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I recently fired up my POE again after a long break and noticed that with 2.0 patch the monsters generally don't even look in the direction of a "spank and tank" style tank that does no damage...

 

Which was much to my chagrin as that is what my party was built around - Eder was a punching bag wearing nokia phone-level armor while the other 5 would swoon and faint if they so much as feel the wind of a weak fart. So my strategy was to send in Eder while he gets tickled, and my backline throws AOE without regard for him as he could take a beating and keep on ticking.

 

So now I must restart (I wasn't far into the game anyway and I don't mind it) with a more balanced party and what I want to know is what is the ideal balance of stats for a backline caster? My party is as such:

 

Frontline:

  • PC Monk
  • Paladin
  • Ranger pet for backup

Backline:

  • Priest (support caster)
  • Wizard
  • Ranger
  • Druid (mainly focused on AOE damage)

How tanky does a backline caster need to be (and what weapons should he or she be using) to avoid the aforementioned swooning? As a follow up question, is two tanky melee (plus ranger pet) enough for the post 2.0 era?

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Two melee tanks plus a pet should be enough for most of the time, although I'd recomend to either give your priest a shield on the secondary slot or your druid a bear spiritshift for when/if the pet falls.

 

As for how tanky the casters need to be, that depends a lot on the player and your tatics, but the wizard can generally afford to be frail, due to his abundance of self-buffs and crowd control.

 

As for weapons, don't bother too much. If you want to do melee damage with a wizard, conjured weapons are like a joker card wgen it comes to weapon focus, benefiting from whatever focus you choose(but not from multiple focuses). For a druid, go unnarmed, and for a priest, pick the god talents.

 

However if you don't plan on putting your casters at the frontline unless you have to just give each of them a shield on the second weapon slot and don't dump RES and CON too low.

Edited by DreamWayfarer
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Quite.

 

As an addendum though -- you can get wizards do serious weapon damage by giving them WF: Noble or WF: Adventurer, then stacking all the talents you can get to pump Blast, direct weapon damage, and armour penetration, and go to town with a wand, sceptre, or rod.

I have a project. It's a tabletop RPG. It's free. It's a work in progress. Find it here: www.brikoleur.com

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You can always set party in 3 lines, where 2nd line is Priest & Druid and 3rd line is Ranger & Wizard.  So bacline can go very light, and 2nd line medium light.

For druid goind with peasant weapons (for spirtform) and hatchet with small shield + some ranged is generaly good. Some of druids spells requires closer range or cone shape.

For wizard you can take Arcane Veil for emergency.

 

Bears are good, for either pet or spiritform. In party game for frontline staying alive longer than enem generally works.

Edited by evilcat
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Wizards can ignore Resolve without any repercussions. You have Arcane Veil if you need Deflection and Spirit Shield for Concentration. Later on you get even more fun toys to help improve your bulk like Llengrath's Displaced Image.

 

Whether you dump Con or not really depends on playstyle. For some strange reason, my Cipher draws more hostility than my Wizard, so I usually dump it as well. At most though, I would recommend you just leave it at its base, I would never invest in it. You always have Infuse with Vital Essence should you need more Endurance.

 

As for weapons, its usually a good idea to pick up talents that augment the summoned weapon of your choice. For the Parasitic Staff or Spirit Lance you'll want Two-Handed Style, Savage Attack and Vulnerable Attack. For Minor Blights you'll want Dangerous Implement, Blast and Marksman. As a result, the weapon you pick should reflect on the summoned weapon you prefer, so they can benefit from the talents you have chosen when you don't have anything summoned. You weapon will become less important though, as eventually 1st to 3rd level spells become per encounter use instead of per rest; which means you can summon a Parasitic Staff or Minor Blights in every fight. Another idea with a Wizardis to use a weapon with a on-hit effect effect you like (For example the Pliambo per Casitas) and then switch to a summoned weapon.

 

As for Priests and Druids, eh. You can give them the Weapon and Shield talent and just equip them with light shields. Druids can use their spiritshift as a defensive tool. Transform into a Bear to get some meaty DR or transform into a Wolf and run away. With a Priest, their buffs will generally make them tough to take down anyway. As for weapons, Druid is even less important than a Wizard since their transformed states are better than any weapon. Should it wear off though you also have Firebrand or Rot Skulls to fall back on. The Priest's weapon will usually reflect on who their deity is. Magran is a good choice since the Arquebus is an excellent ranged weapon. Personally I like Skaen, since it makes Priests into surprisingly good melee attackers.

