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Hi!
I've recently picked up PoE again, along with WM1+2  to try to actually finish it, having only played up to Gilded Vale shortly after release. The reason for stopping at that point was to wait for mods to allow me to respec the story companions (I am a compulsive "min/maxer"), but after waiting for a long time (I did try IE mod) I folded and did the whole unity3d dump-file edit to alter the companion stats (within the same amount of points). Naturally, this required me to do a whole lot of research ahead of time to figure out my party composition, and after 20+ hours of googling and planning (...I know) I finally settled on a composition with builds that seemed OK to me, with my limited in-game knowledge:

(All companions have altered stats to match the suggestions in the builds (taken either from this site or nerdcommando's newer videos))
PC: Ranged Cipher (standard ranged cipher stats)
Pallegina Tank (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grt3s8AeKk0&index=11&list=PL4UqltmSKaEeiHExNqo-Hkk-HrvuejI2K)

Kana as Drake's Ambassador (Off-tanking with slightly pumped resolve)

Durance as Fire Priest

Aloth as (beefier) Hurtstacker

Sagani as Storm & Plague Caller

 

Now, onto my questions and issues:
I decided to go straight into POTD after doing all this research, as I'm not sure whether I'd ever replay it (so many games to experience) and I enjoy a challenge. I have now hit level 6 and I'm delving into the endless paths (lvl 2) with all companions except for a custom clone of Pallegina (st. Elga) filling her spot until I get her.

 

1. I've equpped the tank with as good defensive gear as I've been able to find, yet she seems to only be able to do 2-3 fights at a time before running out of health (not endurance) and forcing me to camp. I've not really delved into enchanting yet, as I don't know what gear and enchants to prioritize. Any suggestions?

 

2. I feel that my composition lacks some AoE, and I've considered squeezing Hiravias in somewhere, but I don't know which character to replace. Kana is the main candidate, but I don't know whether a Thundercat/Hungry like the wolf build is beefy, or even contributes enough AoE to be worth replacing him for. Also, would it be worth losing the Sure Handed Ila buff for my 4 ranged characters? Where is my 7th party member slot? ;)

 

3. A lot of the builds just sum up end-game equipment, so I'm currently just equipping the best stuff I can find in the same category (i.e. best DR armor I can find on everybody, the early unique one-handers (Draining Flail and sword) on my tanks, the biggest shields (larder door) and I just ran deep and found the blunderbuss in Dyrford for my Cipher. I read somewhere that you should just try to find heavy armors for everyone as soon as possible, and don't worry about recovery. Is this still correct?

 

4. I have some problems figuring out how to prioritize the different spells during fights, especially with Durance. I usually open up with a shot from everyone from sneak, and then throw the non per-rest spells like painful interdiction, charm from cipher, a per-rest spell like slicken, and then try to position the front liners in such a way that the paladin gets the brunt of the aggro, while the fox and Kana picks up some stragglers. Which per-rest spells are the best to use liberally when your slots are limited? I'd like to not have to rest too often, but every fight seems to require me to commit so much from the priest/wizard to even keep the paladin up. I expect this could be solved by making the pala beefier somehow. Any tips?

 

5. How tight should you run formations with this sort of setup? I tend to pull from a distance and let the enemies approach me, but this leads to being unable to effectively target and nuke down high damage ranged enemies quickly. Should I put more emphasis on alpha striking down high priority targets directly from stealth?

I guess that's plenty for now, and I hope someone more knowledgeable than I could answer some of these questions for me. I do enjoy the game thoroughly, and these things aren't game-breakers, just minor bumps in the road that make me want to improve my gameplay.
I'd also like to just add a small thank you to all the big contributors here (maxquest, boeroer, andreaColombo and many more) as well as the authors of the builds I've read about for sharing and theorycrafting this stuff. I've learnt a lot from you guys, but with the big changes in the game it can be hard to identify obsolete information.

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For pure AoE damages, drake's ambassador is better than any other build. You have to wait lvl 9, then Dragon Trashed will do the job. Just select any buffing chant on first chant slot, then fill your partition will Dragon Trashed. Fire lash chant is superior to Sure Handed, so it's a good pick at lvl 11.

