ToME: the Tales of Maj'Eyal

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2019 10:39 pm 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Sat Aug 24, 2013 5:55 am
Posts: 801
I've been toying with the archmage again since the changes in 1.5 and 1.6.

Wildfire is still king. Lightning is a clear second, and much improved. Aether has been curiously, though mildly, nerfed. Earth is much improved and I think viable even on Nightmare. Cold is a pure support skill.

The only stand alone category on Insane is Wildfire. I don't really consider Madness. Aether used to be but I'm finding it harder to manage now. Lightning is much, much improved and I think a clear #2 in terms of power. Earth is also improved but is still a support category primarily, though you can win with it on normal for sure. Cold is also winnable on normal but is also a support category but only half of it. Ice is not worth the unlock if you aren't focused on the water category but the water category only has one skill worth investing more than a point into and that's the Shivgoroth form. Tidal wave gets one automatically and it's worth the one but no more. Glacial vapors and ice shards still have very limited utility.

Meta is still a great but expensive category. Temporal is all the rage but I only use it on a wildfire build. I just can't justify the investment when running another build as they all require help, though perhaps not lightning. Phantasm is a complete waste of a category. There's not a single skill worth the investment in the category except maybe illuminate.

So what's to be done without simply overpowering the already strong archmage? Here are my suggestions:

1. You have this great skill in aegis that can affect a lot of shields but you'll never have more than three up at any given time and with the changes to Disruption Shield, there are only two different shield effects. Displacement and damage. Yes, it has an effect on Disruption Shield not a very good one.

Thus, I propose three more shields with distinct effects.

Phastasmal Shield - this one already exists but it sucks. I say let it counter at range. Also I propose making the aegis skill increase the damage from the shield's counter-attack.

Conversion Shield - sustain convert x% of incoming damage into the damage type of your choice (chosen when activated). Increase the % with aegis. This would be really nice with the cold mage as you already have Shivogorth Form and this would allow you to have a really solid defense. I would get rid of metaflow and add this. Now you have another shield.

Ice Shield - active skill that provides a thin layer of ice to surround you. Flat damage reduction for damage. Have shielding and aegis both increase the amount. I'd replace the shatter skill with this BUT make it so that additional cold damage (only) has the chance of producing the shatter effect. The point here is to make the cold mage more survivable at close range.

2. Restore aether/arcane to high damage with high volatility/risk.

Get rid of the cap on hits per turn on aether beam and allow it to be placed on walls again but get rid of the silence effect.

Change Manathrust to cause a radius 1 eruption when it hits or passes through an enemy. This, and the aether vortex explosion should damage you if you're close. Then buff the damage of all of the aether/arcane skills just enough to make them truly dangerous to you and enemies both.

Then, add up to 25% arcane affinity to aether avatar and get rid of the access to temporal magic as it's anti-thematic in my opinion.

And finally, arcane power... replace the arcane resistance bonus with a buff to the cap. No bonus resistance but a higher max cap, say 15%. This, along with the AA affinity, is nicely thematic with the risk of the build before you get Meta (or don't, which I've managed to do successfully once and still beat the game... nearly killed myself many, many times). It would work with that damned aether permeation prodigy and my proposed conversion shield.

Thoughts?

EDIT: To address the problem of mana cost on arcane/aether build, I offer this idea:

1. Pure Aether 1.6 now removes a magic effect when Aether Avatar is cancelled. Compared to the Ice Block penetration of Cold or the Daze bonus for Lightning or self-damage reduction for Fire, this is an extremely mediocre secondary bonus. The other secondary bonus skills are critical to the build's efficacy and help define the play style. This is just a slapped on bonus and so I propose...

Mana cost reduction. At active talent level 5, have it reduce mana costs for arcane and aether skills only by a significant amount. I'd say 80%. You only have four damage skills (setting aside the offensive utility of Disruption Shield) and optimal play involves layering them over and over, and they used to be relatively expensive, though now I think only Aether Breach is...

