ToME: the Tales of Maj'Eyal

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2015 9:53 am 

Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2014 4:00 pm
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This guide is intended for Normal difficulty, and is mainly aimed at newer players trying to get their first win. This is probably the easiest build for winning Normal that doesn't require any race/class unlocks and will allow you to autoexplore as much as you want. There are many builds that are technically stronger (such as Shalore/Archmage), but they tend to either require unlocks or significant game knowledge to be played effectively. This build has lots of passive defenses that make things pretty easy from start to finish. For simplicity's sake, in this guide I'm going to stick with what worked for me rather talking about all the possible options for race, category unlocks, prodigies, etc.

If you want to use this build on a higher difficulty setting, you should basically ignore saves and possibly pick a different race. Saves are only really useful if they are close to or greater than your enemy's physical/spell/mind power ratings, and on Nightmare+ difficulties the enemies' power will become inflated higher than you can realistically push your saves.

I finished Normal/Roguelike using this build and didn't have any real issues. I had one death from a bug (7.8k damage from Thread the Needle), but I had the Ring of the Dead so I was able to resurrect and continue. I used the item vault on this character because I had a few cool items laying around that I wanted to use, but it's definitely not necessary.

I picked Dwarf because this build wants to stack as much armor and saves as possible, and the 4th racial talent gives us a controlled teleport that's usable with antimagic. Dwarves also get 2 extra starting zones and an extra backup guardian, which equates to increased loot and XP.

The first thing you need to understand about stat requirements is that they're only checked the first time you learn a talent or equip an item. If you use items or buffs to temporarily increase your stats, you can learn talents or equip gear and continue to use it even if you don't meet the requirement anymore. Taking advantage of this trick will allow you to focus on stats you actually want to increase, rather than permanently raising stats just to satisfy a talent/item requirement. With that in mind, you should save items with stat bonuses that you might need eventually.

For this build, Strength is by far the most important stat since it's the basis for our melee damage. Our secondary stats are Cunning and Dexterity, and they are of roughly equal importance. Cunning increases crit chance, mental save, and mindpower. Dexterity increases accuracy and crit shug off, and also scales some of our skills. Constitution and Willpower are tertiary stats; they're useful, but less important than Str/Dex/Cun.

I do recommend raising Con to the mid-20s during the early game to allow learning Unflinching Resolve without needing to find +Con items, but then you should leave it alone unless you need some additional points to unlock Eternal Guard at level 30 after equipping the best +Con items you've found. Apart from that, you want to max Str as quickly as possible, followed by Dex and Cun in whichever order you prefer. If you have extra stat points after maxing Str, Dex, and Cun, put them in Wil for more mindpower, resources, and mental save.

Talents Overview
These are the minimum talent levels I recommend for level 50. You will have a few extra class and generic points to distribute as you like. If you want to see the exact talent levels I used, check my character report.

Class Talents
Technique/Shield offense: 3+/4/1+/1+
Technique/Shield defense: 5/1/5/0
Technique/Combat techniques: 3+/1+/5/5
Technique/Combat veteran: 1+/1+/5/0+
Technique/Battle tactics: 5/5/3+/0
Cunning/Dirty fighting: 1+/1/1/5

Generic Talents
Race/Dwarf: 1/1/5/1+
Technique/Combat training: 5/5/5/5/0
Technique/Conditioning: 1/4/0+/0+
Cunning/Survival: 1/1+/1+/0
Wild-gift/Antimagic: 5/2+/0+/0+
Wild-gift/Fungus: 5/1/1+/1

Category Unlocks
1. Inscription slot
2. Wild-gift/Fungus
3. Technique/Battle tactics
4. Cunning/Dirty fighting

You will start with a Regeneration infusion and Wild (physical) infusion, plus a Healing infusion in your inventory. Use all three of these and upgrade them as you find better versions in shops or as loot.

The starting Wild infusion will last you quite a while, but eventually you'll probably want to switch to a Wild (physical, magical) infusion. It's very helpful to have a way to remove magic effects like Burning Hex, and as an antimagic character we can't use gauntlets of dispersion. Most characters favor a Wild (physical, mental) infusion, but mental effects are not that much of a threat to this build. Try to get a Wild with 12-14 cooldown, regardless of the resist bonus.

