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Completed the game as a spellsword; just sharing the experience and what I learnt.


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 Endgame stats. Not optimized, could probably have finished with 31 / 14 / 30 / 7 / 20 / 18 buffed stats with some gearswap and enchantings. Spellsword1_zpssx8657xz.jpg

 

 

 

Endgame gear. I recommend going greatsword for tidefall OR enchanted Estoc for the DR bonus. I went Tidefall mainly for the drain - but it proved not to be needed really. Same for retaliation as most of my attacks where flankings. Spellsword2_zps8rlkevqp.jpg

 

 

SO! Just completed the game on hard+expert as a spellsword. The idea was simple: Use wizard buffs to become a strong melee fighter. Just wanted to share some knowledge on what I learned from this.

 

Race

Moon godlike, fire godlike and pale elf are imo the best options.

 

Ability points

16+ might

3-7 con
16+ dex
dump-8 perception
16+ int
16+ resolve

You want to lower per 1x for each 1x increase in resolve, you want to strike even (at worst) on deflection. Keep in mind that a spellsword is IMO best played around high DR, NOT deflection. However this does not mean you want to neglect deflection in char creation into negative numbers.

 

Weapon of choice

Definitely 2 handers. I ended up with 2.4x damage in the end with all buffs. The reason you want 2 handers is because damage where its needed most is damage which deals with DR. Mobs that have low DR are normally not a threat anyway. I recommend greatsword or estoc. I opted for greatsword due to Tidefall. But lategame an enchanted estoc would be better imo. 

 

Armor/gear

Plate! I never even noticed the recovery penalty. And it doesent seem to affect buff speed. Maybe due to my high dex?
1 x deflection gear piece
Blunting belt early for extra DR
Crucible knights +2DR

1x saving throws gearpiece
Preservation item (+20 defense when prone/stunned)

 

Accuracy

You might think "Wizard low hit chance in melee? No thanks". Thing is... with the + ac from pala buff, radiance, buffs, gear and enchants - you will never have problems hitting stuff even if some of these suppresses eachother. Especially since most attacks comes from flanking.

 

You wont crit a lot, but you will NOT miss much - and you will hit hard.

 

Talents

Weapon focus + Savage attack + bonus 3rd level spell (Iron skin ftw) are must haves. Rest are up to you really. Just dont waste talents on blasts and such. I dont recommend bloody slaughter as you will already hit hard but relatively slow.

"What buffs makes this feasable?"

Where to even begin? You have spells that grants (among others):

+20 accuracy
+20 deflection
+100 endurance (REALLY great) 
+8DR
+Flameshield retaliation
+1.2x attack speed 

+15 elemental DR

As a spellsword you have a pletora of buffs. And the main complaint for this playstyle is "BUT I DONT WANT TO STAND THERE BUFFING FOR HALF THE FIGHT!". You dont. You rarely use all the buffs in one fight. I usually used 0-3 per fight on average and maybe 2-5 in tough fights. Also, the buff speed - even in plate - is very fast. You can cast all your buffs before your team has even positioned proparly. 

 

Utility

Using a melee wizard you can match the damage of a fighter or barb when buffed, and ALSO sit on a huge amount of CC like chillfog, confusion, slicken etc. You also still have AOE spells. You can at any point in addition to dealing good melee damage - CC or nuke your brains out. And if you run out of spells, even unbuffed you will be dealing good damage in battle.

 

The whole point of a spellsword is "Spells and melee capability". You are not playing a caster that can occationally go into melee or a melee caster with some spells. You have - and I confirm this from experience - the strengths of both. 

In an average moderately hard fight
You open up with some CC spells, then cast fireshield/ironskin/elemental bulwark and start flanking stuff beating them to a pulp. As a spellsword - you can completely ignore elemental AOE damage. I noticed on hard+expert that by midgame, my wizard could confidently tank 2-3 mobs solo without even taking damage. 

 

Conclusion

 

Positives

 

Very fun
Extremely versatile
Buff speed not an issue
Number of spells / resting not an issue. Spellswords use less spells due to combat with weapons mixed into combat.
Very strong

Very, very adaptable for different encounters

You still have EVERY strength of a normal wizard. Hybrid'ing yourself into a melee fighter only makes you stronger and is cheap talent-wise.