 

Paladin lvl 13+ will help too later on. Pallegina with Sworn ennemy, Wrath of the Five Suns and FoD is one of the best sniper of the game by the way.

 

Then for AoE CC, sure druids are better. But with cipher and Aloth, you should be fine.

 

Zealous Endurance aura and Outworn buckler for Pallegina will greatly help your survavibility.

 

Ituumak has infinite health. With the pet DR talent, lay on hand and reviving Exhortation, you'll have a big pool of endurance to sacrify on each fight that could reduce the necessity to rest. Even if pet dies often, it will do the job, especially on trash fights.

 

Honnestly, I think your party is perfectly balanced as it is.

Edited by Elric Galad
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Personally I find the paladin build from the video horrible and also redundant with your priest. Also in potd you can have only 2 resting kits which becomes very tedious if you rely too much on casters for dps and if your tank takes too much damage...

 

PS. I hope at least you picked the Worn Buckler from Gilded Vale and not some crappy great shield as the guy in the video suggested.

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For pure AoE damages, drake's ambassador is better than any other build. You have to wait lvl 9, then Dragon Trashed will do the job. Just select any buffing chant on first chant slot, then fill your partition will Dragon Trashed. Fire lash chant is superior to Sure Handed, so it's a good pick at lvl 11.

 

Paladin lvl 13+ will help too later on. Pallegina with Sworn ennemy, Wrath of the Five Suns and FoD is one of the best sniper of the game by the way.

 

Then for AoE CC, sure druids are better. But with cipher and Aloth, you should be fine.

 

Zealous Endurance aura and Outworn buckler for Pallegina will greatly help your survavibility.

 

Ituumak has infinite health. With the pet DR talent, lay on hand and reviving Exhortation, you'll have a big pool of endurance to sacrify on each fight that could reduce the necessity to rest. Even if pet dies often, it will do the job, especially on trash fights.

 

Honnestly, I think your party is perfectly balanced as it is.

 

Allright, thanks for the input. I guess I'll stick to the composition as it is.

Personally I find the paladin build from the video horrible and also redundant with your priest. Also in potd you can have only 2 resting kits which becomes very tedious if you rely too much on casters for dps and if your tank takes too much damage...

 

PS. I hope at least you picked the Worn Buckler from Gilded Vale and not some crappy great shield as the guy in the video suggested.

Do you have a better suggestion for stat allocation and build for pallytank? I thought this was as tanky as it got, even if reflex gets gimped somewhat. Is there a way to take less damage with a different build? I agree completely on the tediousness of resting, which is why I wondered if I was doing it inefficiently.

I wasn't aware of the buckler, I mostly skimmed through the videos as they are a tad slow and there are so many. I'll go check if I can find it now. Are large shields generally bad, even if my tanks have low dmg output anyway?

 

 

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it looks like you have a frontline of a Paladin, with Kana and Itumaak as helpers. I'd say that is the problem. You need more beef on the frontline or you need to be quick with crowd control and keep the monsters all prone, stunned or whatever most of the time.

 

I like to keep a frontline of four with two ranged. Or even just a four man team of frontliners with no casters. If no one is squishy there is no one to protect and the damage can be spread amongst the entire team just by changing the marching order around.

 

I'd drop Aloth, Durance or Sagani for Zahua or Eder.

 

For the shield I'd go with small unless a bigger shield has some real tasty enchantment like Old Gerun's Large Shield with a big hit>graze. Definitely vender trash the terrible Larder Door as it seriously lowers your DPS with the terrible Bash.

 

For stats I'd just leave the companions with their base stats, they work fine. Min maxing can result with weaker builds with huge weaknesses that are not as durable as balanced stats. I try not to dump anything below a ten on anything.

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For pure AoE damages, drake's ambassador is better than any other build. You have to wait lvl 9, then Dragon Trashed will do the job. Just select any buffing chant on first chant slot, then fill your partition will Dragon Trashed. Fire lash chant is superior to Sure Handed, so it's a good pick at lvl 11.