At level 10, you can use your category point to unlock a 4th inscription slot. I recommend adding a Movement infusion. It's useful as a gap closer, as an escape tool, and as a way of gaining temporary immunity to stun, daze, and pinning.

Regen infusion becomes much more powerful once you unlock Fungus at level ~20. With full investment, you can have roughly 80% uptime on Regen infusion and it will take only a fraction of a turn to use.

Healing infusion is a strong tool for a several reasons. First, it takes no time to use. Second, it can have a significantly shorter cooldown than Regen infusion, although the value is randomized. Third, it removes a wound or poison effect; this is helpful both for getting rid of the effect, and for narrowing the list of effects for Wild infusion to remove. If your character is suffering from both stun and poison, for example, it may be wise to use Healing infusion first to remove the poison before using your Wild infusion to remove the stun.

Heroism infusion is a strong option that many players like to use in the late game. If I had 5 inscription slots I would definitely use one, but for this character I didn't want to replace any of my other infusions for Heroism.

Class Talents
Technique/Shield Offense
Shield Pummel: 3+/5
This is the first stun available to us, and it's useful even against stun immune enemies as a double-hit with increased damage. 3/5 is the breakpoint for efficiency, but you could go 5/5 if you want an additional turn of stun duration. Stuns are very powerful and you should be using this against anything that poses a threat and isn't stun immune.

Riposte: 4/5
This talent is very important to our overall damage output. Bulwarks rely on blocking and getting a counterstrike bonus to increase their damage and crit chance. At 4/5 our counterstrike debuff lasts 2 turns or 2 attacks.

Shield Slam: 1+/5
This is a strong talent because it hits 3 times and grants the Block buff independently of our normal Block cooldown. The base damage is low, but having three chances to trigger procs is still very good. It's worth considering additional points here in the late game, but 1/5 is fine for most of the game.

Assault: 1+/5
This is our strongest attack. It has 3 hits, including 2 automatic crits, and good base damage. It's best to leave this at 1/5 for most of the game, but in the late game you may want additional points here.

Technique/Shield Defense
Shield Wall: 5/5
This is the quintessential Bulwark skill. It grants a ton of defense, armor, and stun/knockback immunity. You'll want to max this fairly early and keep it permanently sustained. The physical damage penalty can be overcome by equipping items with at least 20% increased physical damage, or by using a weapon with a non-physical damage type.

Repulsion: 1/5
This skill is not really useful and costs too much stamina. Just take 1/5 to unlock the next talent.

Shield Expertise: 5/5
This improves all of our shield-based talents, so it's good to max it fairly early.

Last Stand: 0/5
This isn't particularly useful, especially since it takes a turn to use. In a bad situation, mobility is more likely to save you than a little extra life and defense while being immobile.

Technique/Combat Techniques
Rush: 3/5 or 4/5
This is helpful for closing the gap on ranged characters. 3/5 is an efficient breakpoint, but if you have an extra point to spare, 4/5 will give range 10 so you can Rush anything in line of sight.

Precise Strikes: 1+/5
I didn't want to deal with the attack speed penalty, so I just took 1/5 to unlock the next talent. If you wanted to max this, the accuracy and crit chance are arguably worth the 10% speed penalty.

Perfect Strike: 5/5
This is extremely useful against stealthed and invisble enemies, or against all enemies while you're blinded. It can also be helpful against high-defense mobs or just anything you want to kill faster, since excess accuracy gets rolled into offensive bonuses based on weapon type.

Blinding Speed: 5/5
Although it doesn't last very long, this provides a significant advantage at the start of a fight. You should try to max this in the midgame.

Technique/Combat Veteran
Quick Recovery 1+/5
It's nice to have at least one point here, but it's generally not worth going past 1/5 unless you're having serious stamina issues you can't solve through other means. The efficiency for additional points is just not very good compared to how much stamina we spend on average per talent.

Fast Metabolism: 1+/5
Like the previous talent, this is nice at 1/5 but probably not worth additional points. However, this does benefit from healing modifier so additional points may be more useful than it seems on first glance.

Spell Shield: 5/5
Since we're stacking saves, this is very useful. At endgame, my spell save was the highest of the three and was roughly equal to the final bosses' spellpower, even though I didn't raise Magic at all.

Unending Frenzy: 0+/5
This doesn't provide much benefit in fights that are actually difficult. I don't recommend spending points here, but if you feel the need you could add one or two points.

