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The Wizard. How to be a ranged powerhouse without dying.


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Howdy folks,

 

Since I've created the poll, and reading all your comments, I began to wonder: Since PoE is such a flexible game in terms of builds (meaning that it follows no stereotypes such as stupid warriors or feeble mages) I would like to know if there is someone out there that managed to "transform" a Wizard in a valid ranged combatant (firearms maybe... or something else) which of course is aided by magic. And since the Wizard starts with 1 point in Mech, I figure it as some kind of "adventurous scholar", someone not weak at all.

Do you believe this could be possible?

 - There are 10 types of people: those who understand binary code, and those who don't. - 

 

 

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What do you mean exactly? Do implements as wands, scepters and rods also count as "ranged" for you? Because that's what 99% of all ranged wizards would use because of blast.

 

Other than that, you can of course use other ranged weapons like bows, too. In fact with one of the last spell levels you can summon Cadebald's Blackbow, which is a nice war bow with high corrode damage (spirit of decay works) and included driving flight. So you can be an arcane archer. With Alacrity, Eldritch Aim and Merciless Gaze plus Citzals Martial Power this works quite well - especially with Persistence as your main weapon (high MIG + wounding = great raw damage). But to be honest implements with blast will be superior to this. But it's absolutely viable. Played one of those in one of my playthroughs on PoTD and it worked well.

Edited by Boeroer
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Yeah, maybe an Arcane Archer sounds good. You know, I'm no power player, so even if I lose something by not using the scepter, I'll gain in roleplay, and be happy with it! ;)

I guess for an arcane archer it's best to use a mage with a bow than a ranger with so little magic...

 - There are 10 types of people: those who understand binary code, and those who don't. - 

 

 

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While a Cipher with a longbow fits the concept better than both, the idea is viable and looks more interesting than a wand-user IMO.

Yeah, I thought of an "unusual" kind of archer supported by magic... I'll gather some more advices from expert players, then try it.

 - There are 10 types of people: those who understand binary code, and those who don't. - 

 

 

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You should maybe be making one thread for all the ideas you have, and start asking questions in there. Many diffuse threads to resolve your ideas around diffuse concepts seems a bit involved - you could try and make the thread about custom builds for thematic reasons where anyone can ask questions and contribute. This would also serve a lot of people in the community who are in the same boat as you.

 

To answer your question, firearms Wizards are stupid and minimal research could have answered that. Sure you can make a firearms Wizard, but they are so heavily built towards implements that the idea is strongly inferior to a large degree. While firearms have higher base damage, the reload is very cumbersome and won't hit in a group like a Blast implement (while maintaining similar levels of DR) so what's the point? For a ranged Wizard, you could take Rod of the Pale Shades and use them in a similar way to a CC Barbarian - keeping ACC as high as possible in order to get crits and therefore Stun at range. Blast can also apply various effects in AoE, which you can search for yourself.

 

But yes, literally anything is possible on PotD with a party in tow - so build what you like and if you think it's worthy of a class build (as in it measures up to the existing ones, or offers a distinctly different play style after your testing) then post one up. Firearms on a Wizard is, as I mentioned, an inherently flawed concept.

Edited by Jojobobo
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So nothing will work on a wizard except implements? I realize that the proper wizard has to have a certain -how can I say..- attire, but isn't there a way to build let's say an archer with magic?

 - There are 10 types of people: those who understand binary code, and those who don't. - 

 

 

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So nothing will work on a wizard except implements? I realize that the proper wizard has to have a certain -how can I say..- attire, but isn't there a way to build let's say an archer with magic?

Hey, don't let the post above dissuade you from making your bow-mage. Although Ciphers with warbows/guns make much better supernatural marksmen.

Edited by DreamWayfarer
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As I said: building an arcane archer is possible and viable. There's a reason that one of the summoned weapons of the wizard is a war bow. Implements + blast is the obvious choice, but a wizard with a bow will be better than a druid, monk, fighter, paladin, barb, chanter or priest with a bow. Using Alacrity, Eldritch's Aim, Merciless Gaze, Citzal's Martial Power combined with Binding Web, Chillfog and so on will make him a fast and hard hitting bowman.

