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deusmurr

My experience as a Seraphim, things I wish I'd known

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I recently got bored with my first character (more on that later) and am going to be restarting as something else entirely in the hopes that I can extend the life of the game some, but I also learned a lot in the process.  I figured I might share some of my more interesting or "OOOHHH, *that's* why" moments in case they're useful to someone else, either starting a new Seraphim or to help optimize one in progress.

Some caveats to be taken into consideration:

1) I played with Nexus' Survival Mod installed, and had Mooney's Challenge Mod installed on top of it.  I don't know for sure which of all the changes took precedence over which others, but the end result was madness (including one point where I was taking on FIVE Bloodclaw werewolf bosses at once and some places where stepping into a crypt meant getting mobbed by 70+ ghosts all at once, actually stacked on top of each other 3-4 deep with a Banshee boss wailing on me for 17k a swat).  The end note to be taken from this is that the character will probably survive anything that gets thrown at it, and will *eventually* (read: at high enough level) basically be immortal, short of those enemies that have Leech Percent.

2) I assumed from playing Sacred 1 (and hearing that Sacred 2 had 600+ quests) that the game would be fairly long if I tried to do everything, and I refused to do it five times over just to get to the saucy bits in Niobium.  I started in Niobium at level 80 with no idea what I was doing, and learned from there.  When I made mistakes and learned from them, I fixed them with the character editor within the bounds of a legitimate character.

 

Soooo, to start things off I made a level 1 Seraphim and jacked up my experience bonus to something like 50x and gave myself some gold just to buy some basic gear from vendors as I leveled.  I picked skills that seemed like they would fit the character I wanted well as I leveled, and every couple levels I bought some new trash to wear just so I could keep power leveling on stuff around the lumberjack camp and pirate cave.  Somewhere along the way I got lucky and found a level 50 Nosferatu Fang amulet and kept that for well over 100 levels (more on that later).  Whenever I hit the point in a difficulty that enemies stopped scaling with me, I hopped up a difficulty (unlocked with aforementioned character editor) and kept on keepin' on.  At around level 80 (still in trashy gear) I got to the point where I could handle a few level 111 Niobium inquisitors and bandits, and the adventure started.  I set my experience bonus at a mild 150% (so I could just forget Mentor potions altogether).

 

Some thoughts I had, and when applicable, why they were wrong:

1) I was using Warding Energy without Warding Energy Lore, and I had 31 Revered Technology Focus (not Lore, Focus is cooldowns and Lore is damage, I wasn't using spells) for the 6 points to modify my Ward and Divine Protection.  I figured having some projectile reflection and spellblock would be great for most fights, but without Warding Lore your shield never gets higher than about 4,400.  It also *never* regenerates in combat (only the Temple Guardian can do that) so once it's gone, it's gone.  It's also gone in 2-3 successful hits, negating any reflect it had, so depending on the rest of your build it's mostly useless.  Later on in the game when enemies start throwing spells or spiders start spitting at you (neither reflected by your Ward nor by your Battle Stance) your Ward gets blown off instantly at the start of every combat.  It *may* be useful if you stack tons of points into the Warding Lore skill, but I didn't.  Any survivability I thought I was getting from my Ward was *actually* from Battle Stance's Close Combat Reflect.  Later on I found I only used Divine Protection a handful of times, and dropped both Arts entirely.  Eventually, any protection granted by Divine Protection can be made up for in the same amount of time with other means of survivability like Damage Mitigation and Leech (and massive Vitality).

So Wards and Protection were a total bust.  Without my Ward, I had no need of the Concentration skill either (allows 2 buffs, 3 at mastery).

 

2) The tooltips for Combat Arts and their modifications are woefully vague, misdirect you, or flatout lie.  I mentioned Battle Stance in the above section, and it's here again.  It's here because Battle Stance is a goddamn champion skill and you might not ever know it just from the tooltips.  Eventually I started having very high survivability against certain types of enemies, and it took a LONG time and a visit to the Wiki to figure out why: Battle Stance's "small chance of Close Combat Reflection" is *not* a small chance.  The chance to Reflect is actually 20% at Art level 1, 55% at level 50, and I assume it's at least 66% at level 100 (even with diminishing returns).  That means with a few pieces of gear that also have reflect (or a triple-set of Gemmae, as it may be, the Community Patch sigil stone thingies that go in your relic holder) you can reach nearly 100% close combat reflect with your buff.  The Drill modification only reduces cooldowns by 9% at level 50, but at level 100 the Flexibility mod will give you 20% (base) +20% evasion which will work with your reflect to reduce damage and the Aggression mod will give you a 100% damage boost, and it's eventually 300 to even 500% attack AND defense.  Cooldowns be damned, the single biggest buff my character got was reading as many Battle Stance runes as I possibly could.

