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Everything posted by Alesia_BH

  1. Apologies for the confusion, Serg! Boeroer was partially correct. The "Deadline" should have been "Deadfire." The "Stranger" was intended, though. It was supposed to be a joke. I was just wondering whether you got around to running Grim Face through Deadfire and if so how it went. Best, A.
  2. Astarta, Moon Godlike Cipher (PotD Solo): Entry 2, Defiance Bay Sidequests In my last post I shared Astarta's talent picks. They were Galant's Focus and Fast Runner. Some of you may be thinking: Hey! Those aren't cipher picks. You're right. And that makes sense. Because Astarta isn't a cipher. What I mean is she doesn't fight like a cipher- at least not in Defiance Bay. My rogues, Astrid and Alia, were expert weapons wielders who rarely used weapons. Likewise, Astarta is a cipher who rarely uses cipher powers. In the early/mid-game, item charges and scrolls are so powerful that they crowd out swings of weapons and such. By the time you've summoned your shades, dropped your Touch of Rots, and called your beetles, there isn't much left to do, really. Whispers of Treason is nice, since it gives enemies a target in between summons, but that, too, can be cast via item. What's a cipher to do? Astarta decided to run with it. Why not? In the early mid-game, Astarta was basically Alia + Silver Tide. Even their base accs were virtually identical at 30 and 29, thanks to Galant's Focus. And Astarta had one more advantage over Alia beyond Silver Tide: she had a movement rate bonus via Fast Runner. So, yeah: proven strategy plus passive healing and a movement rate bonus? Astarta wasn't going to die here. She had a free pass to L7. First things first:the de rigueur fetch quest binge- Something Secret, Brave Derrin, Rogue Knight, At All Costs and Unwanted. We did Never Far from the Queen, too, using stealth and intimidation. We took Ring of Deflection and Fenwalkers for our Catacombs random loot items. Helig was our first fight. We were at L5. We didn't have the Rotfinger Gloves yet, but we had picked up the Obsidian Lamp, using Gloves of Manipulation + Fletcher's + Gjefa. We opened with the Obsidian Lamp. Helig is doomed. You can see that I've cast Psychovampiric Shield here. I did that mostly because I like the name. Ask me what I want for Christmas and I'll say "A Psychovampiric Shield, please!" I'd like to say that to an actual Santa: a mall Santa. Can you imagine? A grown woman sitting on a mall Santa's lap and asking for a Psychovampiric Shield? It would be great. I'd totally do it, except mall Santas are gross. Plus it's March. Anyhoo. As you probably guessed, the Psychovampiric Shield cast ended up being just as useless as a mall Santa. This room is big;they're slow; we're fast;we have a bow; they don't.But I'm glad I cast it nonetheless: the animation is neat, and it's always a good idea to test defensive spells in a safe environment. I'm pretty sure the shield was long gone when the vastly superior Mental Binding ended the fray. (Oh! That crit reminded me. We were rolling with Yenwood and Gaun's Share at this point, each wielded one handed. Why? They cover all three damage types; they're free; and they have defensive bonuses. We'll need to select our weapons with greater care soon, but we aren't there yet. For the super curious, Yenwood has a burning lash; Gaun's Share has corrosive and kith slaying.) After returning to Dalton, we picked up the Rotfinger Gloves and put down some thugs. Obsidian Lamp->Ring of Searing Flames->Rotfinger Gloves x 3->Whispers of Treason->Oaken Scarab. This battle was very simple. I've fought many just like it before. And yet it marked a turning point for me as a player. Something small happened that really changed my perspective. I guess I'll document the event first. We can go on to the navel gazing after that. The battle predictably wound down to one charmed thug and some allied beetles. These thugs regenerate, but with Silver Tide untriggered, her cipher powers at the ready, scrolls on hand and potions at her disposal there was no threat at all. And even in the worst of worst case scenarios, Astarta could have fallen back on her movement rate advantage. I wasn't worried in the least. I did get annoyed though. The beetles unsummoned, The thug engaged and when he did, interrupt became a problem. I knew this was a risk- Astarta does have a low Resolve, after all. But I hadn't prepared for that contingency. Those who know my BG play are aware that's very unlike me. We took more damage here than we needed to, more than I would have liked. That's when I started thinking. Since beginning PoE play I've been sort of coasting along, not analyzing, not studying- just picking up little tidbits here and there. I’ve been playing as if I already knew everything, like I’ve been with BG in recent years. But what I should be doing is playing like I played BG when I first started: as an active learner. I see why I fell into that trap. I’m not a gamer in general. I’m a BG player almost exclusively. And so I’m not accustomed to studying new games. I only did that once and that was years ago. But now it’s time for change. Now it’s time to turn my brain on. I think I’ll do that. Anyhoo. That was way longer than intended. The point is, I think I’m going to get better soon. Hooray for that! And hooray for dead xaurips! Seeking another level up, we backtracked to Guilded Vale. This is hardly worth discussing, but I kind of like this shot. The shades are targeting the priest, fyi. We finished with Mental Binding. Note the March Steel Dagger here. It’s fun to play with against low DR enemies. I’d sort of like to dual wield the Sword of Daenysis and the March Steel sometime. I don’t expect it to be great, but it could be fun in the early game We killed the bears next. We’ve charmed a young one. The shades are targeting the adult. Easy win. Ok. By now we had reached L6. We were ready for some caster battles. We started with Built to Last because Built to Last means Aru Brekker and Aru Brekker meant we could respecc. Here we can see the opening, along with food and drug buffs. The Arrow Trap was there because we still have two left over from the early game and they're actually kind of nice. 20-27, base. No acc penalty, only bonuses from Mech 4 up. That's a a solid free attack. We caught some debuffs here: hobbled and dazed. The durations were brief, but this annoyed me. I definitely intend to make the Ring of Unshackling a greater priority in future games. Dodwyna falls first, thank to triple Draining Freezes from the shades. Endgame. Have fun with that, Mr. Mercenary. How much did you get paid for this job? All Hands on Deck went smoothly. A few battle plan contingencies on display here. A charger, breaking off from the shades, catches a Whispers of Treason. We now keep Spirit Shields at the ready, having learned our less in Supply and Demand. By Two Story job I started to feel I had this battle plan down, with all contingencies in place. I don't expect drama or significant damage in fight like this going forward. Pre combat stats. We started working Deleterious Alacrity of Motion into the sequence here. Note the early Spirit Shield, taken due to positioning possibility of a charger peeling off and engaging. I don't expect to do that often, but it's something that should be available, if the situation demands. Crushed'em. We used Mental Binding in the closing. Speaker to the Restless was deployed as we built the requisite focus. Virtually no damage in this fight. With plenty of room to operate, we skipped the early Spirit Shield in The Parable of Wael. The shades are targetting Iben. Virtually no damage once again. In and of itself that doesn't matter: these are super-easy fights, even on PotD. But I can start to feel myself approaching battles with the same mindset I used in BG. I'm excited about that. It may not save Astarta, but it bodes well for runs to come. That's good. Best, A. Current Character Record and Inventory as we head off to Dyford. (Note the respec!)
