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Hello everyone,

This is mjo2138, a forum user who has finally figured out how to change my username! First of all , I really appreciate the advice and discussions here. I've decided to play again (POTD, All upscale), and for this playthrough it is cipher time! I want to focus on debuffing and CC, so I don't want to necessarily multiclass. I can't decide between a multiclass or not. How much of a different will early access to spells really make? Besides, the level 1 spells are pretty good throughout the game. It would be nice to have another useful resource pool to use in fights. 

 

I thought I'd start with a single class cipher so I can experience everything the class has to offer, and here are what some users (Boerer, Thelee) have said, along with my own observations. 

 

1. Ascendent seems to be the best choice on paper, but I am worried the play style will be very boring. (acheive max focus via guns, get SoT from priest, spam spells) 

-also, how significant is the -1 PL? 

 

2. Psion seems good, but some users mention it is better for multiclassing, and that the chance to take dmg and negate focus generation is annoying on POTD. However, with high PL boosts and mid/late game, focus generation shouldn't be a problem. 

 

3. Beguiler looks like a lot of fun. Might struggle in more difficult fights where focus generation is problem against tough enemy defenses. Beguiler/Rogue multiclass seems natural, so perhaps a Deboniare?

 

4. Soul blade looks better for a melee multiclass. 

 

Thank you in advance! 

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Debonaire/Beguiler is one of those combos that fit beautifully from a thematic perspective and also work really well. Charmed enemies will give you 100% hit to crit and that works right from lvl 1 on (if you pick Whisper of Treason) which is great. Ring Leader + Pernicious Cloud is pretty badass because it's friendly fire (so it will hit charmed enemies) and the crit solves the problem with the ability's low PEN. But beware: even the yellow circle will hit friends, so keep away from this dude when he's casting Pernicious Cloud. But also Disintegrate, Toxic Strike and su h is great with crits. Beguiler is my preferred cipher subclass anyway.

While I like the Beguiler best in general I had tremendous fun with a Troubadour/Psion. Just because the resources will come to you without any effort and since you can alternate between phrases and focus there's always something to cast. Very versatile!  

Ciphers work very well with Monks. +10 INT is great for any CC/debuff effect, especially since it stacks with Cipher's Lingering Echoes, but also the bonus ACC from Dance of Death is cool. With a Monk you can even use a melee weapon and play at range (Instruments of Pain). And you'll have some useful summons, too (Dichotomous Soul). A Nalpasca/Psion with Dance of Death could almost play like a Troubadour/Psion I guess: wounds and focus come for free as long as you don't get hit. 

Wizard/Psion or Wizard/Beguiler can pull off a neat trick: With Arkemy's Brilliant Departure you can stay invisible while casting CC/debuffs without damge components! Wall spells are also fair game. That mean with Wall of Draining you can actually stay invisible for he whole encounter as long as you don't deal damage. As Psion your focus generation will never cease to work because you're invisible - as Beguiler you can cast Deception after Deception for gaining focus and doing CC/Debuff. And some Wizard spells are great in combination with Cipher spells, too. Take Miasma for example. 
You just want a cipher subclass that can generate focus without dealing damage.

In general I find single classes good, there are just some classes where I'm more exited about the PL 8/9 stuff. Cipher is not one of them. Not that the PL8/0 stuff of Ciphers is particulary bad, no (Shared Nightmare for example is a pretty great passive, especially for an Ascendant) - but it's just not that exciting to me. 

Edited by Boeroer
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Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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1 hour ago, Haramb3 said:

1. Ascendent seems to be the best choice on paper, but I am worried the play style will be very boring. (acheive max focus via guns, get SoT from priest, spam spells) 

-also, how significant is the -1 PL? 

I would say that the -1 PL is more than offset by the faster focus regeneration of Ascendants. So if necessary I would always cast that -1PL cipher spell on your way to ascension! I think it would be best to try out if the ascended subclass fits your playstyle on the tutorial island.. my first deadfire build was a melee witch (berserker) and I really disliked the "fiddling" with the berserker drawbacks and the downtime after ascension.

Right now I'm playing a Soulblade / Assassin (and enjoying it alot). If you want to multiclass a Soulblade, then Rogue might probably be the best choice due to it's passives but also because of the defensive rogue toolkit (smoke veil / escape).

However, for my next playthrough I'm gonna start a single class cipher because it is far more generous in the choice of cipher spells from PL1 to PL7 and for the access to the interesting high PL spells that I'm curious to see, especially time parasite and death from 1000 cuts.

 

 

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Single-class does get some interesting abilities, especially if you go with custom companions.

Take, for instance, the Driving Echoes ability: you can give a teammate +8 penetration, allowing their attacks (spells especially) to easily pen (e.g. Rot Skulls' AoE, fire spells against sturdy monsters, etc) , maybe even over-penetrate.

