ToME: the Tales of Maj'Eyal

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2018 2:21 pm 
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Archmage

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:42 pm
Posts: 355
After several attempts to use the new Demented options to create a summoner adventurer, here’s the final result. It won on Insane, with the only death due entirely to a slip in my attention rather than any problems with the build (was sprinting through Eruan without resting, did not notice that my Paradox had spiked super high due to Reality Smearing over many encounters, tried to Blink my Hounds and summoned a hostile Clone of myself that hit me with Healing Nexus). The final battle was significantly easier than it often is - I think it is the first time I have unlocked both the Tactical Master and The Sun Still Shines achievements on the same Insane run.

This is essentially a heavily modified Cultist of Entropy that trades out some of the near-endless debuffs on that class in exchange for permanent summons, much higher/faster damage, and general utility options. The core gameplay experience I was after was creating a caster-type summoner that can provide strong and continuous offensive support to its summons, something I find lacking in both the Necromancer and Summoner classes, while I find the default Cultist's summons need more predictability to give a summoner feel. This is first time I’ve felt really successful at creating such a character (as opposed to a melee WO or TW-hybrid based summoner, which are great and easy to make). I think the Herald of Oblivion is the game's most powerful temporary summon by a good margin, and this build also spends a good portion of its resources acquiring very fast and effective Herald summoning rotations (by improving your global speed, letting you ignore the need for resource generation through Hidden Resources, and letting you cast Cacophony twice via Frenzy). In addition to being effective, I also think Halo of Ruin and Unravel Existence are pretty fun, kinda like a Brawler combo at distance, and having ranged attacks that don't draw from a dwindling resource like mana but rather drive you further up a risk-reward ratio each time is likewise my preference (particularly because it's easier to optimize your risk management tools in this game than it is to guarantee steady mana-flow without saccing an Inscription slot). Whee!

Since my win I’ve theorycrafted and Devmode tested a version that drops Void for Path of Horror, I think it will perform even better and would recommend it over the Void version but I haven’t yet ran through the game with it so it may have an Achilles heel I haven’t found yet.

Thanks to Effigy for pointing out some additional uses of Command Breathe, cathbald for showing how BA Temporal Hounds are and clarifying Attenuates interaction with Temporal Vigour, viasage for reminding me everything is better with Tinkers, and bpat, whose Cultist and Paradox Mage guides I borrowed from liberally to Frankenstein this build.

Race
This build was made for Drem. The main draws are Frenzy (letting you double up on top-tier Cultist skills like Spatial Distortion, Entropic Gift, Cacophony, and All is Dust) and From Below It Devours (the fundamental value proposition of Damage/Time effects is that they're more efficient at creating damage than their burst alternatives at the cost of taking time to reach their potential, From Below It Devours gives you a solid 9 turns of tanking for your DoTs to reach said potential - all the summons in this build help with that to some extent, but From Below has the strongest control elements of all of them).

Cornac could run a similar build, probably adding in Aegis at 1 and Fungus at Wyrm, but I’m less confident in them dropping Void since Black Monolith could still be a good tank for them (without From Below) and Aegis has some synergies with Void Stars.

Shalore can do a strong lategame variant on this (leveraging Hidden Resources/Temporal Form/Timeless), but I'm not sure it's ultimately better once it reaches its potential (more damage, less survival) and it's certainly much weaker for the first 20+ levels.

Category Points
Level 1: Entropy, Flux, Nether, Madness, Augmented Mobility, Light, Void OR Path of Horror
10: Temporal Hounds
20: Oblivion
36 and Wyrm: Meta AND Inscription OR Fungus OR Tinkers

Stats: Magic > Willpower > Cunning > Con if Void, Str if Path (only as needed to wear armor)

Key Story Choice: Side with Assassin Lord instead of Merchant in Trapped! quest, as the ability to fine-tune your misc slot items in order to sidestep some of the entry costs of Windtouched Speed is a better boost for you than randarts (Silence, the spit attacks, Rushing Claws, and Lay Web all use EQ, I’ve gotten a yew totem with +7 Rushing Claws and +3 Lay Web through this process). Being able to add resistance to confusion or silence to your items is also a very helpful tool if you want to get by with only 3 inscription slots.

Prodigies
30: Hidden resources (can let you skip or delay Insanity builders for fast Heralds, gives safe access to PM skills at very high Paradox from Reality Smearing, very strong for a Hidden Resources/Quick as Thought/Frenzy barrage of powerful skills post Blinking your Hounds into position.)
42: Windtouched Speed (faster cooldowns, more speed to hit Herald and Halo faster, global speed generally lets you take advantage of your Quicken Spells and Windtouched Speed cooldowns)

Temporal Form or PES are certainly viable as well in place of Windtouched Speed. I wouldn't skip Harmony even if you decide to go with one of these, though.
There's probably a solid AAD build in here as well, given how many AoEs you toss around.

Class Talent Core
Entropy 1/2/5/2
Oblivion 1/1/1/2
Flux 1/1/4/1
Meta 3/1/5
Nether 1/1/1/2
Madness 3/1/1/4
Temp Hounds 5/5/1
AND
Void 2/1/1/1
OR
Path of Horror 1/1/1/5

Totals: 61 used with Void, 64 with Path of Horror. Additional points may particularly benefit Erase, Nihil (add at least 2 for breakpoint reasons if you’re adding any past 1), Power Overwhelming, or Temporal Vigor.

