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Cadfan
03-13-2010, 10:52 AM
I'm level 61, so if I don't get the way this character works by now I never will.

EmberLevel 61 Weaponmaster / Fire MageStats

Health: 716 / 716
Mana: 157 / 157

Attack: 1611
Defense: 902
Armor: 1254

Damage: 299 - 711
Dps: 360.7

Dps may be elevated due to an unrepairable sword with a high damage bonus. On the other hand, I haven't found a new sword in ages, so maybe its not so advanced anymore. In any case, the Weaponmaster contributes multiple passive bonuses to damage, guaranteeing a high DPS compared to other character classes which haven't got access to a weapon specific skill.

Reputation Level: 16

Is this high for my level? I have no idea. Since this is a character who went through all aspects of the beta, it suffered some rough patches.

Money: 61GP 29SP 33CP

Attributes

Strength: 144
Dexterity: 190
Vitality: 80
Intelligence: 31
Spirit: 27

Points Left: 0

Base values are about 120, 130, 60, 20, 5. That's from memory. I find that I can't quite qualify to wear all the gear I find, but that it doesn't matter that much because lower level uniques and rares tend to be better than regular normal level gear. My real goal is to make sure I never, ever am unable to use a new sword, but to still put as many points as I can into Vitality.

Resistances

Fire Resistance: 71
Cold Resistance: 37
Poison Resistance: 21
Lightning Resistance: 52
Magic Resistance: 41

These are unmodified. I run constant Fire Shield, so Fire Resistance is really about double that.

Skills

Whirlwind lvl 1
Adrenaline lvl 8
Perfect Strike lvl 13
Arms Mastery lvl 7
Sword Mastery lvl 11
Bleed lvl 4
Shield of Fire lvl 13
Flame Blade lvl 6
Fire Maelstrom lvl 2

Points Left: 9

If you look at this in game, I am at the point where it would cost me 14 points to upgrade Sword Mastery, Perfect Strike, and Shield of Fire (actually, Sword Mastery is one past that since I just leveled). It would cost me 10 ponits to upgrade Adrenaline, Arms Mastery, Flame Blade, and Fire Maelstrom. And it would cost me 8 and 9 for Bleed and Whirlwind, respectively.

So lets spend a little time on this part.

Sword Mastery is pretty nice, although technically its bonus to defense shrinks in value as you go up in level while the bonus to critical hits or crushing blows provided by the other two masteries go up in value as you advance in level (the base chance increases, so you get exponential growth). But I like the way swords look, and its not a huge issue to me. But just getting a couple percentage points added to accuracy and a nearly +100% permanent damage bonus make this an obvious priority. In a way, its hard for me to imagine any character with a Mastery skill who isn't at least reasonably effective.

Arms Mastery is basically Sword Mastery, except weaker. I've probably put too many points into it in proportion to Sword Mastery, honestly. It gives 66% of the accuracy bonus, half the damage bonus, and no defense bonus, so at most its worth 66% of what Sword Mastery is worth.

Perfect Strike wasn't my first choice. Initially I used Power Strike, but the bonus to mana generation from being a Weaponmaster was enough that I could afford to use the more expensive, more accurate power. At the time I was having trouble keeping my accuracy at 90%, so it seemed a really good choice. I'm more accurate now, but I can afford the mana so I've kept the skill. Anyways... this skill kills things in one hit. I'm approaching the +300% damage mark, which of course adds to the bonus from my Mastery skills. Regular monsters die when I hit them with this. Always. On the other hand, bosses are sometimes unimpressed. Fortunately I have some solutions to that, described later.

Shield of Fire is a major part of my character. I put a lot of long, long levels in with that skill before it became powerful. Even the 10% initial damage from one leve is barely a blip on your enemy's health bar. On the other hand, I now reflect (I think) 65% max damage. Some enemies die whenever they attack me, like ghosts and lurkers. Some ranged enemies can do a lot of damage to me, but die in the process. I kill at least as many dark elf spellcasters by Shield of Fire damage as I do with my sword. I almost wonder if this power doesn't get too good? Because I'm still putting points into it, and expect that it may eventually get to where it kills every regular enemy who attacks me.

Flame Blade just adds a bunch of damage for 30 seconds, with the added advantage of the damage being "fire" instead of "physical," helping against certain enemies. Since this adds an average of 30% damage per rank, you probably want to consider something like Perfect Strike as a higher priority, since it adds 20% all the time instead of 30% some of the time. Still, turning this on makes me into death on wheels. Even Whirlwind starts being a one shot kill. And I can tear most bosses apart. Unfortunately if they kill me in one hit, or have allies who let them shred me before I can get a few good hits in, I won't be able to use this power when heading back for a rematch and my soulstone. The recharge is too long for that.