  3. Astarta, Moon Godlike Cipher (PotD Solo): Entry 1, Caravan Camp to Caed Nua Three cheers for Caravan Camp! Oh how I love thee! There's beer and guns and fashionable clothes! What more could you need? Ok. So it's one beer. And that gun doesn't work. And those fashionable clothes were taken off a corpse. But, you know, we've all seen this place a zillion times and I'm desperate to make it interesting. So hooray for Caravan Camp! Hooray! Hooray! Hooray! (Quick shout out to Chateau Irenicus: You'll always be the first...) Ok! Here's how Astarta killed things: Antipathetic Field is anything but pathetic. It has an insanely high power ceiling for an L1 ability. There's one problem with it though: it'll kill your friends. Thankfully, Astarta doesn't have any friends. We did more of that: killing things with the death ray, that it. But we did not avoid the game's first badge of incompetence: the wound of shame on Heodan. I'm beginning to think that having Heodan run around, doing naught but take disengagement attacks is less than ideal... Moving on! It still sucks to be Heodan. These oozes usually target Calisca, in my experience, but apparently Heodan's injury made him the jucier target. The question now is: will he survive? And yes! We gave the poor boy a hunting bow so he could stay out of harms way. He got his soul ripped apart by a machine instead of being eaten by spiders. That's better, right? At L2 we took Galant Focus: Acc matters in the early game and we're going to respec. So: we've made it to Guilded Vale. Soloists and readers alike: You know the early game drill. We went Boots of Steath on the roof: 20th; Gloves of Manipulation in the bedroom: 2nd; Ring of Searing Flames: 2nd. We didn't stick around for the Ring of Unshackling on the 4th but I kind of wished we had. Dungeon dwellers were nixed with Eyestrike->fine quarterstaff. Fun was had by all. After leaving Raedric's we used stealth for The Smith's Shipment, followed by beer and chi-chat in Against the Grain. You know zen koans? Those bizarre sometimes contradictory questions with unexpected answers? Well I have on for you. Question: When is failure a success? Answer: Durance! Our next fight was the skifty little Late for Dinner throwdown. I continue to enjoy this fight. I think isn't because I get to use traps. After opening combat with a war bow shot, we faded and then called our new buddy: Mr Amazing. We should have opened with Mr Amazing instead of the bow. Next time. Used the death ray to melt the outlaw while the other A dropped the bandit. As Marylin Manson once said: We're all stars now in the dope show. Gotta love the team work in this battle, amirite? Quickly now. Stealth for Buried Secrets. We leveled up here and took Fast Runner. Summons juke for the main hall. You know what that means: Maerwald will speak with you now. You know the fine wand over by Galawain's Shrine? And do you remember how we took Fast Runner? 2 + 2 means we're going to win this fight. We worked in some fineries, though. Like blocking the door with Mr. A. And duping Maewald into killing his spirit bro. We even got off a gratuitous cast of a questionable pick: Psychovampric Shield. If you're all: Hey, why not Llengrath's? It comes in a freaking bottle! All I can say is we'll get to that later. Artful separation made this a breeze. Remember: It isn't cheesy when you're the one doing it. Pop goes the weasel. Ok! I'll be back with some Defiance Bay sidequests soon! Best, A. Btw, Astarta at L4, IIRC Skills: Athletics, 0; Lore, 2; Stealth,5; Mechanics, 3; Survival, 0 Powers: L1- Whispers of Treason, Eyestrike, Antipathetic Field; L2- Mental Binding, Phantom Foes, Psychovampiric Shield Talents: Galant's Focus, Fast Runner
  4. Alrighty then! Time to hop back on the no reload train! Toot-toot! Astarta, Moon Godlike Cipher (PotD Solo) Game Version: with White March I & II, Difficulty: Path of the Dammed, Settings: Maim Before Death: On; Injuries: On; Expert Mode: OFF, Mods: None Gaming Notes: Spoiler alert! I'm pretty sure I know how this run is going to end. Astarta is going to die. There's nothing wrong with her, mind you: I'm the problem. I've never completed the game with a solo cipher on any difficulty level, much less PotD. And I only have one PotD solo NR success thus far: my pale elf rogue, Alia. I considered a run on Normal or Hard, in the interest of giving Astarta a fighting chance, but after my experience with Alena, in which a normal run felt unsatisfying and the prospect of completing a follow up run on PotD sounded unfun, I've decided to run Astarta on PotD. So, yeah: Astarta's chances don't seem great to me. But that's ok. A run needn't end in victory to be fun, and that's what this is about in the end: Fun! Best of luck to our ill fated godlike! May her run end with dignity! Build Notes: I like Astarta. She works. Some would say her Might is too low and her Dex is too high. I've thought about that, and I think the girl is alright. Might is great, but in my limited experience with PoE solo no reloads, doing what you need to do when you need to do it seems to have a greater impact on survivability that damage output. And how much damage will she really loss? Speed matters there, too. Some calculations suggest this is a closer call than many assume. I'm content with the tradeoff here. What about her Perception? That may be an eyebrow raiser to some on PotD. But isn't accuracy the most readily modifiable stat in the game? And aren't ciphers great at lowering enemy defenses? An unremarkable Per score should work. We'll see how it goes!
