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13 minutes ago, Scrapulous said:

Bloodmage is unquestionably powerful, but I also think it's overkill in a way. For most fights you have enough spells. Where I think Bloodmages excel is against megabosses: long, drawn-out fights with a lot of choreography and special needs. Bloodmage has the entire suite of wizard spells available to answer every need and the ability to renew those spells if they're depleted. That's a big deal to be sure.

But in trash fights I never needed to renew spells, and even against most bosses there's plenty of power available even if you deplete your favorite spell level.

One caveat is that I haven't yet played a blood mage on PotD, but I'm approaching the megaboss stage with an Evoker/Magranite, so I have the sense that I know how non-Bloodmage wizards play.

Haplok, do you disagree? I think it may well be that I'm missing an important factor.

Well, I do disagree. Kinda. Although you're not wrong - it's less of an issue when you're high level and have 7-9 spell levels to choose from (except in long, drawn out fights, like you noticed). However at early to mid-game I've always found myself starved for spell-slots. And being eternally torn whether I cast all the awesome protections and self-buffs or actual offensive spells. Always low on Chillfogs, Slickens, Combusting Wounds.

I kinda feel OBLIGED to use Grimoire of Vaporous Wizardry on non-Bloodmages for the additional spell slots. But there are other nice grimoires also... and GoVW kinda forces the use of Rekvu's Casque to negate interrupts, while for a nuker I'd much rather use Deltro's Cage Helmet...

 

PLUS his Blood Sacrifice is really neat: +1 Power Level on a permanent basis AND in case you use a Human, you can also control being Blooded and having +7 Accuracy and +15% damage on a semi-permanent basis also. When fighting enemy groups, healing is a non-issue with Concelhaut's Corrosive Siphon.

Edited by Haplok
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15 minutes ago, Samugol said:

1. Most overall powerful

2. Most fun and synergystic

3. Most castery (heaviest casting of spells)

4. Most survivable

5. Most thematic in some cool way

you were probably asking boeroer specifically, but my opinions

1. SC fire-based evoker (if you're doing megabosses, I would instead pick SC bloodmage)

2. a streetfighter glass cannon martial build, like streetfighter/bloodmage. i would not recommend this for first-time ironman mode and/or berath's challenge.

3. honestly i think this is the wrong question to ask, or you're asking for something else. everyone has the same number of spellcasting, so outside of blood mage or resource regen combos i don't know what you're asking for here.

4. for melee? paladin (any)/(any) wizard. for a caster? probably lifegiver/(any) wizard or a priest/(any) wizard.

5. have you considered a deadfire lich? https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/pc/227477-pillars-of-eternity-ii-deadfire/faqs/76599/case-study-2-deadfire-lich (edit - i just realized this needs to be updated a bit because of nerfs to wall of draining in 5.0)

 

keep in mind that if you're not playing solo you have other party members who can fill in the gaps. "Most survivable" for a caster wizard doesn't matter as much if you have a priest or druid in your party.

Edited by thelee
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Man the more replies the better 😄 I am going to check those out. I wanted to hear Boeroer's opinion but I am happy you replied. The lich seems interesting, but being at the edge of life and death in iron man... hmmm not sure how I feel about that.

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28 minutes ago, Scrapulous said:

Bloodmage is unquestionably powerful, but I also think it's overkill in a way. For most fights you have enough spells. Where I think Bloodmages excel is against megabosses: long, drawn-out fights with a lot of choreography and special needs. Bloodmage has the entire suite of wizard spells available to answer every need and the ability to renew those spells if they're depleted. That's a big deal to be sure.

But in trash fights I never needed to renew spells, and even against most bosses there's plenty of power available even if you deplete your favorite spell level.

 

20 minutes ago, Haplok said:

Well, I do disagree. Kinda. Although you're not wrong - it's less of an issue when you're high level and have 7-9 spell levels to choose from (except in long, drawn out fights, like you noticed). However at early to mid-game I've always found myself starved for spell-slots. And being eternally torn whether I cast all the awesome protections and self-buffs or actual offensive spells. Always low on Chillfogs, Slickens, Combusting Wounds.

 

for me, it's not about "running out of spells." it's the fact that normally, when you play a caster with finite resources, what you are effectively in combat is doing "in this situation, there is a best spell to cast, a second-best spell to cast, a third-best spell to cast, etc." you start off with the first-best spell to cast, and then move down the list, adjusting your mental list as situations change. you're likely doing this constantly even if you're not actively conscious of this mental model, e.g. "oh i was gonna cast ninagauth's shadow flame, but i'm out of tier 4 casts, so i'll instead cast..."

a blood mage simply gets to say "i will always cast the first-best spell to cast" regardless of how many other spells you have. the fact that you also frequently are doing that at +1 PL and the some of the most synergistic spells are also the easiest to regen is icing on the cake.

