« You have no hope of defeating me - you exist only in my mind, and I have already decided your death. »
Master of their own personal reality, solipsists wield terrifying mental powers. Yet among them exist a group of even more focused individuals. Some call them purists, others extremists, yet none deny the puissance of their mind, capable of destroying, healing, and even creating life. They call themselves Mindcasters.
The mindcaster is a tightly-focused Sollipsist. Eschewing the crude manipulations of the Dreamsmiths or the figments of the Sandmen, he relies purely on mental might to defeat his foes - which, to him, are nothing more than more creations of his imagination, after all.
Why a Solipsist ?
Solipsists are a very unique class in Tales of Maj’Eyal - or at least, even more unique than the rest. Its unique Solipsism ability means that their Psi ressource is at the same time fuel, life and protection.
- The Solipsism ability converts part of the damage taken to psi damage, and reduces it before it is lost. The psi bar becomes a second life bar.
- The Solipsist has many different abilities, which leads to several potential builds. It makes for a very polyvalent character.
- Since Solipsism reduces the gains of Constitution and lets us use Mental saves instead of the other two, the Solipsist can very heavily focus on two stats, Willpower and Cunning, and lose next to no benefits.
- Solipsism isn’t all flowers and sunshine - it comes at a heavy price. Once the psi score gets under a set Solipsism Threshold, each percent of that score lost reduces your global speed by the same. A tired solipsist is in a VERY tight spot - no fuel for his powers, no cushion for his measly life bar, and slowed reactions, which means that you’re pretty much toast.
- Unlike the Archmage, the polyvalence of the Solipsist still requires planning and focus. Many of his abilities don’t mix too well with each other, and others are clearly meant to synergize. Planning ahead and knowing what to aim for are vital to a successful Solipsist.
- The gain from stats being what it is, there are many, MANY aspects of the build that can’t be optimized by leveling up. Solipsists are probably amongst the most gear-dependent classes, and some of the more desirable buffs are relatively rare at low levels.
- Highly synergistic trees that almost never conflict with one another
- Only one damage type makes optimization much easier
- Anti-magic makes us very tanky against long-range mages
- You hit like a ton of mental bricks
- The Thoughtform is a great meatshield
- Most of our abilities, out of Psychic Assault, require high levels to shine
- Tform can be terminally stupid at times and isn’t very sturdy late-game
- Anti-magic locks us out of some equipment choices (not many though)
- No stun hurts in the early game.
- A build so tight on Generics requires careful planning and thinking ahead.
Race analysis :
Cornac : *****
Cornacs are my go-to race when I try a new class or build. They have a decent life rating, no weaknesses, and an extra cat point for unlock shenanigans. Their full exp gain means they’ll hit milestone levels early enough to matter. Highly recommended
Higher : ****
Highers are a decent option here. Their 15% exp drop doesn’t hurt TOO much, their first racial actually scales with willpower and can save us an inscription slot, and the rest of their racials are utterly useless so you’ll save generics for more useful stuff.
Thalore : ***
While Thalore have great racials for anti-magic classes, here we’ll need most of those points elsewhere. Their 35% exp penalty is a big pain in the tush too. I’m sure they can work, and very well, but they’ll require some tough choices and have a slower go at it. If you want a good life rating, go with Highers instead.
Shalore : *
This build has no use for Magic, loves Anti-magic, and isn’t built around criticals. Add all this to the crudy life rating, the 25% exp penalty and the starting runes which will get you on the bad side of Zigurants when you’d rather not be, and you’ll see why you’d be better off with any other race.
Doomelf : ?
I haven’t unlocked them yet (bad luck on the needed game events) but from what the wiki says, I figure they’d work about as well as Shalore. Pass.
Halfling / Dwarves : **
I’m grouping them because they have the same rating and notes. Their racials, while good, scale with secondary stats for a Solipsist, their stat bonuses aren’t what we’d prefer, and their exp penalty is too harsh compared to what they give us (situational racials and a decent life rating.) They can work - one of the most famous Solipsist guide is about a dwarven one - but I’d see them more as a challenge pick than an optimal one.
Yeek : ****
Tailor-made stats, Will-scaling racials, an exp BONUS - yeeks seem meant to be Solipsists. They can be great ones, too, but they’ll have a VERY tough start due to their abysmal life rating and their hair-pullingly hard starting dungeons. If you can get them part that on the main continent though, they are a great pick.
Ogre : ?
I honestly don’t know anything about them yet.