 

Paladin lvl 13+ will help too later on. Pallegina with Sworn ennemy, Wrath of the Five Suns and FoD is one of the best sniper of the game by the way.

 

Then for AoE CC, sure druids are better. But with cipher and Aloth, you should be fine.

 

Zealous Endurance aura and Outworn buckler for Pallegina will greatly help your survavibility.

 

Ituumak has infinite health. With the pet DR talent, lay on hand and reviving Exhortation, you'll have a big pool of endurance to sacrify on each fight that could reduce the necessity to rest. Even if pet dies often, it will do the job, especially on trash fights.

 

Honnestly, I think your party is perfectly balanced as it is.

 

Allright, thanks for the input. I guess I'll stick to the composition as it is.

Personally I find the paladin build from the video horrible and also redundant with your priest. Also in potd you can have only 2 resting kits which becomes very tedious if you rely too much on casters for dps and if your tank takes too much damage...

 

PS. I hope at least you picked the Worn Buckler from Gilded Vale and not some crappy great shield as the guy in the video suggested.

Do you have a better suggestion for stat allocation and build for pallytank? I thought this was as tanky as it got, even if reflex gets gimped somewhat. Is there a way to take less damage with a different build? I agree completely on the tediousness of resting, which is why I wondered if I was doing it inefficiently.

I wasn't aware of the buckler, I mostly skimmed through the videos as they are a tad slow and there are so many. I'll go check if I can find it now. Are large shields generally bad, even if my tanks have low dmg output anyway?

 

 

 

Fire godlike is crap, take Wild Orlan.

You don't need 20 Int before level 13 you can even dump it before 13.

I always max Per and Res, dump dex and Int, put whatevers left in Mi and Con.

At level 13 you exchange Int for Con, so you dump Con, heal up after fights with ital essence potions (before fight stops), and obviously the reason for this is Sacrd Immolation.

 

You ask whether damage output matters for a "tank" but there is always enough stat points to have  plenty of per and the outworn buckler is much better than any large shield cuz it also buffs the defense of your party.

 

You said in videos you always only see endgear, if it's not too tedious for you you can watch my solo and trio runs, where you always see the gear from the start:

and

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Fire Godlike is not crap per se. But it's quite useless on a cipher.

With your party composition you should have tons of AoE damage already. Also CC should be fine.

Just start encounters with buffs/debuffs first before you waste offensive spells.

 

edit: sorry, I meant "useless on a paladin". But it's also useless on a cipher. ;)

Edited by Boeroer

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Fire Godlike is not crap per se. But it's quite useless on a cipher.

 

With your party composition you should have tons of AoE damage already. Also CC should be fine.

 

Just start encounters with buffs/debuffs first before you waste offensive spells.

I meant for pala since the link for paladin build showed fire godlike.

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1. I've equpped the tank with as good defensive gear as I've been able to find, yet she seems to only be able to do 2-3 fights at a time before running out of health (not endurance) and forcing me to camp. I've not really delved into enchanting yet, as I don't know what gear and enchants to prioritize. Any suggestions?

This should not happen.

A tanky paladin in plate armor laughs on attacks of low-hitting creatures. While the hard-hitting ones should be stunned, paralyzed, proned or charmed by your cipher.

 

Also, that stat allocation might be ok for act 1, but in harder fights (dragon ones) you'd better up your reflex a bit. Something like 18/16/3/13/18/10 would end up in 18 more reflex and more potent sacred immolation.

 

Are large shields generally bad, even if my tanks have low dmg output anyway?

No, they are not bad. It's just that you want to have Outworn Buckler and Little Savior shields for their Herald abilities first. On the third, non-dps, shield-carrier who is going to body-block a lot, large shield (Old Gerun specifically) is a decent choice.

 

You can also keep the Gerun shield in the second set for your paladin, and switch to it, if paladin is going to solo tank a dragon. Because the rest of the party is out of the range for Herald anyway. Also it would nicely boost your reflex against it's aoe abilities.

