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Party Advice: Can this group (the "Fellowship of the Ring II") handle mega-bosses?


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Hi, I have, after endless theory-crafting, come close to finalizing my roster for a turn-based PoTD game. It will be loosely themed after the Fellowship of the Ring. In fact, some of you guys remember that I had a PoE 1 roster that I put together with all your help on the same theme. Hence, this group will be named the "Fellowship of the Ring II."

Now my main question regarding this line-up is whether I can handle mega-bosses - and if not, what modifications I can make to make that possible. I have not played in over two years, so I have no idea how the game has changed, especially in regard to the new turn-based mode. Further, I am also trying two classes I've never tried before in PoE II: Cipher and Priest. I am specifically trying both classes, because I have read a number of people suggesting that both classes are needed for mega-bosses.

So this is the rough sketch:

1. Aragorn - front-line melee DPS/off-tank (main character): A Devoted/Monk build inspired by AndreaColombo's Lady of Pain - modified by some of Boerer's suggestions. I always play melee DPS as main character in RPGs, and this is no exception. I struggled the longest time between a Devoted/Monk build and a Devoted/Rogue build based on Haplok's Armorbreaker; and in the end I felt a Monk sub-class gave you a bit more versatility than a Rogue sub-class via AoE damage and hard CC.

2. Boromir - front-line tank: An Unbroken or Devoted/Trickster build who will be a riposte tank. Pretty straightforward. He should be able to get around 200 Deflection without any external buffs by stacking all kinds of Deflection items.

3. Gandalf - mid-line melee or "linebacker": A reach weapon Fighter/Chanter build who will provide passive buffs and clean-up anything that escapes my two front-liners.

[Edit: Gandalf will be Priest/Paladin; he will still be a mid-line melee and use reach weapons.]

4. Arwen - mid-line buffer/healer: A Priest/Paladin who will start the fight by buffing the group and then use whatever spells and invocations as needed. I am not sure what weapon I will use with her. In fact, I am not even sure whether she uses a melee or ranged weapon. Suggestions?

[Edit 2: Arwen will be a Druid/Chanter; per suggestions below that this group needed more caster DPS.)

5. Legolas - back-line ranged DPS: A Ghost Heart/Cipher build suggested by Kaylon here:

This will be mainly a ranged DPS, and I will primarily use the Cipher aspect to utilize Ancestor's Memory when the occasion permits. Unlike Kaylon's suggestion, however, I'd prefer to use Saint Omaku's war bow, rather than Frostseeker.

How does this group look overall in turn-based PotD context - especially when it comes to handling mega-bosses? In particular, I am worried that I might be too melee-heavy, given that Aragorn, Boromir, and Gandalf are all melees; and Arwen will be a quasi-melee or in melee range. Further, I am also unsure of what exactly is the Arwen character doing, as hinted. I have a Priest, because I have been told it may be needed for mega-bosses; and I've splashed on Paladin, because I am missing one in this group. How should she be further built as a Priest/Paladin - or should I go with a different multi-class?

Any kind of advice would be appreciated, as usual.

 

Edited by Lampros
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Ah, I see that this is the fruit of all your recent post, Lampros. While I might be inclined to quibble with the idea of Gandalf as a warcaller, it looks like a solid party with a nice blend of strong melee DPS with support from spell casters. Too bad you can have a sixth party member, like POE1, to add "Gimli." Since paladins are pretty tanky I'd be inclined to have "Arwen" be primarily melee. As for Gandalf, you might consider making him an ancient/troubador theurge, a staff wielder, naturally. That would fit better thematically I think, and might add more to the party.

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Aha, so this is where all that research energy has been going into! Fun theme (I was not active much on the forums for PoE 1 so did not see this before).

