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 setup...now 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.