That’s the second take on this guide – the first copy got lost when the site got hacked a few months ago, and I am sorry that it took me a while to write it again. I was doing a lot of preparations for my trip to Germany – I’m in Essen now – and my spare time was a little short. Now, as I’m adapting to the new country, I find myself with a bunch of spare hours, so I decided to do another take on the guide.
I got interested in the High Elf character from the day I got the game. She is very versatile – she can hunt almost everywhere with minimal worries, perform a number of tasks without much trouble, and drop down waves of monsters with a flick of the wrist. All that power, unfortunately, comes with a price: she is the frailest character in the entire game. I spent quite a number of hours trying to get something positive out of that frailness, and the result is pretty much this build.
In its essence, this build is based on lots of firepower and knowledge of the various aspects of the game to help reduce the chance of our High Elf suffering too much damage and dying.
2. The build.
I will do my best to give precise explanations why did I pick these skills and how will they affect the development of the character.
Level 2 – Arrant Pyromancer Lore – arrant pyromancer will be our main aspect. The Lore will provide a significant damage boost, so we are going to keep this skill at character level till we hit 75.
Level 3 – Armor Lore – armor lore has a two-fold function – it will provide our frail high elf with additional armor as well as reduction of the regeneration times. This is very useful, but since we want the most important skills mastered by level 75, we won’t be able to pile up points in this skill until later. This is why I usually add points till I hit 20 hard points and stop for a while till I get AP lore, AP focus and DA focus to 75 hard points.
Level 5 – Arrant Pyromancer Focus – the second skill of our main aspect. We will keep this skill at character level as well till we hit 75. We want as much damage as possible.
Level 8 – Concentration – we will start with 1 point here to make good use of our 2 mainstream buffs – Incandescent skin and Grand Invigoration. Depending on the gameplay, we will either leave it like this or master it to add the third buff – Fire Demon.
Level 12 – Delphic Arcania Focus – we take on the first skill of our second aspect. Unlike the first one, we will start with the focus first. DA Focus will greatly improve the combat art level of the grand invigoration buff, which will help the overall effectiveness of the build. This is the third skill we will master by level 75, which will also provide enough points to fully mod 3 of 5 combat arts in this aspect.
Level 18 – Constitution – that’s the first skill that will greatly help out little HE survive the hardcore challenges of various difficulties. This skill will also be out 4th mastery, usually around level 80-81. The task is to unlock the in-combat health regeneration, which will be boosted by our Grand Invigoration buff to achieve a wicked HP recovery speed.
Level 25 – Shield Lore – I usually take shield lore early on, because I have good support and I want to start gaining levels quickly and efficiently – mainly through farming the Nameless Guardians. Shield Lore, taken at this point, greatly improves the chances of surviving the guardians’ encounter.
Level 35 – Combat Discipline – this skill acts as a damage boost and combat art regeneration time improvement. As soon as you get it, set all main combat arts (Blazing Tempest, Incandescent Shower, and so on) as 1-CA combos to gain a nice bonus to their regeneration times.
Level 50 – Ancient Magic – this skill will improve the damage of your spells by a great deal. It will also lower the resistances of the monsters to your spell damage type, which, in essence, acts as an additional hidden damage boost.
Level 65 – Delphic Arcania Lore – the second skill of our secondary aspect. Its main usefulness lies in its ability to improve the Grand Invigoration’s HP regeneration bonus and Expulse Magic’s effect banishing potential.
These are the 10 skills that comprise the build. We have sufficient defense and offense tightly packed in a streamlined build. However, we need to turn our attention to other details in order to make this character last through its journey to level 200.
3. The skill mastery order.
In order to achieve our goals, we are going to master either all, or almost all skills – depending on the individual player’s preferences. I, personally, master all of them. As you probably know, you can master 3 skills by level 75, a 4th around level 80, and one more every 15 levels (14 on some occasions).
1. Arrant Pyromancer Lore [75+] – 75 hard points here till char level 75, then you will add more after you’ve done mastering everything.
1. Arrant Pyromancer Focus [75+] – 75 hard points here till char level 75, then you will add more after you’ve done mastering everything.
