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first, you do not need an optimal build for potd, just a viable one. fortunately, there are a lot of viable builds in poe. have a look at the class build board, you will find 3 good to optimal builds there. if you already know game mechanics, potd will not be that difficult. if you are not familiar with mechanics, I suggest normal difficulty. besides those builds on the list, a pure casting druid with 18-3-18-18-18-3 attributes plus heart of the storm, scion of flame, weapon and shield style and bears fortitude plus whatever you like will be ridiculously powerful from midgame on. in the early game though, use spiritshift + higher CON and RES to survive and deal damage, because you will not have many spells per rest then. for a pure casting druid, I would suggest a boreal dwarf or wood elf to somewhat compensate lowish accuray.

Edited by Natures Bounty
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A really nice shapeshift druid who is also very sturdy is:

Boreal Dwarf or Moon Godlike colonist from a culture you get +2 to colonist and not +1 RES.

MIG: 16
CON: 16
DEX: 10
PER: 16
INT: 16
RES: 03

Aim for survival 12 (you will get +2 from armor, so the result is 14), rest of the skill points can go to athletics.
Then use healing bonus (+60%!) or accuracy bonus (+18) or flanking bonus (+20%) when camping - according to the enemies you will face.

 

- Boar form (has wounding and that's incredible as well as regeneration which stacks with Veteran's Recovery and gets boosted by healing bonuses from survival - no crappy per rest ability).

Talents:

- Veteran's Recovery
- Wildstrike Shock
- Greater Wildstrike Shock
- Weapon Focus Peasant
- Two Weapon Style
- Heart of the Storm
- Savage Attack
- Apprentice's Sneak Attack

- Merciless Hand (Doemenel): +30% crit dmg
- Gift from the Machine: +1 to MIG and stuff
- Effigy's Resentment (Edér or Maneha): +1 MIG and stuff
- Dungeon Delver: +10% crit dmg
- Galawain's Boon: +1 MIG

Important items:
- Sanguine Plate
- Shod-in-Faith boots
- Wildstrike Belt
- Lost Periapt of the Winding Path

The trick is to cast Form of the Delemgan and a storm spell (later also Avenging Storm) run into battle, catch a crit that triggers Consecrated Ground and Frenzy from the items and then shift into boar. The MIG of Frenzy will work very well with wounding of your tusks, obliterating everything with one or two swings (woundig gets buffed by MIG) and your healings will also be more powerful and the higher CON helps to minimize health loss and to boost fortitude. The armor penalty is gone while shifted. Consecrated Ground (up to three times in 1 encounter) will heal you alongside your stacked recovery so you don't need to waste time with casting spells like Moonwell. After you switch back you will still have good regeneration. Retreat with hatchet + shield and cast something if necessary or use dual wielding hatchets for attacking.

It's fun!

Edited by Boeroer
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Since I am completely re-starting due to loss of all saves anyways, I am also considering a Druid. But one quick question: Do Druids have to use the transform ability to be effective? Since I will likely use Arwen in this role, it won't be thematic - and it also adds another micro-management aspect, which I detest.

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This is a very low-micro approach (for a druid):  https://forums.obsidian.net/topic/83775-class-build-batsht-crazy-disabling-druid-tank/

 

He doesn't use shapeshifting but instead he uses weaoon & shield and concentrates on tanking and casting. It works very well - also because druids have ok starting deflection (for casters). That build is very slow though. 

 

You can do something similar but with more DEX and a small shield. Arwen uses a kind of sabre/blade with one edge (in the movies) if I remember correctly. So sabre + small shield would be good and look nice, although you will not use the weapon a lot. Dagger, sword an rapier would be other option. There's that sword "Whispers of Yenwood" which you can find in an urn in Caed Nua (throne room). It will give you +2 CON (stacks with everything because enchantentments on weapons don't get suppressed). That could be a nice weapon for you since it gives you something even though you will not attack with it a lot. Also it's spirit-slaying which fits her history with the Nazgul you know. ;)

Edited by Boeroer
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Then he will be superslow (bad for casting and attack speed) and get knocked out because of health issues all the time. Health can only be healed via resting, special talents (not worth it) and potion (too expensive in early game).

 

Shapeshifting means melee, and you do exactly 0 dps in melee if you are unconscious or dead all the time. ;)

Edited by Boeroer

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Generally when you bring a druid you do it for the spells, that's why you try to keep recovery low. Druid spells are also more about quantity over quality, each single casting is not going to have as much of an impact as say wizard spells.

 

The other stats are mainly for whatever else you intend to have the druid do. Some CON is always nice though because many druid spells require you to stand near your targets, and then there's spiritshifting.

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each single casting is not going to have as much of an impact as say wizard spells.

That's debatable. Sunbeam, Relentless Storm, Plague of Insects, Wicked Briars, Venombloom, Rot Skulls and others are very powerful. Even Tanglefoot is awesome just because of its sheer size.

