ToME: the Tales of Maj'Eyal

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 1:46 am 
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Thalore

Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2015 11:53 pm
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Character Report of my Ins.Roguelike antimagic cornac zerker, and Character Report of my skellington Ins.Adv winner. There's a lot of post-win thoughts there, I recommend you take a look if you want more information. Also, the 1.5 guide on the forum isn't terribly inaccurate, so look at that too if you want more opinions. And there are always plenty of winners in the character vault whose builds you can analyze.


Overview
You bump things and they die. Hopefully, they die before you do; and you have a couple tools to ensure that things go in your favor. Berserker's really straightforward compared to most classes; your tactical choices in combat are sharply limited, although that isn't really a bad thing in my opinion; it lets you focus more attention on things like your positioning/tracking all the billions of things you need to keep an eye on in tome. A decent starter class, imo. Berserker is all about taking down an enemy quickly enough that they never have the chance to wriggle out of your disables and fight back properly. Not much to say other than that, really.
I call this a partial guide since I have little experience with DLC material (don't even own cult yet) other than bits such as fighting random ember rares/bosses. You'll have to look elsewhere if you want extensive info on tinkers, zerker in EoR, dlc races, or whatever new stuff popped up in the cult expansion thing. A better player can provide more/better info.


Races
There aren't any unusually strong or terrible choices for zerker, other than higher/ghoul. Do whatever you want - some relevant things are noted below.
Seems Good
  • Cornac: I like cornac - you can get Bloodthirst online and fill your inscriptions slots, all by lv20 which honestly isn't far out of T1. You will have tons of spare generics to spend on things like antimagic/fungus or a weird escort generic tree if you like. I expect antimagic cornac berserker is probably pretty popular, though I haven't checked the vault.
  • Drem: Haven't confirmed it (no dlc), but if spikeskin works with bloody butcher then that's effectively free phys res reduction against any melee bleedable enemies, all for 1 point. Frenzy is hard to dislike. From below seems like an easy access out-of-LOS aggro talent which is always convenient to have.
  • Dorf: Stoneskin outright blocks 15% of all incoming weapon hits even with just 1 point invested, which is nice, and more points will trivialize most melee enemies if you stack high armor sources. Stonewalking is a 1 point free escape that's handy surprisingly often. Other than that, between Power is Money (keep 3050 gold on hand), daunting presence, and resilience, you can get pretty major bonuses to saves, allowing you to build for saves instead of immunities - a really strong option on difficulties below insane imo. Unflinching Resolve will keep what gets through from hurting you too much.
  • Orc: Just good stuff. Skirmisher is pretty valuable, Hold the Ground is free cleansing, and Pride of the Orcs fills a role similar to Relentless Pursuit - When Unflinching Resolve is overwhelmed by tons of debuffs, just throw a bunch of effects off.

Seems Fine
  • Halfling: Halflings are similar but worse dorfs. Chance on hit to gain anti-melee bonuses, high source of saves, etc. Luck & indomitable are less relevant later, since you'll approach max crit and stun immunity soon enough. Indomitable is almost obsoleted by zerker rage alone.
  • Skeleton: This works...kinda, see my winner. Bone shield makes early game a breeze (still pretty practical lategame, too) and immunities are nice. Losing infusions hurts much less than it used to, and shield & reassemble make up for it. Never Stop Running takes care of your mobility for good, although you will need to rely on blink & teleport runes until then. Makes DEX a sortof ghetto CON substitute since it boosts boner shield by about 3.5 per point. Rattley boys are strong in shorter battles but the lack of long term sustain from regen spam is the big downside. Vile Life is a weird but workable substitute. Ultimately, this works well in the early game and less so late.
  • Ogre: In the past antimagic ogre took a bit of shenanigans but was really cool - It's not practical now since all the racials have 'is a spell' on them and are unusable if you do go antimagic. That said, ogrewielding is good since you have physpower to spare and on-hit effects can really help you with major issues like enemy armor/healing. All the infusion bonuses give you some big honking healing power and utility.
  • Doomelf: Pitiless doesn't appear to make any mental checks, so is fine for us to use. Haste is instant free pain suppression but weak without investment/WIL. You can pretty easily get two casts of each in battle thanks to corruption. Resilience mixes ok with Vitality & Scoundrel.
  • Yeek, Thalore: Kinda similar - Wants WIL, has situational resistances, can summon. Global speed is always good. Treants in particular are brutal if you pump WIL (especially if you go ICCTW/PES). Works well with antimagic WIL setup.
  • Yeti: Passives work well on zerk. Mindwave's not especially useful since it's just a weaker warshout. Resilient will provide a lot of healing when your CON & healmod get up there. Phys res is always appreciated on a pure melee class.