Edited by Wolken3156
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Thanks for all the input fellas, I've decided to do just as you suggested and made my new druid bear and added a shield/1hander setup to my priest in addition to an arquebus in case crap starts flying fanward. I guess I'll keep the wizard weak since he benefits so much from the other stats and I think with this setup I can keep him breathing long enough.

 

After looking over all of the self-buff spells, I'm surprised there isn't a solo melee wizard guide or something.

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Few points here to consider.

 

Firstly, wizard doesn't necessarily have to max Might. There is a plethora of disabling spells that you can focus on, making your Wizard a crowd controller, instead of a damage dealer. This allows you to be more flexible with your stats, for instance keeping moderate Resolve and Consitution.

 

Secondly, what Wolken said about Priest of Magram has one important caveat. Arquebus has a VERY long reload animation. If your priest starts it, thats few seconds you won't be able to cast spells. Bad if you have to heal someone fast.

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Secondly, what Wolken said about Priest of Magram has one important caveat. Arquebus has a VERY long reload animation. If your priest starts it, thats few seconds you won't be able to cast spells. Bad if you have to heal someone fast.

 

Wow that's some interesting news. I wasn't aware that attacks could delay spells, and this explains completely why my priest and wizard would often stall when I would need them to cast something that could save my party. Thanks for that.

 

Is there a better ranged alternative that would allow them to do a little bit of damage without getting too far into the fray? I know that pistols, crossbows and arquebus all have long reload animations and I'd rather not put a bow in their hands as it seems to do no damage whatsoever.

 

Am I wrong in this regard? Are there good bows that wouldn't force my priest to fumble with a crossbow bolt while the rest of the party was getting obliterated?

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Am I wrong in this regard? Are there good bows that wouldn't force my priest to fumble with a crossbow bolt while the rest of the party was getting obliterated?

 

Rods & Staff?

Wael deity have favorite weapons melee staff and rods, which is interesting combo (staff as reach weapon), and magic devices generally are dual dmg type which helps with dr.

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You can try to equip your Priest with a hatchet ( +5 deflection ) and a small shield.

 

It would be better for the simple fact - Priest is a non-stop caster/buffer and a half-tank, its place in the middle of your party ( third/fourth position ). 

 

Of course you can play as you wish and use Priest as a melee/range warrior, but in this case your party members are deprived of the most useful buffs. 

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There's few ways you can approach this. Firstly, Priest of Magram is still good, just have to be careful about using the Arqebus, perhaps turning AI off for the priest is the way to go.

 

Secondly, Skaen was mentioned. That bonus is actually quite good, considering the amount of buffs a Priest is casting anyway, you will end up being a decent damage source after you unleashed your Buff Rotation. 

 

Thirdly, Wael does indeed have Rods (best implements) and Staff as the passive bonus. That's a very neat duo for a more caster oriented Priest, can go with that and play more like a classic Wizard would play, Robes & spellcasting from the backrows.

 

Lastly, if all you use your priest for are Buffs & Heals, you absolutely do not need Accuracy. This means that Hatchet & Large Shield combo is fair game, plus you can dump Perception. Sure, you won't do any damage and you will never be a full-fledged tank with low base Deflection and mediocre Endurance. But if your party has enough offensive spellcasters and not enough frontline, making your priest a little more sturdy might be the best idea.

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If you're looking out for a support priest that casts fast, but will not be squished quickly, have a look at AndreaColombo's support preist build:

 

http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/83506-class-build-support-priest-or-how-i-buffed-the-others/

 

I think it's optimal if you want to cast fast without being interrupted. He uses no (or light) armor for fast casts combined with high deflection so that the foes are not very motivated to attack him (most of them try to target low deflection chars first).

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Who are these Magram, Skaen, and Wael? Were they added while I was away or is it something a priest picks up later on?

Yes these are names of deities, and Priest can pick class talent for his deity, granting big bonus to +10 Acc for favorite weapons and some /rest spell.

Skaen instead of spell grants small sneak attack, which with some other talents (Flick of Wrist and rogue multiclass) could have interesting results.

Edited by evilcat
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