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I picked up where my character last left off, which was as a melee Cipher in PoE1.

 

My one change in PoE2 has been to change her from a Cipher to a Fighter/Cipher...mainly because I played her as a melee Cipher who swung a big sword around. The Fighter tools are great and I use them constantly, but the Cipher spells seem to be lacking despite being the same as their PoE1 counterparts. The big thing I did in PoE1 was utilize the Crowd Control aspects to Paralyze and Charm enemies until I learned Amplified Wave. At the moment in PoE2 I am an 17th level PsyBlade and none of those spells seem worth the time to cast them. Enemies blow up incredibly fast, and have been doing so since I got about 6-7th level (could be a combination of getting used to the new combat mechanics and general player strength).

 

I should admit that for Cipher I did go Soul Blade, so my Focus pretty much always gets spent on Soul Annihilation hits (which consistently does stupid amounts of damage). With my Greatsword, I typically let the party do what they want (unless a tough enemy set) and just have my main character charge into a swarm of enemies and AoE them down with Cleaving hits.

 

So my question to the community is...are Cipher's garbage? And if so, is Soul Annihilation the single ability that pulls the class up?

 

 

Also, I should note I am playing on Normal right now, but my next playthrough will be on Expert. So I am debating changing the character to a Fighter/Wizard as opposed to a Fighter/Cipher. Honestly I really like the Fighter skills and am super glad I made Eder a Fighter/Rogue because he is my 2nd most useful attacker while being near impossible to take down.

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Time Parasite, Amplified Wave, Ring Leader are the three best Cipher spells imo. Time Parasite requires you to be a single class Cipher, and any martial multiclass will probably end up spamming Soul Annihilation.

 

Low level Ciphers are pretty garbage, but Soul Blade is a great multiclass. Time Parasite Ascendant shenanigans at high level are no joke.

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Ciphers have some real problems.

 

Multiclass-with-physical-damage-class ciphers are pretty universally solid because you can use the melee or ranger/rogue side to build focus first then splurge with your other powers.

 

Past that, ciphers have some real strengths, especially in very long fights where they can be the only source of long term casting support after everyone else has spammed all their abilities.

 

The real problems are

 

1) most of the Cipher CC powers are relatively weak, short duration, or outmoded by wizard or other-class powers, which is especially a problem since Wizards can switch grimoires but Ciphers cannot. 

 

2) A number of formerly gold-star powers like Mental Binding, Defensive Mindweb, etc., got hit with the nerf bat in a BIG way in deadfire, partly due to the shift to the affliction system (paralyze isn't nearly as a strong a debuff as it was before) but partly for reasons that don't seem explicable (Mental Binding has a six second duration but a cast and recovery time of 3 and 3 seconds respectively -- you're only paralyzing the enemy for the same length of time you're paralyzing yourself, then you need to go get focus to do it again!) 

 

3) A lot of the late game cipher powers seem to be first-draft abilities that either don't work, aren't useful as implemented, or are inferior to other powers other classes have. For example, Haunting Chains, a ninth level Cipher power, is outright worse than the fifth level Wizard spell Ryngrim's enervating Terror -- plus the Wizard spell is an AoE while the Cipher power is single-target! "Ancestor's Honor" gives players an Empower point but doesn't change how many Empower points a character can use per fight -- it's still just one -- so functionally it's just "free camping supplies, the eighth level power slot.". 

 

 

There are some other problems too -- Ciphers can't take Gunner or Marksman; Everyone else moved to per-encounter so the focus mechanic sets them behind now (except in very long fights), etc. The big thing though is they just need a general review pass on their powers. They got one in beta -- it was MUCH worse in beta -- but they need another. 

 

Basically beta ciphers were close to unplayable, now they're "ehhh, not as good as other classes but still have a niche." I enjoy playing my cipher but there are a lot of trap options you need to avoid. I suspect players unhappy with the class screwed up and picked some of those trap options (many of which, like Mental Binding, were excellent choices in the first game).

Edited by Dr. Hieronymous Alloy
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I'll say this, I've been using Body Attunement pretty regularly, as in multiple times every fight.

 

Yeah Body Attunement is really good for mid-game combat where you don't reliably crit enough to get through 12+ armor rating like the Steel golem. The beam is also good for dealing with those too because it is reflex-based and deal great damage in the early game.

