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 Post subject: Bulwark Guide
PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2015 6:15 pm 
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Low Yeek

Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2014 10:45 am
Posts: 8
Though i'm sure there are 1000's a ways to make any character in this game and win, this is what i found most effective for Bulwark. I feel like most of the deviations from this will mostly be based on personal playstyle choices. Wanting more vision, more defense, and so on.

Races:
I've only played to completion twice.
Shalore - Amazing! The crit % and ability to remove debuffs is life saving. Low hp didn't even seem to bother me.
Cornac - I'm honestly not sure about this race. It let me basically add .2 to an extra class talent tree, and leveled quite fast. I was 50 long before the end.

Dwarf, Halfling, and Thalore would probably make great bulwarks as well. I could see how Skele and Ghoul might be decent as well, but with no infusions....



Class Talents:

Shield Offense Category:
- Shield Pummel (5/5) - This is one of your 3 top damage abilities.
- Riposte (4/5) - - - - - This increases the damage you do on targets that you block, going past 4 is up to you, but nothing really improves for the point.
- Shield Slam (5/5) - - - Great damage and reset your block buff.
- Assault (5/5) - - - - - Best damage ability you have.

Shield Defense Category:
- Shield Wall (5/5) - - - I didn't use this much. Turned on when i was being knocked back. Some people love this, i felt more than tanky, so the damage reduction wasn't worth it.
- Repulsion (1/5) - - - - Never used. I didn't want to knock stuff away. I wanted it close so i could kill it.
- Shield Expertise (5/5) - Buffs your defense and offense, what's not to like?
- Last Stand (0/5) - - - Waste of talent imo.

Combat Techniques:
- Rush (5/5) - - - - - - - -Gap closer + a root. Essential.
- Precise Strikes (5/5) - - Love this! Nothing ticks me off more than missing. This adds lots of accuracy and crit (like 30+ %), but at the cost of 10% speed. I was at 96% crit chance.

Combat Veteran:
- Quick Recovery (5/5) - - - This i max out, but quite late game, and mainly just to fuel Shattering Impact.
- Fast Metabolism (5/5) - - - This is one of the first skills to max, if not the first. This talent alone can keep you alive till level 20 NP.
- Spell Shield (5/5) - - - - - - Increases rolls for defense a decent margin.
- Unending Frenzy (5/5) - - - One of the last skills i maxed. It like Quick Recovery was to fuel Shattering Impact.

Superiority:
- Juggernaut (1/5)
- Onslaught (1/5)
- Battle Call (1/5)
- Shattering Impact (5/5) - - -The sole reason i go here is Shattering Impact.
The ability to lay down 3k crits, then have that hit everything around your target, its the only aoe Bulwark has and its AMAZING! Its semi hard to flush out till max level, but once it is, you block and attack once to kill almost all mobs around you.

Generic Talents:
These seem pretty self explanatory, and you will end up with way way way more of these points than you could ever need. If you have good racials, get them. Heighten Senses and Piercing Sight are decent enough. The must haves are:
- Vitality (5/5)
- Unflinching Resolve (5/5)
- Thick Skin (5/5)
- Combat Accuracy (5/5)
- Dagger/Weapon Mastery (5/5)

Prodigies: Unless you want to get cute, there are really only 2 you need.
- Eternal Guard - - - - Lets you block to your hearts content. Including applying the blocking damage buff.
- Spectral Shield - - - Normally, the only thing a shield can block is based on the element of the shield you use. This blocks it all, and with eternal block, that means you really just don't take damage.

Stats: ("Max out" at 60 point)
I maxed Str and Con fairly evenly. I didn't touch anything else until that point. After Str and Con are at 60, i maxed Dex and then everything left over went into Willpower. If you get any potions to add points to these from the alchemists quests, save them till after you max out the stat it gives, it will take you over the max. Also once Str, Con, and Dex are maxed, go kill the Corrupted Sandworm, and use the heart. It can raise or lower all your stats by up to 6. It can raise your stats above max as well. The heart combined with Alchemist potions can add some extra stats not normally obtainable.