 

Firearms, if used with reload, are not so great because a wizard's biggest advantage is attack speed from Alacrity - but it doesn't do anything for reload time. However - with Quick Switch, four blunderbusses, Pen. Shot, Ryonas Vembraces combined with Exposed Vulnerability and Combusting Wounds and focused on Missile Spells and everything else that works with Pen. Shot he will also be good. A Blunderbuss hits 6 times - if you combine that with Combusting Wounds where every hit applies a DoT effect you can see his this is powerful. The combined DR bypass of blunderbuss (4), Pen. Shot (5), Vembraces (3), Exposed Vuln. (5) and maybe Effigy's Resentment: Devil of Caroc (1) will lead to hefty hits with 18 DR bypass which also works with a lot of spells like missiles, Rolling Flame, Crackling Bolt and so on. You can easily build a nice tinkerer themed dwarven wizard around that with a lot of mechanics. Also very viable.

 

A lot is possible. It might not be as effective as using implements with blast, but it will work and will be fun.

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I never said it wouldn't work, just that it wouldn't work half as well as an implement - it's like playing a Barbarian and using ranged so that you actively avoid the inherent advantage of Carnage. A ranged Barbarian technically works, as things like Frenzy and Blood Lust/Thirst still apply, but it the end it feels a bit like what's the point? I'm all for unique and outlandish builds, but when you're playing something that's a significant departure to what could ever be considered the optimum it kind of feels like you're hamstringing yourself for no reason.

 

For the Gunslinger build I posted up there certainly will be tankier, easier or more damaging ways to build a Chanter, but when it comes down to it the "optimum" for a Chanter is any build with the Dragon Thrashed - and the build has that while having an option that synergises well with it. It's an example of doing something different in a way that works well with the natural advantages, and a natural advantage considering a Wizard is using Blast with implements. If you're set on roleplaying a certain build for the flavour then fine, but personally I never roleplay builds that are a large departure and don't have good synergy with a class's underlying concepts - I can just as easily roleplay with a stronger build. Boeroer's Chillfog build works around the Dragon Thrashed necessarily being the optimum by finding a quick way to access Seven Nights, but it's again playing to a strong class advantage.

 

Further, though the Blackbow idea is fine, it is a level 8 spell - so you're going to be waiting a load of time (to level 15) to even access it. As I mentioned, build what you like for story purposes, nothing won't "work" in this game and anything is more or less viable as a specialisation - but some of the time it can be a little fruitless.

Edited by Jojobobo
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Naa - it's not like a ranged barb at all. A ranged barb takes away THE most important feature of its class, which is carnage, as well as several other that only work in melee or melee distance. It might work, but it will be a huge disadvantage.

 

A wizard's most important feature are his spells. After a few levels it really doesn't matter that much which weapon he uses - if he's using his spells frequently. A melee wizard wouldn't take blast nor implement as well and nobody's calling him gimped, so why should a wizard with a bow or even a firearm be? I consider the bow to be the better choice of course because of Alacrity. But at the end of the day (and the game) he will have manly used his spells to do his magic. ;) Like a melee wizard, too.

The approach I posted above merely adds a trick with blunderbusses + Combusting Wounds. So in trash encounters you can even do something useful with a firearm by using only one spell and firing off your multiple-projectile-weapons. Because of up to 4*6*Combusting Wounds the overall damage will be way higher than a paladin's 2 uses of FoD with a blunderbuss and also higher than a ranger's 2 wounding shots. So no big gimpage there I'd say. 

 

I played an "Arcane Archer" with a war bow for a whole PoTD playthrough and I couldn't hardly tell the difference in "power" compared to an implement wizard. Mainly because of what I said above. Single target damage is higher while there's no blast. If you combine that with a lot of spells that target single enemies and also gain from Penetrating Shot, you'll have a very potent sniper who can take out single targets very quickly. Overall, it's certainly more powerful than a bow rogue. You can get Borresaine quite early which can lead to stuns when you use debuffs + Eldritch Aim + Merciless Gaze (which you would also do with an implement) and it's good enough until you get Cadebald's Blackbow. 

 

It's just a different kind of wizard. Overall, it may not be as powerful as blast+effects, but it's not gimped at all. And it can be fun to play something which is not AS powerful, but still powerful enough and maybe even better in certain situations (like killing single enemies without too many spells).

 

It's less effective than a nice implement + blast of course, esp. since you can get that soulbound scepter so early now. We don't need to argue about that. But it's far, far away from a barb who's using ranged weapons.

 

I mean you also build the Gunslinger chanter with Silver Flash. It's a nice concept and I like it - but it's also risky and I think a full tank with Dragon Thrashed would be easier to play. Following your logic, you shouldn't have even tried it.

Edited by Boeroer

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Naa - it's not like a ranged barb at all. A ranged barb takes away THE most important feature of its class, which is carnage, as well as several other that only work in melee or melee distance. It might work, but it will be a huge disadvantage.