 

And Pain block is still a very good spell because of how armor damage reduction work. Even squishies turn into a tank at a press of a button.

 

I would say Cipher is solid as an offensive-utility char with good CC, good damage and good buffs. It just so happens that they do have too many trash spells people will pick up on the 1st playthrough thinking it's good because of their experience with PoE 1.

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I'll say this, I've been using Body Attunement pretty regularly, as in multiple times every fight.

 

 

Yeah, Body Attunement and Pain Block are probably the the current class staples. They're both very solid powers. Of course, Druids can give the same Robust inspiration that Pain Block gives, except as a Level 3 cast instead of a level 4 one . . .and the druid spell is an AoE.

 

The real advantage of Attunement is that it stacks with Hel-Hyraf's and with Expose vulnerabilities; the real advantage of Pain Block is that it can be cast on a target a decent ways away, quickly, and you can keep casting it repeatedly over a long fight. 

 

CIpher isn't bad they just have a very narrow niche right now and are a lot more limited than they need to be. A lot of limitations that made sense in the first game don't really make sense in the second but are still in place anyway. 

Edited by Dr. Hieronymous Alloy
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I'll say this, I've been using Body Attunement pretty regularly, as in multiple times every fight.

 

 

Yeah, Body Attunement and Pain Block are probably the the current class staples. They're both very solid powers. Of course, Druids can give the same Robust inspiration that Pain Block gives, except as a Level 3 cast instead of a level 4 one . . .and the druid spell is an AoE.

 

 

I would say that's fair considering druid has less resources (Cipher with drain whip) and it's a melee-spell. It just so happen that most of druid T3 is also mediocre anyway so they won't feel bad using it if they get the chance and don't have to be using giant AoE.

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I would say that's fair considering druid has less resources (Cipher with drain whip) and it's a melee-spell. It just so happen that most of druid T3 is also mediocre anyway so they won't feel bad using it if they get the chance and don't have to be using giant AoE.

 

 

 

Right, but that alone tells the story: one of the best, most effective Cipher powers is basically a fair trade with a Druid power that's a tier lower. 

 

It's really telling that one of the most common uses of a pure Cipher these days is to be a backup healer/buffer rather than a "striker" or CC class.  Like, ok, you can make it work, but it's no First-Game Mental Binding Crowd Control role. IN the first game, paralyze meant, essentially, auto-hit and auto-crit; now it just means incoming +50% hit-to-crit; it doesn't also need a blink and you miss it duration.

 

And defensive mindweb got nerfed so that if anyone takes damage they drop out of the web, yay

 

A lot of the Cipher powers seem like they got nerfed during development due to general concerns from the first game (CC being too powerful, etc.) but they never got looked at again after all the other balance changes were made to see if the nerfs were still necessary. 

Edited by Dr. Hieronymous Alloy
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I would say that's fair considering druid has less resources (Cipher with drain whip) and it's a melee-spell. It just so happen that most of druid T3 is also mediocre anyway so they won't feel bad using it if they get the chance and don't have to be using giant AoE.

 

 

 

Right, but that alone tells the story: one of the best, most effective Cipher powers is basically a fair trade with a Druid power that's a tier lower. 

 

It's really telling that one of the most common uses of a pure Cipher these days is to be a backup healer/buffer rather than a "striker" or CC class.  Like, ok, you can make it work, but it's no First-Game Mental Binding Crowd Control role. 

 

And defensive mindweb got nerfed so that if anyone takes damage they drop out of the web, yay

 

A lot of the Cipher powers seem like they got nerfed during development due to general concerns from the first game (CC being too powerful, etc.) but they never got looked at again after all the other balance changes were made to see if the nerfs were still necessary. 

 

 

Cipher is still good for damage until level 13 where they start falling. This is caused by the game weapon scaling to be extremely weak compared to magic scaling (with empower) and that unless you have a dedicated damage spell at T9, you pretty much can't deal damage with spell anymore.

 

But it is quite fitting in a way. There really isn't a well-known cipher killer who use mind power to destroy people yet, mainly just control them or assist other though I certainly won't mind some kind of universal better version of the Scream spell that only work on vessel for a good high tier AoE damage spell. But until then, that +8 pen buff will do and is imo, the best damage buff in the game as accuracy from devotion ain't that awesome because of enemy low defense roll and our ridiculous acc bonus + empower.

