis's effect requires armour to function effectively. More armour = less stuns. GG Kiri.

In other words, I can't realistically do docks, even with auras turned off. I've been stunlocked to death on an Aegis character (including Grace Determination) on 74+ vulnerability maps with 5k hp, so it's not completely impossible, but this is the first character I've made which has a lower level limit of zones rather than an upper one.

Getting triple shockstacked in Barracks helps, but not nearly enough. I'm thinking I should go for a Shackles of the Wretched.

I could just drop the Aegis idea. Got a shadow hanging around, and enough pure ES gear to give it a shot. Meh.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Wait, there's a comment spam filter?!

I just clicked the tab on my email that I never click on, by accident, and it turns out all the comments have been going to spam and I didn't even notice. Goodness. Turns out to all be spam, but still, I didn't even notice!

Meanwhile, I've been poking around back in the game. Computer's not fixed yet, but I've found a workaround - it's been stable throughout my 1MHC play time, so hopefully it will stay that way! Life is good right now and I'm really looking forward to 3MHC...and yes, I'll probably start posting again. Soon(tm).

If you're wondering why those two updates are concurrent, it's because I checked my email when my guild leader told me to. Yeah. Round of applause for current #1 and #2 in 1MHC, by the way. They're crazy, but awesome. Edit: RIP

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

On leave

My GPU is acting up, and it's gotten to the point where I can't play Path. My screen blacks out occasionally and it's cost me a few deaths in SC build testing. And by occasionally, I mean reliably.

Have you ever tried playing Path without looking at all, relying on your last glimpse of the screen to control your character for 5 or 10 seconds? The screen flickers back into life for half a second, allowing you to readjust your strategy, and goes dark again. Repeat ad infinitum. That's not playable by any definition.

I'd fill in the blanks with theory, but what good is theory crafting? There's a whole backlog of Things Kiri Wants To Try, already, from over the months. I'm tired of doing theory all day and never getting to test it, not even when I'm right here at my computer. I'm not even any better at it than anyone who's got a build thread up - and there are a lot of those - I just got here first.

In short. What good is this whole blog thing if I can't play the game I enjoy?

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Where are all the mana nodes?

I put the gear back together for my dual-claws character, now a level 83 duelist, and started joining random map parties. Bought a ring or two, too. But at almost 10 aps with dualstrike, I'm running out of mana all the time.

No problem, take out a couple of points, put into the two mana nodes right near duelist start.

Still running out of mana. Maybe 2% leech isn't enough, maybe now I need 4%. The difference is small but noticeable. So is the difference when I take off my amulet, the one with the 30 int and 30 max mana. Hmm...guess it's time to do math, for the first time in a year. Mostly I don't bother doing exact calculations for this game.


8.57 aps, divide by 3 for multistrike, multiply by 66 mana per cast, is 188.54 mana per second.

11.5k pdps, multiply by 0.02, is 230 theoretical mana leech per second, assuming 100% efficiency. Before the changes to leech, this was sufficient provided your max mana could handle it. Since there is a noticeable difference between 2 and 4, I'm assuming 100% efficiency is not the case, at least in the former.

690 max mana, multiply by 0.125, is 86.25 mana leech per second capped. Huh. Let's try that again, and this time factor in base and increased mana regen. 690*0.14=96.6, approximately 100.

Is that right? I'm losing about 90 mana per second, which drains my 400~ unreserved mana in about 5 seconds total. Yeah, that looks about right.

In order to reach the equivalent point, 14% of max mana should equal about 200 mana. Give or take. Thus, I would need 1430~ max mana to sustain this kind of attacking indefinitely.

I'm looking at about 420 base mana, excluding items. (581 mana at +32% without gear, and there's a flat +mana node at shadow.) The easily available mana nodes are 3 at duelist for +32, 2 at ranger for +16 but separated by Primal Spirit, 2 near point blank for +16, and 3 near Charisma for +32. Plus travel nodes. Total of +96%, with +100% mana regen. I'll still need about 700~ total base mana, or +260 from gear, which is unreasonable when one considers the rest of the gear requirements. This solution is also very skillpoint intensive. EB is much easier, if you don't mind finding endgame-tier ES gloves and belt. Assume rainbowstrides.

I suppose there's a good reason Exalton went soultaker on his offhand. Several good reasons.

Quick and dirty: Cyclone takes 131~ mana, so with a reasonably long cast it'll be sufficient. Reave takes 37~, so all of a sudden we're looking at easy sustainability.

edit: Clarity is probably the answer here, but I'm not going to math it. 

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

No such thing as an original idea

thread link

It's rather different from most of the RF builds in the guides written for it. It's also rather expensive, like wait why do you need to MF when you have a 6L shav, but other than that the gear requirement is actually really reasonable.

Every post-patch RF setup will be a bit different from how it's currently done (most of the time anyway), since snapshotting will be removed. Well, the above linked won't be, but that's out of my reach too.

I'll likely put Purity of Fire in a +2+1 wand with RM and Empower, to cheat it to 20 from 16. The classic spectre-summoner method of reducing resists applies, which is ele weakness + flammability + EE, and shockstacks on top of that. After all, I'll need all the damage boosts I can get.

The passive tree shouldn't change too much, but I'm holding off on that until post-patch because it might change again. (Grr. I get why they do it, but who likes change really?)

previous post link

Friday, 13 June 2014

How do shrimp and gobies find each other?

It's been a while since guilds were introduced to Path, to great acclaim. It's a good thing, in the sense that more ways to connect with people is good for a multi-player persistent environment. It also serves a unique purpose that was previously absent of in-game support, that is, connecting groups of more than two people in the long term. Even better.

But there is another side to the story. Guilds have a large overlap of functionality with every other form of player interaction. This leads to the situation in which many players, upon finding a guild in which they fit, rarely or never interact outside of it.

All well and good, if that's what they want.

If it isn't? Well, global chat is full of trolls and rarely gives a good answer to anything, and good luck holding a conversation in there. Besides the PCs and things that should rightly belong in /trade. The public party board is full of trade parties, and anyway the docks and map parties are generally full of people who tend to either die or take ten thousand years to clear a map - or worse, get their partymates killed along with themselves. Trade chat is trade chat, no more need be said. Everything else involves the use of third parties, be it forums, reddit or even RL.

It wasn't always this way. My first few friends, other than the ones I already knew from other games, were out of /global. That was way back when. I also got a couple of good ones out of the friends-list network, which was the only reliable way to build a solid map group. Those were proto-guilds, back in the day, only infinitely more flexible.

The point is, a lot of people who had previously sought interaction by other (in-game) means are now confining themselves to the guild. Means the other channels of social interaction are becoming wastelands. Even if you wanted to make friends there, it would be pretty hard to do, since nobody else does.

I realise this is all a bit exaggerated. Certainly the situation is not as dire as I've made it out to be. And there are plenty of guilds with few or inactive members. On the other hand, is this the kind of multiplayer you want in a game?

(For an explanation of the post title, click here.)

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Crit vs non-crit

It's a different feeling altogether, I swear.

I had this one character, an Aegis Rain one. She didn't get her passives forcibly reset, I made like 20% xp getting carried by the Mjolner discharge guy on my fl, and then I got bored of her and used the 1.1.3 respec. Exactly the same build, except where I had taken 1h damage nodes previously, I now took crit instead. Oh, and I went through Charisma this time, which allows me enough free mana to run my skill of choice on mana rather than BM.

Played solo: three maps this round, two before and one after the respec. The first was a nightmare damage map. Shocking ground, vulnerability, extra damage as fire, minus max, rolled cinder elementals. It was a sharp reminder that Aegis does not equal invincible. The last was a spider forest with Igna and Tinevin, call it play testing. Went off without a hitch, at least in the survivability sense. I'm going to have to work on damage some more.

So that's the story. What did I learn?

The noncrit double striker played almost like RF, in the sense that you walk in pressing a button, and their HP goes down slowly but steadily. The crit one was rather choppy - sometimes it moved fast, and sometimes it didn't. I value consistency, so it "felt" worse, even given similar dps.