 

edit: i do agree that in many situations on potd, a blood mage is so powerful that it's effectively overkill. in addition, in very late game trash fights, a SC wizard can empower a spell to completely obviate the need to cast anything more than a couple spells (+5 PL with all the empower talents is really hard for the blood mage to compete with over the span of just a few spells). however in boss fights they really do get to shine, but they do need a lot of healing support or some sort of anti-death combo due to the length of some of the fights (esp megaboss).

Edited by thelee
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Ha ha, ok. I see where we differ. I really enjoy the resource management side of a wizard. The things you two mention as problems the Bloodmage solves (having to decide whether to use the Grimoire of Vaporous Wizardry + Rekvu's Casque, having to move to less optimal spell levels, juggling grimoires) are part of what I enjoy about playing wizards. Every fight starts to look real similar to me if you solve those problems too early in the game, so I like having to work on the puzzle of "given the enemies I am facing (kith are always the worst here), how do I manage the spells I have available at the levels that aren't depleted to hurt them the most?"

20 minutes ago, Haplok said:

being eternally torn whether I cast all the awesome protections and self-buffs or actual offensive spells. Always low on Chillfogs, Slickens, Combusting Wounds.

That's where I'm happy, and part of why I mostly do not enjoy the specialist subclasses, because they narrow the range of available spells more than I enjoy when I'm still in the resource management part of the game. I should also mention that I play with the Balance Polishing Mod, which eliminates some of the cheese available to Blood Mages (perpetual Barring Death's Door).

Thanks for explaining, you two.

Also, yes, the PL boost of Blood Sacrifice is nothing to sneeze at, either. It's mitigated somewhat by the opportunity cost of using Blood Sacrifice, but I definitely felt like one gains more than one loses from the bargain.

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5 minutes ago, Scrapulous said:

Every fight starts to look real similar to me if you solve those problems too early in the game

yeah, i think some long-gone forum member noted in some ancient thread where people were exploring the bloodmage potential as like "oh great, so now you can just cast slicken over and over every fight, swell"

Edited by thelee
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Okay, its important what you like.

For me it was painful that I needed to be stingy about buffs with regular wizards - particularly when they get so many good ones.

Spirit Shield, Eldritch Aim, Infuse with Vital Essence, Mirror Image, Merciless Gaze, Deleterous Alacricity of Motion, maybe even Arcane Veil - and you've nearly spent your level 1 trough 3 spell slots. Actually that's more level 2 slots then you have as a non-Bloodmage.

Meanwhile I also REALLY want to use Combusting Wounds, Chillfog, Slicken. Concelhaut's Corrosive Siphon is GREAT for group Health drain. But I could never afford to cast  it as a regular wizard. Sometimes maybe I'd like to draw enemy attention with Arkemyr's Dazzling Lights cast from Stealth (quite often as an Assassin Spellblade, actually). I personally never used Miasma of Dull-Mindedness much, but its another powerful level 2 spell that competes with all those great buffs (and other great spells) for level 2 slots.

 

So yeah, for me the versatile Bloodmage was a real blessing and only type of Wizard I want to play in Deadfire.

Edited by Haplok
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I thought a lot about it yesterday. Since I actually have not played the game, these assumptions may be wrong but here I go.

regular single class wizard

ADVANTAGES:

probably the best AoE damage

can one shot some of the bosses with empowered spells (so single target is also great)

can destroy trash encounters easily

gets strong spells earlier

DISADVANTAGES:

can have issues with managing spells in a prolonged fights like mentioned megabosses

has to be a lot more selective when using spells, because of their limited uses

more difficult early-mid game, as I assume the spell selection is not that deep

if evoker is chosen, gives up some of the great spells

 

Now a blood mage multiclass

ADVANTAGES:

stronger in prolonged fights because of virtually unlimited resources when some sort of healing is available

ability to spam the favorite spell over and over

DISADVANTAGES:

lack of empower (does not matter as much because has infinite spells)

lack of tier 8-9 spells if multiclass

if more spells are used, cannot really choose which spell he gets back (can by circumvented by spamming one specific spell)

needs some form of healing

 

I still feel that blood mage is more interesting to me. I really like managing resources and this is one cool concept. So is there any advice to build a blood mage multiclass? I like Boeroer's build of Steel Garrote + Bloodmage. Are there any other bloodmage builds? He mentioned helwalker + bloodmage, but I think I am a bit more inclined towards classes that can work by themselves. Heal themselves without the need to rely on the party healer. Also Steel Garrote seems to be a bit more on the evil side, so I am looking for other viable non-evil options 😄

 

Edited by Samugol
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I have been looking at some ways to keep blood mage non-reliant on healing from others. So far I have:

1, Draining Concelhaut's Corrosive Siphon - a wizard spell that heals so it is automatically available

2. Steel Garrote + Whispers of the Endless Paths combo @Boeroer suggested

3. Shield bearer paladin and their lay on hands

4. Kind wayfarer paladin and their white flames

5, Fighter and their unbending, which maybe could prolonged with a wall of draining... no idea if this could work, I am just looking at the ability + spell

6. Using Concelhaut's Parasitic Staff - that could also heal

 

And I am sure there are more ways, I am just playing around 😄 any other thoughts?