Generic Talents Core
Light: 1/5/1/5 12
Harmony 1/1/3/5 22
Drem 1/1/1/5 30
Thick Skin 5 35

If Void:
Light Armor 2
Heavy Armor 1
Aug Movement 1/5/1/3

If Path of Horror:
Heavy Armor 3
Aug Movement 1/5

Totals: 48 if Void, 44 if Path. If you go Path of Horror, you may still want to invest in TK leap as an escape tool (given that Carrion Feet will often be a gap closer), you could invest more in Frenzy, or you could unlock Fungus at minimum of 1/1/2, or invest in Tinkers to grab some of the low-hanging fruit available there (especially Grounding Strap, which combines with Writhing One to give you stun immunity without needing to gear for it). Either build may benefit from more investment in Faceless as needed to achieve confusion immunity, or you can dig into Staff Mastery and start investing in Defensive Posture.

Class Talents Discussion:
About half the skill trees in this build are from the Cultist of Entropy, and for a good overview of those skills I suggest looking at bpat’s guide. Some of these skills need another point to hit an important breakpoint given Adventurer’s lower mastery, and others benefit from different investments to synergize with the different toolbox available to Adventurers, so my recommendations aren’t always the same, but they’re pretty similar for the Cultist skills.

Nether, Madness, Oblivion
I pretty much agree with bpat’s guide on these, although Dark Whispers isn’t as much of a priority to max due to Attenuate, and Cacophony’s breakpoints are different without mastery. It's also worth noting that the party-friendly nature of these spells is more important when you have permanent minions, and that Spatial Distortion's high entropic backlash is more of a benefit than a concern when Frenzy gives you significantly better access to Entropic Gift. (bpat also didn't mention that Dark Whispers will always crit if you sing Wham!'s "Careless Whispers" while using it, but that's pretty deep insider knowledge.)

Note that Herald of Oblivion's Void Crash has a 6 turn cooldown, and seems to be typically used the first or second turn the Herald shows up. 4 or 5 points invested can get you a good shot at a second Void Crash. On the other hand, much of the time the Herald has already murdered everything in sight by then, especially given the damage accumulated by your enemies in the process of stacking up 6 debuffs, so investing more than 2 points in Herald can often be overkill. Your call.

The one significant difference is that I absolutely *love* All is Dust. It may be in part to my using the Choose First Escort mod and therefore having Track for situational awareness if I don't run Tinkers, Frenzy letting me drop 2 Entropic Gifts (which seem to replace rather than stack on the same foe, btw), or it unleashing Attenuate's beast mode, but I used All is Dust in just about every significant fight without minding the wall destruction.

Entropy 1/1-2/5/2-5
Generally also in agreement with the value of the talents here, but the build's tools leads the same talent assessments to warrant different levels of investment. bpat’s already a fan of Black Hole as is, but with Meta and Frenzy you’ll be able to benefit from it significantly more often than a non-Drem vanilla Cultist, and with Bathe in Light you’ll be able to charge your entropic backlash quite quickly, so I prioritize investing in it more.

Power Overwhelming works on non-Cultist spells as well, so you can do cute things like Command Hounds: Blink to get your first Nihil proc. According to shibari via bpat, you need at least 2 PO to make Nihil trigger. It’s also worth noting that the more respen you have, the harder Attenuate will hit your Temporal Hounds through their 100% temporal resistance.

Void 2/1/1/1
I used Void in my Insane winner, but I’m now think it’s slightly suboptimal on an Adventurer. With Attenuate and Reality Smearing in your arsenal it’s less important to invest heavily in Essence Reave for damage or Void Stars for durability, respectively, and this build should not try to afford the 2 stars returned from Essence Reave breakpoint (which takes the full 5 points to unlock a 2nd void star for an Adventurer).

Given that we’re not investing heavily in Essence Reave, and that after my first Prodigy (Hidden Resources) I rarely used Black Monolith given that I had Hounds and From Below it Devours for tanking, I think there’s a strong argument to be made for dropping Void entirely in favor of Path of Horror – Void is still a great tool early and mid-game so I’m not saying it is a bad choice, I just now think Path is a better option overall (not the least because it doesn’t rule out Heavy Armor and thereby further differentiates the build from the default Cultist experience).

Path of Horror 1/1/1/5
Carrion Feet is silly good here at 1 point.
- Its movement speed boost stacks with Skate to make you fairly mobile on a permanent basis for overland juking (as well as making a particularly evocative image)
- the jump helps with your lack of mobility and benefits from your cooldown tools and Frenzy
- it provides 10 Insanity but jumps to an impressive 30 Insanity if you hit someone in the cone (and, at least midgame on, your Healing Nexus/Bathe in Light/Attenuate combos like you to be relatively close to enemies)
- the damage debuff counts as a magical effect for the purposes of summoning a Herald
- if you have All is Dust in place before you hit an opponent with Carrion Feet’s cone or drop it immediately after, All is Dust will extend the duration of the massive damage debuff (70%) across multiple turns.
- Even its non-instant nature can be an advantage, given that it allows it to be affected by Frenzy (eat your heart out, Doomelf!)

Horrific Evolution gives a Magic scaling boost to Spellpower - perfectly fine at one, not worth more given what else you could be buying.

