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I bought PoE for PS4 (finally :D, could not launch it on PC and it was not worth buying a new one just for PoE)

I absolutely ADORE, the game but I have a hard time deciding what character to play as. I have a very clear idea though, I like characters that are:

 

1. Special within the game lore/heavily themed (like a pure fire mage for example)

2. Able to deal reasonable damage

3. Are relatively survivable

4. Tacticians on the battlefield

 

Now, I do realize that I just pretty much described a godlike character that can do everything, but that is how I enjoy RPGs the best. And there usually is a way to achieve this within game mechanics.

 

I have tried all the "caster/soul power" classes(some for longer than others) and here are my impressions

 

Wizard(about 6 hours)

I took a couple of buffs, CC, damage spells, a wand and blast talent. I quickly became a very good damage dealer, but something just did not feel right. I was just slinging my wand most of the time and the spells I had certainly did not feel very epic, as a matter of fact I feel a bit disgusted by all the poison and death :D (I literally felt like a death eater from Harry Potter)

 

Priest(about 6 hours)

Took a great sword, a suit of fat armor and lots of healing so decent survivabilty (not great though, even when I could heal endurance easily the health pool got dangerously low during a few fights). The ability to cast some heavy hitting fire spells was awesome, but the entire class seemed extremely "churchy". I chose Berath the god of life and death and yet my spells were still the same, like any other priest. Lots of holy spells and buffs. Also the ability to cast EVERY spell does take the fun out of customizing my character, I just pick a few talents that are pretty clearly cut anyway (scion of flame, interdiction, combat recovery maybe some weapon focus).

 

Monk(until I cleared the temple of Eothas)

This was a very powerful class indeed, survivable with some serious damage potential. The problem I had with this one was, that I kept spamming Torment's reach all time. It got boring pretty fast and when I looked at the class description it did not seem that the number of active skills would increase much (just like one or two). Not to mention the whole "get hurt to hurt others" mentality did not sit very well with me.

 

Paladin(until I reached Gilded Vale)

Again very powerful, but since the Flames of devotion was the only damage dealing power it got old very quickly. Even though there is some cool fire power later down the road, I don't think I could hold on for more than a few hours (actually got tired of it when I reached Gilded Vale).

 

Cipher

The moment I blinded those first bandits I fell in love with this class. The ability to deal lots of damage because of the soul whip, the crowd control potential and super awesome PSYCHIC powers that are so unique not just here, but any other game for that matter. The only problem I have with this, class, it seems VERY SQUISHY.  

 

Druid

I'm not much of a tree hugger so there is no way I would stand for this one :D 

 

So there is definitely a way to make CIPHER more survivable. My initial experience with a WIZARD has already showed me that having light armor, max MIG, DEX, INT, decent PER is a powerful way to play the game (screw RES because enemies never touch you). And since cipher has lots of CC, I do not think I would be much threatened. The problem is, this build has been done to DEATH by others. All those blunderbuss and war bow builds. It just feels like I'm copying someone else's idea (even though I came up with it on my own mostly). Also, even though the survivability would be great, the squishiness persists.

 

I had this idea of creating a melee cipher, that would be very durable. Not just through armor but through some cool game mechanic that has not been done to DEATH. I looked up TIDEFALL which is a great sword that heals you and a Brigandine that has "retaliation" ability. Would it be possible to have lower DEX, be in heavy armor and heal this way? (of course some CC and debuffs, that goes without saying). Would it be possible to create pretty tanky cipher? What would the stats look like? I have done some testing and it seems that having high DEX in heavy armor does not bring much to the table (your speed does not seem to go up as much as when you are in light armor). Or would it be better to have a shield(more retaliation + better deflection) with some other draining weapon? Or even having two draining weapons (rapier + dagger) and be faster in light armor. I honestly have not played much of the game to know which is more viable. And quite frankly I have had enough of the testing :D I just wanna play my cool character now. I have not been further than reaching Caed Nua, so I do not spoil much of the game.

So if there is anyone who can give some good info, it would be much appreciated. BTW: I'm a normal person, but I just get so excited when playing RPGs, that I sometimes post in the wrong thread, or I post walls of text that could have been briefer. I apologize for that.