  5. Yeah. It's an easy game, for the most part, but there are a few "gotchas." Once you're aware of the "gotchas" and have internalized the threat they pose, the adventure becomes much safer. Until then there are risks.
  6. Alena, Meadow Folk Priest of Wael (Solo)- FINAL UPDATE Sad news, everyone: Alena has fallen. It happened near the end of White March II, just before the kraken. Eyeless Ray of Fire is a significant threat to solo characters. For most of White March II Alena managed that risk well, using Second Chance->Shadowing Beyond (Nightshroud)->disengage + rest. By the last fight before the kraken, however, I had become over-casual. Eager to finish the quest, I attempted to heal Alena after her Second Chance had fired, rather than disengaging and resting. That proved to be a fatal mistake. Alena was sent prone by an Eyeless Kick and then hit with a second Eyeless Ray of Fire. This was the scene just before the prone took effect. Sad day I'm not sure what's next. I'm leaning toward running another priest, this time on PotD, but I'm also tempted to run try a different character. I'll let you know when I decide. Thanks to everyone who followed Alena's run! Best, A.
  7. Alena, Meadow Folk Priest of Wael (Solo)- Entry 9: Assorted Killings Ok! I just went through my screenshots. I'm positively daunted by the prospect on posting on every single battle in that folder so I'm going to take a little shortcut. After opening the White Forge Alena competed most, if not all, of the White March sidequests. She then returned to the Dyrwood and finished all of the Warden's Lodge bounties, followed by Cali and the Skydragon. Instead of covering each fight in detail, I'm going to cover one bounty and the sky dragon fight. I'll also share a Cali screenshot because I think it's pretty. In Alena's PotD run I'll make a point of keeping posts current with progress. I won't let myself become fall behind and become overwhelmed. For now, though, we are where we are: I want to resume playing and I don't want to spend hours posting old battles before I do. K? Great. Thanks. Sorry! Let's cover that bounty. I chose Daroth Grimault for this because it's the fight that best illustrates Alena's approach. Plus, the screenshots look cool, especially the last one. As Julius noted, I'm fond of food. I'm becoming fond of drugs, too. Blacsonn sees regular use. Svef makes the rotation pre-DAoM. Others are used as needed for resistances. In this case we took blacsonn and snowcap. Between the two we lost 2 dex points and 2 per points in exchange for +40 against charm. With that stacked a top the Rainment of Wael's Eyes bonus we would have been pretty safe, even if litany lapsed. Alena opened with shades and then started buffing. The shades fell before Alena was ready to fight, but Pillars of Faith bought her additional time. We're ready now. Time to make it rain. If you're thinking: "Dude! You were so over-levelled for that!" The answer is yes, absolutely. It was fun nonetheless. Fun for Alena, that is: Daroth disagrees. Veteran's Recovery took care of DAoM damage and grazes, keeping Alena at full endurance throughout the fray. Daroth falls. I think this screenshot is cool. Speaking of cool screenshots: Here's Alena full buffed with Cali proned by pillars. You can guess what happens next, right? The sky dragon fight was very similar to the Daroth encounter. First the shades. Then the buffs. Check the screenshot for the list. Next, Scroll of Paralysis. Followed by a whole lot of hurt. Fin! That was my cleanest dragon fight yet, solo or with a party. Yes, we were over leveled, but it was still satisfying. I've never killed a dragon in a solo no reload before. First are always cool! So that's that: Were finally ready for White March II! Best, A.
  8. Alena, Meadow Folk Priest of Wael (Solo)- Entry 8: White March I- Part 3 I remember the first time I competed White March I. It wasn't long ago. I was playing a full party and I struggled. I remember thinking that no reloading White March would be difficult and that soloing no reloading it would be nigh impossible. I didn't know what I was doing then: I was still a PoE novice. And yet the challenge of the White March seemed to transcend the temporary affliction of ignorance. It really did seem difficult. Since then time has passed. I completed White March I no reload with a party and with reloads solo. With Alena, I've now solo no reloaded it. It's not a grand accomplishment- I'm sure it's matter of course for many upon many a player. But I'm pleased to see that I'm making progress. I'm definitely getting better. Of the battles in Durgan's Battery there is one that stands out as a threat. It's the spirit ambush just prior to the White Forge. It's hard to maintain position. It's hard to avoid traps. It's hard to thwart disablers. It's hard to stay on your feet. Or so I thought. Happily, Alena did all of the above. And with surprising ease. First, an admission- one that may not matter to others but does matter to me. In preparation for this fight I experimented with a save from another run, testing alternate strategies. I've long been against the parallel save approach to no reload games. I've long felt that experimenting with specific battles -especially with a similar character in the midst of a run- is counter to the spirit of the challenge, which to my mind is to create a character and let her write her story, success or failure. No redemptions or second chances, as a friend of ours once said. Excessive experimentation can turn an adventure with twists and turns, ups and downs, into a previously solved puzzle. The thrill of a no reload isn't getting everything right: it's knowing that you can get things wrong, knowing that you can fail. You can't fail if you've already found all the answers. And so while I'm pleased to say that Alena has prevailed, the victory does feel hollow to me. And on that basis, I'm going to request that Alena not be considered for out Hall of Heroes- at least not for this run. She'll get a shot at that in her PotD run. Ok. With that out of the way, let's turn to the fight. The main threats here are wraiths, spectres and battery sirens. Wraiths abduct; Spectres stun; Battery sirens paralyze. All are dangerous, but wraith abduction is the greatest threat since it thwarts tactical positioning and introduces trap risk. Micropositioning matters, as does buff order. Here's the approach that worked for Alena. She triggered the encounter and then immediately -immediately- stopped moving. She then cast Major Litany ASAP. Why? When the battle begins the wraiths charge while the spectres and sirens deploy their disablers. Soon after the wraiths charge, they use abduction. If you don't move at all, they'll run just far enough to clear the traps before casting abduction. Like this: With Major Litany up, Alena's next move was to drop some shades. That helped relieve pressure. It's better to have four targets on the field than one. After being bounced around by the wraiths, Alena eventually found herself here, in a comparatively safe spot, with most of her foes engaging the shades. This may seem like a fortuitous outcome, but given the prior sequence of events its probable, according to my experiements. Having quaffed her DAoM potion, and with few enemies in sight, Alena was in a perfect position to buff. Acting quickly, she added in Minor Litany, Shield for the Faithful and Devotions for the Faithful. She then raced to the center of the battle field to draw her enemies around her. Once her foes had gathered she dropped pillars. Kaboom! With informed micropositioning and a judicious balance between defense and aggressiveness, this battle can be pretty safe. I'm not convinced that I can do it safely with other classes, but I'm moderately satisfied with my approach for priests. With the spirits dispelled, it was time for the semi-anticlimactic forge guardian battle. Honestly, I'm not sure what happened here. Do you see those paralysis effects? You may be thinking that Alena cleverly used a scroll. She didn't: the fragments did that to themselves. And with the fragments neutralized, Alena had no trouble taking he buffs, seen here in the screenshot. Alena next move was to eliminate the fragments with Pillars of Holy Fire. She then disabled the guardians with Pillars of Faith. And followed by unloaded freeze damage, using shades and Iconic Projection. Nightshroud ended it. The Forge is open. White March II is on the horizon. Best, A.
