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I've gotten quite far with my party on Easy, but now I feel that I want to complete the game on maximum difficulty, so I'm planning a custom party to take on Trial of Iron, Path of the Damned, Expert Mode. 

 

I'll probably make all my characters human. Suboptimal, but it's how I like to roll. Could be persuaded to bring along a dwarf and an amanua, I guess. 

 

The general party outline I'm thinking about is two dedicated tanks, one off-tank, and three damage dealers. With three tanks I should be able to keep the heat off of the remaining characters. 

 

So... 

 

Tank #1: Fighter. A bloody wall. Talents would include Defender, Superior Deflection, Sword and Shield style and all the rest of it.

 

Stats: Maxed Resolve and Perception, for a certainty. Apart from that, I don't know. Could lower Might/Dex/Con and max Intelligence too, or dump Int and raise Might (for increased Healing). Intelligence would increase Knockdown duration as I understand it, while Might would increase the meager damage output and improve Rapid Recovery - keep hearing that Rapid Recovery isn't very good though? 

 

Tank #2: Could go with a pretty much identical Fighter, but it could well be that a Shieldbearer Paladin works too. Dunno how to build those though. I figure talents and stats would be distributed along similar lines with the above Fighter though. 

 

Off Tank: Chanter. Will likely be my main character. I've seen builds were Int/Per/Resolve where maxed, Dex/Con were dumped and Might was high. Should be able to tank well, and provide strong invocations.

 

Damage Dealer #1: Barbarian. Maxed Might, Int and Dex. Runs around in robes and lays down the hurt with a pike (keep hearing good things about Tall Grass). 

 

Damage Dealer #2: Rogue. With three tanks, the rogue should be able to maneuver just fine, I reckon. I take it that dual stilettos is what you want here, along with maxed Might and Dex, with Perception and Int high? 

 

Damage Dealer #3: Druid or priest? Priest has better healing, but I hear that priests are nigh indispensable for their healing.

 

 

EDIT: 

 

Or maybe this:

 

2 Fighters (dedicated tanks) 

2 Barbarians (damage dealers) 

2 Chanters (off-tanks, one focusing on buffs, the other on debuffs). 

Edited by Dark Elf
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Good luck. Transitioning from Easy to PotD is going to be a painful experience.

 

My first thought is that you need more CC. PotD's big difficulty increase comes partly from the abundance of enemies with huge debuffs, and it helps a lot if you can fight fire with fire. Priest is a good start, and I certainly wouldn't field a melee-heavy party without one, but it just can't hurl around AoE debuffs like a wizard or long-range spells with huge areas like a druid.

 

General tips: Savage Attack and Penetrating Shot are always worth using. Vulnerable Attack is pretty slick, too. There are only four Second Chance items in the game and you should use every one of them. Keep everyone's defenses at least respectable, because the difference between a debuff grazing you or hitting you can be 5-10 seconds of character control. Casters need Accuracy more than anyone else. Choose your random loot, and make sure you have enough cloaks/rings/bracers of protection/deflection to cover your needs. If you can, be sure to have both Outworn Buckler and Little Savior on your party at earliest convenience - Herald stacks, and it's damn useful.

 

Fighter is always a safe bet, but I personally think that with Constant Recovery and Unbroken, fighters are better suited to off-tanking (preferably with high-damage weapons, due to Weapon Specialization/Mastery), rather than pure tanking. If you want to play a heavy tank, though, make sure you take Wary Defender, and avoid Cautious Attack, which won't stack with Defender. In any case, bear in mind that Might affects Constant Recovery.

 

A paladin is probably better than a second fighter, if only because of Zealous Focus and the Outworn Buckler (ZF is skippable if you have a priest, but ZE is kinda meh, and that graze-to-hit bonus will help your casters a lot). Get Reviving and Liberating Exhortation, and don't totally forget offense - a paladin with 10 Might can still help on the attack with Ravenwing, Blesca's Labor, or any one of several other strong weapons.

 

Chanters are fine. They're kind of boring sometimes, but there are lots of ways to use them as builds go. You absolutely need Int - otherwise, eh. It could make more sense to use your Chanter as a pure tank, rather than your fighter, since the Chanter's abilities continue to function if they're just standing around picking their nose and getting wailed on. The key phrases are At Sight of Their Comrades, Blessed Was Wengridh, Their Endless Host, Sure-Handed Ila (if you have ranged attackers), The Dragon Thrashed, and Aefyllath Ues Mith Fyr. The key invocations are The Thunder Rolled, But Reny Daret's Ghost, At the Sound of His Voice, and But Knock Not On the Door of Urdel and Gurdel.

 

Your barbarian is going to be very fragile, and keeping him behind the tanks won't always be an option, so remember to cover them with CC effects. A draining weapon will do a lot to keep them alive, making Soldier a great weapon focus - you can switch back and forth between Tidefall and Tall Grass that way, coating enemy mobs in DoT and self-healing from up close, or critting them from further back. You could also go for a tankier barb, typically using Retaliation items - in that case, Tidefall is even more important.

 

I don't like melee rogues much, so I can't give you much advice for them. Ranged rogues are really just a lot easier to keep alive and get phenomenal gun damage. That said, the consensus about melee rogue attributes is that the order of importance goes Might>Dexterity>Perception/Resolve>Constitution>Intelligence. People swear by Ruffian for dual sabers or dual stilettos. Estocs aren't a bad choice either.

 

Priest over druid. But, like I said, you should probably have more casters.

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If I'm typing in red, it means I'm being sarcastic. But not this time.

Dark green, on the other hand, is for jokes and irony in general.

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Many thanks for your awesome response good sir! 