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5 hours ago, Haplok said:

So yeah, for me the versatile Bloodmage was a real blessing and only type of Wizard I want to play in Deadfire.

Would you care to share how exactly you played your bloodmage? I am decided on a bloodmage at this point.

 

14 hours ago, thelee said:

5. have you considered a deadfire lich? https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/pc/227477-pillars-of-eternity-ii-deadfire/faqs/76599/case-study-2-deadfire-lich (edit - i just realized this needs to be updated a bit because of nerfs to wall of draining in 5.0)

Do you think this would work with a fighter's unbending? I mean wall of draining + unbending should be lots of HP...if I understand the effect right. Also you suggested a fighter multiclass with bloodmage and I am starting to think it might be even better than the paladin.

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Well, I've played a Spellblade (Bloodmage/Assassin multiclass), so its a slightly different playstyle (striking from stealth with the Assassinate bonus of +25 Accuracy, +4 Pen, +50% Critical damage). With high Accuracy and additionally stacked nearly 50% Hit-to-Crit conversion.

Perhaps more importantly, I've played it Turn Based (lots of wizard "Free Actions" - including Blood Sacrifice).

Notably I've made heavy use of Deltro's Cage Helmet, which provided a 30-140% shock lash in most fights (need to hit self with lightning first).

Some advice on how I've built and played this character (as well as some pics :) ) can be seen in this topic:

 

Concelhaut's Corrosive Siphon offers very potent healing when you manage to hit an enemy group with it.

Late game I've also had a lot of passive healing on-kill from Engoliero de Espirs Estoc Ghost Blades with Blade Feast enchant, which restore as much health as they hit for (and they are boosted by weapon quality and all other damage bonuses, such as might, sneak attacks, deathblows, ranged weapon damage boosts and so on).

 

Regarding Fighter's Unbending, it would certainly work fantastic with Wall of Draining. Also Fighter's active skills work nicely with some of the summoned weapons, most notably Citzal's Lance with Clear Out (although its also decent with Mule Kick for damage & CC in 1 move). Fighter has the clear advantage in the Engagement slots for tanking, if that is your cup of tea. His great defensive active buff (Vigorous/Refreshing Defense) doesn't stack with the Wizard's buffs, sadly though.

Generally a Paladin is possibly more synergistic, if less interesting to play as a martial wizard MC (no interesting active weapon moves). His passive Faith defense buffs stack with Wizard's active buffs. He eventually gets sick Armor buffs which again stack with active wizard buffs. His Eternal Devotion damage lash works on spells also (after attacking with weapon).

 

So I guess Fighter MC for a martial wizard that eventually wants to focus on weapon attacks and a Paladin MC for unkillable battlemage standing on the frontline, but focusing on spells.

Edited by Haplok
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15 hours ago, Samugol said:

Wow, so many great ideas 😄 Damn, I am not sure what to pick now 😄 I will ask Boeroer since he is the GOD of PoE games (I am not dimishing other people's knowledge, but this has been giving me awesome advice since I started playing PoE 1 on PS4 😄 His life draining cipher is to this day my favorite cipher build). So in your opinion, which wizard combination is (and since there are many answers)

1. Most overall powerful

2. Most fun and synergystic

3. Most castery (heaviest casting of spells)

4. Most survivable

5. Most thematic in some cool way

6. Most suited for iron man run, but in a party

Hi again. :)

Just my personal preferences/opinion

1. Single class Bloodmage (if you don't like Empower) or non-subclass Wizard

2. Helwalker/Bloodmage (dangerous but fun) or Assassin/Bloodmage (Arkemyr's Brilliant Departure induced shenanigans).

3. Psion/Wizard

4. Arcane Knight or Battlemage

5. totally depends on your imagination

6. Arcane Knight

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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2 hours ago, Samugol said:

Do you think this would work with a fighter's unbending? I mean wall of draining + unbending should be lots of HP...if I understand the effect right. Also you suggested a fighter multiclass with bloodmage and I am starting to think it might be even better than the paladin.

that's an interesting idea, but i'm not sure if unbending triggers off of blood sacrifice. maybe someone can verify.