That being said, it depends how you want to play your cipher; you can play it as mainly team support (e.g. Pain Block giving Robust, Ancestor's Memory giving Brilliant, Driving Echoes giving penetration, etc.), as a Raw damage specialist, as a debuffer, etc.

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2 hours ago, Boeroer said:

Debonaire/Beguiler is one of those combos that fit beautifully from a thematic perspective and also work really well. Charmed enemies will give you 100% hit to crit and that works right from lvl 1 on (if you pick Whisper of Treason) which is great. Ring Leader + Pernicious Cloud is pretty badass because it's friendly fire (so it will hit charmed enemies) and the crit solves the problem with the ability's low PEN. But beware: even the yellow circle will hit friends, so keep away from this dude when he's casting Pernicious Cloud. But also Disintegrate, Toxic Strike and su h is great with crits. Beguiler is my preferred cipher subclass anyway.

While I like the Beguiler best in general I had tremendous fun with a Troubadour/Psion. Just because the resources will come to you without any effort and since you can alternate between phrases and focus there's always something to cast. Very versatile!  

Ciphers work very well with Monks. +10 INT is great for any CC/debuff effect, especially since it stacks with Cipher's Lingering Echoes, but also the bonus ACC from Dance of Death is cool. With a Monk you can even use a melee weapon and play at range (Instruments of Pain). And you'll have some useful summons, too (Dichotomous Soul). A Nalpasca/Psion with Dance of Death could almost play like a Troubadour/Psion I guess: wounds and focus come for free as long as you don't get hit. 

Wizard/Psion or Wizard/Beguiler can pull off a neat trick: With Arkemy's Brilliant Departure you can stay invisible while casting CC/debuffs without damge components! Wall spells are also fair game. That mean with Wall of Draining you can actually stay invisible for he whole encounter as long as you don't deal damage. As Psion your focus generation will never cease to work because you're invisible - as Beguiler you can cast Deception after Deception for gaining focus and doing CC/Debuff. And some Wizard spells are great in combination with Cipher spells, too. Take Miasma for example. 
You just want a cipher subclass that can generate focus without dealing damage.

In general I find single classes good, there are just some classes where I'm more exited about the PL 8/9 stuff. Cipher is not one of them. Not that the PL8/0 stuff of Ciphers is particulary bad, no (Shared Nightmare for example is a pretty great passive, especially for an Ascendant) - but it's just not that exciting to me. 

Thanks!  I agree that subclasses have a lot of interesting synergies... althoug that +8 Pen looks nice, I am not sure I want to wait all game for it. Besides, food and buff can provide the +PEN needed. 

55 minutes ago, Bosmer said:

I would say that the -1 PL is more than offset by the faster focus regeneration of Ascendants. So if necessary I would always cast that -1PL cipher spell on your way to ascension! I think it would be best to try out if the ascended subclass fits your playstyle on the tutorial island.. my first deadfire build was a melee witch (berserker) and I really disliked the "fiddling" with the berserker drawbacks and the downtime after ascension.

Right now I'm playing a Soulblade / Assassin (and enjoying it alot). If you want to multiclass a Soulblade, then Rogue might probably be the best choice due to it's passives but also because of the defensive rogue toolkit (smoke veil / escape).

However, for my next playthrough I'm gonna start a single class cipher because it is far more generous in the choice of cipher spells from PL1 to PL7 and for the access to the interesting high PL spells that I'm curious to see, especially time parasite and death from 1000 cuts.

 

 

Thanks!  I might check out the soulblade /assasin. I really like rogues. That build would be very interesting, and more enjoyable that a single class cipher. 

48 minutes ago, hansvedic said:

Single-class does get some interesting abilities, especially if you go with custom companions.

Take, for instance, the Driving Echoes ability: you can give a teammate +8 penetration, allowing their attacks (spells especially) to easily pen (e.g. Rot Skulls' AoE, fire spells against sturdy monsters, etc) , maybe even over-penetrate.

That being said, it depends how you want to play your cipher; you can play it as mainly team support (e.g. Pain Block giving Robust, Ancestor's Memory giving Brilliant, Driving Echoes giving penetration, etc.), as a Raw damage specialist, as a debuffer, etc.

Yes, driving echos looks amazing. I can imagine a lot of great synergies, especially for blasting Mega bosses into oblivion.  Thanks!

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Definately multiclass material IMO. SC can work, but are both less interesting and less effective trough most of the game.

Like Boeroer wrote, monks are fantastic with ciphers. Forbidden Fist is kinda my favorite, with a strong attack/debuff ability from level 1 (and 0 cost, as long as you don't spam it too aggressively), that synergizes well with cipher debuffs and DOTs (+50% duration on Disintegrate with enemy healing disabled is pretty major... makes landing it easier as well).

 

Note Community Patch is needed for Forbidden Fist ability to generate Focus. Not critical, but would be nice to have.

Edited by Haplok
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10 hours ago, Haplok said:

Definately multiclass material IMO. SC can work, but are both less interesting and less effective trough most of the game.

