ToME: the Tales of Maj'Eyal

Everything about ToME
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 10:55 am 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Sun May 19, 2013 1:58 am
Posts: 787
This guide is a work in progress, I will update it in the future.

Insane is considered a pretty scary difficulty, and rightfully so. However it isn't quite as different from lower difficulties as you'd expect. This guide is meant to help people who are already pretty good at this game (multiple Nightmare wins) get started on Insane. Therefore I'm not going to go over things I expect experienced players to know, but rather how to go from being pretty good to really good. I won't justify things that I think should be common sense to people of the skill level I'm trying to discuss, but rather just explain what I have found to be effective in my experience playing on this difficulty. Feel free to ask questions, so long as they aren't beginner stuff that I'm assuming people reading this already know (like why I regard Movement Infusions very highly).


Common misconceptions

"Insane is scary because you can't autoexplore since you will get instakilled"
This has not been the case since patch 1.1. These days unless you skimp on defensive gear (not using heavy/massive armor for instance), autoexplore is perfectly safe.

"Insane requires fundamental changes in the way you play"
Also not the case since 1.1. Basically you do the same stuff you should be doing on lower difficulties, but you get punished more for making bad plays. Bad plays are universal between Normal, Nightmare, and Insane.

"Insane requires you to play an OP class to win"
Every class has wins on Insane except Archer. I recently won as Doombringer which I consider to be mid-tier at best. Players better than me have won with Bulwark and other underpowered classes.


Early stuff

Well, even though you don't have to play an OP class to win, I recommend you pick a stronger than average class that you are also good at for your first run. I suggest picking from Berserker, Arcane Blade, Brawler, Marauder, Archmage, Oozemancer, Sun Paladin, Reaver, Corruptor, Doombringer, Mindslayer, Temporal Warden, and Paradox Mage. Paradox Mage is probably the easiest. Also pick a good race, which almost always means Shalore, Thalore, or Ogre.

Once you've created your character, immediately go to Last Hope and drown all rare/unique/randboss civilians. Then check the shops in Last Hope and Zigur for good items. Tier 3 massacre, amnesia, icy, etc weapons are good choices. Buy good armor too, with preferably egos that give armor and/or life. Buy the best Movement Infusion you can find unless there are only terrible ones. Also buy a Regeneration or Healing Infusion and a Physical Wild Infusion if you picked Shalore or Ogre, again unless they're all bad. Regeneration/Healing can be skipped if playing a class with a heal like Archmage. Check out the Zigur mindstar shop for a good torque or totem, they're dirt cheap and you can usually find a good one. Useful ones are Psychoport, Mindblast, Thorny Skin, Kinetic Shield. Egos that increase power and cooldown are better than no ego which is better than an ego that reduces power and duration, since you don't usually want to use these multiple times in a fight except Mindblast which still takes a valuable turn to use. Also any Tentacle Totem will be useful as well. If you aren't lucky enough to find any of these items, then hope you get Prox's Lucky Halfling Foot or something else that's good. You may as well buy a less useful one for now like Cure Ailments or Clear Mind because they're like 12 gold. If your shopping and drowning experience was very bad, you may want to reroll your character.

Your zone order should be something like Trollmire -> Derth Arena -> Lumberjack Village -> Kor'Pul -> Norgos Lair / Scintillating Caves (wherever you started) -> the other one -> Rhaloren Camp -> Heart of the Gloom -> Old Forest -> The Maze -> Sandworm Tunnels -> Daikara. Trollmire and Kor'Pul won't have any rares ever except from chests so you're relatively safe there. However the rest of the t1s don't have this rule, so prepare for randbosses.


Randbosses

These are the most difficult part of Insane for most of the game, since they're very common. Unlike on Normal, randbosses are something you have to always be prepared for. This includes dealing with multiple at the same time, and managing all classes they can get. You have to be prepared to lose over half your health in a turn, and have upwards of five status effects applied in a turn. This means that Wild Infusions are significantly less reliable than they are on Normal, since there will be a bunch of statuses making you only have a small chance to remove the one you want to (usually a stun). Because of this, you're going to want to be really good about precasting your Movement Infusion. This means use it whenever you anticipate a stun (which is every time you're next to a melee rare or higher). It is okay use use it and not move just for the stun immunity.

