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Cheers, everyone.

 

What's the consensus on upscaled PotD here? How do the in-game NPCs fare on everything max difficulty? Any specific pointers on their builds? Or would I better be off with a custom party? I don't really like custom hirelings.

 

I plan to have a rogue protagonist who aims to deal maximum damage on heavily disabled opponents. Never played rogues much, want to try that approach.

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Depends on how much experience you have. If your a veteran anything will work. If you are trying out POTD for the fist time I would recommend 2 tanks ( fighter and paladin) a secondary damage dealer (rogue, barb or a ranger) and three ranged casters ( wiazard, priest and cipher/ Druid)

 

Easy

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Sounds good. Don't make your damage dealers too squishy and your frontliner too defensive (menaing they can't deal any damage). And I would strongly recommend a priest if that's you first PotD experience.

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You can definitely use the companions. Actual party comp really depends on personal preference. For me, I find a melee heavy party makes the game easy - 4 front-liners and 2 ranged. But just about anything will be fine. Being under leveled though, can make things painful. Some of the bounties upscaled can be painful.

"Those who look upon gods then say, without even knowing their names, 'He is Fire. She is Dance. He is Destruction. She is Love.' So, to reply to your statement, they do not call themselves gods. Everyone else does, though, everyone who beholds them."
"So they play that on their fascist banjos, eh?"
"You choose the wrong adjective."
"You've already used up all the others.”

 

Lord of Light

 

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Also - forgot to mention - Rogue is one of my favourite classes,  and while I find them very good on any other difficulty, they take strain on Potd. Not saying that they are unplayable, just not a huge amount of fun. The extra mobs and toughness that happens on Potd really hurts rogues the most.

"Those who look upon gods then say, without even knowing their names, 'He is Fire. She is Dance. He is Destruction. She is Love.' So, to reply to your statement, they do not call themselves gods. Everyone else does, though, everyone who beholds them."
"So they play that on their fascist banjos, eh?"
"You choose the wrong adjective."
"You've already used up all the others.”

 

Lord of Light

 

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Thanks for the input, guys.

 

 

 

Depends on how much experience you have. If your a veteran anything will work. If you are trying out POTD for the fist time I would recommend 2 tanks ( fighter and paladin) a secondary damage dealer (rogue, barb or a ranger) and three ranged casters ( wiazard, priest and cipher/ Druid)

Definitely not a beginner, I've played PoE before, including non-upscaled PotD, and found it to be somewhat easy towards the end. I want to play an upscaled version now and see how it differs.

 

 

 

Also - forgot to mention - Rogue is one of my favourite classes,  and while I find them very good on any other difficulty, they take strain on Potd. Not saying that they are unplayable, just not a huge amount of fun. The extra mobs and toughness that happens on Potd really hurts rogues the most.

Yes, I've experienced it myself in the past, couldn't really find the right approach to make Devil effective. But I've skimmed through the epic 9-hour video on solo PotD rogue ultimate and it is clear that with the right approach the rogue can be deadly.

 

 

You can definitely use the companions. Actual party comp really depends on personal preference. For me, I find a melee heavy party makes the game easy - 4 front-liners and 2 ranged. But just about anything will be fine. Being under leveled though, can make things painful. Some of the bounties upscaled can be painful.

I've already done the melee-heavy party, it was quite fun. Now I was actually leaning towards more caster-heavy approach.

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I find the reverse (caster/ranged-heavy party) preferable to a melee-heavy one, since melee range is usually where the weird/worst-case scenarios happen. Like people running around mobs due to weird pathing and triggering a bunch of disengagement attacks, dangerous mobs changing targets or turning this way and that due to whatever target acquisition AI is in place in PotD, or getting screwed by something like the Adra Dragon's AoE attacks.

 

Devil works best for me in a party with Durance. With Durance laying down buffs to improve defenses, Devil becomes easily able to hold her own even in PotD. And since they tend to melee together in my games they just play off each other very well (Devil's Coordinated Positioning has saved both their bacons more than a few times, and Durance even has his whole Painful Interdiction shtick to help with Sneak Attacks and Deathblows).

Ironic since they hate each other so much.

Edited by scythesong
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Your_Rogue, Pallagia, Kana, Durance, Hrivias, Eder or the Barbarian Companion

Why? What's the approach here? How do you develop these characters? No wizard (Aloth) or Cipher (GM) here to CC the crowd?