Edited by Zeitzbach
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Ascendant -> Soul shock spam -> great AoE.

Beguiler  -> Phantom Foes+Eye Strike (high int + affliction passive) -> very good sustained CC

Soul blade -> great MC with martial classes, decent fit for death godlike, needs some micromanagement

 

Cipher is harder to build, and no longer an OP class, but it's far from garbage now. Most early levels shred spells are a trap , maybe that's the reason they underperform at striker role for many users. 

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I just started a Soulblade/Devoted TCS run and doing 79 raw damage before leaving Maje feels very powerful combined with cleave stance. (Soul Annihilation counts as melee attack and triggers the HOF effect)

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Ascendant -> Soul shock spam -> great AoE.

Beguiler  -> Phantom Foes+Eye Strike (high int + affliction passive) -> very good sustained CC

Soul blade -> great MC with martial classes, decent fit for death godlike, needs some micromanagement

 

Cipher is harder to build, and no longer an OP class, but it's far from garbage now. Most early levels shred spells are a trap , maybe that's the reason they underperform at striker role for many users. 

Most spells are trap because they are bad. Cipher has only few good powers which make it from being garbage. Right now , ciphers are barely above rangers in terms of performance.

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I currently play an Ascendant/Rogue and it is an absolute monster. Opening with a sneak full attack gets me 1 auto away from max focus. Then I proceed to buff up with Borrowed Instinct and Body Attunent. After that I either spread around Disintigrate or Amplified Wave. The damage for this build is insane and I have no issues surviving.

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Some Cipher powers need to be looked at, but the real problem is that all the enemies are tissue paper. With no pressing threats to CC, and no loooong fights to take advantage of the Cipher resource system, they flounder.

 

Wait for the POTD rebalance at least.

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Playing a Beguiler can be quite fun when fighting tough mobs, by spamming charm you can remove one enemy from fight for a very long time, and as your level increase charm becomes free spammable as long as it hits. But after level 10, combat will soon gets really bored even play on PoTD, you won't need cc anymore and my Beguiler​ falls to a pure support char, doing "Anyone needs pain lock?" that sort of stuff, my game is quite boring now.
 
Here is some fun time pics, and I hate Huana commoners btw.


20180514100601_1.jpg
20180515114717_1.jpg
20180517074021_1.jpg
20180517084243_1.jpg

 

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Playing a Beguiler can be quite fun when fighting tough mobs, by spamming charm you can remove one enemy from fight for a very long time, and as your level increase charm becomes free spammable as long as it hits. But after level 10, combat will soon gets really bored even play on PoTD, you won't need cc anymore and my Beguiler​ falls to a pure support char, doing "Anyone needs pain lock?" that sort of stuff, my game is quite boring now.

 

Here is some fun time pics, and I hate Huana commoners btw.

 

 

20180514100601_1.jpg

20180515114717_1.jpg

20180517074021_1.jpg

20180517084243_1.jpg

 

 

How do you get the game to display that cool looking fake language?

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Playing a Beguiler can be quite fun when fighting tough mobs, by spamming charm you can remove one enemy from fight for a very long time, and as your level increase charm becomes free spammable as long as it hits. But after level 10, combat will soon gets really bored even play on PoTD, you won't need cc anymore and my Beguiler​ falls to a pure support char, doing "Anyone needs pain lock?" that sort of stuff, my game is quite boring now.

 

Here is some fun time pics, and I hate Huana commoners btw.

 

 

20180514100601_1.jpg

20180515114717_1.jpg

20180517074021_1.jpg

20180517084243_1.jpg

 

 

How do you get the game to display that cool looking fake language?

 

 

You can also get the game to display this fabled language by choosing it in game language option xD

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Right now Ciphers benefit from level scaling and general difficulty being super screwy.  Most of their spells are kinda garbage, but it's also kinda hard to notice because the game doesn't kinda have a difficulty.  There's also stuff on top of that - Soul Blade hides the powers being bad because, well, you never use them, and Ascendant hides it because by the time you pop, the battle is already more or less over, so it just feels like you're dominating everything (when in truth just about any class would do just as well if not better).  Once difficulty gets balanced out, I have a feeling Ciphers are going to go downhill, hard.

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