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So i just finished POE 1 last week and am now about to start POE 2. For POE 1 since you could re train completely i didn't think much of party composition before staring the game. But for POE 2 i need some advice because i don't want to mess up my subclass/multiclass.

Things i am sure of i want in the party - 

1. Xoti as monk for melee single DPS

2. Tekehu as druid for AOE DPS

3. CIpher PC

Things i am not sure of - 

1. Pallegina as herald for tanking, healing and support. But i think i might be expecting too much of her, i can definitely make a paladin work as a a healer tank like i did in POE 1 but adding chanting too makes me think i might spreading her focus too much. Also with the changes to engagement how many melee units should i have ? I had 3 in POE 1

2. Maia as scout for long range single DPS - Not sure if i should go for another tank/frontliner instead

3. PC as either

    a) Seer Ascendent/Sharpshooter - Animal companion to help tank and using ranger abilities to quickly fill focus

    b) Mind Stalker Ascendent/Assassin - Using stealth to quickly gain focus

    I plan on opening with either an Arquebus or DW pistols and then switching to bows  

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3 hours ago, Areeb285 said:

1. Pallegina as herald for tanking, healing and support. But i think i might be expecting too much of her, i can definitely make a paladin work as a a healer tank like i did in POE 1 but adding chanting too makes me think i might spreading her focus too much. Also with the changes to engagement how many melee units should i have ? I had 3 in POE 1

herald is notably one of the most tough-as-nails builds you can get out there. Pallegina as a herald can absolutely carry your entire party. Just very simply - exalted defense aura (for regen AND extra armor), plus lay on hands, plus ancient memory (for more regen) => your entire party can coast through anything other than huge spikes of aoe burst damage. and you still have tons of ability points leftover to spend on really powerful offensive stuff (like ancient weapons summon for chanter side) or to lean into the defensiveness (like chanter chant that grants +50% to healing recieved)

for poe2, i tend to have two melee tanks, and one "flex" unit that can fill in a spot role. When I ran Pallegina as a herald back in the day (I only did it once because it honestly made so many fights too easy), she filled in a flex role, either staying back with some ranged weapons to stay in chant/aura range of everyone, and switching to a sword/shield for instant engagement if i needed to protect back line or there were too many bodies to hold back. My current run has two melee, a pet, and two flex characters, and I definitely have more crowding issues and have to make sure to pick up abilities that help me move around the fight. so you can definitely have more, but i don't think you really need more than two melee (or even one high-engagement build plus a flex) just based on how encounters are tuned in poe2.

 

3 hours ago, Areeb285 said:

2. Maia as scout for long range single DPS - Not sure if i should go for another tank/frontliner instead

maia has a really good ranger subclass and will make for great long range DPS and make you forget about wanting another frontliner. equip maia with a good arquebus (there's one that lets you fire two shots per reload) and you can watch her shred foes and lock them down as well (free occasional interrupts). i haven't metagamed maia enough to know what the best set up for her would be, but i got a lot of mileage just from doing this and picking up good other abilities that interrupt (which scout will also get you more of from rogue).

if you can micromanage, maia's pet has arguably the best pet ability in the game - the ability to avoid engagement (like a ghost heart, but you don't have to spend bond to summon the pet). So if you're fast and can tell your bird to stop attacking, you can tank literally megabosses by just engaging the boss, then flying out of range as the enemy winds up a melee attack (it'll cause the enemy to miss the target [the bird] being "out of range," which wasn't possible in PoE1).

 

3 hours ago, Areeb285 said:

    a) Seer Ascendent/Sharpshooter - Animal companion to help tank and using ranger abilities to quickly fill focus

    b) Mind Stalker Ascendent/Assassin - Using stealth to quickly gain focus

of the two i would lean towards the first one. i don't think assassin works too well with an ascendant, which really wants to cast a bunch of spells at a certain particular time that you have to build up to deliberately, whereas an assassin wants to alpha strike or cast a spell every once and a while based on being able to re-invis via a rogue ability or an item.

Edited by thelee
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If you want to play ascendant  then arcane archer is the best option. Grab Essence Interrupter (with modal activated) and Frostseeker vs multiple targets and forget about firearms - focus will fill very fast.

Xoti is better with mortars spamming Stunning Surge until she gets WotW and destroys everything.

Maia scout with the Red Hand is probably the companion with the highest single dps and has the best ranger pet. There's no better companion tank than Pallegina herald and her support is huge. Tekehu has some unique spells with great utility both as druid and chanter. However you can keep only one of them if you decide to pick a faction at the end. (and without faction the ending sucks)

You need 2 tanks in the party to be safe and Xoti is not a tank. If the MC is not a tank I would say Pallegina and Eder are almost mandatory. Xoti monk can be later a very strong dps/CC.  You can use the last spot to switch companions/sidekicks. If you want to keep Tekehu you can replace Pallegina with Aloth fighter/mage.

