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help building a powerful cipher please


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#1
firkraag888

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Hey Guys

 

This will be my last playthrough until DF.

 

Im rolling a cipher as my main and will have a four man party consisting of cipher, barb, ranger, wiz.

 

My cipher will be mainly a melee specialist built will also use ranged.

 

Can anyone give me any good feedback they discovered from rolling a cipher? I want him to be as overpowered as possible.

 

He is a wood elf, int 19, dex 19

 

Thanks



#2
JerekKruger

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Here's a thread I started a while back about building a melee Cipher. Lots of useful discussion there.


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#3
Kaylon

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The cipher is much more effective from range (the fact that his class soulbound weapon is a bow means something...) and I think your party will have some problems because it's too squishy (and you have no buffs, nor heals).


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#4
firkraag888

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The cipher is much more effective from range (the fact that his class soulbound weapon is a bow means something...) and I think your party will have some problems because it's too squishy (and you have no buffs, nor heals).


I want this playthrough to be challenging because my last playthrough I stopped playing half way through because it was to easy

#5
mosspit

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Tried Trial of Iron? I find it effective in keeping tension throughout the playthrough. Even after multiple times.

Edited by mosspit, 11 September 2017 - 03:54 AM.


#6
MaxQuest

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Im rolling a cipher as my main and will have a four man party consisting of cipher, barb, ranger, wiz.

I have a bit contradictory feeling about what kind of cipher do you need.

x1. Damage-oriented with high MIG:
- in this party you might want to use Disintegration for easier boss fights
- having an animal companion makes it easier to use Ectopsychic Echo

x2. CC-oriented with low-average MIG and high DEX/INT/PER
- in this party you will want to use CC (esp. WoT and Mental Binding) a lot
- it will be hard sometimes to keep enemies away from your cipher (the only one who can cover him is your wizard, which has per-rest cc) and you can't afford building a glass cannon, hence not enough points to invest in MIG.


Overall, I would go for a 9/10/16/16/19/8 cc-cipher:
- plate armor: Sanguine plate (before lvl 13), and probably White Crest Armor + Malina Boots (past lvl 13).
- belt: Blunting Belt (early-mid game) and Girdle of Mortal Protection/Girdle of Maegfolc Might (in late game)
- weapons: Fine Estoc (from Kana, on low-level) -> Drakesbell (before lvl 7) -> Firebrand (awesome on cipher btw) + Tidefall (before lvl 12) -> Durganized Blade of the Endless Paths
- gloves: Firebrand (before lvl 13) -> Gloves of Swift Action (from lvl 13)
- if you play with knockout injuries disabled, give him some Second Chance item.

Open the fight with a shot from Lead Spitter/Pliambo per Casit├ás, cast a power and switch to melee. You can also get Twin Sting, it has 1 DAoM usage per rest, and start with it in harder fights, if you don't have enough potions.

As for talents: Bitting Whip, Greater Focus, Two-Handed Style, Scion of Flame (if you use Firebrand), Draining Whip, Psychic Backlash (while it has no limit), Apprentice's Sneak Attack, Savage Attack. Later you can respec and take out Greater Focus, and add Quick Switch/Weapon Focus/Ghost Hunter/w/e.

P.S. Shod in Faith on Barbarian is great, but you might also want someone to be able to cast Moonwell with high MIG score. Is your ranger melee?

Edited by MaxQuest, 11 September 2017 - 05:33 AM.

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#7
firkraag888

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Ranger will be mainly ranged but may go towards melee at mid-late game.

I'm still tossing up wether to go dual wield or two hand for cipher. But yeah firebrand is hard to bypass in low levels

I want to max intelligence right out to keep my amplified wave as big as possible. With the right gear I will have 23 intelligence and the 10% increase spell aoe ring.

Amplified wave will be the game changer when I get it. I'm going to need it with this party consisting of no tanks.

Edited by firkraag888, 11 September 2017 - 05:40 AM.


#8
MasterCipher

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* = optional depending on play style and party composition

 

Aumua w/ extra weapon set

 

MIG 21

DEX 18

CON 3

INT 18

PER 15

RES 3

 

quick switch*

drain whip

bite whip

psychic backlash

scion of flame

apprentice sneak attack

2 hander style*

savage attack

 

10 focus: tenuous grasp, mindwave, whispers of treason, eyestrike, antipathic beam

20 focus: mental binding, amplified thrust, pyschovampiric shield, phantom enemies, recall agony

30 focus: ectopsychic crush, secret horrors* 

40 focus: silent scream, go between, mind lance, wild leech

50 focus: tactical meld, detonate

60 focus: amplified wave, disintegration

70 focus: time parasite, stasis

80 focus: reaver blades, defensive mindweb

 

Weapon Slot 1*: Llawran's stick (legendary enchantment), The Hrs of St Rumbalt (early-mid game)