Seems Weak
  • Ghoul: Racial speed penalty is bad. You're forced to spend turns negating it and Retch puts frustrating limits on your comfortable fighting area/duration. Seems Fine if you can handle those problems. Later game undead lanterns give you a second Retch which is pretty cool.[/size]
  • Higher: Racials aren't valuable, you're not pumping MAG, Bloom is basically useless.
  • Shalore: Timeless would be good but it doesn't work with Unstoppable; not a whole lot of useful things to extend otherwise. Grace doesn't overlap with Blinding Speed which for us is the stronger of the two. Shalore's most impressive talents just kinda aren't very valuable here.
  • Whitehoof: Sadly, fearless cleave doesn't count as movement. The other racials aren't bad, just numerically too weak to be usable.

Class Trees
Two Handed Assault
Early 5/1/1/1+, 5/1+/3+/1+ Late
  • Any enemy you can keep stunned forever is pretty helpless. The fact that this is two strikes is this talent's saving grace, and it is absolutely excellent. 5/5 early.
  • Fearless Cleave is extremely good for a number of reasons, but points don't improve it much so can stay at 1 unless you have points to spare or want to replace your bump attack.
  • Death Dance is just a more powerful Cleave with Bleed added. You can leave it at 1 if you get other sources of bleed. At 5/5 it's as powerful as Windblade damage-wise if the bleed actually lands.
  • Execution has a number of nifty uses, although it basically is just a double damage attack. Put points here as you like. I usually leave at 1 and go to about 3 lategame.

Combat Techniques
Early 1/1/1/5, 3/1/3+/5 Late
  • Rush really wants a point or two early for the range, but alone isn't good enough to be your only closer. I usually leave it at 1 until late, relying on the best gap closer of standing behind a corner. It's handier for re-closing when knocked back without expending your escape abilities. In the current version I just ignore this talent, really.
  • Precise Strikes is for classes that don't get free accuracy/crit from rage/mortal terror, leave at 1 and never turn it on. (scaling the accuracy with dex makes no sense to me, people with dex don't need this, people without get no meaningful benefit)
  • Berserker can one or two shot a lot of low armor/res enemies, and a couple points in perfect strikes means you can blow out hard-to-hit types pretty easily. I usually just float points here when I need to and drop points in only at endgame. Remember you can just activate any single target attack talent (including 'Attack') to auto target a nearby invisible enemy if they're the only one in melee range.
  • Blinding Speed is excellent, giving you a couple free turns basically for free. 5/5 early and use it to burn down dangerous targets during vulnerable moments. If you come across hard-to-kill targets like boss bulwarks with recovery, save it for when you down them to 50% and burn them down quickly then instead. It's also a great way to blitz down fragile-but-dangerous bosses, like Urkis.

Combat Veteran
Early 0/0/0/0, 0/0/0/0 Late
  • Floating 4 points here is strong in the very early game and generally worth it, but most of the benefits are too hard to justify beyond then. Stamina is easily managed even with no points here, although going 1/1/1/1 isn't a good idea if you take Never Stop Running.
  • Spell shield may warrant investment later if you have other powerful sources of spell save.
  • If you're using my Genuine Veteran addon which reworks this tree, 1/1/1/5 is a good goal for zerker.

Berserker's Strength
Early 1/1+/3/0, 3+/4+/4+/0+ Late
  • Warshout is your secondary defense when Stun fails, or your chance to disable a crowd long enough to reposition. It applies based on your phys power and so will land basically all the time and brainlock, too. I found that Stunning Blow was sufficient to disable most dangerous enemies as so left this low until midgame.
  • Berserker's Strength is hard not to use. You can, if you find sufficient stun/freeze/pin immunity and Acc on gear elsewhere. However, turning down the massive offensive benefit of physpower, crits, accuracy and defensive benefits of resistance is hard to justify when you can offset the life loss with a bit of +Life Regen gear. If you're undead, it's a good idea to ignore BS for a little while, until you've got some regen gear or bloodbath is online.
  • Sunder Armor is good primarily for its armor reduction, especially in early/midgame. Your physpower is so high as a berserker that there is very little that can save against anything you use, but massive enemy armor is hard to deal with. Sunder works much less well in the late game, but 30 armor pen is better than nothing; you'll just need to acquire other sources of armor piercing to combine it with.
  • Relentless Fury, if you can activate it, is good. It costs a turn but may earn you several turns back over its duration (effectively free to cast at 2/5, and about 2 net turns gains at 5/5), not to mention the stamina recovery. You can deliberately drain stam with cleave to precast it, and it combines very well with Never Stop Running. You'll also want a lot of points here if you use Unstoppable with any frequency, since this will extend your actions within and give you your stamina back.