 

According to your feedback I would rearrange the roster as follows: 

 

Tank #1: Chanter. Main character, because of the high Int, and since your suggestion is to make this a main tank, maxed Per and Res as well. Makes for a great tank and conversationalist to boot. Might/Dex/Con spread may not matter too much. Dex doesn't affect chants and invocations so I could probably put that at a minimum, and I shall have to decide between Might and Con. I guess a decent Might score makes for stronger The Thunder Rolled. Shield and Hatchet maybe, and the heaviest armor there is. Going for something of a viking theme, makes sense for a skald to lead the outfit. Though it might gimp me a bit, I feel that my characters must hail from the Living Lands - another argument for focusing on Might.

 

Tank #2: Paladin. The auras can be nifty. 

 

Off Tank: Fighter. Since the above characters will go sword and board, I'll make him a brute with two-handed weapons. The Tidefall guy of the outfit.

 

Priest. Because of their awesome utility. Maybe a Magran priest for the gun accuracy. Hail Freya! 

 

Druid. Because of nukes. 

 

Then... Wizard or Ranger? Ranger seems like a fine choice for a gunner, and I tend to suck at spell selections and that kind of micromanagement. Hmmm... Amanua ranger with quick switch and four rifles...

Edited by Dark Elf
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1) Consider beating the game first: As gkathellar points out, it'd be a big jump no matter what, and there will be certain strategies from easier difficulties that simply won't work on PoTD. However, finishing the game on Easy would at the very least let you know things like where the best items are found, what types of enemies you'll be fighting at which points in the game, and other pieces of intelligence that could help you plan better. However, some people enjoy the even greater challenge of more or less jumping in blind, so if that's you, good luck!

 

2) Dealing with bad pathing: One of the most common things a newish player might not fully appreciate or be ready for is the really bad pathing you'll have to deal with in a mostly melee party. My PoTD party doesn't have to deal with this as much because I have four ranged and two tanks, which are honestly more than enough tanks. In the few exceptions to this, more tanks won't help you, because what's more important is going to be CC and focus firing whatever guy will occasionally get past your tanks no matter how many tanks you have.

 

So about the bad pathing, with more than two melee you will often encounter narrow chokepoints where only one or two party members can squeeze in and get right up to the enemy. This is just as big a reason as being more shielded from damage why reach weapons like Tall Grass are popular for, say, barbarians. I would have everyone (with the possible exception of your two dedicated tanks) carry a reach or ranged weapon in their alternate slot, which they can switch to and still be at least somewhat effective in chokepoints, whether the reach/ranged is their specialty or not.

 

There are certain situations where you will, for example, see a door or other chokepoint ahead, and don't think you could get your whole stealthed party past it and into line-of-sight without being detected. For these situations, luring the enemy out is probably your best bet. Formations and pre-combat positioning are particularly important here, and it's also a good opportunity to use a well-placed trap. If you'd like more detailed tips on this kind of strategy, I recommend watching the video linked in this thread from someone who died on a blind PoTD ToI attempt, then scrolling down a few posts for my critique based on how I would have prepared for and played the same fight.

 

3) About melee rogues: gkathellar has something against melee rogues, but they do have the highest single-target DPS in the game. There are some awesome melee rogue builds and videos out there that show it's possible to (without cheating) kill the final boss on PoTD on a melee rogue solo in only two hits from each weapon (just two abilities used back to back). There is also no such consensus that Strength is more valuable than Dex. In fact, some argue for maxing Dex, Per and Res, dumping Int and Con, and not maxing Str, because Dex will make a larger DPS difference since Str is only added onto the huge natural boosts that rogues get to their damage as a class.

 

4) The importance of CC: In a full, balanced party, the huge single-target DPS of a melee rogue is by no means necessary, and it's not like you're hurting for more melee characters lol, so he would just be one good option. I'd personally take him over a DPS fighter, but to each his own. A more important consideration for a balanced party, as gkathellar and I agree on, is strong CC. A wizard or cipher would both be good for this. A cipher's CC is strong and fast-casting, and can make a huge difference especially at the start of a fight, but it relies on Focus so can't always be cast. A wizard's spells can be cast anytime the wizard is not CCd himself, as long as you have the appropriate spell in his grimoire and have casts remaining, which can be easily replenished out of combat.

 

In any case, best to you! I am personally planning to go from full-party PoTD to solo/expert PoTD without Trial of Iron yet, and there would be no shame for you in doing PoTD without Trial of Iron first as well. But you've been warned, so as long as you realize the jump in difficulty will be very high, and you will almost certainly die on your first attempt, it could be a lot of fun if those kinds of stakes get your blood pumping. Have fun!

Edited by Nobear
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gkathellar has something against melee rogues

Mostly it's that I suck at using them. You need a very deliberate play style and better terrain sense than I have to keep them alive.

If I'm typing in red, it means I'm being sarcastic. But not this time.

Dark green, on the other hand, is for jokes and irony in general.

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Well, made a Chanter as my main. Human, Living Lands, Scientist, M17 D3 C3 I18 P18 R19 or something like that. Rocked scale armour, a medium shield and a hatchet. At the Sight of their Comrades and Blessed was Wengridh. Chose the Thunder Rolled as my first invocation. 

 

Died at the hands of the tribesman chieftain in the very beginning. Calisca and Heodan had fallen. I attribute the incredibly premature death of my party to the fact that I spent too much time setting Heodan up for flank attacks, but the tribesmen refused to engage Calisca or the Chanter and just ran after him no matter what I did. Soon enough Heodan was knocked out, Calisca (who was only wearing padded armour) soon fell too and my brave Chanter had to face down the tribesmen himself. Eventually it was only him and the chieftain left, but despite Gaun's Pledge healing me I had some unfortunate misses with The Thunder Rolled and the enemy whittled me down.  

 

Oh well, rinse and repeat. :D

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