 

As for megabosses, what I really did was just skim your build and see if you had a chanter and/or a cipher. You have both, so I think you are absolutely set. I've done megabosses a lot. Not on turn-based, but I believe the overall principle will be the same: you can handle any challenge so long as you're willing to get and use the following skills (either on your way up or respeccing just for megabosses):

  1. chanter - one dozen stood (chant). this is to persistently resist auranic's terrorizing sigil without relying on something that can be easily cleansed away
  2. chanter - blessed was wengrith (chant). you don't need this, but this (or having paladin's zealous charge aura) helps a lot with running around and avoiding dorudugan's fiery death.
  3. chanter - called to his bidding (invocation). the fabled animated weapons. they can run lots of interference for you, and when belranga/hauane gets lower defenses the sword can knockdown the megaboss perpetually
  4. cipher - ancestor's memory. a recurring source of brilliant will cure all ills
  5. cipher - disintegration. massively simplifies hauane o whe fight if you can land it.

both the priest and paladin will also offer hugely helpful spells (salvation of time, barring death's door, lay on hands [optionally with a death shield]), but those five abilities up top are central to "easy" attempts at megabosses for myself.

 

do note that turn-based dorudugan and hauane might run counter to some advice about de-prioritizing dex, because it becomes important to be able to have party members have their turns before critical abilities activate (dorudugan's various fiery death options, hauane's attempt at merging if you were unable to land disintegration in its first form). i do not hav ea lot of experience in this realm.

edit - warning: i am extremely dubious that turn-based mode megabosses is going to be very enjoyable. even on rtwp they can take a long time. on turn-based they might be an utter slog. i know someone beat the ultimate in turn-based mode, but "possible" and "fun" seem very at odds here.

Edited by thelee
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Nice theme.

IMO your party is a bit too caster (nuker) light for a turn-based playtrough.

Combats may drag more then they need to. Would be fine in real time. But turn based combat is sometimes painfully slow even with heavy nuking.

Edited by Haplok
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8 hours ago, dgray62 said:

Ah, I see that this is the fruit of all your recent post, Lampros. While I might be inclined to quibble with the idea of Gandalf as a warcaller, it looks like a solid party with a nice blend of strong melee DPS with support from spell casters. Too bad you can have a sixth party member, like POE1, to add "Gimli." Since paladins are pretty tanky I'd be inclined to have "Arwen" be primarily melee. As for Gandalf, you might consider making him an ancient/troubador theurge, a staff wielder, naturally. That would fit better thematically I think, and might add more to the party.

Yes, I have a tendency to over-research and over-theorycraft before I start playing any game! ;) But the alternative is to start over gazillion times though, since I hate playing un-optimally.

It's funny that you mention Gimli, because he was indeed one of my front-liners in PoE 1; but the difference is that I ran two DPS front-liners for that group, Aragorn and Gimli. But here Boromir was more appropriate as a sidekick to Aragorn, since this spot is for a shield tank.

I agree that a Druid/Chanter brings more than a Fighter/Chanter, since I have a sturdy group and may not need a mid-line clean-up guy. But I am so used to having a melee-centric parties in general and a mid-line linebacker in RPGs in particular; and old habits die hard! But I will consider the switch. Since I have a lot of healing with this group anyways though, perhaps a Fury/Trobadour is better than an Ancient/Trobadour?

Finally, if I do make the switch as you suggested, then what would be Arwen's melee weapon set-up as a Priest/Paladin? I don't want her on the front-line, since three front-liners will congest things. But she doesn't really have the tools to be an effective mid-line reach weapon user the way a Fighter or a Monk would have with their AoEs. Or does her weapon set-up not matter, since she'd be casting most of the time? Keep in mind I've not played a Priest in PoE 2 either.

6 hours ago, thelee said:

Aha, so this is where all that research energy has been going into! Fun theme (I was not active much on the forums for PoE 1 so did not see this before).

