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v3.02.10008 WM2

POTD hireling party posted on forums start with [Class Build] 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 respectively

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Rogue - Spellblade Assassin
Aumua, Island
The Living Lands
Hunter
 
MIG 21
DEX 18
CON 3
INT 15
PER 18
RES 3
 
TALENTS
weapon focus ruffian
outlander's frenzy
penetrating shot
shadowy beyond
scion of flame
backstab
vulnerable attack
 
ABILITIES
blinding strike
reckless assault
deep wounds
riposte
weakening strike
deathblows
sap
shadowstep
 
SKILLS
Stealth 7 (+1 bk)
Athletics 2 (+1 Lyrinia brothel)
Lore 5 (rite +3)(borrow lore robe +2 for maelstrom)
Mechanics 0 (+2 class)
Survival 8 (+1 background)(+2 neck)(+1 Skaen's boon)
remainder 5
 
WEAPON RECOVERY 95% before Dex Mod
Modded with dex mainhand swing every 0.71 seconds
Offhand swing every 0.76 seconds
 
Slot    Item                                                              
R Hand  the unlabored blade (thank you forum elders for confirming firebug works with deathblows)                                                          
L Hand  purgatory (legendary 8, lifetap 2, fire lash 2, beast bane 2 = 14, fills all enchantment slots)
R Hand2 nightshroud (shadowy 1/rest, then weapon switch!)
L Hand2 fireball saber (3 fireballs/rest , could clone with mold for 6/rest, but cloning a 3rd DEX ring instead)
R Hand3 fireball wand
Alt Hand 4 alt: blizzard shield                                                   
Armor   2 INT flank retaliate leather, 3 DR pierce                          
Head    0.1 crit bonus                                                      
Neck    4 PER 25 v Pois 2 Surv                                              
Hands   3 DR bypass 5 DR slash 5% miss to graze (chose over 10% melee for missile scrolls)                            
Waist   1 DEX -1.5 second weapon switch                                              
Ring 1  3 MIG ring                                                          
Ring 2  20% damage vs vessel and spirit                    
Feet    beam boots
 
Alt gear: silver flash blunderbuss                     
 
scroll: minelotta's minor missiles, fast 15m, works with penetrating shot, for slash immune enemies, or nuking dragons into the dirt
scroll: ray of fire
scroll: barrage of missiles
 
Rationale:
 
Rogues' easily achievable damage modifiers and accuracy make them prime candidates for main character and to spec a party around.
Many classes have excellent damage potential, but I feel they generally offer other benefits that that outweigh sustained raw DPS.
Original race was human, but party just not taking enough damage.
 
Build Choices, sequence matters:
 
Blinding strike before crippling strike because it debuffs vs Reflex and 1 additional 25% damage attack is less impactful.
Deep wounds does +4 raw damage on first hit (good), 1 damage a second after (less useful the higher your lvl).
Ranged weapons can't compete against melee weapon sustainable damage because of reload time and inability to duel wield.
Sabers are damage chart toppers. 
Shadowstep - Teleport to a high priority target to apply stun/prone and dispatch quickly. Also useful for beam position skewering with cipher and boot proc.
Minelotta's minor missiles scroll triggers deathblows and deep wounds, synergy with combusting wounds. 60 x 3 missles for only 100 copper. 
I dropped dirty fighting (acc is so high hit->crit conversion is of limited benefit) and prestidigitator's missiles (33% less damage than scroll) for backstab with upcoming changes that finally allow for stacking with strikes attacks.
Also, if you are frugal and use the loot table spreadsheet on the forum, you can pick up 2 cloaks that let you use minelotta's missiles 3/rest each.
Easy to stockpile multiple combusting rings and missile cloaks as well, so even though they're x/rest items, you have more than enough uses between rests.
Having cipher cast confuse on enemies near rogue can lead to a free, nasty disengagement attack.
Riposte will require buffs to realize benefit, but even if just one low roll from a blinded a enemy gives a free full attack every 4 encounters, it's more useful than than taking crippling strike.
 
12 Survival = 20% flank damage
had to drop 18 survival to get lore and stealth for newly improved backstab
Cipher easily applies flank with to large AoE
 
No Companions:
Hirelings: Fighter, Chanter, Paladin, Cipher, Priest
Pallegina was the NPC that merited any party consideration on account of her unique group haste buff, but ultimately still falls short.
 
Motivation:
 
Maxquest's data on attack speed, recovery, and reload inspired me to revisit mechanically optimal build.
Intend to post remaining hireling builds eventually.
 
Background:
 
Soloed bear cave and gilded vale wolves as lvl 2 cipher on potd and never want to do bear cave ever again.
Acquired stronghold solo on ranger and rogue, but haven't actually completed a single playthrough on any toon.
Have played RPGs and MMOs since childhood and called a rules lawyer, power gamer, munchkin, etc.
Played EQ1 & EQ2 at a competitive level; a lot of people asked me for build direction.
Some of my own guildmates accused me of cheating; responsible for multiple re-balancing patches.
 