The strongest end game party (with companions) you can build would include Eder (fighter/thief), Pallegina (paladin/chanter), Xoti (monk) and Aloth (fighter/mage).

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So i have pretty much decided what companions to take, i can switch them around as i better understand the game while playing.

6 hours ago, Kaylon said:

If you want to play ascendant  then arcane archer is the best option.

I am assuming the imbued spells count as attacks and give focus. Also is it worth multiclassing as an ascendent cipher ?  I mean you can spam Lv 8 and 9 cipher abilities non stop once you ascend, is giving up those spells worth it ?

6 hours ago, Kaylon said:

You need 2 tanks in the party to be safe

So can the ranger companion work as a decent tank ? 

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I think it boils down a lot on how one like to play. I for once don't use Xoti as Monk, Pallegina or Aloth as Battlemage. I find those options suboptimal - for my favorite  party compositions and mechanical synergies at least.

I would argue that late game SC Priest Xoti, SC Wizard Aloth and SC Watershaper Tekehu are more impactful in most encounters than multiclasses of them. That's the case in my playthroughs anyway. 

Xoti as SC Monk doesn't generate wounds from killing with ranged weapons or spell-like abilities which I don't like. As many may know I love mortars on Monks - and Xoti is not good with mortars because of this. I also don't like that her wound cost is higher because it limits the usage of both Resonant Touch and WotW a lot compared to other Monk subclasses like Nalpasca or Helwalker or even vanilla Monk. You can get around that and use Keeper of the Flame + Saint's War Armor for endless spammage of WotW - but that's pretty engame-ish items. I usually prefer to bring another Monk (if I want a Monk in the party in the first place). Xoti as Priest/Monk is awful for me personally. Tried it and didn't like it at all. 

Mirke is "only" a vanilla Monk (still better than Sisters of the Reapong Moon imo) - but also a Streetfighter. This is a great combo imo with Mortars. Not 100% official companion and she doesn't even have DLC-based Dialoge which Konstanten, Fassina and Ydwen have, but still... nice options imo. 

Aloth as SC Wizard reaches important spells earlier and gets to PL 8/9 where he can use spells that eliminate whole groups of encounters alone. While Battlemage stuff like Unbending+Wall of Draining is nice, you don't need that when you can have any form of buffs & healing over time for him + Wall of Draining. And that kicks in way earlier as SC than as MC. Fractured Casque + Vaporous Wizardry and later Least Unstable Coil + empower. Any other SC Wizard could do it equally well of course - I just like Aloth. :)

SC Watershaper Tekehu will reach Great Maelstrom which is not only deadly in itself but with the recent discovery of Effort's Hemorrhage effect is just mindblowingly strong in combination with Avenging Storm and pulsing spells. And his foe-only spells like Chillfog (which you will have access to a lot earlier as SC bc. it's a PL-3 spell for him) are so nice. Also brings good healing + buffs. Also works very well as SC Stormspeaker by the way, but not as brutal. Stormspeaker/Druid is the worst option to me. 

Maia as Scout is nice - but I found that I don't really need her. Monks or Rogues or Rangers in most combos, shapes or forms are capable of delivering reliable and sustainable single target damage - and I value reliable disables and debuffs over dmg and Maia isn't that great in that regard. But the Scout option is the best pick for her imo.

I used Pallegina as Herald a few times - Heralds are good but they don't bring a lot of improvement to my parties in general. Must be the way I play. I see the benefits on paper and they are there, no doubt - but if I swap in Pallegine for somebody else it almost always feels like a net loss. Offensively she's not that great compared to what other OCs can so, initially she lacks engagement and thus cannot tank for my party well enough, she doesn't have enormous CC/debuff potential and I don't need the support she gives (because Xoti Priest + Tekehu Druid can deliver enough of that). But: I don't use (multi)summons a lot because they add a ton of micromanagement and I just tire of bringing them on a regular basis. I endure an Essential Phantoms bc. of its interesting mechanism with gear but that's all I can endure for the most part. Summons are super useful in general though - so maybe that's why I don't appreciate Herald Pallegina a lot. Also if you want to abuse Many Lives or Brittle Bones with a Grave Calling setup or use Sasha's Singing Scimitar for constant empowerment etc. or have a Berserker in the party she can be really nice, even for me. But... I just prefer to do that with somebody else I guess. :shrug Also I usually don't side with the Vaillians so that's a problem. ;) The other class options for her are inferior. 

So that's my assessment for my usual apporach to the game. But there are party setups where I deviate from my usual routine (which is something like "buff up, round them up, debuff them, control them, destroy them").

For example when I try to build a group that doubles down on Mind Control... or fear effects... or debuffing everything into the ground with little effort while having no tank at all (like I do try atm) then of course all of a sudden other OCs and combos of them seem better than before. 

