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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2015 2:07 pm 
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Yeek

Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:42 pm
Posts: 12
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Bulwark

Character played: Delaine (Insane Adventure, no Item Vaulting or addons)


Hi and welcome to my guide of the Bulwark. In this guide I will go through and try to cover everything on how I think a bulwark should be played and built. This guide is all my personal opinion and I´ve seen very different builds compared to this that can work too, nothing is exactly set in stone. Just have in mind that it´s based on 100+ hours of playing this class on Insane aswell as winning on my last Bulwark. If you have any ideas on what you think is missing in this guide or if something should be better explained or changed, feel free to leave a comment, it would be much appreciated!

Let´s start with taking a look at the main characteristics of the Bulwark:


Strengths

Good class for learning the game

Excellent early game

Very resilient

Rewards defensive play



Weaknesses

Lacks utility

Mediocre mid game

A few very flawed class talents

No AOE or ranged damage



( Important note: All Images, headlines, talent names and some other keywords are clickable to get to the matching wikipage! )


Choosing your race

Cornac - 5/10

No exp penalty and 1 extra category point is nice but I dont like the drawback of no racial tree and only 10 hp per level. It´s not a bad race at all but it feels much more suited for a few other classes, allthough it can be good for playing at a lower difficulty level to explore the Bulwark.

Higher - 3/10

This race is designed to be played as a caster class, not much point at all to pick it.


Shalore - 9/10

Very nice racial talents, especially in timeless and Grace of the eternals. Only 9 hp / level is a big drawback but that can be countered in a few ways ( like in gearing and choosing shield inscriptions ). All in all it doesnt suit the way I play my Bulwark but im sure others would consider it the best pick.

Thalore - 7/10

Very strong racials and overall a good pick for the Bulwark. On the downside, Wrath of the woods and Nature´s pride scales with willpower wich you shouldnt spend points on, also the exp penalty and hp gain is somewhat punishing. Still one of the better races for endgame.

Doomelf - 3/10

I havent unlocked this race but judging from the talent tree it appears to be designed for casters.

Halfling - 8/10

A well-balanced race with a strong racial tree and 12 hp / level aswell as only 20% exp penalty wich is nice compared to most other races. Duck and dodge is one of my favorite racial talents, so is Indomitable. Militant mind loses most of it benefits on Insane.

Dwarf- 5/10

A decent pick, mostly for stone walking for some added utility and the 12 extra hp / lvl, but the armor proc and use feels abit "meh" for bulwark. Power is money gives very little benefit on higher difficulties due to how hard enemies outscale you. One of the better races for Normal difficulty, especially if you go antimagic.

Yeek - 7/10

The mediocre 7 extra health / lvl is obviously a huge drawback, but other then that it´s a surprisingly strong pick for Bulwark. Amazing racial tree with Dominant will that helps alot when facing multiple enemies. Also the passive global speed is one of the best racials and a passive confusion resistance is useful when gearing.

Ogre - 10/10

The best race for Bulwark in my opinion. The ability to use 2-handed weapons with a shield is huge for Bulwark as it improves the chances of getting a nice randart to use and also increase your damage output, but the biggest benefit is how this race improves upon inscriptions, giving better stats on them, shorter cooldowns, talent to remove saturation, aswell as being able to use one more, eventually. 13 hp / lvl is excellent, the 30% exp penalty is the only drawback for playing this awesome race.

Ghoul - 1/10

The Ghoul has nice racials for warrior classes, but the global speed penalty and inability to use infusion inscriptions make it too hard to play compared to other races, and should only ever be picked with the intention of added challenge.

Skeleton - 2/10


Much like the ghoul it feels like a race to play as a challenge, hey atleast it doesnt have the global speed reduce. The skeleton has very strong racials well-suited for a warrior class and could be a decent pick at lower difficulties for the Bulwark, but no infusion usage make it very hard to play, it also has a huge exp penalty at 40%. If you choose skeleton or ghoul as your race you will probably have to grab the Light talent tree from escorts, to make up a little for having no infusions.