  9. Alena, Meadow Folk Priest of Wael (Solo)- Entry 7: White March I- Part 2 Now at Level 11, Alena was ready for the Battery. She met some lagufaeth along the way. She opened with Prayer Against Imprisonment. With Autopause: Enemy Sighted active, it isn't difficult to get the spell off in time. Prayer Against Imprisonment was followed by DAoM->Shields for the Faithful->Devotions for the Faithful->fish fry PoE players seem to loathe lagufaeth. I don't mind them, which is interesting -very, very interesting. Why? Because the lagufaeth are very much like kuo toans, and oh how I hate kuo toans. A moment ago I did a Google search for "Kuo Toan Baldur's Gate," operating under the assumption that I'd find links to post in which I've complained about kuo toans. I clicked on the images tab and was kind of surprised that there were only five such links on the first page of result. That's how much I hate kuo-toan: if you look them up on the internet you'll find me bitching about them. They never kill my characters, but they make me want to kill myself. My personal hell would find me trapped in an eternal video game fighting nothing but kuo toans for ever and evs. The lagufaeth don't bother me as much. I'm not sure why. They're miserable little fishy stinkers, but they don't get my goats. I'm oh so glad for that. Anyhoo. The fish are dead. Long live the fish. We fought another group, but I'll spare you the details on that. Instead we'll head into the battery. The Great Hall was uneventful- uneventful enough that I hardly took screenshots. And so we'll move on to the mines. After winning the opening battle, we used mechanics 12 to enter the workshop. The trolly-troll battle was fun. Alena parked in the doorway, called her summons and took her buffs and then went to work. I believe we used Shields + Devotions + Minor Litany + DAoM here, followed by pillars and beacons. Whispers of Treason feels especially valuable in chokepoint encounters. It's super-satisfying to turn that one source of enemy pressure into a valiant defender. Alena is a highly capable warrior now, but she still stealths through encounters from time to time. Thankfully the defenders weren't tipped off by the gleaming space pig. Alena's objective at this stage wasn't the foundry so much as Nightshroud. Her intention was to recover Nightshroud, level it up, and then level herself up one more time before taking on the Battery's final battles. This may not have been necessary, but since I've only soloed the Battery once before, it felt like a sensible precaution. We finished off the Nightshroud defenders... and then returned to the Dyrwood to drop pillars on skuldrs. We needed to blind 13 enemies and skuldrs have eyes. Once we got Nightshroud to level 4, we put it to use in The New King and the Old Queen. I'm confident Alena could have fought this battle, but I enjoyed Alia's method, so I decided to do that again. Alena would have preferred to stand and fight, but she's saddled with unheroic me, so that didn't happen. Maybe she'll get her way next time. I do owe her one. By the end of The New King and the Old Queen Alena was one quest away from a level up. Since the Burial Isle was close, we swung by there. With spectres and cean gwlas on the field, Alena opened with Major Litany. She then filled in the rest of her buffs, followed by Salvation of TIme: Salvation of Time ended up being utterly unnecessary: the spirts blew up super quick. One moment Alena was surrounded, the next she wasn't. It's good to be a priest. We'll finish up the Battery next. Best, A.
  10. Thanks, Serg! I'm still not convinced that I have priest play down, but I'm getting there. The bounties where were the approach started coming together. Best, A.
  11. Alena, Meadow Folk Priest of Wael (Solo)- Entry 6- Dyrwood Bounties After opening the Battery, Alena returned to the Dyrwood to pick up some extra experience, seeking L11 and the oh-so-important Major Litany. She used the bounties for this. Fortunately, I took a lot of screenshots here, so these battles nicely demonstrate Alena's late-mid game battle plan. It basically goes like this: Step 1: Approach cautiously, initiate combat from as far away as possible. (This isn't a particularly good example, but you get the idea) Step 2: Deploy summons to draw aggro. Initiate buffing. Use Whispers of Treason on any enemies who pass the summons. Step 3: Complete buffing. Alena's standard buffs list at L10 was: DAoM + Shields for the Faithful + Minor Litany + Devotions for the Faithful + Champion's Boon. She deployed variations on this theme, depending on needs. Llengrath's was substituted for Shields for the Faithful when reflex was needed. Salvation of Time was added if a long battle was expected. Dire Blessing was added, time permitting. Prayer Against Imprisonment was added if paralyzation or petrification were threats. Upon reaching L11, Crowns for the Faithful and Major Litany were added, Prayer Against Imprisonment saw less use. At L13, Minor Avatar replaced Champion's Boon Step 4. Go nuclear. A full buffed high level priest wearing light armor and running DaoM is reminiscent of a Vecna + AoP clad mage under Improved Alacrity. And so by the time the last buff is cast I'm all: https://youtu.be/3wxyN3z9PL4?t=63 And the battlefield starts to look like this. Followed soon after by this: The other bounties went the more-or-less the same way. Alena kept her enemies distracted with summons and charms while layering on her buffs... And then dropped bombs until space pig was full of flaming critic chunks (Btw, that's what space pigs eat: flaming crit chunks. Now you know.) Yuppers. That's how that happened: L11 reached, Major Litany attained. We're now ready to enter the Battery! Best, A.