Overgrowth is weirdly better here than on a Writhing One - its tendency to knock enemies away on movement is bad for a melee class, while as a ranged class whose gameplay is usually “stand still and cast” it’s just an instant speed damage and resistance buff to throw down while Hidden Resources is up that also lets you walk through walls and distort your surroundings. I’d still leave it at one, we’re points tight.

Writhing One is quite a prize. You don’t have much use for the blight damage boost, but stun resist, crit resist, and darkness damage are all great upgrades.

Temporal Hounds 5/5/1-5/0-5
Temporal Hounds is the skill that let Cathbald win with this guy. Even though our will never be quite as strong here as it is on a Temporal Warden, both due to lower Mastery and the fact that we're not going to prioritize +physical damage, it's still really strong. Max it. It's also worth noting that, once in a while, it can be advantageous post-combat to stick Entropic Gift on one of your hounds before hitting rest rather than eating the rest of the backlash yourself if Reverse Entropy is on cooldown, just in case there's an enemy out of sight who could move in and take advantage of your weakened state (particularly useful v. orc wizards, who have a tendency to teleport all over the place).

Command Hounds Blink improves your Hound's teleport range, defenses after teleports, and, critically, at level 5 it gains the ability to resurrect a downed Hound on every Blink. Given your strong cooldown management, this lets you keep shoveling Hounds into battle much better than most TWs. It’s also one of the game’s best corner-snipes, as they will seek out any enemies within their LOS and kill them for you, and you can then blind-fire Dark Whispers around the corner for it huge AoE to help.

Temporal Vigour gives your hounds a nice heal, speed boost, and gives them additional rounds of action below 0hp. 1 point works great, but it can warrant additional points if you like. Breakpoints for surviving below 0 hp are available at levels 3 and 5. Note that if your hounds have Attenuate on them it will take priority over their surviving below 0 hp.

Command Hounds: Breathe is an interesting talent for this build, with significant advantages and tradeoffs. (I had initially rejected it for its downsides, but Effigy helped me see the upsides and its worth presenting both.) Probably something you're either going to skip entirely or invest 4-5 points in (4 for max cone size and a good breakpoint, 5 if you want absolute maximum affinity for your hounds), and you definitely do not want to invest in both Temporal Vigor and Breathe since Breathe makes hitting your hounds with Attenuate less painful and Vigor makes it much more so (or at least the opportunity cost for doing so is higher). NB: If you are going to invest in Breathe at all, put in at least 1 point before going to the Temporal Rift, it makes the first level much easier and more enjoyable.

Reasons to take Breathe:
- we're pre-optimized for temporal damage and spellcasting in a way TWs are not, leading to fairly significant burst damage on a low cooldown and a strong chance of sticking the debuff. Frontloading burst damage gets enemies into Attenuate’s kill range much more quickly and helps clear off chaff enemies so that our Nihil procs stick to the targets most worthy of them.
- further improves the use of hounds as a corner-snipe (you do appear to need to be able to see a hound to command it, but you don't need to see its target)
- while it doesn't protect fully from Attenuate if you were going to hit your hounds with Attenuate anyways this gives them the most chance of surviving
- regression works synergistically with All is Dust/Nihil/Carrion Feet's damage debuff/Dark Whisper's power debuff.

Reasons not to take Breathe:
- Attenuate will still auto-kill your hounds at low hp, so the temporal affinity isn't as good at preventing harm from Attenuate as it initially seems
- it can be both easy and desirable for you to have temporal respen higher than 50% (which is the cap on temporal affinity available from this build, and given their base 100% temporal resistance affinity and respen play directly against each other)
- the stat-weakening regression effect does not count as a magical effect for triggering your Heralds
- Breathe's large AoEs can be hard on your other summons.

Flux 1/1/4-5/1
Not a controversial points spread except for not automatically maxing Attenuate. (See below for reasons why)

Induce Anomaly has a few interesting additional wrinkles here: Flawed Design counts for summoning Heralds, Time Shield heals you when it expires and thus loads you with backlash/procs Nihil, both Time Shield and Displacement Shield like Bathe in Light, and Invigorate plays very nicely with your already excellent cooldowns (although it doesn't seem to proc backlash with its heal, perhaps the numbers are too low). Remember also that this version of Temporal Clone creates a copy with the same alignment as whatever it hits, so target yourself (or a Herald, if you’re feeling saucy.)

Attenuate is already among the deadliest offensive spells in the game, but with additional synergies from every talent in the Oblivion tree along with Power Overwhelming it’s pretty bonkers, and the heal created by Reality Smearing + Attenuate also loads backlash/procs Nihil. Superb, worth making temporal the damage type you choose for Command Staff rather than darkness. It takes a full 5 points to get the improved radius off Attenuate, but that can often be more of a disadvantage than an advantage when trying to avoid your summons, so you can decide whether you want to take a small cut in damage in order to keep the spell a little more targetable, or just let it rock and let the chips fall where they may.

Meta 3/1/5/0-1
Disperse Magic is an excellent counter to some of the most difficult opponents in the game, letting you remove hard-to-deal with or high EHP sustains like Osmotic Shield, Essence of Speed, Shield of Light and Bone Shield, or removing Providence which can squash your DPS for quite a while. It's also nice to have as a self-targeted tool in your box for removing negative magical effects from yourself, although obviously a non-starter with Silence.