1. Delphic Arcania Focus [75+] – 75 hard points here till char level 75, then you will add more after you’ve done mastering everything.
2. Constitution  – 75 hard points here is enough to unlock in-combat HP regeneration.
3. Delphic Arcania Lore  – after we ensured the first boost in-combat HP regeneration through Constitution, we really want to improve it even further. At this point we will have vastly over-leveled combat arts, so damage will not be an issue for quite a while – a good time to spend 15 levels in mastering DA lore.
4. Concentration  – this should happen around level 110. I personally like to master concentration to boost the regeneration times and to add the Fire Demon buff who will reduce them even further, along with other neat bonuses, like reduction of incoming negative effects.
5. Shield Lore  – around level 125, we’ll master our 5th skill. I’m holding back on Armor lore on purpose – since the HE is a pure spellcaster, we’ll work with lots and lots of + all skills stuff. As such, shield lore mastery is more important than armor mastery, because shield lore mastery improves the chance to block close combat damage, which is a life saver on many occasions.
6. Ancient Magic  – upon entering niobium, you’ll hit your 6th mastery. I usually choose AM at this point, because of the piercing the enemies’ resistances bonus. In niobium monsters are better protected and we still want to inflict enough damage.
7. Armor Lore  – finally. It’ll take less levels to master it, because we have about 20 points there, allocated at start. It can actually be a last skill mastery pick as well, provided you have plenty of reflection/blocking (we will delve into this later).
8. Combat Discipline  – additional damage boost, along with additional regeneration time improvement.
You should feel free to change the mastery bonus and/or refrain from mastering certain skills. Use your best judgment based on your own gameplay.
4. Ensuring survivability.
Before I start listing the combat arts and their modification guidelines, we should discuss survivability. Everyone knows how frail the High Elf is due to the lack of decent defensive skills like toughness, and decent defense rating improving skills and buffs. This is why it is up to you to take what she has and work heavily on it. This means utilizing several things:
- Chance to Reflect: Close combat
- Chance to Block: Close combat and Projectiles.
- Reduction of incoming detrimental effects
- Expulse Magic combat art
4.1. Chance to Reflect: Close Combat.
The easiest way to ensure survivability is to make sure you don’t suffer damage when you get hit. Reflecting the damage is the safest option, as you have a number of means at your disposal to improve it. The first and the most viable option is the Revenge mod on the Incandescent Skin buff. The second option is a good rare shield with close combat reflect modifier. Another option is a number of set items and unique items. Combining those will net you a very decent chance to reflect bonus, which will greatly reduce the incoming damage.
NOTE: Be aware that chance to reflect stacks the same way as deathblow, meaning 8%+8% does not equal 16%, but somewhere around 12%. Still, it is a very significant improvement over the basic chance to reflect provided by the buff.
4.2. Chance to Block: Close Combat and Chance to Block: Projectiles.
These two modifiers will reduce the incoming damage even further. Both of them will be gained passively at some point and can be improved by equipment. Shield Lore Mastery grants a nice chance to block: close combat bonus and the combusting arrows mod on the Incandescent Skin buff will help our frail HE discard some of the ranged damage.
4.3. Reduction of incoming detrimental effects.
There are a number of so-called detrimental effects which have a negative impact on your character. Fire and Poison make your char lose hit points, Magic reduces the attributes and Ice makes you slower. In order to save yourself from these effects, you have a number of buffs, items and combat arts to help you. Fire Demon (Ward mod), Grand Invigoration (Resilience mod) and Expulse Magic are a good example. Using these tools will save you from a number of untimely deaths.
4.4. The Expulse Magic combat art.
Expulse magic is undoubtedly the most versatile and the most important combat art in the High Elf’s arsenal. With this combat art, the HE’s defense is complete. As long as the skill is at a decent level, and the HE stays safely in it, no spells or detrimental effects can hit her properly.
In a nutshell, the HE has defense against close combat, projectiles and spells. That covers every type of damage. What’s left is to actually work on those modifiers till you reach a decent blocking and reflection – the more the better, but as a guideline, at least 50% from level 75 onward is a must.