  12. Alena, Meadow Folk Priest of Wael (Solo)- Build Interlude Coverage of Alena's run has been spotty at best. Sorry about that! I've been especially lax in covering build choices. I'll try to be more proactive about that in future runs, since PoE players seem to be really, really into builds. Anyhoo, here's Alena. She works and I like her, but I see some avenues for improvement in her next iteration. Skills: Stealth 10, Athletics 3, Lore 10, Mechanics 9, Survival 2 Talents: Interdiction, Painful Interdiction, Deep Pockets, Weapon and Shield Style, Scion of Flame, Incomprehensible Revelation, Veteran's Recovery, Fast Runner Alena's skill points weren't planned in advance. Rather, choices were made based on her needs at particular stages of the adventure. That approach can makes sense in no reload play, since endgame power is of no significance If you can't survive to the endgame. Alena's talents reflect a balance between offensive needs and defensive needs. On PotD, she would have looked different, since ACC bonuses would be a greater priority. Alena's last talents, Veteran's Recovery and Fast Runner, were taken as an experiment to see if they'd significantly enhance survivability. The jury is still out on both, but passive healing and speed are never useless. I'm not dissatisfied with either. Let's move onto items, shall we? Alena doesn't have a fixed item set. She has a wardrobe: a collection of items suited to different occasions. Take her armor slot, for example. She prefers Raiment of Wael's Eyes in honor of her god, but she'll go with something else if the situation calls for it. She takes the same approach with her weapon slots. Nightshroud is her go-to because she rarely uses her weapons and Shadowing Beyond is too useful to ignore. It also goes with the Wael theme. In Alena's upcoming PotD run I may have her use Raiment of Wael's Eyes + Shimmering Cloak + Nightshroud in the interest of stylistic cohesion. That sounds fun to me. Ok! That's enough about that. We'll continue with the White March soon! Best, A.
  13. Thanks, Serg! As a solo character, Second Chance is a nice insurance policy. There are a number of threats that can one hit nix a PC. Second Chance gives you, well, a second chance. Second Chance is especially useful for traps. The reason I was asking is that Freezing Pillar traps do massive damage but also have a stationary AoE. It's likely possible to be hit by one, go down, get up, and then get taken down again. A third chance could be helpful, since it would increase your probability of exiting the AoE.
  14. Alena, Meadow Folk Priest of Wael (Solo)- Entry 5: White March- Part 1 Astrid's run was fun. Alia's was great. I had a good time with both- I learned a lot from both. Their runs were, however, brief: my rogues did very few sidequests- instead focusing on the goal of defeating Thaos. With Alena, my intent is to see and complete additional content- hopefully everything, more or less. That's exciting, but also frightening. I've only soloed White March I once. I've never soloed White March II. That's scary. Despite my fears, Alena did great, at least in White March I. Priests are very well suited to claiming the Battery. Our first trip to Stalwart happened some time ago, before our final quests in Twin Elms. We swung by to claim the Ring of Changing Heart and then headed back to the Dyrwood. Alena was at level 10, I believe. Against Darzir, Alena focused on positioning and distraction. She used summons and charms to keep her enemies at a distance. Alia Braccia, Aru Brekker and Llengrath's potions were used to mitigate canoneer risk. Disablers, noticeably Pillars of Faith, were put in play, too. By now I felt like I was getting the hang of playing a priest. In retrospect I was wrong. I mean, I still -still- keep forgetting to use Interdiction. This battle is virtually over and it's still there, waiting to be clicked. No matter: Darzir is dead and that's what counts. The Ogre Matron was completed with stealth and mechanics. Having taken Artificer Hall and Gjefa bonuses for the traps, Alena's stealth score was a bit lower than I would have liked. She made it through nonetheless. The next time I come through here I may try Hedge Maze + Iqali and Rymgrand's Mantle, wearing the Ring of Wonder in case the traps behaves unexpectedly. (Btw, what happens if you wear two second chance items? Do you get three chances or do both of them trigger on the first knockout? Asking for a friend.) After reaching an agreement with the Matron, we went straight to Galvino's place. We wanted to make as much progress as we could before losing our Artificer Hall and Gjefa bonuses. In my first solo run of the White March, I tried stealthing this. That didn't work out as well as I hoped: it led to reloads. Having learnt my lesson, Alena fought her way through. We did this slowly, systematically with frequent rests. In future runs I hope to rest lest frequently here. I won't comment on every fight. I'll just share a representative battle. Here we see Alena at a choke point, disabling her foes with Pillars of Faith. She's running Shields for the Faithful, Devotions for the Faithful and DAoM. Iconic Projections take down the constructs while our beetle prepares to intercept an unstable construct. In my first solo attempt of Galvino's Workshop I suffered a reload to those things: the AoE on their explosions was larger than I had thought. Alena was more careful. Finished with Divine Marks It felt good to finish Galvino's. It's not terribly difficult. If you know it well I'm sure it's a breeze. But there are ways to die here and I've only passed through this place a couple times. Happily, Alena succeeded. Durgan's Battery is next. Best, A
  15. Alena, Meadow Folk Priest of Wael (Solo)- Entry 4: Twin Elms- Part 1 PoE priests are a bit like BG mages. In the early game they're competent but fragile; in the late game they're immensely powerful. Upon arriving in Twin Elms, Alena was on the verge of reaching phase 2 of her development. Playing it safe, she navigated Twin Elms with minimal combat. As you will soon see... First, the Leaden Key ambush. As per usual, we used summons to draw aggro and then unloaded our damage spells, relying on Shining Beacon and Iconic Projection in this case. Note that Alena's Interdiction is undeployed. There's no excuse for that. I just get lazy sometimes. Shades finished the mage. Iconic Projections and Divine Marks took care of the rest. After trading a letter for a shield, getting a merchant killed and poisoning some kid's father (The Sealed Missive, Hard Bargain, Sacrifical Bloodlines) Alena made her way to Teir Evron. She talked to all four god groups, fully intending to complete all four quest. She did Nest Above the Clouds peacefully and then did Into the White Void using stealth. A Servant of Death and The Old King and the New Queen were saved for later. Hunter Brother was next, followed by At the Mercy of the Tribes. Since stelgaers are dangerous, we summon juked the crew over by the giant carcass. And then, taking a tip from Serg, we completed At the Mercy of the Tribes peacefully, using Resolve 17. Alena's base Resolve is pretty low at 6, but she just made it. What a coincidence, huh? The keen eyed among you may have noticed the Ring of Changing Heart and thought: Has Alena even gone to the White March, how'd that happen? Well, the answer is, yes: Alena had gone to White March for that ring exactly. I just decided to include the Darzzir fight in an upcoming White March post. Speaking of which: Guess what's next? The White March. Finally some serious combat! Best, A.