Method:
 
I scour data from wikis and forums for synergies and tend to come up with different, sometimes contrary but ultimately effective options.
More "sweet spot" than "numbers guy"; prefer practical over theoretical results.
 
Control is the foundation for DPS and survivability:
 
Inflict status early and often; accuracy and INT for duration/AoE are central to this strategy.
Speed (Dex) and capitalizing on talents/abilities and itemization with passive or triggered effects gives your controller needed time.
In order of preference: Paralyze/Stun/Prone/Dominate/Confuse/Charm/Stuck/Blind.
Cipher can manage all of the above, thus makes ideal primary controller.
Petrify is even better than paralyze, but not readily available every encounter.
Blind and stuck are underrated. Blind is superior to terrify and stuck removes melee enemies from play until you're ready for them.
Stealthed cipher starting combat with Confuse causes enemies to spend their opening attacks/afflictions/debuffs on the confused target (vessels are usually immune however)
Doorway bottlenecking or protecting your flanks is pretty foundational. However, if you prone or stun the front enemies in the bottleneck and leave them alive while you range the enemies in the back, your tank isn't taking any damage. Bonus points when your tank switches to quarterstaff to beat on the enemy behind the prone victim.
 
Engagement:
 
This is a secondary form of control, but typical results in the tank accepting damage. Fighters have a new, unique, effective ability.
 
Interrupt:
 
Supplemental, tertiary control. This party doesn't use any .75 or 1 second weapons, but has high PER, low recovery, and crits often.
Also, things that die quickly are perma CCed.
Interrupts are sufficient as an extra without investing in interrupting blows.
At low levels especially before your arsenal of control abilities is mature, it's hard for a single enemy to get off an action with 6 high perception toons weapon attacking it. Note that no one in this party is using a ranged weapon that requires reloading, except for alpha.
 
Skills:
Athletics - everyone needs 3 for combat
Survivability now impacts combat so mechanics should be handled by a support toon like Chanter
There are 2 impactful AoE scrolls with 20m (!) range needing 4 and 8 lore respectively:
binding web (recurring stuck field) and paralysis
They each offer +15 accuracy, which makes sense for casters with naturally low accuracy.
However, when used by a wood elf fighter with naturally high accuracy and a +20 accuracy self-buff, they're devastating
 
Micro Food:
 
Every 5 minutes on combat maps, this is a cheap way to stat boost with 4 x 6 tedious mouseclicks.
ruatai sweet pie 2 DEX 10 end
farmers spread 2 MIG 1 move
stalwart rabbit stew 2 PER 0.5 move (suppress)
casita casserole 2 INT 10 end (suppress)
 
Resting Bonus:
Always choose INT because 18% AoE/15% duration for CC is overall more useful than 9% recovery.
The stacking sequence is rest at stronghold/inn, camp with supplies for surivial bonus, then "talk" to a prostitute.
Respec your main PC to 18 Dex and 18 Con when you have +1 gear that raises you to 19 or higher.
Pay to have conversations with all the prostitutes and they refund you 100% immediately and in the future, even after speccing back.
 
Buffs:
Priest: inspiring radiance (10acc), devotions of the faithful (10acc 4 Mig), bless (10% dam)
Paladin:accuracy aura(6acc, 5% crit),liberating exhortation(10acc),inspiring triumph(7 all def), 15 acc vs beast bp, coordinating attacks(10acc)
Chanter: flame lash (25%), damage shield (30 points),  2 movement AoE(boots), dire blessing under 50%m marking spear(10acc)
Cipher: go between (3 movement, soften incoming hits), pain block (10 DR)
 
Major Debuffs:
Priest: weaken + daze (painful interdiction, huge AoE), -10 might (devotion of the faithful)
Cipher: blind (eyestrike), flank & frighten (phantom foes, large AoE)
 
Priest + Cipher = Dr. Deathblows will see you now
 
Chanter: distract (bow)
Fighter: -8 DR to 2 enemies per encounter, sicken (helm), stuck (belt)
 
Healing:
Fighter: constant + rapid recovery (12 end/3s), AoE heal boots (14 end/1.4s)
Chanter: heal chant talents(scales up to 7 end/second)
Cipher: pain block (120 end/30s), unbending
Paladin: sacred immolation (12 end/pulse)
Rogue: heal chain 70 end (1 ally + 5 jumps) 2 per rest from TUB
All: 2nd wind
Priest: there if you need it, but usually don't
 
Weapon Lash/Armor Proof
Pierce is almost always preferred because ranged threats can hit anyone in party.
Elemental weapon lash choice is generally minor, but if you have a chanter and scion of flame it boosts your weapon damage by (5% of 25%) x 2 = 10%.
 
