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I've been playing through Deadfire to about levels 10-17 a few times now and wanted to 'up' my knowledge a bit for another potential play through/potential restart. I'm playing real-time, PotD, everything up scaled. I enjoy puzzling out the fights, but it still feels all a bit too chaotic for me, so I'm hoping I can smooth things out with some help + questions.

So far I've played a multi class Seer Ghostheart/Ascendant to about level 13, and a single class Beguiler to 17.

 

The Seer was fantastic getting through the Engwithian Ruins, but the Beguiler got through well enough as well. Neither have been able to beat Gorreci Street however with just Aloth + Xoti. I just stealth skip it. After that, I am comfortable riding non-combat quests to about level 10, and everything mostly smooths out from there.

Mid-game, I enjoyed the Beguiler a lot more then the Ascendant. What I found overwhelming about the Ascendant was 1) paying attention to when I hit the ascended state, and then 2) devoting all my attention to squeezing the most out of it during its duration. It's mostly because I like devoting equal attention and semi-micro managing all my party members equally, so my output with it always felt a bit sloppy. Hard to explain. I have auto-pause set after each skill is cast, but basically I'd often find I lost track of the Ascendant focusing on something else for a moment and find they've been CC'ed or sitting ascended without me realising it. Without schticks like Thunderous Report from the Kitchen Stove, I'd spend a good chunk of the hardest part of the battle (the early part, before some enemies die) trying to get Ascended again...

The Beguiler however was perfect. Phantom Foes -> Secret Horrors and good to go for a little while at least, and no pressure to spam abilities. However, I find there seems to be clear winners and losers in terms of skills that pushes me back towards giving an Ascendant another go.

I thought I'd be using things like Pain Block, Mind Plague, Wild Leech, and Psychvampiric Shield more often, but I just don't have enough time/focus to use anything but a few specific skills which just seem to do more or end fights in a more efficient way. Typically for crowds it's: Phantom Foes -> Secret Horrors -> Ectophycic Echo/Amplified Wave and/or Ring Leader. Single targets are Borrowed Instinct -> Whispers of Treason/Ring Leader or Disintegration + Recall Agony (+ Body Blows).

So far, the above has basically allowed me to brute force most fights, and even things like Ancestors Memory, Reaping Knives, and Time Parasite all have a opportunity cost in time that seems too high to overcome. The cost in time is both in the casting + recovery time it takes to use things like Reaping Knives etc, and in the cost of cast + recovery time to suck up all that focus again.

I'm thinking this is just the Cipher dilemna and why the Ascendant and multi classes are so popular. I just don't seem to need that many active skills. The Ascendant excels at spamming the few good skills really well and multi classes can suck up passives in lieu of skills you don't end up using anyway.

I'm not 100% sure where I am going with all this, but any thoughts appreciated if I might be approaching/understanding things incorrectly.

 

Moving on...

 

I really want to try a Barbarian Berserker or Monk Helwalker, however, given that I build both Eder (engagement Swashbuckler) and Pallegina (Crusader) semi defensively and they seem to sometimes just peel over and die, I can't imagine being anything but frustrated with those two classes, so I am shying away from them. I understand how to get around the confused status with the Berserker, but the raw damage + hidden health seems like I'll be reloading a lot. I'm not too sold on other subclasses, so I dunno. The Monk is really appealing, because it's probably the least represented class in terms of companions + sidekicks (ish, I can't see turning Xoti into a Monk - ever really, and Mirke/Rekke don't have much representation in the game quest wise outside of being a sidekick).

 

Speaking of companions.

 

I like Eder as a Swashbuckler, but he has been a bit squishier then I thought he would be. I skipped Riposte + stacking deflection, so maybe that might be part of it (the stacking deflection bit). I'm using Mob Stance + Reckless Brigandine, but thinking of using Defender Stance + Reckless Brigandine instead.  I can't get the AI to use Vigorous/Refreshing Defense correctly yet. Any tips? I think I've set it to activate on health < 90%, with a 15 second cooldown so it isn't spammed, but when I check on him, it never seems to be up like it should be... Pallegina has the same problem. He is dual wielding currently. Sword & Board is an option as well I guess...

 

Pallegina is tough enough, but I'm not enjoying Whispers of the Endless Paths on her at all. I avoided the whole Offensive Parry schtick, so that might be part of it, but it also just seems underwhelming. What would be a better two hander for her? I use Morning Stars + Bodyblows situationally. Is there a reliable AI setting for Flames of Devotion? I've got it semi working with Always True + Class Resource > 3, but she also seems to prioritize Knock down more then FoD, but it could be my imagination. I was hoping Greater Lay on Hands would carry the bulk of my healing needs in the party, but in practice, she either isn't in range, or seems to get infinitely caught/interrupted or recovering to ever cast it in a emergency. I'm aware of setting her up as a Herald, but I'm not sold yet on basically having a healing totem for a companion.

 

Aloth, my dear Aloth. I just don't know what to do with this guy. My Beguiler seems to cover CC well enough, so I tuned him more towards offensive AOE spells (Ninagauth's Teachings). In practice, he decimates easy fights, but on hard fights, his spells seem to hit like a noodle, and the CC + damage spells of my Beguiler seem to just do more. I just don't know what I am doing wrong here...