---

Anyway: what I will say once again about single classes: players seem to underestimate what a difference it makes when you can get access to certain abilities earlier in the game. Sure, reaching PL8/9 is also great in most cases, but it seems most players think it's only that - and on the way there SCs will be inferior to MCs. But imo they will not be  (necessarily) because they can access certain abilities earlier which are so useful for the char and/or a party. Examples are Devotions ftF, Stunning Surge, Gouging Strike, Duality of Mortal Presence, Moonwell, Many Lives Pass By, Ring Leader, Ancient Memory and so on. Sure, MCs will get those, too - but they will only have access to them later... when they are fighting tougher enemies. This makes a noticable difference and I think you only really appreciate this if you've experienced both (maybe several times): for example when comparing Priest/Monk Xoti with Priest Xoti. 

Still: for most players MCs are more interesting still bc. of the self-contained synergies I think. And if it's more interesting you'll put more effort into it - and of you put more effort into it it's more effective. :)

 

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1 hour ago, Areeb285 said:

I am assuming the imbued spells count as attacks and give focus.

The shot itself does, the following spell effects do not. 

Arcane Archers can have enormous ACC due to Arcana. If you pair that with Cipher's Borrowed Instincts and Frostseeker you'll have a crit beast that deals tremendous AoE Dps and also awesome CC (for example with highest-ACC Imbue:Web + Imbue:Eora, pulling enemies together, keeping them there while frost dmg rains on them). Essence Interrupter also profits from high ACC a lot (modal has reduced ACC, crits create summons). Both weapon have elemental attacks so the Arcane Archer never gets a malus with them. 

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1 hour ago, Areeb285 said:

So can the ranger companion work as a decent tank ? 

No, not really. They die quickly without support. They are still great as distraction, setting up flankings, increasing accuracy and so on - but they don't last long if you use them like a tank. 

I almost never have more than one tank with lots of engagement slots (usually Swashbuckler Edér) and I'm doing totally fine. I just make sure he's presenting himself first to the enemy. But I also seldomly use supersquishy glasscannons that fall over after one or two hits. If every party member can survive a few strikes (like mine usually can) then a few rushers/jumpers/escapers (like enemy Barbs or Rogues) into the backline aren't a big problem most of times. One can also use the Animal Companion for intercepting such annoyances. Offtanking if you will. That is if you don't plan to use the animal offensively a lot. Not building superglassy chars also helps with the dread of all squishy backlines: enemy shooters. No tank can help your squishies if they catch Finishing Blow arquebus shots with their faces. If you have a caster it's often not a bad idea to give them a small shield and weapon and shield style. Doesn't hamper your accuracy or casting speed but makes getting shot at and die instantly less likely. It's of course a matter of taste and preference, too. Sometime I like the challenge of keeping a glasscannon alive. ;)

Also: the more reliably you can CC/debuff/disable or even turn enemies (see stuff like Chillfog, Killers Froze Stiff, Miasma but also Whisper of Treason and Puppet Master) the less tankishness you need. Summons do the same. They are basically walking CC effects that shift the attention of enemies away from you. Charmed and dominated enemies are even better because they work like summons but at the same time you also take an enemy off the field. A potent mind controller (e.g. Cipher) with a potent summoner (e.g. Chanter) can make tanks almost obsolete on most fights. Good tank is still very useful for prolonged fights against tough single enemies though.

 

Edited by Boeroer

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Yes, Pain Block helps a lot. Good point. I think for offtanking it's pretty fine. You don't want to send you animal companion into the field to set up Stalker's Link or so - where you shower everything with friendly-fire imbue shots. ;)

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1 hour ago, Areeb285 said:

 I mean you can spam Lv 8 and 9 cipher abilities non stop once you ascend, is giving up those spells worth it ?

Which ones come to mind? Imo PL8/9 for Ciphers isn't super spectacular when it comes to spamming spells as an Ascendant.

Good thing about the Arc.Archer-Ascendant combo is that he doesn't even have to cast spells while ascended. Since his soul whip dmg bonus doesn't turn off he can also just keep shooting and continue to do great weapon DPS - if he wants. Or spam stuff like Amplified Wave or whatever fits in the situation. 

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Ok this is a lot of stuff to take in, but this is probably my fault as i haven't even started the game. I mostly wanted a monk and druid because i completely ignored these classes in POE 1. But i have at least understood what classes to pick for the PC and companions, rest I'll figure as i keep playing, i 'll switch around and retrain companions as needed.

4 hours ago, Boeroer said:

Imo PL8/9 for Ciphers isn't super spectacular when it comes to spamming spells as an Ascendant.

Well that makes my decision easier, definitely multiclassing cipher now.

Thnx for the help guys

 

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