Crit multiplier is important. Yes, really. So's crit chance, but given enough aps, it'll average out. I'm currently at 9~aps with 6 frenzies, but 150% multi. The route to advancement is pretty clear, I think! Only fear is it'll exacerbate the above mentioned problem.

To do:

Add crit multiplier. And crit chance? I can't really spare a PCoC unless I plan to use the same attack for single and multi target, and I'm bored of that anyway. So...change amulets, see if I can get enough resists from it to swap in a Romira's Banquet. Wonder if Tempest + PCoC would proc. Though I'd have to switch back to using BM for main skill, since it'll eat all my mana and then some.

And where do I go from here?

    From previous post:
    I'm sure there are ways to make aegis blocking characters that don't also bore me to tears. This just isn't one of them. More when I figure out what is, but Cybil's might feature, or something that takes advantage of Aegis WED.

I might start with flickermulti, that's always good for a laugh, at least until new leagues. The final destination probably isn't even Aegis Rain any more. Might be I'll make a LL character with a Solaris. Might make it a CDT/CWS character even. CI with a Lightbane or what the other one was, do a support character with that one sword. Maybe next reset.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

If I died in my sleep, you wouldn't know anything about it

but thankfully I'm not dead. Just out of town until end of July. No playtest updates until then. (7 May 2014)

EDIT: Something happened, the details of which I will not share, and I fly back tonight. Date of post has been changed to reflect this. (3 June 2014)

Template for build (freeze lock)

courtesy of Lyralei

I don't always do that much math, but in the case of getting freeze chance sky-high and perma freezing, it makes sense to calculate cast speed, freeze duration, etc.

Everyone tries their hand at the coldsnap perma freeze build at one point or another. Sometimes it works. My attempt was nearly a year ago now, before Romira's, and it didn't. I haven't revisited the concept yet...actually IDEA. What ever did happen to coldsnap trapping? It'll probably work. I hope it will.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Thinking of a lazy MF build

Given that I've already played straight spectre summoner twice, that one's out.

For the new leagues after Ambush/Invasion, I want to make a MF farmer in the HC league. For once I'll actually have the time to put into playing, so a farm character and then some interesting other characters without being severely limited by finances.

After discussion with my theorycraft buddy, we settled on RF because why not. It's easy to level as SB, in theory. And doesn't really get lazier than RF. Maybe I'll do a CWS/CDT build in SC but I'm not sure it's entirely appropriate for HC.

RF - AoE/conc.e - IBD - IIR

Or something. I can usually afford a 1ex major item by level 60~ on a new character, so Phoenix is just about right. 

Friday, 30 May 2014

What goes into a build?

Charan posts too much

Definitely worth the read, an analysis of why and how Charan does character builds. If you read nothing else, read the Assassin's Creed spoiler tag. I don't do exactly the same, but we all have similar definitions of success. Usually this involves bringing a build to whatever point we consider "winning the game" and moving on.

You'll see a lot more numbers and mechanics efficiency talk in my posts concerning building and playing characters, where Charan goes for style points instead. End goal is not too dissimilar though: this is my character, I made it, it works how I want it to, I win the game. Let's play again!

(Sometimes I lose. Oh well, RIP. Let's play again!)

Friday, 23 May 2014

Minion-on-crit, part two

thread link

I feel like this post is really long overdue. And I'll probably never learn to stop chatting in docks no matter how many deaths it leads to. But on with the plot!

Concept: lots and lots of minions, all augmented by auras. Went with RS, since arguably it puts out more minions than any other skill can, and quantity over quality because auras add quality all on their own.

How I got to this point: post 1 post 2 post 3 post 4 post 5

I made post 1 around the planning stage, and then threw one of my existing respecs in there. She was CI and I ran out of mana, hence post 2. Post 3 was made when I thought I wasn't going to get hold of a Torment, and indeed I didn't manage it in Invasion, but found a lucky claw on xyz allowing me to go RS after all. If with a much smaller margin of error. That claw is now in SC, yay me.

Switched to CoC at 58 though it could have gone earlier. Spent 10 levels with it, mostly in docks. If you're interested in how levels 1-60 went, see posts 4 and 5.


Now it gets interesting, since I was working on an incredibly small budget before, and taking less "risks" with it. By which I mean, although I was pretty sure the character was map-capable, I didn't put her through it because docks is still less risky than even lunaris and I didn't need to leave yet. Ah, the joys of HC.

First thing I did was finish running my A3M quests immediately, including Dominus, on the exact setup I died with just to prove I could. Second thing I did was shake up my gear. Replaced rings with Torment, replaced claw with a dagger I had on hand, moved gear around to cap resists. Those two changes (ring and dagger) were the absolute most significant. Except for getting a 5L, but that would've cost as much as everything else combined and then some.

A note on budget. Aside from leveling gear such as Shiversting, the total cost of everything I was using when I died was approximately 15-20c in invasion. Thief's Torment would've been 1-2ex, or more than my entire character was worth up to that point. A high crit high aps dagger with no other stats might have been a few c. My current SC dagger, at 200pdps, is probably worth somewhat more, but most of the damage still comes from my summons so the pdps is a wasted stat. (Replace RS with any spell of your choice or none at all, you'll see my point.)

In any case, I then proceeded to level up in maps a couple of times before getting bored and half-leveling an Ambush character. The few levelups I did make went to ias and hp, no surprises there. In effect, the character's progression ended at 70~ with the listed gear, and further improvements are merely incremental.

I'm thinking Alpha's, where did I leave my Alpha's Howl again. Actually, why am I not using Tabula? Oh, don't mind me, just thinking out loud here. And I have no minion nodes whatsoever. Didn't think them necessary, for the most part; I'd consider taking the one cluster down below EE, but that's it.

There's not very much of the aura-support idea left in here, is there? The auras do contribute a significant amount of dps, as measured by clear speed when I forget to turn them on, but it's not flashy at all. Might be I could try dual-totems again now that I have a Torment, but the whole point of dual totems was to avoid reflect/thorns, and I'm not having trouble with reflect/thorns. Plus, I'm pretty sure the shockstacks are mine, minions don't crit much. Shockstacks are good.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Updates on CoC #2

Changed out one of the Ungil's Gauche knives for a Cybil at level 50 when I was running into survivability trouble. Part of that has to be because I went glass cannon, which is kind of a really bad idea when you have 1k hp at level 50 and are getting constantly oneshot. It got me through Dominus anyway, if only by zerging him, and A1M is easy compared to A3xC. Did I mention that I think something's overtuned there yet? Have 1.4k hp in merc ledge and mostly I'm doing fine, but adding HP nodes as I go along. It's helping.

Current play style: walk up and attack face. When critting, the combination of Cybil LoH and phys leech keeps my HP relatively high even with 20 stacks corrupted blood. On unlucky crit streaks (3 or more noncrit rolls in a row), which happens fairly often at 40% crit chance before PCs and 60% with them, well...I have a granite and a life flask. Both see almost constant use.

Most certainly not playable in current state in HC. For one, I wouldn't even be CoC yet. For two, I'd've routed below scion and through the life wheel, rather than above witch for the PC and AoE.

Been thinking of going CI, but that'll require a lot of tweaking. Project for SC then, I guess. Maybe I'll even be able to go Aegis.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Molten Strike shotguns.

It is glorious. As in better than dualstrike for single target, better than reave for multi target.

Something else of note, increased AoE radius seems to affect the visual representation of offshoot projectiles not at all, but I think the hitboxing is still changed. AoE radius also affects the area in which they land. I'm playing MS with cascade on crit, and when it lands, whoa. I think I might try out EE with it too.

Full concept post another time, seeing as I made pretty much every decision for this character on a whim. Oh hey, there's a new skill I get as reward, let's see how this goes. Mmm, shiny. Ah, I have enough crit chance to go CoC, let's do that 20 levels earlier than planned with a different skill than planned. Etc.

Oh, and RIP my summoner. I know better than to stand around chatting in docks with mobs on screen not dead yet. Except apparently I don't. So I'll finish testing on SC. One good thing coming of it, I have a Torment on SC and it really does work much better with it.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

You're all happy that I don't show my vicious streak in this game.