Weapon Slot 2:* Abadon's Hammer, ranged weapon (early-mid game)

Weapon Slot 3: Fellstroke

Armor: Vengiatta Rugia

Head: Maegfolc Skull

Neck: Talisman of the Unconquerable

Hands: Rabbit Fur Gloves, Firebrand Gloves

Wasit: Coil of Resourcefulness*

Ring1: Gathbin Family Signet

Ring2: Gwyn's Band of Union

Feet: Viettro's Formal Footwear

 

Defiance Bay faction: Doemenal

Blood Pool sacrifice: Maneha

Council of Stars: Galawain's Boon

Inn room: dragon's lair (Dyrford Village)

Brothel patron: Lyrinia

Camping bonus: bonus damage vs flanked

Favorite consumable: goldrot chew


Edited by MasterCipher, 11 September 2017 - 06:00 AM.

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#9
Boeroer

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But yeah firebrand is hard to bypass in low levels


That's right. Even until the late game (when you get durgan steel) it's hard to beat. Because the cipher can disable the target easily most of the time he often deals crits. Crits with Firebrand (huge base damage + annihilation), Merciless Hand and Dungeon Delver lead to ridiculous focus bursts (and damage of course).

You can also crank it up with the follwing combo: Phantom Foes (causes flanked) + survial 12 (+20% damage against flanked) + similar item (+10% vs. flanked) and Appr. Sneak (+15% vs. flanked). This works very well with Firebrand's high base damage.

Later with durgan steel and good enchantments/lash Hours of St. Rumbalt will give you the same or better dmg/focus. More crits and also higher speed... The prone on crit is not really needed but who wants to complain about that. ;)

But dual wielding is also nice. Also helps with the casting speed because your weapon recovery is wy shorter and thus you can start to cast powers sooner after a weapon attack. It makes a difference.

Edited by Boeroer, 11 September 2017 - 06:15 AM.

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#10
dgray62

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Is it worth investing in weapon focus for a melee cipher? Ideally it would be nice to have it, but ciphers get so few talents, and as WF doesn't boost their powers, it seems like it would make more sense to debuff enemies with powers rather than boosting their weapon accuracy. Since MasterCipher doesn't recommend a WF, I take it that this would be a sound strategy, right?



#11
JerekKruger

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Is it worth investing in weapon focus for a melee cipher? Ideally it would be nice to have it, but ciphers get so few talents, and as WF doesn't boost their powers, it seems like it would make more sense to debuff enemies with powers rather than boosting their weapon accuracy. Since MasterCipher doesn't recommend a WF, I take it that this would be a sound strategy, right?

 

I always took a weapon focus. After all, to build focus to use powers you need to do damage, and to do damage you need to hit. That said, last time I played a Cipher Psychic Backlash was still utter garbage, whereas it's not bad these days apparently.


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#12
Lampros

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But yeah firebrand is hard to bypass in low levels


That's right. Even until the late game (when you get durgan steel) it's hard to beat. Because the cipher can disable the target easily most of the time he often deals crits. Crits with Firebrand (huge base damage + annihilation), Merciless Hand and Dungeon Delver lead to ridiculous focus bursts (and damage of course).

You can also crank it up with the follwing combo: Phantom Foes (causes flanked) + survial 12 (+20% damage against flanked) + similar item (+10% vs. flanked) and Appr. Sneak (+15% vs. flanked). This works very well with Firebrand's high base damage.

Later with durgan steel and good enchantments/lash Hours of St. Rumbalt will give you the same or better dmg/focus. More crits and also higher speed... The prone on crit is not really needed but who wants to complain about that. ;)

But dual wielding is also nice. Also helps with the casting speed because your weapon recovery is wy shorter and thus you can start to cast powers sooner after a weapon attack. It makes a difference.

 

 

Is it worth investing in weapon focus for a melee cipher? Ideally it would be nice to have it, but ciphers get so few talents, and as WF doesn't boost their powers, it seems like it would make more sense to debuff enemies with powers rather than boosting their weapon accuracy. Since MasterCipher doesn't recommend a WF, I take it that this would be a sound strategy, right?

 

Is Cipher actually doing a lot more DPS by casting Focus damage spells rather than auto-attacking - or enough to bother with the additional micro-management? I tried the spell casting route early with my Cipher, and I wasn't too impressed with the result. What spell combo would be good for a Cipher DPS? The same with a Wizard, I guess. Is a casting Wizard really capable of doing a lot more DPS than an auto-attacking version - assuming top-end weapons and Durgan enchants?



#13
JerekKruger

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Well if a mid-high level Wizard unloads his spells as fast as he can he'll do more damage than anything other than a Priest or a Druid doing the same. The sheer amount of high damage AoE spells you can dump in a short amount of time is huge. Of course you'll either have to rest afterwards, or be less aggressive with your casting.