 

Xoti - I am happy with Xoti as a pure priest. She suffers a bit from the same problem my Beguiler has however. There are a few good spells worth always spamming each encounter, but action economy wise, even those seem to get eaten up by the need to cast more healing spells then I would like. So in practice, on battles that are going well, the buffs like Devotions, Champions Boon, CoP, Triumph etc. all go off and its a merry stomp, but on harder fights it's a frantic mess of maybe I get off Devotions + CoP off, then I am in damage control trying to heal Eder or someone else/the occasional litany of spirits/body to clear a status effect, and by that point, we either turn the battle around and more buffs are just flashy displays of dominance, or we die.

 

Anyway, wall of text, apologies. Just wanted to throw this post out and see if I can clean up my play a little.

 

Cheers!

Edited by NotBad
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A lot of stuf! Responses inline:

 

11 hours ago, NotBad said:

Neither have been able to beat Gorreci Street however with just Aloth + Xoti. I just stealth skip it.

I assume this is Eder, not Aloth. I would say Gorecci St is the hardest fight in the game with just three. You'd have to split the encounter in two. Even with two hirelings, I still split the fight, and a few unlucky hits from the crossbow can be a nightmare. Gorecci is pretty well-known to be brutal though, so no shame in stealthing past it.

 

11 hours ago, NotBad said:

What I found overwhelming about the Ascendant was 1) paying attention to when I hit the ascended state,

This is roughly my experience. I don't use mods in general, so by default there's no easy AI trigger on when to hit ascendant. When I tried an ascendant out (it was an ascendant/priest for salvation of time shenanigans) it was alright, but it definitely meant me hyperfocusing on my ascendant at the expense of everyone else (even with aggressive pausing) just so I could make sure I could squeeze everything out of ascencion.

 

11 hours ago, NotBad said:

So far, the above has basically allowed me to brute force most fights, and even things like Ancestors Memory, Reaping Knives, and Time Parasite all have a opportunity cost in time that seems too high to overcome. The cost in time is both in the casting + recovery time it takes to use things like Reaping Knives etc, and in the cost of cast + recovery time to suck up all that focus again.

Ciphers just have this larger action economy issue, simply because they *have* to attack to generate focus, and that takes time. Ancestor's Memory is very good in the right combo builds, but can be a waste if all you do is get back a few mediocre spells or one high-level martial ability on a party member. Reaping Knives is much better - the opportunity cost is really not so bad because on one of your front-line characters you get back the focus you spent on it pretty quickly; on two party members (helps to have a high intellect) you can easily keep your focus topped up. These days I really like the psion, even single-classed, because they are basically immune to action economy issues - they generate focus even when using cipher powers! It won't be as strong as an idealized cipher attacking enemies in melee, but it is definitely much more consistent, and can do things that a normal cipher can't (at mid to high level you can endlessly spam their tier 1 interrupt power or something like mental binding, which a normal cipher can't do because they eventually have to stop and attack for a while). A beguiler should be able to do some setup to generate a ton of focus in big fights though.

 

11 hours ago, NotBad said:

I understand how to get around the confused status with the Berserker, but the raw damage + hidden health seems like I'll be reloading a lot.

fun fact: AI scripts can see through any hidden health. If you set up use of consumables/second wind or party member healing on health thresholds, they'll still be activated even though you as a human being cannot see your character's health.

 

11 hours ago, NotBad said:

I can't see turning Xoti into a Monk

xoti makes for a highly cromulent monk. Not always the most ideal monk subclass, but monks in general are consistently good super stars. a single-class monk xoti pretty much carried my last party (whispers of the wind + ajumaat's stalking cloak + dance with death + +3 wounds upon a kill; even hauane o whe the megaboss goes down pretty fast).

 

11 hours ago, NotBad said:

Eder (engagement Swashbuckler) and Pallegina (Crusader) semi defensively and they seem to sometimes just peel over and die, I can't imagine being anything but frustrated with those two classes

you're playing potd with upscaling on, and that's going to be par for the course for the early to mid game. the +2 PEN and bonus accuracy that enemies get (for more crits at 1.5x PEN), coupled with consistent extra boosts as they scale up means that there's an arms race between your armor and their PEN that you basically cannot win for a while. Heavy armor is rare early on, and magical heavy armor even rarer. So what heavy armor you do find will likely not give you much damage reduction, if any (the fact that heavy armor has weaknesses as bad as medium armor doesn't help), all while giving you huge recovery time. Prepare to quaff a lot of potions and heal a lot, and things that give you AR (hardy, zealous endurance, ironskin potions, spirit shield potions) and things that reduce the enemy PEN (dazed mostly) are very important. Eventually things get better with more talents such that even medium armor (properly enchanted/leveled) is good, and heavy armor makes you tough as nails. But it takes a while to get there and you have to be diligent about upgrading your gear because however much a spike in defense some exceptional heavy armor might be in mid-game, in late game it might as well be unenchanted medium armor for what it does for you again high-level upscaled enemies.

shields are also extremely important. medium shield and higher can do an awful lot for your survivability especially early on - the medium shield modal is a straight 30% weapon resist, which isn't nerfed by difficulty, which can make it pretty invaluable for surviving hard fights involving weapons. the bonus deflection (with weapon and shield style) can be huuge.

 

11 hours ago, NotBad said:

Is there a reliable AI setting for Flames of Devotion?

i manually use it coupled with shared flames to keep a bit of uptime on the shared flames buff.