 

Negatives

Standard wizard early game, takes a few levels to transition into a safer and better melee fighter.

Low health / endurance, overcome by high DR.
Low starting deflection + acc, overcome and playable due to gear and buffs. Expect to hit often and hit hard, but not becoming a crit machine.

 

Final notes

Its very lategame, but when you get martial power at lvl11 - your transition to the dark side is complete. You turn into an avatar of war - and your enemies turn to ashes. 

Edited by Ouroboros226
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As a spellsword you have a pletora of buffs. And the main complaint for this playstyle is "BUT I DONT WANT TO STAND THERE BUFFING FOR HALF THE FIGHT!". You dont. You rarely use all the buffs in one fight. I usually used 0-3 per fight on average and maybe 2-5 in tough fights. Also, the buff speed - even in plate - is very fast. You can cast all your buffs before your team has even positioned proparly. 

 

Wizard's Fast buffing spells have 0 recovery time and wearing armor doesn't make any difference. With decent DEX (~15) it's about 1s per buff so doesn't take that much time at all. Just to compare it takes about the same time to get 3 buffs up than for Wizard to cast average spell and recover from it without any armor.

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I like the concept. Very nice. I might give it a go on solo PotD. Early levels are always hard, so that does not matter.

 

Try it in solo PotD (not necessary TC) and tell me how it work if you will try it of course. I will be trying chanter solo PotD now, but your Spellsword intrigued me! I wanna give it a shot.

Problem is (as always..) fights against perma-CC mobs.

 

Looks nice, I am glad you made that build. Looks like tons of fun :).

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Wizard's Fast buffing spells have 0 recovery time and wearing armor doesn't make any difference. With decent DEX (~15) it's about 1s per buff so doesn't take that much time at all. Just to compare it takes about the same time to get 3 buffs up than for Wizard to cast average spell and recover from it without any armor.

 

Great to know.

 

I've been poking around with a melee wizard (the devs seem to certainly want it to happen given the spell choices), this is a nice guide.

 

OP, did the 3-7 CON impede your durability?  Any grazes will still do a min of 20% damage vs any DR, I'm wondering how you survived when multiple mobs attacked.

Edited by taek
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What are your thoughts on the conjure weapon spells, the staff and spirit lance? 

The conjured weapons are actually surprisingly good, and will compete with any other late game weapons. 

 

The problem here is actually weapon focuses. You WILL need the +accuracy from weapon focus. However - the parasitic staff and the lance uses different weapon focuses IIR. And if you then take your standard weapon into account, you will need a minimum of 2 talents to use conjured weapons with the accuracy buff.

 

The spirit lance when I tried it was VERY good. Against a group of trolls in the endless paths I tried the lance solo without my party, it does AOE damage and I managed to kill the group of 4 trolls solo with ease. However... the weapon focus is here the nightmare. Because optimally you dont want to be using weapons without focus. 

 

All in all I decided that the summoned weapons skills of the wizard, at least for my intentions (spellsword) are more a headache than help when considering weapon focuses and opportunity cost. 

 

Lets put it this way - if summoned weapons had twice as many casts per rest - I would definitely build my character around spirit lance. But due to playing melee I found that having a reliable good weapon 100% of the time was better than wasting an entire talent point to sometimes have a spirit lance etc.

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Wizard's Fast buffing spells have 0 recovery time and wearing armor doesn't make any difference. With decent DEX (~15) it's about 1s per buff so doesn't take that much time at all. Just to compare it takes about the same time to get 3 buffs up than for Wizard to cast average spell and recover from it without any armor.

 

Great to know.

 

I've been poking around with a melee wizard (the devs seem to certainly want it to happen given the spell choices), this is a nice guide.

 

OP, did the 3-7 CON impede your durability?  Any grazes will still do a min of 20% damage vs any DR, I'm wondering how you survived when multiple mobs attacked.

 

 

6 con (starting con) for me only lowered endurance by 9%. At lvl10 that amounts to very little HP. 

 

Unfortunately constitution is pretty much a dead stat to wizards. Since your health gain is so low - lowering AND increasing con will have minimal actual impact. When I got targeted by more than 1 mob on my character I used the buffs:

 

Iron skin (+8DR)

Vitality (+100 endurance)

Deflection (+20 deflect)

 

Sometimes just 1, sometimes all 3 or more. Drain + retal probably kept me at 100% endurance in these cases. In like 70% of the game you are flank attacking, 20% of the time engaged to 1 mob only, and 10% of the game time ( in combat) you are fighting 2 or more. I never really had problems surviving after I got ironskin and plate armor. 