 

3) Dashing Alacrity is incredibly useless, or ridiculously amazing, depending on whether you mod your game.  What the game doesn't tell you is that there is a cap on maximum speed increases, and it is very low: 50%.  You spend the skillpoints mastering a weapon skill like Swords, and you've already hit the attack speed cap.  All that speed on your weapon and bracers and buffs is garbage doing nothing.  However, there's a simple line in your balance.txt, "Speedmax=1500", that you can change to fix the problem if you so desire.  Some mods set it to 2500 (250% speed), but you can pick your own or stay vanilla.  Just be aware of the limit if you don't change it to something reasonable... why would they allow a character to get hundreds of percent attack speed and then limit it to 50?  Also keep in mind that regardless of Attack Speed %, weapons have different innate speed bases.  Some one handers are faster than others, and two handers are slower than both of them.  The faster 1h weapons are generally boosted by Dexterity while the slightly slower ones are boosted by Strength.  If you have the CM patch installed, Lightsabers are the only weapons boosted by Willpower.

If you use a Dexterity 1h and mod your max speed to 250%, with Dashing Alacrity at level 100+ (a lot of runes read, I know) with the Delay and Impatience mods both taken, your Alacrity will grant nearly 100% speed and have a duration longer than its own cooldown so it's perpetually active, and you will swing that sword like a blender on steroids.  If you have even a small percent life leech, 1h+shield will even outdamage 2h weapons, or at least mine did... plus you get to use a shield, important for the next bit.

 

4) Unlike most other mods stacking against the player's favor (reflect being multiplicative, deathblow having diminishing returns, %damage being additive, etc) Damage Mitigation is additive and that is seriously OP on a Seraphim.  I mentioned at one point a banshee boss (and even the Bloodclaw werewolves did it) hitting me for 17-20k a swat, and those were the first times I simply turned and RAN from something, not willing to lose my survival bonus "just to find out if I could do it".  If you see a bonus that says "Damage Mitigation: Physical" and under it there are four other "Mitigation"s in different colors, that's "All-Channel" mitigation, or rather "reduces all incoming damage no matter where it's from, except enemies with leech".  It's a mod that usually only shows up on torso and shoulder armor, and most sets have that bonus on both.  It also shows up on the Glacial Defender shield at about 2/3 strength, and shows up on 3-4 different amulets at different strengths.  It's also the main draw of the "Toughness" skill, which grants about 13% damage reduction at mastery and 27% when totally maxed out at level 200.  All of these are important if you're playing a heavily-difficulty-modded game, with the Community Patch, especially as a Seraphim, because Seraphim have two extra items with Damage Mitigation that other classes don't get (I don't believe, anyway).  On top of shoulder and torso items, Seraphim also have Endijian's Wings and Protective Hands as options, and Hands even come with extra Reflection stats.  I didn't know for a long time you could socket those Damage Mitigation amulets into Gold sockets on gear either, further increasing their numbers.  With Wings, Hands, Shoulders, Torso, and a Glacial shield, it's very easy to get 60-80% damage mitigation.  Now that 150,000 damage oneshot is a very survivable 30K, and with as much reflect and evasion as you'll have, it won't be landing very often.  With stacked Vitality and a couple percent leech, you'll likely outregen/leech any damage you do take.

Also note that if you have terrible luck with getting set items to drop, Mitigation shows up on rare items as well, and the stat can even roll twice for double the effect.  Watch for them!

 

5) Big muscles make for big damage!  Except if you're already Whetting all your gear at the blacksmith, you're going to be doing so much damage that your strength really won't matter. You're already hitting for 8k anyway, with a onehander.  If you need to hit something, a weapon or ring with -Opponent Chance to Evade has a much greater effect than any amount of +Attack anyway, so go with those (I was particularly fond of Sneaking Demon, das a sexy pigsticker).  Eventually I needed survivability instead, and dropped all my points into Vitality, which paid off with a 50K lifespan in the end.  Being able to take big hits and shrug them off with regen and leech is much more useful than a bunch more damage that ends up being mostly overkill.  As a Seraphim, there's only so many things you can hit at once and only so fast you can hit, overkill damage wasn't helping clear speed nearly as much as not having to worry about dying and being able to slog through the pigpiles and hordes.

Anyway, see a few posts down for my testing on strength and exactly how much damage you can get out of it, maybe useful for somebody.

 

6) Also, critical hits are garbage.  Crits in basically every game ever are 150% or 200% damage, but in this one they're only 120%.  You don't need to avoid them, and you don't particularly care about dealing them either.  Double-Hits are boss though.

See the following post as to why this was wrong.

 

7) Life Leech per Hit, and Leech Life from Opponents are two totally different stats, and neither works like one might expect (having played Diablo 2 and whatnot).  The former deals a certain amount of damage per strike as unresistable damage and heals the player for said amount, say a flat +200 damage and +200 healing.  It's a decent stat if you attack very quickly and have high defenses, it helps regenerate some of the incidental damage you take when there's no emergencies going on.  The latter deals the same unresistable damage, yet the damage dealt is based on the target's *maximum life*, so the bigger the bad, the badder the blow (and the bigger the healing received).  Late-game it's not uncommon to see 600-1000 leeched from weenies, 6-10K leeched from champions, and 50-100K life stolen from a Big Bad Boss, in a *single* hit.  The mod usually appears only on 2h weapons (up to about 4%), but it also appears as a full-set bonus in some sets.  Remember that crappy level 50 Nosferatu Fang I mentioned forever ago that I kept for a hundred levels?  The set bonus for having both the amulet and the ring is 1.7% Leech Life, and that carried me through the darkest of times.  At the very end I gave up some Mitigation for another set bonus with Leech % (Genesis Siderea), the Fang/Claw set, and a store-bought two-hander with 4% leech and deathblow (with stacked deathblow jewelry in it).  It even procs twice on double-swings, just for extra insult to the injury!  Killing bosses in a couple seconds is a bit overkill though, and gets boring, so maybe don't do this to the extent I did.