 

11 hours ago, NotBad said:

but she also seems to prioritize Knock down more then FoD, but it could be my imagination

make sure you properly specify in the AI script dialog box how to determine what to use. A simple thing to do is to put the paladin AI script first, and then the fighter, and then make sure you select "by list order", this will basically guarantee you'll use from the paladin script so long as there is a valid paladin action to do, only falling back on the fighter if there's nothing to do from the paladin script. If you have both of them in the same script, make sure the FoD trigger is higher up on the ocnditionals than the knock down trigger.

 

11 hours ago, NotBad said:

but in practice, she either isn't in range, or seems to get infinitely caught/interrupted or recovering to ever cast it in a emergency.

pallegina works better not as a front-line tank but as a sort of mid-line short stop. That way she has flexibility to move in and out of healing range because lay on hands is such a limited range ability. pallegina also has miserable dexterity (a flat 10 iirc) so she's going to be really slow. Using medium armor and armored grace goes a long way to letting her be more responsive in fights; give her some rum/rymsjodda lager (+drunkard's regret optionally) or koiki fruit to help. Paladin and especially paladin/fighter are so inherently tough as nails that by middish game that by that point I just put Pallegina in light armor (on top of action speed-boosting food if I can swing it) and that erases most of my issues with her responsiveness.

 

11 hours ago, NotBad said:

There are a few good spells worth always spamming each encounter, but action economy wise, even those seem to get eaten up by the need to cast more healing spells then I would like. So in practice, on battles that are going well, the buffs like Devotions, Champions Boon, CoP, Triumph etc. all go off and its a merry stomp, but on harder fights it's a frantic mess of maybe I get off Devotions + CoP off, then I am in damage control trying to heal Eder or someone else/the occasional litany of spirits/body to clear a status effect, and by that point, we either turn the battle around and more buffs are just flashy displays of dominance, or we die.

make sure your other party members have potions and/or athletics, or else you may find yourself forced to make xoti a heal-monkey. One that thing that doesn't help is that obsidian NPCs don't get any reputation scaling, so xoti's holy radiance won't do as much healing as a mainchar or hireling priest's holy radiance (not as big a deal as in poe1, but just tossing it out there).

judging by what you're saying there are also some real action economy efficiency issues. litany/prayer of the body isn't great just for clearing status effects - pretty much only worth it to clear enfeebled on someone who is going to need healing, and litany to help someone put enemies around them into underpenetration. litany/prayer for the spirit is better all around, but typically you shouldn't be using it to wipe out confusion, and possibly not even charmed (the enemy AI is bad enough that a charmed party member may not even stay charmed for long, and it may not even do much).

how are you gearing eder? between constant recovery, a fighter's inherently higher deflection, superior deflection, armored grace + medium or heavy armor (properly enchanted), and the option to put on a shield and switch to e.g. defender stance (along with a perpetual -5 accuracy debuff to enemies if you have persistent distraction), and possible escape support (for +50 deflection), swashbuckler eder should be pretty tough mid-late game.

Edited by thelee
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I have encountered the same problems that you describe, NotBad. I love playing Ascendant ciphers (SC or MC), but there is a weird tension between getting the focus to ascend and then spamming out all of the powers that you can while it lasts. When my MC is a Ascendant cipher, I usually have to choose companions and sidekicks who are very low micro. Usually I go with Eder as swashbuckler and Teheku as theurge. I add a custom herald as well, and add a sidekick as well, usually Mirke.

As an alernative, you might try playing a SC helwalker monk. My run as a helwalker monk was the first to finish the game. They are not as squishy as they seem; the key in the early game is to spam the wounds quickly with Force of Anguish. Once you reach Neketaka you can steal Tuotilio's palm; with it you'll be much stronger defensively with only a slight DPS drop. Later, when you get Whisper of the Winds, monks ascend to an ungodly level of martial power.

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I can't comment on your main character concerns - I haven't played Ciphers in Deadfire yet. I can say that a Berserker can be really dangerous to itself if you have high might. But well scripted companions will heal them and you eventually get a sense after many fights of when to pop the athletics heal or drink a potion. Eventually Berserker gets at ability level 4 an ability called Savage Defiance, which grants the Robust inspiration for a base 25 seconds. That inspiration makes you heal over time while it lasts, and the power of the heal is affected by your strength. It's a good offset to frenzy self damage; I usually activate it right before I activate Frenzy.

I have also experimented with using the Amra axe, which can grant the default Frenzy power (not the Berserker self-damage version) on a crit or on receiving damage, as a way of having my cake and eating it, too - I can Berserk when I want to, or, for fights that don't need it, I can just let the axe Frenzy me. It's not the most satisfying thing, but it's an option in a build I made for myself that isn't working out the way I had hoped 😄

 

Gorecci Street: I always do this last. I take Eder and Xoti straight to the Engwithan Ruins, pick up Aloth, finish the Ruins, then clean up the island - explore all the little areas, go to Vilario's Rest with Xoti and let her clean up the spirits who for some reason didn't follow the Watcher, and then head to Port Maje and walk to Gorecci Street. That does two things. First, it means I am approaching the fight from the south end of the map, which is huge. You can engage and fight the southern group of looters while the two non-ranged people from the northern group slowly slog their way into melee range. It does mean the spellcaster and an archer start far away, but you could even stealth a melee MC up toward them before the fight starts and engage them in melee if you wanted. I don't usually. Second, it means you have a fourth party member and a spellcaster of your own. Aloth is a dps boost to your party and will help. He usually attracts aggro and gets KO'd after doing some big damage, but that's ok for me in that fight. I should mention that I don't micromanage my companions, I let them roll with their scripts. If you micro them, the fight should go better.