Just say no to CON and RES:
 
The mechanics of this game feels like an evolutionary step forward inspired by the classic D20 system.
However, with good build and reasonable execution, these stats are only useful pursuing triple crown or ultimate achievements.
To make CON viable, you would need control immune encounters that force heavy tanking or AoEs you can't avoid/prevent.
RES could be viable if it added some offensive utility (improves will attacks or spell recovery) and/or will immunity spells were removed.
If you don't believe me, try it. You can always respec CON if consumable CON/end food/gear isn't enough.
 
Alpha with Arbalests:
 
Until you get the shiny gear, the chance of prone at a distance on crit gives everyone something useful to do with their 2ndary weapon slot.
 
With 1 hand tied behind my back:
Seriously do yourself a favor and use 1 handers until mid game for the +15 acc and stick to the weapons innate Accuracy 1 like spear, club, dagger, and rapier. You'll hit/crit and fighter knockdown and rogue blind consistently where 2 handers and duel wield miss a lot early game. You'll forget about the old days when the shade/phantom encounters seemed hard.
 
Random alliance flip:
Ranged damage may take a backseat to melee, but the unique charm/dominate/marking buff procs can greatly lower difficulty of an encounter.
 
Stronghold is a goldmine
 
Stronghold turns have a fixed or random chance to advance when quests are completed. The earlier you take the stronghold yields more quest rewards.
Unless you have a rogue, I recommend binding the Maerwald's soul for the permanent prestige upgrade and prioritize prestige upgrades first.
After the keep is upgraded, then start buying and upgrading gear for your party.
Hiring henchman will sap your money, so I tend to avoid it.
Get your stealth to 4 early, and it makes it easy to speed through (tutamon the smith quest without fighting, and pick up fine enchanted gear and items in Magran's fork and Black Meadow). Mahojer (sp?) Bridge has an easy +2 INT helm to snag for your cipher and fine hatchet. For overseeing rings: Gilded Vale and Eothas and 1 Rymgard's mantle - don't need to complete the entire dungeon. Visit Raedric Keep for gloves of accuracy and mechanics then you are more than ready for Maerwald at level 4 with lvl 3 hirelings.
You'll be respeccing at the brothel anyway to unlock free time with the employees.
 
Companion quests
 
I still complete these for the experience and the dialogue points, sitting out the chanter.
Afterword, I have NPC rogue go for a relaxing swim in the blood pool for +1 DEX and 1 DR bypass.
Edited by MasterCipher
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Serious question - my reading of the "Fighting Spirit" racial above was <50% health.  I thought this was endurance (at least it used to be) - has that changed?

 

Not sure how the OP got the health thing, because it really is a <50% endurance trigger, as per the ability's description.

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Corrected Health to Endurance. Thanks for pointing that out.

 

Also worth pointing out that estimate of damage on Minelotta's scroll at 120 was *really* conservative. That was unbuffed and not adding deep wounds (+12). Chanter last boosts 25%, bless 10%, devotions of faithful 12%, survival camp bonus 30%, food 6%, brothel 6%, I wasn't fully geared, all said missing 92% in dam modifiers so far, and every hit didn't crit (missing another %40 in crit bonus dam modifers from helm and faction quest), and crits are plentiful. Acc for at lvl 16 = 30 base + 45 lvled + 10 from perception + 6 paladin aura + 20 devotions of faithful + 15 scroll = 126. There are situational factors that can pile on that like coordinating attacks, weapon of marking, inspiring exhortation, and typical debuffs like flank/prone/stun/stuck/blind. IF you don't naturally crit : hit to crit conversion with dirty fighting (10%), vicious fighting (10%), paladin aura (5%), dire blessing (20%) = 45% (possibly 65% depending on bloody slaughter). 200+ damage is a more realistic number, also making this an OP way to burn down casters/archers. I'll be surprised if a Ranger with a ranged weapon can out single target dps a chain scrolling rogue. Apologies in advance if this results in a nerf.

 

Also added paragraph on pulling:

 

Better Bottlenecking vs casters and archers

 

I call it right angle pulling. When you hide your party just outside of line of sight next to a door, the all the enemies have to bunch at the choke point, including the ranged opponents, making them vulnerable to your AoEs and melees.

 

I plan on posting the hireling builds for the rest of party over the next week. Reformatting build files to make them legible in forum takes time.

Edited by MasterCipher
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Glad to have motivated you)

 

Few notes through:

- this forum doesn't support bbcode tables. But spreadsheet screenshots can do the job well enough.

- with that high Mig, Int and Per, Envenomed Strike could deal some solid damage.

Edited by MaxQuest
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From MaxQuest's confirmation that Bloody Slaughter still triggers only under 10% endurance, I replaced with prestidigitator's missiles.

 

Also added, *Rogues can alpha with blunderbuss and deep wounds x6 for an additional +24 raw damage.

Deep wounds doesn't stack, each hit just refreshes the duration.

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