Undead races : *
They suffer from the issues of the Shalore (no anti-magic, racials that scale off the wrong stats, big exp penalties) and despite their great life rating, I can’t recommend them. Ghouls, especially, get a penalty in the main stats, are already slower than average, and don’t bring much to the table. Skeletons can be better if you are okay with losing Anti-Magic, but it seems a harsh price to me.
The Build :
The Mindcaster only needs 4 Class Trees, so you’ll get almost all of it fully kited. It’s not a question of how much, but rather in which order. Do note that almost all our attack powers have an effective range of 7. Plan accordingly.
2/1 Will/Cun, until Will is topped off, then 2/1 Cun/Con until Cun is topped off, then 2/1 Con/Dex until Con is maxed, then all Dex.
Class trees :
Psychic Assault : our bread and butter, or maybe chainsaw and jackhammer, attack tree. This is what you’ll make things explode with. Also, none of those powers hurt or event interact with your Thoughtform - they go right through it to the bad guys beyond.
- Mind Sear : our first power, our fastest power, our main power. Mind Sear is pure awesome. It is cheap, it is reliable it is our main gun. It is also, for a long while, our only mean to affect more than one critter. Always try to optimize its use by lining up baddies, but also remember that it reloads in only two turns, so don’t be afraid to use it to swat flies. It’ll be there when you need it. Very important point : if, like me, you have an add-on to chose your escorts, be sure to float the points in this skill. We have the awesome advantage to be able to get them from loremasters, so there’s no reason to waste them when we can get them for free. I actually got all five of my points in this from escorts, and it scales well enough that I never felt bad about it. Leave it at 3 or under until you get points from escorts, and float it all to more expensive stuff.
- Psychic Lobotomy : I’ll be plain here - this power blows. It’s clearly meant to be our main crowd control until we get Static, confusing critters and lowering their Cunning stats (so they get hit harder by our Awezome Mindz Powarz) but it suffers from a glaring weakness : if the target saves or resists the confusion part, the power has no effect. Yes, you read right. No confusion, no damage, no cunning penalty, zilch, nada. Not only did you waste a turn and some psy, but you didn’t even singe them. Frankly, I suspect it’s a bug, but in any case, this means this power can stay at a solid 1 point to open Static and fill our rotations (better a potential dud than a turn resting in combat, after all) but I wouldn’t put any points in it until everything else is a 4 or 5. I think I got it to 2 around level 40 and didn’t miss it one bit.
- Synaptic Static : oh boy, does it make up for Lobotomy big time. It’s our all-purpose PBAoE nuke. Learn to use, abuse and love this baby. It scales great, it hits like a bevy of trucks, it affects everything in a radius 6 at max level, so 5/5 it ASAP. it also has an enhanced chance to Brainlock targets, which not only stops them using some of their own abilities (think of it as a poor-man Stun) but also sets them up for….
- Sunder Mind : a great power that takes some time to fully bloom. Sunder mind is a reasonably fast (4CD) single-target strike that never misses. It also lowers the mental saves of the target by a goodly amount, which means that stuff like Lobotomy or Sleeps can affect them easier.
Two things to know about Sunder Mind. First, it hits twice as hard if the target is Brainlocked (hence the setup with Static), making it as powerful as Sear. Also, the save reduction lasts as long as the CD, and it has a refreshing stack effect - meaning that if you hit a target with Sunder every 4 turns, it’ll get a permanent *and increasing* penalty. This makes it a must against mid-to-late-game elites, rares and bosses, but it works equally well against normal critters, since it recharges pretty fast.
- Solipsism : the talent. It diverts a part of our healing and damage to our Psi bar, and in the case of damage, reduces it by a scaling amount. At high levels, over half of what should affect your life will instead go to your psi bar, and over a third of your psi damage will go *poof* before you even feel it. I’d recommend raising it to 3/5 or even 4/5 pretty fast, it really adds up. This also means that Healing and Regen infusion work like Manastream infusion for our Psi, as well as our Health. As such, be sure to always upgrade those to the best type you can find or buy.
- Balance : a great talent on paper, but much less in the facts. Balance means that a percentage of our Mental save is used instead of the same percentage of the other two. In theory, that would be great, since based on stats alone, our mental save should be much higher than the other two. Sadly, not only is the effect only felt with a 4 or 5-points investment, but saves are usually based much more on gear than stats, and most gear that raises one save raise the other two as well (not always though.) All this means that until the end of the game, this power can stay at the comfortable 1. You won’t miss it much, frankly. Add to that the usual aftereffects of this tree (higher threshold, lower life gain) and you’ll want to ignore it purely and simply until at least lever 25. Trust me on that.