 

I do have a lot of experience with companions. Here are my thoughts:

Eder: I always go with a Swashbuckler build. Early on with PotD, he can be knocked out, but you can make him tougher. The most obvious things you seem not to be doing are: 1) sword and board. This is a big boost in survivability. 2) Having the board be a Medium Shield and activating the modal. Another big boost in survivability. 3) Defensive stance. Your third big boost in survivability. Doing all three of these make Eder rather tough, even for difficult fights like Gorecci Street. That's not to say he won't be knocked out - Port Maje Isle is rough times on PotD.

Taudis' post in this thread is good advice for building Eder as a tank:

 

Pallegina: I always use her as a paladin/chanter with a two hander as a utility player: she does damage from behind the tank and has the frankly amazing Paladin suite of heals, buffs, and utility powers to deploy when things get rough and selected Paladin Chanter chants to keep the party going with passive healing, which I have found makes a big difference in PotD.

This build wants to be micromanaged but I have found it works well with even default AI scripting:

 

Aloth: I take him as a SC wizard, because every party I build, even ones with an MC wizard, appreciates another wizard. I choose spells for him that are party friendly, because the AI targeting is not always forgiving. I also customize the AI - the default wizard AI is pretty weak. If the only thing you do is add a set of instructions to get the .4s casting time / 0s recovery time wizard buffs cast at the beginning of the fight, Aloth survives many, many more battles. Or just micromanage him yourself.

There's a build for Aloth here that is very focused on the lategame, but enables some pretty decisive actions against megabosses on PotD:

 

Xoti: Ascaloth's Valkyrie of Gaun build is strong and uses some synergies from Xoti's custom subclasses to do things that a main character Contemplative could not do. It starts out fine and gets very good with the right gear. It even comes with a provided AI script, although I wouldn't use the script until you have the two handed sword and bow, because it focuses very much on Xoti's "offense is also defense" abilities that require those weapons to shine.

 

 

Edited by Scrapulous
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Crazy nice/good replies, I'm stoked! Can someone tell me when my posts will stop needing to be approved by a moderator?

@thelee 

Quoting your quotes of my quotes is to hard for my brain this morning, so I will reply in general. It seems:

1) I am not as sloppy as I thought. Yay! It's just PotD stuff.

2) The action economy thing of Ciphers is real - be it attacking for focus, or dropping debuffs focus. Confirmed by @dgray62 as well. Tunnel vision at the expense of other party members on the Ascendant is a real thing too. Glad to know it's not just me.

3) As I am playing semi-blind, I recognize I am probably being super stingy with both gold for upgrades and consumables. I know of items based on build and guides, but I don't/didn't know where most of them are, so I keep hoarding gold in case I need to make my next big purchase. A new play through would fix this. I'm also definitely barely using consumables at all and my party is still resting with hardtack because I am sure I am going to need the 100+ rice I have for the last 2% of the game. I'll start cooking and brewing tonight.

3) I'll upgrade the Reckless Brigandine to Legendary asap. I am sure I have it at least Superb, but possibly not until I check. I just noticed it's Pierce Armor rating as well, and that lines up with what's been downing Eder in fights (arrow/gun barrages).  I'll look at items/consumables to fix that asap.

4) Pallegina is in the Devil of Caroc's Breastplate. That's medium armor right? It should be enough for her with low recovery correct? It's not heavy armor however. I'll go hunt the Nalvi pet asap, I've been using Cutthroat Cosmo.

5) I will also switch from Exalted Focus to Exalted Endurance and possibly go dual Blunderbuss + Morning Star on Pallegina. Open/retain a more central position with the guns for more reactivity and close in afterwards on back line divers.

6) Re: Xoti. Hopefully if I get my healing via consumables under control + damage mitigation, I'll see some improvement here. Litanies were used defensively, mostly because I never had time to use them or in Litany for the Body's case, it's in a crowded tier with lots of abilities I rather use instead. So I see now how Prayer for the Body/Spirit are probably better then the Litany's reactively speaking. Litany for the Spirit might stay, as I don't use much from that tier. 

7) Good to know about the AI + Berserker, that worries me a bit less. Hmmm. Is Barb the only early to mid-game AOE martial class? In general, Pallegina and Eder seem to have single target damage down OK.

 

Any thoughts on Aloth? 

 

@Scrapulous

That Engaging Eder post is really useful, thanks! I'm in general following those builds you posted ironically, but I couldn't find any concise talent layouts for Eder (I was pulling from three different builds at different places). Fantastic.

The Aloth build is great as well, it just leaves me a bit lost on what to do with him early + mid game. I think I am not using Combusting Wounds + Chill Fog enough. That seems to be what everyone is talking about early game. In general I am just throwing Fireballs, Snow Fireballs, Delayed Fireballs, and the missile spells, which has just been OK at best.  It just seems that level 2 is really crowded for spells you want to use. Curse, Miasma, Mirrored Image, Infuse and Combusting Wounds are all fantastic spells, and you can only cast 2-3 per battle (1 more if you use Vaporous).

Ditto at level 3. Displaced Image, Ryngrim's, Arduous, DoAM, Expose Vulnerabilties, Bounding Missiles and Fireball all seem great.

So I guess what is stumping me about Wizards is more so that I'm presented with so many options, I just don't really know when to use what and how or why.