 

2. I feel that my composition lacks some AoE, and I've considered squeezing Hiravias in somewhere, but I don't know which character to replace. Kana is the main candidate, but I don't know whether a Thundercat/Hungry like the wolf build is beefy, or even contributes enough AoE to be worth replacing him for.

Tbh you have enough AoE there...

Sacred Immolation from paladin.

Dragon Thrashed from chanter.

Cipher with Silent Scream, Detonate and Amplified Wave.

Fire priest has enough power to demolish any non-fire-immune group of enemies on his own.

And wizard with his blasting potential and Gaze of Adragan for x2 multiplier.

 

Also, would it be worth losing the Sure Handed Ila buff for my 4 ranged characters? Where is my 7th party member slot? ;)

Cipher, ranger, and blasting wizard do really like it. And it also reduces recovery of many ranged spells.

It's always a tough choice between Aefillath + Sure Handed + Dragon Thrashed vs Aefillath + Dragon Thrashed. Some might argue that keeping just Dragon Thrashed might be even better. Try all options, and see what you like.

 

I read somewhere that you should just try to find heavy armors for everyone as soon as possible, and don't worry about recovery. Is this still correct?

Yes, give plate armor to your frontliners asap. As for heavy armor for your backline... it comes to your own preference and amount of cc in the group. I personally like them in robes or clothing, and just cc / focus-fire those who would try to engage them.

 

4. I have some problems figuring out how to prioritize the different spells during fights, especially with Durance.

Easy fight: Painful Interdiction, any mastered spells if you have them, auto-attack.

Medium fight: Painful Interdiction, Shining Beacon, any mastered spells if you have them, auto-attack. Optional: Iconic Projection, Consecrated Ground, Pillar of Faith/Holy Fire.

Boss fights: Littanies on self (if there is a chance to get cc'ed or have the acc reduced), DAoM, Minor Avatar, Devotions for the Faithful, Protections (depends), Scroll of Valor, Holy Radiance (if it has inspiring), Painful Interdiction, Mass Stun (if you have Abydons Hammer), 3xShining Beacon, Cleansing Flames, Shining Beacon, Shining Beacon/Storm of Holy Fire.

 

5. How tight should you run formations with this sort of setup? I tend to pull from a distance and let the enemies approach me, but this leads to being unable to effectively target and nuke down high damage ranged enemies quickly. Should I put more emphasis on alpha striking down high priority targets directly from stealth?

I run tight formations 3x3, something like:

_m_

opo

b_b

 

m - main tank

o - off tank

p - priest/buffer, ranged or with pike

b - backline dps/cc

 

I usually do the following: select-all -> order attack closest enemy. It evaporates. Quickly assign melees to their targets. Debuffers are debuffing/proning enemy ranks. Order backline dps to focus fire enemy melees that would run around my frontline, if any, or Mental Bind a target such that others would stuck. Let the cipher paralyze/charm their nasties. After that assign dedicated ranged dps (cipher and ranger in your case) each to hit one of ranged spellcasters (that's one of the reasons I like Borresaine on cipher, stun from crit one target, than another, than boom detonate or wave).

I usually use per-rest abilities, such that I would have enough for 6-8 encounters before rest, and try to balance it up with they way party health is going down.

Edited by MaxQuest
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Fire Godlike is not crap per se. But it's quite useless on a cipher.

 

With your party composition you should have tons of AoE damage already. Also CC should be fine.

 

Just start encounters with buffs/debuffs first before you waste offensive spells.

I meant for pala since the link for paladin build showed fire godlike.

 

Ach sorry, I meant paladin and was somehow thinking about the MC cipher when writing that. But it's even more useless on a cipher, right? ;)

But it can be very useful on a tanky high CON monk (works with Turning Wheel and Blood Testament - as do Flame Shield and Retaliation) which leads to >100 dmg hits against 10 to 15 burn DR with Scion of Flame (and even higher crits) at higher levels. And Monks want to get hit a bit anyways.

 

Also good with a high CON human barbarian who uses it with Blooded and One Stands Alone together with Barbaric Retaliation and maybe Ryona's Buckle.