 

 


 

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If you want to make your melee cipher more durable you should invest in decent MIG and INT (not unusual for a cipher to have those high anyways) but also good CON and pick Veteran's Recovery at lvl 2. Then put on Fulvano's Amulet (it's in the South of Magran's Fork map on a corpse that is guarded by a troll). Also skill survival to 8 asap and take healing bonus 40% when camping.

 

This way you will be more durable.

 

If you want to wear thick armor you might want to use dual wielding in order to balance out the speed loss. High DEX also helps (also lets you cast faster) but dual wielding will have a great impact, too.

 

Buy a Blunting Belt from the smith in Gilded Vale.

 

Then you can focus on dual flails or stilettos if you want (I'd go with stilettos). Because there is a draining flail very early (Gaun's Share in Eotha's Temple in Gilded Vale) or a draining stiletto in lvl 1 of the Endless Paths (Oidreacht, under your own Stronghold, carried around by a giant spider). The good thing about stilettos is that they are fast and have 3 DR bypass which is neat with fast weapons, and that there are two unique ones in the early game (the other one you can buy from the smith of Gilded Vale). But the flails have the better uniques later on (Unforgiven + Starcaller).

 

Tidefall is also a nice option (but its wounding does not generate focus).

 

Later buy Shod-in-Faith Boots from Dunstan of the Crucible Knights, too. If you want you can also wear the Sanguine Plate. It will give you Frenzy when you get a crit and that speeds up your recovery and gives you nice MIG and CON (beneficial for damage, self healing, fortitude defense and also health). Of course it looks better with a two hander than with stilettos. Dual flails might look cool with it, too.

 

If you want to boost your DR further use Body Attunement on the enemy you want to hit. It will lower his DR (which is great when using stilettos or flails), this more focus for you, while you gain the DR you took away.

 

This should lead to a pretty solid cipher with good survivability as well as damage/focus gain.

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Thank you so much :D You are awesome.

Would you also post a stat spread for 

 

a) Plate wearing dual stilleto cipher.

b) Plate wearing great sword cipher.

c) I was thinking of shield bearing not so full plate armor cipher (for even better survivability). Would it generate enough damage/focus? What stat/weapon would you advise?

BTW: awesome advice, I'm just trying to figure out the coolest way to go, since I'm sure everything you said is super viable.

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Just to see how dual wield vs two-handed feels I did play around with both on my current lvl5 characters.

 

Dual wield PROS:

1.Dual wielding speed is really insane. Much faster than 2-handed even with base 10 DEX and without 20% speed talent.

2.Because you recover from a fast attack quicker, it is easier to cast spells when in melee.

 

Dual wield CONS:

 

1.Against higher target opponents it feels like the damage is not much, despite 3DR reduction on stilettos.

2.As a trained fighter I cannot figure any single advantage of bringing daggers in full plate into actual battle :D it might work as a game mechanic but it just feels a bit silly.

 

2-handed PROS

1. Better against high armor opponents.

2. Seems to generate focus in bursts and with high enough accuracy, this seems preferable

3. Glowing great swords are so much cooler than daggers

 

2-handed CONS

1. They seem very sluggish in heavy armor, even with high dexterity

2. You get interrupted more easily, because the animation takes more time.

 

Soooo is there a way to make the attacks at least a bit faster? The stats are already going into MIG and INT mostly and I cannot afford to dump any stat (still no idea about how much in PER or CON).

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Your observations are correct.

 

With every dmg bonus (Biting Whip, Savage Attack, weapon enchantments and so on) the problem with stilettos not to be able to overcome DR properly will get smaller. But in the early to mid game a two hander is benefical when it comes to high DR, right. And later with Time Parasite it's again the two handers which might be the best option.

 

You can only do the following things in the early game in order to speed up your two hander:

- wear thinner armor

- boost DEX

- pick Outlander's Frenzy

- wear Sanguine Plate which tirggers Frenzy (if you want to wear plate anyway)

And later you can choose a speed weapon like the Blade of the Endless Paths.

 

For the stilettos you can pick Vulneable Attack. The higher speed of the light weapons, paired with the +5 DR bypass is benefical in most cases. If you also pick Two Handed Style you will have +5 DR bypass with the same speed as before.

