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So my goal is to make the most interesting/effective AoE melee DPS build. Other things I like: attacking really fast, interactivity, and not dying. My research has led me to consider the following options:

  • SC Barbarian --- a bit torn here between no sub or berserker. Question: do NPC allies know the berserker's health for the purposes of the AI script? I was thinking of playing as a Moon Godlike to give myself indicators of when I drop below health thresholds.
  • Streetfighter/Soul Blade with WotEP --- to abuse the WotEP + Soul Annihilation combo.
  • Streetfighter/Monk with WotEP --- INT bonuses to increase the WotEP cone. Question: does lightning strikes or swift flurry synergize more with WotEP?
  • Streetfighter/Paladin with WotEP --- question: does flames of devotion apply to the WotEP cone AoE kind of like Soul Annhilation? otherwise I'm not sure I would run this combo, although more survivability would be neat.
  • Monk/Soul Blade with WoTEP --- INT bonuses to increase the WotEP cone.

For pretty much all of these builds I would probably max INT, PER, then DEX. Am I on the right track? Does anyone have recommendations for which build might be the most effective? Or most fun?

P.S. Herald Pallegina and Druid Tekehu will be core party members, so I think there will be enough healing.

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Regarding SC barbarian, you might want to check out this thread, which explores the Mage Killer subclass (SC or MC) wielding the great sword Effort as a remarkable way to take care of all foes, and mages especially.

As for the other options, I am personally not a huge fan of street fighter simply because I do not like (ab)using the blunderbuss modal to get flanked. If you're not going to use the modal, I'd recommend streetfighter/steel garrote, as you'd have amazing healing to keep you alive when you are flanked by enemies. This is nice because of the high defenses and the offensive parry enchantment on WotEP. But you're better off with the trickster subclass for this build IMO. My favorite combo among those you list is forbidden fist/soulblade. There's amazing synergy between FF monks and ciphers. With high RES you can pretty much alternate between the devastating FF attack and soul annihilation. I'd recommend going with Nature Godlike to boost your FF attack. As for weapons, Magran's Favor and Tuotillo's Palm, with the axe and small shield modals on, in the main and off hands, are great. The modals will slow you down with auto attacks, but the beauty of the build is that you will almost never auto attack, since you'll largely be alternating between FF and SA, as well as occasionally casting cipher powers. However, when you crit, heart beat drumming and swift flurry with give you a good chance to instantly hit with MF, adding a stack of the raw damage from the modal. Meanwhile, when foes miss you, which they'll often do, you'll get +15 ACC on the next attack due to the shield modal. If you go this route, be sure to turn gibs off, and enfeeble foes with FF before casting buffs like borrowed instincts which simultaneously debuff foes. If you do this, enfeeblement will dramatically increase the duration of the debuff as well as your corresponding buff. Other weapons great for this build include Seeker's Fang, Grave Calling (esp. when fighting vessels) and Sun & Moon, which is always a great weapon for any soul blade.

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Berserker:
The White witch mask is what I used for my helwalker:Berserker it pops a terror effect when he gets bloodied.
Yes scripts know health level AND the pause setting works as well; e.g. you can set pause on near death.

Streetfighter/Napasca Monk:
Not only was this the fastest attack speed I've ever gotten, but making everyone drop and puke with Pukestabber was hilarious (not much use with the sword though).
You just need to micro very good on fights with arcane dampener.  
Newer gear might even make it better with some tweaks (e.g. contender's armor) but I haven't tested anything recently

I've found "the best" use of WOTEP is the offensive parry on a high deflection character.

I think a fighter MC would make the best use of the weapon.
I'd at least think about a Devoted:Helwalker so you can pump intel and might high w/ the wounds. Devoted lets you take armored grace and you will have flagent's and charge for movement.

Fanatics are probably my favorite melee class still though. Berserker Pally with DOC chest and you can lay down the hurt while staying alive.
If you go howler make sure you either stay away from berserker or you have a way to keep from being confused (Like DOC BP)

 

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I played a berserker/steel garrote fanatic once wielding Lord Darryn's Voulge. It was a lot of fun, and did great AOE damage when you'd crit and proc the static thunder charges. As a fanatic, you can crit easily when you wish by using Flames of Devotion, augmented by the ring that gives you +10 accuracy with fire attacks.