 

Those have enough endurance and health so that 50% of it is still more than 100% of most other classes.  

 

Paladin tanks don't want to get hit altogether and also don't have enough health to benefit a lot from Battle Forged. Many rests while doing meh damage with it OR no occurance of Battle Forged at all will be the result.

Edited by Boeroer
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So much good feedback here from all of you, thanks!

I suppose the bottom line for many of these issues is just the fact that I am too low level still to reap the full benefit of my composition, as I haven't learnt most of these spells that make many of the classes "work", like dragon thrashed, sacred immo, and higher level priest/wiz spells. Looking forward to seeing them in action!
I've also noted the stuff about the shields, I went and got myself the Outworn Buckler and it seems to be working fine.
I also never went to Raedric's hold before now (level 6), and all of a sudden there is plate armor thrown at me from all directions. I guess this will help too!

The fire godlike paladin was mostly filler, so I will make sure to up perception for Pallegina to make her more balanced.
I'm also still having some troubles fully utilizing Cipher (the beams) but I hope this will become simpler as my utility becomes more diverse. As of yet I'm mostly just spamming whispers and mental binding, which works fine to an extent.

As for having a more melee focused comp I usually prefer casters in these sorts of games, and I'm never much interested in brutish melee classes like barbs/fighters. I did consider doing the melee wiz build, maybe that'd help. But honestly after reading all this I think I'll be fine going forward.

Thank you very much for the point by point answers, MaxQuest, it made everything so much clearer for me. I guess the only remaining question now is when and what to start enchanting. Are materials so abundant that I can be liberal about it, or should I wait until I get "BiS" gear before applying them?

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If you're level 6 Ectopsychic Echo is your friend and killer of all foes. :)

As to enchanting, upgrade your stronghold so you have Botanic Garden and Curio Shop, buy your gems in Defiance Bay and you can upgrade freely. ;)

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As for having a more melee focused comp I usually prefer casters in these sorts of games, and I'm never much interested in brutish melee classes like barbs/fighters. I did consider doing the melee wiz build, maybe that'd help. But honestly after reading all this I think I'll be fine going forward.

1)Why do you consider martial classes brutish?

 

2)Have you considered using a melee shield-using Druid like Boeroer's Bat**** Crazy build? I can say from experience that they are very reliable characters, and since many powerful offensive druid spells are cones or lines with friendly fire, and most of their healing is centered on self, there are many benefits to the approach. It also works well with Hiraivias base stats.

 

3)Have you considered making Durance an off-tank? There is a Pale Knight solo Priest of Berath build somewhere in this forum you could adapt for that.

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Don't waste materials on armour and weapons that you will replace. There are SO many enchanted items throughout the game that you can save them for your final builds. I usually don't do much enchanting until level 8 at the earliest. You can get Tidefall for example rather early and it is a Superb item.

No matter which fork in the road you take I am certain adventure awaits.

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If you're level 6 Ectopsychic Echo is your friend and killer of all foes. :)

As to enchanting, upgrade your stronghold so you have Botanic Garden and Curio Shop, buy your gems in Defiance Bay and you can upgrade freely. ;)

Yes I made a priority out of upgrading those first. Echo seems really strong, as well as the antipathetic field, my biggest issue is just positioning. I never seem to be in the position where there are is more than 1 enemy between the cipher and a friendly, especially as I try to take fights in bottlenecks. I've tried sending the fox through enemy lines to connect with, but he just gets killed too fast. In those few fights where flanking maneuvers are safely executed though, both the beams make short work out of foes.

 

 

As for having a more melee focused comp I usually prefer casters in these sorts of games, and I'm never much interested in brutish melee classes like barbs/fighters. I did consider doing the melee wiz build, maybe that'd help. But honestly after reading all this I think I'll be fine going forward.

1)Why do you consider martial classes brutish?

 

2)Have you considered using a melee shield-using Druid like Boeroer's Bat**** Crazy build? I can say from experience that they are very reliable characters, and since many powerful offensive druid spells are cones or lines with friendly fire, and most of their healing is centered on self, there are many benefits to the approach. It also works well with Hiraivias base stats.