Bloodthirst - Locked
Basically mandatory, open at 20 at the latest.
Early 1/5/1/5, 5/5/5/5 Late
  • Mortal Terror is often considered a good pick only for its crit bonus, but I disagree. Sure, anything you can daze with this is doing to die swiftly, but they remain dangerous in that time. Bosses/Randbosses without armor/resistance are easily dazeable, and that effectively destroys their ability to hurt or disable you while you burn them down. Daze is more brutal than people give it credit for; a dazed enemy is offensively useless.
  • Bloodbath is maybe your best source of sustain (unless you're using my genuine veteran addon :wink:), and is extremely strong when you first pick it up (execution is guaranteed crit and a great way to refresh its duration). It gets better later, not by scaling, but by being maxed out all the time.
  • Bloody Butcher is zerker's only source of phys pen, and it sucks. Sure, the power bonus is much appreciated, but far too many enemies are bleed immune, and you only have one source of bleed natively anyway. You need a few points here unless you find great sources of phys pen in gear, but don't expect this to be a highly useful talent. Dreadfell sucks really bad in particular.
  • Unstoppable gets me killed about half the time I use it, but there's no denying that it's an excellent talent. In a 1v1, you win if you can take the enemy down in 7 turns. With Relentless Fury and Blinding Speed, you'll get a lot more actions in that window, too. In a group fight, you don't need to eliminate everything before it ends, just enough to heal up...but beware, since anything that blocks healing will ruin your day. Don't be frozen when it ends, clean impending doom, etc. If you failed to kill anything, you need to escape danger, clear debuffs, or have a powerful heroism infusion ready to go. Keep these caveats in mind and Unstoppable will save your life a lot, and probably your run.

Superiority - Locked
5/1/1/1+
You don't have the class points to spare, but if you are willing to scrimp elsewhere, there's handy stuff here.
  • Juggernaut protects you from the most dangerous thing in the game: tons of crits. Phys res protects you from one of the other most dangerous things: enemies with preposterously high weapon damage. You can get a charm with this instead of going for the unlock, though.
  • Onslaught sucks. Kill things instead.
  • Battle cry isn't really that important, since every character has an infinite source of the best gap closer in the game: ducking around a corner out of LOS.
  • Shattering Impact is interesting. It's a large extra source of damage (in an area, too) and will wreck things. The stamina drain isn't even that debilitating, since Bloodbath is nearly recovering that much per turn, anyway. That said, zerker is pretty powerful already and doesn't have great need of this bonus damage or the area damage.

Warcries - Locked
1/1/5/0
You definitely don't have the class points to spare, but if you do, there's not much of interest here.
  • Shattering shout is overshadowed by cleave/death dance. Proj shatter is hardly relevant.
  • Second Wind is for people without bloodbath/relentless fury.
  • Battle Shout is the only reason to take this tree - 28% health is great - but why not just take a heroism infusion with that cat point instead? You'd get more health out of that, most likely.
  • Battle Cry is for people without Berserker's Strength and Perfect Strike.

Dirty Fighting - Locked
1/1/1/5
Now this is interesting. This is an extremely defensive tree, and with it you can powerfully disable anything you come across. Normal high danger enemies like rare/boss patchworks are much less dangerous if you can pierce their 100% racial stun immunity. I'm not certain that this tree is really worth the investment, but it certainly isn't bad.
  • Dirty Fighting is the defining talent. Pull an enemy's stun immunity down 50% for 4 turns? Remember Stunning Blow is a double attack - this means you're looking at a 3 in 4 chance to stun a 100% immune enemy! CD of 10 is not bad, but keep in mind it multiplies enemy stun res by 0.5, it doesn't subtract by 50%. Enemy with 30% res will have 15% afterwards, not 0.
  • Backstab is nice, but the chances of you applying extra effects is pretty low. We ain't dual wielders.
  • Blinding Powder gives you a third way to disable an enemy on demand, just in case Stun and Confuse weren't sufficient. The uptime isn't especially great even at 5/5, but is just fine as a tool to help you escape when needed or reverse a losing battle.
  • Twist the Knife extends negative effects and rips off positive ones, while also throwing a nice and strong attack to go with it. With this, your stun and confuse uptimes (and blind, if you 5/5'd blind powder) are excellent, and this can extend other useful debuffs like cripple, armor corrosion, etc. I shouldn't even have to mention how good pulling down positive effects is. Great and definitely worth 5/5'ing if you open this tree.