Adrenaline is another power for special situations, but its one I understand less. Does it decrease attack time when you're using special skills? Or does it only reduce attack time for regular attacks? I'm just not sure I can see the difference when using Perfect Strike. If anyone else knows for sure, can you let me know? If its only on regular attacks, its not a very good power since I can get a better damage increase by using Perfect Strike repeatedly. If it works on everything its great, since its a functional damage increase of the percentage of attack time you eliminated divided by the percentage of attack time remaining. That means that speeding up your attacks by 33% is an increase in damage of about 50%. Not +50% in Din's Curse math, an actual 50% over the total damage you would normally be doing.

Bleed is not very powerful. It increases deep wounds, which deal damage over time, meaning that anyone I kill quickly won't get much damage from it. On the other hand its value increases as my base deep wounds percentage increases, meaning that it gets more powerful as I gain more dexterity. These things make it a high level skill. Once you're spending 12 points per rank on your other favorite skills, Bleed becomes comparatively more worthwhile. So I've tossed in a few points.

Maelstrom is fun, but weird. If you're playing this build you won't have time for Fire Mastery, because you're not really a wizard, you're a fighter who's borrowing some wizard powers. This means that Maelstrom's damage will be low. But it does do some useful things for you. First, it destroys all objects in range. Second, it locks everyone in place, keeping you from getting mobbed too heavily at once. Third, it drops rocks on stuff and sometimes kills you. Uh, that third one isn't so great, so be careful with this. Still, I've found it useful to have a way to instantly wreck everything around me and stop enemies from attacking all at once. Notice that enemies who walk into its zone of effect are stopped at the very edge, which is a nice way to get a little group of them going that you can assault with Whirlwind when you're done fighting whatever was more pressing. I think this skill is a high level concern for my character, since the damage is never going to be too great, and it costs a lot. But it was worth the two ranks I've put in so far.

Finally, Whirlwind. This is a great skill for dishing out damage to groups of enemies. Its got some targeting weirdness- if your mouse has wandered into an open area it won't go off when you use it, since its not an area of effect centered on your character, its a single target attack that happens to hit other targets nearby. The only weird thing to note is that the damage increase per rank of Whirlwind is way lower than the damage increase from Sword Mastery. And of course Sword Mastery increases all damage, not just damage from one skill. So don't put points into Whirlwind beyond the first one until Sword Mastery costs almost twice as much per rank.

Cadfan
03-13-2010, 11:59 AM
Some notes on skills I'm not using.

Devastating Attack- I'd like to use this, but I'm really uncertain of how many points and how much mana I'd have to invest in order to make it better than Perfect Strike. I'm pretty sure it would be a fairly large sum, and I just can't spare the points necessary to raise my maximum mana high enough. For a hybrid with Magician who has access to Deep Thought, this would maybe be a better skill since every rank of Deep Thought would increase this skill's damage by the modifier attached to the mana invested times 40 (so 5 ranks in Devastating Attack and 5 ranks in Deep Thought would add 600 damage from the Deep Thought ranks). I also don't know if the bonus damage from mana is boosted by the +10% per rank bonus to general damage. I'm guessing its not, which means that it is possible that this skill will never match Power Strike. Does anyone have any more information on this?

Fire Elemental... I like the idea. Its a short term summons that you use in special circumstances. It has two major problems. The first is that it takes 4 seconds to cast, meaning that its hard to use in emergencies because you're already so busy. Since its a short term summons (only one in the game), maybe it could have a quicker casting time? Its not a rare but momentous event like summoning a huge demon. The second major problem is that it takes huge amounts of invested points to make it worthwhile at higher levels. It gains 2 levels per rank, and 1/2 your level. This means that at level 60, if you want an equal level summons, you need 15 ranks in this skill. Now you'll get value for that- you'll have +100% hp, something near +200% damage, etc. But that's the point where its costing you 23 points per rank. Affording that is barely possible. It would take up about 1/3 of your total skill points. I think it really needs to be lower. The reason level matters so much is that it affects accuracy, and without accuracy, it doesn't matter how many hit points or how much damage it deals. It will never hit, never deal damage, and never draw enemy hate. I've messed around with 3 or 4 ranks in this skill at level 55 or so, and it just never accomplished anything at all.

Oh, its worth noting that the Fire Minion can have Fire Shield cast on him. Which is good, but since he never draws enemy hate, it doesn't do much.

I don't know exactly what solution is best for this guy, but I do know that if he can't hit, he can't accomplish anything.

Beyond that... I think that's every skill that's plausibly related to my character. Obviously I'm not putting points into Fireball since that's just not what my character does.

Overall I'm quite happy with this character. I just have those last bits of confusion about Devastating Attack, Adrenaline, and Fire Elemental.

FloodSpectre
03-13-2010, 03:21 PM
How long is the cooldown on Fire Shield? Or is there one? I was wondering if it's something I could use indefinitely once I buy it. I checked the description when I was creating a new character but there's nothing there about it.

I wish Smoke Screen worked like Fire Maelstrom by affecting enemies who entered its area of effect after I used it.

Cadfan
03-13-2010, 03:34 PM
There is no cooldown on Fire Shield. This means you can cast it on yourself indefinitely, even if you're getting killed. It also means you can cast it on your summoned monsters.