- Clarity : Much easier to see in action than Balance, it raises your global speed for each percent your current Psi is over a set value - in essence, a reverse Solipsism Threshold. Once you get to the point where you feel comfy adding talents to this tree (at or after Dreadfell) you’ll want to put at least a couple here, but the returns are both subtle and diminishing. If you play a Yeek or Anti-Magic, it can help you get to a regular 200% global speed, but even then, it’s less a priority than…
- Dismissal : the motherbuffer™. Dismissal makes you roll a part of your mental save against any damage you take, and a success erases at least 50% of it. So, once you get to the second part of teh game where your Psi and your Msave are both high enough to make it worthwhile, this will silently and quietly protect you from an amazing amount of damage, especially low-but annoying DoTs and stuff that gets past your Resonance field. Once you get to it, 5/5 immediately.
- Thoughtforms : those babies are your meatshields. Archer is nice at level 1, but to be frank, I never touch it after that. I’m already a ranged machine gun, what I need is a wall of steel between me and things that hurt. As such, I had it a 2/5 at level one, and got it to 3/5 for the Warrior then to 4/5 for the Defender immediately. There go your first three class points, and you won’t regret it. The last point, though, is a waste - it only gives a sorry bonus to their physical stats, once they can live fine without.
- Trancendent Toughtform : waste of a point. Seriously. Grants Biofeedback, Lucid Dreamer and Psychometry to your Tforms, and of the three, only Biofeedback is even remotely useful. Put one point in it because we need to for the rest and forget it exists.
- Over Mind : Much better. You’ll want 1/5 in it immediately so your Tform can collect Feedback for you. That is what makes Discharge useful, or even useable at low levels. Later on, once you have the saves and Mind damage bonus for it, you can get it to 3/5 then 5/5. You’ll never, EVER want to use it for direct control. Your body is defenseless on its own and made of wet cardboard. YOU. WILL. DIE. Seriously.
- Thoughtform Unity : where they start giving back. This power gives you a fantastic buff with the Defender Tform and a decent one with the Warrior (and it’s a good thing the one with the Archer is blah, since the Archer is useless to us.) With the Defender, you’ll get resist all on top of what Conditionning gives you - I reached base 33% resist all with my winner, BEFORE Solipsism. With the Warrior, you’ll get an effective couple points to Mindpower, which raises your damage a bit and helps you punch through some annoying Mental saves, but overall the Defender bonus is far more interesting.
- Mind storm : a funky little power, Mind Storm shoots bolts of mind energy at enemies in range based on three things. The talent level determines how many blots you shoot, the Feedback you have limits it (each bolt costs 5 Feedback) and if you collect Feedback OVER your max, you shoot additional bolts. So in short, the more you take, the more you give. Interestingly, you can activate it even if you have no Feedback, and it doesn’t shut down if you drop to 0 - it’ll start shooting the moment you get over 5 again. On the other hand, if you move, Physically attack, Teleport or get Knocked Back, the power shuts off and goes on CD. Between that and the fact that Feedback comes from damage you take, it seems a risky business… Until you remember that your Tform can collect Feedback from you and that Discharge powers go right through it harmlessly. Then you can just sit back behind your Tform and your Resonance field and kill stuff with your mind literally without lifting a finger. Feeling awesome yet ? Wait, it gets better.
- Feedback Loop : well, not immediately better. This power is clearly meant for the crazy Solipsist who likes to get his own Feedback - it reverse its decay rate, so that instead of going down with time, it goes UP with time (in an exponential fashion, meaning the more you have the more it adds to it.) Frankly, since we use the Tform to get Feedback, this power is next to useless. Put a point in it and be done. What you want ASAP is…
- Backlash : now we are talking! This little gem is a passive that retaliates against ANY damaging enemy within range 7, up to either the Feedback you got from the attack or the current talent limit. And yes, it can crit. On auto-explore, I often killed stuff with this before I even knew it had attacked me. Get this to 5/5 immediately, you won’t regret it.
- Focused Wrath : this is what turns Discharge from a crowd clearer to a boss killer. With this, all your Discharge attacks (from basic Mind Storm, extra bolts and Backlash) get sent to the designated target for a few turns, and receive a big critical power bonus. Add to it your usual active powers like Mind Sear, and a boss with some critters punching your Tform could easily eat a few thousands of Mind damage a turn. Hilarity ensues. This MELTS tough guys.
- Distortion : though a great tree for AoE devastation, Distortion got left out here for a simple reason - it interacts poorly with the Thoughtform. Both Distortion Bolt and Ravage won’t go through it, so even with Distortion Bolt at level 5 (which makes friendlies immune to your Distortion powers) you’ll have a big obstacle in your way most of the time. Pass.