 

8) Build your character right, and because of how weak enemies tend to be and the like, the regeneration times on active Combat Arts don't even matter.  I tried and tried to keep Art levels and regen times and such balanced, but even in doing so I never *used* them.  I ended up not using Warding or Divine Protection (former stopped being useful, latter was never really useful), I never used my Kybele god button for heals, Somersault is junk, Pelting Strikes was so slow and ungainly that I kept trying to use it but found it outclassed by autoattacks... The only useful Arts I had were Soul Hammer, and only when using a 2h against huge enemies, and Dashing Alacrity after I modded files to increase max attack speed (it would have otherwise been as useless as the rest).  Because Dashing Alacrity's biggest "can't use this yet" problem is a *cooldown* and not *regeneration time*, even massive regeneration penalties don't make any difference to my character, so having a totally maxed out overburdening Battle Stance didn't matter.

Once I got things figured out, my most effective combat strategy went like this: Log in, turn on Battle Stance, recast Dashing Alacrity as necessary (about once every 45 seconds), autoattack the whole game to death.

 

So before the end, I'll share how my Seraphim ended up (for a look at the end result of what I learned).

Stats: All points in Vitality, every last one of them.  End result is some pretty beastly regen and 52k HP.

Skills:

Tactics Lore 75 for damage, Exalted Warrior Focus 75 (you won't need the mod points, but it raises the level without penalty for better Alacrity and Battle Stance), Swords 75 for attack speed and unlocking Double Hits

Armor Lore 75, Shield Lore 75 (unlocks 20%-someodd chance to block, and Shield Lore adds to ALL of your defense while wielding a shield, not just the shield's defense, it's a lot better than the game makes it sound), Constitution 75 (for in-combat life regen), Combat Reflexes 75 (the evade vs critical really helps if your game's modded for 200% crit damage), Spell Resistance 75 (again, mostly for a modded game where crits are actually dangerous, but spells will still be your weakest defense by far so you might as well shore it up some), Toughness 75 (for the almighty Damage Mitigation).  I dumped all remaining points into Toughness and Swords (more Mitigation, more Double Hits).

Of course you can always swap Swords for Poles, Dual Wield, whatever.  Can always drop Shields, but with my setup I was always using one anyway so I added it.  That leaves 1-2 skills of your choice.  If you're actually using combat arts or Warding, Concentration will help (or be necessary)... I used Bargaining myself, a lot of the gear I wore for a long time came from shophopping for jewelry and swords.

 

Eeeeveeenntualllyyyy after a lot of farming ghosts for jewelry (they only seem to drop jewelry and gemmae, making finding extra Clepidide's and such easier) and the like trying to make myself immortal just to see if it could be done (and you can definitely come close with just a few pieces of gear) I did a little testing with aggroing triple-size screens of enemies (which is dozens and dozens of them) and just standing there, and looking at some numbers and such.  I had 90% damage mitigation, over 90% reflect close, over 60% reflect projectile, 40% someodd reflect spells, and 52k HP (could have gotten more life and more regen by dumping into Constitution, but I wanted Swords instead for the damage).  I had enough defense and extra evasion and block and such that even if things didn't reflect, they didn't hit me anyway.  It was basically only spells that even made numbers show up.  This is about the point I got really, really bored with my Seraphim.

 

Pros, Cons, Quality of Life, random musings...

1) Character is very strong, even with simple autoattacks, and very durable with halfway decent gear.  This allows you to dick around in combat as much as you want and simply enjoy the quests without too much worry about watching colored bars or accidentally dying to something random.  If something has a chance at all of killing you, you'll know before you even see it (because of the huge BOSS health bar that shows up when they approach).

2) If you want to play around with utility spells and combat arts, the character's strong enough that being very inefficient with your arts won't cause the character to fail.  If you feel like using Warding for lore reasons or spamming Flaring Nova on big groups of enemies (with no skills to support it, making it a terrible choice), you still can.  Being a little overpowered makes for flexibility, and flexibility helps cure boredom.  Maybe you actually LIKE Pelting Strikes (where I found it totally useless) and you want to spam it... go ahead!