Primary stats

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Strength


Improves your damage, physical saves, and allows you to carry around more items. I recommend maxing this after constitution, but remember to get 24 points in it early on to be able to use T3 shields / weapons.

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Dexterity


Gives you better defense to avoid enemy attacks, raises your accuracy and makes you more likely to shrug of criticals. You dont need to spend any points on this stat, instead its better to get a few items that boosts dex and accuracy, wich is very common. Also you get plenty accuracy from armor training tree and the perfect strike talent to use against stealthy enemies or just enemies with high defense.

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Constitution

Raises your max hp and like strength it gives you better physical save. I tend to max this first to get 5/5 in thick skin early on and get better survivability, especially against caster enemies.

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Magic


More spellpower and spell save. You will need 50 points on this for spectral shield prodigy, but you dont have to spend levelup points on it, instead you can save certain items that boosts the stat up to 50 when you need it. If you learn Light tree its good to spend some points in it.

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Willpower


For Bulwark it raises stamina, mindpower and also mana, if you for example learned premonition. Also increases mental and spell saves. You dont´ spend points in this unless you go Antimagic.

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Cunning


Improves chance to crit, mental saves and mindpower. A very important stat to raise to boost critchance, invisible detection with piercing sight, aswell as the effects of various items like edens guile. Get some cunning from items early on, spend points in it after strength and constitution is maxed.



Class trees

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Shield Pummel: Your primary talent against most enemies to stun and damage them. 3/5 early on, max eventually for 1 more turn duration.

Riposte: Enables counterstrikes even when you don´t fully block attacks and buffs duration and crit chance of the debuff. I feel like 1 point is enough and additional spent doesnt give enough benefit to be worth it. Alternatively you could use points I spent on Spell Shield here instead.

Shield Slam: Attack your targets 3 times with your shield and then uses block. Didnt like this talent at first but its really useful once you get both prodegies and you have to block damage, but your normal block has been delayed by burning hex, stun, or similar effects. Also nice when you need to finish off a target but will take damage next turn. Basically its a better block with longer cd, 1/5 early, max eventually.

Assault: Hit your target with your shield. If it lands you do 2 crits with your weapon at increased weapon damage. The hardest hitting talent the Bulwark has, made even better if you are an Ogre using a two-handed weapon. 1/5 is good enough early, max eventually.



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Shield Wall: Gives stun resist, defense and armor, on sustain. The price is a 20 % reduction of all physical damage. It is a good talent early on but the damage reduction is so dumb in the way how it gets more punishing the better your gear is.. I overcame this penalty lategame by getting a shield with light damage ( Summertide ) and a randart weapon with mind damage. Alternatively you can disable it and get 100% stun resist from gear instead and only use it when you think you need the armor and defense. I put 3/5 early on, maxed lategame, but it depends on the amount of items you find with stun resist.

Repulsion: Terrible talent, put 1/5 early on to progress in the tree, maybe has some value in the early dungeons if you need to escape, after that it doesnt have much use, for me it didnt deserve a place on the actionbar.

Shield Expertise: This talent improves your damage with shieldbased attacks, and increases saves. seems like a very good talent, even if I´m not sure exactly how much the dmg increase is, max early.

Last Stand: Buffs your defense and max health, but hey, you cant move! This stupid talent even wastes a turn to activate, dont bother with it.



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Rush: Important gap-closer For the Bulwark, that can deal surprisingly good damage too. I like to go 3/5 in it for the 9 range, just remember to not be reckless with it, rushing blindly onto an enemy can often put you in a bad position, usually its better to just hide behind walls and let enemies come to you, and then use rush when you need to get to a target that has already engaged you.

Precise Strikes: I dont like the attackspeed reduction on it, just take it to move on in the tree.