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Awesome post Ouroboros!

 

Did you try out dual wielding with the Alacrity spell much?  I keep thinking dual sabres or stilettos would be pretty boss.

 

Weapon Focus:  Adventurer might be good for the Estoc/Wand I figure otherwise.  Minor Blights benefits for the rare times you wanna hang back?

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I am definitely planning to play a spellsword sometime, but wizards level 1-2 spells turning per encounter use later give me doubts. With both wizard rings you can find that's least 12 spells you want to cast in every single fight for free, and the main reason i skipped auto attacking later because i was too busy casting.

 

Earlier i didn't realize how fast, fast spells were, wow, buffing yourself is not an issue, however bit awkward, you still need to chain the buffs and you can't preset these combos.

 

I didn't follow the development, but It feels like they designed the spells first then they added the per encounter system for low level spells, and honestly it doesn't make sense, especially the scaling, out of nowhere you can spam like crazy in every fight while you already have more spells so conserving them between rests is less of an issue. Anyway should make for a fun playthrough when i get to it.

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I can confirm tank wizards to work much better than expected. It takes some levels for them to really shine (basicly until you have access to Displaced Image at spell rank 3), but fortunately most enemies you battle early are shadows anyway (which basicly get hardcountered by elemental bulwark).

 

My build is a little bit less hybrid and focuses more on the tanking side of things with 16 Res and Per, 14 Int and some Dex (Might and Con at 10, but I already consider dropping Con even lower for my next build, as it doesn't really matter much due to the flat +50 and +100 endurance buffs). All I can say is that it's extremely fun to play, especially since you can freely spam cone-attacks without the tedious "yellow zone positioning" when playing a standard wizard.

 

Also, a tank wiz requires surprisingly few talents: +10 deflection modal and weapon & shield passive and you're pretty much good to go. Arcane veil is also worth an investment in case things go downhill.

Edited by Zwiebelchen
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This is pretty cool, and something I was actually seriously considering doing on Hard, but decided to see the differences between a Bow focused Wizard and a Bow focused Rogue instead (since on a more recent playthrough on Hard, their overall damage was almost equal due to Wizard AoE and more enemies).  Going to focus on using Cloudpiercer with the 25% shock enchant as well as Heart of the Storm.

 

On a side note though, the recovery time is very noticeable if you're actually trying to do realistic benchmarks for classes.  Going from 0% to 50% is a pretty huge difference in attacks/spells per encounter.  Although for a Wizard prior to level 9, the delay with spells isn't nearly as much of an issue as it might be for other classes.  It does have a big effect on auto attacks though.

Edited by Sanctuary
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This is pretty cool, and something I was actually seriously considering doing on Hard, but decided to see the differences between a Bow focused Wizard and a Bow focused Rogue instead 

My first attempt was actually an "arcane archer"... well sort of... more like a wizard gunslinger ;)

 

Wanted a wizard with gunner talent and high dex using pistol. However - for whatever idiotic and illogical reason there may be - the devs decided not to let dex affect reload speed. It makes absolutely no sense to me why high dex wouldnt affect a character's ability to reload guns faster. So that build was pretty much ruined. 

 

Bow-wizard might work fine. But imo... guns.... not so much. Still bitter on the devs for this design choice. So much in fact that I made a vow not to use ranged characters in this game out of spite :p

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I was considering doing a playthrough with this type of character, but it seemed like it would mature too late to actually be what I wanted.  I didn't want to only be able to really play the idea for 1/3 of the game.

 

This is correct. 

 

You will be playing a standard wizard until lvl5'ish, then transition into Armageddon's blade later on :) 

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The issue I see with this is that you play the hardest parts of the game as a normal squishy ranged wizard, and by the time your build comes together, your party will probably cruise through most fights by auto-attacking. Not a build I'd roll with for a solo PotD playthrough.

Edited by Concordance
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Wizard's Fast buffing spells have 0 recovery time and wearing armor doesn't make any difference. With decent DEX (~15) it's about 1s per buff so doesn't take that much time at all. Just to compare it takes about the same time to get 3 buffs up than for Wizard to cast average spell and recover from it without any armor.