E.g. I AI scripted Spirit Shield, Infuse and DoAM, which is great. Aloth buffs up quickly, but automatically those buffs are stopping me from using 1 more of Arkemyr's Dazzling Lights, Slicken, or Chill Fog, ditto per above for Tiers 2 and 3.

Like if I auto buff at the start and my 1 Combusting Wounds is resisted, my game plan falls apart for that fight if it involves Wounds + whatever. Later tiers are slightly easier.

I don't know if I am making any sense. He just lacks a clear role in my team, so I defaulted him to AOE damage dealer, but I know there is more potential there that I am missing and the AOE schtick hasn't been amazing.

 

 

 

 

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58 minutes ago, NotBad said:

Crazy nice/good replies, I'm stoked! Can someone tell me when my posts will stop needing to be approved by a moderator?

I think you just crossed the threshold with this post. I think it's at 5 posts.

 

Quote

 

@Scrapulous

That Engaging Eder post is really useful, thanks! I'm in general following those builds you posted ironically, but I couldn't find any concise talent layouts for Eder (I was pulling from three different builds at different places). Fantastic.

The Aloth build is great as well, it just leaves me a bit lost on what to do with him early + mid game. I think I am not using Combusting Wounds + Chill Fog enough. That seems to be what everyone is talking about early game. In general I am just throwing Fireballs, Snow Fireballs, Delayed Fireballs, and the missile spells, which has just been OK at best.  It just seems that level 2 is really crowded for spells you want to use. Curse, Miasma, Mirrored Image, Infuse and Combusting Wounds are all fantastic spells, and you can only cast 2-3 per battle (1 more if you use Vaporous).

Ditto at level 3. Displaced Image, Ryngrim's, Arduous, DoAM, Expose Vulnerabilties, Bounding Missiles and Fireball all seem great.

So I guess what is stumping me about Wizards is more so that I'm presented with so many options, I just don't really know when to use what and how or why.

E.g. I AI scripted Spirit Shield, Infuse and DoAM, which is great. Aloth buffs up quickly, but automatically those buffs are stopping me from using 1 more of Arkemyr's Dazzling Lights, Slicken, or Chill Fog, ditto per above for Tiers 2 and 3.

Like if I auto buff at the start and my 1 Combusting Wounds is resisted, my game plan falls apart for that fight if it involves Wounds + whatever. Later tiers are slightly easier.

I don't know if I am making any sense. He just lacks a clear role in my team, so I defaulted him to AOE damage dealer, but I know there is more potential there that I am missing and the AOE schtick hasn't been amazing.

 

Hopefully you get replies from a better player than me. I love playing wizards, but am not great at it. Here are my thoughts about Aloth and wizards generally.

On normal difficulty using them as nukers is very viable. On PotD the enemies have much more health, there are more enemies, and they have better defenses, while you don't do any more damage than you did on normal. Using wizards as nukers in this context is tough until you have a deep array of spell levels to draw from, and even then it's usually not the most effective thing. What you want is to debuff enemies or create situations that multiply the damage your team is doing. If those spells also do damage, even better.

A wizard's first priority is to protect herself. Wizards can actually become quite tanky with the right self-buffs, and with good stats the cast time on those can drop to .3 seconds, meaning you can get all your meaningful buffs off in less time than it casts to get a single nuke done. You also want, imo, to get Deleterious Alacrity of Motion in as an early cast; spellcasting velocity matters, and a wizard typically has a lot of spells that she wants completed all at once in any given situation. The faster that happens, the sooner the fight swings decisively in your favor.

The next priority is to apply the nastiest debuffs you can to your enemies. This is hard on PotD (enemies with high defenses) and really rewards being aware of the different defense types and which spells target which defense. Mouse over each enemy to see where the weakest common defense stat is, then choose your aoe spell that hits that defense and drop it. Afflictions are mostly pretty damaging, especially level 2 and higher afflictions, so you ideally have an arsenal of different aoe spells that apply meaningful afflictions and target different defense types. I'd call that any wizard's #1 priority on PotD. Again, doing damage is a bonus.

Combusting Wounds is great because it's a damage multiplier. It doesn't do damage directly. It puts an effect on each target it hits that gives them a stacking damage over time effect each time they take damage from any other source, including whatever damage spells you cast and whatever your teammates do. My only gripe with it is that it's hard to see the damage it does. Chill Fog is an aoe spell that drops a patch that pulses a damage + blind affliction at regular intervals. You can see how this goes well with Combusting Wounds, because each Chill Fog pulse adds another fire DoT to anybody affected by both spells. It's an early powerhouse combo and never really becomes obsolete, just less obviously the best thing to do as you get more options.

Another thing to pay attention to is whether spells are Foe-only or not. Some spells can be finicky to target - non-foe-only cones, for instance, can be tough to maximize the value with in close quarters since you often have to run to the ideal spot for best coverage.

Also, once you have debuffed enemies, their defenses will have dropped and your spells that target that defense will become more damaging on average (because your hit numbers will rise correspondingly, resulting in more hits and crits). So pay attention to which damage spells target which defense so you can optimize your post-debuff damage contribution.

Once the enemies are thoroughly debuffed and their game has been completely ruined, then go ahead and start dumping pure damage spells; whichever you have remaining. Your job is basically done and you are essentially helping your team with the clean up. At early levels you can run out of spells and fall back on dumping autoattacks on enemies or using scrolls that don't seem like they'll be critical later (low level damage-only spells, mostly). You can also use the renewing necklace of fireballs trick (putting a nearly depleted necklace in your stash with a full necklace makes them both full) once you have two of them to dump fireballs on people if that doesn't feel exploity to you.