Technique/Battle Tactics
Greater Weapon Focus: 5/5
This can provide a significant damage bonus, but it takes a turn to activate and needs high talent level and Dexterity to achieve a decent proc rate, so you can put off training this past 1/5 until you have some spare points laying around.

Step Up: 5/5
Max this as soon as possible after unlocking the category. This greatly increases your mobility when fighting multiple enemies, allowing you to quickly move to the next target after getting a kill or run away if you need to reposition or escape. Once you get this, you'll generally be able to save your Movement infusion for emergencies.

Bleeding Edge: 3+/5
This is mainly useful for reducing an enemy's healing. 3/5 is efficient, but it's certainly worth 5/5 if you can spare the points. Also useful against enemies with Bone Shield, since the ticks of bleeding damage will take off a layer of shielding.

True Grit: 0/5
This skill is gabage.

Cunning/Dirty Fighting
Dirty Fighting: 1+/5
This is actually a very nice skill, since it either applies a moderate-duration stun or acts as a free attack if the stun is avoided. On most characters I would invest at least 3/5 in this, but since we're not unlocking this category until late game, many of the dangerous enemies will already be stun immune. Still, you could consider additional points here if you find yourself using it a lot.

Backstab: 1/5
This is more useful to dual-wielding characters since they have more chances to trigger the stun proc. For a Bulwark, 1/5 is fine to unlock the next talent.

Switch Place: 1/5
This is a one-point wonder that can be very useful if you get surrounded or otherwise need to reposition yourself and an enemy.

Cripple: 5/5
This is the main reason for unlocking the category. It applies a large attack/spell/mind speed penalty that ignores saves and stacks multiplicatively with global speed debuffs (which you can get from items). Max this for increased duration and debuff value.

Generic Talents
Resilience of the Dwarves: 1/5
This is a decent skill, but additional points only reduce the cooldown.

Stoneskin: 1/5
While a stacking armor bonus is potentially very strong, it has a fairly low chance to activate and each stack only lasts 5 turns. By the time we can build up several stacks of the armor buff, the fight is probably over.

Power Is Money: 5/5
Since we're trying to get saves as high as possible, it's necessary to max this and keep enough gold on hand to get the maximum bonus. You can leave this at 2/5 for most of the game and max it at endgame.

Stone Walking: 1+/5
This is one of the few teleports available to us as an antimagic character, doubly useful because it lets us teleport out of line of sight and isn't random. The downside is that it only allows travel through a certain number of tiles and will fail and go on cooldown if you try to use it on a wall that's too thick. The cooldown is also fairly long. 1/5 is sufficient most of the time, but it's worth considering additional levels here.

Technique/Combat Training
Thick Skin: 5/5
This is very useful against casters, who are generally our biggest threat. Try to get 3/5 in the midgame, but you can wait until later to get 5/5 after you find enough +Con items for the stat requirement.

Armour Training: 5/5
You'll want to get 3/5 in the early game so you can wear massive armor. Max this eventually for the full benefits.

Combat Accuracy: 3+/5
It's generally worth maxing this, but you can leave it at 3/5 or even less if you need the points elsewhere.

Weapons Mastery: 5/5
Max this as early as is convenient.

Dagger Mastery: 0/5
We don't use daggers.

Vitality: 1/5
This is a one-point wonder. It can save your life if things start to go sideways, but it doesn't benefit that much from additional points. Ideally you won't be going below half health that often anyway.

Unflinching Resolve: 4/5
This is an extemely valuable talent. With it, we can quickly recover from status effects that would overwhelm other characters. 4/5 covers all possible effect types, and it's probably not worth going to 5/5 since it just gives a minor increase in the removal chance.

Daunting Presence: 0+/5
This is potentially useful to us, since reducing enemy powers makes our saves more effective. However, I decided to spend my points elsewhere. You could try this if you want, but it probably needs at least 2/5 to be worth using.

Adrenaline Surge: 0+/5
This is useful in theory, but in practice I only ran out of stamina a few times during my winning run. You would also need several points here since the base duration is low. Probably not worth the investment, but it's there if you feel you need it.

Heightened Senses: 1/5
It's helpful to get 1/5 early to increase your sight radius, but you probably don't need additional points here. Some people like having 3/5 to disarm traps, but in my experience, traps are rarely a significant danger (at least on Normal difficulty).

