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.