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Harder than a Pillar: A Fighter's Handbook
Warning: Be prepared for a long read.
In this guide I'll try and help you build the best fighter possible for party play, and and while this guide is not made with RP in mind, i think even roleplayers will find at least some of the advice useful.
I only plan to write about the tank fighter for now, however I'll add advice for DPS, hybrid and even ranged builds in time.
I doubt most of my advice is useful for solo play, but if any of you guys have any luck beating the game as a solo fighter I'll gladly add your tips here if you want to. I'll also add any builds you send me to the guide.
18/04/2015 - Expanded race and attribute descriptions and tweaked the sample build a bit based on feedback.
Red: Don't pick this, this is a poor option.
Orange: An ok choice. Can be useful in some situations but not often enough to recommend it.
Green: A good choice.
Light Blue: A must have, usually the best possible option.
Bonus Talent: Constant Recovery
Skill Bonus: +1 to Athletics, Lore, and Survival.
Endurance: 42 +14/level (High)
Health: Endurance x5 (High)
Deflection: 25 (Very High)
Accuracy: 30 (Very High)
A great starter pack you are accurate, you are hard to hit, and even if you do get hit you have a nice hp tank to absorb it. Constant recovery is just awesome for non tank builds, however, tank builds will still find it useful in the early game since their deflection and DR are not that high yet. The bonuses to skills is not bad either since you get a bonus to both Lore and Survival are useful in combat.
The Tank Fighter
The job the fighter was born to do, abilities like defender and his natural resiliency means he can tank like few else can, and while your damage is low, your accuracy is good enough to be able to hit your actives so you still have some degree of battlefield control. This is a character you can send into a room full of enemies alone and he'll still be standing even after minutes of fighting, enabling your party to buff themselves in the mean time. Still this is a character that is only really needed in PoTD since you really need the extra deflection this character brings to the table, people playing in other difficulty levels will get a better millage from a hybrid fighter.
While you can pick any race and still be a relatively good tank even in PotD. Still this is an optimization guide and since some races are still better than others.
Aumaua (Costal): Attribute bonus is bad, but the racial is nice for a tank since your health can drop fast while you are prone or stunned and many enemies may also decide to switch targets.
Aumaua (Island): Might bonus and the ability are near useless. Better for those that like to open with a ranged weapon.
Dwarf (Boreal): Might bonus is useless and damage bonuses against certain enemies are not something you need. The con bonus does not help but in the current meta no build ever maxes con.
Dwarf (Mountain): Might and con bonuses don't help you do your job better. The racial actually it's too situational to actually choose him for this.
Elf (Pale): Bonus to perception is useful and the ability is nice to have. I don't rate it better because of the propensity of the AI to target your squishier party members instead of you with special abilities (ie shades and their cold attack).
Elf (Wood): Bonus to perception is useful but the ability being a ranged attack bonus is useless for a tank.
Human: Bonus to resolve is nice, but the extra accuracy from the racial only helps if you still have actives remaining by the time you reach 50%.
Orlan (Hearth): Nice attribute bonuses and while the ability at first may seem useless for a tank, a crit also give double duration for a knockdown, the way the ability is phrased it should also give the bonus even if your ally is attacking with a ranged weapon.
Orlan (Wild): Best race for a tank, attributes in the right places and and awesome racial ability that helps you evade some of the worse status effects.
Godlike (Death): Attribute bonuses are useless. Ability is best suited for a damage dealer and you are not a damage dealer.
Godlike (Fire): Attribute bonuses are bad, but the racial is nice for a tank, nothing better than becoming more resilient when your are getting a pounding.
Godlike (Nature): Attribute bonuses are useless. And while the racial ability gives you some extra con when you are damages the extra life will not help you that much.
Godlike (Water): Attribute bonus are bad, but the racial is one of the best ones for a tank. Most of the times you get hit hard it's because you are suffering from a status effect like stun or para, so you cannot really defend yourself or your party members.
Res > Per > Int & Con > Might & Dex
Might is not needed, you have low base damage since you are using mostly fast weapons, an extra 20% damage from a good might score is a waste of points. Either dump it hard or leave it at 10 since it helps in the early game.
Dexterity is not a really useful stat but sometimes you may want to get two knockdowns fast and a really low dexterity score can be detrimental in this situation.
Constitution is not really important but you should not dump it unless you want a really bad fort save. You have enough endurance even for the hardest fights so you don't need to any points here unless you are dumping might.
Perception is mot as important as resolve since your ref save is high thanks to a sword and shield style talent. You may wnat to lower this a bit if you don't want to dump dex.
Intellect is important, i find that the extra prone duration allows the rest of my party to kill one or two mobs you are not engaging without taking a sweat. A 14 second prone on a crit is just glorious.
Resolve is your most important stat, it adds deflection and will save, should be maxed.
Armored Grace: A waste of a talent for a tank.
Clear Out: It's one of you few limited resources, but a great opener for fights with many tough enemies since you can disable 2-4 enemies and engage the remaining ones.
Confident Aim: Even if your accuracy suffers for the heavy shield you can always swap to a high accuracy set to use an active ability.
Critical Defense: You are not gonna get many crits with you high deflection,
Defender: The bread and butter of the build, take this ASAP.