Charm Mastery: 1+/5
This is potentially very strong, since it reduces both the global charm cooldown and the "X of Y power" cost found on some items. If you find several items with powerful active abitilies that you use frequently, you could consider maxing this.

Piercing Sight: 1+/5
I recommend getting at least one point here as soon as possible to make things easier when fighting stealthed enemies. 2/5 is pretty efficient; you could add more levels if you want, but there are probably better uses for those points.

Evasion: 0/5
We don't need this since we already soak up the majority of attacks with high armor and shield blocks.

Resolve: 5/5
This is a strong defense against casters and also helps us regain stamina during combat. You can leave this at 1/5 for quite a while, but you'll want to max it eventually.

Aura of Silence: 2/5 or 4/5
This is a great opening move against casters and has a short cooldown. 2/5 is the first silence duration breakpoint and works fine, but if you want maximum range and duration then get 4/5.

Antimagic Shield: 0+/5
This can be quite strong, but you need stacked mindpower to prevent it from breaking. This build only has moderate mindpower, so I decided not to invest in this talent. Also note that we lose the stamina recovery on Resolve while Antimagic Shield is sustained.

Mana Clash: 0+/5
This is a very powerful talent, but again, it requires high mindpower to be effective. I decided to use my points elsewhere.

Wild Growth: 5/5
Max this in the midgame to double the duration of your Regeneration infusion. This is the most important talent in the category.

Fungal Growth: 1/5
This is useful for getting a secondary regen effect from Healing infusion and any other direct heals you might have, but it's not necessary to go beyond 1/5 here. Note that Regeneration infusion can't be activated if you already have a regen effect on you, but you can right-click the effect to remove it if you want to use Regen infusion before the duration runs out.

Ancestral Life: 1+/5
This is nice for reducing the overall time we spend activating Regen infusion. This may also work with Healing infusion + Fungal Growth, but I haven't tested that specifically. You can leave this at 1/5 permanently or add some extra points in the late game.

Sudden Growth: 1/5
While this talent scales well with extra levels, they simply aren't needed. Even at 1/5, with a strong Regen infusion active this will heal you to full, assuming you're stacking heal mod (which you should be).

You gain a prodigy at levels 30 and 42. I recommend taking the following, in order:

Eternal Guard
This increases both our offense and defense, since more blocking leads to more counterstrikes. This prodigy, combined with a good shield, can make you almost immune to physical damage (plus any other damage types that your shield resists). The downside is that it requires 50 Con, so you'll need to find and temporarily equip items with roughly +24 Con to learn this prodigy. If you haven't found many +Con items by level 30, just allocate some additional stats to Con for the unlock. With a tier-5 shield, this prodigy will allow you to keep blocking at all times.

Flexible Combat
The base damage from our punches will be less than our main weapon since unarmed isn't affected by Weapons Mastery, but it still does pretty good damage. More importantly, this prodigy gives us access to the glove-specific procs (which can be very strong) and increases our average number of hits per turn by 60%, which means more procs from all our items.

Honorable mention:
Spectral Shield
If you want the most defensive setup possible, Spectral Shield combined with Eternal Guard provides extreme damage reduction against all damage types. It also simplifies gearing because you don't need resists on your shield. The main reason I advocate Flexible Combat over Spectral Shield is that the build already has good defenses, but needs enough damage output to kill bosses before running out of stamina or burning all its cooldowns. In some cases, a good offense is the best defense.

There are numerous other prodigies that could be effective in the build, but since this is a beginner's guide I don't want to complicate matters with lots of options. I think the above prodigies are the best overall for completing Normal difficulty with minimal risk.

Item Suggestions
In general, you want to use the best one-handed weapon you can find. Sometimes the "best" option is not obvious, though. For example, you may want to use a weapon with useful procs or crit chance over one with slightly higher base power. Here are some stats to look out for:
-Percent increased physical damage/penetration
-Crit chance and multiplier
-Armor penetration
-Slows global speed on hit
-Cripples target on crit
-Chance for gloom/curse/torment/disease on hit
-Disarm immunity

Also remember that a weapon with non-physical damage type is roughly equivalent to a physical weapon with 20% increased physical damage, due to the damage penalty from Shield Wall. At endgame I was actually using Ureslak's Femur since it does various non-physical damage types, has 30% penetration for those damage types, and has various other useful stats.