Perfect Strike: A nice talent to buff up accuracy aswell as let you hit stealthed targets without penalty. I went 3/5 early on, maxed it later.

Blinding Speed: One of the best class talents Bulwarks have. It´s comparable to the use on Eden´s Guile, but doesnt use a turn and has abit shorter duration. Easy 5/5.



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Quick recovery: Gives you stamina per turn. Just max it to avoid being stamina starved in longer fights.

Fast Metabolism: Gives you health per turn. Abit boring and not that useful talent to spend talents in, but it does atleast scale with healing modifier. I think I put 2 points early, and after that 2 spare points in it, decide yourself how much you want to spend on it.

Spell Shield: More Spell Save. 1 point is enough since saves doesnt do much if anything on Insane. I just maxed cause I had nothing else that I wanted to spend the points in.

Unending Frenzy: Gives stamina regen per kill, useful when facing multiple enemies in longer fights. 3/5 feels like a good amount to spend on it.




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( for me it felt better to learn this tree at level 20 and pick up another inscription at level 10, but use your own judgement! In my opinion it´s not crucial until you get to the east.)

Greater Weapon Focus: Gives a chance for blows to deal another similar blow when activated.I dont like the fact it uses a turn, wants you to up your dexterity, almost demands 5/5 to be useful, and still being very random at that point. I just put 1/5 and removed from bar, if you find use for it by all means, feel free to throw your points in it, but not recommended. If you choose to do that you can drop points I spent in Spell shield ( if you dont do that for Riposte).

Step Up: The main reason this tree is picked by most Bulwarks! Whenever you kill an enemy you get a proc similar to a Infusion: Movement. It´s amazing, helps alot with movement, escapes, positioning, speeding through charred scar and volcanic Caldera, etc. Easy 5/5.

Bleeding Edge:
A nice damaging talent that reduces healing on targets struck. I went 3/5 early on and eventually maxed.

True Grit: A sustain that increases your resistance to all damage based on your missing health. Pointless talent that even uses a turn when activated.. and then drains you precious stamina each turn. Just avoid it.




Generic Talents


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Thick Skin: Increases your resistance to all types of damage. Obvious 5/5.

Armour Training: Enables usage of heavier armor and improves benefits from using it. Go 3/5 early to be able to use massive armour and eventually good to max.

Combat Accuracy:
Improves accuracy, making you more able to hit enemies. It depends on your gear how many points would be optimal, but I´d recommend atleast 3/5.

Weapons Mastery: More physical power and weapon damage, another obvious max.

Dagger Mastery: No. Assault and a few other damaging talents or based on weapon damage so you will never want to use daggers.



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Vitality: Reduces duration of poisons, wounds and diseases on you and gives you a regen heal proc when you get under 50% ( 15 turn cd). This can be anything from 1-pointer or maxed depending on taste, as with many talents I think it´s a good 3/5.

Unflinching resolve: Gives a chance to recover from various effects each turn. At 4/5 you can recover from slows and wounds, last point only increases the chance.

Daunting Presence: Sustain to Reduce mind-, spell- and physical power of close targets when you take 5% or more damage of your health, from a single hit. I was unsure how useful this would be and don´t like how it deactivates when you get low health. I don´t think it´s worth taking but feel free to try it out.

Adrenaline Surge:
Increase physical power abit and use health instead of stamina if needed. Feels like a pretty pointless talent and health is too precious to be used as a resource for talents.



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( Whole tree could be skipped if you get piercing sight from thief escort Q, but only reason to do this would be if you take both harmony and light trees, otherwise you have points to spend anyhow.)

Heightened Senses: Makes you see creatures outside of your light radius. At talent lvl 3 it teaches you to disarm traps wich is the reason to go 3/5.

Charm Mastery: Reduces CD of your charms. 1 point is enough but spend more if you have alot of different and powerful charms you frequently use.