3) Recreating my old seraphim and the first thing that came to mind once I got geared again (took until level 104 to get everything to drop, and the Lycan ring was the last piece, bleh) was HOLY CRAP I HATE Chance to Fear Opponent Away.  It's a stat that rolls randomly on most pieces of gear and comes on set items as well, particularly the Lycan ring of the leech set I use.  It's counterproductive at best and infuriating at worst, so here's how you deal with that crap: Open up your Blueprints.txt with a fancier-than-Notepad text editor like Notepad++ (Notepad won't work, trying to use Notepad will only break your game) and find the line "bonusgroup1 = {883,1250,1,9,0}," under item blueprint ID 4027, item "set_ring_nail" (this is the Lycan ring).  Change this bonus to "{871,500,1,9,0}".  This will change the obnoxious-as-all-hell Fear property to a harmless little Survival bonus, and suddenly combat is roughly 12.92% less annoying as long as you avoid Fear on your other gear.

4) Gear gets kinda boring, and looting things can feel pointless.  This wasn't nearly as much of an issue on my Glacial elf, whose gear varied quite a bit and constantly.  I used the Armguards, Legguards, Shoulders from the Niokaste set, with their damages, skills, and attack speed bonuses (and 3-piece set bonus) they're good enough that no one or two pieces is worth replacing with rares.  I used the entire Genesis Siderea set for the leech bonus, so none of those items change.  I use the Tooth and Nail amulet and ring for more leech, leaving my only variable item as a *single* rare ring, usually with -Opponent Chance to Evade and Damage or Flat Physical Damage (shows up as a little yellow bar and amount, like 32-32).  Basically, besides shopping for a new ring once in a while, my gear never changes once I fill a slot, and all I ever do is upgrade a level 90 item to a level 105 item, 105 to 120, etc, ad infinitum.  This makes 99.99% of all items that drop totally useless, including tons of copies of the same gear I'm already wearing, at exactly the same level.  If you're a loothound and play the game for that, you'll have to find a way to mix things up a bit.

5) Just as a point of interest because I learned it recently... I usually use a 1h and shield or a 2h with Leech % (and preferably Deathblow as a second stat, if I can get it), because 1h swords can't roll Leech %... but there *is* a single 1h sword with Leech %.  It didn't show up on the wiki page for "sources of Leech %", so I missed its existence entirely.  The problem is that it's only in the Community Patch and it's legendary, so good luck getting it to drop.  I've not seen it yet, my elusive Sereish Steel of Thunder, my precious.  I must have my precious...

Anyway, figured I'd share and maybe some people could learn a few things from my mistakes and my journeys through the Wiki

Edited by deusmurr
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I can't edit my post, but since doing more research on how things work (after playing with Glacial Thorns on an elf), I feel the need to correct myself on a specific point.  I said "Also, critical hits are garbage.  Crits in basically every game ever are 150% or 200% damage, but in this one they're only 120%.  You don't need to avoid them, and you don't particularly care about dealing them either."  That only applies to when you're already hitting so hard that you're 2-3 shotting enemies, and dealing a half-dozen times their armor ratings in damage per blow, like my build was when I was using a 2h weapon (or swatting things for 5k with a 1h).

Because of the formula used to determine final damage dealt, the higher the initial damage the lower the absorption percentage of armor.  For instance, given a target with 1K armor, an incoming blow of 2K will deal 1.3K final damage, whereas two blows of 1K each will only deal 500 each (for a total of 1K, much lower than the bigger blow's 1.3K).  This means that while for what *I* did with my character "crits are garbage and you don't have to deal or avoid them", for *some* builds crits are very important and sometimes even deal more than twice as much damage as a normal hit.

Probably nobody cares, but I personally feel that spreading misinformation is a sin, and I try to do it as little as possible, even if it means admitting that under some circumstances I WAS WRONG OMG

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strength giving low damage is common myth
damage bonus of it not seems much, but it actually added to base weapon damage before other damage bonuses(at least in original Sacred 2 with Ice&Blood addon)
if your weapon base is 600 and strenght give you another 500, that is 80% bonus to your damage
I tested that with characters I created in character  editor

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8 hours ago, deusmurr said:

I can't edit my post,

Thats because of rules to fight back bots and which usually is amended after four or five posts I think...but you can now, I've changed you to a Member status which allows you to edit...can you check? If not, I can check your status again.

Thanks for this amazing, great read on your try out with the Seraphim, my absolute top class of the game when I first started playing... Your detail is incredible.

Welcome to DarkMatters!

:)

 

gogo

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2 hours ago, killshoot said:

strength giving low damage is common myth
damage bonus of it not seems much, but it actually added to base weapon damage before other damage bonuses(at least in original Sacred 2 with Ice&Blood addon)
if your weapon base is 600 and strenght give you another 500, that is 80% bonus to your damage
I tested that with characters I created in character  editor

Thanks for your helpful first post, a perfect fit for one of the friendliest communities on the planet...happy you have made your way over to us Killshoot, welcome to DarkMatters!

:)

 

gogo

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Says I can edit my post now, but the second post's already done, so meh...  And maybe strength does have a decent bonus, I don't know.  I never actually tested it, I just checked the character sheet before and after moving all my strength to vitality and the difference in damage stated was close to the +bonus strength said it was giving.  I assumed that since my damage numbers appearing on monsters were pretty close to the ones listed on the sheet that the sheet was probably correct and strength wasn't doing much, but character sheets are so notoriously bad that it's actually a meme to abbreviate the problem as LCS (Lying Character Sheet), so...  Maybe I'll make another seraphim later and try it, and amend the post if I'm definitely wrong.

