ToME: the Tales of Maj'Eyal

Arcane Paladin: proc-based melee spellcaster (Insane winner)
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Author:  Effigy [ Wed Jan 07, 2015 9:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Arcane Paladin - Guide for a proc-based melee spellcaste

Having a low pool of positive energy isn't a deal breaker. I just figured I'd mention it. Usually it's pretty easy to sustain positive energy during fights. The bigger concern for me is using a cat point on Celestial/Chants since you can get Chant of Fortitude for free from escorts. It's not a bad choice, but I don't think I'd bother unlocking it.

Regarding equilibrium, it doesn't seem to go down from resting if you get a talent granted by items. I'll have to double-check if Harmony talents allow you to recover it by resting, but I think you might need the Meditation talent to make equilibrium go down while resting.

Author:  Red [ Wed Jan 07, 2015 10:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Arcane Paladin - Guide for a proc-based melee spellcaste

Alright, take two. Trying Chronomancy/Energy this time around, might drop a cat on FEM later when I have the stats to make it decent. I've removed the addon that caused issues last time, so hopefully I'll make it past level 12.

Also, playing as a Higher.

Author:  cctobias [ Thu Jan 08, 2015 12:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Arcane Paladin - Guide for a proc-based melee spellcaste

Effigy wrote:
Unstoppable is definitely an option, but I prefer a more balanced defensive setup than relying on one skill to keep me alive. That's actually one of the main differences between cctobias's build and mine--the other main difference being unarmed combat vs. staff+shield.

As far as getting generic talents from escorts, it's a big help. You do have numerous skills that can benefit from extra levels even if you don't unlock any additional generic categories though, so it just comes down to preference. Using Succor mod and unlocking FEM seems like a reasonable option.

Ultimately, you need to decide if you want 5 inscription slots at endgame or if want 4 slots + another category unlock. The build in the OP uses all available category points even without Spell/Temporal. If you wanted to really take it to the limit, you could go with 3 inscription slots and 2 extra category unlocks. It would be very tight on talent points though, and you'd have to make some hard choices on which inscriptions to use.

Just wanted to make it clear that I chose Unstoppable as the main defense very specifically for Madness. I am almost 100% sure you could do Insane quite well with some alternate (something that is essentially complete with two lines). On Insane I can definitely swap out one of the offensive enhancers for a defensive line and swap Unstoppable line. So a two line defense less chessy build is possible there. I specifically chose to make the Meteoric build to be a Marauder+ build. The entire point was to copy how marauder did things since I knew it could win, but make it better. So this meant leveraging Unstoppable. I wasn't trying to win Madness in a new way. I actually specifically copied something known to work (with some caveats i.e. needing things like double mercy build after HP inflation happened). The "strategy" of the Meteoric is in no way innovative or new, its just a build to execute a known strategy in a more OP way and a couple extra good things.

For Madness I needed the absolute most damage I could get combined with the cheapest most effective defense possible. That is definitely Unstoppable. Its as cheap as it can get as far as point investment, both cat and class. But equally and perhaps even more important; it was something proven to work on Madness. Of course the idea of the build is sort of inextricable from Unstoppable because the entire point is to kill absolutely anything (except that damn arcane burn slime boss) and kill a rather large number of things before the time ran out on Unstoppable. But this came about from the initial of idea of "copy a working class: Marauder".

For the most part I don't like using Unstoppable, frankly its uninteresting to me. But for pure optimality its basically impossible to beat. So you can always consider Unstoppable. But I think for Insane and below builds you can use something else and make it work. And personally I think its worthwhile to do so just from a "fun" perspective.

One caveat there is that Unstoppable would suck for something like an Archmage which wears stuff down, you do basically have to kill and move fast for Unstoppable to be worthwhile for anything other than a way to stop a large alpha strike.

In the guide I specifically address where I think there may be some wiggle room, especially for lower difficulties, specifically because of this. But caveat emptor, the Meteoric build was much easier to keep on course exactly because its strategy was known and tested by Marauder. The only thing I really had in mind as far as uncertainty was "Will I do enough damage?". This was actually quite important to narrow down my concerns due to way Madness works out. Not only is it much slower to do, but its also much more failure prone. So I wanted as few questions as possible.

Author:  Effigy [ Thu Jan 08, 2015 1:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Arcane Paladin - Guide for a proc-based melee spellcaste

Yeah, I don't blame you for using every advantage on Mayhem. The "kill everything in X turns or die" aspect of your Meteoric build has a certain coolness factor, but my playstyle tends to be a little more reactive so Unstoppable didn't appeal to me as much. That being said, I've not even attempted Insane or Mayhem yet.

I know people can win Mayhem with Archmage, partially due to Spell/Aegis, so I'm optimistic that this build could be successful on Insane+. I'm just going off what I've read about other people's experiences, though, and Archmage has a number of tricks from Spell/Wildfire and Spell/Meta that might be critical in the higher difficulties. Meta could be worked into the build, but Wildfire is obviously incompatible.