There are many important stats on shields, and unless you find the perfect item, you may have a hard time deciding which to use. Shields have base power and other stats just like a normal weapon, but these stats only apply to attacks made with the shield. For the Bulwark, that's limited to the Shield Offense talents. There are two main stats to look for in this section:
-"of earthen fury" ego: This adds physical damage equal to your armor rating when you attack with the shield. Since this build gets very high armor (easily 100+), this is a substantial damage bonus.
-"of crushing" ego: Cripples the target on a critical shield attack. This slows their attack/spell/mind speed.

The next consideration is the block rating, which is the amount of damage per hit that the shield can prevent. You want this as high as possible, but it may be worth favoring other stats over block rating as long as the block rating is reasonable compared to the damage you typically receive.

Then you need to consider the Block talent level. This is usually equal to the item tier, but artifact shields sometimes grant a higher-level talent. The higher your Block, the lower its cooldown will be (3 turns with Block level 5). Lower cooldown equates to increased block uptime, and with level 5 Block and the Eternal Guard prodigy you can be blocking 100% of the time.

Next, you want to get as many different resists as possible on your shield, since you will be able to block those damage types. (Only physical damage can be blocked by default.) It doesn't matter whether the resist is 1% or 50%, your full block rating will be applied. It's rare to find a shield with more than 3 or 4 resists, so you'll want to keep shields with various important resists in your inventory to swap as needed.

Finally, shields can get "when wielded/worn" stats that are applied universally as long as the shield is equipped. These stats are similar to what you can find on other weapons and armor, and should be prioritized the same way.

One particular "when wielded" stat worth mentioning is ice damage when hit in melee; this is very useful because it will freeze your attackers, acting as a form of automatic crowd control. Frozen enemies take less damage, but it's worth spending a few extra turns to kill them while they're disabled. Retaliation damage can be found on any basically any item type, but I think the ice damage type is only available on shields.

You're mainly looking for armor, armor hardiness (if you haven't reached 100% yet), heal mod, resists, saves, and immunities. Massive armor gets the best bonuses from Armour Training, but that only matters for the torso slot. Powers, armor penetration, and crit chance/multiplier are nice if you can find them. Heal mod is extremely useful and you should try to get around +100% by endgame if possible.

The glove slot is special once you get the Flexible Combat prodigy, since gloves get combat stats sort of like shields and often have special procs that aren't typically found on weapons. Spellhunt Remnants are overall best in slot, but you need to sacrifice a tier-5 arcane artifact to upgrade its stats.

Bloodcaller is a pretty nice ring. The healing may be overkill with Fungus, but I'd rather have too much than not enough. I recommend saving resist jewelry to swap based on what you're fighting. Naturally, the Ring of the Dead is worth using if you find it.

You'll probably want to keep a psychoportation torque equipped until you find a powerful artifact like the Tree of Life. I only used psychoportation a couple times during my playthrough, but it's a strong ability that can save your life. Tree of Life is probably best in slot (with a psychoportion torque available to swap in), barring a really nice randart item with heal mod.

Leveling Guide
Early Game
Complete the Escape from Reknor, then go to the Deep Bellow on the northwest side of town. The boss of this zone cannot be killed directly, but will die after you kill enough of its minions. Next you'll want to clear the first 3 levels of Trollmire, saving the final area for a bit later. If you find a low-value unique item powered by arcane forces (such as Prox's Lucky Halfling Foot), save it to use for the Apprentice Task quest. Even though you're going antimagic, it's worth sacrificing a cheap artifact to check Angolwen's infusion shop.

Once you have ~40 gold, go check all the towns for infusion upgrades and any other useful and relatively cheap items. Make note of any items you might want to come back and buy when you have more gold. Talk to the three Alchemist Quest NPCs in the towns, but you will have to find the hermit later.

Next you'll want to clear Norgos' Lair. After that, go to Derth and do the Arena quest, followed by the Lumberjack Village quest just north of Last Hope; you may need to wander around near Last Hope until the quest dialog appears. Then clear Ruins of Kor'Pul, using your pickaxe to dig through the middle wall in the boss room. Now you should be able to finish clearing Trollmire without any problem. Finally, clear the Heart of the Gloom, Scintillating Caves, and Rhaloren Camp.

If you don't have a decent weapon at this point, you should consider buying a tier-3 weapon in Last Hope or Zigur. You might also consider buying a tier-3 shield, but that's less important. Buy any infusion upgrades you couldn't afford previously, and if you're level 10+ try to find a decent Movement infusion.