Infusions and Runes:
I almost always get all 5 slots for the bulwark. 1 Straight heal, 2 heal over times, 1 damage shield, and 1 teleport.
- The heal over times combined with the +% heal factors on your gear can get you up to 600 healing a turn. Thats more than the direct heal in most cases and it lasts 5 turns usually.
- Never count out the need for a straight heal at times, and it can also synergize with some equilibrium talents to make a heal of time.
- The Damage shield i use wen entering rooms. In the case that casters are in there and as soon as i step in they try to cast me to death.
- The teleport is probably the biggest life saver out of all of them. Some people like to use speed runes instead, but twice when i was using that, i was not able to move at all, so speed did nothing. Teleport, on the other hand, gets you the heck out of there no matter who is around you. There is a small possibility of it taking you out of one cook pot and putting you into another. That however, has never happened to me. In all the times i used it, its put me in rooms with other mobs, but knowing i'm in danger ahead of time and teleporting, meant i came into the next area and dominated it, and then took another crack at the dangerous part. If you use this right, it will be worth it weight in gold. Walk into danger, pop it. If something even looks remoted dangerous, use it early. If you wait and it takes you somewhere with a few guys, you need to be able to survive and run from them or kill them all. IF you stay aware and do it right though, it will save the day over and over. To minimize risk, try to find the smallest radius teleport you can. Usually like 30. Gives a good chance of taking you back to safe places instead of 100+ anywhere in the level teleports.

Basics:
Using a shield is really the basis of this character. Each shield has 2 important attributes among all the other bonuses they add. "Talent Granted: +X Block" and "Block Value XXX" Early game this isn't too important, but by level 40, it is.

-- "Talent Granted: +5 Block": With this, your block has a 2 turn cooldown. Meaning you can use it more. This is important for 2 main reasons. First, if you block an attack, the Riposte talent gives you bonus damage on your next attack against the target. Secondly, it obviously lowers the damage you take. In the late game, hitting block followed by an Assault can do upwards of 4k. Once Eternal Guard prodigy is acquired, you will have endless block at +5 talent.

-- "Block Value XXX": The higher the Block Value, obviously the less damage you will take. Keep in mind that your shield only blocks the elements it lists on it. Once Spectral Shield is acquired, block value is HUGE. They higher the number the more spell damage you block from all damage types on all incoming damage. Its INSANE.

Life Regen: This is really amazing for bulwark. Having upwards of 100 regen per turn makes you really hard to kill. Most deaths, if they happen, need to be a 1 shot. So all items with + Life Regen, and +% Healing Bonus are fantastic.

Resistances: Resistances are never bad, and early game prior to Spectral Shield are the only thing stopping spells from 1 shotting you. Early game you probably want to balance resists with Life Regen. Once you have Spectral Shield, go all Life Regen to the max.


Dangers:
There are a hundred ways to die, and tons of dangers out there, but two dangers top my list here.

- Disarmed! Fear this. This is how you will get 1 shot. Disarmed, you cannot block, you cannot attack, you can just die. I'm sure you can see the danger. The first time you are fighting a big boss and you are disarmed, suddenly it chunks out half your hp and you still have 8 turns left on it. You. Are. Dead. Do everything you can to build Disarm Immunity to 100%. Shalore was great without this immunity, as i could just "Timeless" or "Relentless Pursuit" most of the disarms off. That being said, a lot of times you will be disarmed and take tons of damage that turn with no time to respond. It is the most dangerous thing you will encounter.

- Overconfidence. Plain and simple i have ended a life MANY MANY times plugging along, not paying attention and suddenly i'm surround and fighting for my life. Casters everywhere, healing reduction poison, asleep and getting beat down, or whatever. There just are not any good times to be playing this game and not playing with 100% care.

- Lastly, watch out for casters in early game. They are dangerous. Make sure you can use Rush to close and kill them before they kill you. If there are more than 1, draw them into a hall. If you die early game it will probably be to something like this. Make sure not to use Rush on something that is melee. Its cooldown is long, and if you use it on a melee, then need it 2 seconds later to close on a caster or archer, you will wish you had it.

Hints and Tips:
Keep all +magic stat items you can find. You will need to stack them to get 50 for Spectral Shield prodigy. You only need 50 to select the talent, and then go back to your normal gear.

Watch the cooldown on the infusions and runes that you pick up. They are different strengths, but different cooldowns as well. A strong shield rune with a 22 turn coolie is usually not worth it. I tried to stay in the 12-15 range.

Saving an Alchemist on an escort quest and picking up the Stone Category offered, allowed me to turn items into gems for more money AND i could socket my chest piece for whatever i needed. There are some great things you can socket. With tons of extra generic points, and only costing 6 points to socket a gem, very much worth looking into. Worked well for me.

If you happen to find it, The Untouchable chest piece is RIDICULOUS good. Anytime you are hit for more than 20% of your max HP in damage, it throws up a shield for 130% of that. So if you are hit for 700, you instantly get a 910 shield following the hit. It comes with a down side tho. The best life regen stuff also comes on chest pieces. A Troll chestpeice of Eyal can almost raise you up to 100 healing per turn on its own. Choose carefully.