Killing randbosses can take a long time since even early they can have tons of health. This means many battles go from testing how quick you can kill your opponent, to testing how long you can last against your opponent while outputting respectable damage. You will quickly realize how important positioning is, since if you're positioning is poor you can be stuck with no escape, while if your positioning is good you have better ability to retreat and live. Also it's important to keep track of your timing windows. For instance, after you use a Movement Infusion, you have around 5 turns to safely fight a Marauder randboss in melee without worrying about stuns. However, after its free action buff runs out, it's time to get back unless you have other ways of managing stuns. This applies to other talents like Webs of Fate, Providence, and Unstoppable. Also resource bars become way more important, since fights don't end very quickly. For example, when playing Doombringer I avoided using Reckless Strike early when I could because it has a very high stamina cost and may not leave me with enough to use Draining Assault later.

If you encounter multiple randbosses or other tough enemies at once, unless you're certain you can take them on, try to run back into a hallway and fight them one at a time. Zigzag tunnels are amazing if you have the patience to dig them, and they can trivialize hard bosses like The Master and Vor.

Notably scary classes of randboss are Necromancer (tons of summons which apply statuses and body block), Doomed (Shadows shred you and body block, knocks you back a lot), Solipsist (Thought-Forms are strong, Mind Sear hits very hard, and sleep status is annoying), Summoner (you need to kill the summons the turn they spawn whenever possible because they shred you, especially War Dog and Ritch Flamespitter, in High Peak War Dogs can have over 850 Strength and Dexterity if you're unlucky), Oozemancer (you can't stay in Mucus long or you get massive DoTs on you, very resilient), Sawbutcher (To The Arms reduces your damage output, Spinal Break destroys sustains, they apply so many statuses that your Physical Wild Infusions won't help unless you're very lucky), Gunslinger (really big damage), Brawler (Grapple), Archer (really big damage), Bulwark (takes very little damage from weapons, not a problem for casters though), and Cursed (chases you down with Rampage, Gloom gives troubling status effects). Other classes can be problematic too (like if a Paradox Mage gets Entropy) but usually aren't as bad as the ones I listed.


Equipment

Some items become very valuable on Insane, these are anything with Stone Wall, Disperse Magic, a digging active, and Wards (especially physical). Thorny Skin totems are excellent, as are Psychoport Torques. Prox's Lucky Halfling Foot and other status managing items are great too. Melee characters should hold onto the best Perfect Strike pick they find since even with max Dexterity and 5/5 Combat Accuracy, you will sometimes fight enemies with upwards of 70 defense or very strong Stealth or Invisibility that you just can't hit reliably without Perfect Strike. You will want to get as much armor as possible to deal with powerful melee foes, and caster classes are no exception. Almost all characters will want to use heavy or massive armor, with a few exceptions (Reaver and Corruptor can get away with robes thanks to Bone Shield).

Most classes should use two Movement Infusions late game. At least one Heroism Infusion is usually ideal too. Phase Door Runes are way better than you'd expect thanks to their crazy out of phase buff, but only worth using late game. The teleportation is actually a downside so make sure you scout the area if you plan on using one so you don't teleport next to a Bulwark Randboss or something. Wild Infusions are not as reliable as you'd like since you often will get a bunch of status effects applied at once, you should instead shoot for 100% stun and confusion immunity so you don't have to use a Wild Infusion. On classes that cannot heal naturally, you should always run a Regeneration or Healing Infusion to keep you alive in longer fights. Healing is good early but usually Regeneration ends up being better later. I used to advocate the standard setup of Movement, Movement, Heroism, Regeneration, Wild on most classes, but now I think Phase Door outclasses Wild late game. It depends on the class of course but I expect people reading this guide to understand how a Reaver would prefer Shielding to Heroism and other class specific details.