 

Cipher's don't have the ability to front load they casting as much, and you're going to have to auto-attack some of the time. Personally I prefer to use my Cipher as a crowd controller (Whispers of Treason and Mental Binding are both great) and buffer/debuffer (Defensive Mindweb = everyone's a tank), although by max level you'll have most the Cipher powers so you can be flexible. That said yes, properly used Cipher spells will increase your damage substantially. Even spells like Mental Binding will raise your damage due to increased chance to hit and crit.

 

Honestly, if you don't intend to use the Cipher's powers I don't know why you'd even bring a Cipher. A Rogue or Ranger will be a better auto-attacker.


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#14
Lampros

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Well if a mid-high level Wizard unloads his spells as fast as he can he'll do more damage than anything other than a Priest or a Druid doing the same. The sheer amount of high damage AoE spells you can dump in a short amount of time is huge. Of course you'll either have to rest afterwards, or be less aggressive with your casting.

 

Cipher's don't have the ability to front load they casting as much, and you're going to have to auto-attack some of the time. Personally I prefer to use my Cipher as a crowd controller (Whispers of Treason and Mental Binding are both great) and buffer/debuffer (Defensive Mindweb = everyone's a tank), although by max level you'll have most the Cipher powers so you can be flexible. That said yes, properly used Cipher spells will increase your damage substantially. Even spells like Mental Binding will raise your damage due to increased chance to hit and crit.

 

Honestly, if you don't intend to use the Cipher's powers I don't know why you'd even bring a Cipher. A Rogue or Ranger will be a better auto-attacker.

 

Exactly my realization regarding your last paragraph: I figured just bringing a Ranger or a ranged Rogue might be better. In fact, a ranged Chanter probably will be best, since I assume a DPS ranged Chanter also spamming Dragon Thrashed will out-damage either a Ranger or a ranged Rogue.

 

Damn, I am a lazy son of a ... ;)

 

Edit: If you bring a Wizard, do you need a Cipher even for crowd control? Or vice versa? I noticed that carrying both means you have too much crowd control, as fights kept going on forever, when I left the AI on crowd control mode for both Wizard and Cipher. So I just put both on auto-attack and used the Wizard crowd control manually, as needed.


Edited by Lampros, 12 September 2017 - 03:45 PM.


#15
MasterCipher

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Wiz vs Cipher CC

Wizard is faster with DAoM, period. Wizard also gets AoE confusion , which is one of the best CC afflictions for preserving party health, and a ridiculously OP summon (for fodder purposes) that you can opt in for spell mastery. Wiz also get petrify. Cipher has superior accuracy, doesn't run out of spells, and generally deal more while CCing (SS and amplified wave). Counterpoint for Wiz is prismatic wall and ninagauth's iceball - wiz is limited by rests unless you camp/inn a lot. They are both superb at CC but I'd say Wiz has the edge.

 

Cipher sustainable DPS via abilities (beams, SS, detonate - cherry pick targets with lowest deflection/DR to build focus) is hard to match, especially if they don't have to juggle CC, which is why Maxquest has been known to keep 2 in his party. He also has a vid soloing Alpo gearless as a Cipher.

 

I've never used AI, but microing you can have both Wizard and Cipher. Wizard can crank out high burst DPS without having to build focus in between blasts.


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#16
dgray62

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One of the reasons I like ciphers is I like resting until the party's health is low. Wizards and druids are powerful, but once the party gets powerful, say, by level 9, I often find I have to rest just to restore the Vancian spellcasters' spells even though the party's health bars are all still green. I probably shouldn't let this bother me; there's certainly no shortage of camping supplies in the game. But I think I prefer the cipher way, i.e., start a battle with a low level CC power, attack a debilitated foe and build up focus, then use a high level power like silent scream or amplified wave, attack again, etc. If you do this correctly you don't lose much health, and can keep going for a long time without resting. It does take some micromanagement but I enjoy the routine. Obviously, you can always go with chanters, monks, etc. if you just want low maintenance mayhem.


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#17
firkraag888

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The cipher has access to powers that are arguably some of the most powerful in the game. For example: 

 

1. Whisper of treason is probably the most powerful ability any class has access to at level 1

2. The same can be said for mental binding at level 2

3. Amplified wave is a game changer. In my opinion in the top 5 most powerful spells in the game

4. Time Parasite

5. Defensive Mindweb


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#18
Lampros

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Wiz vs Cipher CC

Wizard is faster with DAoM, period. Wizard also gets AoE confusion , which is one of the best CC afflictions for preserving party health, and a ridiculously OP summon (for fodder purposes) that you can opt in for spell mastery. Wiz also get petrify. Cipher has superior accuracy, doesn't run out of spells, and generally deal more while CCing (SS and amplified wave). Counterpoint for Wiz is prismatic wall and ninagauth's iceball - wiz is limited by rests unless you camp/inn a lot. They are both superb at CC but I'd say Wiz has the edge.