  16. Thanks, Serg! (And for the record, Alena is a Waelite, through and through. She'd be thrilled to cast spells with different damage types. Priest book needs more of those.)
  17. Alena, Meadow Folk Priest of Wael (Solo)- Entry 3: Defiance Bay and Dyrford Storyline Quests Ok! Alena's posts are now, way, way, way behind her progress. And since we have a lot of super-cool stuff ahead, I'm going to rush through the pre-Twin Elms content. But before I do that, I'd like to preview some of Alena's recent achievements. Like lighting the forge. Hosting an ogre roast. Crushing bounty after bounty with no damage at all. And, yes, dropping a dragon, albeit an easy one. The point is that Alena is all grown up now and she's well on her way to a semi-completionist NR. Who knows? Maybe she'll get a chance at an Ultimate soon? We'll just have to see. But first: we need to catch up. And that brings us too... The Man Who Waits. This was easier than I expected. We dropped our shades and faded into Uscrim's cell. We then moved onto Shinning Beacons followed by Iconic Projections. We finished with Divine Marks. Some of you may have noticed a dearth of buffs and debuffs, in this fight and others. Have I been remiss in not mentioning them? Noppers. Alena didn't use them in the early game. They weren't needed. Perks of playing on normal, I guess. Interdictions and prone via Pillar of Faith were more than enough. Over kill, in fact. Moving on to Undying Heritage... Emulating Astrid, Alena stealthed through this quest. She fought one minor battle in the tower but that was it. On PotD this quest will look different: stealthing sans Shadowing Beyond isn't feasible there. On normal, Alena got a free ride. We'll take it. Onto Dyrford. Do you remember when I said I'd like to do an online marketing campaign for Dyrford, complete with jingly commercial? Well I've come up with the first few lines of the song. They're really stupid and that's why I love them. They go: It's a little town with Skaenites! And the spiders really bite! There's an ogre who really likes to eat pigs. And a grieving mother in a garden digs. That amuses me way, way more than it should. Please do submit more lines for consideration, everyone! K. Back to the action... In Through Death's Gate Alena used Alia's modified stealth method: starting with mechanics 8, pulling and killing the sporelings, and then picking the lock on the final door. That worked great. It will not I repeat -not- work on PotD. There's no way to stealth through this room on PotD. A summons juke may be possible, but I think we'll actually fight the druids next time. Something to look forward to! The sporelings were pulled and killed. Alena had the luxury of using her book rather than scrolls. Shades->Iconic Projections->Shining Beacon We pulled all the sporelings this time -as in every single one. That made exiting easier than usual. I liked it. Just one more fight. Whispers of Treason + Animat + Gyrd did the trick. After that, we unlocked the door (Gloves of Manipulation + Aritificer Hall + Gjefa) and slipped on out. We're off to Twin Elms. Best, A.
  18. Alena, Meadow Folk Priest of Wael (Solo)- Entry 2: Defiance Bay and Dyrford Sidequests Alena and I are an odd pair. She's an overachiever; I'm not. To illustrate: over the last 24 hourds Alena has conquered many upon many foes, making a name for herself across the Dyrwood and beyond. I, in contrast, haven't even gotten around to posting on her progress. If you imagine she's getting frustrated with me, you're right. She thinks her adventure deserves better coverage. She has a point. Sadly, I have by now forgotten many of the details of Alena's early adventures, and so coverage will be disappointingly sparse. Apologies, Alena: I promise I'll do better on your PotD run. Anyhoo. Defiance Bay! Alena's early item goals were: 1) Oaken Scarab; 2) Obsidian Lamp; 3) Rotfinger Gloves; 4) Munacra Arret. Does that sound familiar? It should. Astrid and Alia did the same thing. Alena, as a priest, had more options available to her, but that 4 item combo is too good to pass up. I'm pretty sure very nearly any character of any class can make it to Twin Elms using stealth and those items. Someday I'll restrict them. Today is not that day. At this point Alena found herself in a bit of a Catch 22. To get experience, she needed the Obsidian Lamp. But to get the Obsidian Lamp, she needed Mechanics 7, which required experience. The solution? You guessed it: Fetch quests! Something Secret, At All Costs and Rogue Knight got her close to her goal. Never Far from the Queen, which was completed with stealth, took her the rest of the way. Her first fight was with Helig. That went well. She opened with beetles and then dropped a Pillar of Faith on Helig. That was effectively check mate: it killed Helig and knocked his undead on their tuckuses. Pillar of Faith is one of those rare low level spells that's useable at any level. The damage may be middling but that long, long duration AoE prone is skiddly-diddly. We did Supply and Demand next. Oaken Scarab->Pillar of Faith->Iconic Projection(s). Having leveled up and reached base Mechanics 3, Alena headed north to Guilded Vale, seeking the Gloves of Manipulation. It was nice to be able to kill these people for once: While in town Alena finished the remaining Guilded Vale quests: Buried Secrets and A Mother's Plea. With a base score of 3 and the Gloves of Manipulation, Alena was ready to claim the Obsidian Lamp. Base + Gloves of Manipulation + Fletcher's Stay + Gjefa yields 3 + 2 +1 + 1 =7. The shades saw their first use in His Old Self. They did great- nearly killing Nyrid on their own (don't let the piddling damage in the screenshot fool you). IIRC, we used Iconic Projections and Pillars of Faith here