So I was going through my collection of links and I found this one. I've talked enough about the subject before, and this is a fair warning to everyone, if you party for bandits make really sure you know the guy or are prepared to get the @#$% out immediately. Enjoy!

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Minion-on-crit, part one

tl;dr It works, great success, further improvements necessary. You'd think I'd learn to make shorter posts.

Mind you, success is relative. I've made it work in City of Sarn at level 58. This doesn't mean it'll work through the 70s and in maps, but it's a prerequisite to doing so if you're leveling a build the old-fashioned way. Note: I did not clear act bosses on my own after a3c. For some of them (Brutus, Vaal, etc), it was convenient to get a party kill or a rush; for others (Oak, Piety, Dominus) it was an admission that my build wasn't up to handling them. Not at that time or that level: this is still a work in progress and I'm figuring it out as I go along. More on that later.

Damage progression:
> pick up 2h sword with lightning damage at level 44, replacing Geofri's Baptism. This works well enough in ledge. With a party for survivability reasons.
> buy fantastic level 50 req claw for 2c (150edps, high aps, 8 crit, 15 LoH), switch into it at 54 because that was the level of the shield I had, losing almost 100dps in the process. At this point I have no clear speed to speak of, and I never had patience anyway. Doesn't matter in a fellshrine party.
> pick up a few crit nodes, realise I'm freezing mobs in city semi-reliably and that my dps is fine when I crit, decide that makes it time to change to Voll's. The tipping point for that seems to be about 20-25%, incidentally. Anything lower and I don't crit enough to reliably generate and keep charges, but I can get charges going easily enough at 22% crit before PCs. It's entirely possible I could've skipped the low-dps phase of the earlier few levels by simply taking crit nodes earlier. Learning experience!

Several hours, 10c equivalent, and a lot of time on xyz later, I manage to overcap resists without relying on body armour. My crit rate goes to 40% after power charges. Since I have 15 LoH on the claw and 2 on a ring, I figure I'll drop the LoH gem so I can CoC. This has not come back to bite me yet, but it's only a matter of time until I run into major lightning thorns. Ele reflect does not appear to be a problem. Yet.

Current setup:
ST - LMP - CoC - RS
RM - Clarity - Wrath - Anger (not actually running this one, it's just hanging around)
Animate Weapon - Increased Duration - Flesh Offering
Skeles - totem - blind - minion life

Current skill tree at level 61

Clear speed: about equivalent to my last HC character at the same level in the same zone, with about the same survivability although it takes more thought/attention to use it.


The original plan involved a Thief's Torment, but the cheapest one listed on xyz is 1.5ex. So much for that. 5L Voll's, 2ex minimum. Yeah, no thanks either. I got really lucky with the edps on the claw, but it should have worked - however well - with just the ias and crit on the same base. Maybe dual wielding for more LoH/aps would have worked, but resists are hard enough to handle as-is. The original plan also involved dual wielding daggers and taking dagger nodes. For obvious reasons, those are the absolute last nodes I'm going for, and until then (and a 5L Voll's and/or a Torment) the claw will do. This is the budget option.

Swapping the CoC/RS for LoH on ST went a lot better than expected. I was expecting major survivability trouble from cutting 2/3 of my HP return, particularly since I'd already been in several situations where it was leech or die. You know, the usual claw build thing. But I didn't count on the extra targets provided by the spirits. This is #1 reason I can get away without a LoH gem, I believe.

Raging spirits are doubly limited in this build. One limit is time. They frequently disappear on me. Another limit - which I didn't plan for - is targets. Between my own damage, skeles and other spirits, mobs die fast enough that a couple of throws in and there aren't enough targets to crit any more. So yes, I do get more spirits out when I'm in a party, and around mobs with the allies cannot die aura. Current record is 40+ on Grath and his buddies. Regularly caps out at 7-8 single target (rares, bosses) or 10-12 in a mob, 20ish if it's a larger or more resilient mob, but they disappear pretty fast after that as critters die. The point of comparison is a dual-totems RS summoner I was partied with one of the days, who had a consistent 16, or the spirits cap, which is 50. Clearly I need more skulls. Nothing I can do about the targets, the majority of spirits are always going to be summoned in the first throw or two. But I can make them last longer with a skill cluster directly below Scion. I can also run GMP instead of LMP. It's possible that increasing crit would help, as with a higher proportion of crits, so less "dead" hits, I'll get more summons per damage dealt before target dies. Maybe.

Gave up on animate guardian. Probably going to use Leer Cast on myself if I can manage resists. In other words, probably not. Anything else, such as tanking/damage, was icing on the cake. From my experience this weekend, it would've been minor anyway.

Zombies don't last long without minion HP nodes or the life gem. At the moment, they feel like extra animated weapons. Entire build seems pretty much focused on minions being disposable, anyway. While a durable zombie horde would be fantastic, my previous summoner experience was that you soak damage either with a skeletotem or with zombies. It isn't necessary to do both and I was very rarely bringing up my skeletotem when I had a full set of 10 zombies. I'll be trying very hard to make zombies work, but if I have to give them up, so be it. I'll live.

I find myself pressed for time. Need to crit to summon spirits, means need to attack. But there's also flesh offering to cast, and weapons to animate, in between positioning for survival, including kiting. This is a great deal harder than right click afk builds.

Want Haste. Where's that minion spreadsheet gone? Not sure I'll be able to run both Anger and Hatred, so I'll pick one based on the spreadsheet. Assuming I can get rid of Clarity some way. In the first place, I picked it up because Voll's meant I was using my flasks too often, but the ideal situation doesn't involve flasks at all. I'm working on it, alright?

And speaking of mana, it's worth considering using a level 1 ST instead of the one I leveled. Should alleviate the GMP cost increase a little.

This build should warrant at least a proof-of-concept post in the main forum once I'm through lower maps, since the specific setup doesn't appear to have a thread yet. I'm looking forward to it...unless someone else gets there first. Still a bit salty about the guy who posted IB+splash facebreakers literally the day before I was going to. Oh well. Remind me to talk about the evolution of forum build threads one of these days, too.

For my next CoC build, I'm going Glacial Cascade

This one guy I met this weekend was using it, and it looks way cool. Double strike - splash - multi - CoC - cascade. Or maybe lose the multi and add LoH. Might spec my Aegis character to it because why not. Or something.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Racing and perception

Races never go quite the way you'd expect. For a general start: how many people do you think play each class, in a no-projectile race?

Would you believe that witches outnumber rangers, and that both of them outnumber scions?

What it looks like, from my perspective, is that people get so used to Scion = ST that they forget to consider any other potential alternative. On the other hand, everyone knows witches and rangers have to kill Hillock with their bare hands, and a fair few of them have figured out that firestorm, firetrap and reave exist. Fire, by the way, is a fantastic way to handle no-projectile racing, for this exact reason. The metagamers who don't poke into the statistics are likelier to pick one of witch/ranger, while scion gets passed over because, well, scion's a good racer and she starts with a usable weapon, right?

Which means my 2h cleave/leapslam scion gets a free pass to the top. I am okay with this. It's not quite refined yet, but considering all I knew when I started the race was (1) scion gets cleave from Hillock (2) race stats show that the meta go-to class is scion (3) I've never played cleave in my life (4) I'm going to do it as melee on almost 300 ping...

...I'm going to say that worked out pretty well.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Reminds me of that one video

You know, the one with the firestorms when CDT first came out.

This week promises to continue being tricky - "14 hour meeting on Sunday" tricky - but here's another take on the CDT setup. It probably won't scale too well into late, given its apparent reliance on Punishment which doesn't scale well, but that's why these things are tested.

There are a couple of actual CDT/CWS builds out there - see witch builds list - but I'm not fully convinced of their HC viability. Bet they'll be fun though and I should totally spec one of my SC characters for it. When I have the time. Reworking characters takes a while, like a couple weekends of play time. =\

Until next time, HF and stay safe.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Mjolner: cast on crit, only without the crit!