At least, this is how wizards have worked for me on PotD. On Normal (and in the original PotD, honestly) they were basically gods dispensing various forms of punishment or death at will, but on the current game they need to focus on turning the enemy's offense into pudding.

Unfortunately, choosing the optimal spells on levelup really requires a bit of metagame knowledge about which grimoires are out there, containing which spells. With that kind of foreknowledge, you can get the optimal grimoire as soon as possible, and you can focus your spell picks on spells you always want in every fight and leave the situational spells (damaging spells that target specific defenses) to the right grimoire that you then ideally swap out for the correct fight. It's not breathtakingly suboptimal to play without this, but if you're like me you get to a point where you want every spell level to have one aoe debuff, one buff, and one useful damage spell, so if you whiff with a vital spell and have to deplete that level with a second cast of it, you're not completely without backup options from other spell levels. Not necessary for your first playthrough, though.

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Thanks again @Scrapulous.

I am going to try to build a more cohesize Aloth plan around what you are saying.

Open question:

Is there a good source of dazed that isn't Arkemyr's Dazzling Lights? I'm thinking of giving Interdiction a go. It competes less with a priests level 1 spells then Lights do with a Wizard's level 1's.

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13 hours ago, NotBad said:

Is there a good source of dazed that isn't Arkemyr's Dazzling Lights? I'm thinking of giving Interdiction a go. It competes less with a priests level 1 spells then Lights do with a Wizard's level 1's.

interdiction is great, and unlike arkemyr's dazlzing lights is party friendly. it also has a larger aoe. the duration is short, though, so until you get a lot of PL scaling and can boost intellect it's not going to be as effective, but it's still useful. fighter gets into the fray, but i feel like you rpetty much need a morningstar to land it on foes you really want to daze. that's pretty much it for the early game.

for mid-game cipher mind plague IMO is amazing, as it hits enemies all around the battlefield, lasts a super long time, and also confuses. imo it's one of the best arguments for single-classing cipher because it gets you access to it that much faster - my survivability increases dramatically once i can start using it. 

 

15 hours ago, Scrapulous said:

Unfortunately, choosing the optimal spells on levelup really requires a bit of metagame knowledge about which grimoires are out there, containing which spells. With that kind of foreknowledge, you can get the optimal grimoire as soon as possible, and you can focus your spell picks on spells you always want in every fight and leave the situational spells (damaging spells that target specific defenses) to the right grimoire that you then ideally swap out for the correct fight

just to second this and add on, if you're really wanting to put the work in and don't mind right clicking on grimories all the time during fights to keep track of spells, a wizard can basically spend no ability points on spells and the rest on passives or a multiclass. my current aloth is a battlemage (fighter/mage) and has basically taken three wizard spells, just so that they are always available: spirit shield (for the +3 AR), bulwark against the elements (for another +5 AR to use in fights with elemental attacks), and deleterious alacrity of motion (for faster actions). i rely on grimoires for everything else. that saves a lot of ability points to use on his fighter side and caster passives, making him extremely tough as nails but still as good a caster as normal.

Edited by thelee
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1 hour ago, thelee said:

interdiction is great, and unlike arkemyr's dazlzing lights is party friendly. it also has a larger aoe. the duration is short, though, so until you get a lot of PL scaling and can boost intellect it's not going to be as effective, but it's still useful. fighter gets into the fray, but i feel like you rpetty much need a morningstar to land it on foes you really want to daze. that's pretty much it for the early game.

for mid-game cipher mind plague IMO is amazing, as it hits enemies all around the battlefield, lasts a super long time, and also confuses. imo it's one of the best arguments for single-classing cipher because it gets you access to it that much faster - my survivability increases dramatically once i can start using it. 

Then there is Kitchen Stove blunderbuss Thunderous Report per encounter power, that deals HUGE damage in a large cone aoe (even bigger with large Intellect - like on a monk with Duality of Mortal Presence - can be like half the screen size), knock-backs AND Dazes enemies for a long time (was something like 20-30 seconds in my case).

Barbarian Leap can be upgraded to Daze, I believe. Also high level Barbarians also have access to Dazing Shouts.

A monk's Stunning Blows / Surge inflicts an even stronger affliction then Dazed (Might Tier 2) - Stun (Might Tier 3). It can possibly be distributed in aoe with mortar blunderbusses or in a cone with Whispers of the Endless Paths. Best deal is that Surge cost is refunded if it crits.

Speaking of Whispers of the Endless Paths, this greatsword has an Offensive Parry upgrade that Ripostes after an enemy miss (100%) AND also inflicts Dazed on enemy. 

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8 hours ago, Haplok said:

Then there is Kitchen Stove blunderbuss Thunderous Report per encounter power,

oh yeah i completely forgot about this. easy to get early on and extremely good. i always underestimated it until i realized it was once/encounter, not once/rest like most abilities. early on you could kill a lot of foes with it alone.

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Arcane Assault is a foe-only source of aoe Daze, but you can't choose it on level-up and the only grimoire that has it is the main character's starting grimoire, which I think is probably nobody's favorite pick. I doubt @thelee's "Three Spell Aloth" wastes a quickslot on the default grimoire for very long after Port Maje, for instance :)

 

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Depends what you are doing with her. For a priest the lantern is pretty awesome. The Monk's part is okay but playing with a small shield is reducing the capability to kill enemies quickly in melee and also makes Stunning Surge less effective - which negates the bonus of the shield a bit. 