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Just now, Theosupus said:

If you aren't stuck on streetfighter I suggest looking at the trickster for your rouge half.
The survivability add, and the synergy between the deflection spells and wotep offensive parry, are very good too.

Ah, I *really* want to run Trickster, but my computer stutters a lot when mirrored image is cast/active (similar to what's described in this post). I have a great PC and have tried everything to fix it but to no avail. Otherwise, I would definitely be looking at Trickster builds.

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4 hours ago, drmt said:
  • SC Barbarian --- a bit torn here between no sub or berserker. Question: do NPC allies know the berserker's health for the purposes of the AI script? I was thinking of playing as a Moon Godlike to give myself indicators of when I drop below health thresholds.

No need to pick Moon Godlike because you will have "Blooded" which will be displayed as benefical effect as soon as you drop below 50% health.
The White Witch Mask and several other items like certain belts, capes and amulets only proc 1/rest so imo they are not well suited for indicating your health status - as long as don't want to rest after every fight.
There are some items that always indicate when you are near death (<25% health), for example Effort.
But usually I find Blooded enough to make sure to start healing. 

Furyshaper is def. better than taking vanilla Barbarian, especially when going single class. Because the Blood Ward is excellent for a melee build (and the whole party).

I general the PL-9 shouts of the SC Barb are a lot better than Heart of Fury or Instrument of Boundless Rage. For melee Barbs Dazing Shout is an excellent CC tool for survival - as well as a great damage tool in a big AoE around you.   

Flames of Devotion does indeed apply to the cone of WotEP. Also Eternal Devotion's lingering lash works with everything that deals direct damage, including spells and other non-weapon attacks. 

SC Soulblade can make use of Time Parasite to attack really fast and Shared Nightmare to increase the cone of WotEP a lot. If you give a party member Reapng Knives they can farm focus for you that you can dump into Soul Annihilation.

Other good melee AoE abilities: Whispers of the Wind (SC Monk), Clear Out/Clean Sweep/Clear the Path (Fighter/SC Fighter), Whirling Strikes (SC Ranger). 

Most effective is difficult to say and depends on the way you play, which enemies you encounter when and what party members you use - but if you also want to use WotEP's enchantment Offensive Parry and stack it with Riposte (those are free attacks which can raise dps considerably and the Riposte with WotEP even uses the cone) I would pick a Soulblade/Trickster over Streetfighter. 

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1 hour ago, drmt said:

Ah, I *really* want to run Trickster, but my computer stutters a lot when mirrored image is cast/active (similar to what's described in this post). I have a great PC and have tried everything to fix it but to no avail. Otherwise, I would definitely be looking at Trickster builds.

I guess one could mod out the VFX of the spell so you wouldn't have any issues anymore. 

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Devoted/berserker with LDV is very solid, has great AoE dps (very fast attacker, cleave attack and of course Clear Out) and doesn't require much micro. Because of the high crit chance, Amra is another good weapon choice.

WotEP works well only with a soul blade/rogue for the big AoE bonuses you get with Soul Annihilation. However vs less than 3 targets the damage is bad. The Offensive Parry is nice, but it's not worth building around it because it does little damage and isn't an AoE attack.

A much better AoE weapon than WotEP is Citzal's Spirit Lance (you can use LDV/WotEP until you obtain it), but of course you have to pick a wizard. The wizard has some great melee buffs and you can pair him with barbarian, rogue or monk for great results. Barbarian/wizard lacks Clear Out and cleave attack, but the regular AoE dps outperforms LDV. The rogue/wizard can add Sneak Attack, Deathblows, Deep Wounds, Gouging Strike to his AoE attacks. The monk/wizards with Merciless Gaze and Citzal's Martial Spirit can generate many crits and thus perform many free AoE attacks.

PS. The AoE attacks of the weapons are considered ranged and are affected by the Ring of the Marksman and the Harley pet.

Edited by Kaylon
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2 hours ago, Kaylon said:

Devoted/berserker with LDV is very solid, has great AoE dps (very fast attacker, cleave attack and of course Clear Out) and doesn't require much micro. Because of the high crit chance, Amra is another good weapon choice.

WotEP works well only with a soul blade/rogue for the big AoE bonuses you get with Soul Annihilation. However vs less than 3 targets the damage is bad. The Offensive Parry is nice, but it's not worth building around it because it does little damage and isn't an AoE attack.

