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I've beaten this game twice before, both on PotD, second time with triple crown solo; I only say this to show that I'm not a complete noob.

 

Still, this time through, I can't help but feel that having my main be a cipher is... woefully underwhelming (I picked up Grieving Mother late in my first run, so I was already pretty high in the power curve and was abusing the Blacsonn+Blunderbuss+Draining Whip loophole).

 

Basically my problems are that:

  1. Even when I'm optimizing my powers to target the right defense, it is exceedingly hard to get my powers to consistently land on non-trivial enemies (i.e. enemies other than young wolves, lesser black oozes, etc.) However good mental binding is, it's a bummer if I miss the initial hit, since then the AoE doesn't do anything (same with similar such powers).
  2. The high DR and deflection of enemies on PotD means I generate focus at a trickle. And trying to use slow ranged weapons like guns or crossbows means that focus is super-bursty and inconsistent; sometimes I'll be flush, sometimes I'll go an entire fight without generating enough focus to use an extra power.
  3. Melee gets me focus a bit more consistently (though mainly if I'm using a single weapon thanks to the accuracy bonus), but on PotD if the enemy turns around and starts attacking my CHARNAME, I'm basically screwed if Eder can't connect a knockdown.

The upshot is that in trash fights, I can get off one power at the start and if I'm lucky my alpha strike with a ranged weapon can get me another power (or a higher-level power to start). In harder fights, I can get two and only if I'm lucky with rolls (or there are lots of trash mobs around a harder foe) can I get more.

 

What am I doing wrong here? I realize that the cipher got hit with a few nerfs while I was taking a break/doing triple crown solo, but my impression was that cipher was still pretty solid. Does the cipher just have a really crummy early game? I'm just thinking of Aloth in this run (or my wizard for my first PotD run) and how at low levels, even when out of spells having 2/encounter uses of Arcane Assault helped bring a lot of consistent firepower to fights, whereas I get no such base level of performance with my cipher.

 

(I'm at level 4 right now, for reference.)

Edited by thelee
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  1. Enemies on POTD have high fortitude, invest in some abilities that target other defenses. Otherwise, drop their defenses first using Wizard/Druid/etc abilities.
  2. If you're going melee, save enough focus to cast an ability that will get you out of engagement safely; there's a good level 1 confusion spell that can do this.
  3. If you're using slow ranged weapons, lower the enemy's deflection first using knockdown, flank, etc. Make the most out of the shot.
  4. On melee again, invest in abilities that reduce the risk of disengaging. Also, note that interrupts break engagement so you could have a high dex/perception character assist with this role.

 

POTD is all about lowering the opponent's defenses before attempting to unleash big spells/attacks imo. Unless you're going to initiate against an enemy with a known weakness or sneak attack. Early game Cipher is pretty solid if you mix-up the spell selection and take advantage of defensive weaknesses.

Edited by View619
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Cipher can be a bit weak early on as you are going to be lacking the accuracy needed to reliably land your abilities and to generate your focus. A Paladin with Zealous Focus or a Priest with Blessing can definitely help a lot. As stated above pay attention to which defenses you are targeting. A Cipher really doesn't come into her own until the end of Act 1 unfortunately. But once you're level 5 or so and have a nice weapon to use (I prefer Warbows for maximum damage per hit without a reload) the Cipher should start to become an a tremendous asset.

 

One of the big challenges on PoTD is the large amount of enemies each battle throws at you. Paralyzing one plus inflicting stuck on some others really eases the pressure. And if anything should get past your tanks you can stop them in their tracks with Mental Binding again or use Ectopsychic Echo to deal some massive damage. Don't forget to use additional accuracy boosting equipment or abilities. Devotions for the Faithful works wonders as does a Darcozzi Paladin's Liberating Exhortation.

 

Late in the game the Cipher loses ground to the caster classes. The Wizard becomes a CC god once he can spam Slicken each encounter. The Druid's high level spells can deal great damage and often deliver CC as well. The Priest has his highly accurate Repulsing Seal eventually become per encounter. Of course pretty much every class pales in comparison to high level casters, not just the Cipher. 

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You can get accuracy gauntlets +5 early on in Raedrics, just check the thread in this forum, whete you can download a file with all the dates for specific drops in random loot table chests.

Also I can only encourage you to use warbow, it's not only similar dps to heavy weapons, but also more reliable focus.

Take marksman early and biting whip. Wood elf is an awesome class for ciphers distant advantage also works on spells.

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Thanks for the pointers, all. I picked up a Fine Warbow that is working aces better than the various reloading weapons I was using before; even if the math means less average focus gain than the reloaders, having a consistent focus gain throughout the fight is working much better than unpredictable bursts.

