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Hi, my name is Veritas, and I am an alt-o-holic.

 

I played the hell out of PoE1, but it's taken me until now to grab Deadfire. Now I'm ready to dive in, but the introduction of multiclassing has totally paralyzed me. I've spent at least 20 hours reading and thinking about character builds (which I find fun), but haven't actually started the game yet. So, I could obviously use some help in narrowing down a class so I can start this damn thing.

 

I like active, tactical gameplay more than raw power, although I also want my character to be the best at their role on the team. For that reason I prefer to leave tanking and pure support to the lackeys...ahem, I mean valued companions. I tend to lean towards fighter/mage style hybrids, and I never play a ranged build for my MC (just can't enjoy it even when it's strong). In PoE1 my favorites were dual-wielding cipher, summoned weapon wizard, and a greatsword/firebrand chanter.

 

At the moment I'm considering:

 

  • Mindstalker
  • Inquisitor/Psyblade
  • Arcane Knight
  • Seer
  • War Caller/Herald

Can those of you with some actual in-game experience give me your take on which of those options you prefer and think might suit? I'm mostly concerned that one or more of them sound fun in theory but don't work out as well in practice due to little things like long ability cast times, patch nerfs, or other factors adding up to make the combo not work as well as others. Thoughts? Opinions? Trollish shaming of my obsessive tendencies? The floor is yours...

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What kinds of spells do you like? That information might tell us a bit more about what would suit your tastes.

 

For instance, if you like summoning spells, then a Chanter would be an excellent multiclass to pair with something. I'd recommend looking at the Street Sweeper (Rogue Streetfighter / Chanter Troubadour) build if you're interested in a more active playstyle. I don't think Herald fits what you like, even though it is very, very good and durable, because it seems like you prefer a more active DPS role to a tank build. Of course, I suppose you could play a 2-handed Herald for a bit more active playstyle.
 

If, as I suspect, you're more interested in a DPS role, the next question I'd ask is HOW you want to dish out your damage. Do you want to use both melee AND spells to dish out great damage, or primarily melee with spells as support? If the latter, I'd recommend a Spellblade (Rogue Streetfighter / Wizard No Subclass), as you can use Wizard spells to both conjure a great weapon (Citzal's Spirit Lance) that can do AoE damage and apply rogue debuffs in AoE and to cause status afflictions that allow for Sneak Attack damage. Of course, this build doesn't come with its own healing abilities, except for a few okay spells.

Feel free to let us know more about what you'd like.

Edited by hansvedic
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Hi, my name is Veritas, and I am an alt-o-holic.

 

Oh man, you are in so much trouble here...

 

Ja! Go Herald! You'll safely get to mid-game where the itch of other possibilities will start to become unbearable. =)

Hey, you wanna hear a good joke?

Nobody speak, nobody get choked

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What kinds of spells do you like? That information might tell us a bit more about what would suit your tastes.

 

For instance, if you like summoning spells, then a Chanter would be an excellent multiclass to pair with something. I'd recommend looking at the Street Sweeper (Rogue Streetfighter / Chanter Troubadour) build if you're interested in a more active playstyle. I don't think Herald fits what you like, even though it is very, very good and durable, because it seems like you prefer a more active DPS role to a tank build. Of course, I suppose you could play a 2-handed Herald for a bit more active playstyle.

 

If, as I suspect, you're more interested in a DPS role, the next question I'd ask is HOW you want to dish out your damage. Do you want to use both melee AND spells to dish out great damage, or primarily melee with spells as support? If the latter, I'd recommend a Spellblade (Rogue Streetfighter / Wizard No Subclass), as you can use Wizard spells to both conjure a great weapon (Citzal's Spirit Lance) that can do AoE damage and apply rogue debuffs in AoE and to cause status afflictions that allow for Sneak Attack damage. Of course, this build doesn't come with its own healing abilities, except for a few okay spells.

 

Feel free to let us know more about what you'd like.

 

Great questions! I think the easiest way to say it is that prefer proactive gameplay to reactive or passive. I like having abilities that I need to use well to be effective, but that have a big impact when used well. I'm fine with damage coming from weapon use, but I want to actually cast spells as part of the build -- even if it's more CC or tactical spells vs damage, although nuking is fine too --  not just use them for buffs.

