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 Post subject: Triple Mana Coil FTW
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2018 8:45 pm 
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Sher'Tul

Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2010 4:56 am
Posts: 1049
Mana coils are interesting. They're a staff-only tinker that has an on-spell-hit lightning bold generator (25%) and a 5 mana regen. Simply by existing, they imply a mage build to optimize them - stack as many staves as you can, slap a mana coil on each on, push heavy lightning, and then try to figure out ways to fire as many magic attacks as possible in any given round, even if they're really weak. Also stacks well with other on-spell-hit effects. I decided to try it out and see how well if worked. (I admit, I play on Normal). This character was actually my first normal winner on the main campaign. I unlocked Adventurer with the orcs. Normally I just stop caring before i get all that far through the prides, but by then, this character was trivializing the game so hard that the slog to the end just wasn't that big a deal.

Required components:
- I want to be wielding a staff in each fist. That means I *must* have Corruption / Reaving combat at least to 1/0/0/0.
- I want a third staff in my TK-slot. That means I need a mindslayer tree fo some sort.
- I want my primary attack damage to be lightning based, and I need all the lightnign buffs I can get. Also, Mana Coil will give me lots of mana regen. That means Spell / Air and Spell / Storm are going to be pretty key for me.
- I must have steamtech / physics to actually make mana coils in the first place.

Things I discovered:
- Melee is fundamentally terrible for this build, and anything you try to do to make it non-terrible is wasted resources. There are all sorts of interesting synergies on teh arcane blade side fo the house, and all of them are completely useless, because you won't be able to pull enough resources to both make your melee powerful enough to be useful and make yourself resilient enough to such things to be safe.
- The build starts out *weak*. It has a lot of combo power, almost all of it all takes time to get online. At the beginning of the game, the only things it has going for it are the Spell/Air tree, a TK slot, and whichever mindslayer tree brought you that TK slot. You can unlock your full set of inscriptions, but first you need useful inscriptions to put in them. You can eventually wield three staves, but first you need to actually acquire two one-handed staves. The core of the build is a tinker with a recipe that requires a t4 gem (Sapphire) for each one. If you want to hyper-optimize your tinker experience, you need to wait for a specific escort, 500gp, and the ability to kill the mecha-guards before getting any tinkers at all. In the meantime, you're avoiding almost everything that could make you better at melee, because long-term it's an utter waste.
- The build starts out pretty fragile. I tried it first with Shaloren, because that seemed like the obvious pick for an all-magic all-the-time class, but I kept dying to one or two heavy shots in quick succession from things like psishot rares. I switched to dwarf (dwarf, of all things!) and it worked much, much better at the not dying. As a bonus, by the time I hit Last Hope, my saves were high enough that Relentless Pursuit was effectively "clear all negative effects" and between saves and reasonable gear investment in resists I wasn't getting hit by all that many in the first place.
- I kept waiting patiently for the right time to switch over to Steamtech/Chemistry and injectors... and it turned out that it wasn't ever actually worth it. The Ritch Stingers and Ice Ant stingers took quite a long while to accumulate, the higher-end herbs took quite some time as well, until by the time I could have, I was no longer troubled by anything that I might have wanted the injectors to clear for me. I had no need for Acid or Explosives, and Therapeutics wasn't worth the investment all by itself. If I was going to run this character again, I'd probably just manually unlock Physics if I didn't get the right escort before the end of Old Forest.
- This build is *hungry* for class points. Not so much with generics. Given that, it was a pretty obvious pick to have the TK-unlock tree be a generic tree. Having melee be useless means that Psi/FEM was nearly useless (the heal's okay, but not enough by itself). On the bright side, Psi/Augmented Mobility was actually quite good. Both Skate and Telekinetic Leap were quite useful in their own ways, and Quick As Thought was occasionally helpful as well.
- This build was very mana-hungry, both in spells and sustains. Basically, right up until I got the Mana Coils online, I was carefully juggling mana, and will was tied with Con for third most important stat.

Other trees that turned out to be worthwhile:
- Spell / Energy Alchemy's first skill gives extra lightning damage. Its last skill gives a lightning autoattack and some useful speed-related stuff.
- Hymn Nocturnalist from Celestial/Hymns, when maxxed, gives you both a positive darkness regen and an automatic spell attack to use it with.

I wanted to include Corona, just for the glorious spells of more spells effect, but there just wasn't space in the build to fit in that, and a positive energy regenerator, and a negative energy regenerator. It might have been doable if I'd gotten one of the skills off the light tree from a passing escort or something. Regardless, it wasn't necessary. By the endgame I had mroe than enough raw power. I never got all that much in the way of on-spell-hit gear, and even so, between the coils, Thunderstorm, Lightning Body, Hymn:Nocturne, and my various boosts to lightning, groups of enemies would just melt away from my presence even when I wasn't throwing around spells with my actions. The only real frustration was how long it took the Darkness energy to recover when resting.

Prodigies: If I recall correctly, I didn't actually bother with them. By the time I qualified for them, I didn't really need them.


Last edited by Sirrocco on Wed Oct 31, 2018 1:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Triple Mana Coil FTW
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2018 10:30 pm 
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Archmage

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:42 pm
Posts: 385
This guy? Is his last name Rowsdower?