Generic Trees
Combat Training
  • 5/5 Thick Skin. Put points in as you are able, stockpile CON gear if necessary.
  • 3+ Heavy Armor. Fatigue's not a concern, protection from dangerous melee rares/bosses is.
  • 2+ Combat Accuracy. More points as needed.
  • 5/5 Weapon Mastery. You can see how much damage it provides in your character screen; it's good but not colossal. Keep it maxed unless you have higher priorities for generics.

Conditioning
Early 1/4/0/0, 1/4/1+/1 Late
  • Vitality heals pretty strongly if you pump CON, but you shouldn't rely on it. Debuff reduction is nice but you don't care enough to spend generics here.
  • Unflinching Resolve is god tier, unless you manage to amass 100% immunity to everything it removes (which my berserker managed just before going east). Bring it to 4 immediately, floating points if you intend on gearing for immunities.
  • Intimidating Presence is a bit underrated, in my opinion. It's effectively a massive boost to all saves, and for characters that manage to get high saves elsewhere you could 5/5 this and just save against most effects instead of build for immunities. A dorf with this is looking at about a raw swing of 100 in his favor in all power vs save checks, even before other talents or gear. However, if you're not going to go all-in on saves, just ignore this. It does reduce enemy damage a bit, too.
  • Adrenaline Surge is not very useful for Zerker since you just don't run out of stamina. Worth a point late, as a 'just in case' button, but it's easy to go the whole game and not miss it. Doesn't combine with Never Stop Running at all.

Survival
1/5/1+/0
  • Heightened Senses is convenient but not worth generics. Float an extra point here if you REALLY need the detection.
  • Device Mastery is generally considered super strong, but that's dependant on your luck with charms and artifacts with useful powers. Keep points here lower until you've got some useful items.
  • Track is a contender for best ability in the game, in my opinion, but that assumes you're playing on a difficulty above Normal. Knowing where dangerous rares and randbosses are ahead of time (and what they are and can do) is perhaps the most powerful defensive tool you can possess. Even on Normal, spotting enemies like bosses in the prides is worth at least one point. That said, you can skip putting points here if you've got another source of tracking (clairvoyance or what have you).
  • Danger Sense is underwhelming. If you're pumping CUN high and are going all-in on saves, it's much better; consider 5/5 where the second save is probably around -11.

Antimagic
Early 1/1/1/1, 3/1+/1+/1+
  • Resolve is handy, and retaining resistances to three elements means it's pretty likely that you'll be protected in an extended fight.
  • Antimagic zone's silence is as good at 1 as it is at 5. If you intend on going full manaburn (not a great choice), split any spare points you have between this and Manaclash.
  • Antimagic shield is great, but Zerker can't lower equilibrium easily. Leave at 1 unless you're going heavy in Fungus.
  • Manaclash's best effect, the sustain removal, is as good at 1 as it is at 5. If you intend on going full manaburn, split any spare points you have between this and Antimagic Zone.

Fungus - Locked
My own antimagic zerker left fungus for really late (lv42 I think) - it's not a critical tree nowadays but is very convenient once it is. Keep in mind that Fungus really wants you to be pumping WIL/Mindpower.
1+/4+/1+/1
  • Max life is always good. Wild Growth helps mitigate the loss of a normal character's access to chant of fortitude via escort. The life regen is ok - between it and Bloodbath, your in-combat regen is pretty high, even before accounting for your healmod. you can get hilarious regen if you find healmod + regen gear. Being Antimagic, you miss out on a lot of good egos and will probably wear quite a bit of this stuff.
  • Fungal Growth makes your regen infusions ultra good. A strong 12cd regen infusion can totally carry your healing, if you find one. Otherwise, you can get two good regen infusions of any CD and maintain 100% uptime with ease. This is the main draw of fungus for zerker, in my opinion. Your healing is more or less inexhaustible. Special Note: You get an extra turn of regen every 20% that the tooltip shows. Extra turn if >20%, another if >40%, etc.
  • Ancestral Life is a lot different than it used to be. Now, you get benefits only from strong non-regen healing, which you don't have lots of. Healing infusions, healing charms, sudden growth(?), all of these will get a portion of their turn refunded if you can heal a decent amount with them. Zerker should probably not invest heavily here, although it does work with Unstoppable.
  • Sudden Growth is a strong source of instant healing so long as you've got some kind of regen active. Most likely you don't need this, but do need the generics. 1 or 2 points is pretty close to a full heal if it crits, assuming high healmod and a strong active regen.