Piercing sight:
Improves Stealth and invisible detection. I put 3/5 cause i didn´t get much +detect from items, otherwise 1/5 is enough.

Evasion: Gives you a chance to evade attacks for a couple of turns. Doesn´t feel needed as caster type enemies is the main threat anyhow and many items has this as a use if you should want it. Also I don´t like that it requires a turn.



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Waters Of Life: When used you recieve healing instead of damage from any poisons and diseases affecting you. 1 point wonder.

Elemental Harmony:
Gives different benefits when hit by any natural element. Especially the fire buff is useful here, 5/5.

One With Nature: Removes infusion saturation aswell as reduce infusion cooldowns when used. Another 1 point wonder in this tree.

Healing Nexus: Affected enemies gets all their healing teleported onto you instead, at a reduced %. I didn´t pick this but in hindsight I regret it alot as it would have been useful for various enemies, for example to counter recovery procs. 1/5 or more, use your own judgement.



Inscriptions

Inscriptions are highly dependant on playstyle and what suits you the best, I´ve seen completely different builds with movement infusions, heroism and shields etc, that I didn´t use. Here is what I had endgame:

Rune: Phase Door 10 cd, 14 range, 7 Duration 51 resist all
Infusion: Healing 9 cd, 387 healing
Infusion: Healing 7 cd, 343 healing
Infusion: Regeneration 14 cd 946 healing over 5 turns
Infusion: Wild 15 cd, remove mental, physical, 29% dmg reduce for 7 turns
Infusion: Wild 15 cd, remove magical, physical, 29% dmg reduce for 5 turns


(buffed with grisly constitution from the Ogre racial tree)


Prodigies

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Lvl 30: Eternal Shield


This prodigy makes your Block unbreakable on damage and it also lasts for one more turn. Useful to increase survival but doesn´t really shine until it gets synergy from your second prodigy wich is..

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Lvl 42: Spectral Shield


Your Block now works on any type of damage. This prodigy is crazy good as you dont need to think about resistances on the shield you are using anymore.

These two prodigies combined with a good T5 shield means you can reduce a huge amount of damage, 300+ from any source, every single turn, assuming you use Block every time its off cooldown.



Gearing

You should equip some +hp items early on. Focus on other defensive stats like resistances to damage and effects, especially to stun, try to make yourself get 100% stun resist with Shield Wall sustained around lvl 15. Get a good T3 1h+shield from shops once you can afford it, the shield should have some resistances so you can block the damage of that type, preferebly darkness, fire, cold or lightning resistances.

Your weapon should have high weapon damage with on-hit effects like random gloom, slow global speed, blind, daze, dmg reduction. Always look for stronger charms to use like mindblast torques or conjuration wands, aswell as items like Wyrmbreath and Gwai´s Burninator to give you some much needed aoe damage. Once you get Assault, Crit multiplier becomes really good to use. A high disarm immunity is very important lategame so it doesn´t mess with your blocking. You will also most certainly need some gloves of dispersion to remove magical sustains on ememies or the lategame becomes borderline impossible.

Refer to my character in the vault if you need to see more on how to gear endgame and what numbers to aim for.(link at the top of this guide)




West order and some general advice

Right when you spawn, exit the dungeon you are in, head north of last hope and walk around until you get the "The beast within"quest and then head to the lumberjack Village . Let any unique / boss lumberjacks kill Ben Cruthdar, if that doesn´t work try killing him yourself or restart your character and attempt again until he dies. This should bring you up to level 5 and you will have a much easier time in your first dungeons. Buy a mindblast or tentacle torque if you find any, aswell as a regen infusion if your character didn´t start with it, otherwise you will have to rely on recovery for healing. Head to Trollmire and fully clear it, including the second boss, it shouldnt be too hard for your Bulwark, pick up and use any items you get along the way obviously, even if its just a white helm with 1 armor. When done recall and head to Derth, buy a lantern with + hp if you find one, then do the arena quest. After this I would recommend roughly this order:


Ruins of Kor´pul:
Some cold resistance, 50-100 extra health from gear and a decent green 1h+shield is recommended before going here.

