The first character I played through (most*) of the game with was a melee Cipher, and it has been a class build that I have returned to time and again since then. However when I build my Cipher in this way he inevitably spends a significant portion of his combat time taking a nap, and ever since respeccing was added to the game I've usually respecced him to a ranged Cipher at some point out of frustration. Despite this, I still want to complete the game with a melee Cipher and, more importantly, have fun doing so, so I thought I'd turn to the good people of the "Pillars of Eternity: Characters Builds, Strategies & the Unity Engine (Spoiler Warning)" forum for advice.
I also noticed that of the three Cipher builds in the build list, two are ranged and the sole melee one is an outdated (though still effective) retaliation build of Boeroer's. A secondary objective of this thread would be to end up with a new melee Cipher build to add to the list so that other players who are, like me, struggling to make this class build work will have a solid example of it easily available. Ideally this would include some interesting item synergies (if there are any) that are not immediately obvious to less experienced players
Since ranged Ciphers are relatively easy to build and tend to be very effective, perhaps the place to start is with the two major differences between them and melee Ciphers (that I can see), and how to accommodate them. So, here goes:
- Ranged Cipher's can, generally speaking, afford to have low Resolve and wear light (or even no) armour since they shouldn't be getting hit much. A melee Cipher doesn't necessarily have that luxury. How much additional protection would you give a melee Cipher? (What Resolve, what armour, would you give them a shield and, if so, which type etc.)
- Because of their positioning in Combat some powers seem less effective for melee Cipher's than for ranged Cipher's. In particular Antipathetic Field, which comes highly recommended in many Cipher guides seems much less effective for a melee Cipher since they can less easily manoeuvre themselves into a position to use it effectively and their targets will generally speaking be less far away, leading to a shorter beam. Are there any powers that you would not take on a melee Cipher that you would on a ranged one, and vice versa? If so, why
No doubt there are other differences, so feel free to outline them and explain how you would modify a build for them.
Beyond that we can get onto specifics. What sort of Attribute spread would people recommend? What gear should a melee Cipher use? What Powers and Talents should they take? The list goes on...
*I have a terrible habit of abandoning playthroughs part way through Act III.