And lastly, watch out when picking up the Goedalath Rock and not socketing it right away. Just carrying the thing reduces healing by 50%, and 2.0 heal per turn, AND heals any enemies that hit you. Every play through i seem to pick it up in the final levels heading to the end. Keep an eye out.

Long read, and its just what worked for me. I know many others have gone many other routes, and i'm not criticizing them in anyway. Just tiring to drop some knowledge bombs on anyone with 2 hours to spare to read this long thing.

If you have more category talents than you want to use, you can improve one of your main trees by .2. Sometimes there just aren't great things to put them in, and on your main class trees, sometimes that .2 can make big differences.


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 Post subject: Re: Bulwark Guide
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2015 2:44 am 
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Wyrmic

Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2012 5:33 pm
Posts: 206
This guide will give some bad ideas to new players

Quote:
It let me basically add .2 to an extra class talent tree,

It is a waste of category point no matter what bullwark tree you improved. Bulwarks have too many nice trees to unlock to do that.

Quote:
Shield Offense Category:
- Shield Pummel (5/5) - This is one of your 3 top damage abilities.
- Riposte (4/5) - - - - - This increases the damage you do on targets that you block, going past 4 is up to you, but nothing really improves for the point.
- Shield Slam (5/5) - - - Great damage and reset your block buff.
- Assault (5/5) - - - - - Best damage ability you have.

IMO too much class points spent on minor damage increase.

Quote:
Shield Defense Category:
- Shield Wall (5/5) - - - I didn't use this much. Turned on when i was being knocked back. Some people love this, i felt more than tanky, so the damage reduction wasn't worth it.
- Repulsion (1/5) - - - - Never used. I didn't want to knock stuff away. I wanted it close so i could kill it.
- Shield Expertise (5/5) - Buffs your defense and offense, what's not to like?
- Last Stand (0/5) - - - Waste of talent imo.

I agree here

Quote:
Combat Techniques:
- Rush (5/5) - - - - - - - -Gap closer + a root. Essential.
- Precise Strikes (5/5) - - Love this! Nothing ticks me off more than missing. This adds lots of accuracy and crit (like 30+ %), but at the cost of 10% speed. I was at 96% crit chance.

Set up is my rush for bullwarks and I need no low cooldown, 3/5 for decent range is enough, 1/5 is an option, too. Precise strikes are matter of taste... not mentioning two other talents from this tree is weird for me

Quote:
Superiority:
- Juggernaut (1/5)
- Onslaught (1/5)
- Battle Call (1/5)
- Shattering Impact (5/5) - - -The sole reason i go here is Shattering Impact.
The ability to lay down 3k crits, then have that hit everything around your target, its the only aoe Bulwark has and its AMAZING! Its semi hard to flush out till max level, but once it is, you block and attack once to kill almost all mobs around you.

Shattering impact is nice, but it is not true, bullwark has shaterring impact as an alternative area damage

Not taking battle tactics is weird for me. The tree has great mobility talent and great damage multipler

Quote:
Generic Talents:
These seem pretty self explanatory, and you will end up with way way way more of these points than you could ever need. If you have good racials, get them. Heighten Senses and Piercing Sight are decent enough. The must haves are:
- Vitality (5/5)
- Unflinching Resolve (5/5)
- Thick Skin (5/5)
- Combat Accuracy (5/5)
- Dagger/Weapon Mastery (5/5)

IMO, Vitality gains little from maxing.
5th talent in unflinching resolve is excessive,
Dagger.... why anyone will use dagger as bullwark if not for challenge?
Evasion and charm mastery are omitted while both are interesting options.
And why armor mastery isn't listed?

Quote:
Life Regen: This is really amazing for bulwark. Having upwards of 100 regen per turn makes you really hard to kill. Most deaths, if they happen, need to be a 1 shot. So all items with + Life Regen, and +% Healing Bonus are fantastic.

Resistances: Resistances are never bad, and early game prior to Spectral Shield are the only thing stopping spells from 1 shotting you. Early game you probably want to balance resists with Life Regen. Once you have Spectral Shield, go all Life Regen to the max.

How about stuff that give mobility, escape options, status removal and so on?

Quote:
Prodigies: Unless you want to get cute, there are really only 2 you need.
- Eternal Guard - - - - Lets you block to your hearts content. Including applying the blocking damage buff.
- Spectral Shield - - - Normally, the only thing a shield can block is based on the element of the shield you use. This blocks it all, and with eternal block, that means you really just don't take damage.

Those are logical choices but bulwarks can benefit from many others.