 

Wearing a shield works for a melee cipher. You can add Vampiric Shield for even more deflection. Note that his is castable out of combat. You can even cast it outside of combat onto a party member who already has bad RES or doesn't need deflection and then enter combat. That way you spare the focus costs. A bit cheesy though... ;).

Of course the dps will be a bit lower because you are not as fast as with two weapons. But later in the game you can put durgan steel on your shield and that speeds up your attacks, too. With Time Parasite you can reach 0 recovery that way. 

Edited by Boeroer
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Thank you so much for all the help.

I have decided to go with a two-handed (still not sure if great sword or estoc) in plate armor (if I roll a death godlike definitely the sanguine armor, cause of the aesthetics) and try to boost the attack speed through means available withing the game (such as speed enchants, the cool berserk talent you have suggested, powers and maybe even some potions or scrolls). I'm not sure if I hit 0 recovery, but quite frankly I do not care that much. Two handed is just cooler in my eyes. so I'm willing to be a bit sub-optimal.  

These are stats that I think should be fine:

 

MIG 18

CON 10

DEX 14

PER 13

INT 16

RES 7

 

I'm still not 100% sure about those(any suggestions are welcome) but it should not matter that much.

The talents I have decided to go for are (not necessarily in that order):

 

combat recovery

biting whip

draining whip

weapon focus adventurer or soldier

greater focus(not a high priority)

outlander's frenzy

two handed style

deflection (or something else... not sure)

 

 

Thank you so much for all the help and great ideas. Had I know the community around here is so awesome I would have registered ages ago :D. Hopefully, someone might find this thread as useful as I have.

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Sure. :)

 

When you want to use the Sanguine Plate you might want to skip Outlander's Frenzy - they don't stack or anything.

 

Try to buy Forgemaster's Gloves and summon Firebrand and try it out. Until the later game it is unmachtched when it comes to focus generation with a two hander. It's also a good backup for an estoc when you meet pierce immune foes 'til the end of the game - because it works with Weapon Focus Adventurer as well.

Edited by Boeroer
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Instead of Outlander's and deflection I would take Sanguine Plate (just drop it once you get Time Siphon) and Apprentice's Sneak and Savage Attack. The synergies with things like paralyze and stuck are just too nice. :)

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I'm definitely swapping Outlander's frenzy (even though I might not use sanguine plate, there are a few full plate sets I like better) for sneak attack (great advice guys, did not realize that I might pull of sneak attacks even with a two hander, because of all those CCs), I'm not sure about savage attack though. 20% damage is nice, but:

 

I tried 

 

MIG 18

CON 10

DEX 14

PER 13

INT 16

RES 7

 

and it was definitely OK, when I was attacking an already engaged opponent. But when things got hairy(more opponents, or when my tank could not hold engagment), I was interrupted more times than I like. 
It was kind of lame actually. 

Then I tried

 

MIG 17

CON 10

DEX 10

PER 13

INT 16

RES 12

 

and the difference was very noticeable, almost no interrupts, this was awesome especially when I cast so much during combat. Granted, the first setup is better when I can just pick of some enemy that is already fighting somebody else. Actually I tried timing how much time it takes me to kill 3 bandits, with different setups, and surprisingly, after a few tries, it was about the same (I expected higher DEX to be much faster, but in reality all those interrupts cost me time). Bottom end, I would be very hesitant to lower my attack speed even further (even though it was still pretty OK with 10DEX).

I still plan to used +15 speed gloves +15 durgan tidefall + 15 durgan armor + time parasite (maybe the speed potion as well not sure if they stack) , so that might offset the speed problem, but still, I'm already pretty slow. It would be nice if there was a way to increase concentration through some other means than consumables (only spirit shield potions come in mind). 

Great suggestions guys :D keep 'em coming, with all the workload it seems I might not get to actually play this week :/

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@OP

 

Didn't really track this post since you were in the capable company of Boeroer. But Im kinda surprised you landed on the Tidefall configuration. I would have expected Blade of the Endless Paths to be somehow chosen.