 

As for megabosses, what I really did was just skim your build and see if you had a chanter and/or a cipher. You have both, so I think you are absolutely set. I've done megabosses a lot. Not on turn-based, but I believe the overall principle will be the same: you can handle any challenge so long as you're willing to get and use the following skills (either on your way up or respeccing just for megabosses):

  1. chanter - one dozen stood (chant). this is to persistently resist auranic's terrorizing sigil without relying on something that can be easily cleansed away
  2. chanter - blessed was wengrith (chant). you don't need this, but this (or having paladin's zealous charge aura) helps a lot with running around and avoiding dorudugan's fiery death.
  3. chanter - called to his bidding (invocation). the fabled animated weapons. they can run lots of interference for you, and when belranga/hauane gets lower defenses the sword can knockdown the megaboss perpetually
  4. cipher - ancestor's memory. a recurring source of brilliant will cure all ills
  5. cipher - disintegration. massively simplifies hauane o whe fight if you can land it.

both the priest and paladin will also offer hugely helpful spells (salvation of time, barring death's door, lay on hands [optionally with a death shield]), but those five abilities up top are central to "easy" attempts at megabosses for myself.

 

do note that turn-based dorudugan and hauane might run counter to some advice about de-prioritizing dex, because it becomes important to be able to have party members have their turns before critical abilities activate (dorudugan's various fiery death options, hauane's attempt at merging if you were unable to land disintegration in its first form). i do not hav ea lot of experience in this realm.

edit - warning: i am extremely dubious that turn-based mode megabosses is going to be very enjoyable. even on rtwp they can take a long time. on turn-based they might be an utter slog. i know someone beat the ultimate in turn-based mode, but "possible" and "fun" seem very at odds here.

Yup; I included a Cipher - which I've never played - precisely because people said you need one for mega-bosses.

As for not dumping Dexterity too much, what is the magic number I need to stay ahead of mega-bosses? I was planning on keeping it around 10 for melees, and around 14 for casters. Is this still insufficient?

5 hours ago, Haplok said:

Nice theme.

IMO your party is a bit too caster (nuker) light for a turn-based playtrough.

Combats may drag more then they need to. Would be fine in real time. But turn based combat is sometimes painfully slow even with heavy nuking.

Yes, I was mindful of the slog issue in turn-based. To compensate, I did employ a lot of melee AoEs though - in particular, the Devoted/Monk and the Devoted/Chanter will be spamming Clear Out a lot. Not enough? What if I take up dgray62's suggestion that I substitute Fighter/Chanter for Druid/Chanter?

 

Edited by Lampros
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5 hours ago, Lampros said:

As for not dumping Dexterity too much, what is the magic number I need to stay ahead of mega-bosses? I was planning on keeping it around 10 for melees, and around 14 for casters. Is this still insufficient?

i think based on the video you shared in the other thread, the dexterity is irrelevant. i was worried that you wouldnt' be able to disrupt dorudugan because i had assumed the knock up ended at the current turn, not at the beginning of the party member's next turn.

it might still be an issue for hauane, but if you are good about landing disintegrate then it might not matter either. edit - i briefly forgot that in turn-based mode the graze range is 0-50, so you have a much easier time of trying to land disintegrate than in rtwp.

Edited by thelee
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8 hours ago, Lampros said:

Finally, if I do make the switch as you suggested, then what would be Arwen's melee weapon set-up as a Priest/Paladin?

If you run Arwen as a priest/paladin, you might consider making her a Priest of Magran, and having her dual wield Magran's Favor and Sun and Moon, for the nice +4 to fire power levels (during the day), as well as to Flames of Devotion. For tougher fights, you could replace Sun and Moon with Magran's Blessing. Late game, you could have her dual wield Magran's Favor and the Wand of Weyc (soulbound to the paladin class), while wearing least unstable coil, and cast an empowered Rain of Holy Fire, for a big PL boost as well as multiple inspirations from the coil, all of which you could extend with Salvations of Time.

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7 hours ago, dgray62 said:

If you run Arwen as a priest/paladin, you might consider making her a Priest of Magran, and having her dual wield Magran's Favor and Sun and Moon, for the nice +4 to fire power levels (during the day), as well as to Flames of Devotion. For tougher fights, you could replace Sun and Moon with Magran's Blessing. Late game, you could have her dual wield Magran's Favor and the Wand of Weyc (soulbound to the paladin class), while wearing least unstable coil, and cast an empowered Rain of Holy Fire, for a big PL boost as well as multiple inspirations from the coil, all of which you could extend with Salvations of Time.

