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as I am finishing PoE1, I realized that I really love the game, even more than I thought. So even though I am going to start playing Deadfire soon (I still need to finish a few things in PoE, but I am really excited to play Deadfire) I am 100% going to replay the game in the near future. And I am constantly trying to find new and cool ways to improve my characters and optimize things here and there. The thing I realized is, that A LOT OF THE TIME, many characters do very little, because I am saving their abilities and spells. At this point I know the game really well and I know which encounters are more difficult so I could easily just UNLOAD all the wizard and priest spells, but I rarely do that anyway. It is more like my "holy sh!t" button that never gets pushed. So I thought... would it be possible to make a party that is able to mostly use per encounter abilities? Of course, because right now, I am beating the game relatively easily with what I have, eve though some characters do very little:


Eder - built mostly for tanking,

Aloth - built as a blast wizard

Durance - as a fire priest

Me - as a melee cipher

Grieving Mother - as a melee cipher

Kana - as dragon thrashed tank

This party is really strong and the only problems I ever had were some bounties that I took 5 levels earlier than I should have... BUT IT COULD BE MUCH BETTER:

Eder - he does not do very much, he just... tanks, I tried to build him a bit more aggresively, giving  him damage abilities and pretty destructive saber, but his damage just pales... even with added wizard missile spell I rarely find that I do much with him, knockdown + missiles, I used to use a blunderbuss to do some damage, but I find it really troublesome to switch all the time (I sometimes forget to switch to weapon and shield), so Eder would be a canditate to switch for some other interesting character (I have to say he was in all of my playthroughs and I am a bit worried that tanking dragons without him - could be really hard)

Aloth - I use kalakoths minor blights as it is mastered now, but I feel that this only shines when there are groups of clustered enemies and at that point, two cipher can really put the hurt on them (mental binding or amplified wave) seem to disable these groups quickly, so doing extra damage here is not really that relevant. Also it is quite a while before he is able to master kalakoths minor blights and he cannot master deleterious alacrity of motion at the same time, which makes the combo really shine. What I am trying to say is that what he does through the vast majority of the game, just uses the charm sceptre and does a little bit of damage/support when needed (which is pretty much during boss fights).

Durance - He uses painful interdiction that benefits the 2 ciphers a lot. He can use withdraw on Kana to make him into a totem of destruction and he helps the party with various support spells, but only from time to time. Honestly I cannot imagine playing ciphers without him, but I am open to suggestions. (Like to make him actually really damaging with some weapon or something...)

The three above need either some serious changes, or could be substituted for different characters (I have never actually played a barbarian, a monk nor rogue, so I am very much open to some of these substituting the 3 characters I have now, it would make for a very different playthrough with characters I do not know so well).

Me - I feel like I do the most for the party. I settled with a cipher wearing Wayfareres Hide (really fast, but not too squishy) but I also have little saviour (earlier Ilfan Byrngar's Solace) + bittercut or life drain sabre(still experimenting a bit about which is better - bittercut has corrode damage which is much better, but the lifedrain sabre has a lot bigger crit, so stunned enemies generate A LOT of focus, but also it has LIFEDRAIN which is even more survivability) everything durgan reinforced. I was also able to find gauntlets of swift action. I feel this is probably the most ultimate melee cipher, because the damage output is insane, while being A LOT more survivable than the Blade of The Endless paths cipher/Tidefall cipher I played before. I do not think there is much room for improvement here (I realize that it is possible to withdraw Kana and use mindweb on him, but this is very much a late game combo and I want to stay relevant also through early/mid game). I am willing to listen to suggestions, but I did various tests vs many different enemies, and cipher that was really fast (can reach 0 recovery with the aboves gear + time parasite or DAoM potion) with sword and shield did generally better than cipher with a big two hander (firebrand/tidefall/BoTP). Because the preservation on the shield together with the special helmet (the one with horns acquired in WM1) ensures that he is able to quickly dominate/disable any threat to him while if he is stunned/prone he becomes immortal pretty much. Yes, big two handers have higher focus gain, but that is not really that relevant as I have plenty of focus. Also, the moment ciphers with big two handers are CCed in any way, they are pretty much dead. Finally, even though they can be very durable with lots of healing (like Boeroer suggested in 2017 thread - thanks for that :D, lots of fun) the loss of health becomes a real problem. Overall, I want to rest as little as possible.

Grieving mother - She is build pretty much in the same way I am, even though her stats are much worse for that. I though of maybe trying to use her as a ranged cipher with stormcall next time around, but I have mixed feelings about that, because so many great cipher powers are very close range, she would have to run around the battlefield quite a bit, while being pretty squishy does not seem like a good idea.

Kana - Just stacking as much deflection + healing on him while his chant is nothing but overlapping dragon thrashed (I tried to combine it with chant that frightens others, but the drop in DPS is very significant and I do not think it helps party's survival as much as dealing tons of damage with dragon thrashed and killing enemies fast). Of course I am open to suggestions here.

As a final note, I think completely custom parties are naturally stronger, I like story companions. I feel a lot more immersed, so any ideas should be doable with them as well. Also I tried to find some threads or info about parties that do not rest much, but I was very unsuccessful. I like the barbarian tank build Boeroer made a while back. If it is doable with barbarian companion I would be all up for that. Finally, I setup everything myself (who attacks who and how etc) but if there is a reasonable AI option, with these charactes, I am up for that (I was always afraid to let AI use per rest abilties). I have not idea how well AI ciphers/monks/rogues/barbarians do.



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