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4 hours ago, Haplok said:

Perhaps more importantly, I've played it Turn Based (lots of wizard "Free Actions" - including Blood Sacrifice).

This answers a follow-up question I had. Because your use case "cast all the buffs" and thelee's "cast the best possible spell at any moment" are mutually exclusive in RTwP mode.... or at least they require a lot of action and recovery time spent blood sacrificing to get the buff casts back. Blood Sacrifice as a free action sounds really powerful. I wonder if Turn Based is the ideal mode for Blood Mages.

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I don't think it's entirely exclusive. Just much easier and more convenient turn-based. Blood Sacrifice has no Recovery and 0,8 Second cast time. Maybe 0,5 sec with speed bonuses, I'm guessing.

As do most other buffs (except Llengrath Safeguard - which I only used for longest, toughest fights). 

 

Edited by Haplok
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5 hours ago, Boeroer said:

1. Single class Bloodmage (if you don't like Empower) or non-subclass Wizard

Is there some specific way to build this guy? How does he deal with health loss? Having the siphon spell cannot be enough... I feel he would be too reliant on the other party members (which is not necessarily a bad thing).

 

5 hours ago, Boeroer said:

4. Arcane Knight or Battlemage

I am decided on this. Playing Iron Man is my favorite, playing self sustaining caster is my favorite, I like armors,,, It just looks too nice to play anything else. Is there a good way to build any of those? Like The Steel Garrote + Whisper parry blade. Steel Garrote seem pretty evil (they are tight with Woedica). Would another paladin work? Lay on Hands, White Flames, Draining weapon? Would those work similarly to the Steel Garrote Paladin or not really? How about that fighter? Is there a way to make the fighter similarly tanky and also self healing like the paladin? I do not need a specific build or a stat spread, I am just looking for a push in the right direction 😄 I really love the Steel Garrote concept, it is pretty much what I am looking for, I am just a bit worried because I would be playing an evil character so I am looking for similar, not so evil paladin/fighter alternatives. I am sorry for all the blocks of text, and for all the begging. I am just seeing the playthrough more clearly now. It would be a shame to stop. Also all the help is very much appreciated. Not only Boeroer's but everyone's. This community is just splendid. Not at all toxic like some others (I am looking at you Counter Strike Global Offensive).

 

 

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22 minutes ago, Haplok said:

I don't think it's entirely exclusive. Just much easier and more convenient turn-based

So would you say that I should play the turn based mode? How is it? Divinity Original Sin (both 1 and 2 ) are turn based, the new Baldur's Gate 3 is going to be turn based. PoE1 is not, so I suppose it would feel a bit strange.

 

5 hours ago, Haplok said:

So I guess Fighter MC for a martial wizard that eventually wants to focus on weapon attacks and a Paladin MC for unkillable battlemage standing on the frontline, but focusing on spells.

That is a perfect summary 😄 I totally want to be that unkillable battlemage standing on the front line. I always feel that in the world of magic, where you can rupture the sky with your thought, create earthquakes, summon demons...etc. Why would you even have a weapon? It should be nothing but a back up for those "I cannot cast no more" moments or maybe some powerful artifact giving you some rare ability - like life leech or something. Also, armor makes sense because it makes you more unkillable. I would also like to thank you for all the kind words that made me realize what kind of build I want to play. Also your assassin/bloodmage build is super awesome, I am just not sure I would be able to never die in Iron Man 😄

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I'm glad you've found your answer. 

 

Regarding Turn Based, I hesitate to really recommend it.

It cripples too many important aspects /mechanics of the normal game related to action speed (dexterity, armor, fighting style, cast time, weapon style, weapon/shield modals). Seriously upsets the martial vs spell balance. 

 

They should have made it individual initiative / personal round based. Alas, the devs went the easy way. 

Although if you do play it, a wizard is one of the best characters to do so 😄

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Fighter's Unbending ability provides a small instance of an healing-over-time effect (also called Unbending in the combat tooltips under active effects) every time the char receives damage. With Wall of Draining every such instance of Unbending gets prolonged. They all stack and thiscan lead to up to thousands of HP regenerated every 3 secs (in extreme cases).

The Battlemage becomes unkillable (unless he gets one-shotted which isn't very likely). However, Unbending and Wall of Draining are not really early abilites. Luckily Vigorous Defense stacks with all of the Wizard's deflection buffs (except with Llengrath's Safeguard - the AR bonus stacks though, just not the defense ones). So a Battlemage can be plenty sturdy as slong as he's not hit by an Arcane Dampener. That is the advantage of the Paladin: his passive defense bonuses can't get dispelled. 

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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