almost exclusively. Fortunately, we had one pillar left over for the final mercenary. Note that we targeted our beetle instead of our enemy: sometimes prone is better than damage. In All Hands On Deck Alena fought much like Astrid and Alia: Figurine->Touch of Rot X 3->Whispers of Treason->Figurine->finish stragglers. The only real distinction was in the final phase: Alena used Divine Marks where Astrid and Alia used finishing blows. Ditto Built to Last. And A Two Story Job We shelved the Rotfinger Gloves in favor of priest spells in the Parable of Wael. Most of the damage was done by Iconic Projections cast from behind the beetles. Pillars and Divine Marks were used to finish. Here Alena's path diverged from that of her rogue predecessors. While the rogues completed all of the Defiance Bay quests before leaving for Dyrford, Alena went to Dyrford before The Man Who Waits and Undying Heritage. What was the logic here? While the rogues had been able to complete The Man Who Waits and Undying Heritage with stealth alone, Alena would need to fight. In light of that, she sought additional experience. By now the Rotfinger gloves were seeing less and less use. Alena passed on them in Cat and Mouse. But she did bring them back for Nest Egg. I think -think- they saw their last use in Changing of the Guard. In any case, Alena was by now approaching level 7. Blood Legacy would get her there. By level 6 Alena had a base mechanics score of 4, allowing her to open the door to the sacrifice chamber with Gloves of Manipulation + Fletcher's Stay + Gjefa's Boon. What she lacked, however, was the stealth score to make it to the final chamber. Exiting and taking Hedge Maze + Iqali's Boon would have let her stealth through, but she chose instead to fight the final crew. Happily, they were pushovers. The shades took down the skaen mindbreaker with ranged attacks alone. Iconic Projections, Pillars of Faith and Shinning Beacons did the rest of the work. After a quick trip to the lighthouse... Alena was ready for the story line battles. I'll post on those soon. Best, A. NW: Apologies for the lack of build details. I had rushed through this section of the game and hadn't taken notes. To my recollection, her first three talents were Interdiction, Painful Interdiction and Deep Pockets in that order. She took mechanics 4 and put the rest of her skill points in stealth. Anyhoo, you will see her final build soon. Spoiler Alert: She's currently ~400XP point from L16!
  19. Alena, Meadow Folk Priest of Wael (Solo)- Entry 1: Caravan Camp to Caed Nua Rumor has it that the early game is hard for priests. Alena disagrees. Alena says she's just as capable of any character: she just has to do things differently. I think she's right. Alena handled the early game much like her rogue predecessors. The only difference was in the order of her actions, with that order being largely determined by her initial skill point allotment. Let's take the item raid on Raedric Hold as an early example. Safely navigating the Hold and recovering the Gloves of Manipulation requires stealth 5 and mechanics 4, with the 4th mechanics point available through Laborer's Rest at The Black Hound. That combination, stealth 5 and mechanics 4, is not available to a priest until level 4. And that meant Alena had to take a different approach. She entered the Hold on the 20th at Level 3, with stealth 5 and mechanics 2 + 1 (Laborer's Rest). That allowed her to retrieve the Boots of Stealth, but not -not- the Gloves of Manipulation. That's ok, though: because Boots of Stealth would get her to L4 and thus Act II. How? I'm glad you asked... Stealth let Alena complete the Smith's Shipment. That was followed by Ferry Flotsam- a quest that Alena, as a priest, handled better than her rogue predecessors. Opening arbalest shot->Interdiction Divine Marks On PotD, this might be different. On PotD, that Interdiction might be an Inspiring Radiance. Whatever. The point is that Alena did great. I'm happy for her and she's happy, too. Do you know what made Alena even happier? Reaching the oh-so crucial milestone of 5K coppers. Because 5K coppers buys you an animat. And an animat is a ticket to leisurely completion of act 1. Great, huh? But some of you may be thinking: "Wait, wait: back up. How did she get 5k coppers?" Ok, well, selling Gaun's Pledge to Heodan was a good start. Then there were the random fine weapons strewn about, collected thanks to those shiny new boots. But you know what took her over the top? A robe and a quarterstaff. I'm 100% against killing NPCs to sell their gear. But I'm also 100% for killing Durance on general principle. In this run, the latter trumped the former. You know how Pallegina is cool and nice but creepily sadistic toward Verzano? That's how I am with Durance. Every character biography should read: Alena was just doing her part. Anyhoo... After completing Ferry Flotsam, Late for Dinner and Against the Grain, Alena was one quest shy of L4. Buried Secrets requires mechanics 4 + stealth, so that was out. Alena went with Vengeance from the Gravee. That was safe thanks to her animat buddy. PotD would require a different solution. Don't ask me what that is: I haven't decided yet. Having attained L4, it was time to head to Caed Nua. On normal, stealth alone will get you to Maerwald. Just let the steward open the door and slip back into stealth. Hooray for easy! Speaking of easy: Mr. Amazing the Animat made the Maerwald encounter that exactly. Shoutout to the cray-cray watcher himself for the assist on the blights. Flame blights do hate Chill Fog, and we couldn't have cast it with out you, Maerwald. Thanks! Finished with some Fan of Flames scrolls. And just like that our priest has made it to Defiance Bay. I'll post on the Bay soon. Best, A.