Harmony - Locked
1/0/0/0 or 1/1/1/1
  • Waters of life: AKA the "i hate enemy oozemancers/corrupters" button. Not super useful.
  • One With Nature: It's legitimately a good ability, but its main purpose is to protect you from long-term pressure. Fungus has that covered.
  • Healing Nexus: Doesn't appear to check against a save, it just hits for free. We don't need the healing ourselves (you're generally either at full health or about to full heal from an ability), although depriving enemies of their healing is okay. If you want it, 1 point ought to be fine.
  • Elemental Harmony isn't particularly notable.

Vile Life - Locked
5/0/0/0
  • Blood Splash is the only reason you're here. It can crit and is affected by heal mod. For undead, this is a pretty powerful draw and I highly recommend. For others, just stick with regen infusions.
  • The other abilities require you to have high spellpower and/or beat spell saves and therefore suck.

Scoundrel - Escort Locked
I played a zerker that unlocked this early, and was really pleasantly surprised by how useful it is. Lacerating Strikes is nice and Scoundrel's Strategies is really excellent.
2/5/1/1
If you do get a thief escort, you probably just want to grab the Lacerating Strikes directly, but you could take the tree and pump it.
  • Lacerating Strikes gives you extreme bleed uptime, and will really put Bloody Butcher to use. 2 seems a good breakpoint but extra points here aren't wasted unless you took 3+ in deathdance. It's also pretty major damage, effectively equal to Shattering Blows, just over time.
  • Scoundrel's Strategies negates the danger of crits (you know that thing that kills you) on anything you attack by pulling crit mult down big time, and massive spike damage is always a huge concern in ToME. The talent most worth 5/5ing in this tree and I underestimated how useful it is. Enemies hit by you can easily have a sub-100% crit multiplier. It obsoletes the need to seek out crit shrug or incoming crit reduction elsewhere.
  • The other abilities are reasonably good at protection/debilitation but are not especially notable otherwise.

Tinkers
You'll have to ask someone that's familiar with tinkers. If somebody posts some good info I'll edit it here.



Other
Notable Escort Rewards:
  • Lacerating Strikes from Thief is excellent synergy with Bloody Butcher, as mentioned.
  • Dreamwalk! It isn't very reliable as far as landing where you want, but it's a teleportation-type escape (requires LOS) that can pull you out of a situation where you're trapped in a hallway and about to die. For antimagic people it's a good last resort escape since non-arcane teleports are pretty rare ever since psychoportation torques got obliterated.
  • Pumping Vitality, Unflinching Resolve, Heightened Senses, or Track basically counts as extra generics. This is more or less valuable depending on how much your racials/antimagic are eating into your budget.
  • Disarm is reliable (your physpower is maximum) and a strong disable against weapon users. It's not common that enemies are highly immune either. An nice bonus if you can get it.
  • Resonance Field is instant, conversion takes a turn. Both can crit off your mindcrit. They don't provide a lot of protection/healing even with pumped WIL & superpower, though.
  • Skate is...okay...if you can deal with the colossal knockback immunity reduction.
  • Chants scales of spellpower which sucks, but Fortitude provides valuable max life and a decent amount even at garbo spellpower.
  • For everyone else, just snag the most relevant stat you can get.
  • If you're one of those people who runs Escorts Enhanced & Choose Your Escorts, consider just getting 9 Warriors and taking STR from each.