 

Cipher sustainable DPS via abilities (beams, SS, detonate - cherry pick targets with lowest deflection/DR to build focus) is hard to match, especially if they don't have to juggle CC, which is why Maxquest has been known to keep 2 in his party. He also has a vid soloing Alpo gearless as a Cipher.

 

I've never used AI, but microing you can have both Wizard and Cipher. Wizard can crank out high burst DPS without having to build focus in between blasts.

 

I guess I found the Wizard better at crowd control (contrary to my original expectation), because being able to start the CC chain right away without having to build Focus was too convenient for me, as I am micro-averse. Also, there seems to be nothing as easy to use and almost universally relevant like Petrify from the Cipher arsenal. And having both seemed a bit redundant, as they seem to do similar things. So I'd like to get rid of either the Cipher or the Wizard, and get a pure ranged DPS guy in there - whether it's a Ranger, ranged Rogue, or ranged Chanter. And I think I will most likely drop the Cipher, as the Wizard seems easier to use and more effective for my playstyle.

 

 

One of the reasons I like ciphers is I like resting until the party's health is low. Wizards and druids are powerful, but once the party gets powerful, say, by level 9, I often find I have to rest just to restore the Vancian spellcasters' spells even though the party's health bars are all still green. I probably shouldn't let this bother me; there's certainly no shortage of camping supplies in the game. But I think I prefer the cipher way, i.e., start a battle with a low level CC power, attack a debilitated foe and build up focus, then use a high level power like silent scream or amplified wave, attack again, etc. If you do this correctly you don't lose much health, and can keep going for a long time without resting. It does take some micromanagement but I enjoy the routine. Obviously, you can always go with chanters, monks, etc. if you just want low maintenance mayhem.

 

Yup, we have a different play-style. I rest very frequently, because I don't feel psychologically safe until my health bar is 90 percent or above. So I need to blow my per rest spells anyways.

 

 

The cipher has access to powers that are arguably some of the most powerful in the game. For example: 

 

1. Whisper of treason is probably the most powerful ability any class has access to at level 1

2. The same can be said for mental binding at level 2

3. Amplified wave is a game changer. In my opinion in the top 5 most powerful spells in the game

4. Time Parasite

5. Defensive Mindweb

 

Yeah, at the very early level, I liked Cipher better, because 1) you could cast those spells very quickly, and 2) most of the Wizard early CC spells can cause friendly fire as well (as I said, I hate micro-managing! ;)). But once I got Confusion and other foe-only AoEs, then I started finding the Wizard spells far more convenient, since I didn't need to build up Focus.

 

Anyways, overall, Cipher was a bit of a disappointment - after hearing how OP the class was for a while. I guess I would have felt different if I could start with more Focus at the start of the fight. But then I guess that would indeed be OP.



#19
MasterCipher

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"Easy" Cipher, silly DPS, spec high MIG, decent PER, crit bonus gear, bonus damage vs flank gear, boots of speed, ranged weapon. Cast Ectopyschic Crush and circle behind. 50ish crush damage every second, AoE foe only, invokes 0.5s interrupts, for the low, low price of 30 focus, available at level 5, and you can move, attack, or use other abilities at the same time after you start the beam. Gets stronger when your chanter is level 9 with fire lash.

 

You can cast antipathic beam to boost the base damage of ecto by 20% and deals its own respectable damage and interrupts, but this requires more micro because this beam tethers to an enemy and can wreck your party.

 

I tried Wiz MC most of my damage was high volume, low hit compared to cipher getting a lot of 100+ hits with amplified thrust, SS, detonate.


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#20
Lampros

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"Easy" Cipher, silly DPS, spec high MIG, decent PER, crit bonus gear, bonus damage vs flank gear, boots of speed, ranged weapon. Cast Ectopyschic Crush and circle behind. 50ish crush damage every second, AoE foe only, invokes 0.5s interrupts, for the low, low price of 30 focus, available at level 5, and you can move, attack, or use other abilities at the same time after you start the beam. Gets stronger when your chanter is level 9 with fire lash.

 

You can cast antipathic beam to boost the base damage of ecto by 20% and deals its own respectable damage and interrupts, but this requires more micro because this beam tethers to an enemy and can wreck your party.

 

I tried Wiz MC most of my damage was high volume, low hit compared to cipher getting a lot of 100+ hits with amplified thrust, SS, detonate.

 

I see. I didn't use Ectopsychic Crush, and maybe I should've. I tried Antipathetic Beam, but it was difficult to use, and I gave up. Toward mid-game I stopped using any attacks that had friendly damage potential - except maybe Slicken on the Wizard.






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