I assume if I try it with a level 1 pigsticker and minimum strength and then try it again with the same pigsticker and 2,000 strength, I'll be able to see if the sheet lies.  Then I could try it again with a full set of % damage gear and again with %damage and strength.  I should see a few hundred damage jump in between the latter tests if it doesn't scale, at least a thousand (or two) if it does. 

I don't actually have a character to test with at the moment and it's almost bedtime, shophopping a bit for the elf's buffset until I'm too fuzzy to keep going.  On that note, I have yet to actually read a Glacial Thorns rune or use any other damage spell, being able to spam it at animation speed is great.

 

Edit: May also have to try it with a full set of ready-to-smash-things gear if I get around to being that involved in it, I don't have my original seraphim around anymore to play with.  Armor can be wonky with its calculation and more data points is better.

Edited by deusmurr

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5 hours ago, deusmurr said:

Says I can edit my post now

Awesome!

😊

gogo

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Oh that's right, I have 1.5 challenge mods installed right now, so the basic level of enemies even in Bronze is 11, so I'll start at 10 just to be able to kill things.  I actually tried to start Niobium on the Elf at 80 like my old Seraphim, and that stupid jerk student at the start 2-shot me and I had to wait until level 100 and even had to Cascade ON THE FIRST ENEMY just to survive, it was terrible and awesome.  Anyway...

 

43 strength (stated +12 damage) with no skills and a 40-50 damage saber (all physical, only an open wounds mod I can't use because I have no skills to unlock it, fast weapon with 2 sockets that definitely gets bonus from strength if not as much as a 2h), the Character Sheet says I should be doing 57-72 damage.  Actual damage dealt, tested over 20-25 enemies (at 3-4 swings per kill) was 42-75.  All of the damage in the 70's was against inquisitors, maybe they're just pansies or have less armor, whichever you prefer.  Didn't think to look at whether the 75's were crits or not either, was paying too much attention to not dying, had to use a few potions in there.

Will deck myself out in a full set of garbage with as many sockets as possible and no useful bonuses, sprint to the Ancaria Airlines quest to get access to the Isle of Many Roads blacksmith, retest with more strength and the same gear.

 

With 2,046 strength, stated +634 damage, slightly bigger saber (for more sockets, will matter on the scaling test) at 42-52 damage, Character Sheet states expected damage at 615-762.  I don't know how my minimum damage ends up lower than my base minimum and +damage or how the top end is higher, maybe the +damage is just a guide and there's a spread in there somewhere.  Does the character sheet's damage expectation include possible crits, perhaps guess about armor?  Not testing that thoroughly, this isn't the days of Elitist Jerks and tens of thousands of data points anymore, I had enough of that back in the day.  Over about half a level worth of kills, I saw hits as low as 520 (on earth elementals, higher armor meant consistently lower damage) and as high as 897 without crits (or any that I saw, anyway, had so many hits in the 850 range they couldn't have all been crits with no real way to crit on this character).  Vast majority of hits were between 720 and 840 or so, still way over the listed expected damage.  Moving on...

 

Ancaria Airlines... using the character editor to *remove* all that strength... decking out the character with sockets and whetting everything (including my pants, just for giggles)... couldn't find armguards, boots, legguards, or gloves with 2 sockets, maybe they don't spawn at low levels, maybe they don't spawn at all except on unique gear, I never really noticed.  Either way, 1 silver socket each on those four items, 2 silver sockets each on everything else.  Ooops, realized my bracers got switched from the crappiest ones to something with 16% damage somehow, that'll account for a *little* of the discrepancy, but not nearly all of it... so I had 16% damage for some of the testing.  I also forgot that whetting is only 6% someodd damage per socket on bronze, so most of the % is going to come from tactics lore...  Come to think of it, Battle Stance's damage bonus is a scaling percentage too, I'll have to add that in there with high enough levels to make it matter.

 

Second set of tests, still in bronze for the sake of simplicity and not having to undo and redo my mods, same 42-52 damage weapon, this time testing at level 200, fully 6% whetted gear for 146% damage bonus, 250 Tactics Lore (413% damage), 250 Exalted Focus (for Battle Stance level), 200 BS runes read, Aggression mod taken (5% damage + 1% per BS level, plus the base 12%), total Battle Stance level 136 (should be 153% damage), 459 strength (the minimum at level 200) with a stated damage bonus of +146.  That should be 42-52 damage, plus 712%, +146 to be tested (and after, with 2K extra points in strength).

Expected damage from Character Sheet is 586-725.  Actual damage (with crits taken out now that Tactics Lore is giving me 20% interference in that area) was between 4193 and 4827 over 50 good slaps or so, I cleared from the monastery start to the pirate cave, as usual.  Saw some crits at around 5500, they don't do a whole lot more damage on this build type because you already hit so hard you overcome armor.  Adding a boatload of strength, please wait...