So... increase the cost of the four offensive skills, Manathrust, Arcane Vortx, Aether Beam, and Aether Breach. Perhaps another 50% and increase their damage slightly as well. Aether really should have the highest normal damage of any of the Archmage elements. Then offer a significant reduction in that mana cost and with Avatar, you'll be able to layer those skills over and over and over again without worrying about shutting down Disruption Shield.

And I really do think the mana cost should drop a LOT. The Arcane/aether spells should have the longest cool downs and highest costs to start but with Pure Aether and Aether Avatar, they should have the shortest cool downs and lowest mana costs all while doing the highest damage. The down side should be their volatility and inaccuracy as well as no status effects.


Last edited by Delmuir on Sun Dec 22, 2019 6:55 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2019 7:37 pm 
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Higher

Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2015 8:23 pm
Posts: 47
I played Aether AM on Nightmare with the Technomancy and it was quite strong. Being able to drop time shield and Aegis at the start of a fight meant I had enough steam to do the main attack.

The silence on the vortex was usually the reason I bothered to use it late game. Breach was also a bit meh as the damage takes time and the area affected is kind of random.

Generally for big fights it was fire off the two higher racials, time shield, aegis, avatar, reality breach, and then spam the basic beam. Few things survived to go far into the beam, and I had >3K shield to hide behind (with backups).

The problem with arcane is that basic beam is the only really solid spell outside of the techno reality breach. With avatar you can spam just the one spell, but avatar isn’t always up and it’s late game tool.

That said, arcane s quite playable and I’d give Ice some love first. I played that as a Yeti for the racial (run I used to test Terrene), and having more freeze chance really helps with keeping shatter useful. The set could use more utility, and Freeze having a lower cooldown would be nice - maybe reset freeze cooldown when casting shatter?

The technomage options really beef up ice and arcane AMs. Haven’t tried galvanic yet.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2019 11:15 pm 
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Cornac

Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2017 3:39 pm
Posts: 40
The big reason why wildfire is generally the best category is because of it's amazing passive. It's so good that it basically has the purge from meta built in.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2019 8:48 am 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Sat Aug 24, 2013 5:55 am
Posts: 801
The biggest problem with the arcane/aether build is actually mana. Arcane/Aether skills are pricey in terms of mana and the optimal play style consumes a lot of mana.

The spells are medium range so there's risk in having to get close and mages don't have great closing mobility, though they have great escapes. Basically, once you get close enough then you fire up Aether Avatar and layer Aether Beam and Aether Breach over and over and over until everything is dead or Avatar is done. You used to be able to refill your mana through Disruption Shield but alas, no more...

And that's why the build is bad now. Disruption Shield shuts down when below 50% mana and now there's no way to recover mana in large amounts. The expense of the Aether skills means that you will constantly be crossing that 50% threshold. You simply can't unload endless aether skills like you once could.

Yes, Aegis lets you recover your shield and potentially some mana but you can only do it once, reasonably, because it has a long cool-down but it also requires extreme precision to maximize. It's simply not worth the risk to let your shield run low and start consuming mana while you're using mana to attack and try to time it perfectly to recover the shield and mana while also spending mana on Aegis. It's not a workable idea.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2019 7:18 pm 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Sat Aug 24, 2013 5:55 am
Posts: 801
My proposal for changes to Arcane/Aether:

1. Theme... high damage but volatile and risky. No status effects or disables. PURE damage.

2. Ideal prodigies... aether permeation (I know, I know but bear with me)

3. So... you have 4 damage skills, Manathrust, Arcane Vortex, Aether Beam, and Aether Breach. The latter three are a little awkward, though I love them all. They are literally my favorite skills in the game.

Then you have Arcane Power, Disruption Shield, Aether Avatar, and Pure Aether (and this skill, like all the others, has a secondary bonus but for Pure Aether, it's kind of crap).

My theory is this:

1. Manathrust does radius 1 burst damage whenever it hits or passes through anything. This CAN hit you.

2. Arcane Vortex... the eruption or bolt damage (if you somehow got in the way) can hit you.

3. Aether Beam... remove the cap on hits per turn. I'd also love to see it be able to be placed in walls but whatever... then remove the silence effect.

4. Aether Breach... no change to function.

5. Buff damage to ALL skills but control the scaling for monsters... I think the scaling should peak around active talent level 7 or so and then taper off.