- Dream Smith : the Mindcaster kills stuff with its thoughts, not its hands. Enough said.
- Slumber / Nightmare : the sleep trees are fun and powerful, don’t get me wrong, but they are also finicky and slow - not only do you often need to layer powers, but even then it’ll take several turns to actually prove effective. Add to that the fact that anything sleep- or confusion-immune is sleep-proof, as is anything that makes its save, and you’ll see why they require a specific mindset to be used.
Generic Trees :
Dreaming : Although sleep is not used in this build, there is ONE skill we need here…
- Sleep : Get an escort point from betraying a Temporal Explorer or add one of your level 1. I did the later.
- Lucid Dreamer : put a point in it and turn it on for the save bonus, you can add to it later but it’s of passable use to us.
- Dream Walk : THIS is what we want. It’s like a semi-contrled phase door and will get us out of many tight spots. Try to get escorts points for this from betrayed escorts, but if you can’t, don’t shy from buying it outright - you want at least 3/5 for get some reliability for your escapes… And trust me, you’ll need them.
- Dream Prison : we’re no sandman solipsist. Pass.
- Psychometry : laughable skill. It gets you a bonus to your physical and mental powers, based on the material rank of natural, psionic or anti-magic items. The
problem is, with the tier system, the bonus will never be enough to justify the point sink it can turn into. At the VERY best, at level one, you’ll get +6; at level 5, +30, which will turn into about +6 with the tier system. I can’t see a justification to this.
- Mental Shielding : this is a GREAT talent - somewhere between an infusion and a prodigy, it clears mental debuffs and prevents new ones for a few turns. I recommend spending a couple points here, since mental effects can be the most deadly in the game (hello, confusion and sleep…)
- Projection : no thanks. Like Over Mind, this is a great way to get yourself dead fast.
- Mind Link : it could have been handy against a few bosses, but I was very tight on generics and didn’t miss it. YMMV.
- Biofeedback : a skill that slows Feedback decay and heals you for a bit each turn based on current Feedback. This is a good way to mitigate some damage, and I’m pretty sure the healing goes through the Solipsism mill and affects both your Psi and Health. Not a priority by any means, but a few points won’t hurt. Put 1/5 immediately to open the way to the rest, then once you get to Amplification, balance the two talents. They work well together.
- Resonance field : your « oh shit » button. It scraps 50% of all the damage you take, up to a set value or a turns limit. It’s very powerful, but only actionable once you have 25 Feedback - of course, with your Tform playing Meaty Mc Meatshield, you’ll often have 25 Feedback before you even see the baddies. It also takes a turn to activate, and only blocks 50% of damage, so only ever use it if you’re sure to you’ll survive doing so. 90% of the early game, Dream Walking away first will be a better strategy. Later on, as mentioned, you’ll have this available while unhurt, and with Mindstorm on, you can activate it and still put the hurt on critters. So, all considered, you’ll want this at 5/5 fast.
- Amplification : this skill raises your maximum Feedback and lets you collect it faster. It synergizes great with Biofeedback - with both at 3 and a full feedback bar, you’ll be healed over 15 a turn on top of your life regen and/or regen infusions. It also lets you store more Feedback for Mindstorm, so you can keep it going longer, especially with Feedback Loop. Feel free to get this to 5/5, but it’s no priority.
- Conversion : on the other hand, this is a waste of points. It uses your Feedback to heal you, but at a very disadvantageous ratio. The life heal is blah at best, and although it recovers ressources (including a bunch you’re unlikely to use or even have) the one you care about, Psi heal, is insultingly low. Save your points and use a good Regen infusion instead.
- Survival : utterly useless to this character. Heightened senses and Piercing sight can be made up for with gear, we have a toolset that puts most if not all Charms to shame, and Evasion would get in the way of Feedback gain. We’re a tankmage, not a Shadowblade.
- Dream Forge : interesting tree that sadly synergize poorly with the rest of the build. Pass.
Combat Training : Buy it in Last Hope and put the usual 5/5 in Thick Skin, ignore the rest. The important part to keep in mind is that Constitution doesn’t get raised until after level 20 in this build, but at the same time, Thoughtform Unity makes up for it with the Defender bonus. With that and the Solipsism buff, Thick Skin is a middle priority at best.
Mindstar Mastery : Bought, Unlocked and Improved in Zigur as money gets there.
- Psiblades : all points in it were gotten from betraying Alchemist escortees, and honestly, how many you put in it is up to you. It does improve the bonuses from mindstar, but since physical combat is NOT our thing, it can be safely ignored if you’d rather keep the money and points.