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He has a priest and Druid, who are more than capable of cc, buffs and damage. I normally only have a Druid and chanter and it works fine. Optimal, no, though very doable on upscale PoTD.

"Those who look upon gods then say, without even knowing their names, 'He is Fire. She is Dance. He is Destruction. She is Love.' So, to reply to your statement, they do not call themselves gods. Everyone else does, though, everyone who beholds them."
"So they play that on their fascist banjos, eh?"
"You choose the wrong adjective."
"You've already used up all the others.”

 

Lord of Light

 

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After some thinking, I've decided to go with the custom party after all. I aim at maximum combat and conflict, so it'll be kind of an "evil" play-through, does not really go well with the standard companions.

 

Here's my approximate plan, still figuring out the details and maybe some flavour for each character.

 

Rogue protagonist, key roles: DPS on single tough opponents (sneak attacks, death blows, etc.), manoeuvering, disengagement tactics.

Monk: the lashing build from the forums, tank + DPS + scrolls

Barbarian: CC, probably a heavy-armoured dual-wielding tank

Cipher: CC, ranged, perhaps a quick switch build for burst focus generation

Priest: buffs + ranged damage

Wizard: blast build + ranged damage

 

Barb and Monk will hold and clear out the crowd. Barbarian, Cipher, Priest and Wizard have good synergy at CC. Three dedicated damage dealers that will waste the mobs.

 

I am specifically trying to avoid "traditional" high deflection tanks such as fighter, chanter or paladin here in order to try and rely on synergy between party members' abilities. Plus, the monk build looks incredibly interesting to try.

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Is your rogue ranged or melee?

 

Cipher: CC, ranged, perhaps a quick switch build for burst focus generation

It will work. But feels a bit conflicting. Quick switching benefits way more from might than dexterity, because it's all about burst. On the other hand if you have high might it will be wasted if you will mainly cast cc powers. A cc'er wants high Per, Int (~16-17) and Dex.

 

If the rogue is ranged, one way to spec your cipher could be: 11/9/18/16/16/8 boreal dwarf in plate with botep or dw sabres.

 

Also you have one character with per-encounter cc, who will have to keep rogue's targets stunned/paralyzed, while also watching over himself and cover priest + wizard from teleporting/rushing enemies. If you want a more cc-oriented party, you could substitute the monk with that melee cipher and get something like:

- frontline: cipher (cc), barb (dw, dps), rogue (dps)

- backline: wizard, priest, cipher (dps, emergency-cc)

With more crowd-control barbarian can become more dps-oriented, and also wear Shod-in-Faith more effectively. While the rogue will have higher deathblows uptime.

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Is your rogue ranged or melee?

Melee. I don't like the concept of a ranged rogue.

 

 

It will work. But feels a bit conflicting. Quick switching benefits way more from might than dexterity, because it's all about burst. On the other hand if you have high might it will be wasted if you will mainly cast cc powers. A cc'er wants high Per, Int (~16-17) and Dex.

 

 

You've got a point. My reasoning was that arquebuses pack quite a punch by themselves which makes might less important. Fire up a couple of shots into an enemy priest/wizard/cipher, switch to the bow in the end and keep shooting. I guess I can go with the bow cipher for CC, although the firearm build fits better the theme of the party.

 

 

 If you want a more cc-oriented party, you could substitute the monk with that melee cipher and get something like:

- frontline: cipher (cc), barb (dw, dps), rogue (dps)

 

Two ciphers is an interesting idea. My worry is whether the melee cipher would have much to contribute throughout the game until the hits the top-tier spells. Ciphers do not have that many direct damage powers, IIRC.

 

What would you recommend for the barb? I am not a great expert but I figured the barb would have to stack those abilities that cause AoE afflictions on foes as well as pump carnage. I was planning to have high might, int and decent perception on a CC barb, the rest is average. What would change for a dps barb?

Edited by r2d23
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Barbs can easily get away without PER and still both tank and DPS, especially with accuracy talents. Abilities like Carnage and Threatening Presence, also have a +1/character level to hit. Barbarians are also a good choice for switching to 2 handers that have 25% to instantly kill spirits/vessels/eyeless even without any 2hander talents. The Binding Rope belt is automatic, it doesn't even roll to hit, but it oddly conflicts with retaliation gear.

