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Hi guys,

I recently started a new playthrough, I had a urge to play some kind of "forest knight", so a non-shifting melee druid multiclass using sword and shield.
At first I wanted to go for a warden, but I played a lot of fighter, and I figured he would not need the extra survivability, so I went with beastmaster to fully embrace the theme, figured the ac could take some of the heat off, and the myriad of accuracy bonuses would more than make up for druid accuracy and the medium shields I plan to use.

I went for Shifter/Stalker with bear AC. Shifter doesn't matter as I will only shift in a complete pinch for the heal or when I am getting bored and want something new, i picked it because it has a selection of spells I want, saving precious much needed ability points.)
Ancient would have been second best but those penalties to tankiness seemed too much for a tanky frontliner.
Stalker is very obvious for a melee ranger of any kind, the bear with stalker passive+resilient companion being sturdy enough to not be a liability and actually do some decent tanking. So far I am having a blast (in veteran upscaled, lvl 9~ish).

On to the questions:
-I want to use a takedown combo>nuke (most likely sunlance but if there is something better I am very open to suggestions), but does the takedown +100% procs on ongoing dot's ? That would be quite disappointing as my char pops swarm+maggots early in every fights, turning 1 tick of raw damage from 10 to 20 for a bond. Bleh.

-I love tinkering with AI tactics, is there a way to influence the animal tactics ? I'd like my bear to prioritise ennemies marked for the hunt (my watcher could then in turn prioritise ennemies attacked by animal companion which is straightforward to "program" but would ensure max accuracy). Also by extension, is it possible to include "takedown" in AI tactics ? It seems like it is not available in the list and I want to micro as little as possible.

- Aside from marked for the hunt and takedown combo, what do you think is a good way to spend bond ? Hunter's claw feels gimmicky and very subpar with single handed, and (accurate) wounding shot redundant (I have a lot of ways to apply dots through druid spells to trigger.

- Any other suggestions/fun ideas I may have missed ?

Edited by Myrtillo
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4 hours ago, QuiteGoneJin said:

Following as i like this combo idea, let me know how it works out. 

So far it has been working really well. (lvl 13 now), and with a bit of effort in setting the ai the micromanagement is negligible.

How the character plays out:
- Cast Marked for the Hunt twice (I have it on ai tactics to target lowest and highest deflection).
- Run into melee - again on tactics: if ennemy in melee range not >0, basic attack, prioritize by attacked by my animal companion. This causes the watcher to run into melee distance and engage, but not to do the actual attack (thus not wasting casting time) since the condition is not fulfilled anymore when you arrive in melee range.
- Casts of Insect swarm and infestation of maggots (if target is hurt or below), prioritize by most ennemies affected. I am getting plague of insects at the next level.

The character still has the option to cast Charm Beasts when needed (made Engwithan digsite fight trivial), and mark of nature is always nice to have.
Other than that, the remaining bonds are mostly well placed takedown combos or concussive shot (handy cheap interrupts on graze).

The bear has gone down 3-4 times tops. The watcher never. (wearing garari cuirass, and using lethandra's devotion and Griffin's blade for spell damage).

Overall the dot's damage really adds up, he is tied in the party for highest damage inflicted, and I think that does not factor in the bear damage which is significant.
And this is while being the main tank. Watcher+ bear together have high defenses, a lot of engagement and a giant cumulated health pool.

Feel free to shift for fun when tanking is less needed at the end of the fight (and your casts are depleted) ;)

PS: Anyone has answers to my initial questions ? Especially the ones on animal companion ai tactics.

Edited by Myrtillo
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1 hour ago, QuiteGoneJin said:

How goes the takedown combo? did it go poorly with dot tics or well? what was your stat spread?

Stats are something like 12 str 10 con 10dex 14per 18int 14res

Takedown combo does not proc on dot tics ;)

However, the added damage never felt game changing. Unless I decide to use my Wit of the Death Herald to have brilliant for 50 seconds and I start spamming takedown combos and Sunlances. This ramps up the damage like crazy (150+ every cast without considering the bear damage) but it is more related to 50 sec brilliant being quite op on spellcasters.
Quick and cheap interrupt is very handy, though.

My current gear to achieve that perfect forest knight look
(Mythic) Griffin's blade
Cadhu Scath
Mantle of the Changeling
The Maw of Ingimyrk

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