 

I'm realizing that my question really boils down to "which caster class should I go with?" since that really sets the tone and playstyle most. Cipher and Wizard are my top picks. To be honest I love the flavor of Cipher, and the class was great in PoE1 but it looks like they've really taken a hit in Deadfire which has me worried. Wizards have always been super strong.

 

Mindstalker sounds fun but I'm worried that I would get tired of constantly needing to use stealth skills in combat to do my thing without being shattered into tiny Cipher pieces at the first sign of trouble.

 

Inquisitor seems interesting and possibly more sturdy, but I worry that it would end up trying to do a little bit of everything well (damage, control spells, off tank, etc) and not really end up being very good at them.

 

Transcendent (cipher/helwalker or shattered pillar) seems like an interesting option but I haven't looked at it too closely.

 

Arcane Knight seems really fun and strong, especially now that you can bust out your initial buffs quickly. My main hesitation here is that I like Aloth and hate overlapping with a companion, but I suppose I could take the more martial combat route and build him for spell blasting? The spellblade option you recommended also looks good.

Edited by VeritasWaits
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Mindstalker paired with Trickster will be decently tanky thanks to Mirrored Image + Body Attunement.  Definitely won't have to skulk around the battlefield at all with that.  Can pair with something like Soulblade and have something that can stand on the front without too much babysitting.  Solid combo.

 

Inquisitor is a great combo and definitely can excel.  My first playthrough was using this build and I can say that it was excellent at everything you mentioned.  Great AoE, easy to build up focus for soul annihilation or Ringleader or w/e.  Stood on the front lines without much worry and was the star performer from start to finish.

 

One thing I've heard about Arcane Knight is that the damage isn't as good as other tanky builds as your damage spells are often competing for casts with your defensive spells.  Good example would be Combusting Wounds and Mirrored Image being in the same spell level.  One benefit I will say for this class though is that Wizard is really flexible and that versatility is really handy. 

 

Spellblade is a great choice as well.  Either Trickster for more defense/cc or Streetfighter for more offense.  Assassin is more of a niche pick but giving spells the Assassinate bonus can be it's own source of fun (esp when you empower the spells).

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Inquisitor is a great combo and definitely can excel.  My first playthrough was using this build and I can say that it was excellent at everything you mentioned.  Great AoE, easy to build up focus for soul annihilation or Ringleader or w/e.  Stood on the front lines without much worry and was the star performer from start to finish.

 

Nice. I read that build before but kind of skipped over it because of the nerfs to both WotP and Soul Annihilation. Inquisitor in general though is what I'm leaning towards, but probably either dual wield sabers or rapier + small shield for the accuracy modal to boost spellcasting (the +acc from that applies to spells, yes?). Spellblade is the other option that I find interesting. Great suggestions all around!

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Inquisitor is a great combo and definitely can excel.  My first playthrough was using this build and I can say that it was excellent at everything you mentioned.  Great AoE, easy to build up focus for soul annihilation or Ringleader or w/e.  Stood on the front lines without much worry and was the star performer from start to finish.

 

Nice. I read that build before but kind of skipped over it because of the nerfs to both WotP and Soul Annihilation. Inquisitor in general though is what I'm leaning towards, but probably either dual wield sabers or rapier + small shield for the accuracy modal to boost spellcasting (the +acc from that applies to spells, yes?). Spellblade is the other option that I find interesting. Great suggestions all around!

 

 

I don't want to spoil too much, but there is a soulbound rapier, as well as a unique shield, in the Seeker, Slayer, Survivor (did I get the order correct) DLC that would work perfectly for your build, I think.

 

EDIT: This is presuming that you go w/ Cipher as one of your multiclasses, of course.

Edited by hansvedic
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I can talk intelligently about the cipher hybrids, having gone through my own restartitis there.

 

Inquisitor is very strong and lots of fun. Paladin makes you sturdy on the front line without trying to hard, and the exhortations are great as they are fast cast with no recovery. Spamming flames of devotion on a kind wayfarer gives you lots of full attacks for a dual wielder and triggers the heal twice, or a bleak walker piles on the damage. Main weakness is positioning - it wants to be in the middle of the fight for aura and to stay in range for exhortations, and it lacks blinks to rapidly reposition.