Barrage chain is sufficient #hits to make a decent CoC try LS GMP LMP chain with the +1 chain in weapon. Probably multistrike too, and LoH. I should probably make that setup anyway. Kill nothing, but projectiles all over the screen ought to be quite amusing. That or I could go curse on hit...

To keep with the theme, obviously I'd use storm call! but practically speaking, arc/spark might be better use. For anti-reflect purposes, LL gem. Double up using two of these maces for maximum lulz.

My prediction is that Mjolner will end up in the 1-2ex range in any league which actually matters (read: not SC.) That's pretty much the going rate for an endgame unique gimmicky weapon. Isn't it interesting how certain prices always settle at certain rates? Looking at you, Dream Fragments. But in any case it'll be affordable enough by the time I reach that level. If I reach that level. Path of Rerolling FTL.

The proto-build in my phone memory (I use the skill tree planner app) is labeled THammer. Bit of a legacy from my Fire Emblem days, love those games. The build's short about 100 each of str/int directly from passives at 90 points. That means Astra, or more likely it means I'll hunt down a statball amulet. Statballs are hilarious in addition to being frequently useful. And why do templars always need to take a roundabout route out of their startzone?

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Animate Guardian is the bomb.

Literally. I have minion instability.

The explosion tends to kill whatever it was getting mobbed by, but if it doesn't improve in survivability in the next 20~ levels, I'll have to drop the gem. It's a bit much work to keep it active, and it takes up valuable sockets in my gear.

The original plan was to stack uniques on it for a utility guardian:
- Ambu's Charge, Lightbane Raiment, Zahndethus' Cassock. Probably one of the latter two, because I was also planning on block.
- Asenath's Gentle Touch would be really cool, but curse override if I was running a curse. I'd totally go facebreakers if I thought it would accomplish anything. Maybe it will. Or Shackles of the Wretched, just for lulz. It keeps blowing up. >.>
- Leer Cast, obviously
- some shield with lots of block, so probably Crest of Perandus, but this one isn't set in stone. Or dual Ungils.

More I think about it, facebreakers seem like a better option. Eh. All this is worth nothing if the stupid guardian won't stay alive!

And finally. Reinventing the wheel, you heard it here first:

I don't have enough crit to matter, but static blows is shockingly good with an ele sword and Wrath. Also, damage auras are noticeable when you have a pile of weapons and skeletons with you. Or alone. None of this might be new, not even to me, but it's always gratifying to see exactly how much difference it makes. And I got 5 stash tabs last week and I still have only 2 in use, out of 9 total, and another 2.5 full of stone hammers. Yeah. 

Friday, 4 April 2014

I guess this means I'm going buzzsaw.

build link

Link is approximate. Planning on using Voll's for power charges, because nothing else is nearly as reliable. 

ST - GMP - LoH - [CoC/WED] - [RS]
Barrage - Chain - LoH - [CoC/WED] - [RS]

See, the problem with that is that the CoC setup is for a 5L Voll's with 3 green. That's really not easy. At least, it's not affordable in my remaining play time for this set of leagues. (Ditto for the 5L Windripper.)

Remaining skills:
skeles - totem - blind - [minion life] (4L #1)
flesh offering - increased duration - animate weapon - [WED] (4L #2)
zombies - added lightning Q20 - proliferation - [minion damage] (3L #1)
animate guardian - minion life - minion resist (3L #2)
desecrate (unset ring)
RM - (damage auras) (4L #3)

That's all neatly wrapped up then. It's an ele buzzsaw with an army. Should have time, if I don't rip, to get this to maps.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

this is what you're supposed to do

So I was playing Path of Exile this weekend, and of course the question comes up, what build are you planning to make?

"cast on crit raging spirits"

Oh no, that's a really bad idea, because cast on crit is meant for big flashy one shot moves. That's why skills with delay, like storm call, are bad with cast on crit, because it's not instant. That delays your moving on from the pack, so it's bad.

But is it, really?

I'll have an answer for that when I've gotten the character up to that level. Might turn out that they're right and it's genuinely unworkable. More likely, it's not entirely optimal but still more than sufficient to clear endgame with, or at least as far as I can afford (low maps, probably.) There's a video somewhere on reddit with a guy who summoned all 50 spirits. In docks, which doesn't really speak to its endgame viability, but still. 

In the meantime, might be good to consider that just because a skill is more often used one way, doesn't mean it's not viable to use it the other way. Case in point, VP usually used with CI, VP with HP is a "bad idea"...right up until someone does it, of course. There are more caveats with VP HP, granted, but it's nowhere near as taboo as it used to be. 

Seriously, don't worry so hard about what you're "supposed" to do. There are guidelines, yes. Guidelines are not set in cast iron. (Though the further you stray from those, the less likely you are to have something good.)

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

How many things can you realistically do at once?

So I was fooling around with my cast on crit thoughts. Again. By the way, as far as I can tell, it basically comes down to wand barrage chain or dagger spec-throw XMP. There was some thinking about claws but the crit rate doesn't really warrant that. Pretty well everything else is strictly inferior or a gimmick.

Or melee. For as long as CoC has been around, there have been rumblings of doing it with flicker strike. Double strike. Etc. Discharge has featured pretty prominently - but you really don't CoC discharge on a flicker multi. Or maybe you do, I need to go try that...

Anyway, if you're in melee range you need some sort of defenses. So like, shield block, armour, evasion, acro, something! And of course you also need HP/ES, and you need crit, and I was just thinking about AoE nodes, and then when I pressed the stats button I'd spent about 1.5x the travel points of a more compact build like the ones I managed to actually make a guide for, and still didn't have all the stats I needed. Not to mention I'd completely cut out any reduced reservation, and that's never fun.

Actually, that build passes pretty close to acro, and I've done acro before and might try it again, and good grief is it ever hard to get a templar over to the shadow crit zone.

But to get to the point, how many things is realistically too many to go for on a tree? I've generally found that you can go for HP/ES, and pick two of the following at most: summons, auras, crit, block, damage. (Etc. List is not exhaustive.) Three's been a challenge for ages - CoC raging spirit auramancer can't decide right now what she (it's a scion, okay, that makes her a she) wants to be going for first, and will barely get in range of most of the nodes by level 85. That's a bit of a problem. CoC templar with AoE nodes and spelldamage nodes...yeah, good luck to me.

Just a bit of musing on build challenges. I've kinda sorta playtested a CoC witch, I like how it plays, but I need to 5-link my Voll's before I can get anywhere with any of this.

Friday, 21 March 2014


it's really not feasible to sustain spec throw on mana if you also have dual totems and lots of auras going and no +mana nodes or regen

I should have seen this coming. Really. I mean, there's Thief's Torment, and I guess I'm definitely using that now, but still.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Kudos to GGG

I don't necessarily agree with you all the time, but then you go and pull something like this. It's not even the first time, or anywhere near that, either.

This time I think I'll vote with my wallet. If I remember on the weekend or whenever the next stash tab sales come up. Also, all the other sysadmins should learn from these guys. Just saying.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Another request for review

Information provided:

build link
ST - Spectre - GMP - IR - WED (removed IIQ gem - you're a bit behind the times. Sorry.)
Zombie - Multi - IR - LL/LGOH (removed IIQ, see above, and WED because zombies don't use weapons)
Reduced Mana - Anger - Wrath - Hatred (Alpha's)
looking for a high eDPS 2H Mace, possibly corrupted with culling

First off, mate. Are you seriously going to go for level 85? Got a level 70 build out somewhere maybe? You know, just to see what you're prioritising.

You know minion HP regen is amazing right? Like Vitality is the difference between resummoning half my zombies in a play session and not resummoning at all, in maps? Is this an aura summoner build or something? Why 2h mace? As a summoner, 30% increased aura radius...actually, good question, I don't know if it makes sense to take that. Depends on current radius I suppose.

Why not grab some HP regen for yourself while you're at it? Ew, why spec throw to begin with? >.> And you do know you're missing one cluster of HP up near CI, why? And, well, why HP and...yeah, okay, whatever.

Next. Seeing as you're not taking crit, you should just go RT, it's right there. And static blows too. Shocking for your minions is awesome cool, seriously.

