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After a long dilemma, I choose to play a cipher as my first character, mostly because they seemed the most interesting lorewise, and also because they are the closest to a fighter/mage archetype.

 

Now I know they are supposed to be glass cannons, but this guy is squishier than a leaf. I cringe when I look at his health/endurance bars (I tried more CON but it doesn't add much). I went for a MIG/DEX/RES build for damage and deflection and gave him heavy armor, but he still dies as soon as enemies change agro from Eder.

 

Does it get better?

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For the NPC cipher I start combat by using 2-3 high level spells and then switch to dual rapiers/daggers. It genearates focus a lot faster than ranged weapon, does more damage and at this point in combat the enemies are usually already focusing on another target (except for the !!! shadow summoning shades)

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After a long dilemma, I choose to play a cipher as my first character, mostly because they seemed the most BROKEN AS F**K and also because they are the closest to a fighter/mage archetype.

Fixed :p

 

Except that, it depends a lot on what difficulty mode you're playing on. If you want to make it a tank, you can, but you will probably need to take some talents like Shield and Weapon mastery, or Deflection.

 

Your ability to tank will be also depending a lot on the level of your character compared to the level of the monsters you're fighting. If you don't do a lot of side quests to be a bit over the level of the mobs you're encountering, you will obviously take more damages.

 

But in the end, it's totally possible to make a tank. I'm currently playing with a Rogue that I turned into a tank, and it works well in PotD.

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Focus generation and damage output is better in melee. However, to reliably survive melee you need to sacrifice offense for defense, which is a tough call to make. Many fights you won't need that much focus generation, and the fights where you do are generally more dangerous to put a non-tank into melee range.

 

I prefer ranged cipher. It's just much more convenient. You have more freedom to angle various spells. I do use a Pike from time to time though, if I know being behind the tank doesn't put my cipher into too much danger. Soldier Focus gives +accuracy to some good ranged weapons and the Pike.

Edited by Odd Hermit

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The official guide mentions a Cipher melee with fast weapons as a possible build, so yes it is "legit". Ciphers have a somewhat high base deflection too.

Anyway, in most RPGs, fighter/mages hybrids are broken, in IE games kensai/mage was the cheesiest combinaison, closely followed by the fighter/cleric. When you combine high magical defenses with high offense, this is hardly avoidable.

 

Then again, who cares, as long as all classes are fun to play and things balanced enough so the player does not feel forced to pick up specific skills, weapons or talents.

Ciphers are fun to play, in my opinion a few more damage skills could be toned down a bit (mind blades was very OP before nerf), but I play mine mostly as a crowd controller so I am having a blast and not felling like I am cheesing the game.

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Mind blades was so so before nerf (+5 vs deflection and stops bouncing after 1st miss with lesss damage and more cost than soul shock) and right now is plain garbage. It was only good against highly dispersed enemy groups anyway.

 

As for melee cipher, it is totally legit, but you have to build for it. Otherwise you can stick to reach weapon and still be pretty solid.

Edited by MadDemiurg

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kensai/mage was the cheesiest combinaison, closely followed by the fighter/cleric. When you combine high magical defenses with high offense, this is hardly avoidable.

Fighter/Druid was the most hilariously broken. You could wield the Impaler spear for +10 damage on all your attacks, weapon specialization damage bonus, fighter bonus attacks, druid spells, greater werewolf stats and special abilities, and greater werewolf bonus attacks (they added onto fighter). It was something like 8 attacks a round for 80+ damage per attack. It just chunked everything instantly.

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I think cipher is more like rogue/mage than fighter/mage btw. Would love to see some fighter/mage like class in PoE too.

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Been playing (and restarting because I bork something up) strictly as a Cipher.  I don't know numbers, but I can definitely tell you some tricks I've learned.

 

Melee Cipher is totally viable, but it's an active class.  Where as Barbs just charge in and maybe hit a Savage Defiance, Ciphers have to carefully engage with spells first.

Generally I'll stunlock the snot out of something, send my grunts in to soak hits and cause hell, then sling an AoE before moving to flank and DPS down what I stunlocked.  Ogre Druids are cake if you manage your Focus to lock them down almost continuosly.

 

I'm still trying to find the best balance of DPS/Focus/Armor, but I've had great fun with a single Sabre.  This also means ya can take Weapon Focus: Ruffian for Sabre/Blunderbuss builds.  Sabre (in my limited experience) does comparable damage to a Greatsword, swings faster, and as a single one-hander is way more accurate.  If you're planning on your stuns to keep you upright against a big nasty, you have to hit hard reliably to kill them and to generate Focus.  Missing gets you killed.

Gear I'd recommend: Padded/Hide/Leather/Scale armor.  Whichever you like best, but I've found going any heavier made me too slow.  Going lighter to robes/modded clothing left me too squishy and dead early/midgame.  Belt of Blunting and a Superb rating clothing with Blunt Resistance Enchantment would be my ultimate plan to work for, but that's late game.  Haven't achieved that yet.

 

But yeah!  They totally work, just not as a tank main (without a lot of side talents and serious compromises).  My ciphers have felt more like flashy killers.  Generally most fights have one or two lynch-pin/super dangerous mobs with a bunch of normals.  As a cipher I kill/stunlock that "leader" mob, and then the rest cave.

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I think cipher is more like rogue/mage than fighter/mage btw. Would love to see some fighter/mage like class in PoE too.

 

Current Wizard has some arsenal in this regard. One of the problems is that buffs cannot be cast pre-battle nor stored. If its gonna take 3 rounds buffing to become somewhat capable fighter .. when Stone Skin was around, triggered on on sight, fighter/mage was ready for battle knowing  few weapon attacks will be misses. Here? Seems some mob roll just crits, which interrupt and knock. Not talking about attack speed. Well done dps race or waiting for lucky non-crit.

 

F/M here is also different by nature of design. Mig .. THAC0 was problem for mages due to low Str so they got to summon Mordy swords .. anyway here Aim remains problem.  One was Fighter who dualed to Mage and it worked mainly because of Fighter's chance to hit and Mage's utility and protection. Here Fighter have their own utility. Then again, if Mage could melee like Fighter without any trade-offs there would be something odd with game design in sense why to make the distinction in the first place? The only advantage is here flexibility but that is luxury not necessity. In other words why to bother to play Wizard like Fighter when there seems to be no apparent advantage?

 

Fighters initially did not have many "abilities", later called high level abilities..., they were punching just bags and Korgan who could solo Kangaxx simply because his ability guaranteed not to be Imprisoned.  "What gives?" We know what happens here.

 

I play my Wiz like some offensive Priest. Standing there in full plate, waving hands at heaven ... boom! crit .. not like Kensai/Mage.

Edited by knownastherat

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Cipher with Hunting/War bow is pretty baller, although I think for melee I would go dual spear/dagger/stiletto. Single battle ax if you're Hearth Orlan. 

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My current main is a quarterstaff using Hearth Orlan. He just about leads the rest of the group combined in total damage inflicted. I grabbed Durance's staff when I recruited him (it's quite spiffy with the bonus fire damage), and he stands behind the tanks and just murderizes stuff in melee, with generous support from Mind Wave, and Mental Binding. Devastating, damaging, very fast cast time, and use little focus.

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