Cadhu Scalth is awesome but an item for tanks mostly. Or for somebody who doesn't need a lot of ACC (let's say a priest mostly doing buffs and healing).

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6 minutes ago, Boeroer said:

Depends what you are doing with her. For a priest the lantern is pretty awesome. The Monk's part is okay but playing with a small shield is reducing the capability to kill enemies quickly in melee and also makes Stunning Surge less effective - which negates the bonus of the shield a bit. 

Cadhu Scalth is awesome but an item for tanks mostly. Or for somebody who doesn't need a lot of ACC (let's say a priest mostly doing buffs and healing).

Ya, I meant for Priest Xoti. 75% of the fights are her buffing and/or healing, so I was toying with the idea of basically setting her up with the dagger + large/medium shield modal abilities, and just not attacking at all. Not attacking, mostly because her 1 handed Scepter damage is trivial, but getting caught in a recovery period isn't.

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If you want to be able to react immediately after attacking with a weapon you should pick a pistol or blunderbuss. Recovery is not cancelable, but reload is. This means you are a lot more reactive with spells if you a using a one handed reloading weapon instead of a wand etc. This is extremely helpful if you are also wearing some armor.

Her small shield (lantern) gives power levels to priest keywords. Power level bonuses can have a lot of impact, especially if you can stack multiple of those. Mostly because their bonuses to dmg/healing and duration are altering the base(!) values and thus are multiplicative. So a +2 PL bonus to restoration means your healing abilities will have 10% more base healing and longer duration (if they are not instantaneous) which already multiplies with itself (and then with stuff like MIG and Practised Healer etc.). That's why I would prefer her lantern. If you are operating at range you won't need the protection of a large shield too often I'd assume. You can still keep a large shield in the second set for times when you get attacked with ranged weapons. Then simply switch to large shield and activate "the Wall". This is especially helpful against opening volleys during boarding fights etc.  Besides that it also gives light which is often a nice side effect in dark dungeons. :)

I wouldn't pick the small shield proficiency at all (because: for what?) in this case but only the one for the large shield (which will only be used from time to time but then has a huge impact).

 

Edited by Boeroer
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the shield can also be enchanted to either provide bonus offense or spell resist to your party as an aura depending on how you resolve xoti's quest, in case you haven't done that yet. that on top of the +2 inspiration and restoration PL makes it a king support-priest shield imo.

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Thanks again everyone for all the input and help.

I have another question... Does Minor Threat on a Hearth Orlan benefit a Beguiler much? I get with an Ascendant, any extra crit with a Weapon is going to get your focus up faster, but with a Beguiler, I'm mostly getting focus through spells which AFAIK aren't affected. It would be helpful against single targets/bosses I guess, and I assume it works with spells like Disintegrate? 

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17 hours ago, NotBad said:

Thanks again everyone for all the input and help.

I have another question... Does Minor Threat on a Hearth Orlan benefit a Beguiler much? I get with an Ascendant, any extra crit with a Weapon is going to get your focus up faster, but with a Beguiler, I'm mostly getting focus through spells which AFAIK aren't affected. It would be helpful against single targets/bosses I guess, and I assume it works with spells like Disintegrate? 

there is a cipher talent that gives you a low chance to get some focus back everytime you crit an enemy, so it can help with that as well.

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Hi, I recently started playing and my MC is a level 12 Berserker Brute nature godlike. I'm playing on the difficulty below PotD. Early on, he was a bit underwhelming. It took a while to figure out where to position him. Fighting beside Eder (main tank) was problematic because of the friendly-fire, but charging into the fray for max carnage was risky as hell. It didn't help that I had him wearing light armor for speed. I kept putting him in heavier armor, until at this point he's wearing Reckless brigandine.

When combat starts, I activate Disciplined Barrage and Frenzy, then move in on a flank. This was about it at first, just autoattacks and reapplying DB and Frenzy. He's always frenzied. Once I got Penetrating Strike and Barbaric Blow (Fighter and Barb full attacks), things got fun and red numbers are flying all over the place. Upgrading to Disciplined Strikes and Blood Frenzy was a major improvement as well.

He's currently dual-wielding sword (Modwyr) and battleaxe and either the sword or the berserker is constantly howling in laughter. After reading your post, I wondered how he'd do, so I turned on full upwards level scaling and PotD. We won our first big fight, but its obvious the enemies have a ton more HP, and it took almost an hour to kill them all. We also had to use all of our daily empower abilities, and in the end we had 3 injuries (none to the brute, but he was at 5% health). So its doable, but I don't know if I want to spend that much time and effort on every fight.

Anyway, the brute is a blast to play after he gets some abilities. The hidden HP is a bit annoying, but I've prioritized abilities/equipment that make him tougher at lower HP and when facing lots of enemies, and that's helped. Also auto-pause on low health is handy. The Nature Godlike has great synergy with the berserker, he's always getting an extra power level. I'm mostly playing blind, but my rule of thumb is to prioritize higher power levels and that seems to be paying off.

Companion-wise: Eder, Aloth, and Xoti are pure classes. I also have a hired companion that's dual-class Rogue/Illusionist. Our main weakness is nobody can dispel afflictions very well.