Author:  Red [ Thu Jan 08, 2015 1:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Arcane Paladin - Guide for a proc-based melee spellcaste

What is this Mayhem you speak of? Do you perhaps mean Madness? :P

It's probably best to wait for cctobias, Mex, Mankeli or one of the other actual Madness winners (I believe in you, Mankeli) to weigh in, but to my knowledge the two main things you need on Madness are absolutely stupid amounts of damage protection, which this build should be able to achieve with Light and Aegis, and absolutely stupid amounts of damage, which it should be able to achieve through Arcane Combat and Stone.

That being said, the relatively weak early game could be the sinker. Cctobias has said in another post that so many "awesome" Adventurer builds fail hard in Madness because while their endgame might be ludicrously strong, they simply cannot get there. This build, especially if you put it on Shalore, just might not be able to survive long enough to become good. Look at the early categories-I typically don't have any attack talents till level 5, and I don't have any good attacks till past level 10.

Author:  Effigy [ Thu Jan 08, 2015 2:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Arcane Paladin - Guide for a proc-based melee spellcaste

Haha, I keep getting mixed up with the name of that difficulty. I keep thinking of "Merciless" difficulty from Path of Exile. Too many M-words. You may be right the that start is too rough for Madness. I think they usually gain several levels from drowning NPCs, but that may not be enough to get over the hump.

So far it's going extremely smoothly on Nightmare though. Getting a mindblast torque at level 1 makes a big difference. Currently level 16, clearing T2 dungeons with no deaths and not even really any close calls. Dreadfell is usually the turning point in my experience, but before I rerolled I killed the Master with hardly a scratch on me.

EDIT: T2 dungeons clear with no deaths. Just transitioned to staff at level 21.

Author:  Effigy [ Thu Jan 08, 2015 8:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Arcane Paladin - Guide for a proc-based melee spellcaste

I'm level 33 now on the Shalore. All zones before the East except Ancient Elven Ruins are fully cleared, and I'm currently halfway through Reknor. Three deaths from playing recklessly: being too cocky in a Dreadfell vault, not retreating from a nasty rare in Dark Crypt, and fighting a bunch of unnecessary patrols and getting unlucky with one. I tend to take a lot of risks, so all these were avoidable. Most enemies are getting completely steamrolled and I rescued Melinda without any issues apart from that one rare mob.

Author:  cctobias [ Thu Jan 08, 2015 9:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Arcane Paladin - Guide for a proc-based melee spellcaste

Two points:
1) On NM a good mindblast torque should make almost any class/build able to get to level 10 or so when played decently. The real jump is Insane+. Or possibly certain difficulty addons. Insane literally adds 10 time the rares (or uniques or randbosses it changes this as well). Your real difficulty comes in for the early game with these guys. There are a few difficulty addons that add this mechanic onto Nightmare, if you see someone doing stuff online and its say they are playing "Brutal" difficulty that is one of them.

2) Madness does require tons of damage because there are tons of HP, BUT not necessarily tons all at once. You either need to do tons in a short span of time. OR like an AM do tons over a long period of "turns" and have some way of staying in the fight for that long. I think that Meteoric build with good equipment actually does just gobs more damage than an AM in a 5 "turn" period like maybe an order of magnitude more. But the AM played right is like an energizer bunny that shoots around corners for damage.

For the most part, I would say, its only on Insane+ that an adventurer is tested enough early on to really worry about stalling. For NM- this winds up more of a "Quality of Life" thing unless you jsut seriously screwed it all up. Because of things like Mindblast torques etc. you can probably do fine on NM if you know enough tricks even with a bad starting build.

This is sort of analogous to how Oozemancer appears super frigging face roll easy on Normal and even NM. But when you get into Insane there is a rather severe drop off and not only is Oozemancer not head and shoulders above many, its actually (probably) worse than somethings like current Sun Paladin. That isn't to say that SP isn't quite good in NM just that Oozemancer seems faceroll easy and uber in NM and maybe how to make SP uber is less obvious.

Anyway for NM I would basically say you can do whatever you want for the most part if you know a few tricks. Also the fact that you need to drown NPCs for Insane+ somewhat changes concerns and weightings on talent lines. If you are melee based you will weight weapon based stuff higher if you drown NPCs for tier 3-5 weapon. Whereas in NM you are basically starting with mindblast torque and being ranged even if you plan to be melee later on. Weirdly you may start as full melee earlier in Insane than in NM. So NPC drowning + regularly running into multiple rare+s with special class abilities make the jump from NM to Insane essentially two different exercises in building your character for the first 25 or so levels.

For adventurers in particular if you are building something with a lot of synergistically multiplying effects I would encourage people to shoot for Insane. For adventurers that are put together just for a lark (like making a stealth solipsist just for the hell of it) do whatever you like.