Recordings

TW Grushnak kill: This video shows how to destroy challenging melee foes that you cannot hurt through conventional means by using damage reflection, Rod of Spydric Poison, and lots of mobility. I had 10 less accuracy than he had defense with bow, and his armor reduced my weapon damage by about half when I did manage to hit. Also his spell save was too high for me to ever be able to apply Breach. An anomaly ended up teleporting me near a very strong Gunslinger rare at some point but otherwise I had no trouble winning this fight.

TW final battle: My first attempt at commentary, hopefully it helps. This wasn't a particularly hard fight since Elandar went down very easily and the only issue I had with Argoniel was Burning Hex. I made some mistakes like not closing the portals as early as I should have, using the wrong lite for most of the battle, and unequipping my Disperse Magic gloves early but it went alright overall. My luck with Spelldrinker procs was pretty bad, since it never got Argoniel's Bone Shield, but it didn't matter much in the end.

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Last edited by bpat on Thu Apr 28, 2016 4:11 am, edited 5 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 11:21 am 
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Archmage

Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 4:39 pm
Posts: 333
Cool!

So about zone order: when do you tackle Lake Nur and the Weirdling Beast? Immediately after the Old Forest? At nightmare difficulty I tried this, but I experienced an enormous difficulty spike there after a relatively easy early game, since the second level of Lake Nur tends to be filled with horrible Horrors. Worms that walk, Luminous Horrors, and so forth.. so now I wonder if it is perhaps better to do Sand Lair / Maze / Halfling Ruins / Daikara first.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 11:29 am 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Sun May 19, 2013 1:58 am
Posts: 787
I recommend doing Lake Nur sometime after finishing the t2s but before Dreadfell. Spawn it ASAP though, just enter Lake Nur 1 then immediately leave. All the stuff between t2s and Dreadfell can be done in whatever order you want. Lake Nur is only particularly bad if you can't deal with some of the specific horrors (Corruptor against WTW for instance). You can skip to the Sher'Tul Fortrrss without clearing it if you're lucky. The level with the horrors is a great place to use Track and Arcane Eye instead of autoexplore since you want to avoid large groups.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 12:35 pm 
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Sher'Tul Godslayer

Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:16 pm
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The Quick Drown NPCs addon is pretty much essential to drown the npcs. On this, stay away from any with Anorithil talents, as they tend to emit a massive spike of light dmg when they get close to dying.

I go to Nur after OF mysef.

And I get all the +life gear I can find.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 1:36 pm 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Sun May 19, 2013 1:58 am
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Damn jenx you are braver than I am. I agree with you on the lite items, they are truly excellent. I find that there's no real hurry to do Lake Nur that quickly, but perhaps if I have Track and waterbreathing by then it could be worth a shotm

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 5:04 pm 
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Archmage

Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 4:39 pm
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The section about Equipment really was an eye opener for me. A question about that..

jenx wrote:
And I get all the +life gear I can find.


One of the most difficult equipment tradeoffs imo is choosing between items with massive +life boosts and items with good boosts to your damage, (direct or through critical hit chance and crit multiplier). And then there is Heal Mod, another highly desirable trait.. and immunities.

So let me come up with a few examples to phrase this into a question:

You are a level 25 ogre berserker with 1200 HP. Your current heal mod is 120%.
If you can choose between a girdle with +80 HP or girdle of the calm waters (+30% healmod), what's your pick?
Will you go for a ring with +80 health, or a ring with +30 health and +30% disarm / pinning immunity?
What if you also have another ring with +30% slow on melee hit (and no other current on-hit melee debuffs from equipment)?

Or say that you are a level 50 shalore anorithil with 100% crit rate and 2000 HP. Will you wear an amulet with +120 health, or one with +40% crit multiplier?

How do you weigh up such choices? I am tempted to make a spreadsheet with damage calculations for my character sometimes. :P


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 6:54 pm 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Sun May 19, 2013 1:58 am
Posts: 787
grobblewobble wrote:
The section about Equipment really was an eye opener for me. A question about that..

jenx wrote:
And I get all the +life gear I can find.