Edited by Helz
Barbaric blow costs 2 rage points.
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8 hours ago, Boeroer said:

It does work with spells.

Mechanically, how does this work with AOE spells, or does it at all?

I went with a Wood Elf Beguiler with the following stats:

10 MIG

8 CON

19 DEX

19 PER

18 INT

4 RES

With early gear, it ends up being 10, 10, 20, 20, 20, 5 (I like clean numbers...).

My old spread after items was 15, 10, 15, 20, 20, 5.

I decided to de-emphasize damage and focus instead on action/recovery speed to spam spells debuff/faster. I'll use Griffin's Blade to make up some of the damage lost on might, and skipped Hearth Orlan's crit advantage because I wasn't 100% sure how much it was getting leveraged. At least 50% of the time in battle, I am not necessarily actively targeting enemies my allies are, so I figured the bonus was probably more niche then it seems. It does help a lot when the fights gets down to 1 tough enemy however...

 

 

Edited by NotBad
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Good question with the AoE since that's not trivial.

Iirc: If an ally is actively threatening the same enemy that will get targeted by an attack roll of yours then Minor Threat should work - even if that attack roll is from an AoE attack.

I didn't test this exclusively though, but it should work like in PoE where it was done in the same way as the Marking mechanic (which I tested in depth back then). 

What doesn't work is if your ally is also only dropping AoEs. The ally has to directly target/attack/threaten the enemy afaik. 

Edited by Boeroer
typo

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Posted (edited)

Another quick question.

Nomad's Brigandine or Devil of Caroc Breastplate on Pallegina (Crusader)? I am using Whispers and have grown to it with Offensive Parry, and I like the idea of the added deflection + immunity to disengagement attacks so that Pallegina can run off and Lay on Hands without risk (and in Whispers case, to great benefit).

I've been reading conflicting things about Reckless Brigandine on Eder. The low pierce armor is noticeable and some sources are saying the action speed boost isn't worth it, but this is in relation to a MC character who has Pirate Cosmo + High dex, both of which Eder does not have. Any advice here as well?

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Il like Devil of Caroc best on damage-oriented martial multiclass characters because it's quite fast for a Breastplate due to its enchantment, then it gives multiclasses +2/+2 resource points which is neat and also the heal on crit is nice for characters who actually land crits. Also I cannot use DoC if I can't also wear the Falcon's Helmet. Because those two obviously totally belong together or else the style police will fine you. ;)

Nomad's Brigandine in combination with Offensive Parry is great. I especially like that combo on Soulblade and Shattered Pillar. 

I like Reckless Briganine on Eder if he's also using a large shield like Cadhu Scalth. The shield modal + CS's enchantment make all ranged attacks pretty laughable anyways so the low pierce AR of the brigandine is no problem. Blunting Belt also helps. Reckless Brigandine + Kapana Taga + Cadhu Scalth is my most often used setup for an Unbroken/Trickster and also for Eder as Fighter/Rogue because the +4 engagement slots from weapon + shield + brigandine allow you to stack the speedups of Mob Stance and Armored Grace with the brigandine's enchantment - and still have the same engagement slots as if you would have used Defender Stance. It's a nice mix of offense and defense.  You can still move around with Escape - or switch the modal off after a while. On top of it all three items fit well together visually and make you look like a Huana Mataru. You'd need a visually fitting helmet though - I often use the White Witch Mask (very useful with club modal + Riposte because of Repulsive Visage).

Edited by Boeroer

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10 hours ago, Boeroer said:

Il like Devil of Caroc best on damage-oriented martial multiclass characters because it's quite fast for a Breastplate due to its enchantment, then it gives multiclasses +2/+2 resource points which is neat and also the heal on crit is nice for characters who actually land crits. Also I cannot use DoC if I can't also wear the Falcon's Helmet. Because those two obviously totally belong together or else the style police will fine you. ;)

Nomad's Brigandine in combination with Offensive Parry is great. I especially like that combo on Soulblade and Shattered Pillar. 

I like Reckless Briganine on Eder if he's also using a large shield like Cadhu Scalth. The shield modal + CS's enchantment make all ranged attacks pretty laughable anyways so the low pierce AR of the brigandine is no problem. Blunting Belt also helps. Reckless Brigandine + Kapana Taga + Cadhu Scalth is my most often used setup for an Unbroken/Trickster and also for Eder as Fighter/Rogue because the +4 engagement slots from weapon + shield + brigandine allow you to stack the speedups of Mob Stance and Armored Grace with the brigandine's enchantment - and still have the same engagement slots as if you would have used Defender Stance. It's a nice mix of offense and defense.  You can still move around with Escape - or switch the modal off after a while. On top of it all three items fit well together visually and make you look like a Huana Mataru. You'd need a visually fitting helmet though - I often use the White Witch Mask (very useful with club modal + Riposte because of Repulsive Visage).

All these replies fill me with joy.

This game is such a hidden gem of fun, but also in the most frustrating way. I've read thelee's FAQ at least 3 times over and I still have a million questions and I still walk around the game going "I wonder if this works", or "damn that's cool".

Every time I load up this game and not immediately increase the game speed, but just watch my party walk around the beautiful areas, I am so impressed.

 

Is there a satisfying AOE martial class that is not a Barbarian? I am guessing a Mortar Monk as another option. Combat is so satisfying sometimes when I blow up a group of mobs, that I keep getting the urge to go all in on that. The Kitchen Stove Thunderous report attack is so satisfying to use.

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