- Thorn Grab, Leaves Tide, Nature’s Equilibrium : Pass. We’re not gonna be in melee, that’s the Tform’s job.
- Resolve : We get a free point in this once we survive the Zigur gauntlet, but putting a couple more never hurts. Diminishing returns make it unappealing to 5/5 this though. Keep it at 3/5 at first.
- Aura of Silence : with out stats, this will punch through the defenses of almost everything in the game. Getting it to 4/5 should be considered to compensate for the greater range of most mages, but even at 3/5 it works great.
- Antimagic Shield : this will keep us alive through magical alpha strikes from beyond our sight range. Max it out as soon as you can, definitely before the Master of Dreadfell.
- Mana Clash : a great way to deal with mages and our one and only range-10 attack, you’ll want this maxed… eventually. Put points in this as you can, but AM Shield and Resolve are more important.
- Wild Growth : with a good regen infusion, this makes you invincible, since it’ll keep both your Psi and Health topped up. 3/5 is more than enough in my experience.
- Fungal Growth : 1/5 is more than enough here. Not only are we relying on regen more than direct heal, but the returns are harshly diminishing.
- Ancestral life : combining this with Clarity makes regen infusions instant-cast… And means that you don’t need a full 5 points in this. 2/5 or 3/5 is enough to make healing instant.
- Sudden Growth : I managed without just fine, but then again, I had an amulet of Earth Touch. Feel free to put a point in it (it’ll be more than enough) but remember that it’ll have next to no effect if you didn’t already turn on the regen infusion. This is an « oh-shit » heal, not an everyday one. Useful in some situation, but careful planning makes it forgettable.
Again, I make no apologies about my use of an add-on to pick and choose my escortees. Whether you do the same or not is your own choice, but I find it helps a lot with this build. The main priority is loremasters for free Mind Sear, then either alchemists for free Psiblades or temporal explorers for free Dream Walk.
Alchemist’s quests :
Foundation, Focus, Mysticism, Fox, Mastery, in that order of priority.
I recommend Spell Feedback at 30 - between that and Backlash, mages die without you having to do a thing. Connoisseurs will appreciate.
At level 42, I took Meteoric Crash - it gave me a fantastic AoE, a stun which is something this build lacks, and really helped me in the prides and on High Peak.
You want loads of +HP, some good +saves (especially mental), all the +mind damage you can get, and finally +mental crit and +mental penetration. Anything else I leave to your own taste.
So, with all this, how do you organize your points ? Here is a global overview :
- Level 1 : Thoughtforms 2, Mind Sear 2 (floating), Solipsism 1. Sleep 1, Biofeedback 1. If Cornac, get an infusion with your cat point - a second wild (mental/phys or mental magic) or a healing one always comes in handy.
- Level 2-5 : Get Thoughtforms to 4 for Defender, up Solipsism, float the rest in Mind Sear until you get at least one Loremaster reward, then unlock Lobotomy. DON’T touch Balance yet. Unlock Psychometry, Mental Shielding, Resonance Field, Lucid Dreamer.
- Level 6-10 : Max Statics and get Solipsism to 4/5, unlock Transcendant Thoughtforms and Over Mind. Open Discharge tree. Max Resonance Field and try to get reward points for Dream Walk, other wise max it and save escorts for Psiblades.
- Level 11-15 : Max Mindstorm, Sunder Mind, get a point in Feedback loop. Get Mindstar Mastery and Anti-Magic, start on Psiblades and Resolve, put a couple points in Amplification.
- Level 16-20 : Max Backlash and Thoughtform Unity. Fill the Anti-magic tree (Aura, Shield, Clash). Open Fungus with your cat point at 20.
- Level 21-30 : Focus first on getting Dismissal open and maxed, then add some points to Clarity. Add a point or two to Focused Wrath as well. Start on the Fungus tree (at least 1/1/1/0) but focus more on rounding up the Anti-magic tree. Get Spell Feedback as your first prodigy.
- Level 31-40 : Top off your main attack talents that aren’t at 5/5 yet. Use your level 36 cat point to improve Solipsism - the few percents added do make a difference. Keep adding to Fungus and Anti-Magic
- Level 41-50 : you should just have to fill in the last few blanks here. Use the cat point from the wyrm bile to improve Discharge - it’ll do more good than Psychic Assault, believe it or not. If you got the Meteoric Crash, take that as your second prodigy, otherwise Tricky defenses or Mental Tyranny work.
http://te4.org/characters/140914/tome/a ... 747a7b72e4