 

3)Have you considered making Durance an off-tank? There is a Pale Knight solo Priest of Berath build somewhere in this forum you could adapt for that.

 

1) Aha, I might have jumped the gun on my phrasing there, it's more a matter of there only being 6 slots and 11 classes, from which I have an affinity towards casters/glass cannons/ranged characters over stereotypically tough, melee oriented classes. I don't know why, but I usually prefer playing high-risk high reward, micro-intensive chars as I feel like it gives me more of a strategic challenge in these sorts of games. This might not be the issue in PoE, per say,  but in most other RPGs it's often true, which is why I probably automatically fill my party with as many casters/rouges as I can while still having at least some semblance of a meat shield up front.

Now, before someone comments on it; I realize the chanter is perhaps the least micro-intensive class in the game, but Kana seemed to be a favourite for many among the scripted companions so I wanted to bring him along for the banter. I am also finding plenty of challenge in microing the remaining four (five) characters. I tried a DW rogue first of all, but I couldn't keep the aggro off of her, so I decided to do a ranger instead.

 

2) I did in fact consider using Boeroer's bat(man) crazy build for a long time, and although it seemed to be the "best fit" to replace Kana, I somehow felt that using a druid as a tank instead of as a pure caster or sneaky rogue-cat was just... wrong? I realize this is probably not true at all in PoE, and it could probably work. I would still have to replace someone though, and Kana seems like such a great support char...

 

3) I skimmed through the priest builds on this forum and decided upon using the fire priest ranged one due to having two (three) tanks already and synergizing with my ranged dps squad. I have also seen that you can give him a shield and hatchet and just leave him standing in the middle casting stuff, but I though he might as well get some arquebus shots off in between the buffs. Isn't there also an issue with the potential interrupts in dire situations if you let him tank? I thought I read about that somewhere.

 

 

Don't waste materials on armour and weapons that you will replace. There are SO many enchanted items throughout the game that you can save them for your final builds. I usually don't do much enchanting until level 8 at the earliest. You can get Tidefall for example rather early and it is a Superb item.

Noted! Thanks!

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2)Have you considered using a melee shield-using Druid like Boeroer's Bat**** Crazy build? I can say from experience that they are very reliable characters, and since many powerful offensive druid spells are cones or lines with friendly fire, and most of their healing is centered on self, there are many benefits to the approach. It also works well with Hiraivias base stats.

You explained perfectly well the reasons why I developed that druid. It could use an 3.2-update, but it still works like a charm and is lots of fun. Besides that, you don't have all that shapeshifting fuzz. ;) Also, you can use Sura's Supper Plate and any other retaliation item and also Potions of Flame Shield as well as Nature's Terror + Spark the Souls of the Righteous with that druid. Because Heart of the Storm + Avenging Storm + Retaliation works. That's 3 Avenging Storms through retaliation when you get hit while melting foes with your two shocking auras whichalso work with Heart of the Storm while shocking and siabling them with the two Storms (Returning and Relentless). Still one of my most favourite builds (for hirelings or Hiravias).

Edited by Boeroer

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Don't waste materials on armour and weapons that you will replace. There are SO many enchanted items throughout the game that you can save them for your final builds. I usually don't do much enchanting until level 8 at the earliest. You can get Tidefall for example rather early and it is a Superb item.

You just named a reason why it's ok too use early upgrade materials without holding back. ;)

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I'm in the enchant everything as you go camp.

 

By that I mean I'll add a lash to every weapon that I use, I'll freely upgrade to Exceptional anything I use and I'll even make up specific monster slaying weapons for my harder hitting weapon users. A mundane Exceptional or an upgraded minor unique with a lash and a monster slayer enchant is a great weapon to switch to when you encounter packs. Much better than using the one better weapon that you have all the time on everything, unless it is something like Borresaine and you crit a lot.