 

I also think I did some of the early quests in the "wrong" order, at least for a cipher main. I wrote this up after doing the Temple of Eothas in the village, and the many Skuldr Kings/Phantoms/Shades with their high deflection and moderately high every other defense were really giving my cipher a hard time (I managed to finish it after a brutal number of reloads, but it left me really frustrated). Now that I'm doing other early-game quests, I'm soaring through them a lot better.

 

 

 

Late in the game the Cipher loses ground to the caster classes. The Wizard becomes a CC god once he can spam Slicken each encounter.

 

IMO, this is one thing that seriously needs to be considered in terms of progression/balance. The jump in power levels of my wizard/priest/druids when going from level 1 spells per rest to level 1 spells per encounter was insane (level 2 per encounter spells was also great but overkill at that point). Opening every fight with Amplified Wave was still pretty good, though, so at least there's that to look forward to for my Cipher.

Edited by thelee
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I was also thinking that good warbow and ranged dps talents(marksman, weapon focus and penetrating shots) might be the most reliable way to generate focus. Especially on battles where there is some thrash for cipher to use as refill fodder. Melee does more damage, but is way too risky unless you have heavy armor, which cuts down your dps so the ranged approach seems better.

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I ended up using a Warbow on GM.

Everyone knows Science Fiction is really cool. You know what PoE really needs? Spaceships! There isn't any game that wouldn't be improved by a space combat minigame. Adding one to PoE would send sales skyrocketing, and ensure the game was remembered for all time!!!!!

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You can thank the rest system. Never running out of spells = balanced to be worse than per rest casters at full strength, so you're better when they're out of spells, thus balancing out. Sounds great on paper, right? Except of course for the fact that you can rest whenever you want, and therefore you will always have your per rest casters at full strength in any fight that you actually stand a chance of losing.

 

Also, as you noted, the whole dealing weapon damage to gain focus system does mean the extra deflection on PotD causes extra suckage for cipher. Wizard or druid is simply a better offensive caster.

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Classes aren't balanced, period.

Rangers and chanters just plain suck, they don't even come close to comparing to anyone else.

Neither class contributes anything appreciable to DPS, and priests, who are also low DPS, can at least cast good buffs which will increase party DPS.

Chanter phrases just suck, their summons are good, but the only time you'll see them on POTD is if your entire party sucks, and does very little damage.

 

Ciphers are definitely one of the top classes, along with wizard and druid.

I always take the extra focus talent with ciphers first, so that I can always use the highest level ability available once at the beginning of combat.

 

As far as resting goes, that's your choice, if you want to play on easy mode, you can rest after every combat, if you want to not cheese it, you can rest only when you get tired, it's totally up to you.

This is a single player game, so there's no real need to balance all the classes or restrict 'easy mode'.

If people want to play that way, let them...

 

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As far as resting goes, that's your choice, if you want to play on easy mode, you can rest after every combat, if you want to not cheese it, you can rest only when you get tired, it's totally up to you.

 

Or you can never pick up any loot at all, or you can play without a monitor, or you can never level up, etc. All these options are exactly as irrelevant to any balance discussion because nothing forces you to use them, just like nothing prevents you from resting after every fight (or more to the point, before every remotely difficult fight). Therefore, for the sake of balance, the only reasonable assumption is that everyone is at full strength in every fight, because, surprise of surprises, that is exactly the case any time that you have a difficult fight ahead - the first thing you do is rest up, or, more importantly, you at least CAN.

 

The fact it's inconvenient to run back to town for more supplies if you overdo it is not relevant to balance at all. The only way a rest system can possibly work is if the devs have the balls to actually restrict it in some real way instead of going "trolololo stare at some loading screens you naughty boy, you rested too much", which has to be the most idiotic way to try to "balance" anything ever conceived. "Hey let's totally allow the player to do this, and let's make it the strategically superior choise, but let's make it turn the game into total ass!". ****ing brilliant.

 

But hey, why balance anything or design the game intelligently when you can apparently just call anyone doing something smart a "cheeser" and win.

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As far as resting goes, that's your choice, if you want to play on easy mode, you can rest after every combat, if you want to not cheese it, you can rest only when you get tired, it's totally up to you.

 

Or you can never pick up any loot at all, or you can play without a monitor, or you can never level up, etc. All these options are exactly as irrelevant to any balance discussion because nothing forces you to use them, just like nothing prevents you from resting after every fight (or more to the point, before every remotely difficult fight). Therefore, for the sake of balance, the only reasonable assumption is that everyone is at full strength in every fight, because, surprise of surprises, that is exactly the case any time that you have a difficult fight ahead - the first thing you do is rest up, or, more importantly, you at least CAN.

 

The fact it's inconvenient to run back to town for more supplies if you overdo it is not relevant to balance at all. The only way a rest system can possibly work is if the devs have the balls to actually restrict it in some real way instead of going "trolololo stare at some loading screens you naughty boy, you rested too much", which has to be the most idiotic way to try to "balance" anything ever conceived. "Hey let's totally allow the player to do this, and let's make it the strategically superior choise, but let's make it turn the game into total ass!". ****ing brilliant.