I recommend going to the Old Forest next, followed by the Maze. If the Maze has the alternate layout with big holes in the floor, just clear the first level and leave; you will want to come back later when you're higher level. If it's the normal layout, you should be able to clear it. Next, go to the snowy northern region of the world map and wander around until you get the Unknown Tunnels random encounter. Clear this zone and rescue the merchant. At this point it's fine to seek out the hermit for the Alchemist Quest.

When you're around level 15 and have decent gear, you'll need to go to Zigur and take the antimagic challenge. Make sure you don't need any arcane-powered items anymore. Buy anything you want from Angolwen before doing the trial.

Next clear the Sandworm Lair, Daikara, and the Maze if you didn't finish it yet. You can go to Derth and clear the elementals anytime after level 14, but you may not want to go to Tempest Peak until level 18 or so. Definitely do it by level 20 so you can unlock the Fungus category.

When you find a waterbreathing item, go to the Lake of Nur at the end of Old Forest and start clearing it. Check armor shops if haven't found one, since non-arcane waterbreathing spawns on helmets and chest armor. If you get to the mid-20s and can't find a waterbreathing item, you'll probably just want to clear Lake of Nur using the air bubbles to breathe, although this method is significantly riskier. Clearing the Lake will grant access to the Fortress, which can be used to store items without having them decay, and the Farportal can be used for farming some additional XP if necessary in the late game. It also allows access to the Item Vault for donators.

Next clear the Hidden Compound (and do the minigame if you want the Brawler unlock or Bloodcaller ring), Ruined Halfling Complex, Ruined Dungeon, and Golem Graveyard. It's up to you whether you want to do the Dark Crypt random encounter; it's definitely doable with this build, but it can be risky. It's probably fine to do the Ancient Elven Ruins now, but you can save it for later if you prefer.

You may want to hold off opening the final room of Ruined Dungeon until you finish the Alchemist Quest, since it can be used to spawn random mobs for farming ingredients. As for the quest rewards, I recommend getting the Elixir of Foundations first, then Elixir of Precision and Elixir of Focus in whichever order is convenient. If you can get additional rewards, just take whatever sounds good.

Clear the first 8 levels of Dreadfell. You can open vaults if you feel strong, but beware that they can spawn very powerful enemies. Leave Dreadfell and go to Last Hope Graveyard, opening all the coffins before entering the final room. You can clear the Mark of the Spellblaze either before or after doing the last level of Dreadfell.

Once Dreadfell is clear, all the shops will have new inventory, so check for any necessary gear and infusion upgrades. The merchant you previously saved will also have opened his shop in the northeast quadrant of Last Hope and sells a variety of items.

Talk to the elder in the center of Last Hope, then head to Reknor (not to be confused with the Dwarf starter dungeon, although they are in the same area on the world map). Once Reknor is clear, buy anything you need from the known world, then stand on the portal in Reknor basement and use the Orb of Many Ways.

Late Game
You're now in the Far East. Clear the initial dungeon where you arrived, then go to the south and enter the town of Sunwall. Talk to Aeryn near the entrance, then go talk to her again on the east side of town. One of the dialog options will grant you the Relentless Pursuit talent, which reduces the duration of all negative effects by a number based on your relevant saves. Since we stack saves so high, this talent will generally remove all negtive effects.

Talk to the man in the small building north of Aeryn, then talk to the woman in the center of town. This should start two additional quests. Check the shops for anything you might need, especially infusions, but try to save most of your gold for later.

Head back to the world map and go to the dungeon Ardhungol, just north of Sunwall. Clear this zone, talk to the woman in town to finish the quest, then go back to the world map and head further north to find the Vor Armoury (not Vor Pride). Clear this zone, but avoid opening the vault in the northern part of the second floor. You may need to carefully pull mobs in this area since there are many mages.

After you've retrieved the Blood-Runed Athame, go back to Sunwall and talk to Zemekkys again. Now you need to find Briagh's Lair, which is in the southern part of the world map. Clear this zone, return to Zemekkys, and use the portal to return to the West (Maj'Eyal).

If you have over 4000 gold, you can go to the merchant's shop in Last Hope and have him create a random artifact for a base item of your choosing. Keep in mind that you need to save a certain amount of gold to get the bonus from Power is Money, depending on how many levels you have in the talent.