What exactly spectres are you going to be using? Flame sentinels? You're aware that you should probably break the links for ST and spectres, right? Neither skill will be operating efficiently if you link it that way. As for zombies...honestly? I'd pull the IIR and LL/LoH, just take the minion hp regen node.

ST - GMP - LoH - WED? depending where your culling is at, and good luck finding an ele 2h mace 5 linked that also has that corrupted mod and the colours you want. Just saying.
Spectres - GMP - something something idk minion damage or fire pen or whatever you're doing
Zombies - multi - something something ditto the above, but melee physical and added fire are both substantial damage increases
Optional skeletotem? Haha.

I'll be testing this weekend on mana requirements with an aura summoner. Fair warning that mana nodes might be required if you want to sustain ST (it might not be possible anyway considering you have barely any phys damage to leech mana off), and/or that you might have to drop an aura to have enough mana to cast zombie/spectre.

I hate that everyone has to mule a templar or marauder to get RM gems at the start of a league, so cutting into the time I have to make the character I actually want. Which is, come to think of it, pretty similar to this one. Huh.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Funny, I'd been thinking about a chaos build

Here's the thought process about as far as it went, at least on my side. I started by picking every chaos and DoT node, along with the witch AoE, starting from witch.

Honestly, at the beginning I wanted to do Aegis + Lightbane. Since that's all passive and flat damage anyway, I figured I'd supplement it with damage skill(s). And oh look there's desecrate. And obviously I'd use Vulnerability and shockstacking. Shockstacking, clearly, would be done by Tempest Shield, because Aegis. And all that.

Then, y'know, I actually went to look up Desecrate. Bugger. That's...not a whole lot of damage. Clearly, the obvious next move is to hop in and use either poison arrow or viper strike. Or both, only auras would cleared by the weapon swap, which is a problem. AoE radius would help both of them, but PA more so than VS. For reference-

Level 20 DPS:
PA: 383.1
VS: 289.5
Desecrate: 261.7

Level 25 DPS:
PA: 700
VS: 500
Desecrate: 465.3

These are base numbers. That is to say, VS takes a further penalty from splash. Further, the skill link would simply be VS splash empower, with a maximum of 3 links available in the 1h weapon. In contrast, PA can take gems such as conc.e, AoE, etc in addition to empower. And there are pretty well no generic damage nodes - physical weapon yes, generic weapon hardly. Projectile, on the other hand...yup, we're going PA for sure. Lightbane wasn't worth much damage anyway.

Shockstacking? Well, I can self cast arc/shocknova. Or I can try to make totems do it. It's been done before and often.

when suddenly

What do you know, no new ideas under the sun. This looks pretty cool and I wonder if I can't get some shockstacking thrown in. Probably by way of the zombies. Looks Invasion safe too, much better than viper strike, for bonus points.

Monday, 10 March 2014

1.1.0 personal updates

The two build guides (ice ranger and dual claws) have been updated for patch 1.1.0. If I missed anything, please post it in the associated thread. Thanks.

Also - we'll see how many of these actually reach completion - my planned Invasion builds are detonate dead, burn proliferation, and aura summoner (of a sort, anyway). Of these, only burn proliferation has any sort of endgame plan in place, and that only because I'm basically planning to netdeck it. I think there are like 5 mostly-current guides or something. Detonate has one. Aura support has three, see previous post. Well, four now, found another hiding out in the scion list. Planning to make extensive modifications for both of those, though.

Rushing into respecs, particularly without a build plan or prior research, has made two of my SC test dummies effectively unusable so far. Happens often enough (specifically, every respec) that I should know better by now. Here's hoping I do better with the remaining, yeah?

It's kind of cute to see how the meta changes. Nobody even took notice of searing bond after it was changed, and now post-patch the streamers have popularised it and are calling for nerfs. Real fun. 

Corrupted a Lazhwar in SC with my first and only vaal orb drop there. Nothing happened. Yay.

Looking forward to the new race season.

And that's it for 1.1.0. Shout out to my guild for being just generally awesome. Love playing with you guys. I know some of you are seeing this, since our extremely hardworking GL has probably put a link to this in the newsletter. If any of you want to contribute in any way to this site, that would be fantastic.

Bonus link: the aforementioned GL looked up this video for me, thanks mate.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

The (second?) most amazing set of threads on the entire forum.

First is, of course, the set containing the Unique Item List and the Map Management Resource. The latter even has an amazing thread number. I'm a huge fan. But anyway. 

After making that post the last time, I started off with some good old lit review. I might have mentioned this before, but aura summoner is definitely not a new idea.

build 1, low life and everything that entails. I don't see myself getting a shav soon, but hey.
build 2, at least looks affordable
build 3, ditto #1 without the minions and with cull

This would have been impossible without the witch builds list, which is immensely useful and I wish all the other forums had something like this. Scion Duelist Marauder, and I'm hopeful the others will get them soon...

I strongly recommend showing your support for the wonderful people who keep these lists updated!

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Aura support build

I did/do a ton of high level mapping, as you can probably tell. Builds like this one are intriguing and I've kind of always wanted to make one. Fair warning, link's way out of date, but it's the thought that counts right?

The problem with that is, support characters don't do a whole lot solo. Nor in early levels, but then it's easy to run leveling builds. Perhaps in the end with lots of elemental damage from auras, but I'm not sure how that compares with other kinds of DPS builds...there have been characters built for it, to be sure, but I haven't played any.

But what if I had my own little army to buff?

It's been a while since summoning got an overhaul. I've always had rather the vested interest in it, since my first character was a summoner and all, and I wouldn't even be playing Path if I didn't get hooked on "lol I have zombie minions"...yeah I'm superficial, sue me.

The shape of a summoning tree should still roughly be the same, and it's in the general vicinity of all the aura nodes except the lol 5% at US, so the question becomes how many passive points do I have that I can play with after taking summoner and aura nodes. In addition, choice of minion is important now. When I started, it was skeleton, zombie, spectre and that was that. Now, there are quite a number of additional options.

Since it's an aura build with an army, I believe focusing on quantity over quality is important (more aura buff targets) and, if possible, increasing minions' attack speed taking priority over increasing damage (added elemental always swings it this way). 

Minion thoughts:
- CoC raging spirit is a Thing. Yes, really. It's a really cool Thing too. I might even do this separately as a whole different build. Limit 50 and the only way to get them out at any reasonable quantity, given their duration, is CoC. 50, if you didn't realise, is a pretty big number. I like. Totem summoning these is also not unviable.
- Skeletons. From prior experience, totem casting these is a lot more reasonable than self-casting, and frees up the player's actions too. Limit 15~ with all minion gear, 10~ otherwise.
- Zombies. Persistent and durable, so self-casting is OK as I expect not to have to use them often. 10~ limit after gear.
- Spectres are fragile and annoying and I don't think I'll have the sockets for it, but w/e.
- Dominating things is actually really, really awesome. As a note, it doesn't require killing the thing, but only applies a debuff - this means it'll work even with dual totems. 
- Animate weapon is a bit on the gimmicky side, but can consider. Animate guardian...probably with buff effects like Leer Cast. That'll be cool.
- Flesh offering for additional 40% ias. SO GOOD. Bone offering not so much, because nobody really cares if they block.
- Minion Instability, yes please. Only downside to this is spectres, and I'm not using spectres.
- Elemental Equilibrium no thank you, everything's dealing all 3 elements all the time pretty much.
- And yes, planning on quite possibly dual totems. I mean, why not?

Aura thoughts: refer to these threads.

Build to come, oh, this weekend or the next.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

On the practice of theory crafting in general

After a couple of false starts, I finally got to discuss theory crafting vs net decking with a good friend of mine. The context is Hearthstone, but I feel that the principles are applicable to Path, too. Specifically, is it ever a good idea to make your own [build] rather than following someone else's, and why? (Oh, and incidentally, what's the term for the Path equivalent of net decking?)

Name redacted for privacy. If there's no name beside the timestamp, they aren't my words.

