ToME: the Tales of Maj'Eyal

Everything about ToME
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 10:15 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2016 8:34 pm
Posts: 40
So, in the various guides for steambutcher (most of which are a bit older) 3 out of the 4 Battlefield Machine talents were basically considered tax and generally anywhere from 'not good' to 'terribad' in terms of opinions, but I was curious, as I often am, so I made a steam butcher on normal, picked a Whitehoof, and resolved not to touch the saw-maiming tree, even with a floating point.

Here's the resulting character:

So how bad was it? Well, actually it wasn't too terribly different from the standard build since, on normal at least, you became a walking wall of blades, screaming, and death that can just walk through a battlefield by endgame, and in fact I beat the EoR final boss at level 49, because for some undecipherable reason I couldn't reach 50 before then. Maybe too many things died to stuff that weren't me. Anyway, the early game was... tricky. I took an early boost for Saw Wheels since mobility is the name of the game on this build. You have gott to be able to kite, if necessary. Early game, an encounter would go like this...

Find an enemy or group of enemies, and if they were just trash mobs, saw-wheels in, build up enough momentum for a full attack, stop in front of them, toss a bomb to trigger the wheel attack, whack them once or twice, bomb goes off, and knocks them for 140% of the listed fire damage. That was usually enough to kill whatever I was fighting. It's very agressive, all-in, and not super efficient since you miss out on one attack, but at this point in the game your bombs do more damage than you can. Alternately to not waste a single turn, you toss the bomb, saw wheels, build up your 5-move momentum as you close the distance with your target(s), and attack just before the bomb goes off for the biggest kaBANG for your buck.

But wait, what about cases where I need an escape? Not everyone is a rediculously speedy undead cowmonster! Well in those cases, I'd approach and throw the bomb so that the enemy would come adjacent to me (or vis versa in some occasions) on the turn just before it goes off. Then I give 'em a a great big hug with a pair of chainsaws, they bleed, and the bomb immediately goes off for a massive whack on the first turn of proper combat since they've just been hit with bleed. Also whacks everything else pretty good too. If I didn't like my odds of bump-killing whatever, I'd activate saw-wheels, which I put 2/5 at the start, and zoom off, often around a corner or cover, and then chuck out a bomb in their path. I'd always make sure that they were at least 7 tiles away so I could activate saw wheels again if I had to. They didn't often take the extra damage but it worked to soften thigns up, especially crowds. Then I'd engage as per normal.

When it came time to open vaults (the ones in levels, not the horrific hidden vaults), I'd sit outside the door, drop a bomb, open the door, wait so they move forward and I don't get attacked, attack, they bleed, bomb hits, they take extra damage, and they're mostly dead! I did prioritize upping my saw blade damage a bit, and I got explosive steam engine up to about 3/5 by level 2. If I didn't have enough strength to take steamsaw mastery up to 2/5 by level 4 I banked the point, and used it to get overheating saws and grinding shield at the same time.

After that, I just invested as needed into grinding shield, steam machinery, and steamsaw mastery. I was kinda fragile due to poor loot drops, and made lots of use of saw wheels or rocket boots(!!) to position or escape a lot till I got properly tanky.Perked the tremor engine, loved it. I'd often toss it out, then toss the explosive engine, close, and have some fun with enemies rethinking their poor life decisions.

Punishment averaged 5-7 stacks to work with so I had a good single target whack to the face, tempest of metal made sure everything around me was bleeding when bombs went off, debuffs kept stuff in the burning AoE even if I had to escape, and overall I had a very fun late game, and vaults with only a few enemies per room were absolute cake, even 10-15 levels above me, even when they were rares.

I unlocked Furnace first, not auto-butchery, and prioritized the hell out of defensive capabilities, but I did get at least 1 point into all four things ASAP. The flat DR was disgusting on top of tempest of metal and grinding shield, along with whatever resists I oculd pick up, and eventually I spiraled to the point where my bombs and debuffs were helpful but not utterly necessary. I could clear trash mobs by running at them, as with the standard steam-butcher, but with this setup, I had some nice indirect damage and ways to soften things up before they got close. Mages got my 1/5 explosive saw whenever i unlocked it but before then I'd use a torque or something to lower damage on top of my flat DR, and then just saw-wheels up and smash their faces in.

Stuff I got a LOT of mileage out of:
Saw Wheels - Oh my god it's so good. Engage or disengage, if not run off, heal, wait for cooldowns, and with it still going run back in for another hwack to the face!

Furnace and Molten Metal - Flat DR is wonderful. I prioritized MM over Furnace a bit here. Getting the auto-vent helped make sure that most of the time my battle log was a wash of taking 0 damage.

Explosive Steam Engine - It doesn't actually say it, but you don't take damage from this thing. That means it's hellishly useful before engaging, after engaging, and any time that you can spare a turn where you don't have to or can't put out damage. Lingering vapors (yes I know it's lingering cloud) also adds a nice hunk of damage on top of bleed and burning. It's an area of effect tick effect, not a debuff. Even late-game if squishy stuff was clogging a chokepoint I'd toss this to help kill them, soften the bigger baddies, and then get free damage and steam from the vapor cloud.

Tempest of Metal & Grinding Shield -- Tank tank tank the stuff.

Mow down helped too, which is the only reason I unlocked auto-butcher, though I did get a bit of mileage out of the explosive saw's silence. I will say that I got a huge amount of mileage out of I Can Carry The World prodigy, and Pain Enhancement System was... Well, it spiked my crit rate up to 80% or so per weapon, on top of spiking my stat-dependent steam engines, and it helped me equip the Twisted Blade, at which point I became outright unkillable. It would have been just as viable to use Irresistable Sun on this one though.

So, all in all, I feel like I did plenty of damage and crowd control without the sawmaiming tree, and all of the damage from the battlefield machinery tree scaled incredibly well with the Steam Power generic. All in all, it was an interesting and fun experience that offered me more options than making one guy in particular very dead.

As far as yeti rewards went: I got a point in track, dream walk which I didn't get terribly much use out of, but it was great to have, the conditioning tree (which was very VERY helpful since I couldn't get any life regen gear for crap), and to save a few generics I put the last one into improving the unflinching resolve talent.

When it came to threats, I'd like to say that my biggest threat late game was Nightmare Horrors, and even then, by then I had a tier 5 water salve and an unstoppable force salve. My nightmares didn't use my kit worth a crap too.

In closing, I found that on normal mode at least, the Battlefield Machinery tree is not bad at all, it just requires an adjustment of playstyle, but it does need heavy investment to shine. My greatest challenge was finding a pair of steam engines that could handle my needs.

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