5. Combat Arts.
In my opinion, the gameplay with the HE should be simple and straightforward. A significant amount of micromanagement may hinder the HE’s performance on some occasions, and may even result in death. This is why the combat arts I use are as follows:
- Arrant Pyromancer aspect: Blazing Tempest, Incendiary Shower, Incandescent Skin, Fire Demon
- Delphic Arcania Aspect: Cobalt Strike, Expulse Magic, Shadow Step, Grand Invigoration.
You may ask “Why no Ancestral fireball?” with good reason. My explanation is simple. Since I like to master all the skills I pick, I will have 150 points in the aspect in total for the better part of the game. This means that I will be able to fully mod 4 combat arts in this aspect. Shower and Tempest are the best there is, so I’d rather skip fireball and work with them instead. Fireball is good for shotgunning, but Blazing Tempest should take care of the enemy hordes long before they get close, especially if you keep it at low regeneration time.
The fact that we’re going to master all skills one after another means that both aspects will have 150 points invested in them for quite a while. This means 4 fully modded combat arts and 1 with a single bronze mod. This means that we should select a single CA from both aspects and leave it for later. Delphic Arcania CA choice is easy – Magic Coup. Arrant Pyromancer choice is much harder and depends on your own gameplay. My choice would be Ancestral Fireball because I like to play with Fire Demon as a helper and regeneration time booster, but if you plan on mastering concentration last, or not at all, you should mod the Fire Demon CA last and get Ancestral Fireball instead.
Based on this, I propose the following CA modding order:
1. Incandescent Skin
2. Blazing Tempest
3. Incendiary Shower
4. Fire Demon
5. Ancestral Fireball
1. Grand Invigoration
2. Expulse Magic
3. Shadow Step
4. Cobalt Strike
5. Magic Coup
The order for Delphic Arcania is based on the fact that by level 75, you’ll have only 75 points there, which is enough to fully mod only 3 skills until we start mastering Delphic lore as well.
5.1. Arrant Pyromancer Combat arts.
1. Ancestral Fireball .
Personally, I rarely use this skill, simply because I always count on running + blazing to do the trick. Generally, however, AF is a surprisingly good shotgunning combat art. If you get surrounded, Fireball can save your skin faster than Tempest or Shower.
Explosion – Globe – Fussilade
Explosion and Globe will help the damage when surrounded, and fusillade will add a second fireball for some extra firepower. However, in my opinion, if you have to rely on AF in the late game, something’s wrong.
Recommended regeneration time: 0.3-0.6s
2. Blazing Tempest .
This is the skill you’ll spam instead of AF. AF isn’t bad, but a well build BT can send 5-6 fire waves in 5 seconds, all of them with stacking burning damage. In general, only bosses and some very tough champions can survive that. Simply gather the big mob, slap in 2-3 BT’s and go find another big mob The gameplay is as simple as that sometimes.
Scorch – Conflagration – Ambition.
Nothing special here – this is the classic way of modding BT for offensive play.
Recommended regeneration time: 1-1.3s
3. Incendiary Shower .
This is the skill you will use against 1-2 mobs in close proximity, champions and bosses. It can inflict tremendous amounts of damage which stays rather high throughout the game.
Magma Rain – Continuance – Copious Shower
This is a rather unorthodox way of modding IS. I always do it like this, and I will explain why.
Magma Rain adds fire damage. Since the majority of the opponents in this game are physical resistant, more fire damage will improve the damage you’ll inflict overall.
Continuance increases the number of meteors. I find this better than physical damage, because this means more meteors with more fire damage will hit the target.
Copious Shower makes meteors fall down faster. Technically, it doesn’t look like much compared to the ability to slap more critical hits. However, as we all know, IS has a very long duration. Even if you improve the casting time to 150%, it will still take a long time to land, and you gain nothing by having to wait for all the meteors to fall before starting the next shower while the CA has already recharged. In essence, this skill acts as a “faster CA execution time”, not as faster casting speed – this is why I like this mod so much.
Recommended regeneration time: 1.2-1.8s (due to the long execution time)
4. Fire Demon .
This is the third buff we are going to use after we hit 75 points in concentration. Its usefulness lies in the good synergy with all other buffs rather than the fact that he’s your loyal companion.