Spellcraft is mostly just a tax, but the bonus to Spellshock isn't terrible - more damage is always good, and Spellshock counts as a magical effect for the purposes of Unravel Existence.

Quicken Spells does a ton of work for you in this build (although sometimes I don't quite fully understand its behavior - your spell cooldowns sometimes seem variable even with extremely low/0 Insanity). It helps keep your offensive rotation moving and cleanly outpaces Windtouched Speed's speed bonus. It gives you much improved access to Induce Anomaly, Entropic Gift, and Reverse Entropy, which are the core tools you have for managing the dangerous side-effects of your spells (only one of which benefits from Frenzy). It helps your defense by greatly improving your Bathe in Light and Providence uptime. It helps mitigate against the effects of high Insanity, which can add or subtract up to 50% time to your cooldowns, making it much more likely that it'll either break even with your default expectations or be a huge cooldown boost. (Finally, it may be one of the culprits behind the "multiple Heralds in effect at once" awesomene... er, possible bug I've been experiencing.)

Metaflow is entirely optional, given how much other cooldown you have and the fact that it takes a turn, but taking it at 1 gives you a way to reset 2 tier-1 abilities - when I need this at all, I usually try to have it hit Entropic Gift, Reverse Anomaly, or Carrion Feet.

Generic Talents Discussion

Drem 1/1/1-3/5
Frenzy is gamechanging from the word go, especially in conjunction with Quick as Thought/Windtouched Speed to squeeze in more skills during the 3 turn duration. Particularly powerful uses for it include:
• Entropic Gift for more backlash mitigation, huge nuke - I routinely got 1-2k worth of backlash through Healing Nexus and Bathe in Light
• Black Monolith or Carrion Feet for amazing Insanity generation and good spatial control
• Cacophony for fast Heralds
• All is Dust, as being able to chain two back-to-back 7-turn All is Dusts, in conjunction with Dark Whispers, Cacophony, Entropic Gift, and Attenuate gives you more stacking damage than you can find a practical use for.
• Spatial Distortion, for lots of AoE damage and crowd control + building a ton of backlash quickly pre-Entropic Gift.

Spikeskin is meh. A touch of resistance isn’t bad and it does count as a magical effect for summoning Heralds.

Faceless is solid for letting you complete confusion immunity, and given Dark Whispers power debuff boosting your saves has more chance of helping than it normally does.

From Below it Devours is an extremely tough taunting/pulling damage sponge, which gives you a bunch of time to stack your DoTs free of harassment. If you don’t hit it with Attenuate, it’s probably going to survive its whole duration, so it can be useful to drop on the far side of enemies so you can hit yourself and the enemies with Attenuate (and also because that way any cones or beams will be directed away from you and ideally towards other foes).

Augmented Mobility 1/5/0-1/0 or 2-3
Telekinetic Grasp is surprisingly great here despite not being a melee class. A second staff can provide a lot of additional oomph – endgame I was pulling down +25 raw spellpower, +24% spellcrit, and +30% temporal damage from the weaker of my two staves. Just remember you can only Command the staff in your main hand so there can be some shuffling involved. Beyond the Flesh is fine to activate as well – it doesn’t cost you anything, and you’re likely to have much better Willpower and Cunning than you do Strength and Dex in any case. Early game, while you still only have a few spells and haven't brought your cooldown tools online, dual-wielding slings or bows (whatever you find punchy ammo and low-dex options for) is a really nice option.

Skate is fine for letting you juke and it often lets you react before opponents. Nice in combo with Carrion Feet.

Quick as Thought is the other main draw besides TK wielding - the crit and accuracy don’t help you, but +40% global speed is great as a DPS boost, letting you summon Heralds and charge Halo faster, and to fit more ability activations into the duration of Frenzy.

Mindhook, if you take it, is a tax you have to pay to get to Telekinetic Leap and nothing more.

Telekinetic Leap is solid mobility at 2-3 points invested (4-6 range, respectively). Being able to escape from spots where there’s no clear line of movement is a valuable tool to have on tap, worth getting once you have the tree IMO. The 4rth point adds nothing at all, so stop at 3 (and, at a mere range 2, don’t bother with just a single point).

Light 1/5/1/3-5
Healing Light isn’t super great, but when backed up by Bathe in Light and/or Healing Nexus it can work fine both as healing and as backlash generation.

Bathe in Light offers good healing, its duration lets you heal back the damage you take in backlash as you accumulate it while spamming Nihil, and it throws you healmod and shields to boot. Very solid as is, synergizes well with Healing Nexus against adjacent enemies (though it still shields them) to generate crazy backlash, amazing if you get Rune of Reflection.

Barrier is pretty bad, but if you feel like taking a mostly empty turn to proc Nihil it's fine.

Providence is good in all the ways it normally is. The more points you take the less likely you’ll hit a status each round, but anywhere between 3-5 is worthwhile.

Harmony 1/1/3/5
See bpat’s guide for this also. A few additional points:
- The fourth point of One with Nature doesn’t do anything, so I prefer to stop at 3.
- Healing Nexus is a nice combo with Bathe in Light, as mentioned immediately above.
- Story Choices, we’re relying on the Assassin Lord’s ability to modify items to lower our need to invest in EQ using talents while still unlocking Windtouched Speed.

