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I never really sat down and did the math for them before, but Hunting Bow + its modal does crazy dps. Higher than any other ranged damage outside of specific weapons like The Red Hand. Now, I wrote them off mainly because of two legitimate concerns:

-huge Accuracy debuff for the modal (-15)

-Hunting Bows have low base Penetration

However, at second glance this isnt quite as big a concern as I thought. Hunting Bows innately have a +5 to Accuracy, offsetting the malus a bit. And it does best of two different damage types, so you can often skirt around the Pen issues.

But the real combo Ive noticed: Hunting Bow + Devoted. Disciplined Barrage/Strikes + Confident Aim will frequently ‘upgrade’ your attacks, so the accuracy hit is far less painful as long as you can get Misses off the table. Not to mention the Acc bonuses from Warrior/Conqueror stance. Devoted also gives +2 to base Pen, so between that and the two damage types, your penetration issues are largely dealt with.

I find that any multiclass I have with a Fighter, hunting bows are now a go to. My humble Priest/Fighter mostly based around buffs is now able to shred enemies with just autoattacks as well.

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What makes hunting bow's PEN issues go away very early is Essence Interrupter which does pierce/shock. I don't remember a single enemy who has high pierce AR AND high shock AR.

Anything that has high ACC bonuses (Monk, Ranger, Cipher) is great with a hunting bow because the -10 ACC loss isn't even noticable.
Fighter is also cool, but I don't like that only Penetrating Strike works with ranged (two handed) weapons.

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Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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2 minutes ago, Boeroer said:

What makes hunting bow's PEN issues go away very early is Essence Interrupter which does pierce/shock. I don't remember a single enemy who has high pierce AR AND high shock AR.

Anything that has high ACC bonuses (Monk, Ranger, Cipher) is great with a hunting bow because the -10 ACC loss isn't even noticable.
Fighter is also cool, but I don't like that only Penetrating Strike works with ranged (two handed) weapons.

This is true, and plus you can even get a passive +1 PEN to that shock damage via Heart of the Storm (depending on your class/multiass).

My one issue with Essence Interrupter is Ive read it can cause you to miss out on looting bodies sometimes…maybe this was fixed at some point or I am misremembering?

Now that you mention Cipher, they also get a+1 PEN passive, and have those ACC buffs like you said. Might indeed be a great pairing. Weird they cant get Heart of the Storm considering they have electric spells. Might be a fun and synergistic pick.

I liked the Devoted combo simply because it takes care of all the downsides completely passively at the start of battle. Literally not a second wasted on casting buffs, no special equipment, etc. But your point is well made that Penetrating Shot is the only active weapon ability you could use. Although its pretty a strong one really. Was looking at it more from a multiclass POV where youd be picking Fighter mostly for their buffs to a caster, the high attack damage was just icing on the cake.

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Yes, the loot bug with essence interrupter is has been fixed. And it was one of my favorite weapons when playing a ranged cipher. It's usually my first weapon, and latter I pair it with the red hand, switching back to it when facing pierce immune foes. You might consider an ascendant/helwalker. Helwalker will give you big boosts in STR and INT, speed, and also and additional +2 PEN from tenacious. The downside of Helwalker is generally fine with a ranged character. You can always activate blade turning if you get mobbed by melee heavies. Or you might consider an ascendant/ranger. This combo has the highest possible ACC in the game I believe, and with high ACC you'll crit a lot, which will help mitigate PEN issues.

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3 minutes ago, dgray62 said:

Yes, the loot bug with essence interrupter is has been fixed. And it was one of my favorite weapons when playing a ranged cipher. It's usually my first weapon, and latter I pair it with the red hand, switching back to it when facing pierce immune foes. You might consider an ascendant/helwalker. Helwalker will give you big boosts in STR and INT, speed, and also and additional +2 PEN from tenacious. The downside of Helwalker is generally fine with a ranged character. You can always activate blade turning if you get mobbed by melee heavies. Or you might consider an ascendant/ranger. This combo has the highest possible ACC in the game I believe, and with high ACC you'll crit a lot, which will help mitigate PEN issues.

Awesome, thanks for the info.

I kind of find Ascendents boring because you never end up using your earlier spells once you unlock a new tier…you just spam the highest cost ones over and over, otherwise its a waste. Just a personal preference thing. I can definitely see that as a strong and powerful pairing. No reason it wouldnt work with a regular Cipher either.

I wonder how fun a Cipher/Arcane Archer would be paired with the Essence Interrupter. I believe the -5  ACC would be removed with that weapon, and with high Arcane your imbue abilities would have bonus ACC too. I doubt those abilities would contribute to Focus gain, but could be enjoyable in terms of variety.

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