Prodigies
Can't decide, and just wanna go smash things without thinking too much? Go ICCTW + Draconic Body. ICCTW + PES if you're antimagic.
  • I can carry the world: A standard first pick. The damage bonus is extreme, the fatigue loss/encumbrance are nice extras. You can't go wrong.
  • Superpower: If you're going full STR/WIL antimagic/fungus, you can take this instead of ICCTW. You get less damage, but it'll jack up your fungus effectiveness and you can consider WIL ⅓rd as good as STR as far as determining damage bonuses from gear.
  • Legacy of the Naloren: This is kind of like taking ICCTW again. In my opinion, Zerker damage is already exceptional with just ICCTW and doubling down is unnecessary. Get some utility or defense as your second. That said, you really do get some absurd damage which has a notable benefit, see below.
  • Never Stop Running: I can't praise this prodigy enough. Tons of perfect-accuracy on-demand teleports is incredibly valuable. It gives you scouting ability, escape ability, maneuverability, free turns, and the ability to trivialize otherwise brutal encounters. With stamina being plentiful and NSR on a 8cd, you are basically impossible to keep down outside of instakills or pin. My personal recommendation for second prodigy if you're undead who should probably consider it mandatory. Reset a losing battle at any time at almost no cost, scout into whatever rooms you like safely, skip entire rooms, skip entire floors, you name it.
  • Attack/Shenanigan Prodigies: Massive Blow/You Shall Be My Weapon/Steamroller/Windblade/etc. If you're on normal, consider these as your second, just for how fun they are. 350% damage (or more) is crazy high, especially if you've taken ICCTW first. Expect to outright obliterate anything without high armor/resistance. Windblade is basically a second 5/5 deathdance button.
  • Pain Enhancement System. Well liked by a lot of players. When it procs, you're looking at a pretty major boost to, uh, just about everything. If you're running fungus, the double boost to your max HP from CON and WIL (wild growth) is pretty substantial.
  • Eye of the Tiger. I feel that this is a good pick, as Zerker can approach 100% crit without major hassle (my zerker ended at something like 109% before berserker's rage. You can deliberately throw only stunning blow/warshouts to debilitate, or death dances/cleaves/massiveblows/etc to push damage, or just enjoy the boost to talent usability in general.
  • Windtouched Speed: Take never stop running or eye of the tiger instead, imo. Might be fun to stack this + Relentless Fury + Blinding Speed + whatever other speed you can find and finishing all battles within Unstoppable's duration. You could conceivably build 100% offense like this if you're willing to be paranoid and use track constantly to avoid getting jumped unprepared.
  • Defensive Prodigies: Cauterize, Spine of the World, Draconic Will, Draconic Body. Kind of boring but also very practical choices for 2nd prodigy.




General Tips
So how do I build?
  • Always max STR, it's your damage.
  • DEX isn't important to us beyond ACC and crit shrugoff.
  • CON is the source of scaling for a couple of talents (unflinching, vitality, relentless). Healmod and especially maxlife are valuable.
  • MAG is useless, ignore. If you're intending on some kind of staff wielding Arcane Might madman, you probably didn't need to read this guide.
  • WIL is mostly useless, unless you go Fungus and/or take Superpower. Stamina's not concerning enough that we want WIL for it.
  • CUN is crit, and therefore sexy and handsome. Boosts Track (and danger sense, if you use that) as well.

Generally STR comes first, then CON to a reasonable level, then your pick of whatever else you want (CON or CUN, normally), unless you're doing something atypical. CON points are very nice early on, since Vitality and Unflinching Resolve are relied on more at those times. I like to pump CON over STR early just to get Unflinching resolve to 4/5.

On equipment, keep an eye out for life, armor, important status immunities. Secondary importance: strength, phys resist penetration, crit chance, crit multiplier, heal mod, life regen (especially early), accuracy. Anticrit stuff is valuable if you can reach 100% crit immunity, but not a major concern on Normal/Nightmare. Hold onto anything with unusually high armor pen or armor corrosion. '-of the dragon' body armor, 'undeterred-' boots, rings '-of perseverance' are all pretty convenient sources of multiple immunities you can usually find in shops. Remember you can make rings at angolwen if you're not antimagic, and it's pretty easy to make a good stun resist ring. You only need ~50% for berserker rage to make you totally immune (remember that it doesn't provide immunities if you can't see any enemies! get dat blind immunity too)
On weapons you basically are just going to wear the best thing you've got that has sufficiently high damage. I especially like crippling for pushing up crit and keeping enemy speeds down.

As far as inscriptions go, one each of regen, wild, movement, heroism will cover most of your needs, with one more of your choosing. Looking through the vault, few use Healing, although I personally like it for its instant usage and poison/wound clear; remember that deep wound/poison are the most common forms of healing reduction.
If you a skellington, shield(replace with good stormshield later if you're playing above normal), shatter afflictions, dispersion, blink are important, with probably teleport as an emergency escape on your last slot.
Biting gale rune is worth noting as well - it reduces stun immunity and can incapacitate an entire crowd with no save. Unlike Dirty Fighting it appears to just pull enemy stun imm down by -50%.

For distributing points early on, put a point in everything you will use and pump the good stuff, first of which is stunning blow. Float points into your choice (fast metabolism or warshout are both good), then sink those points into the good stuff at lv8+, like sunder armor. Most of your talents can stay at 1/5 for a long time: Cleave, DeathDance, Execution, Rush, etc. Things to prioritize are Stunning Blow, Sunder Armor, Blinding Speed, Bloodbath, Unstoppable. Once that stuff is at appropriate levels, spend points as suits your needs.
Your category points will likely follow the pattern of: Inscription, Bloodthirst, Inscription, Your Choice. Cornacs can wiggle another 'your choice' into the first slot.