That's very interesting information and it would have been really useful before I finished my Wizard playthrough -- too bad it is not documented anywhere. If this is the case, then PoE buffs are not quite as worthless as I thought...

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Wizard's Fast buffing spells have 0 recovery time and wearing armor doesn't make any difference. With decent DEX (~15) it's about 1s per buff so doesn't take that much time at all. Just to compare it takes about the same time to get 3 buffs up than for Wizard to cast average spell and recover from it without any armor.

That's very interesting information and it would have been really useful before I finished my Wizard playthrough -- too bad it is not documented anywhere. If this is the case, then PoE buffs are not quite as worthless as I thought...

 

Incorrect :

Spells that has no recovery time ( mostly self buffs) in description they have a label : Instant Cast 

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Wizard's Fast buffing spells have 0 recovery time and wearing armor doesn't make any difference. With decent DEX (~15) it's about 1s per buff so doesn't take that much time at all. Just to compare it takes about the same time to get 3 buffs up than for Wizard to cast average spell and recover from it without any armor.

That's very interesting information and it would have been really useful before I finished my Wizard playthrough -- too bad it is not documented anywhere. If this is the case, then PoE buffs are not quite as worthless as I thought...

 

Incorrect :

Spells that has no recovery time ( mostly self buffs) in description they have a label : Instant Cast 

 

Incorrect :

Wizard self buffs are all labelled Fast cast.

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True i mixed those 2 words for some reason , but still it is written in description , also i was on middle of 2nd playtrough when i found this out , and i instantly rerolled my glasscanon wizard to a battlemage ( and whole party with him ) , there is no reasons to play wizard in the back when he cant cast fan of flames and battlemage just WRECKS everything , imo nothing worse for enemies than a wizard who has no fear of getting insta gibbed :D 

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Playing on the attack speed google docs for what a wizard can cast/use.

 

~~Two weapons~~

Talents:  Two weapon fighting + Focus + Vulnerable attack

Accuracy:  6 focus 20 buff 12 superb

Dmg Mod:  24% (18 base Might) +6% (+2 Might item) +24% (+8 combat buff) +45% (superb weapon)

Dexterity:  30 (20 base dex for elf or godlike with background + 8 combat buff +2 item)

Attack Speed + Recovery Mods:  0.7  (2 weapon style + alacrity)

Elemental Damage weapon bonus:  0.25 (lash)

Damage Reduction Debuff:  5 (situational wizard spell)

 

12 DR:  Dual Stilettos:  40.89 dps (which most monsters are at)

20 DR:  Dual Sabres:  27.57 dps

 

Damage Reduction Debuff:  10  (+Vulnerable attack, and attack speed mod dropped to .5)

 

12 DR:  Dual Stilettos:  41.84 dps

20 DR:  Dual Sabres:  29.23 dps

 

~~Estoc~~

As above but not special talent picks, just focus, no vulnerable attack.

20 DR:  26.44 dps

 

As above with Two handed instead of Two weapon, no vulnerable attack

 

12 DR: 36.19 dps

20 DR: 28.99 dps

 

+Vulnerable attack (-.2 speed mod)

12 DR: 30.16 dps

20 DR: 32.99 dps

 

~~All those calcs with lower than 1.9 dmg modifier~~

Estoc is ahead.

 

~~Figuring the Slash DR for hard creatures~~

Sabre is ahead specifically, the later harder monsters have equal DR to everything, but less DR in the case of Adra dragon to slash.

 

Conclusion:  Wizards have attack speed more than any other class.  Sadly, this translates into the very endgame for viability of sabres which tend to be a much better all around weapon usually.  This is mainly because the recovery is so effected for the slower weapons vs the dual wield as they get like a 10-15 frame benefit, vs a 30 frame benefit and yet they were scaled mostly the same.

 

The bonus is despite the slight power drop way at the endgame, the Weapon Focus: Adventurer helps for the Minor Blights casting.  Arguably, combust wounds would scale the wizard higher too for the dual wielder, but its sort of represented by the vulnerable attack being added on and would definitely swing it much faster to the dual wield side but its one more spell/talent in an already tight build to me.

Edited by MoxyWoo
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