I decided to actually take up your original suggestion of reforming the party composition, except I will flip Gandalf and Arwen's classes and thus make Gandalf Priest/Paladin and Arwen Druid/Chanter. The change seems more lore-friendly. Moreover, it also saves my idea of using Gandalf as a reach weapon using, mid-line, "linebacker" melee.

Again, thanks for your original suggestion; it was an absolute breakthrough that simultaneously mmade the party far more balanced by shoring up the needed nuke support spot, while still retaining my original vision for the team!

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I just started a LotR partytoo 😄 ... I made legolas a sharpshooter fighter with a boar as a pet (Gimli the Bore). I decide to go with paladin fighter for aragorn so as not to have too many rangers and I see him more like a paladin anyway. I also gave him sword and shield as contary to the film, in the book he seems to use a one-handed sword and shield instead of two-handed

Edited by ArnoldRimmer
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Not related, but I am currently thinking about a "Magic the Gathering Color Pie" party.

It feels like a good idea since there are exactly 5 colors of mana in Magic the Gathering (and they have strong connection to game style and are not that cliché).

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10 hours ago, ArnoldRimmer said:

I just started a LotR partytoo 😄 ... I made legolas a sharpshooter fighter with a boar as a pet (Gimli the Bore). I decide to go with paladin fighter for aragorn so as not to have too many rangers and I see him more like a paladin anyway. I also gave him sword and shield as contary to the film, in the book he seems to use a one-handed sword and shield instead of two-handed

"Gimli the Bore"? LOL! So you couldn't actually fit Gimli in as one of your 5 characters either? Who are the other 3? And who is the main - Aragorn?

Yes, Aragorn is a pretty good thematic fit with Paladin, but I wanted a character who is primarily DPS as the main character; and Paladins don't DPS very well.

I actually had a run till about level 8 with this group, but I found turn-based surprisingly harder in some ways than real-time with pause. So I am going to adjust the group a bit for a new run. Primarily, I will likely change Boromir from Fighter/Rogue to either Fighter/Chanter or Fighter/Paladin - probably Fighter/Chanter. I found you can likely shut down most enemy groups in the early going if you have 2 Chanters, as they can rotate AoE stun every round.

But I will write more once I have a better idea tomorrow.

Edited by Lampros
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Anyways, I wrote this elsewhere on a separate thread about the transition to turn-based:

"So I ran my initial Fellowship of the Rings group for about 8 levels, and I found turn-based to be much harder than I expected - certainly harder than real-time with pause for now. Like most, I went in with the belief that having full control of the combat phase would let me dominate the AI even more. But there were two fundamental aspects of this game's turn-based implementation I had ignored - or I had at least underestimated their impact. First, because every character essentially gets one offensive action per turn, I no longer have a decisive edge in term of action economy. This equalization means in practice the AI now gets more turns per round than I do, because the AI fields more characters on the field. In particular, the insufficient number of attacks from my single target DPS-oriented team meant that I was really struggling to mow down hordes of AI characters than in the past. Conversely, I am taking a lot more damage on my characters than I am used to, because there are more attacks coming in my direction than before - which brings up the second issue. Namely, the widening of the graze range meant that even my tanks have a hard time surviving. For instance, my main tank had a Deflection of over 100, I think, by level 5 or so. But the AI was hardly ever missing him, because of the outrageous graze range.

So I am re-starting and adjusting my approaches a bit. Most fundamentally, I need either a lot of AoE or CC, rather than a lot of single target DPS that I am used to bringing. As a result, I will likely add another Chanter multi-class and bring the number of Chanters to 2; it seems like 2 Chanters rotating their stun AoE per turn can lock down a large portion of the AI horde. I will also likely have to put the heaviest armor possible on all front-liners, because Deflection-based tanking is not really a possibility as far as I can see."

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On 10/20/2020 at 3:06 AM, Haplok said:

Nice theme.

IMO your party is a bit too caster (nuker) light for a turn-based playtrough.

Combats may drag more then they need to. Would be fine in real time. But turn based combat is sometimes painfully slow even with heavy nuking.

You were even more prophetic than I expected. I struggled mightily even after adding a Druid/Chanter. So I am re-forming the party! ;)

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