Puissance – Ward – Modesty
Puissance improves the level of the Demon, Ward reduces the impact of incoming detrimental effects and Modesty improves regeneration times. Modded like this, you get a great synergy between this buff and Grand Invigoration – rather than modding GI for regen time reduction and reduced impact and duration of detrimental effects, you can mod it for something better to suit the overall gameplay with this build.
5. Incandescent Skin .
This is your primary buff, along with Grand Invigoration.
Combusting Arrows – Revenge – Arrant Pyromancer Expertise.
Modded like this, the buff provides a certain chance to block projectiles along with a chance to reflect close combat attacks. Compared to these 2, the reduction of pyro CA regen times is a mere bonus.
Arrant Pyromancer is our main aspect, which will provide 99% of the HE’s offense throughout the game. This is why it is imperative to mod it quickly and efficiently.
5.2. Delphic Arcania Combat Arts.
1. Cobalt Strike .
This CA is going to act as a tool to reduce the attributes of many tough enemies, mainly bosses. This is why we are going to mod it accordingly.
Chain – Electrify – Critical
The electrify mod is what counts here. It acts as a temporary debuff against strong monsters by reducing their attributes – in essence, making them weaker, so that BT or IS can do their job faster. This CA works great in conjunction with IS, and when put in a combo, they make a great boss fight opener.
Recommended regeneration time: 1.2-1.8s (equal to IS)
2. Shadow Step .
This is one of the best utility CAs in this game. It can be used for better positioning, quick traveling, escape when surrounded and temporary invulnerability.
Phase Shift – Vanish – Mend
Phase shift reduces the cooldown, Vanish makes you invisible for a while (meaning monsters will not attack and you can cast spells all you wish), Mend heals. Explosion is a fun mod to use, but it does not suit my gameplay, so this is how I usually mod it.
Recommended regeneration time: roughly equal to the time you remain invisible.
3. Expulse Magic .
The best defensive CA in the game, provided you learn to live with it and cast it before any major fight. When this CA is modded defensively, it will nullify almost any spell that is thrown at you, regardless of its strength and source.
Strength – Pentagram – Protection
With these mods, you get the entire spell defense you will ever need – great banishing potential, reduction on incoming detrimental effects and chance to block direct magical damage. Nothing will damage you while you stand in this sacred circle… with a possible exception of the life leech bug
Recommended regeneration time: less than Expulse Magic’s duration.
4. Grand Invigoration .
This is the second buff that we will use. It’s a free buff without any penalty, so read 200 runes in it (S2I&B) or as many as you can (S2FA) as fast as you can to improve the hp regeneration bonus and the CA regen times.
AP expertise – Life Energy – Fleetness/Resilience
I personally like to mod GI for AP Expert – Life Energy – Fleetness. These mods suit my gameplay perfectly. Life energy works great at higher CA levels in conjunction with constitution mastery, effectively plugging up most of the damage you take in a matter of seconds. The healing effect from this CA + Constitution can go way over 1000 hp/s healed. I also like taking Fleetness, because of Fire Demon and Expulse Magic. Both of these CAs provide reduction of incoming detrimental effects, so adding more of the same will simply be pointless. Fleetness will also get up to 150% run speed quickly, which makes the placement of BT and getting out of tight spots a lot easier.
6. Attribute point distribution.
Level 1-50: +1 vitality
Level 50-150: +1 vitality/+1 intelligence
Level 150-200: +1 vitality/+2 intelligence
I am confident my gameplay will differ from yours, but I will write a few lines about it nevertheless – just to give a general idea why did I mod the combat arts like this.
With the HE, I prefer the “strike fast and hard, then get out” type of gameplay against multiple enemies and “hold your ground” against close-combat bosses. The HE is fragile, but if used correctly, she can be very, very hard to kill. Against mobs of monsters, I like to slap 2-3 BT’s at them, then run to a safer spot on the screen and cast a few more at anything that has survived. My standard is 4 or 5 BTs in 5 seconds, which means 1-1.3s regeneration time. Against bosses, I usually open with Cobalt + Shower combo to reduce their attributes and make them easier to kill.