 

For example you will be using TideFall but you don't have it yet. Instead of using the best sword you have all the time (Justice) I'd craft up some dedicated monster slayers. Throw a kith slayer on Justice and use it for bounties, grab a mundane Great Sword and throw on a lash and a vessel slayer and switch to that against undead.

 

The only materials that are limited are those required to upgrade to Superb or beyond and Durgan Steel. Those you need to save for your endgame equipment.

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That's a good point. You can also combine that power with items which do bonus damage when enemies are flanked (Glanfathan Stalking Boots, Vengiatta Rugia, Crossed Patch) and (Apprentice's) Sneak Attack.

Phantom Foes is a really nice "Sneak Attack enabler" with good duration and enourmous AoE. Also great for enabling Deathblows for rogues with AoE spells (scrolls, spellbind items) in combination with Painful Interdiction from the priest (or any other affliction based AoE spell). There's also no immunity to the flanked affliction - so this always works. As a bonus foes are frightened as well. 

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2)Have you considered using a melee shield-using Druid like Boeroer's Bat**** Crazy build? I can say from experience that they are very reliable characters, and since many powerful offensive druid spells are cones or lines with friendly fire, and most of their healing is centered on self, there are many benefits to the approach. It also works well with Hiraivias base stats.

You explained perfectly well the reasons why I developed that druid. It could use an 3.2-update, but it still works like a charm and is lots of fun. Besides that, you don't have all that shapeshifting fuzz. ;) Also, you can use Sura's Supper Plate and any other retaliation item and also Potions of Flame Shield as well as Nature's Terror + Spark the Souls of the Righteous with that druid. Because Heart of the Storm + Avenging Storm + Retaliation works. That's 3 Avenging Storms through retaliation when you get hit while melting foes with your two shocking auras whichalso work with Heart of the Storm while shocking and siabling them with the two Storms (Returning and Relentless). Still one of my most favourite builds (for hirelings or Hiravias).

 

I am definitely going to give it a try for when I grow tired of Kana, which I assume I will at some point!

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No! Not Kana! :)

 

After lvl 9 with "The Dragon Thrashed" he will be a beast and the number one mob killer of your party. There's also a very powerful trick that you can do with such a chanter,a priest and a cipher which is so great for dragon fights or endgame:

 

Give Kana any item with preservation that suits you (Blaidh Golan hide armor, Ring of Thorns, He Carries Many Scars helm and so on) and combine it with the medium shield Ilfan Byrngar's Solace. This has preservation, too and it stacks with the other item. So, every time you suffer from prone or stun, your defenses will go up by +100 (minus the debuff from prone or stun). This makes your Kana pretty invulnerable when suffering from those afflictions, which is great by itself: just switch to that shield once you get CC'd and you won't die. But here comes the neat trick:

 

- Kana sings "The Dragon Thrashed" while stomping in the front of the enemy (and blocking the way if possible)

- Priest casts "Withdraw" onto Kana. This will NOT stop his chanting. Kana will still do damage with the chant. At the same time, Kana will get a "stunned" status by Withdraw which will buff all his defenses by +100 (so his deflection will be somewhere above 200 as well as his other defenses) - this is of no use for him because he can't get targeted anyways BUT:

- Cipher casts "Defensive Mindweb". This will give all party members the absurdly high defense values of Kana.

 

To be honest you can do this with any other tanky char than chanter as well, but the fact that Kana's Dragon Chant won't stop makes this combination so useful. He's doing damage while being the ultimate roadblock and providing +100 to all party defenses. It's late game but it's great.

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I suppose the bottom line for many of these issues is just the fact that I am too low level still to reap the full benefit of my composition

From my experience, level 4 is the hardest. At 5 you get echo. The next bump happens at lvl 7 (Silent Scream, Mind Lance, Devotions and Beacon). And from lvl 9 the party starts to truly shine in all it's glory.

 

Thank you very much for the point by point answers, MaxQuest, it made everything so much clearer for me. I guess the only remaining question now is when and what to start enchanting. Are materials so abundant that I can be liberal about it, or should I wait until I get "BiS" gear before applying them?