In general though I would a guide made for normal will work mostly the same for NM. A guide for Insane will mostly work ok for Madness if its viable in Madness (so few things are that this is somewhat hard to say but the general trends line up). A guide for NM/Normal is often going to have to be majorly reworked for Insane+ unless you get really lucky. Any Insane guide should work for NM or Normal as long as there is not some really weird hard dependcy on drowning equipment (and due to things like MB torques I just don't see that happening). But areas that have a lot of wiggle room in NM can be complete no-gos in Insane.

Anyway the point of that is that there is an abrupt change in behavior. Its not really a gradient. Nor even a matter of degrees. It is actually change in character. Such that something like lack of escapes can go from inconvienent in NM to just far to deadly in Insane. This most likely manifests itself in T2 but can be even as early as T1, for example running into 2-3 rare snakes who have Kinetic shield. They are faster than you and can damage soak something like 40 damage. This can easily happen in Norgo's lair on Insane, on Madness that shield would soak like 100 physical damage. Whereas on NM you will at worst run into 1 of those snakes at one time if you are careful and the MB torque will go through the shield and that shield is more like 20 at worst. On NM in Trollmire you will run into a few nasty rares per zone. On Insane you will run into one or more in each encounter in that zone.

That change is more than just "harder" it makes certain things potentially not feasible. Kiting 3 snake rares and mindblasting them all in a line is not really feasible. They are too fast and its almost certain one of them is running Skate and literally double or triple your move speed. Just that one thing alone (being unable to kite without getting killed sometimes) means that many of the tactics used to shored up a weak start in NM is completely out the window. Further it also means that not only can you not kite but you may basically require someway to escape beyond simply being a good player, some randboss guarding the entrance to Norgo's (which happens fairly often) may be running Skate, you won't be able to run without a teleport or a movement or maybe rooting it somehow.

On NM you probably can make almost anything work, a really overly synergistic adventurer build may be really weak even as late as level 35 or 40. I could see a lot of people stalling out from this. But I am definitely willing to believe a really good player like Mex or Stition (who are better players than I am) could still make it work in NM if they really worked it. Its not really until Insane+ that things go from "you might start feeling like its stalling out and it takes a ton of work to get where you want" to "this build is almost certainly going to die, it just doesn't have what it takes".

Author:  Effigy [ Thu Jan 08, 2015 9:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Arcane Paladin - Guide for a proc-based melee spellcaste

Thanks for the info about the higher difficulties. I think I'll give Insane a try after I finish Nightmare. I don't claim to be a great player, but it sounds like it would be fun to attempt.

Nightmare is kind of strange in that it almost feels easier than Normal in some ways. Sure there are higher level enemies and more rare+ mobs, but you get significantly better loot to bridge the gap. It's probably more punishing to people that don't have counters to the different rare+ abilities you might encounter, but if you have the counters in your build/gear it's probably no more difficult and the extra loot may help you get off the ground faster.

Author:  Effigy [ Fri Jan 09, 2015 11:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Arcane Paladin - Guide for a proc-based melee spellcaste

Updated the OP based on optimizations I made with my Nightmare winner.

Author:  Effigy [ Thu Jan 15, 2015 10:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Arcane Paladin - Guide for a proc-based melee spellcaste

Updated the OP after my Insane win. First run (and first time ever playing Insane) got to level 42 without item vaulting. I still had my last life, but I decided to save the character's items for the next run because I didn't feel confident about finishing. Second run won, with some item vaulting, and still had 2 lives plus Blood of Life left over. I'll try killing Atamathon and Linaniil when I get some free time.

I'll probably try running this on Madness sometime, but first I think I'm going to roll a different build since I've played this one 4 times in a row.

EDIT: Killed Atamathon in 4 turns and Linaniil in ~10-12 turns. No deaths.

Author:  cctobias [ Thu Jan 15, 2015 7:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Arcane Paladin - Guide for a proc-based melee spellcaste

Nice. I notice you pared down your inscriptions.

I am not quite convinced enough to make this a "law". But I would put out there as a possible rule the following:

"If you build an adventurer that has 5 inscriptions its probably not an optimal build".

Whether you can get away with this on all good adventurer builds I am not that sure but I would suspect its almost always the case that you can get rid of the 5th inscription just by taking something like Meta and be stronger as well. 3 inscriptions is pretty tight so I would not go that far. I used 3 on Metoeric so its certainly doable, but I can see the 4 inscription being very hard to get rid of in various circumstances.

Author:  Effigy [ Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Arcane Paladin - Guide for a proc-based melee spellcaste

Three inscriptions is doable at endgame; I didn't really need the wild infusion at the end. The main problem is getting through the mid-game with only three inscriptions. I actually postponed unlocking Shield Offense until 36 because I needed a 4th inscription first. You're probably right that having 5 inscriptions is a waste on an Adventurer, because your 5th (shield, teleport, whatever) should be replaceable with a category unlock.

Author:  Effigy [ Wed Mar 18, 2015 4:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Arcane Paladin: proc-based melee spellcaster (Insane win

Updated for v1.3: lots of minor edits, but the major change is that you need to invest multiple points to scale Arcane Destruction. I also added info for Chronomancy and Corruption/Demonic Strength as optional categories.

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