With this CA setup and good equipment, the HE can hunt pretty much everywhere. I would still advise to stay clear of bugged enemies and areas.
Technically, anything with a lot of sockets filled with a good balance of + all skills and + all combat arts will do nicely all the way to 200. However, if you want to fine-tune this character, you may want to go for a different suit. As you well know, you can put on 7 pieces of armor with the HE, since she has no access to shoulder armor.
Option 1 - Max socket armor setup, based on utilizing as much + all skills items as possible:
- Vestments of Innocence Head + Torso (6 sockets), Greaves of the Heirs (3 sockets, better quality than Innocence pants), along with 3 Celdrahil’s set items (hands, belt, boots) to unlock the set’s + all skills bonus and Virgo’s gloves for extra +all skills.
Option 2 – fine-tune setup with less sockets but better reflection:
- 2 pieces of the Virgo’s set (1 should be gloves) + 5 pieces from the Celdrahil’s Pandemonium set. Virgo’s set with 2 pieces provides extra close combat reflect, and 5 pieces from the Celdrahil’s set provide + all skills and + arrant pyro aspect bonus.
Option 3 – going for the best there is:
Head: Tiara of Ardal unique helm (b/g socket, + all skills, +XP per kill, + damage mitigation: magic)
Torso: Velaria’s Garment (3x gold socket, high armor, + defensive skills) or a rare armor with 2 sockets, good modifiers and reflect close combat
Belt: Celdrahil’s Belt (b/s socket, +stamina, + hp regen, + concentration)
Hands: Celdrahil’s Flames (silver socket, + pyro lore, + BT combat art, + crit, + intensity)
Gloves: Rendal’s Ruse unique gloves (b/g sockets, + reflect close combat, + all ca, + spell intensity)
Pants: Greaves of the Heirs (s/g/g socket, + GI, + Spell Resist)
Boots: Celdrahil’s Boots (bronze socket, + def value, + fire mitigation, + fire demon, + dexterity)
Weapon: Officer’s Saber with good socketables
Shield: rare shield with reflect close combat, other good modifiers and 2 sockets
This way you get + all skills from the Celdrahil’s set, some reflect close combat, some damage mitigation and a lot of decent innate item properties.
Socketables to look for:
- + all skills, + all combat arts, +aspect, + xp per kill, + spell intensity, - regeneration time, + chance to reflect/block, + valuables.
9. Things to be aware of.
HE’s damage reaches its peak from level 75 till 100, when your equipment is at its best, your skills are at their peak and the enemies’ hit points are relatively low. At this point, you can pretty much drop a Nameless Guardian in only 2 Showers. Afterwards, it rises very slowly, while the enemies’ HP rise quickly as the difficulties go by. Technically, there is no way of countering that without destroying your well-crafted regeneration times with wicked amounts of + all ca socketables and such. This is why after level 120 or so, going for Ancient Magic mastery is very, very important. The high damage will easily get you through platinum, but niobium is another matter and AM is crucial there.
The first 30 levels are the hardest. Don’t do anything stupid until you manage to get some decent equipment.
9.3. The bugged life leech.
Your HE can still succumb to the bugged life leech in the wastelands or the new areas. Be aware and know what you’re doing.
9.4. Be mobile and agile.
You will be wise to keep away from the enemies at all times and casting from a safe distance. If you get surrounded by hard-hitting monsters, sometimes even you godly reflect and wicked GI HP regen bonus may not be able to save you.
9.5. Low armor and resistances is not necessarily a bad thing.
If you have high reflect, big HP regen and decent chance to block close combat/projectiles/spells, you can easily offset the low armor and resistances.
The HE’s frailty is vastly exaggerated in my opinion. She has a lot of subtle weapons in her arsenal to help her survive and go all the way to level 200. This is a character that requires a lot of tweaking and a lot of shopping to make her stay at the top of her game, but pays off in diverse gameplay (not the simple point, click and kill type of play), big damage and the ability to drop everything on the screen with a few spells. If you like this type of character and gameplay, the pyro/arcane HE is exactly what you need.
Edited by Dobri, 21 December 2010 - 10:56 AM.