So how does Zerker wanna fight?
Usual combat tips in ToME apply. Don't fight more than 1v1 if you can, always have an escape plan. If you start losing a fight and notice you already blew your blink runes/movement infusions on the approach...then you're boned. Having two escapes is better than one. Beware of high speed, high damage enemies.
Against regular old enemies, just bump them to death.
Against rares, you can get through most battles just keeping them stunned them and bumping them down. Things that escape or resist stun can usually be confused. Just keep an eye out for unusually dangerous traits or talents (massive weapon damage, talents like Inner Demons, etc). Generally speaking, open with a stun then sunder armor if they have any armor to break.
Anything more dangerous, and you'll have to do some threat evaluation and make a plan. Mages typically need to be dissipated/manaclashed first, then can be silenced with antimagic zone/mindblast (if it sticks) and burned down quickly. In fact, anything without high armor and high phys resist is only a few turns away from death, you just need to know what they can do to you in that time and prepare for it. Berserker is all about disabling the enemy just long enough to murderize them, be it from stun, confuse, silence, whatever. This is why melee classes with high weapon damage are dangerous; they're often stun resistant and armored and therefore too durable to slay before they can bring the pain. High level bulwarks, annihilators, skirmishers, and sawbutcher bosses are the most frustrating enemies for zerker. Expect that you will need to retreat & reengage several times until you get a favorable battle.

To handle dangerous story bosses, the setup is pretty standard. Once you're on their floor (Tempest 2, Dreadfell 9, Prides etc) make heavy use of Track to locate the boss and take out everything except that target - beware enemies that teleport & flee. If the boss is sufficiently dangerous, dig some zigzag corridors through the level to retreat or fight through. Get as close as you can to the boss, equip specialized gear and precast whatever useful effects you've got, and either step into view to engage or use something to get their attention from around the corner (tentacle totem, egg sac spiders, artifact talent like devouring flame). Aggroing from behind a corner with minions is usually a lot safer as bosses love to open with their major cooldowns, and wasting those before engaging personally is a winning strategy.

Spellcaster bosses are made much less dangerous by stripping their magical sustains, and even less so by silence. If you can do both of those, they are basically 100% dead no problem. Melee bosses are rougher since you can't just shut them down. They're often disable resistant, reasonably armored/resistant, have regen/vitality, and are frequently dangerous enough that you don't just wanna slug it out. The better your damage+apr vs their armor, the less problem you're going to have. There's not a whole lot to say here - keep some useful anti-melee gear around if you find it. You can usually win these fights without special attention.

You can kind of cheese the weirdling beast. Enter the floor and hit him with your dissipation rune/manaclash, then leave the floor. Rest and do it again until his sustains are 100% gone, then rush him and take him down in a few turns. A Heroism & Movement infusion should be sufficient to escape a losing fight since you're always close to the stairs, just watch out for him eating your effects.


Zerker tricks!
If you know an enemy's right around the corner, you can step in with cleave to get some opening damage in. You can also stand behind a corner (one tile behind where you can peek the corner) and cleave-step in when an enemy turns that corner. This is a common opener.
An enemy that fires a projectile next to you (but it hasn't hit you when your turn started) made a mistake. Use fearless cleave to dodge and attack at the same time.
Enemies that stepped away from you in melee made a mistake. Use fearless cleave to close and attack at the same time.
Enemies that summon adds in melee made a mistake. Use fearless cleave/deathdance to attack everyone at the same time. NOTE: If it's a necromancer with willowisp sustained, taking out six minions at once is a great way to kill yourself instantly. Strip willowisp instead.
Fearless Cleave might as well replace your bump in the lategame. With stam regen like crazy from bloodbath/gear/combat vet, it doesn't do much harm to your reserves.
Don't open with Rush, let enemies close in on youthemselves by ducking behind a corner, and use rush as a closer if you're knocked away. It's safer than attracting adds you didn't notice up ahead, anyway.
Execution, being a guaranteed crit, is a reasonably good means of deliberately getting a Bloodbath charge which also refreshes the entire duration. You can also use it to start a fight by guaranteeing(sorta, crit shrug is a thing) an on-crit effect like weapon cripple although that's less practical.
If you have only one/two things on cooldown, a quick execute kill on a scrub enemy will reliably reduce those talent's CD by 2, which gives you a bit of flexibility in your abilities. I used this extensively with Bone Shield early game. Works with infusions too.
Track + Never Stop Running means all the scouting movement you want since time isn't passing while you're going. With sufficient max stamina, it's easy to sidestep entire floors on the prides and such, stopping behind corners and recovering stamina before continuing to the goal.
Never Stop Running lets you dodge High Peak bosses super safely; aggro them with a tentacle totem or egg spiders, then use Track to know when to move in. They'll never even know you were there.
I've just confirmed this, but Adrenaline Surge + Never Stop Running doesn't give you preposterous 'teleport' range by allowing you to move instantly at the cost of HP/tile. It just don't work.
Did I mention I like Never Stop Running? You can easily drain enough stamina to get Relentless Fury up prior to battle, if you want to be super aggressive.
Biting Gale Rune - Like Dirty Fighting, lets you stun normally stun immune enemies. Stunning blow is two strikes, so a 75% chance to stun a normally 100% immune enemy! It's excellent, since a stunned enemy is a harmless enemy. Doubles as an escape since it tends to freeze dudes long enough to duck around the corner.
Mortal Terror can potentially earn you free turns. If you know there's no random damage source present that will break it, you can easily step away from a dazed enemy (useful to avoid retaliation breaking daze) and use charms/artifact powers/heal and know that your enemy can't do much of anything to hurt you even if he's casting.
Berserker's Rage is kind of like a third eye; it can warn you of an enemy nearby that's stealthed or outside light radius. I wouldn't rely on it, though, just a bonus warning of sorts.
Heroism Infusions get bonus duration the lower your life is - Use it at the end turn of Unstoppable (when you're probably at 1 life) for a colossal duration boost and safety coming out of the effect.
Orcs are common in lategame, and have an instant status removal on hand. They'll pop it in response to stun or confuse typically, so you can warshout at them ahead of time then stun in melee after they've used it to wipe the confuse.
Ancestral Life from the Fungus tree works off of Unstoppable's Heal, so if you're going antimagic, you can reliably get a free turn out of it.