Fungus if you’re taking at at all, minimum 1/1/2
If you take Fungus, you’re giving up a fourth Inscription and you’re giving up on TK Leap, which is a significant loss. What you get is mostly much better use out of Healing Light and (I think) the possibility of stealing free turns off Healing Nexus. You may want to increase your investment in Healing Light by a point or two if you do go with Fungus.

Tinkers (you will need to drop a point from another generic skill to get all of these. Remember that unlocking Tinkers gives you a free generic in both Physics and Chemistry)
Physics 1/1/2
Chemistry 3/2

These provide Armor Reinforcement for Hardiness, Air Recycler for Silence resist or Mental Stimulator for crit, Grounding Strap for Stun Resist, Mana Coil for Lightning proc (note: party unfriendly) and much faster Mana regen (helps support Disperse Magic in long fights, fuels Stone Touch if you're lucky enough to get it), salves, Back Support for fatigue, Iron Grip for disarm immunity, and a Black Light Emitter for bonus darkness damage (while also being able to insta-swap in White Light Emitter if you needed much better visibility radius).

Leveling Guide
For leveling, your goal is to get 1 point in just about everything you want ASAP, then get to your desired levels in Hounds, Attenuate, Writhing One (if you’re taking it), Oblivion, and Meta in that order. bpat’s guide suggests that Nihil & Power Overwhelming’s tooltips may be bugged such that the 2nd point of Nihil doesn’t do much and the 1st point of Power Overwhelming won’t trigger Nihil, so you probably want to get Power Overwhelming to 2 ASAP and leave Nihil at 1 unless you’re ready to jump to 3.

One other priority is getting a second point in All is Dust ASAP, as it goes from a measly 2 turn duration to 7.

Finally, if you go with Command Hounds: Breathe you may wish to balance your hounds affinity so that it’s greater than your respen, when you invest in this depends on your gearing.

Gear
Besides the usual “get good stuff,” a few items have additional benefits for this build they would not normally have.
- Eternity’s Counter gives you lower time costs to use spells, which synergizes multiplicatively with global speed boosts.
- Rod of Sarrilion is obviously amazing, and if you don’t find it in pre-High Peak may be worth running Farportals until you do find it.
- For light armor, Untouchable or Temporal Augmentation Robe.
- Items that apply lasting statuses on spell hit, like the Void Orb or Staff of Destruction, are worth considering to help get Heralds faster.
- Bloodcaller is very strong given how many damaging effects you're putting on the board, and is a great source of both healing and entropic backlash. (It essentially fills in the "Ruin+Revelation" part of bpat's guide - not as reliably, of course, but across all enemies, and you've got Bathe in Light's healmod to help.)
- The Crude Iron Battle Axe of Kroll, given that you're a Dwarf, can be a useful TK slot item for providing 100% Stun Immunity if you're having trouble getting it through other means. Not likely to be a good late-game choice, given that you should have many other options at your disposal by that point.
- ScarletDragon points out that level 5 Arcane Eye, sometimes found on headgear, reapplies itself as a negative effect each round and is applied at instant speed. This is good for Herald summoning.
- Tree of Life would be good but it kills autoexplore

Escorts
Most are pretty obvious, but a few additional ones worth noting
- I choose Thief for my option in Choose First Escort if I'm not intending to go Tinkers, Track is excellent and it makes gearing easier when you don't need a slot for it.
- Sun Paladin's Chant of Fortitude is great for armor hardiness and armor, especially if you're going Void/Light Armor
- Alchemist is often my least favorite escort, but it's actually really good here. Stone Touch is super strong and goofy, especially if you're going Carrion Feet and are comfortable teleporting adjacent to an enemy. With Nihil & All is Dust you can keep enemies stoned for a silly long time (if timed perfectly you can make it permanent until you run out of mana - 3 turns duration, 7 turns of All is Dust, when All is Dust drops stoned is set to duration 3, and with Meta and Windtouched Speed your All is Dust cooldown is 13 and your Stone Touch cooldown is shorter, I think 10 or 11?). Also, Stoned is a magical effect that helps proc Heralds. Just remember it's unlikely to work against elite bosses, even if they don't have listed stun immunity.

_________________
My class guides: Possessor, Oozemancer


Last edited by Snarvid on Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:28 pm, edited 30 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:56 am 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2014 4:00 pm
Posts: 871
Cool build! Paradox Mage and Cultist of Entropy talents go really well together. I've been working on a similar build that focuses more on degen damage rather than summons, but has many of the categories in common. My run is level 33 on Insane/RL, but the defenses in my current build aren't quite strong enough for my liking so I'm going to reroll with a modified version.