His perspective: there is no need for anyone but the absolute top tier players to ever theory craft anything. Ever. The best players have already come up with the best solutions.
[3:27] People don't understand games
To theorycraft
Is to expand on what the best players have already attempted
[3:43] No amount of good
Or productivity
Is offset by the stupidity that comes out from the masses
When they believe they're special
[3:45] Kirielis: I agree with you that good theory crafting only shows up when people actually understand what they're doing
And I disagree with you that those who don't understand should stop crafting entirely
Those who don't try to understand, absolutely
[3:48] Kirielis: Bad theory crafting is painful, sure. But IMO, when explanations are given and logic followed, then there's hope - not for the concept, but for the person
After all, you never understand if you don't try to
And some of us happen to work it out by play testing
Or by making something and asking for comments on it
 The discussion continues:
[3:54] Theorycrafting and playtesting is not a substitute for netdecking
That's substituting your insights for someone else's
Rather than supplementing yours with theirs
I've always seen netdecking as, in its worst form, blind following without thinking. He points out that that's dependent on the player, rather than the act of netdecking itself. (I'm inclined to agree. Sadly, that seems to be the prevalent form of play when it comes to netdecking.) In the best form, I think, it's basically just playing someone else's [build] as a way of getting to better understand the game and how it's played.
[4:00] You also learn more about yourself
Specifically, you learn about what is and isn't feasible in what you want to do
Which is more important than any possibility of a breakthrough in meta
So yeah
Go netdeck
Don't write it off as some sheepish behavior
Use it as a learning experience
A jumping off point
There was another part of the discussion, about ideas, convergent evolution and publicity of builds (just as an example, multiple different people have constructed quillrain CoC builds, not all of whom have posted on the forum), but that kind of fell by the wayside.

As a final note, I will elaborate on my statement that "those who do not try to understand the game should not theory craft". Does anyone remember the difference between a newb and a n00b? Yeah, one is willing to learn...the other just refuses to accept that anyone else might have a point. In the most extreme case, not even willing to accept that the game might not work that way. These are the guys who post a build concept, get the unrealistic bits shot down by people like me, and go on to disagree with us and make the character anyway. Then they whine when it fails, and ask "why did it fail? my concept was solid". No way, really?

I'm looking forward to playing some builds in Invasion. Some of them might even be my own. Patch notes broke what I wanted to start with, or at least made it a lot harder, so I'm kind of scrambling for something else right now and if that fails I'll just netdeck one. Sure it's unlikely to be point-for-point identical to the posted version, but they'll agree on pretty much all the important/significant bits. And there's my opinion of net decking, right there in my actions.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Aegis was totally worth it

Skill tree not shown because I'm pretty sure it'll get wiped - if it doesn't, I'll edit this post.

Relevant details:
- Aegis, Grace + Determination, no Hatred or anything because I didn't take reduced mana nodes
- Reusing the best 1h I have, which is a 320pdps claw
- Non-crit build from ranger start
- Doublestrike splash, in Bringer of Rain using BM gem
- Specced from a level 86 ranger originally, now 88
- Using Lazhwar permanently

Honestly? I don't think I've anything very much to say that hasn't been posted before in one form or another. But there's something to be said for AFKing pretty much whenever I like, including against Harbinger.

Comments. Let's see.

This build isn't invincible. Yet. I ate like 40% XP loss in a BM map before giving it up as a bad job, because without Grace + Determination, I was getting stunlocked all day and didn't return enough ES on block to survive it. Eventually cleared half the map running Grace, and then decided it wasn't worth it - after another couple deaths - and got out of there. Didn't realise how aura-dependent the character was before then, as she's done BM maps just fine before - that particular combination of mods, though, was terrible.

I don't have 20 billion DPS, though I do have enough to make reasonable clear speed. On the other hand, I'm now convinced that I can take reflect, no worries. So next time it'll be a crit build. I also barely leeched back enough HP to cover skill cost, on enfeeble maps. One more point in favour of crit, I suppose.

Nothing particularly outstanding about playing her. I blame the double-splash. I'm sure there are ways to make aegis blocking characters that don't also bore me to tears. This just isn't one of them. More when I figure out what is, but Cybil's might feature, or something that takes advantage of Aegis WED. However, Aegis is still amazingly powerful, which was what I was trying to learn to begin with, so colour me satisfied, and next time it's crit.

And that's it, I'm out for the week again after a dismal weekend of mapping 75s on this Aegis character. Sure that's how RNG works, but it still sucks when it's directed at you.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

It's always tricky to spec for crit

thread link, OP asked about dual claws cast-on-crit

My comment:
I specced a test case with dual claws of ~7.5% base crit, and with 4 power charges I had about 50% crit chance total. If I was using 9% base crit daggers (or claws), we'd be looking at 60% crit chance. Then add the 300% above mentioned, and see 87% final crit chance.

Updates on the above mentioned test case:
- ST has a low enough mana cost that it can be comfortably run with Voll's
- I'm very used to hitting the pots button, which isn't an option with VP; that said, VP GR isn't half bad with a decent ES pool if you have the leech numbers to back it up
- Firestorm is hilarious and pretty; Coldsnap isn't; Arc is better than it seems on first glance because of the shock effect; FP is always reliable but not the best DPS, though it's made up for by survivability so there you go.
- Leveling the CoC gem makes a shockingly large difference
- HP return from life on hit isn't worth much, honestly
- Added lightning from Wake of Destruction leads to shock stacking too, which is really cool; I pulled it out early because the nearest available 4L that could get those colours was boots, but Wrath should have a similar effect if I can run it rather than defensive auras. Yeah, good luck to me.
- Did not mention the 125% when dual wielding that is Twin Terrors. Whatever, it also works with daggers and yes the math really shows 90%+ base chance to crit. The 5th PC? I was using Maligaro's to compensate.
- Problem with close range: I kite a lot. Less so when using FP and I manage to freeze them, at least, but FP is better close up and I don't like being close up. Not quite enough survivability for me at that range.
- I did a lot of build tweaking and I won't get anywhere near that many crit nodes. Can't really afford it with all the survivability nodes. Boo.
- A little spell damage will go a long way.

See you on the weekend after the 5th!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Getting full use of that one claw (or two)

It's that time of year again, testing ideas I want to play in the next league. Then again, it's always that time, and half the time I don't end up playing them. In keeping with tradition (!), I decided to make a claws build. Again. Different claws this time, though...let's see, claws.

list of unique claws

You might notice two things from that list. One, Cybil's Paw has LoH that's barely used in most Cybil builds. Two, Essentia Sanguis has 10% additional block chance while dual wielding claws. Huh, it seems my fascination with Essentia is not yet over.

Anyway. I decided to get around the link cost of CoC using claws. The usual CoC build practically requires life leech tied in, which means either 5L or naturally multiprojectile/multihit skills. Think lightning strike, split arrow, EK, firestorm. By going claws, I can get natural lifesteal while using xMP. And by claw, I actually mean single claw.

I have a 79 ranger with a respec, which I used to make a cast-on-crit skill tree for Cybil. Since I'm lazy and don't actually own Essentia, etc etc, shield block nodes or something. I paid 1.5ex for that shield I'm using, okay? It's beautiful.

skill tree
Links: ST - CoC - GMP - X

Tried ice spear in slot X, didn't much like it, tried FP, liked it a lot. However, the CoC play style in general is...different. Basically just throwing down ST, and when it doesn't crit you're barely surviving, and when it does...big kaboom and now we can move on to the next group of mobs. (Also, don't read too much into first-draft concept trees, particularly ones thrown together in 5 minutes for testing purposes. I need more block and spelldamage.)

Crit wise, power charges make a big difference. I can feel the difference between 33% and 47% crit, both here and on my ice ranger. Now, I don't like PCoC and won't have the links for it anyway, and I can't afford Romiras for testing, so Voll's it is. I brought Berek's Grip along for testing, though it's not likely to be present in the new leagues. Oh well, cross that bridge when I come to it. Not like I was shocking anything anyway, with no +lightning, but it's the thought that counts and lifeleech actually does work since FP and freezing, etc etc.