 

Fire Godlike

 

Mig 18 Dex 19 Con 15 Int 20 Per 3 Res 3

 

Talents   greater fury   scion of flame   app sneak attack   savage attack   accurate carnage   weapon focus club   two weapon style   weapon focus spear

 

Abilites carnage, frenzy   blooded   one stands alone   threatening prescence   heart of fury   thick skin   barbaric retaliation 11-19   dragon leap

 

Gear:

 

dam 3 -5 RES club kith (WM2)/4 MIG hammer(WM2) superb distract vile loner lance kith flame lash (ondra's gift) 2 PER - eyestrike padded 3 pierce proof resist, superb n/a 3 MIG 3dr bypass, 5 slash resist 5% miss to graze 2 CON Stuck when hit (avg) 1 INT arcane dampener overseer ring 3 dr boots -5 attack speed

 

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OK, it took me a while to somewhat decipher the gear, although I still didn't get all of it.

 

Is this a retaliation-based build? How does he ever hit anything in early-mid game with such low Per?

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In the early game he won't hit much without help and graze a lot. But carnage gets +1 accuracy per level so later in it's not that bad.

 

Still I wouldn't use low PER because carnage only happens if you don't miss your initial target and AoE interrupts are a nice thing, too.

 

If you use Novice's Suffering you can dump PER thoughts. The damage difference between graues, hits and crits are marginal when using Novice's Suffering.

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It's fun and it's viable. Also because the -34% dmg malus on carnage doesn't gimp your damage (it's only reduced by 2 points). After Durgan's Battery there are certainly better weapon choices, but it's viable until the end of the game. And it's a cool concept. 

 

MIG increases the bonus damage, so high MIG is mandatory for this. All other percentage-based dmg bonuses are kind of wasted, because they will only influence the whimpy base damage of 5-8. Savage Attack for example will only give you +1.3 damage - that's not worth the talent point. So you'll have a lot of room for different talents - like defensive ones or Veteran's Recovery or whatever suits your playstyle. 

 

Jojobobo did a whole run with this and reported his (positive) experiences. Don't know if his thread can be found easily. Sadly, he didn't write a build description yet.

Edited by Boeroer
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It sounds like a fun concept but I feel like this build would suit my party better. This barbarian is aimed at crowd control and interrupt, and it seems like he has good synergy with the priest. One thing I'm worried about is that he doesn't have much Con.

 

That is one of the things that seems attractive in MasterCipher's build, looks like his variant could be a good punching bag which is valuable, especially early on while the priest and the wizard are not powerful yet.

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Two ciphers is an interesting idea. My worry is whether the melee cipher would have much to contribute throughout the game until the hits the top-tier spells. Ciphers do not have that many direct damage powers, IIRC.

All my playthroughs had 2 ciphers so far. In the last one, I used a melee mc (plate; dw sabres, focused on damage powers + occasional cc) plus a ranged one (glass-cannon, warbow, focused on cc). It was great because:

- the ranged one was providing enough control such that barb and the rest could get more MIG&DEX instead of CON/RES.

- the initial build for barbarian was the interruption tank. But already on lvl 5+ I started noticing that I actually don't need these extra interruptions, plus he doesn't get low. So I have respecced him into a burst dpser: 17/10/14/13/18/6 with dw sabres. Plus with high MIG/INT he became even better wielder of Shod-in-Faith boots.

- stuns/paralyzes were greatly reducing enemy deflection, allowing for higher focus generation for both ciphers. Also it was amping carnage damage.

- there are many damaging powers: echo, mind lance, scream and especially detonate. Majority of them target reflex, which was already heavily debuffed, resulting in a lot of crits. Heh, even through barbarian was dishing out tremendous amounts of damage, this cipher always was 5-10% ahead of him.

 

But even through I liked this setup, there were few things that were not completely optimal:

- the ranged cipher was a 17/6/18/18/16/3 glass cannon. And since he was the first one responsible of cc, his might was a bit wasted during spell casting.

- I've found out that some cipher powers have really weird cast time / recovery time. For example Eyestrike, Whispers of Treason, Mental Binding and Ringleader have longer cast time than they should have, but also have really low recovery. So they can easily be casted by a plate encased cipher almost at the same rate.