 

There's a reason why enemy druids annoy me way more than enemy wizards I guess. :D

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Yeah but the idea for many those spells is that you spam them. That's when they really shine - multiple Plague of Insects melting extremely high-DR targets or stopping an entire army on its tracks with multiple Relentless Storm castings - that is why I'd bring a druid.

 

It's very different from how a wizard is all about placing a well-placed petrify, for example. You're not supposed to keep spamming these kinds of spells, you cast it and then move on to something else.

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Try it sometime. It's basically the druid version of Time Stop.

 

While there's always Chillfog spam yeah, at the end of the day my wizard usually casts different spells to deal with different situations. He's more about control and and landing those control skills, so he's constantly setting them up. A lot of the time he spams spells only when we're on the verge of winning (cleanup) or losing (buying time).

The druid, though, is almost always using the same spells over and over.

Edited by scythesong
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I like to spam Nature's Terror and use a Ring of Searing Flames - that's actually pretty funny. :) Most of the time one storm is enough for me to stun most enemies - but I can imagine it's satisfying to get three or four going. But I fear my speakers will combust. ;)

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This is a very low-micro approach (for a druid):  https://forums.obsidian.net/topic/83775-class-build-batsht-crazy-disabling-druid-tank/

 

He doesn't use shapeshifting but instead he uses weaoon & shield and concentrates on tanking and casting. It works very well - also because druids have ok starting deflection (for casters). That build is very slow though. 

 

You can do something similar but with more DEX and a small shield. Arwen uses a kind of sabre/blade with one edge (in the movies) if I remember correctly. So sabre + small shield would be good and look nice, although you will not use the weapon a lot. Dagger, sword an rapier would be other option. There's that sword "Whispers of Yenwood" which you can find in an urn in Caed Nua (throne room). It will give you +2 CON (stacks with everything because enchantentments on weapons don't get suppressed). That could be a nice weapon for you since it gives you something even though you will not attack with it a lot. Also it's spirit-slaying which fits her history with the Nazgul you know. ;)

 

This looks perfectly what I wanted. Thanks! I do have some nuking capabilities here, too, though, right? One appeal of the Druid is the AoE - which my current group lacks.

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Yes, druids have nice AoE spells that do both: CC and damage at the same time. Look at Sunbeam, Blizzard, Returning Storm, Calling the World's Maw, Overwhelming Wave, Wicked Briars, Embrace the Earth-Talon, Relentless Storm, Venombloom and Tornado. 

 

Plague of Insects is also very powerful. Sadly, the best spells of the druid are all in lvl 4 and 5. Some other levels are a bit meh. :(

 

They also have one of the best summoned weapons in the game: Rot Skulls. It's so good that it's worth it to retrain once you get this and build the druid around implement use. Play him like an implement wizard then. Very low micro and lots of AoE power then without the need to cast many spells.

Edited by Boeroer
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Yes, druids have nice AoE spells that do both: CC and damage at the same time. Look at Sunbeam, Blizzard, Returning Storm, Calling the World's Maw, Overwhelming Wave, Wicked Briars, Embrace the Earth-Talon, Relentless Storm, Venombloom and Tornado. 

 

Plague of Insects is also very powerful. Sadly, the best spells of the druid are all in lvl 4 and 5. Some other levels are a bit meh. :(

 

They also have one of the best summoned weapons in the game: Rot Skulls. It's so good that it's worth it to retrain once you get this and build the druid around implement use. Play him like an implement wizard then. Very low micro and lots of AoE power then without the need to cast many spells.

 

Got it. Will read up on the Druid spells and talents now.

 

By the way, implement damage has been God-awful on both my Priest and Wizard up to level 6. Do they scale better later? Or am I missing key late-game talents or gear? The lack of implement damage was another reason why I was looking at "spellsword"-style caster builds.

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With a wizard you have to take Blast and Penetrating Blast. Then use Kalakoth's Minor Blights. It's a very powerful summoned implement because it hits in an AoE where every enemy who gets hit triggers another  Blast then. This results in a ton of small hits. If you use this with Combusting Wounds it's even more powerful.

 

Also: on-crit-effects like stunning or overbearing - or spell-chance effects (like on the Golden Gaze or Gyrd Háewanes Sténes) work with Blast! That means that if you hit 5 foes with the implement shot + the blast, you have 5 chances to trigger the special effect. If you have a rod that stuns then you can cause AoE stun with Blast (if you crit with it).

 

Priest with implement is meh. Priests just lack proper talents, abilites or spells to be really good with them.

Edited by Boeroer
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A really nice shapeshift druid who is also very sturdy is:

 

Boreal Dwarf or Moon Godlike colonist from a culture you get +2 to colonist and not +1 RES.