1.68aps is too slow. Bah. Given I'm not going to end up with a lot of shield nodes anyway, I'd like to dual wield if possible. From experience, ST doesn't really feel smooth until about 3aps. Also, higher aps = more potential crits per second, which is a really big deal for CoC and is why quillrain is consistently in favour despite its 5% base crit. 5% is terrible.

So can I fit Essentia into this build, and is it worth it? If not, then what?

Probably going to die to thorns/reflect a lot. By which I mean pay close attention to Mumble when someone warns of reflect, and stop throwing things. You only get one chance in HC, after all. GR has antisynergy with any sort of LL on a HP build, and really wants VP to make it work, but VP is a pain in the behind. Not to mention GR and EB just don't work together, and Voll's without EB can get fairly painful. ST's really cheap though, so it might be doable. Will respec ranger again after patch, if I can get hold of an Essentia from somewhere, to try the GR VP thing. Before that, I'll probably spend one of my free resets to take out EB, see how manageable it is for ST using Voll's. Thief's Torment, anyone? Feels like it might be really useful for this build.

If I can get any sort of LL at all on life rather than ES, that's really significant compared to LoH. So, maybe Essentia, maybe not. We'll see. I'm actually thinking of a second Tiger's Paw with high roll lightning and ias - that'll give me additional 15 LoH on regular hits, not quite as good as capping LL on phys damage, but I won't be dealing phys damage anyway. The lightning's just good for shocking. On like half the hits. Wake of Destruction makes life so easy, really, but Wrath can probably take that spot. Alternatively, a CoC dagger, but those things get expensive and stuff, and for survivability reasons I'll likely stick to claws unless I can finagle spell LL from somewhere.

Update: someone else did a CoC build. You bet I'll be learning from his experience. 

Sunday, 9 February 2014

It seems that I have a Thing for data

spreadsheet link
Map Management Resource

Work has been keeping me real busy, but I found enough time in between to map a little, and mostly-complete data on signature monsters for 74 maps is the result. And yes, I am in fact sustaining a pool of higher maps.

Oh, and incidentally, Berek's Grip provides sufficient mana leech - but my max mana isn't sufficient to take full advantage of it. Go figure. I'm informed that tempest can shockstack well enough to keep mobs triple stacked, so I can use incinerate - we'll see how that goes the next time.

Here's to perma CT coming out on 5th March, hopefully?

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Sustaining spells on mana regen is hard

I mean, even with level 11 clarity eating half my mana globe, I can't run 4 linked spark as a marauder (no mana nodes taken, nor EB). Who would have thought. Maybe I'll suicide in a Grip and try it that way, come the weekend. Not freezing, but pretty sure the LL isn't necessary.

The build in question is self cast spork with a Cybil.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

A lesson in economics

So I have this friend who's big time into race rewards trading, and we were just talking. Apparently the racing population has gone way, way up in S5 and S6. I mean, I don't blame them. Release, right? With all the population increase that entails? But that's not the only reason. 

Firstly, you might have noticed a pattern in the race rewards. Yes, I know, a sample size of 2 is statistically insignificant...but it's not just statistics at work here, is it? Besides the obvious - craft white at 50 - it appears that 80 is a legacy and 135 is a (relatively) high value unique. There are also higher value rewards at 600 and 1000 than there were previously. For the most part.

We think it stands to reason that the 135 reward is an incentive for racing. Legacy, well you know my thoughts on the matter already. I'm glad they're doing it. Supply and demand: the supply just got cheaper/better. Infinite supply at the given price of 135 points. Demand goes up and some new equilibrium is reached.

There's another factor at work here, too. Alt art became much bigger business once the appearance microtransaction showed up. Basic supply and demand again, obviously: said mtx creates a demand, mostly in SC, for pretty alt-art items. Thus, more people are tempted into providing the supply.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

This is what I've been saying all along


Life has been busy, I meant to make this post a while back and it kept getting pushed back. Analysis of the above linked thing:

- I'm told people were paying 4c for cruel Dominus. Considering that was the most lethal area in the game, not surprised. Qarl's post suggests that they will be looking at it. Like I said, it's overtuned, and I've been saying this for a long time.
- Yeah, people make 90 in a week. I don't have that kind of dedication, and hats off to those who do. Most of the big names in racing are notably absent, though...maybe a week is too long? Level 90 was the top 0.008%, two people made it, therefore one person is 0.004% of the total race population. And so 25 000 characters were made on the race, in total.
- Class breakdown 60+ points to the prevalence of spec throwers, I believe. Ditto 80+. The pattern does not hold for 60-. Likely a combination of other styles being less survivable/efficient/etc, and the players' choices behind the computers. I'd say it's almost a given that, of the population willing to put in the effort to make 60 or 80 in a week, a larger proportion of them are efficiency players and picked ST for exactly that reason.
- IR is popular because it smooths out the experience. Evasion is strong, but it has its moments; armour guarantees you'll get hit, if for smaller amounts, and consistency is pretty important when you don't get a second chance.
- It being a one week race, and CI gear being generally more expensive and harder to get relative to life gear, no surprise on the lack of CI characters. Why is it suggested that IR needs to be looked at, but CI doesn't?

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

A hybrid defenses build

thoughts post

It did strike my fancy to make a hybrid build. Where are the better ES nodes to be found, templar or shadow? Most probably templar.

As Essentia is a low DPS claw, I expect to offhand it and use a mainhand-only skill. Therefore: X - splash - multi - life on hit, etc etc. That, or ground slam, or some other mainhand forcer. Since Essentia's bonus 10% block only applies to dual claws, hm, maybe I'll stick to double strike. This here's flexible enough, anyway.

skill tree

Here's an 80ish points beginning of an idea for a build. It has lots of INT trouble, and 126% HP in addition to the usual ES. Fair amount of damage nodes too, perhaps even a bit much. RT just on the way, and passing near most major weapon clusters for whatever the main hand weapon-of-choice is. Might I suggest an axe? Of course, then the accuracy node right at the start can be skipped. And yes, that's VP, because why not. We aren't getting much by way of regen, with low HP, and it goes so nicely with GR.

skill tree

Alternatively, there's a fair amount of crit available on this half of the tree. Accuracy nodes have been added, because they are most definitely necessary, and even so I'd be trying for acc on helm, gloves and if possible even weapon - or just an additional accuracy gem, which provides crit chance with quality. It's a level 86 tree though - I'd probably cut down on some of the damage nodes before then, since crit is better damage all around.

See commentary on Tiurakh doublestrike build for play style, though as an armour character I'd probably be playing it slightly differently. It's a really long shot, but I saw someone with a 300pdps Tiger's Paw once - that'd be hands down the best weapon here, since it has intrinsic LoH and I might be able to get away with not using that gem.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

TIL: do not stand next to Vaal when he dies in an Immolation race

Also, if you make a witch in a no-projectiles race, plan to kill Hillock unarmed. Herp derp. Ditto ranger. Witch is popular though, because a lot of skills (firestorm) bypass the projectile thing. Without going too much into detail on our race strategy, I will say that party racing is a lot more fun than solo, and far more efficient as well.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Why I am not in favour of SFL

Part 1
Part 2

To recap: the three ways to earn currency are playing the game, playing the market, and playing the slots. (That last one is crafting, and yes, it really does resemble nothing so much as a slot machine. I have the 6S5Ls to prove it.)

How does this stack up against the idea of SFL?

1. playing the game - this is true, and you get drops and stuff, but are you keeping good items or no?
2. playing the market, what market?
3. playing the slots - also possible, but you're only making items for yourself here...

From here it comes to an obvious point: do you hoard good items, expecting to use them on future characters? (There's a sub-point. How good is "good"? For sure it isn't, relative to the majority of items on the market...but meh, moving on. I'll define that as good enough to use, for the moment.) Is there stash space to do so?

What about items you simply don't have? The nature of this game is that it depends a fair amount on items. This could be build enabler uniques, or it could simply be sufficient ES on gear to go CI, or it could be finding a suitable weapon. In the worst case, it's finding sufficient HP/resists on gear to continue without getting 1-shot by any and all elemental damage or just any damage in general.