 

2,486 strength total for +771 stated damage, weapon listed at 1,144-1,416.  With over 700% damage, I would expect my actual hits to be at least double what they were, if strength scales with damage.  I kept seeing damage anywhere from 17,500 to just short of 22,000, so however strength scales and the numbers actually work, the end result is it works very well.  Perhaps I didn't notice so much because I made my swap from Strength to Vitality fairly early on and it wasn't such a huge difference (and I *still* 2-3-shot just about everything without any), but I was definitely wrong.  Just for comparison though, that many points put in vitality instead gives you about 46K more HP and something like 1,500 more regen per second, so if you're going for "unkillable"...

 

Also, I fixed 5) and 6) in the OP, to be less wrong and point to the posts as to why.  Hopefully I didn't misinform too many people before it got fixed

Edited by deusmurr

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IMO you need to ditch Moony's mod, that thing is made for a super old version of CM Patch, so it's probably overwriting some scripts with outdated versions.

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Also, I was dicking around on the elf and think I found all the best possible combinations for maxing out skills, particularly +All Skills.  Socket color bonuses count just fine, so stuff like the Officer's Saber (with 3 gold sockets) and Kufferath Defender (2 gold and a silver on a shield) make for huge bonuses if you slather them in +All Skills jewelry (most of them were +9, found a +18 amulet in the shop, snatched that up right quicklike), and most of the other pieces were part of the mutation set.  The drop rates on all that basically means this will never happen organically unless you play for half your life, but I was curious.  I managed +403 to all skills, which with the skills I had allowed for a level 150 Grand Invigoration/Crystal Skin snapshot (the term used for temporarily boosting a skill/buff that remains at the snapshot power level indefinitely).  Also out of curiosity and figuring maybe some of the information could be useful for the Wiki if anyone around here helps with its upkeep, I used the editor to edit all my skills to level 200 with the +403 skills just to see what effects they had.  Having that information might help someone see how much of the *possible* bonus they're currently getting with their current skill levels.  So without further ado, the data:

603 Concentration gives 71.8% regeneration

622 Constitution gives 43,746 life and 177.6% extra life regen

603 Mystic Stormite Lore gives 511.6% damage, 25.5% crit, and 102% Execution Speed

603 Mystic Stormite Focus gives level 115 Level Without Penalty and 83.6% regeneration

603 Ancient Magic gives 255.8% damage and 71.8% Reduction of Enemy Immunities

603 Combat Discipline gives 383.7% damage, and the usual 20% regen (that's static at mastery level)

Delphic Lore and Focus give the same as Stormite

622 Armor Lore gives 514% Armor and 82.3 reduction of Armor Regen Penalty

603 Bargaining gives 26.5% Chance of Special Offer and 60.4 Increased Quality of Wares

If the diminishing returns weren't obvious from the level 200 markers on the wiki, they sure should be at 600.  Some of the differences between 200 and 600 are barely noticeable.

 

Going to fix my elfy back to unstupid levels now, but that's some curiosity sated and hopefully some useful information for *somebody*.

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A question comes to mind, and it's actually relevant to My Experience as a Seraphim, or rather my second experience (the all-willpower, no-mitigation, no-leech, ward-and-light-sabers 'tard I'm playing with, may the Forces be with you).

Warding Energy's basic absorption is 50%, yet mine is stated at 70%.  It doesn't seem to come from Revered Tech Focus or any of my skills or stats that I know of, it's not coming from gear (I know the stat can come up on items), the only thing I can think of (it being *exactly* 20%, or 10+10%) is that maybe it's a hidden bonus from I just tested and it isn't from any of the Art Mods, it doesn't matter whether the skill is level 40 or 101.2, I... I don't know.  Even equipping an extra 22.5% +absorption doesn't change the stated 70% total under the almighty lying Sigma, so it can't be from gear (even though I can clearly see the difference in how much damage I take, so the stat works even if it isn't stated properly).  Where is that extra 20% coming from, and can I do it more?  Ideally my absorption would be around 90% or so, and if I can do it without wasting slots that'd be wonderful.  My current health and shield is at 15k/138k, so taking a much smaller amount of damage would help a lot when fighting stuff that can slap me in the mouth for 20k (I'd be surviving a dozen hits instead of four).

EDIT: This question still stands if anyone sees it, where is that 20% absorption coming from?  Was it part of the Community Patch or something?  It's basically irrelevant now because my character has gotten so OP I'm going to throw in some self-imposed challenges to the run.  At level 120 I have 16K health and 680K shield and it's... just... stupid.  I can facetank dozens of magic-casting enemies and a boss (hitting me for 15K) for quite a while without even flinching.

Edited by deusmurr

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My Experiences as a Seraphim, Part II:  May the Force... uh, Maker, be with you!

 

After seeing how ridiculously overpowered it was to stack damage mitigation and reflect stats and Leech % (nothing can damage you and you hit for well over a HUNDRED THOUSAND on bosses, per swing), I decided to try going the complete opposite direction.  I decided to limit myself to using nothing but lightsabers, and stack Willpower instead of Vitality (lightsabers get their damage from Willpower, the only weapons to do so).  This is the tale of at least the beginning of my adventure.