A much better AoE weapon than WotEP is Citzal's Spirit Lance (you can use LDV/WotEP until you obtain it), but of course you have to pick a wizard. The wizard has some great melee buffs and you can pair him with barbarian, rogue or monk for great results. Barbarian/wizard lacks Clear Out and cleave attack, but the regular AoE dps outperforms LDV. The rogue/wizard can add Sneak Attack, Deathblows, Deep Wounds, Gouging Strike to his AoE attacks. The monk/wizards with Merciless Gaze and Citzal's Martial Spirit can generate many crits and thus perform many free AoE attacks.

PS. The AoE attacks of the weapons are considered ranged and are affected by the Ring of the Marksman and the Harley pet.

I'm agree with Kaylon, the Citzal's lance is very efficient as AoE melee weapon, and because the area is not a cone but a circle, Int bonus seem better.

Monk-Wizard is nice for AoE melee character because obviously of the +10 Int bonus, CC melee abilities that profit from the AoE, the long reach from the Lance that Instrument of Pain convert into a truly ranged weapon (WotEP profit as the same), and also because of Raised Torment. This last ability proc a damaging line behind each target, like a big AoE attack. 

Fighter's Power Strike doesnt work as the same way and benefit more from Sun and Moon double strike.

I dont know if Swift Flurry and HbD work with other targets than the first one, as mentionned before the AoE attack is not a true weapon attack but an AoE effect that is considered as ranged.

Barbarian with the lance or WotEP would only proc carnage on the first target, then other ennemies catch in the AoE of the weapon should be hit twice : 1 by the attack itself, and 2 by the Carnage attack. Maybe somebody can confirm, it is just speculative.

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Yes, Citzal's Spirit Lance is also a good way to build a nice melee damage dealer.

By the way: if you use a Berserker/Wizard with Citzal's Spirit Lance and have a Troubadour in the party who uses "Many Lives Pass By" with Brisk Recitation you basically have a Warlock without recovery (most of times) as soon as you pick up Blood Thirst. The skeletons will pop up every 3 secs and are extremely weak (don't scale at all) so that an AoE hit from the Lance + Carnage kills them, triggering Blood Thirst, Bloodlust and Blood Storm's prolonging effect - as well as heals from a pet (+x heal on kill) or stuff like Triumph of the Crusaders, making it easy to survive battles as Berserker. The Blood Thirst combo is late(ish) game stuff of course but heal on kill can start very early when using the usual skeleton summons and Carnage. You have to stay confused though and party members shouldn't come too close. 

Remember that a Wiazrd can use Essential Phantom to deploy a summons which has the same items, including unique weaoon with all enchantments on them (soulbound upgrades, too) and summoned weapons - which will not run out as long as the Phantom exists. So you can have two people wielding AoE weapons for the price of one. :)  

Another way to "abuse" those skeletons summons with a Berserker is to use a Berserker/Devoted with Amra and Riven Gore, using Cleaving Stance. Once you kill an enemy or a skeleton the cleaving will most likely crit a bystanding skeleton which will die instantly because of Riven Gore (destroy everything that has <50 health), triggering another Cleave and so on - all the cleaving causes Carnage and Amra's Riven Gore which will eventually destroy normal enemies on the spot, too. It will also destroy party members with low health (meaning instakill + removed from party), so watch out! ;) 

This Brute would also work with LD's Voulge. 

The funky mechanics of AoE+Soul Annihilation also apply to Citzal's Spirit Lance - so Soulblade/Wizard is also an option. It does less dps as a Soulblade/Rogue on the individual targets but has the better AoE weapon and tons of buffs for survival. Also Essential Phantom...

---  

About WotEP not being only good against 3+ targets: I disagree. It comes with +1 PEN compared to other Great Swords and a 15% crushing lash. It's not the best tool against single targets of course, but I think as soon as you can hit 2 enemies with it it's a solid choice. It also has reach wich makes it possible to attack from the second line.

Offensive Parry isn't an AoE - but it procs on 100% of misses which is awesome. You can combine it with Nomad's Brigandine or Gipon Prudensco for parry on disengagment - so you can hurt enemies while you disengage on purpose. Offensive also generates focus for non-Psion Ciphers and wounds for a Shatttered Pillar Monk.