Quote:
Stats: ("Max out" at 60 point)
I maxed Str and Con fairly evenly. I didn't touch anything else until that point.
IMO. Dexterity>Constitution for early game because it gives accuracy, defence, armor, +to stunning enemies chance, crit shrug off and lets to delay spending generics on accuracy. Constitution gives hit points, minor improvement of conditioning tree effectiveness, minor physical save buff and earlier thick skin (but hoarding +con items will give it anyway)

Quote:
I almost always get all 5 slots for the bulwark. 1 Straight heal, 2 heal over times, 1 damage shield, and 1 teleport.

No status removal infusions... I don't advice it to newbies. Just NO. Teleport runes can be silenced

Quote:
- Disarmed! Fear this. This is how you will get 1 shot. Disarmed, you cannot block, you cannot attack, you can just die. I'm sure you can see the danger. The first time you are fighting a big boss and you are disarmed, suddenly it chunks out half your hp and you still have 8 turns left on it. You. Are. Dead. Do everything you can to build Disarm Immunity to 100%. Shalore was great without this immunity, as i could just "Timeless" or "Relentless Pursuit" most of the disarms off. That being said, a lot of times you will be disarmed and take tons of damage that turn with no time to respond. It is the most dangerous thing you will encounter.

Sure, if you have no physical effects removal tools disarmed becomes rather unpleasant. Yet I see little problem here. Disarm doesn't slow you down, disarm doesn't stop you from using inscriptions, disarm doesn't stop you from using items.

Quote:
If you happen to find it, The Untouchable chest piece is RIDICULOUS good. Anytime you are hit for more than 20% of your max HP in damage, it throws up a shield for 130% of that. So if you are hit for 700, you instantly get a 910 shield following the hit. It comes with a down side tho. The best life regen stuff also comes on chest pieces. A Troll chestpeice of Eyal can almost raise you up to 100 healing per turn on its own. Choose carefully.

Ehm.... Now I know why you need block to survive. Never ever use any light armor as bullwark. Even if it is as good as untouchable. Armor saves you from being killed in melee and reduces chance of being critically hit. Of eyal is not a bad brand but the game is full of good armors.

Quote:
if you have more category talents than you want to use, you can improve one of your main trees by .2. Sometimes there just aren't great things to put them in, and on your main class trees, sometimes that .2 can make big differences.

As I said before - it is a bad idea. Care to provide some example of big difference? Hell, even if you are absolutely short of class\generic points with your build, spending a category point and a single class point for a dirty fighting is better than spending category point on existing tree


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 Post subject: Re: Bulwark Guide
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2015 4:40 am 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 5:55 pm
Posts: 708
I also think you'd benefit more from battle tactics. Especially for cornac - diverting a point or two from each of the shield offense talents into greater weapon focus is pretty much a straight up increase in damage, even if you had spent the category point on shield offense.

Also, step up is amazing. That's like the whole point of bulwark.

I'm actually fond of Last Stand. An extra 1000 life is always nice, regardless of the drawbacks.

Shield Expertise at that level is questionable. If you hadn't focused on maxing out shield offense then it'd be a decent enough choice, but the extra offense you get from going from talent level 5 to talent level 7.5 is marginal. The defense is alright.

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 Post subject: Re: Bulwark Guide
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2015 3:00 pm 
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Sher'Tul

Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2004 5:01 pm
Posts: 1303
Location: Finland
Everyone has their way of playing so I'm not gonna start arguing about them, but Light Armor on Bulwark.. Heck, I've played Heavy Armor mages even and my current Doomed is going Heavy. That's how good it is.. and by heavy I mean Massive.

Another thing is Battle Tactics. If I could include one skill from any class on my other chars it might very well be Step Up. Really effective fun to play with skill. The rest of the tree ain't half bad either.

Personally I've played 2 Bulwarks, 1 Demonologist, 2 Stone Wardens and 1 Skirmisher at least to the final battle, all of them without blocking more than 10 times a game, some of them accidentally.

Needless to say my prodigy picks weren't related to shields either.

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 Post subject: Re: Bulwark Guide
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2015 3:19 pm 
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Sher'Tul

Joined: Sat May 15, 2010 9:17 pm
Posts: 1457
The effectiveness of the block prodigies depend a lot on difficulty level, from what I've seen. They fall off as damage ramps up beyond what normal and throw at you, since their ultimate helpfulness depends on a block value that doesn't really scale up that much with difficulty.