  20. Ok, everyone! It's time to introduce my new character. Meet Alena Alena, Meadow Folk Priest of Wael (Solo) Game Version: with White March I & II, Difficulty: Normal, Settings: Maim Before Death: On; Injuries: On; Expert Mode: OFF, Mods: None Gaming Notes: After completing no reloads on normal and PotD with a rogue, I've decided to move onto a different class. I chose a priest because priests seem to have the highest ceiling of all PoE characters and I would like to take on some off-questline challenges. The plan is to complete a run on normal and then move onto PotD, as I did with my rogues. We'll see how that goes. Early results are encouraging, I must say: priests rock! (@Serg_BlackStrider. These stats are for a normal PoE run specifically. On PotD, with the intent of moving onto Deadfire, I'd up Per)
  21. Alia, Pale Elf Rogue (PotD Solo)- Entry 6: Thaos! So: we've made it to Thaos. It's time for a throwdown. First, though, we should review Alia's build. . Skills: Stealth: 11, Athletics: 3, Lore: 2, Mechanics: 5, Survival: 2 Abilities: (1) Blinding Strike (3) Reckless Assault (5) Finishing Blow (7) Dirty Fighting (9) Fearsome Strike (11) Deathblows Talents: (2) Weapon Focus: Knight (4) Shadowing Beyond (6) Deep Pockets (8) Weapon Focus: Adventurer (10) Two Weapon Style Boons: Hylea’s Boon, Dungeon Delver And her inventory. Every item has a purpose. One choice, the Torc of the Falcon Eyes, is obviously sub-optimal, but 1 Per point wasn't worth the trouble of fighting the lighthouse spirits. In future fights, I'll likely change the glove slot: the Rotfinger gloves weren't used at all. I'm happy with everything else, although I remain undecided on the We Toki + Starcaller, Two Handed Style + Adventurer versus We Toki, One Handed Style + Vicious Fighting issue. I'm leaning towards the latter these days, although Alia did ok with the former. The plan is to use We Toki + Starcaller, both with vessel slaying, against the judge and headsman. Sheathed in Autumn, with kith slayer + freezing lash, is for Thaos. As for the other items: The Hermit Hat is for Thaos's confusion spells; Heldrik's Coat, for the Judge's prone on hit; the Ring of Unshackling is for Cleansing Flame; the Boots of Speed, for spell evasion and potion quaffing; the Blunting Belt is great because hooray for DR; the Ring of Wonder is there because everyone makes mistakes. Our camping bonus is accuracy v vessel. The Rugged Wilderness Hat got us to Survival 4. Ok. Let's get this party started! This is Thaos. I have it on good authority that he wears his grandmother's dirty underpants. We opened with Shadowing Beyond and then raced west. Our next objective was to apply DoAM and War Paint before engaging. We really, really, really want to get this turkey stunned or on his keist before he can cast Devotions for the Faithful. Devotions for the Faithful slows everything down. We started out well on that front. But then we failed to keep him locked, due to a dirth of criticals. At this point, I was wishing I had gone One Handed + Vicious. It's all good though: Woedica's Judge falls. Despite an early blindness, we had trouble landing stun or prone. That Shining Beacon cast made us run. Happily, we successfully evaded. That's better! Two down. Time to finish this. The sketchy part was evading Cleansing Flame. The beetles were plan A; the Ring of Unshackling, plan B. Plan A worked. Next, we stalled awaiting the expiry of Shields for the Faithful. Note that we've switched to Sheathed in Autumn. Once Shield for the Faithful expired, we engaged. From here on out we chipped away while evading spells. We made steady progress, but we didn't always evade as well as we could have. I need to get better at that. Happily, Alia had enough healing on hand to compensate for my ineptitude. And done! Say hello to my first PotD solo no reloader, everyone! Hooray! What's next? Honestly, I'm inclined to run another rogue. This time I'd like to work in some bounties, some White March content and some Endless Paths. I'll let you know when I'm ready to go ahead with that. For now, let's celebrate Alia's victory. You go girl! Pale elves forever! Best, A.
  22. Alia, Pale Elf Rogue (PotD Solo)- Entry 5: The Burial Isle Alia's passage to Thaos was more eventful than Astrid's. Fortunately, the precautionary measures that I put into place but hadn't tested worked splendidly. Alia was revealed at an in opportune time, but she survived. The stroll to the The Pit went smoothly. Surprisingly, it's possible to get through all this without using Shadowing Beyond. Things got interesting in a bad way shortly after the descent. This spirit encounter is always nerve wracking. Like Astrid, Alia initiated combat by revealing herself to a spirit that lacked a disabling weapon. She then raced for the door, wearing Blaidh Golan, Rymgrand's and the Hermit Hat, while running Farmer's Spread and Casita Casserole. The logic here being that we want to maximize our survivability in the event of an untimely reveal while also minimizing the likelihood of a reveal through movement rate and intelligence. It's a good plan. Unfortunately, there is a chance element at play here. If the pursuing spirits bunch up in the wrong way, the path to the exit can be partially blocked, impeding progress. That delay can lead to an untimely reveal. Like this: Blaidh Golan and Rymgrand's Mantle to the rescue. Alia emerged virtually unscathed, although she did end up pulling two animats, leading to this scene: Onto the drakes. The first one was and is easy. It would be pretty hard to lose a character here. Trigger the encounter out of stealth. Activate Shadowing Beyond ASAP, run east with max movement rate, using Farmer's Spread and a rest bonus, and max intelligence, using the Hermit Hat and Casita Casserole. It couldn't be simpler. Just don't wear Shod in Faith! No Shod in Faith! See that crit from a fear effect? If Alia had been wearing Shod in Faith, Consecrated Ground would have triggered and she would have been revealed. Shod in Faith is great, except when it isn't and when it isn't it's really, really bad. I was a bit nervous about the second drake encounter since my first PotD solo no reload attempt ended here. I had delayed activating Shadowing Beyond slightly, and that caused the drake to be pulled slightly east, blocking the exit. That needn't have been fatal, but I neglected to hedge against the possibility of fighting the drake, thus my character lacked Prayer Against Fear and Bulwarks. Happily, Alia was ready. She executed stealth perfectly and she was prepped to fight if it came to that. Fortunately, it didn't. See that notification about Wael fighting shades? That means we're good: the path is clear. Thaos remains. Best, A.
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