With very high deflection this can make WotEP even good against single melee enemies because they will kill themselves. Offensive Parry has no attack animation and no recovery.

A Soulblade/Wizard with Wall of Draining can uphold all buffs for a whole encoutner - including buffs from the Weyc's Mask (doesn't stack with Arcane Veil but all other deflection buffs) and the Magnificient Escape Cape (stacks with everything except Escape itself). This can let you reach absurd deflection numbers of 200+ which makes sure nearly all melee attacks that target deflection will miss you, giving the enemy an Offensive Parry.

Besides that Offensive Parry dazes enemies - which is very helpful for lifting your AR over enemies PEN, making you a lot sturdier. 

When not using Offensve Parry the speed enchantment als isn't bad. Against a last standing enemy one can use Run Through which has very high base damage.

Still, when facing a single enemy I would also switch to another weapon. 

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5 hours ago, Constentin Lévine said:

Barbarian with the lance or WotEP would only proc carnage on the first target, then other ennemies catch in the AoE of the weapon should be hit twice : 1 by the attack itself, and 2 by the Carnage attack. Maybe somebody can confirm, it is just speculative.

Yes, that's how it works. AoE rolls don't proc Carnage. Same with Spirit Lance.

Even if they did: multiple Carnage hits from the same excecution will suppress each other (you will see something like "similar effect already applied" in the combat log).

Edited by Boeroer

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16 hours ago, drmt said:
  • SC Barbarian --- a bit torn here between no sub or berserker. Question: do NPC allies know the berserker's health for the purposes of the AI script?

 

Yes. AI scripting doesn't care that health is hidden. It will reliably heal you when threshold is triggered.

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Posted (edited)

Okay, I think I've been talked out of streetfighter. Based on the suggestions, I've narrowed it to

  1. Bloodmage/Helwalker
  2. Bloodmage/Rogue or Wizard/Assassin
  3. Barbarian (Furyshaper is probably a better subclass, but placing totems sounds boring) -- although this last one is less appealing because the shouts seem inconsistent thematically for what I am trying to do with this character

I thought about possible offensive parry builds, but I couldn't think of one that didn't rely on Trickster (and I wasn't able to figure out how to mod out Mirrored Image vfx sadly). Perhaps there's a Paladin/Soul Blade build for getting high deflection -> offensive parry, but I'm not sure how well that would compete.

Edited by drmt
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I'm like 15 hours into my play as a sC Mage Slayer. Besides the Spell Disruption on spellcasters, it feels like a vanilla barb. You can't use scrolls, but no true barb uses scrolls. Can't use potions, but **** potions. And 100% of the times, beneficial spells work 75% of the times.

Furyshaper is for people who want to be indoor decorators, anyway.

Edited by Frak_the_2nd
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Here's my input: (these are not all inclusive just what i thought up off the top of my head)


Bloodmage/helwalker
-Pros:
1. Will help you maximize aoe size. If you can get your int maxed out you can have a hell of AOE fun with spells and the cone on WOTEP (If you're still wanting to melee with it).
2. Summoned weapons (Lance) could do even more in the hands of this class too. 
3. both halves have infinite resources
-Con:
1. Squishy with xtra dps incoming. (can mitigate with gear or other party members).
2. Extra might will make your sacrifice hurt more (can mitigate with gear or other party members).

Bloodmage/Rogue or Wizard/Assassin
-Pros:
1. Can apply VERY good rogue afflictions in AOE (if using aoe weapon like wotep or summoned lance)
2. Can alpha strike the hell out of hard encounters making them much easier
3. Can invis out and reset when things go bad (without potions)
-Cons:
1. Only the BM half will have infinite resources (mitigation through gear and other party members)

Barbarian

-Pros:
1. Decent melee dps, synergizes well with "on crit" items
2. Can be a great interrupter to lock things down

-Cons:
1. No resource regen
2. can be a bit squishy compared to other melee options with lack of defense buffs (mitigated through party members)
3. not a berserker ( put a DoC BP on a beserker and there is almost no downside anymore)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Personally if you did not plan to be a wizard, I'd focus on Lord Darryn's Voulge, Amra (particularly as Frienzied berserker killing his own skellies, like Boeroer described) or maybe Karaboru as AOE weapons.

IMO WotEP is kinda underwhelming damage-wise.

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