 

MIG: 16

CON: 16

DEX: 10

PER: 16

INT: 16

RES: 03

 

Aim for survival 12 (you will get +2 from armor, so the result is 14), rest of the skill points can go to athletics.

Then use healing bonus (+60%!) or accuracy bonus (+18) or flanking bonus (+20%) when camping - according to the enemies you will face.

 

- Boar form (has wounding and that's incredible as well as regeneration which stacks with Veteran's Recovery and gets boosted by healing bonuses from survival - no crappy per rest ability).

 

Talents:

 

- Veteran's Recovery

- Wildstrike Shock

- Greater Wildstrike Shock

- Weapon Focus Peasant

- Two Weapon Style

- Heart of the Storm

- Savage Attack

- Apprentice's Sneak Attack

 

- Merciless Hand (Doemenel): +30% crit dmg

- Gift from the Machine: +1 to MIG and stuff

- Effigy's Resentment (Edér or Maneha): +1 MIG and stuff

- Dungeon Delver: +10% crit dmg

- Galawain's Boon: +1 MIG

 

Important items:

- Sanguine Plate

- Shod-in-Faith boots

- Wildstrike Belt

- Lost Periapt of the Winding Path

 

The trick is to cast Form of the Delemgan and a storm spell (later also Avenging Storm) run into battle, catch a crit that triggers Consecrated Ground and Frenzy from the items and then shift into boar. The MIG of Frenzy will work very well with wounding of your tusks, obliterating everything with one or two swings (woundig gets buffed by MIG) and your healings will also be more powerful and the higher CON helps to minimize health loss and to boost fortitude. The armor penalty is gone while shifted. Consecrated Ground (up to three times in 1 encounter) will heal you alongside your stacked recovery so you don't need to waste time with casting spells like Moonwell. After you switch back you will still have good regeneration. Retreat with hatchet + shield and cast something if necessary or use dual wielding hatchets for attacking.

 

It's fun!

 

Boeroer, I just tried out this build as an MC and ran it through the opening sequence to Gilded Vale. It was loads of fun, and one of the lowest maintenance level one characters I've played, due to the high DPS output while in Boar mode plus the endurance regeneration. Thanks for the wonderful build! My only tweak was to the stat spread, as I do not like reducing RES so low, so I ended up with MIG 16, CON 16, DEX 10, PER 14, INT 16, RES 6. I was thinking of giving him Gyrd Haewanes Stenes to switch back to after shifting for long battles, for the extra 3 RES as well as the chance of an extra shapeshift when hit with a crit. Do you recommend taking the talents in the order you list them? Usually I'd take  WF Peasant earlier. Taking Veteran's Recovery earlier boost survivability in the difficult early phase (i.e., Caed Nua), right?

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No, it does not. That would be too powerful (a dev once stated). 

 

But actually I played this boar druid with Novice's Suffering - knowing that it doesn't affect spiritshift. But that way I didn't need any resources for enchanting weapons. And they are peasant weapons, as well. And they hit harder than a hatchet, which is the only other one handed peasant melee weapon. They also work very well with high MIG and grazes - and a druid has not the best accuracy.

 

But I guess using that talent point for something else is better - at least in the late game.

 

Edit: yes, having wounding from level 1 one is pretty nice. Even though it's a bit weaker than normal wounding (20% instead of 25%).

Edited by Boeroer
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With a wizard you have to take Blast and Penetrating Blast. Then use Kalakoth's Minor Blights. It's a very powerful summoned implement because it hits in an AoE where every enemy who gets hit triggers another  Blast then. This results in a ton of small hits. If you use this with Combusting Wounds it's even more powerful.

 

Also: on-crit-effects like stunning or overbearing - or spell-chance effects (like on the Golden Gaze or Gyrd Háewanes Sténes) work with Blast! That means that if you hit 5 foes with the implement shot + the blast, you have 5 chances to trigger the special effect. If you have a rod that stuns then you can cause AoE stun with Blast (if you crit with it).

 

Priest with implement is meh. Priests just lack proper talents, abilites or spells to be really good with them.

 

Thanks. So you advise Priest to go full "spellsword" build? Also, I noticed a lot of their spells need to be really in-close anyways.

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Damn I just realized you lose all equipment bonuses including rings as spiritshift.

That sucks. :(

 

True, but I think that Spiritshift would be OP if you retained item bonuses. As Boeroer suggested, it makes sense to use spell-holding items on Spiritshift druids, like Sanguine Plate and Shod-in-Faith, and then shift once you are hit, and the items activate. A frenzied boar radiating consecrated ground would be a sight to behold, I'm sure!

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If you want to break in the op awesomness realm and exit from the solo route: the best friends for your shapeshift druid are a chanter with tge +25% fire lash chant, a priest for accuracy buffs, crowns , champions boon and prayers and eventally a paladin for tanking and +6 acc aura.

Optimizing the things i managed to reach up to 350 total dmg per hit ( that means single shot trolls to frags)

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