 

I took 75 Tactics Lore for damage, 75 Sword Weapons for double hits and speed (since lightsabers are technically swords)... 75 Armor Lore to wear phat lootz, 75 Constitution for regen in combat (especially important with absorption warding percent less than 100% and vs leeching enemies), 75 Warding Energy Lore for extra shielding (stacking with all that Willpower), 75 Revered Tech Focus to modify Divine Protection and my shield's max... uh, shielding (via increasing the max level of the skill Without Penalty).  That's offense and defense, leaving... 1 point in Concentration (as necessary to use both Battle Stance and Warding Energy, you have to at least take the skill), 5 points in Enhanced Perception as a stepping stone (and a wee bit more loot doesn't hurt), and 1 point in Blacksmithing.  Given all the shielding a lot of that may seem like a waste, but at level 117 I was running into level 143 enemies that were dropping level 150 loot I couldn't even use until I was 120 (which I could *barely* use at 120 with barely mastered Armor Lore and Swords, so there is a method to the madness).

Console players won't want to take Blacksmithing because it's horribly broken, and I don't know how well it works without the Community Patch either, so be careful on that one... Also, I don't think Seraphim can even take Smithing without the Community Patch.  Assuming you have the ComPatch, 1 point in Blacksmithing does a few things... it allows you to socket amulets in silver slots and socket rings in bronze slots (instead of gold and silver, respectively).  This allows you to fill a set of gear with +All Skills amulets and rings, even the bronze slots, to increase your own blacksmithing, so you can work on higher level items without wasting skill points, and you can use THAT to socket the crap out of your main gear with %Max Shield and %Absorption Warding Energy amulets (those stats only appear on amulets, and gold sockets can be hard to come by, hence the Blacksmithing).

 

Early on I wasn't sure the build was going to work at all just because the mods I have installed (or have tweaked myself) make the game so much of a pain at lower levels, but once the character hit its stride around level 30 there was no stopping it.  I couldn't find any information on the Wiki about just how much Willpower actually does for shielding, so I did some testing.  On a character with 15K someodd shielding, the two Art Mods for shield power alone buffed it to 71K, and then the difference of 220 points of Willpower buffed it further to 93K.  I assume the scaling is similar for Temple Guardians, meaning stacking Willpower is a viable defense for shield users, even without abusing Blacksmithing.  It also buffs Divine Protection (as does Warding Lore and %Max Shield) so you can get some seriously beefy shielding in a pinch.  Early on, Divine Protection will add a couple times your normal shield in an emergency, later on DP adds 100K to a shield that's already at over 600K, so it doesn't scale very well (or at least not as well as the base Warding itself).  It's still useful for one reason:  activating Divine Protection instantly sets your Absorption Warding Energy to 100%, no matter what it was before, so if your Absorption stat is only 50% (meaning half of damage taken gets through to your health) you may get surprised by a boulder to the face for nearly all your HP and Protection can save you by making your life impossible to damage for a while.  This build ended up at level 120 so far with a measly 16K life, and some enemies can hit harder than that (though 92% Absorption saves me) so any big damage that gets through before you can stack Absorption is scary.  Take note of the wings from the Genesis Siderea set, not only do they look lovely they have the Absorption stat on them in a big way.  100% absorption isn't a bad thing if you have enough shielding, but it's not necessary...  If you have the combat regen from Constitution mastery, you only need enough absorption that you can outregen the damage your life does take (which is even easier to do if you're using Leech % or Leech on Hit).

 

So, I mentioned this build being completely overpowered once I realized just how much shielding was available (from Endijian's chest, one of the Sophia pieces has %Max Shield and another has %Willpower, etc), and it very quickly got to the point that nothing was a threat anymore... Seraphim shielding is just too good if you actually make use of the tools available.  Early on I decided to play with a few self-imposed challenges (or as I like to call it, "Character Retardation", because that amuses me) and later on I added quite a few more.  Seriously, you never got bored playing Diablo II and made an all-curse melee necromancer who never uses any gear except a bone helmet and a scythe?  I'm still in the process of transitioning out of some of my horribly overpowered stuff so I don't know exactly what'll happen endgame, but here's what I've been doing so far:

1) I will not wear Damage Mitigation or take the Toughness skill.  I will try to avoid reflect and block stats where possible.  I will only use lightsabers, and all stat points will go into Willpower, making me as squishy as possible except the shield.

2) I changed balance.txt a bit at level 120, and over doubled enemy armor, more than tripled their damage, etc.  I immediately noticed a difference.  I'm already using some spawn mods and such, so I assume when I get caught trying to tank FOUR Bloodclaw werewolf bosses and such it's really going to hurt.

3) Even though I took Blacksmithing, I will not abuse it anymore to stack %Shield and Absorption.  Additionally, I'm going to start limiting myself to nothing but rare drops (except Maul's Swordstaff, seriously who designed an item with Deathblow, Double Hits, and Splash Attacks?  Gimme more), no more Endijian and Sophia OPness.  If it's not too harsh and I can get the pieces to drop, I may go even further and limit myself to only Megalcarwen pieces (the Mutation set with almost no stats, but tons of sockets) that I Whet myself without +All Skills, so they're really crappy.  We'll see how that goes, no more town blacksmith giving 40% damage a socket.