I think I was mainly drawing the comparison because Blast is a Carnage-like effect, if you have access to a Carnage-like effect then actively forgoing it can be perceived to be gimping it a little. But you're right, Carnage is much more innate and integral to a Barbarian than Blast is to a Wizard (obviously it isn't innate at all, as it's an option you have to pick).

 

A wizard's most important feature are his spells. After a few levels it really doesn't matter that much which weapon he uses - if he's using his spells frequently. A melee wizard wouldn't take blast nor implement as well and nobody's calling him gimped, so why should a wizard with a bow or even a firearm be?

As I mentioned in terms of class advantages, a melee Wizard is drawing on some of the class's advantages that are relevant to that kind of build (Citzal's Martial Power, probably the summoned weapons, DAoM etc.). No build needs to try and draw on all the class's advantages as you expect some specialisation, and a ranged wizard compared to a melee Wizard can be considered different archetypes - so saying they don't take Blast is kind of irrelevant as it falls outside the purview of what you were attempting in the first place (a melee, not ranged, Wizard). If we're talking about the ranged weapon archetype, then yes there is now an advantage you're ignoring in order to use a bow or firearm - so that's why it's different to a melee build not taking Blast.

 

The approach I posted above merely adds a trick with blunderbusses + Combusting Wounds. So in trash encounters you can even do something useful with a firearm by using only one spell and firing off your multiple-projectile-weapons. Because of up to 4*6*Combusting Wounds the overall damage will be way higher than a paladin's 2 uses of FoD with a blunderbuss and also higher than a ranger's 2 wounding shots. So no big gimpage there I'd say. 

 

I played an "Arcane Archer" with a war bow for a whole PoTD playthrough and I couldn't hardly tell the difference in "power" compared to an implement wizard. Mainly because of what I said above. Single target damage is higher while there's no blast. If you combine that with a lot of spells that target single enemies and also gain from Penetrating Shot, you'll have a very potent sniper who can take out single targets very quickly. Overall, it's certainly more powerful than a bow rogue. You can get Borresaine quite early which can lead to stuns when you use debuffs + Eldritch Aim + Merciless Gaze (which you would also do with an implement) and it's good enough until you get Cadebald's Blackbow. 

These both sound like fun builds actually, though I'd still say the firearms build is worse than Envenomed Strikes Blast. The Arcane Archer sounds pretty cool, but the niche is quite different to an AoE blaster build. I guess as Slack83er never mentioned a specific niche he was after, it'd probably be a good pick.

 

I also never mentioned that a bow Wizard was terrible, just that a firearms WIzard wasn't a great idea. I think things got a little scrambled in that you mentioned an archer, but I was referring back to the original question in the first post about a firearms Wizard. Slack83er seemed to take that to mean I thought bows on a Wizard were bad, which I never said, just that you have to wait a while for the Blackbow.

 

I mean you also build the Gunslinger chanter with Silver Flash. It's a nice concept and I like it - but it's also risky and I think a full tank with Dragon Thrashed would be easier to play. Following your logic, you shouldn't have even tried it.

My point wasn't really about ease of play or minimising risk so much, it's about doing a certain thing well. The build is interesting in that its Dragon Thrashed chants are more effective (they hit and crit more often, and so overlap better), but it somewhat compromises your defences. Overall, it's a bit of a dead heat when comparing it to other Chanters and really depends on what you're after - the "most survivable solo Chanter build" it isn't, but a case could be made for "most effective solo user of the Dragon Thrashed".

 

It also matters how you define what you were looking for in a build, so if the concept is "a good firearms build that uses only guns" then it does that a lot better (potentially the best) out of all the other classes as it marries the class advantages to the weapon choice in a manner that seemingly out-performs what is offer by using guns with a different class (at least in terms of continuing usage of the gun, not burst damage with an arquebus - but again the goals between these two ideas are a bit different). In that way its carved out a unique niche and a reason why people would want to play it.

 

Another example I guess is that a high burst damage Rogue is high risk, however it can do unrivalled single target damage - so it serves a particular interesting function if that's what you're looking for. Doing one thing extremely well is interesting, doing the same thing less well (a firearms Wizard compared to a implements Wizard in terms of it serving as a ranged combatant with a focus on weapon, not spell, damage) to me is less interesting - it doesn't offer anything unique in terms of what it's doing and it's doing a poorer job than an analogous build.

Edited by Jojobobo
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Ok ok... there's no need to argue... I simply like an idea of character, regardless of whether he is THE MOST powerful in what he does OR if he was intended for that role.

I value fun and roleplay far more than sheer power...

That said... I was thinking of an elf, as originally Arcane Archers were elves.. Then a high PER I think, high INT.... and then? 