 

But hey, why balance anything or design the game intelligently when you can apparently just call anyone doing something smart a "cheeser" and win.

 

THIS.

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Not to derail the discussion or anything, but I'm a little confused as to how Focus gain from attacks are calculated. Do you get Focus at a flat rate per hit, or is it a percentage of the damage dealt, or some other formula?

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The game isn't balanced, that should be clear.

It's a SP RPG, balance is not as important as story.

You want balance, make a mod.

 

If you want to play on easy mode or 'smart' mode as you call it, rest after every encounter - no one is stopping you.

Who cares how you want to play the game?

I don't understand how you can rail against something, and at the same time, defend doing it because it's the 'smart' play...

If you don't like resting all the time, stop doing it...

No one is telling you to replenish your abilities after every combat.

 

I don't do that, I'm sure many players don't rest after every combat.

When I see that tired symbol on the character's icons (around 5 athletics), is when I rest...

If you think that's a stupid way to play - ok, whatever you think.

It doesn't matter.

Everybody can enjoy the game their own way.

 

PS. focus is gained as a percentage of the damage you deal.  Warbow or Hunting Bow are the best ways to gain focus ranged, pike or quarterstaff are good in melee.

Edited by AshenPlanet
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Not to derail the discussion or anything, but I'm a little confused as to how Focus gain from attacks are calculated. Do you get Focus at a flat rate per hit, or is it a percentage of the damage dealt, or some other formula?

 

PS. focus is gained as a percentage of the damage you deal.  Warbow or Hunting Bow are the best ways to gain focus ranged, pike or quarterstaff are good in melee.

 

Specifically, the base rate is that you gain 25% of the damage you deal in Focus. With the +33% talent, it changes that to .25 + .25 * .3 repeated = .3 repeated, so 33.3 repeated % of the damage you deal.

 

Bows are perhaps the most consistent way to gain focus, but guns (besides blunderbusses) with the gunner talent are better for high DR targets, and blunderbusses can become great if you also add Penetrating Shot. Also, each of the 6 pellets they fire per shot gains 4 focus from the Carow Golan drug, so that's 24 extra focus per shot compared to just 4 for other weapons.

Edited by Nobear
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There is also the matter of the number of abilities required to optimise the weapon. Firearms need Gunner, Hunting Bows need Penetrating Shot, so War Bow leaves you with an extra ability that you can spend elsewhere.

Edited by Fardragon

Everyone knows Science Fiction is really cool. You know what PoE really needs? Spaceships! There isn't any game that wouldn't be improved by a space combat minigame. Adding one to PoE would send sales skyrocketing, and ensure the game was remembered for all time!!!!!

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The game isn't balanced, that should be clear.

It's a SP RPG, balance is not as important as story.

You want balance, make a mod.

 

If you want to play on easy mode or 'smart' mode as you call it, rest after every encounter - no one is stopping you.

Who cares how you want to play the game?

I don't understand how you can rail against something, and at the same time, defend doing it because it's the 'smart' play...

If you don't like resting all the time, stop doing it...

No one is telling you to replenish your abilities after every combat.o

 

I don't do that, I'm sure many players don't rest after every combat.

When I see that tired symbol on the character's icons (around 5 athletics), is when I rest...

If you think that's a stupid way to play - ok, whatever you think.

It doesn't matter.

Everybody can enjoy the game their own way.

 

PS. focus is gained as a percentage of the damage you deal.  Warbow or Hunting Bow are the best ways to gain focus ranged, pike or quarterstaff are good in melee.

You don't really get, that most people complaining about this rest the same way you do. This whole philosophy if you don't wanna cheese, don't do it just stinks like ****. Especially in a game which seemingly cares for balance as several updates prove.

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There is also the matter of the number of abilities required to optimise the weapon. Firearms need Gunner, Hunting Bows need Penetrating Shot, so War Bow leaves you with an extra ability that you can spend elsewhere.

 

That's true, but kind of a moot point unless you see something besides DPS or focus to be worthwhile spending a talent point for on a cipher. Biting Whip, Draining Whip, WF Ruffian, Gunner, Marksman, Penetrating Shot... what must-have talent am I missing?

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There is also the matter of the number of abilities required to optimise the weapon. Firearms need Gunner, Hunting Bows need Penetrating Shot, so War Bow leaves you with an extra ability that you can spend elsewhere.

 

 

That's true, but kind of a moot point unless you see something besides DPS or focus to be worthwhile spending a talent point for on a cipher. Biting Whip, Draining Whip, WF Ruffian, Gunner, Marksman, Penetrating Shot... what must-have talent am I missing?

Early greater focus is not that bad.
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