Scintillating caves: A good conjuration wand or mindblast torque is important here, and dodge all projectiles you can.

Unknown Tunnels: Easy as Bulwark, just make sure you don´t ever back off after speaking with the assasin leader, once I did that they started killing the merchant and the quest failed.

Old Forest: You might want to wait with it if it´s alt forest.

Ruined Halfling Complex: A Surprisingly easy dungeon to do this early on Insane, compared to the alternatives. Some pinning, physical and darkness resistance helps.

The Maze: Make sure you have high stun resistance before going here, if it´s alt maze you probably need to wait with this dungeon, until after Rhaloren Camp.

Heart of the Gloom: Get some darkness resistance.

Norgos Lair: A nasty place on insane, my record is 5 rares, 1 boss and 1 unique ganging up on me, be really careful and progress slowly. Some Arp, cold and mind resistance and decent inscriptions should help alot here.

Rhaloren Camp: Get some lightning resistance.

Sandworm Lair Physical, acid and nature resistances are important here. The Infusion: movement inscription or similar effects helps alot to keep up with the big sandworm tunnelers in the alternative version of the dungeon.

Daikara: Cold or fire resistance helps alot depending on normal or alt version.

Hidden Compound: Arcane resistance helps alot.

Tempest Peak: Get alot of lightning resistance.

Lake of Nur: Always get an item allowing you to breathe in water before going here.

Last Hope Graveyard: Some decent darkness resistance, high armor, cold and physical resistance helps here.

Ruined Dungeon: A scary place, make you sure you are prepared in any way possible before attempting this and always be extra careful with pulls.

Dreadfell: Just like the ruined dungeon, be careful when engaging enemies and always expect the worst. The master isnt hard at all compared to the random enemies you will meet before getting to him. Once you fight him, get yourself cornered up so you can avoid his minions, phase door away and reposition if you get in trouble.


I think this pretty much covers everything I want to put into this guide, I will add more if something comes to mind. Thanks for reading my guide and have fun with your Bulwarks!


Last edited by Marcas on Tue Feb 23, 2016 1:42 pm, edited 35 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 4:05 pm 
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Wayist

Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2015 1:00 am
Posts: 23
Nice guide! I think I'll try to win a bulwark next. My last one was really low on damage and couldn't even put a dent in the last boss [died multiple times until it was permanent]. Any suggestions on making sure you have enough damage to kill bosses?


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 1:38 pm 
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Yeek

Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:42 pm
Posts: 12
zemdu wrote:
Nice guide! I think I'll try to win a bulwark next. My last one was really low on damage and couldn't even put a dent in the last boss [died multiple times until it was permanent]. Any suggestions on making sure you have enough damage to kill bosses?


I actually had a lot of problems on last fight aswell, but here is a few things I can recommend:

Get gloves with on-use "Disperse Magic" to get rid of different magic sustains ( or effects) on enemies. I doubt I could have won or killed the two sorcerers without this, simply one of the best kind of items in the game.

Lots of bosses has high resistances lategame, try to get as much penetration as possible. I had 30% mind pen for my weapon and 10% light pen for my shield and it felt quite low for some fights / end fight, 40-50% would be nice to aim for, and preferebly in a different damage type then physical if you are using shield wall so you dont get the -20% dmg penalty. "Changes damage +" items is of course really good too, so is crit multiplier items ( esp. for your assault) and crit%, armor pen should be fine around 50.

I couldnt get Argoniel down after I killed Elandar as recovery healed her up to ~70% and I didnt have any way to stop it ( healing nexus might have helped here... ) and had too low damage to get her to 50% again before recovery came off cooldown. What I had to do was loot Elandar and equip the staff, get her down to 50% so recovery activated, and then attack her with the use on the staff, that damages for 30% of health, after that it was easy. Being Ogre obviously helps alot for this tactic so you can equip staff with a shield and keep blocking, but its probably doable as other races aswell.