- a cc cipher doesn't need might for cc-powers, yet he should still be able to generate focus fast enough. This brought the idea of using melee weapons (which almost always have higher dps), plus some DR penetration and TwoHanded Style to compensate for the lack of might. Basically BotEP.

 

Next time I am definitely going to reverse their roles. I.e. use melee cipher for cc, while the ranged for damage.

P.S. Even through that melee guy is going to primary cc, he will still dish some decent auto-attack dps (comparable to a dps fighter without charge).

 

What would you recommend for the barb? I am not a great expert but I figured the barb would have to stack those abilities that cause AoE afflictions on foes as well as pump carnage. I was planning to have high might, int and decent perception on a CC barb, the rest is average. What would change for a dps barb?

The already mentioned: 17/10/14/13/18/6 human with Shod-in-Faith boots, dw sabres and Swadling Sheet (unless you give it to your priest).

There are several per-encounter factors that heavily buff barbarian's effective accuracy:

- Brute Force + Painful Interdiction (good vs shades/spirits)

- AoE stuns and paralyzes thrown by ciphers

- Aspirant's Mark

So there is no real need to bump his accuracy to the max. Latter there will also be Gaze of Adragan, Swadling Sheet, Ring of the Ancient Forge.

 

I would also recommend the following formation:

 

__ba__

ci__ro

__pr__

wi__ci

 

plus making your priest a moon-godlike with 3 RES / Pierce-proofed armor, while wizard and cipher with 4-6 RES / Frost-proofed armor. This way enemies that don't have special targeting preferences will flock around your barbarian, while enemy barbarians and teleporting spirits will usually rush towards your priest. It will be easier to cover them with aoe cc, and shred them to pieces.

Edited by MaxQuest
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Thanks for the thorough analysis, MaxQuest.

 

I went with 16/8/16/17/18/3 for the wizard and 20/7/17/12/19/3 for the priest. The former I actually found in one of your posts on reddit and the latter is from your fire priest guide. I'd rather go with the priest of magran just for some flavour.

 

My melee cipher is 10/8/18/18/16/8 pale elf. I'll go with the heavy armoured estoc build as you recommend.

 

For lack of better ideas I'll go with your suggestions for the ranged cipher and the barbarian. Maybe make the ranged cipher a bit more durable in terms of res, less of a glass cannon. Are there any particular abilities I should be aiming for in a barbarian except for those you've mentioned?

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God speed)

 

My melee cipher is 10/8/18/18/16/8 pale elf. I'll go with the heavy armoured estoc build as you recommend.

Pale elf's frost DR helps a lot vs spectres' frost attacks, also it allows to receive less attention from them due to their target preferences.

If you vice-versa would want more of them to attack this cipher, but less the other team members, boreal dwarf is good alternative. +15 acc vs all xaurips, vithraacs, etc is nice as well. Although with 18 starting acc + painful interdiction you will often crit with cc effects anyway.

 

Are there any particular abilities I should be aiming for in a barbarian except for those you've mentioned?

The only real must have abilities for barbarian are: Barbaric Blow and Heart of Fury.

Other passives, buffs and talents should increase the effect of these, plus barbarian's staying power.

Good stuff includes: Frenzy, Weapon Focus, Accurate Carnage, Savage Defiance, Two-Weapon Style

Once you for those you can pick: One Stands Alone, Brute Force, Savage Attack, Bloodlust + Vulnerable Attack, plus late stuff: Dragon Leap, Echoing Shout

Optional: Stalwart Defiance, Envenomed Strike, Veteran's Recovery, Wound Binding, +25% dmg vs Creature Type (spirits, wilder)

 

Questionable stuff (better avoid in your party composition): Blooded, Barbaric Yell, Threatening Presence, Eye of the Storm, Wild Sprint

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Thanks, MaxQuest.

 

 

 

Questionable stuff (better avoid in your party composition): Blooded, Barbaric Yell, Threatening Presence, Eye of the Storm, Wild Sprint

 

Why no Yell or Threatening Presense?

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Because you have enough other guys who can cause frighten or sicken without having to sacrifice an ability point. 

 

If you use Vengeful Defeat (can be nice with a priest's revives and turned off knockout injuries) I would use Blooded.

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