 

I have used a 2H Cipher wielding Tidefall in a previous playthrough, so maybe I can drop my 2 cents.

 

Both stat spread with 7Res and 12Res can work. I guess it is a matter of how you engage the opponent. It is up to the playstyle you are comfortable with, but you can start the battle with a CC like Blindstrike first and engage the debuffed enemy. A few levels later, you can open with Psychovampiric Shield before engagement. Both dont really help with your Concentration stat per se, but can indirectly help prevent interruption due to the debuffs.

 

At a later stage, the starting focus might not be enough to cast the really effective spells. So you might want to engage first to build up some focus. The good news is some of the solid spells (that I personally like) are fast/instant cast. Borrowed Instinct and Body Attunement are fast cast so no "spell prepping" period, Defensive Mindweb is instacast so no "spell prepping", casting animation and recovery period. Fast and instacast means less chance of being interrupted even if you are in melee engagement. Noted that the observation is from game experience and not done via frame counting on capture software so consume with a grain of salt.

 

I also like using Tidefall due to the Draining enchantment which help with the char's staying power, even though the Wounding effect doesn't generate focus.

 

In terms of armour, I can suggest Wayfarer's Hide and Vengiatta Rugia. Wayfarer's Hide is close to the level and game progression where Tidefall is available. It comes already in Superb quality so it quite close to the DR provided by Plate (11DR compared to the normal plate of 12DR), but with less speed penalty (I think it is either 25% or 30%). Its spellbind is also useful for improve staying power. Vengiatta Rugia is a nice late game armour. It comes already Superb (and 30% speed penalty from memory) and also with Flanking Dmg bonus. Which means you can skip Glanfathan Stalking Boots for something. The retaliation effect is meh though.

Edited by mosspit
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Tidefall

-obtainable early

-greatsword has a nicer attack animation

-draining helps with staying alive

 

Blade of the Endless Paths

-has innate 5DR penetration

-has a speed enchant

-looks pretty cool

 

I honestly do not know which one is a superior choice.

 

The spellcasting info is great. Thanks. I have done all tests and stuff and I sometimes I do not realise it is just the beginning and more options will open up. So yeah, I might be reading too much into interrups.

 

The armors you have suggested are great and probably better from a gameplay perspective. However, Im a sucker for knights and plate armor. So I want to go with that because of my personal preference and "realism".

 

The only time I would go for a lighter armor would be if I went with more of a swashbuckling fencer type. Such as dual wielding rapier + dagger.

 

Thanks for the suggestions though. Did you take savage(+20%dmg talent) strike? Is there a reason you went with tidefall? How about attack speed, did you find it ok?

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Oh I think you will like the White Crest Armour then :) White and Shiny for a Knight in Shining Amour.

 

Otherwise the Crusader Armour that the Knights of the Crucible wears is not bad too. More "realistic" I think.

 

I took Apprentice Sneak Attack instead of Savage Attack. It's just me, I don't like having ACC reduced if I can and ASA seems like a better alternative to me in comparison.

 

For me the atk speed is acceptable. However bear in mind, I don't wear plate on my cipher so I have about 20-25% less amour penalty. Should be close though - I couldn't loot Gloves of Swift Action and was wearing some other gloves. To me there is an ok distribution of spellcasting and melee attacking, roughly half each. But it is still subjective as I can't provide you with the exact total time spent autoattack and spellcasting.

 

Tidefall is one those weapon I will fit into my party if I can. It is found pretty early with Superb quality, dual dmg source and comes with Draining and Wounding - 2 useful enchantments. Just slap on an elemental lash and its pretty much all set until durgan steel. Cant remember if there is any room for Legendary quality though.

Edited by mosspit
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No, no you misunderstood :D Shining knight is the opposite of what I want. Ever since Dungeons and Dragons, my goal was always to be this scary presence on the battlefield. The moment your enemies see you is the moment they flee in horror :D You do not have to be evil, but you want to be scary. Darker armor with scary motives, horned helmets and skulls :D 

So shining white armor is definitely not the way to go for me :D 

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Actually I think it's smart to pick Savage Attack AND Appretice's Sneak Attack. SA's accuracy bonus malus doesn't apply to your powers (like Mental Binding) - and once you paralyzed an enemy the -5 ACC don't matter that much anymore. You will get more focus on average and Apprentice's Sneak also applies.