 

Psyblade is more your speed if you don't want the support elements. Still sturdy, can charge around to reposition and has a spammable interrupt. Very flexible frontline cipher, can take a hit or flank.

 

Mindstalker certainly wants to be a flanker. Great burst and assassination potential. Also can be more control focused as a trickster hybrid. Concerns about it being pretty linear are founded. If you can't flank or find an isolated target you are going to be in for a rough time or need to sit back and range. Trickster is nice there as you can burn your guile on control spells instead until you have an opening, though at cost to burst potential. Soul Annihilation Backstabs from an Assassin are unparalleled though.

 

Seer is very strong but isn't natively a melee class. Lots of great utility and the accuracy buffs make you a better caster cipher, but your melee and raw dps potential is a lot more limited.

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I recommend Helwalker/Ascendant Transcendent.

Once you try Ascendant, you won't want to play another Cipher flavor. Freely spamming your best powers is just great! And Helwalker simply supercharges all Cipher abilities (greatly extending duration, aoe sizes and, in case of Helwalker, also damage).

 

The build generally wants to be ranged, however with careful positioning and perhaps some heavy armor when you're feeling squishy, you can also survive melee. Particularly that you want to lock your enemies helpless: paralyze (Mental Binding) or stun (Stunning Surge) them. It can act as what I like to call "middle range" - cause blunderbuss range of 4-5 m really isn't much (and aoe mortar blunderbuss stunning whole groups in a large aoe is just great)... or you can have your chanter friend summon skellies between you and the enemy and use your Grave Calling scimitar to kill these skellies - generating deadly, blinding & paralyzing Chillfogs in the process - and restoring your Focus.

 

Tons of options, lots of fun.

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Thanks for all the helpful responses.

 

I've narrowed down to either Inquisitor or Mindstalker. Both are strong so it's really more of a flavor/rp choice. That said, I still have a few decisions to make about subclasses.

 

On the Cipher side, I'm leaning towards Ascendant. Both Rogue and Paladin would help with maxing focus faster (especially rogue), and I like the idea of unleashing hell every so often. One question I have is how big of a difference the -1 power level would actually make if I decided to cast some opening spells. From what I understand Power Level primarily affects damage, penetration, and duration which seems to mean that it has a bigger impact on damage spells. If I opened with a Charm, Borrowed Instict, etc before reaching max focus would it be noticeably weaker? If not then I'll definitely go with a high DEX Ascendant. I really want Beguiler to be cool since I love the concept, but the benefits seem pretty minor overall as I'll be melee focused. If the class actually made your deception abilities stronger I'd be all over it, but just gaining a bit of focus back when you cast them seems pretty weak when Ascendant already gets a natively better Focus gain from Soul Whip.

 

I know Soulblade is the more optimal melee choice, but I hate the idea of having less focus overall and dumping most of it into a kind of bland melee strike. At that point it seems like I might as well just choose a different class altogether...

 

On the Rogue side, I'm torn between Trickster and Assassin. Assassinate feels like it benefits ranged a bit more, and would lead me to using most of my guile every fight for invisibility to re-trigger it. Tricksters defensive and CC options seem fun, and it sounds like they received some buffs/attention in the 1.2 patch that made them a bit stronger. Anyone have any insights on how Tricksters perform?

 

For Paladin Bleak Walker is out cause I just can't manage to be enough of a bastard to make it work :p. That leaves Kind Wayfarer for more of a healing/party support focus or Goldpact for more personal survivability. Either seems fine.

 

In terms of a party comp I'm leaning towards Eder (Riposte Tank), Aloth (pure Wizard), Teheku (Theurge support and lightining/frost spells), and either Xoti as a priest or Serafen if I use Unity console to rework him as a Gunhawk. Priest seems like a stronger class but I can already tell that Xoti is likely to annoy the hell out of me...

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Guest Psychovampiric Shield

There is a thread about PL; I would say penetration is the most important, which debuffs do not have, so no worries. Hint: if you can not find low will foe to cast Borrowed Instinct on, make one with club modal.