Adding lashes is important for your dps classes. Especially for cipher. I always add lashing and quality enchants to the characters of this class. Also from second playthrough onward there is sort of a plan when and where to go, so I also put respective slaying enchants too.

 

As for other enchants, I tend to keep them updated too, but then again I approximately know how much I will keep that weapon and armor. 

 

Regarding proofing enchants: backline gets pierce proofing; while frontline.. slashing if I am in the stage of the game where I'll have to face lot's of undead creatures, or piercing otherwise.

 

So yeah, just like KDubya I enchant everything. Except for superb+ and durgan refinement, which I might hold for a bit (until I get the build-required stuff), on non-cipher/barb characters.

 

After lvl 9 with "The Dragon Thrashed" he will be a beast and the number one mob killer of your party.

Still, how can he outdps a cipher? :) Those detonates and screams come at the same rate as two ticks of dragon-trashed... Edited by MaxQuest
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After lvl 9 with "The Dragon Thrashed" he will be a beast and the number one mob killer of your party.

Still, how can he outdps a cipher? :) Those detonates and screams come at the same rate as two ticks of dragon-trashed...

 

Which gamebreaking cipher build are you using? Does he get focus from exhaling bad breath? ;) At lvl 9 a cipher is hardly able to spam those powers. Be it because he has no access yet or because the costs are still too high. While he gets more lvls they might become spammable with the right equipment though.

 

But at the same time chanter's Brisk Recitation shortens the length of  The Dragon Trashed more and more while maintaining it's damage. At lvl 16 it only takes half the time (4 sec instead of 8), doubling dps. I can't see how a cipher can out-dps this in longer fights. Just think about the big AoE which likely covers ALL enemies, while Silent Scream and Detonate can't do this. By the way Detonate only does AoE damage when you kill an enemy with it and also hurts your freinds then - I don't think it's a very good power. The chanter only hits foes and at the same time builds up phrases for some nice invocations. And he can tank and support with regeneration at the same time... oh my I get carried away by the aweseomness... ;)

 

However - I think the cipher is a much better class for CC than a chanter most of the time. And so I would put my focus on CC and not dps with a cipher. Hit hard with your weapons and then control and debuff while the chanter burns everything. One of the best things a cipher can do is controlling minds - it's so powerful even at lvl 1 and stays powerful at lvl 16.

 

By the way - this discussion is futile because I would keep both the chanter as well as the cipher in the party. :)

Edited by Boeroer
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Which gamebreaking cipher build are you using? Does he get focus from exhaling bad breath? ;) At lvl 9 a cipher is hardly able to spam those powers. Be it because he has no access yet or because the costs are still too high. While he gets more lvls they might become spammable with the right equipment though.

That's true... last time I have durganized cipher's equipment at the end of lvl 10, so... not exactly lvl 9 indeed :)

 

The focus comes quite easy:

- x0.35 base focus coefficient, with draining whip and amulet of unconquerable is x0.58

- warbow has 13-20 base damage. Exceptional, 20 might and both whips result in x2.0 damage coefficient.

- I had approximately 70% crit rate. With Merciless hand it results in x2.8 dmg coef in 7 out of 10 arrow shots.

- I had Kana (Sure-Handed) and Pallegina (Vielo Vidorio) in group, plus Gauntlets of Swift Action and 18 Dex. So had around 5 + 24 (att) + 17 (rec) = 46 frames = 1.5s action time with Borresaine (with Rain-of-goddah it would be 5 + 24 + 7 = 36 frames = 1.2s)

 

So every 1.5s there is an attack for 26-40 base dmg in 30% of cases, or 36.4 - 58 in 70% of cases.

Lash enchant and Aefyllath add 2x25% more.

 

Against 10 DR, on average it is [0.3 * (16+30)/2 + 0.7 * (26.4 + 48) / 2] * 1.5 = 49.41 dmg

In 6 seconds there would be 4 shots (hence the 1.5s action time) so ~198 weapon dmg and 115 focus.

But yeah, I cheated and used a chanter too :)...and a second cipher for the cc.

Edited by MaxQuest
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