Edited by Boeroer

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Actually, that's not a bonus, but a penalty, which Savage Attack applies to char's Accuracy. But that's a good thing for a melee cipher, that's one more reason why melee build obtains focus faster than the ranged one.

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BTW, the best way to trigger (Apprentice) Sneak Attack using a cipher, is to cast Phantom Foes when the battle begins. Also, this will apply damage boni against Flanked from Survival and Glanfathan Stalking Boots. That's one of the greatest and my favourite debuff.

Edited by Moneo
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So savage strike + apprentice sneak attack. I am ready now :) . Thanks to anyone who has contributed.

 

Human with grey hair, scruffy beard and scary look, probably from Aedyr empire. Probably a mercenary for flavor.

 

MIG 17

CON 10

DEX 15

PER 13

INT 16

RES 07

 

cool cipher powers(more on the darker side), that sweet looking skull helmet, some dark looking plate armor, tidefall+ equip mentioned above.

 

Draining whip

Biting whip

Combat recovery

Apprentice sneak attack

Two handed wepon style

Savage strike

Weapon focus soldier

 

Be a reasonable guy, but no mercy for those who oppose me or prey on others.

 

This is probably one of the nicest builds I will have the honor of playing. Trial of iron, normal or hard + story companions.

 

 

:) :) :) It is gonna be EPIC.

 

PS: it is SOOOO nice to be able to post freely.

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BTW, the best way to trigger (Apprentice) Sneak Attack using a cipher, is to cast Phantom Foes when the battle begins. Also, this will apply damage boni against Flanked from Survival and Glanfathan Stalking Boots. That's one of the greatest and my favourite debuff.

 

Yes, I once used this setup together with Dangerous Implement + Grudge Keeper. Nice addup of damage bonuses.

 

Also, Phantom Foes is one of the most convinient things to unlock AoE Deathblows: cheap, rel. long duration and big AoE. I like it in combo with Painful Interdiction - and then a rogue who spams  some Fireballs...

 

@Samugol: you lack a talent. :) You listed 7 but you can pick 8.

Edited by Boeroer

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@Samguol

Combat Recovery is not so important for a cipher. Let him damage and debuff the enemies, and let your healers and buffers take care of him. Also, it's better IMO to take Weapon Focus earlier. And take Weapon Style before Apprentice Sneak. Weapon Style bonus applies to every your attack, not only for those which you deal against debuffed enemies, so it's handy to take it ASAP. That's true especially for 2H style.

 

With my melee warriors, I usually stick to such a progression: Weapon Focus - Weapon Style - Apprentice Sneak Attack.

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Oh the order of talents is not set in stone, the only thing I am sure about is the combat recovery is the first one. I really like to be more survivable. I completely agree that cipher's intended role is to be the damage dealer/crowd controller/debuffer (and in a nice well balanced party he does not need combat recovery or heavy armor for that matter). But I just like combat recovery so much :D It makes almost any character a lot more survivable, especially in heavier armor. And I really wanna be the vanguard of the group up in enemy faces. Giving orders from the front lines.

And considering I am on trial of iron, better safe than sorry :D 

 

Also, I agree with you that taking weapon focus talents early is smart. I could take the cooler ones (biting whip) later on, to have some sense of progression.

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Yeah, if you are on ToI, then Constant Recovery is a good choice. Also, speaking of talents, Outlander's Frenzy is a good choice for a cipher when other important talents are already taken. It can help replenish focus quickly in the beginning of the battle. Beware, OF's speed bonus doesn't stack with cipher's Time Parasite.

 

BTW, I've never player a melee cipher, and they say, that after mid-game such a build doesn't have problems with focus, it flows in abundance. But for a ranged one, OF is a decent choice, according to my experiece.

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Outlander's Frenzy is still a viable pick even with Time Parasite although they don't stack. Because usually you can't start right off with Time Parasite but have to collect some focus first. In this period Outlander's Frenzy helps. Its +12 to fortitude also helps a bit.

Edited by Boeroer
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