- Unless it's been changed I'm pretty sure that Mana Coil peaks out at max 1 proc per round, I don't know if that's 1 per Coil or 1 period.

- I'm not saying you shouldn't play on Normal with Adventurer, but as a lab for stress-testing what works well on Adventurer and what doesn't Normal mode leaves something to be desired.

- Melee is not fundamentally unworkable on all Mana Coil builds, it just requires a fairly specific workaround that is different than your required components. Running dual shield + staff for +7.5% proc dam/accuracy is very strong in a proc-based build and makes Arcane Combat Lightning *much* more damaging than conventionally cast Lightning (+500-700% endgame Lightning damage * 3 chances to proc Lightning through Arcane combat using normal hit, shield bash, and BtF, plus another off Shards if you get hit, plus multihit attacks from Eldtritch). I did lategame switch between Corrosive Cone and Mana Coil on the staff, as Cone often did more damage, but Mana Coil's safety and synergy with Hurricane/Tempest weren't bad and were much safer than Cone's wall destruction. I suppose the question is "is the build required to carry the maximum possible Mana Coils or simply output the most Lightning?"

More discussion here.

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 Post subject: Re: Triple Mana Coil FTW
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:18 am 
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Sher'Tul

Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2010 4:56 am
Posts: 1049
That's the guy. Not sure what the last name was in reference to.

I'm... not stress-testing what works well and what doesn't?

I'm playing the game to have fun. The entire point of the build was to have three mana coils and see how well it worked. I thought it odd that no one had posted anything about that build (as it seemed a pretty obvious one to me). I learned a few things along the way, and figured I'd share them, in case someone else wanted to do something similar. In a build that's all about having three mana coils, melee doesn't work.

As another interesting note - Chain Lightning wound up being one of my favorite attacks, mostly because of the possibility of taking critters out with bank shots. I'm pretty sure that I saw some of the mana coil lightning targeting foes who were out of LOS. I don't know whether or not they hit.

I'm pretty sure I saw at least two lightning bolts of that variety at least a few times, which would suggest that I was at least getting the 1/round from each coil. Given that, the build is still reasonable, as at 25% it can be a bit before you hit diminishing returns. If you're only able to get one total per round, its entire reason for being goes away.


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 Post subject: Re: Triple Mana Coil FTW
PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2018 7:02 pm 
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Archmage

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:42 pm
Posts: 385
Zap Rowsdower is the hero of the horror movie The Final Sacrifice, which is on many lists of top 10 MST3K episodes (despite an over-reliance on cheap shots at Canada in the jokes).

Why I brought up difficulty - in my experience on Insanity, Thunderstorm/Hurricane/Tempest are absolutely murderous on large packs of normal enemies, but aren't as effective against uniques and bosses. On normal mode, uniques and bosses are mostly limited to 1 per dungeon, so I would expect most of the work done by the build was done by these tools which makes the specific impact of running triple Mana coils harder to measure (that is, trying to intuit the difference between "I won while using 3 Mana Coils" or "3 Mana Coils were critically important to winning/literally Triple Mana Coil FTW"). The coils *are* very nice for helping to provide reliable mana regeneration, but with crit chance and a +mana on spell crit item you can keep your mana up without too much difficulty because the bolt-spam pays for itself (and it's a lot easier to find those than Sapphires IME... sometimes I haven't found a single one before going into the Pride Vaults and have to decide whether I'm going to play that much of the game without one or whether I'm going to run Farportals, which is usually fine and once in a while super-deadly).

I believe you are correct about the 1 bolt/coil, I was able to wield a manacoiled staff and a TK wielded manacoiled staff and occasionally proc 2 bolts off a Thunderstorm hit.

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 Post subject: Re: Triple Mana Coil FTW
PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2018 1:48 pm 
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Sher'Tul

Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2010 4:56 am
Posts: 1049
Ah. Fair. I will say that the mana regen of the mana coils was actually a pretty big deal, as it meant that I could run all of my sustains (leaving me with a reasonably small mana pool) and still throw around basically whatever spells I wanted to. In particular, it meant that getting my mana pools antimagic-drained was basically a nonfactor.

I threw out the title name mostly for the fun of it. I don't think they were *critically* important to winning. They were useful. They certainly added some extra punch, though I admit I'm not sure how much. I suppose I'd have to put in some quality time with the testing dummies to find out properly. Just having three lightning-aligned staves at a time helped a fair bit by itself. Still, by the time I got them, it felt like finally adding the mana coils was what took me from "comfortable" to "ludicrously overpowered". As has been noted, Normal isn't exactly balanced against adventurer builds.


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 Post subject: Re: Triple Mana Coil FTW
PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2018 2:27 am 
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Halfling

Joined: Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:09 pm
Posts: 109
Snarvid wrote:
- Unless it's been changed I'm pretty sure that Mana Coil peaks out at max 1 proc per round, I don't know if that's 1 per Coil or 1 period.


Last I tested it, it was max of 1 proc per turn, full stop.


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 Post subject: Re: Triple Mana Coil FTW
PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2018 1:52 pm 
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Archmage

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:42 pm
Posts: 385
If I am interpreting my dummy results correctly, I was able to get 2 in one round with 2 Mana Coils. I was just looking at the separate instances of damage, though, and not looking at a log file with more info.

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