Disciplined Barrage: It's not a bad ability per se, however there is usually a better choice every time.
Guardian Stance: Forces you deactivate Defender.
Into the Fray: Useful to pull and debuff an enemy harassing your party without having to move.
Knockdown: Your only other choice at lvl 1 is disciplined barrage, so this one is a no brainier. Useful to help your damage dealers to position to beak engagement or even to drop an enemy that decides to ignore you and hit your party.
Unbending: I recall only one fight where this talent could have been useful.
Unbroken: Take this if you you don't have any item that grants second chance. You are not gonna die a lot, but when you do it's nice to have some kind of backup.
Vigorous Defense: Useful to avoid a nasty spell or ability that's about to hit you. Also helps turning crits to hits.
Weapon Specialization: Even if you pick this you are not gonna do significant damage so you might as well skip it.
Constant Recovery: An extra hp every tick is not worth a talent.
Bonus Knockdown: An extra knockdown is cool, however only pick it after getting more useful talents.
Weapon Focus: The extra accuracy is nice, for hitting with your actives. Peasant is the best choice since you get both spear and hatchet, Adventurer is good too for the flail.
Extra Damage Against X Talents: You base damage is pitiful, so that extra 25% will not help much.
Gunner and Marksman: Even if you use a ranged weapon every now and then i wouldn't spend a talent to improve those few attacks.
Interrupting Blows: Tank weapons usually have low interrupt and even if they are fast you low dex and heavy armor make you attack slow enough to make this talent worthless.
Bloody Slaughter: Your crits are a joke.
Modal Abilities: They all force you to deactivate defender, so not one of them is useful.
Envenomed Strike: A nice ability for anyone who ain't a tank.
Superior Deflection: Extra deflection is always nice.
Weapon and Shield Style: +6 extra deflection just for using a shield is good enough for a talent, the bonus to reflex is just the icing on the cake.
Hold the Line: You already have defender. While the extra enemy engaged could be useful, there are a couple of items that grant this talent too.
Save Boosting Talents: Many are just plain useless, but Bull's Will and Mental Fortress are useful since many effects that target will actually take you out of the fight.
Cautious Attack: Useless since it cannot be used while defender is active.
Graceful Retreat: The only reason to reposition is because you lost the aggro of many mobs, that also means that probably not many enemies are engaging you.
Elemental Talents: Since base damage is not good enough to benefit from the bonus, getting the talent for 5DR vs an element is not worth it imo.
Shoot on the Run: Since we can't throw our shields we have no use for this talent.
Fast Runner: Tanks work best when stationary.
Deep Pockets: 4 slots are more than enough.
Arms Bearer: The Island Aumaua racial is considered one of the weakest ones. You can pick this to make them feel even worse about it, but that's it.
Quick Switch: If you learn to time your switch you'll never gonna need this talent.
Wound Binding: The only reason to use this is that your health is really low, but then if you are at that point you might at well rest before getting into another fight.
Field Triage: Worthless. One of the reasons to pick Kana early is so he does not get this.
Since I'm trying to make this guide as spoilerless as possible I'll avoid mentioning specific items. Remember not to be stingy with consumables they are cheap and easy to craft.
Armor: The best quality plate armor you can find. Second chance is nice. Resolve or perception bonus are nice too. Crushing or Lightning proofing help to increase the armor lower resistances.
Weapon: While any Expectational or Accurate weapon will do, you may want to have both an naturally accurate weapon like a dagger, spear or rapier and a hatchet for the extra deflection, a flail is nice too.
Other Slot Items: Extra saves and deflection are a must but you'll usually use your rings for that. Get bonuses to perception and resolve first, and constitution and intelligence second. Bonuses vs ugly abilities like prone stunned or charmed are useful.
Food: Drakest Rauatai Cookies and Ixamitl Ricepan are you default food. Dragon Egg Dish is good for longer and tougher fights.
Potions: Keep the best endurance and regen potions you find in your quickslots. Any potion that grants extra endurance, DR or deflection is useful too.
Scrolls: Any defense buff is good for you. Scrolls of revival are a must for those times that you end up as the only party member not downed.
Sample PotD Build: The Tiny Smart Fighter
Race: Wild Orlan
Region: Aedyr or Ixamitl Plains (Bonus Resolve)
Background: Slave (Bonus to Athletics and Survival)
Might 8 Constitution 10 Dexterity 10 Perception 16 Intelligence 14 Resolve 20
Lvl Ability Talent 1 Knockdown 2 Weapon and Shield Style 3 Defender 4 Wary Defender 5 Vigorous Defense 6 Weapon Focus (Peasant) 7 Clear Out 8 Superior Deflection 9 Into the Fray 10 Bonus Knockdown 11 Disciplined Barrage 12 Mental Fortress
This build will tank your party though PotD with authority since he is extremely hard to and hit boasts really nice saves. His accuracy is good too while using his spear and his actives have a nice duration thanks to the Int bonus. With defender active an exeptional heavy shield and a hatchet, you reach 140 deflection for hard fights, for easier battles you can use a light shield and a spear which gives you enough accuracy to get a crit or two if you are lucky. Depending on party composition you may be able to tweak the build (ie priest buffing deflection for tough fights).
Edited by Vadász, 17 April 2015 - 09:43 PM.