Before you ask me what about crafting. Let me turn around and ask you, how many chaos does it take to get good enough rolls on armour to keep instead of vendoring? Be realistic here, you won't find more than ~3 regals before merciless, so that's out. I suggest that you'll end up rolling HP+resist using alterations, at least at first. There's the option of alching gear and using the alc recipe to recoup costs, of course. Be realistic here, how long until you run out of scraps and whetstones? No, you can't buy more, you're self-found.

But Kiri, these are all first character blues! Surely after getting one character to maps, he can hunt down gear for the rest?

Yeah, it gets easier as you get more items. This is true, it's always true. I'd say it's not necessarily all first character blues either, takes at least 3 or 4 characters before you have actually good level-appropriate gear at all levels.

But there is another point to consider. In an SFL, you're limited to what drops you find and what items you make. All well and good for rare armour. What if you want to make a facebreaker build? What if you've just gotten a Crown of Eyes and no Phoenix or Shav, what do you do with it? And what if you want to make a weapon (non spell) build? Any weapon goes for the first 30, even 45 levels, but you try making reasonable clear time with any randomly alched weapon in early merciless, instead of a decent %phys (possibly with a +phys roll, but I'm not that picky.) No, in SFL the builds you can make are limited by the gear you already have, because you can't guarantee getting pieces you need as you go along.

In a league with an economy, there are ways to get around it, and there are ways to earn currency even if it sometimes feels like that Shav is perpetually out of reach. Just keep saving and you'll get there eventually. What do you have in SFL? Just keep playing, and maybe one day you'll drop or chance one. I've played over half a year of almost-daily play, some of it high MF, a lot of it high maps, frequently 10 or 15 hours a day on weekends and free days. I've seen maybe 3 Ambu's Charge, Crusader Chainmail drop. Not all were mine. I've chanced exactly one unique in maybe 5ex worth of chances. When you look at it that way, that Infernal Mantle sure cost me a lot, didn't it? For a good number of build enablers, chancing and dropping are the exception, not the norm; it's not unreasonable to say that you only build what the RNG wants you to build, in SFL.

There is another point. 

You want to play in an SFL league? You're gated by length of time played, luck of the draw, everything that has to do with items. The economy is there partly to reduce the extreme variability of item drops; it ensures that whatever you need, you'll probably be able to find it for a price you can reasonably pay. It was said once, somewhere, that if trading was made any easier then good items would have to be made even harder to get in order to keep the approximately same level of item gating. (There is logic in that, though I'd say go right ahead and I'll eat the RNG penalty if it means trading becomes less annoying and inconvenient.) The inverse applies too: if trading is harder or nonexistent, any content gated by items becomes suddenly much, much harder to reach. There are people playing self-found who have done maps up to 78, but I guarantee you the proportion of self-found people doing higher maps is very much smaller than their non-self-found counterparts. Particularly if you only consider people who've cleared merciless Piety at least once. 

tl;dr build diversity issues, item gating

There's also player interaction issues, and I feel that a lot of people who are "in favour" of SFL are actually just very irritated by the current trading system, but who am I to tell them what they feel. 

Why would you voluntarily lock yourself out of half the content? 

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Great success! (to an extent) in descent: champions

previous post 1
previous post 2

I died at Brutus because I stupidly spent all my flasks in the chamber of greed. Noobiest noob mistake ever. Getting to that point was fun, though. Shadow build, picked up a claw from the beginning, used reave and firetrap. Item choices were the belt and the club. The former because improving flask recovery really is fantastic, and the latter because that's what caught my attention to begin with. I mean, you'd either be doing that with fireball or firetrap, right? ...ooh, something else to play with!

But anyway. Great success so far and I hope to actually play through to the end with this.

Something of note. My hotkey setups have reave and lightning trap defaulting to the same slot, so while I do actually have space for both, along with everything else I use, my reflexes and instincts...don't really go there. Ended up using WB to return life on hit after putting in lightning trap, go figure.

Something else of note. If you don't pay attention to room clearing, at least to a reasonable extent, you're going to end up way underleveled for a zone. I try to remain in XP range at least, so 3 levels' difference. This problem is only exacerbated by the trapper tendency to run off and do something else while the traps handle the mobs. Or maybe that's just a me tendency, who knows.

Single target is still a bit of an issue. It's playable, as in throw down fire/bear/lightning traps, if possible close in and use viper strike and if not then just kite around, but it's not nearly as reliable as I like it to be. And I haven't tested that against Gravicius so I wouldn't know.

Everything else relevant to D:C general applies, like get good resists, etc etc.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

On the practice of paying for boss kills

That's it, I swear I am done with playing main characters in HC leagues once this one's over. See previous. RIP me. (Of course, we'll see how long that resolve lasts, next time...) I suppose at least I have a map-capable SC character now. Maps are harder than cruel Dominus, who knew? >.>

I still think the difficulty spike at Sceptre is too steep. But as of the time of typing this, I'm standing at the top of the tower, a freshly minted level 50, about to wake up Dominus's minions. I've been playing solo all the way, using 2h ST linked with life on hit. It's a great leveling build, and I'm told it's great for killing Dominus as well. Guy I talked to yesterday said he was selling cruel Dominus kills at level 60 as ST.

For the past couple of days, I've been selling cruel Piety and Dominus kills. It bought me a headhunter, a really good armour piece (now in SC, incidentally) and start-up currency in Domination. The buyers are mostly of two kinds: the ones who simply can't be bothered to go it solo, since they're leveling new characters, and the ones who don't dare to play him. Considering my first few attempts at Dominus, I can hardly blame them. And I most definitely can't blame the former group either - I've probably had as many characters act rushed as I have levelled the regular way.

You know what the most interesting thing about it was? In however many hours of runs, totaling maybe a couple days' worth of playtime, I got to know Dominus really, really well. People fear what they don't know, see. At level 71, know or not, I'm not going to get killed that easily.

Someone else's cruel Dominus log (blue items only) and thoughts on the matter

Yeah, I'd rather pay someone than end up fighting the way he did. No offense intended. And as for practising on normal Dominus? Uh, I kind of did that at Cruel. After I ripped, the first thing I did was take my entire setup the exact way it was and go finish off the couple of merciless quests I hadn't done. (Two out of sheer laziness, and one was Dominus.) Died once at merc Dominus, and this when I know everything he does and the actual range of his skills and everything. Nothing really prepares you for the damage you can take. Of course, part of the reason is that I played it with the SC mentality: just try it, and if it gets you killed then try it again but a little bit more carefully, and if that doesn't work then try something else. The HC mentality is much closer to "don't try it if you don't have an escape route", and considering the amount of damage Dominus does when you're at the level "appropriate" to fight him, you don't always have an escape. You can get killed in 200ms - even before the information reaches your computer from the server, on a bad day.

This is with a build I am completely confident can take on (almost) all the content in the game, having extensively tested it on SC prior to playing it on HC. There are builds which simply cannot do some content at any level, mostly map-exclusive like Weaver, Shock and Horror, Piety, Megaera. But while I'm confident my FP build could probably take on normal Dominus at level 50, I'm not at all confident it could do the same for cruel at the same level. First form Dominus is something of a pain for me, second form is a cakewalk and I stall it while waiting for customers to get through the portal. First form is a cakewalk for my dual totem buddy, second form he can't reliably do at all without portals. Even Lunaris Piety can be a significant issue for certain builds, such as (some) totem and summoner builds. And don't get me started on normal Crematorium Piety as a summoner. Honestly.

Different builds are strong at different level points and at different content, and that's all there is to it. If you're playing a build not suited to it, why not get someone else to do it for you? There's no functional difference between paying for a kill and joining a party to do it if you're not going to contribute much, except the party is less reliable, slower and will proc Dominus with more HP. I do actually have a bit of a problem with taking that easy way out before trying it the regular way, mind. But there's no shame in trying, failing (including realising you won't succeed) and then paying someone to get you through the gate to the next level.

All comes back to the difficulty setting, doesn't it? Which I still think is overtuned for a3x in general and Sceptre/Dominus in particular.

Here's to reaching merciless on my future bow templar. This has been an entertaining interlude. I'm going to start the fight now.