I'm surprised you didn't invest in Command Hounds: Breathe. It may not be amazing on Temporal Warden due to their lower spellpower and temporal damage scaling, but on a caster build it can be quite strong. Also note that it gives a significant amount of temporal affinity, so the hounds will get healed when they're hit with your Attenuate and each other's breaths as long as your temporal penetration isn't super high. I played a chronocaster Adventurer build with hounds before and Breathe was one of my staple attacks. Maybe it's not a good fit for the build, but I'd recommend floating some points to try it out if you haven't.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 3:14 am 
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Archmage

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:42 pm
Posts: 355
I ended up with 75% temporal damage pen and +143% temporal damage - although I'm not sure how Attenuate's "HP too low = you die" thing interacts with the hounds negative hp tolerance, they seemed to explode in combat when hit with Attenuate pretty damn quick even with a bit of Affinity (I think the most I tested was 2 points in Breathe and wasn't impressed). I learned to play around hitting them with it or assume they would die and be resummoned. I could have given Breathe a more complete try, though - maybe I will on my current build, which is testing the "Path of Horrors instead of Void" option. I keep editing out a core point here or there, I can probably afford the full 5 to check out Breathe to see if it's worth more than a long duration Herald (you can get 2 Void Crashes enough points invested, hard to argue with that).

It's hard to want *less* respen, though that looks like it might be the problem. (Actually, on the previous build I had 5 in Power Overwhelming AND was wearing the Temporal Robe - Designed in Style - so if I drop to 2 PO in order to afford Breathe and am wearing Heavy Armor that should drop my penetration by a significiant margin, and of course there’s no guarantee I’ll find the Rod of Sarrilion again)

What did you have instead of Hounds?

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:37 am 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2014 4:00 pm
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I'm using Spellbinding and Fate Weaving to maximize the Attenuate damage.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:19 am 
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Archmage

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:42 pm
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That’s a great pickup on Empower for Attenuate damage, I wish I could afford it but have neither the class or cat points to make it work and I’m committed to the whole summoner thing (both thematically and because I love having physical damage on call for ganking those super-annoying Mage Hunters... they’re probably my most feared common lategame enemy, but even they can’t Resolve/AM shield their way out of being eaten, and I also particularly like permanent summons for dealing with Stealthed enemies). But 50% more spellpower on Attenuate seems good from start to finish.

Are you using Seal Fate because you’re leery of the “oops I opened a huge can of dudes” effect on All is Dust, or more to use Fateweaver for spellpower?

Do you think you just had a bad run? If you have Webs of Fate backed up by Quicken Spells and Extension, + Reality Smearing, that sounds like preeeetty good defenses to me... better than I had on my character, although a significant portion of his defenses were outsourced to “here, hit this guy instead of me” so he needed less personal protection on account.

Am submitting a Dumb Question that should help me figure out the Temporal Vigor / Attenuate interaction, will update talent listing for Breathe afterwards. I’m leaning towards “it’s worth doing if you can get their Affinity higher than your temporal respen, but *know* that if you invest some at lower respen and can’t refund them you may be pre-committing essentially all the flexible points in the character build OR assigning yourself a maximum respen cap you won’t want to go beyond.”

E: According to Cathbald, Attenuate kills when below a certain % max hp regardless of other factors. This may explain why my hounds felt so fragile after they were hit - the instant-kill effect superseded their survive-below 0 hp-ness. I modified the build to include reasons to include Breathe or not, as well as dropping the core Attenuate from 5 to 4 in order to keep the AoE smaller if you want to cast around your pets a little easier.

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Last edited by Snarvid on Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:11 pm 
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It looks like you could squeeze in Tinkers if going the Path of Horrors route. Do you have a guess as to where you would slot that in if you were to try it?


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:14 pm 
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Good catch, edited OP to reflect. Having written a Tinker Oozemancer guide and a Tinker Possessor guide, you wouldn't think I would need to be reminded of that one, especially in any class where you've already got 50% stun resist through another means, but apparently my brain still has blindspots. (Already have discovered on my recent playthough that Breathe is better than I had thought and Path is as good as I thought, now I've got to start again AGAIN... a good problem to have, actually.)

"Where" as in, which cat point or what stuff to take?

I’d say 36 or Wyrm. 36 might be better... it hurts to delay Meta, but the build has been adding class skills like crazy and it might be nice to have a bit of breathing room to bump up Writhing One, Attenuate, possibly Breathe. (Also, I often don’t complete Reknor until I go back East the second time to re-find the Athame, and port out of the tunnels I end up in when you first use the Orb of Ways, so 36 and Wyrm often aren’t that far apart.)

An earlier draft of this build (also on this board, called Demented Summoner - Paradox Cultist) took
Physics 1/1/2
Chemistry 3/2

Because you get a freebie in each with Tinkers, and could float additional Harmony points to unlock Windtouched Speed, you could get all of these if you found/made an aggressive enough EQ talent boosting misc slot item and cut back on One with Nature (which, if you were running 2/3 inscriptions as injectors and therefore running 1 infusion tops, would be a reasonable thing to do). The reason for these particular breakpoints is that it lets you get Armor Reinforcement for Hardiness, Air Recycler for Silence resist or Mental Stimulator for crit, Grounding Strap for Stun Resist, Mana Coil for Lightning proc (note: party unfriendly) and much faster Mana regen, salves, Back Support for fatigue, Iron Grip for disarm immunity, and a Black Light Emitter for bonus darkness damage (while also being able to insta-swap in White Light Emitter if you needed much better visibility radius).

? Does dual Mana Coils give you 2 proc possibilities, or 1 with double chances? I’m guessing former.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:32 pm 
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Snarvid wrote:
"Where" as in, which cat point or what stuff to take?

I’d say 36 or Wyrm. 36 might be better...
Yeah, that's what I was trying to ask. :)

I was guessing that delaying Meta was the best choice, though I was trying to figure out if something wonkier like delaying Light or something made more sense.