Hope this helped and thanks for your comment!( if you want you can give me armory link to your char here or in PM and it would be easier to see exactly what your character lacked)

I think I will improve the gearing and inscription section of the guide the coming week as I´m not happy with these, I kinda rushed those parts mainly cause the talent section took so much time to do.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2015 1:05 pm 
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Wyrmic

Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2014 11:56 pm
Posts: 204
Awsome guide! :) Do you mind if I link this in the wiki? I want to update the guide section so that it is actually relevant

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2015 6:24 pm 
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Yeek

Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:42 pm
Posts: 12
San0ix wrote:
Awsome guide! :) Do you mind if I link this in the wiki? I want to update the guide section so that it is actually relevant


Feel free to do that :D


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2015 5:44 pm 
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Yeek

Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:42 pm
Posts: 12
Been doing alot of changes to the guide the last few days. I made all pictures, headlines, talents and some keywords into links to the matching wikipage for your convenience! I also fixed alot of errors in grammar or wording ( english isnt my native language ), added suggestions to spare points distribution, Improved gear section abit and overall improved the look of the guide. I still see it as a work in progress and will keep on updating, even if I´m much more happy with it now. Hope you like it.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2015 10:59 am 
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Master of Eyal

Joined: Wed Jul 24, 2002 9:26 pm
Posts: 10230
Location: Angolwen
Nice presentation ! and nice guide !

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 10:24 am 
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Low Yeek

Joined: Mon May 26, 2014 8:54 pm
Posts: 8
Can you please provide order you should level up your skills? It always confusing me what I should take in which order.

Great guide anyway. Is it still actual in 1.3.3?


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 8:41 pm 
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Yeek

Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:42 pm
Posts: 12
duskhorizon wrote:
Can you please provide order you should level up your skills? It always confusing me what I should take in which order.

Great guide anyway. Is it still actual in 1.3.3?


Hi sorry for the late reply.

as long as you follow the suggestions I gave next to each skill I feel like an exact order isnt necessary, just pick up the key talents I pointed out as soon as you can, for example blinding speed and step up should be maxed as soon as possible. Most important in early levels is shield pummel 3/5 (maxed later) shield wall ( as many points it takes to get you stun immune with help of items you have found) and I tend to rush Thick skin in the generic tree. Vitality ( just 1 point is fine) is crucial early game to survive and I also like to pick up 3/5 heightened senses before lvl 15 for the extra monster vision.

Guide should still be accurate as I didnt see any changes to the class, I will remove the patch number on the guide for now as I dont think its needed until a major patch comes out. Glad you liked the guide!

darkgod wrote:
Nice presentation ! and nice guide !


Thanks Mr. Darkgod! :D And thank YOU for this awesome game, I havent played much recently but I´m hyped for the next expansion!


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 4:27 pm 
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Halfling

Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2016 9:46 pm
Posts: 100
Wow, beating insane with bulwark is pretty impressive! What i dont get is why you only invest 1 point in Greater Weapon Focus, which arguably one of the best offensive spells in the game and put those points into Spell Save, which is arguably the worst spell in the game? It gives %61 chance to deal another blow for the next 10 turns (taken from the wiki), which is like a %600 damage increase? I thought it would be even more needed in bulwark since damage is one of the biggest issues. No bashing/offense intended since you must have a great understanding of the class to be able to beat insane with Bulwark, im just curious!

Congratulations again for being the first Insane Bulwark winner! Amazing.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2016 2:44 am 
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Wayist

Joined: Tue May 14, 2013 4:55 am
Posts: 17
Riposte, at 4, gives an extra turn of counterstrike iirc. Why would you pass on that?


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