Next you need to clear the backup guardians, which are new bosses that spawn in some dungeons you previously cleared before going to the East. Check the wiki for specifics on where to find them.

There may be additional dungeons like Dogroth Caldera, Conclave Vaults, or Sludgenest. Do them if you want, but be careful with Sludgenest. If you go there, go to the bottom floor as fast as possible to fight the boss, then get out. The walls will keep turning into enemies that get progressively stronger.

Go talk to the elder in Last Hope, then talk to Tannen in his building on the western side of town. There are a couple different ways to complete his quest, but I think they're equally viable with this build so pick whichever option you want. Do what he asks, then clear his dungeon. Finally, use the portal in Last Hope to return to the East.

Now all that remains is to defeat the Orc Prides and the final bosses. You can do the prides in any order you want; I don't have any great advice on which order to do them in. After killing one of the Pride leaders, you should get a message from Aeryn. Now go find the Eruan zone in the southern part of the world map.

The first couple levels of Eruan are a basic desert zone, but you'll eventually find a portal guarded by a paladin. Talk to him, then enter the portal. This will take you to the Charred Scar, which is a very long vertical zone with a time limit. If you don't reach the end before the timer runs out, it will have unfortunate consequences later in the game. Beating the timer is extemely easy with 5/5 Step Up, as you can take 10 steps in 1 turn each time you kill an enemy. The best tactic is to run from enemy pack to enemy pack, killing one mob in each (or more if you need to clear a path) and using the Step Up speed buff to run further ahead. Rush and Movement infusion are also helpful here. When you get to the end, defeat the boss and then autoexplore the zone to killing any remaining mobs and pick up loot. Finally, use the portal to leave.

Talk to Aeryn again, then finish clearing the remaining Prides. Go into the Slime Tunnels at the end of Grushnak Pride and activate the pedestals. You don't need to defeat the bosses here, but they shouldn't be terribly difficult. Don't use the stairs at the end until you're prepared for the final part of the game. You can't leave High Peak until you defeat the final bosses. You may want to stash excess loot in the Fortress and maybe buy another randart from the Last Hope merchant. Check shops for any final infusion and gear upgrades. If you're below level ~48, you could consider doing some Farportals in the Fortress for extra XP. On my run, I didn't hit level 50 until halfway through the final boss fight, and it would have been nice to get that before the fight. On the other hand, leveling up during combat will refill your health and stamina.

When you're ready, use the stairs to enter High Peak. There are 10 floors of regular enemies, followed by the boss room. This area isn't too much different from what you've already seen, except the stairs to the next level are guarded by a powerful "guardian" enemy. These enemies can be some of the deadliest in the game, but most of them should be doable with this build. You aren't required to kill the stair guardians; you can just lure them away and use the stairs to leave.

Using the portal on the 10th floor will bring you to the boss room. If you completed the Charred Scar within the time limit, Aeryn will join you for this battle, which is very helpful since there are two final bosses and well as a variety of possible adds. You can prevent the adds from spawning by closing the 4 portals around the boss room, but in my experience this isn't necessary.

I recommend killing Elandar first since he is generally more dangerous; hopefully Aeryn will keep the other boss, Argoniel, occupied while you fight. If you have the Spellhunt Remnants upgraded to tier-5, use the active ability to try to remove bosses' magic sustains. Inspect the bosses to check their talents, resists, immunities, powers, and saves. This info will help you decide which talents to use on them. It's very likely that you'll run out of stamina part way through this fight, but you should be fine rotating Block and bump attacks and using stamina skills when available. If you have the Nature's Touch talent from an escort reward, you can use it to heal Aeryn during the fight. Chances are the fight won't be overly dangerous for you, but keeping Aeryn alive for the achievement may be a little challenging. She got down to about a third of her health during my run, but I healed her a couple times after that so I don't know if she would have been killed.

Last edited by Effigy on Tue Jul 19, 2016 9:37 am, edited 8 times in total.

PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2015 11:27 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2004 5:01 pm
Posts: 1304
Location: Finland
I kinda skimmed through the post but few observations:

- Non-blocking Bulwark is highly effective as well. No Riposte, no blocking relates stuff and you get to use one prodigy on something else, like Steamroller for example, or Draconic Body.

- The third talent on Fungus tree doesn't work with Healing. Regular Healing will proc the regeneration effect from the second talent which is kinda not wanted for the reasoning you mentioned already.