Snarvid wrote:
(Also, I often don’t complete Reknor until I go back East the second time to re-find the Athame, and port out of the tunnels I end up in when you first use the Orb of Ways, so 36 and Wyrm often aren’t that far apart.)
Wow, I'm used to thinking of Wyrm as 45+ on Insane+. So you basically try to minimize the content you encounter between The Master and getting Wyrm Bile?

Snarvid wrote:
? Does dual Mana Coils give you 2 proc possibilities, or 1 with double chances? I’m guessing former.
My experiments with Mana Coil didn't get any finer-grained than determining that you never get two Mana Coil procs in a single turn, even with different-ranked Coils. After that, I just assumed there was no point to having more than a single Mana Coil, though I suppose the Flame Imp example suggests I could be quite wrong there.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:05 pm 
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I use Bathe in Light and Providence a LOT in this build, would not want to wait on it. Also, most tinkers aren’t that impressive until you get to at least tier 3 materials and have found the recipes you want, and Adventurers have the unique advantage of being able to delay learning tinkers while still being able to gather materials and recipes.

Yeah - it’s easier with slower advancing races like Drem, Shalore, and Ogre (I think I get Wyrm around 38 typically with these races), but that’s my strategy, as I was finding that there was too much game content done before I got my last category unlock and I wanted to play with as much of my character concept for as long as I could.

I complete every level of the tier 1s, Lumberjack, Arena, and tier 2s except Daikara, Hidden (for Bloodcaller), Halfling (for confusion resist), Trapped!, the dungeon with the infinite portal in it (really good for completing Brotherhood of Alchemists or finding ritches pre-Eruan), Fortress (to store stuff and start unlocking Farportals), then Daikara, Temporal Rift (optional), and Dreadfell. Then I rush Reknor (going down each stair as I find them rather than completing the levels), port out of the Unremarkable Cave as soon as I finish the boss fight right after using the Orb for the first time, rush the Vor Armory (going down stairs as soon as I find them, obviously skip room of death), rush Briagh (kill him and leave instantly). Sometimes I’ll dip into a Pride very briefly if I’m missing one Alchemist ingredient and I know it’s there, but other than that it’s back West immediately, cash out with randarts or Assassin lord bench, kill Wyrm, kill remaining backup guardians, and then I can do the rest of the Western dungeons like Caldera, Scourge Drake, Spellblaze, Elven ruin, High Peak, etc. Then when I go back East again I’ll finish up Reknor, Unremarkable Cave, Armory (usually clearing the Room), and then begin in the East in earnest.


Good to know on Mana Coil. I do think the Mana/round is noticeably better at +10 than +5 if you’re actually spending it frequently in combat, but it might be worth seeing if the Viral Injector is a better candidate for your TK wielded staff (since you’re going to be unlocking it anyways) as most (all?) diseases in the game are considered magical and you’re always counting to six in order to get a Herald.

Could also save the point and not take Mana Coil at all, either freeing it up for non-tinker generics or waiting on a second point of mechanical if you can find the Steam Powered Boots for Rocket Boots (if I haven’t found them elsewhere I seem to find them in the Room of Death quite often).

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:40 am 
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Effigy wrote:
I'm using Spellbinding and Fate Weaving to maximize the Attenuate damage.

Out of curiosity, are you using Undead Drake? I've found that to be exceptionally good with Attenuate + Seal Fate builds.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:44 am 
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Snarvid wrote:
That’s a great pickup on Empower for Attenuate damage, I wish I could afford it but have neither the class or cat points to make it work and I’m committed to the whole summoner thing (both thematically and because I love having physical damage on call for ganking those super-annoying Mage Hunters... they’re probably my most feared common lategame enemy, but even they can’t Resolve/AM shield their way out of being eaten, and I also particularly like permanent summons for dealing with Stealthed enemies). But 50% more spellpower on Attenuate seems good from start to finish.
Yeah, Hounds help a lot with both offense and defense. I'm a fan of them in general, although for this character I wanted to see how far I could push degen damage using the Chrono and Cultist talents. It's more of a thematic choice than a pure power thing.

Snarvid wrote:
Are you using Seal Fate because you’re leery of the “oops I opened a huge can of dudes” effect on All is Dust, or more to use Fateweaver for spellpower?
Maintaining the duration with All is Dust works fine, although you can potentially scale the damage much higher if you extend the duration with Seal Fate. When DoT effects are reapplied, the new damage-per-turn (DPT) is calculated this way:
((old_effect_DPT * old_effect_duration) + (new_effect_DPT * new_effect_duration)) / ((old_effect_duration + new_effect_duration) / 2)

The new duration is the average of the two effects' durations, rounded up. There are a few conclusions you can draw from this formula:
1. Reapplying the effect with the same DPT and the same duration will double the DPT. This is ideal, but only really works for the first reapplication because after that the current DPT will be higher than what you're applying with another cast of the effect. This means double-casting with Drem's Frenzy is very nice with DoT effects like Attenuate.
2. Extending the current effect duration becomes more important for damage scaling as the current effect's DPT becomes greater in proportion to the new effect's DPT. You want the highest DPT effect to have as many turns remaining as possible so it gets a higher weighting in the merge formula, and the current effect is probably the one with the higher DPT if you've reapplied it at least once.
3. If you have a current effect with higher DPT and lower duration than the new effect, reapplying can actually lower the DPT. For example, let's say your Attenuate does 100 DPT for 6 turns (due to Nihil) and the enemy has an Attenuate with 500 DPT (due to previous reapplications) and only 3 turns left (maintained with All is Dust). After casting Attenuate again, the DPT would be lowered from 500 to 420, although the duration would be increased. This is why it's nice to have Seal Fate rather than just relying All is Dust, although most enemies aren't going to be able to survive that many applications of Attenuate anyway. If you're leaning on Hounds and Heralds to do a lot of your damage, this is less of a concern.