But on normal? Normal, eternal guard takes the game and breaks the game over its knee. You take a tier 5 shield and eternal guard, set block to auto, and you become functionally invincible from level 30 onward. Even without spectral shield (it's fairly easy to find a voratun tier shield with enough resistances your block still blocks basically everything), you'll be chunking 250-300+ damage off of basically every damage source that hits you, forever. You basically stop taking damage, from almost anything, for the rest of the game. And that's without factoring in the counters, which are a hilarious damage multiplier when you're applying it to everything, always. It's frankly farcical. If you're not locked out of sword and board, EG and a t5 shield is honestly about the only thing anyone needs to win the game on normal. Forget talents, forget the other prodigies, screw inscriptions, to the blazes with every bit of equipment except the shield. All you need is EG. Bloody thing's ridiculous, probably the most bang for your buck of any prodigy in the game on the lower difficulties. Effectively permanent block is a silly, silly thing, even with the effective global speed penalty keeping it active involves.

Now, spectral shield? That's more questionable. A lot of the late game shields have nice resistance spreads, so it's usually pretty easy to get by without it. It's mostly tempting if you manage to find titanic or somethin', or somehow get stuck with one of the late game set artifact shields (pretty much all of which have crap resistance variety, which along with block value is the important thing for a late game shield) as your only competitive option. Randart shields (like, say, from the merchant) or some of the better purples usually manage just fine, though.


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 Post subject: Re: Bulwark Guide
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2015 5:56 pm 
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Low Yeek

Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2014 10:45 am
Posts: 8
Strongpoint wrote:
This guide will give some bad ideas to new players


It worked for my friend. He's the one that told me to write up a guide after it helped him. He'd failed over and over with bulwark and was told it was the easiest class. I think we might be playing our classes a bit differently. I didn't need heavy armor, my shield took care of that. I had adequate resists, a good shield, and life regen to keep me up. After that i focused on killing stuff fast. So I picked up stuff like Shattering Impact, Precise Strikes, and maxed out Shield Offense category. With 96% crit, I used Rush to close, and shattering Impact to level anything near me into the ground. If i got more than i bargained for, i used teleport. I explored new rooms with a damage shield up to prevent mage insta-gib and went from there. I never got silenced for my teleport.

Even so, i don't say that Battle Tactics is bad by any means. It for sure can be useful. If you need mobility, its there. Greater weapon focus wasn't bad either, but i preferred Shattering Impact.

I don't know that i agree about adding the .2 category mastery Shield Offense nor maxing the Shield Offense tree is a waste. Improving the three main dps skills by even 5%, all of which hit 2-3 times thereby increasing the boost by 2-3 times that value, is well worth the boost. There really aren't any more effective places to put those points.

Not using Perfect strike and Blinding speed was maybe a preference thing. Didn't see them as worth the points. Blinding speed just isn't enough of a buff to warrant the points.

As to the Dagger/Weapon mastery.....its up to the player. Either works fine, Mercy is pretty beast mode. Maybe there is better but i didn't have it. Evasion is not even remotely needed, since everything is just blocked and nullified anyways. Charm mastery only helps if you plan to use that stuff. None of my gear was particularly helpful on that front. As i said in that part tho, go where ever you want with generics, they will be coming out your ears you'll have so many. I didn't have armor mastery a must because it didn't do anything for me. My shield did all the work and it was already unlocked.

I also don't like the wild infusions. If there were 2-3 physical debuffs, it only removed one. I didn't get to pick either. Besides a lot of the danger was the turn you got disarmed before you could react. Having immunity is much safer. Handling debuffs was a lot safer with teleport imo.

As i posted at the very top there are tons of ways to win in this game, and this was worked amazingly well on normal for me twice, and a friend. Thanks for the replies. I have never used heavy armor on anyone, maybe i will check it out.


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 Post subject: Re: Bulwark Guide
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2015 6:20 pm 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 5:55 pm
Posts: 708
lanfear wrote:
I don't know that i agree about adding the .2 category mastery Shield Offense nor maxing the Shield Offense tree is a waste. Improving the three main dps skills by even 5%, all of which hit 2-3 times thereby increasing the boost by 2-3 times that value, is well worth the boost. There really aren't any more effective places to put those points.
I just want to reiterate what I said. If you move the category point from +0.2 Shield Offense to unlocking battle tactics, and take 5 points from various shield offense talents into making greater weapon focus 5/5, you'll still get a very large increase in damage.

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 Post subject: Re: Bulwark Guide
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2015 9:26 pm 
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Low Yeek

Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2014 10:45 am
Posts: 8
I feel like taking points out of quick recovery or unending frenzy would be a better idea.


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 Post subject: Re: Bulwark Guide
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2015 9:29 pm 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2014 4:00 pm
Posts: 872
You may want to look at my guide: viewtopic.php?f=52&t=44980

It's a different approach to Bulwark, but it shows efficient breakpoints for a lot of the talents.


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