Well, I'll try..

 - There are 10 types of people: those who understand binary code, and those who don't. - 

 

 

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I don't see it as an argument, just discussing the different ideas of what goes into class building and what potentially can and can't be rewarding to play for me personally. As mentioned if you want to do it purely from a roleplaying perspective than that's fine, but as I mentioned I like to do things from a roleplaying perspective as well as have them more or less ideally suited to a build type.

 

You should also try for high Dex so you get your arrows and spells out faster. If you're really keen on min-maxing, you can dump Con and Res and put all the points into the other attributes - so long as you keep them at a distance you'll be fine (besides Arcane Veil can also shore up your weak deflection so you don't die at a distance, and with high Per and Dex your reflex save will be good anyway). Wood Elf is a very natural pick for both an archer and a wizard because of the racial ranged bonus.

Edited by Jojobobo
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OK - tested the firearm-wizard with 4 blunderbusses, quick switch, combusting wounds and expose vuln. aaand it's awesome. :)

 

The best part is that you can use this little trick early. At the time you find your first blunderbusses you'll have lvl 3 spells. Only thing that comes a bit late are the vembraces. But it also works nicely without them. The focus on single targets with a wiz is a fresh approach for me and quite effective - because you never lose the potential to nuke things, but you can also snipe an annoying for in no time if you need to.

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I appreciate your effort...but it seems that EVERY ranged build made on this forum has quick switch and 4 weapons.... this is annoying. 1 weapon is enough, don't want to switch every combat...this takes away realism and variety. I know, I know, it's more effective, but I don't care... A char for me holds 2 sets: 1 ranged, 1 melee. Or just one of the two.

 - There are 10 types of people: those who understand binary code, and those who don't. - 

 

 

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ROFL because of "realism". :lol:

Why? I admit it's a game, but reload times and wepon speeds are just plain realistic... Would you carry 4 rifles on yourself? Would you switch your weapon in combat by putting it into your backpack then take another one only for the purpose of not reloading it? It is MY opinion, but the devs just made a big mistake by making weapon switchable in combat. In real pen and paper you lose your turn if you do, and anyway you DROP your weapon if you want to switch it. 

 - There are 10 types of people: those who understand binary code, and those who don't. - 

 

 

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In Baldur's Gate you could switch anything except armour around in combat with no penalty whatsoever like there's no tomorrow.

I don't think losing your turn in "real pen and paper" (lol Boroer) is such a big deal even tho I never played it I doubt that penalty means much more than the reduced recovery (without quick switch) in PoE.

Games just aren't realistic otherwise we wouldn't be fighting dragons in the first place.

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Games just aren't realistic otherwise we wouldn't be fighting dragons in the first place.

Good point. So let's say something is realistic, something isn't. But this has nothing to do with the fact that swapping firearms like crazy is just a way to gain what? a second? thanks I'll pass. I don't play rpg games speculating on how many second I can save if I change a weapon. For me, if I like a barbarian who fights with a can-opener, I'll do it. I don't care if there is the Almighty sword of Conan" hidden in the game. Simply there are min-maxers, and non min-maxers. No reason to mock the latter.

 - There are 10 types of people: those who understand binary code, and those who don't. - 

 

 

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Or have Twinned Arrows - or Cranage - or implements. How do those works anyways? ;)
The list is endless - please don't let us do discussions around realism.

 

And I didn't mock non-min-maxing. I mocked using realism as a argument while discussing a fantasy game. :dancing:  

 

By the way I posted the short info that a gunslinging wizard in general might be fun and that it's viable - with those in mind who might be interested if it really works after all the theorycrafting. It also works without quick switch - but you want to fire as many multi-projectile-things as possible while Combusting Wounds and Expose Vuln. are working - hence the quick switching.

If you don't like quick switch you can take the Coil of Resourcefulness... kidding! ;) You could substitute blunderbuss switching with more missile spells and spell binding items: last playthrough I found several cloaks of Minor Missiles... 

Edited by Boeroer
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Games just aren't realistic otherwise we wouldn't be fighting dragons in the first place.

Good point. So let's say something is realistic, something isn't. But this has nothing to do with the fact that swapping firearms like crazy is just a way to gain what? a second? thanks I'll pass. I don't play rpg games speculating on how many second I can save if I change a weapon. For me, if I like a barbarian who fights with a can-opener, I'll do it. I don't care if there is the Almighty sword of Conan" hidden in the game. Simply there are min-maxers, and non min-maxers. No reason to mock the latter.

 

Where did I mock anybody?

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