Snarvid wrote:
Do you think you just had a bad run? If you have Webs of Fate backed up by Quicken Spells and Extension, + Reality Smearing, that sounds like preeeetty good defenses to me... better than I had on my character, although a significant portion of his defenses were outsourced to “here, hit this guy instead of me” so he needed less personal protection on account.
I wouldn't say it was a bad run exactly, because my character was still alive at 33. I just felt like I was struggling harder to survive than I should be, and I think light armor was a big part of that. I decided to use light armor because paradox gets nasty with high fatigue and the build didn't have tinkers for Back Support. Webs of Fate + Reality Smearing do provide a lot of defense, but they also generate a lot of paradox and in tough fights you really start struggling with spell failure and anomalies if you don't have some baseline armor or big damage shields to soak up damage before it goes to your paradox pool.

The newer version is designed to use heavy/massive armor with Back Support tinker and Hidden Resources. If I do light armor again, I would definitely take the Armour of Shadows prodigy, probably at level 30.

Snarvid wrote:
Am submitting a Dumb Question that should help me figure out the Temporal Vigor / Attenuate interaction, will update talent listing for Breathe afterwards. I’m leaning towards “it’s worth doing if you can get their Affinity higher than your temporal respen, but *know* that if you invest some at lower respen and can’t refund them you may be pre-committing essentially all the flexible points in the character build OR assigning yourself a maximum respen cap you won’t want to go beyond.”

E: According to Cathbald, Attenuate kills when below a certain % max hp regardless of other factors. This may explain why my hounds felt so fragile after they were hit - the instant-kill effect superseded their survive-below 0 hp-ness. I modified the build to include reasons to include Breathe or not, as well as dropping the core Attenuate from 5 to 4 in order to keep the AoE smaller if you want to cast around your pets a little easier.
Good point. On my chronocaster with Hounds, I was keeping my temporal penetration fairly low and using Cease to Exist for res pen against tough enemies. If you don't have Cease, it's harder to find a solution that let's you deal with high-resist enemies while also avoiding damage to your hounds.

visage wrote:
Out of curiosity, are you using Undead Drake? I've found that to be exceptionally good with Attenuate + Seal Fate builds.
I strongly considered it, but the current build doesn't use it. I might have to take another look and see if I can fit it in because it does seem like a great addition.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:04 am 
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Ah. Wasn’t aware of the intricacies of the formula. As I understand Seal Fate builds, though, I think you’re generally keep the absolute minimum number of effects in play so that you don’t accidentally extend the duration of the wrong one, which seems like the opposite of Unravel Existence builds thematically and mechanically (one just piles so much entropy on a target they unravel and are erased, the other locks in a particular fate for their opponent and cannot allow in other possibilities to dilute it).

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:09 am 
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That's somewhat true. Seal Fate can proc up to 5 times per turn at 1.0 mastery, so with more effects you're less likely to extend Attenuate. As long as the other effects are worth extending, it's still a net benefit though. With that being said, Augment Despair from Demented/Scourge Drake might be a better fit for builds with multiple effects, especially when you have reduce cooldown from Spell/Meta.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:12 am 
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That would work well with Drem, because Frenzy can hit Augmented Despair but not Seal Fate.

I have played PM a bit, and so the Stun/Attenuate Seal Fate lock makes sense to me in that you’re happy to have a top-tier control effect also take the duration increase, I just don’t think it goes quite as well with the “just get anything on there as fast as you can” Unravel Existence philosophy.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2018 5:19 pm 
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Snarvid wrote:
After several attempts to use the new Demented options to create a summoner adventurer, here’s the final result.
Given that you ended up with Harbinger and Hounds as your summons, did you ever try using a Temporal Warden shell rather than a Cultist shell?

Snarvid wrote:
ScarletDragon points out that level 5 Arcane Eye, sometimes found on headgear, reapplies itself as a negative effect each round and is applied at instant speed.
Based on my experience with Merkul's Second Eye (which has a 100% on-hit proc of Arcane Eye 4), I don't think you need level 5 -- once I found that weapon my TW+Oblivion adventurer went from (at level 23) not having procced a single Harbinger to proccing them almost instantly.

Snarvid wrote:
According to shibari via bpat, you need at least 2 PO to make Nihil trigger.
FWIW, I keep on failing to replicate this result. I was seeing Black Monolith trigger Nihil with a single point in Power Overwhelming on a Cultist, and on one of my Adventurers I'm seeing Nihil trigger off of Singularity Arrow with a single point in P.O. I wonder if there's something I'm missing that's triggering Nihil via a different means; I believe I've ruled out healing, but it's always possible I'm screwing that up somehow.


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