6. Disruption Shield no longer grants reliable mana back AND it shuts off at 50% so it basically cuts your mana pool in half, which is crazy. Lets keep it that way and fix it according to my theme...

7. Aether Avatar... lets you spam and layer your damage skills over and over for mega-kill potential BUT see #6. It doesn't work due to mana cost!! So... solve that with #8 but also grant this ability damage shield penetration! While active, all aether skills only gain damage shield penetration.

8. Pure Aether... make the secondary bonus for this skill be massive mana reduction ONLY for aether/arcane skills. No Aegis either. I mean that that the skills should go from most expensive to least expensive if maxed.

9. Arcane Power... have it increase spellpower as it currently does BUT also increase the resistance cap for arcane/aether but get rid of the bonus resistance. What?!?

10. Aether Permeation... it's now viable.

Now you have an Archmage build that can use the above prodigy but will have enough leftover talent points to invest elsewhere. Then it can pick Cauterize or the new prodigy that grants absolute damage reduction and resistance penetration or even Elemental Surge. The point of this concept is to maximize what it already does... nuking. Spell casting speed, aether avatar, and so on... just layering damage in obscene amounts but at the risk of blowing yourself up if you don't use Spellcraft or it drops or whatever.

This concept is volatile... you probably will die by your own hand more often than an enemy BUT if you get it up and running then it should, in theory, be able to do enough damage to win even on Insane.

Thoughts?


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2019 7:28 pm 
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Yeek

Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2016 9:23 pm
Posts: 14
All elements are viable in Insane. All three technomancers are superb in Insane. I really wish ppl try something else than just wildfire mages so they could feel how the class was improved in overall.

Tl;dr it's not 1.4 anymore, other elements are worth a try.

1. Aether - you'll kill basically everything in few turns as soon as you gain access to aether avatar. Even faster when you open the occult technomancy. Reality breach is that good.

Also, free melee that hits 1k+ when crits, 5+ passive mana regen (50+ when manasurged) and 60 spellpower? I'm in.

In late games reality breach + AAD hits 10k+ and that's enough to kill every rares and almost all uniques in single turn.

2. Fire - honestly haven't tried it at all, but wildfire tree still seems strong.

3. Lightning - get double staves, put mana coil and enjoy free lightnings that fire 25% of the time when you cast anything - including thunderstorm.
Also, 10 passive mana regen can't go wrong, amiright?

For pure lightning build, surge/meteor combo can be one way to wipe out enemies while autoexploring.

Galvanic tree is matchmade for meteoric crash . pick it as your second prodigy (for fire dmg% and respen%) and just blast everything.

4. Ice - freeze is good at 10. Freeze is really good when used with shatter. Freeze is king when you also mastered uttercold as well. Along with terrene technomancy, you'll put your target under infinite stun/iceblock with your spiderbots' earthquake and glacial vapour aura.

5. Earth

Haven't tried in 1.6 but the buff on pulverizing auger seems awesome.


Last edited by jjormang on Sun Dec 22, 2019 8:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2019 7:48 pm 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Sat Aug 24, 2013 5:55 am
Posts: 801
I do play all of the elements and I do play on Insane and I have won, often. I also am not addressing the expansions because, for the most part, I don't care for them and consider them bloat but also new players won't have them.

It really depends on what you mean by "viable." If you're extremely, obsessively careful then you can win tome on Insane with almost anything. You can probably bump-attack with an Archmage and do it if you find the right gear.

What I mean by viable is sufficiently strong to play and win with in a manner that isn't tedious. What I consider tedious is having to use Track or carving out tunnels or the equivalent... basically if I have to do that more than a handful of times in the game for a handful of enemies then I consider it tedious.

So perhaps we have a different standard...


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2019 8:32 pm 
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Yeek

Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2016 9:23 pm
Posts: 14
Exactly as you say. New disruption shield and free access to temporal shield gives archmage a lot durability in the early game - no more one hit death during autoexploration. Using track and arcane eyes occasionally would be suffice.

Also, for dlc-less players - new elemental surge or adept would be good alternative to technomancer.


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