For a CC/debuff oriented cipher i kinda disagree about SC being less effective. Against group, SC beguiler swarm in focus without needing to use weapon allowing you to be permanently casting, so a second ressource pool is not that usefull. Going SC give you  much more radius to all your spells (from PL and from shared nightmare) wich allow to CC way more efficiently). A bit less effective vs single opponent but it's not common to face only one foe.

The only multiclass i have played who was really great too was the troubadour/psion ( very effective when you face 1foe or megaboss with the passive ressource generation) Boeroer already talked about it and it work well.

 

Edit: and a sc cipher get access to two broken spells  ancestor memorie and driving echoe. Reaping knives is very nice too against tank or boss  for your melee dps (raw damage, great speed, and focus back, what's not to love :) )

Edited by Exanos
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11 hours ago, Haplok said:

Definately multiclass material IMO. SC can work, but are both less interesting and less effective trough most of the game.

also disagree a bit on the psion side. The breakpoints are pretty critical for faster focus regeneration rates and the psion lives or dies by them. Getting to higher PLs faster is very powerful for early/mid-game. It really depends on your multiclass though - an offensive caster/psion can probably keep themselves busy while waiting for focus regen, but if you're more of a reactive healer/buffer caster + psion, then you might find yourself a little bit more stretched on focus and if you value the psion angle more than the multiclass side an sc psion might be better.

an sc psion also gets as a reward reaping knives, which just supercharges their focus regen and helps them keep focus gen up even in fights where there's periodic aoe damage (which is normally a nightmare for the psion).

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23 minutes ago, Exanos said:

Edit: and a sc cipher get access to two broken spells  ancestor memorie

note: mc cipher also gets ancestor memories. part of what makes mc cipher relatively "painless" compared to sc for min-maxing purposes.

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13 hours ago, Exanos said:

For a CC/debuff oriented cipher i kinda disagree about SC being less effective. Against group, SC beguiler swarm in focus without needing to use weapon allowing you to be permanently casting, so a second ressource pool is not that usefull. Going SC give you  much more radius to all your spells (from PL and from shared nightmare) wich allow to CC way more efficiently). A bit less effective vs single opponent but it's not common to face only one foe.

The only multiclass i have played who was really great too was the troubadour/psion ( very effective when you face 1foe or megaboss with the passive ressource generation) Boeroer already talked about it and it work well.

 

Edit: and a sc cipher get access to two broken spells  ancestor memorie and driving echoe. Reaping knives is very nice too against tank or boss  for your melee dps (raw damage, great speed, and focus back, what's not to love :) )

Shared Nightmare comes late. A monk multiclass will boast supreme aoe sizes AND effect durations much sooner.

Even for a dedicated caster, something like the already mentioned chanter / cipher would be more versatile and interesting IMO.

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15 hours ago, Haplok said:

Shared Nightmare comes late. A monk multiclass will boast supreme aoe sizes AND effect durations much sooner.

Even for a dedicated caster, something like the already mentioned chanter / cipher would be more versatile and interesting IMO.

Well, it depend how you play. I usually do all bounty (ship's first then those on land)  and some explaration right after port maje so i reach PL9 very rapidly. As SC you can still reach 30 int very easilly, and even more (20 from start with berath blessing, +5 inspiration, + food, + items...) so you are not far behind a dual class monk who easilly reach 35, and you have then shared nightmare on top. A MC monk can't compare at this stade (yes you will have more aoe size from early game to... early mid game).

Duration are already long honestly on sc (thanks bonus PL), and only the forbiden fist class will make them longer, but for building a forbiden fist you need to invest heavily in RES, in detriment of INT, PER or DEX which are your king stat for a CC build.

It's true that you can get bored as a SC (i get bored of the ascendant which turned in launching the same spell again and again at some point), but i have found SC beguiler much more fun cause you want to use differents spells to match foe weakness, and you don't really have focus issue while doing it. 

SC also allow quicker access to highter spells, while multi classing monk slow it and don't give you much CC from monk side (there is some but not as powerfull as the cipher's one, unless you metagame for them, in which case you want to go streetfighter/hellwalker with aoe mortar). 

Chanter/cipher is more versatil yes, summons, aoe heal and revive are a very, very, nice addition. But if you want hard cc half (and depending of the spell, all) the screen each time you cast one spell, sc beguiler is nice.

Don't get me wrong, monk/cipher is strong, but i think it's stronger when you play it for damage, and not for CC.

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I see no mention in the OP that the TC wants to play solo or rush till final levels.

I tend to go after bounties soon after arrival in Neketaka too. In a full party completing them brings me nowhere near the final power levels (Shared Nightmare is PL IX). Maybe around level 12-13?

The bulk of the game happens below top levels. Well, I guess the max PL is relevant for DLCs.

So going solo and optimizing xp gains to race till max level is hardly relevant IMO.

 

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