 

Beguiler has also buffed range of deceptions, but has currently broken focus generation in multiple ways; generally has less unless you chain spam low tier deceptions. I also find requirement of affliction for soul whip to fully work (IF the game properly checks for it) to be surprisingly cripling; for example soulblade starts with less focus, but will get more from his opening shot, and thus will have more than beguiler who will get less or waste time and focus to land a debuff first.

 

This may be just presonal taste, but I generally dislike single class priests (druids, wizards) and especially Xoti. Morning star modal + Blessed Harvest would be hilarious, but competes for spell cast with Heal, among other things. One can not have a healer without heals, right? Tier 2 is rather bland, would be great to reassign spell casts from there to 1 or 3, but no, then on tier 3 some fun could be had with Divine Mark, but again competes for casts with heals, and so on. I am going to start over again and this time, I will try monk/priest.

Edited by Psychovampiric Shield
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This may be just presonal taste, but I generally dislike single class priests (druids, wizards)

 

Interesting. I was under the impression that single classing would work best for caster classes as you gain spell access faster and cast at an overall higher PL. Multiclassing with a martial class for a battlemage type build I get, but I'd been assuming that if I plan to have the character hang back and cast rather than use weapons or class abilities then single classing would be optimal. I'd love to be wrong about that though as I generally prefer multiclassing and find it more interesting.

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Guest Psychovampiric Shield

 

This may be just presonal taste, but I generally dislike single class priests (druids, wizards)

 

Interesting. I was under the impression that single classing would work best for caster classes as you gain spell access faster and cast at an overall higher PL. Multiclassing with a martial class for a battlemage type build I get, but I'd been assuming that if I plan to have the character hang back and cast rather than use weapons or class abilities then single classing would be optimal. I'd love to be wrong about that though as I generally prefer multiclassing and find it more interesting.

 

I would say that is accurate summary for nuker type caster, because, as PL improves accuracy, damage, penetration, number of projectiles/bounces and duration, nuker would use spells that would benefit from most of these, while healer/buffer/debuffer would use spells that would benefit from one or two at most, of which one would be duration that would be already extended by int bonus markedly, so...

But, aside from this, as I said, it is a matter of taste. For example, Xoti can learn multiple PL 1 spells, but (without empower) will only use two of them once or one twice in the same battle. Compare with single class paladin Pallegina, who can learn all three PL 1 abilities and use them all, multiple times, in the same battle. Furthermore, she has more intriguing passives to learn instead of actives.

Btw battlemage has easy access to +1 PL self buff.

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Oh that makes sense, I hadn't really thought about the limitation of only casting two spells per level compared to martial classes working from a single resource pool. I can see how adding in a multiclass would give those casting classes more to do before and after casting their core spells. I still think I'll go with Aloth as a pure wizard for maximum spell nuke potential and just because that's how I think of him from my PoE 1 playthroughs, but I'll play around with the rest.

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An Arcane Knight is pretty badass. I made a Fire Godlike companion and gave him...a very powerful end game weapon which made him unstoppable.

 

I'm partial to Mindstalkers (I've played 3 of them) but based on what you're saying I'd try Arcane Knight. It's a powerful thinking-man's class.

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For Inquisitors or Mindstalkers you may reconsider the Cipher flavor. Soulblade could work better in a strictly melee role, as he gains Concentration on kills.

Trickster/Soulblade is good and decently tanky.

 

Alternatively Streetfighter/Ascendant - but preferably with blunderbusses.

 

The latter actually allows rapid casts of fast spells, which is nice. The former doesn't really support the casting side in any other way then faster Focus gain.

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An Arcane Knight is pretty badass. I made a Fire Godlike companion and gave him...a very powerful end game weapon which made him unstoppable.

 

I'm partial to Mindstalkers (I've played 3 of them) but based on what you're saying I'd try Arcane Knight. It's a powerful thinking-man's class.

 

Yes that's the other combo I've been looking at. Would you build Arcane Knight as a summoned weapon user, or ignore them for real weapons? If so, do you lean towards dual wield or tank? If I went Arcane Knight I'd want to mix in regular spell casting instead of only buffs, but I'm not sure if that's optimal? Grrr, so many choices and I think part of the issue is that lots of classes and combos are good (yay balance) so I'm torn on which would be more my style. Guess I'll just need to take my best guess and be ready to restart a few times once I've played enough to figure out what suits me.

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