What are Zerkers afraid of?
As mentioned already, a stunned enemy is pretty harmless. And you can, if you like, get around stun resistance. So what's there to fear?
Enemies can stun you, which means that they'll live longer and naturally come out of stun before Stunning Blow comes off CD.
Enemies can throw off the stun in various ways - Lategame, expect to see every dangerous enemy in the Prides use their racials to escape your stun, heal up, and throw an attack all at once.
Evasive targets can dodge both strikes and avoid making a stun check to begin with.
Talent failure is a thing.
Most status effects are gonna ruin your chance to throw a stunning hit where you need it. Disarm, confuse, whatever.
Lastly, you will rarely come across guys with so much damage it doesn't even matter much that they are stunned. Usually a result of massive weapon damage + huge APR + a method of throwing multiple attacks at you.

Hinted at above, Zerker is trash at dealing with three things: Healing spam, very high armor, extreme phys resistance. Together, it's a nightmare.
Phys resistance you can pierce...if you can bleed the enemy. Many enemies have bleed immunity as a racial. Dreadfell is especially awful. You're mostly out of luck here unless you gets lots from gear.
Early game, armor's not a huge problem thanks to Sunder. Carry a weapon with high armor pen and whatever else you've got (tooth of the mouth is handy). Between sunder, tooth, and a shearing weapon, you can take most armor users throughout the midgame to zero. However, Sunder falls off once you find enemies reeaching armor values of 120+. Dropping armor by 30 is puny; you need sources of armor pen and corrosion. It's much less of an issue on Normal, though.
You actually can't deal with healing at all. Get a stingin' totem or bleeding charm. It's a shame, Bleeding Edge would be an excellent talent for zerk: bleed for phys res reduction + healing reduction and major damage, all in one excellent talent! Unfortunately, I found enemies were typically bleed immune or shrugged off the bleed anyway.
With all this in mind, Grushnak Pride is incredibly awful. Keep anti armor equipment on hand, the elemental fury ring, or pendant of sun & moon, any of those can help you bypass juggernaut spammers or super high phys res enemies. Insane Grushnak can get >160 armor; not impossible for Zerk to punch through, but rough. Pour one out for our Bulwark brothers.

This considerations are your main reason for considering going with two offensive prodigies; with ICCTW & Naloren, none of this really matters since you will just rip through even these durable targets. I'm not certain if it's worth giving up a valuable utility/defensive prodigy for that benefit since just one will work...

Lastly...yes, you're super good at killing things once you've got in their face and disabled...but any strong enemy that's free to act will quickly tear you apart. Corruptors in my opinion are especially brutal if left alone. A zerker needs to be fighting on his own terms. That's a simple enough problem to fix, though - retreat and reengage whenever things aren't going your way, and the sooner the better. Ensure that no fight is fair, and wreck things.

_________________
Pronounced try-bull, not tree-bell


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