One of the most difficult equipment tradeoffs imo is choosing between items with massive +life boosts and items with good boosts to your damage, (direct or through critical hit chance and crit multiplier). And then there is Heal Mod, another highly desirable trait.. and immunities.

So let me come up with a few examples to phrase this into a question:

You are a level 25 ogre berserker with 1200 HP. Your current heal mod is 120%.
If you can choose between a girdle with +80 HP or girdle of the calm waters (+30% healmod), what's your pick?
Will you go for a ring with +80 health, or a ring with +30 health and +30% disarm / pinning immunity?
What if you also have another ring with +30% slow on melee hit (and no other current on-hit melee debuffs from equipment)?

Or say that you are a level 50 shalore anorithil with 100% crit rate and 2000 HP. Will you wear an amulet with +120 health, or one with +40% crit multiplier?

How do you weigh up such choices? I am tempted to make a spreadsheet with damage calculations for my character sometimes. :P


These are some good examples to think about. I would definitely take the Girdle of the Calm Waters because it boosts my healing by 25% which easily beats the 6.7% increase in life. I would take the the one with disarm resist because the life difference of 50 is negligible at that point in the game. At that point the difference would have to be like 100 to be worth it. The pinning resist is not relevant because you have Movement Infusions and UFR for that. I would take the 30% slow on hit ring over either of the others though because slowing enemies is a great form of defense. When you have 1200 max life, 50 here or there isn't that big of a help. I like to get a good amount of max life so I can survive burst, but beyond a certain point you're not going to be dying to burst anymore, so focusing on sustained combat is more important. On the Anorithil I'd take the crit mult every time. Nothing will do exactly enough burst for that 120 life to make a difference, especially when you already have 200 max, and the crit mult boosts your defense too because Barrier and Healing Light can crit. Max life only really helps against burst, so once you have enough I recommend prioritizing other stats over it (like heal mod and crit).

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 11:39 pm 
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Sher'Tul Godslayer

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Life is critical on NM and INSANE in the first 25-30 levels, so I normally just take life.

I find Lake Nur gets harder if I wait longer, so I like to go in asap.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 11:41 pm 
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Sher'Tul Godslayer

Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:16 pm
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bpat wrote:
...Every class has wins on Insane except Archer. ...


ok, you've given me a challenge.

I am dying endlessly in attempting this btw :-(

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 12:06 am 
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Uruivellas

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jenx I agree about Lake Nur getting harder, which is why I spawn it then leave. I also tried to win with Archer, got to Daikara before getting killed by a snow giant necro randboss. Only reason I made it that far was because I had like 55 armor thanks to crazy drops.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 1:14 am 
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Perspiring Physicist

Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 7:43 am
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Bleh.
I have a dream... that one day people won't need to drown and shop scum to play Insane.
:?

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 2:45 am 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Sun May 19, 2013 1:58 am
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You don't need to drown or shop scum, it's just recommended. You can't startscum on Doombringer at all and it's totally winnable. Mostly the issue is the first few levels and starting weapons which are just awful for some classes. Good luck killing a Bulwark rare if you're a level 2 Shalore Brawler with the starting gloves and without a Movement, Wild, or Regeneration Infusion.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 3:51 am 
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Perspiring Physicist

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bpat wrote:
Good luck killing a Bulwark rare if you're a level 2 Shalore Brawler with the starting gloves

This gives me humorous visuals. :)

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 9:55 am 
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Sher'Tul Godslayer

Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:16 pm
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bpat wrote:
jenx I agree about Lake Nur getting harder, which is why I spawn it then leave. I also tried to win with Archer, got to Daikara before getting killed by a snow giant necro randboss. Only reason I made it that far was because I had like 55 armor thanks to crazy drops.


what about trying as AM archer? big armour stops melee and ranged, antimagic shield the rest. not sure how to balance equi though LOL. i rarely play AM, so not sure what to do if I go that route. best I've got to is lvl 17 hahaha

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 5:00 pm 
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Uruivellas

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Antimagic Archer is nice in theory but it locks you out of playing Shalore or Ogre which hurts, since they are really good races for Archer compared to Thalore.

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