What I would do though is equip two regen infusions, put them on autouse once your turn gain reaches 100% or close. For this you need to up the third skill but you can save points from the first if needed. Just make sure you can endlessly chain the infusions.

If you decide to use autoregen thingie above you can also spec Antimagic Shield because your always active regeneration will keep your equilibrium nicely in check.

Playing like this of course takes a bit more investment on Wil but I think it's worth it for the durability it offers. More Stamina won't hurt either, just like more mental save isn't exactly a bad thing.

Stronk is a potent combatant with a terrifying appearance.

PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2015 1:46 am 

Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2014 4:00 pm
Posts: 872
That seems like a sensible strategy. I tested 5/5 Ancestral Life, but I was only able to get about 85% refund on the activation speed on Regen infusion.

I do like having a Healing infusion for situations where you don't want to wait multiple turns to heal up, plus the wound/poison removal.

PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2015 5:53 pm 

Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:42 pm
Posts: 12
Faeryan wrote:
I kinda skimmed through the post but few observations:

- Non-blocking Bulwark is highly effective as well. No Riposte, no blocking relates stuff and you get to use one prodigy on something else, like Steamroller for example, or Draconic Body.

For a guide aimed at newer players I would say the opposite. Spectral Guard + Eternal Guard would give much more room for error and allow safer play, aslong as the player learns how strong block is and starts using it every cd. Offensive prodegies might be "easier" to play with, but SG+EG offers incredible damage reduction and scales so well that i dont see why anyone would want anything else on their bulwarks. Getting a new player to learn blocking (no I didnt either ) might be hard but I still think its worth mentioning how strong it gets with the right prodegies. (Now dont get me started on SG+EG with Stone Wardens... :D )

I´d also recommend a few points in Unending frenzy as it can be very beneficial in longer fights (but I can see it not being as crucial when you go antimagic and stacks some willpower). Perhaps you should also add a suggested Pride order since prides does have quite varying difficulty and maybe describe the enemies you meet there and some basic strategy, I remember not getting past the Pride I attempted on my first Bulwark, it can be really tough for newer players, especially on Bulwark that lacks utility and aoe damage to deal with the pride entrances properly. Other then this I think the guide is excellent, you describe everything good and the build looks very well thought-out.

PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2015 8:01 pm 

Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2014 4:00 pm
Posts: 872
Thanks for the feedback!

Regarding prodigies, I can add Spectral Shield as an option. The reason I advocate Flexible Combat is that Bulwark damage output is a bit low against tough enemies, such as the final bosses. Even with Flexible Combat, I ran out of stamina in the final fight and it would have taken significantly longer without FC. Spectral Shield is certainly effective if you want 2 defensive prodigies though.

I'm not a fan of Unending Frenzy, but I could mark it as optional since there is some wiggle room with the points.

I'd certainly be willing to add a suggested order for the Prides, but I don't really know which order is ideal. On my own runs, I tend to just do them in whatever order strikes my fancy. I'm open to suggestions if anyone has an easiest-to-hardest ranking.

PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2015 9:24 am 

Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:42 pm
Posts: 12
As a Bulwark, Vor pride (cryomancers / pyromancers ) is probably the easiest to clear aslong as you have high resistances in fire / cold, wich is very common on items. After that I´d say Grushnak Pride ( berserkers / physical fighters ) since it´s easy to get a good positioning and kill off melee fighters 1 by 1. Then you go Gorbat Pride, home of wilder classes ( wyrmics, summoners), and finish with Rak´shor pride.

Last pride has necromancers, blood mages and the occasional bone giant and I remember it being a nightmare on my early bulwarks , its really easy to get overwhelmed with the big groups of enemies in there when you are a melee class lacking utility and without aoe damage.

(Thats my order anyway but maybe this isnt needed to be added in the guide, its just my opinion and enough to have as a comment, im not even sure its optimal.)

Both Quick recovery and Unending Frenzy could use a few points for a beginner friendly build, an idea would be 3/5 Rush, 3/5 perfect strike, 1/5 Shield Slam and then make quick recovery and unending frenzy 3/5, as this helps alot for longer fights (and the last fight so you can replenish stamina from the portal waves easily). It obviously comes to down to the gear you are using how many points would be optimal, but these changes would make you lose barely anything for some significant increase in stamina replenishment.

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