 

Let's see if I can make myself regret trying all this, or if I still need to make things worse.  It'll be a good test of just how OP shields are... that I've survived so far without any real troubles already says a lot.  For now, the information above should make a decent explanation for anyone who wants to try a similar character build.  All shields is definitely possible and just as overpowered as stacking Mitigation, in its own way.  Immortality is immortality, no matter the flavor... well, maybe a lich would disagree when discussing sexytimes, but that's not the point here.

 

Well, even nerfing the crap out of myself and wearing excessively stupid gear setups, I managed to beat four Bloodclaws in one fight (two at once, then two more at once as they wandered into me) though I almost ran out of shielding because I only had 150K and they were outdamaging my health regen.  Had to use divine protection at the end and if it had worn off and killed my shield before I won... A bit scary, but doable... gives me hope for other bosses and enemies later on in the game, I can do this.

 

EDIT: After a fresh install and removing some difficulty mods (for the sake of untainted data) it turns out my max shield gear gives me 4.85M shielding with vanilla values, not 1.61.  Apparently all my values from testing would have been low on the shield side of things.

Edited by deusmurr
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More experiences, Save-Editor-Enhanced Edition

 

I've been sticking to wearing crappy gear with severely buffed enemies, and my damage was noticeably lacking.  My hit chance was so horrible without all that %Attack Rating from the blacksmith that my hit chance against lowly vermin was in the 65% range, and I had to do some shophopping to grab some -Opponent Chance to Evade rings.  I tested %Attack Rating rings, -Opponent Defense, +Attack Rating rings, they all sucked horribly, but -Evade was dozens of percent to hit per ring.  On that note, is -Evade and Deathblow on the same item even possible (that would be a dream item right there)?  I have never seen one in probably 10 hours total shophopping, never seen an amulet with both %Max Shield and Absorption either.

 

Anyway, it took me a frightfully long time to realize Flaring Nova was Revered Tech and not Celestial Magic.  I had since started using Combat Arts (at all, I had never really used them before because my Leech % and Attack Speed build killed everything so fast I never got the chance, as will any build stacking a town blacksmith's %damage I imagine) and wanted to make some changes.  I figured if I had Enhanced Perception at level 5 and Blacksmith at 1 and I wasn't using either, and desperately needed damage, I could do some more testing.  I already had Revered Tech *Focus* for shield levels, so I save-editor-swapped the skills for Combat Discipline and Revered Technology Lore (Flaring Nova damage and such, I had to have something).  I slapped a bunch of crappy (I wasn't shopping for hours for this) +All Skills and +All Combat Arts jewelry into my gear, and I learned some things in the process of playing around with it and getting to level 125:

1) Assailing Somersault isn't the long, slow, ungainly flight it might seem to be from the description or expectations.  It's actually more of a shadowstep-esque facestab with a big damage bonus.  You know those enemies that are always sauntering away from you at half a mile an hour, and whenever you try to hit them you MISS, REPEATEDLY, because you're always swinging where they used to be?  And then you have to realize what's happening after 3-4 failed swings and try to run ahead of them to actually hit them, all the while a dozen kobolds are throwing rocks at you and causing stuns?  Somersault them and use that lightsaber to brighten up where the sun don't shine.  Also great for leaping into big groups of enemies and putting yourself right where you want to be (in the middle, for splash damage if your weapon has that, and for Pelting Strikes).  You won't really be spamming it so I'd mod it for range, Area of Effect, and Stun.  You can leap into a group of enemies from all the way across the screen, and hit most of them and stun some of them... good times when stacked with Flaring Nova in a combo.

2) Pelting Strikes is one I tried over and over on an earlier Seraphim, and I hated it.  There was simply no point when twoshotting everything at hyperspeed, and it felt slow... sporadic, uncontrolled, and worse, unreliable.  When you do far less damage, Pelting Strikes is far more useful.  The damage bonus per strike is actually pretty large if you mod it for such things and have it at a decent level (and especially with Combat Discipline).  With Dashing Alacrity's bonus to attack/casting (and thus Execution) speed, it goes off pretty fast.  Also, the skill itself doesn't say so, but PS has a HUGE bonus to melee range, and the autotarget feature actually works pretty well if you just let it do its thing (and there's actually stuff to hit, I was killing things too fast and that was screwing with the skill on an earlier build).  I modded PS for 20% Double Hit for extra chance to splash, though some may want the 16% extra damage per hit to overcome armor.  Both are good, depends on your gear and your target.  With enough hit, reducing an enemy's defense is pointless, so mod it for cooldown.  I modded for armor reduction because the weapon I'm using does lowered damage of three different types, you may want to go 10% critical for an all-physical weapon.

3) Flaring Nova is, as I mentioned before, Revered Tech and not in the Magic school.  This means it may be a viable option for utility if you're already dealing in Revered Tech for Warding like my latest Seraphim.  You won't be hitting stuff across the screen with it, but you only need to hit stuff within the range of Pelting Strikes anyway, and enemies tend to group up fairly tightly when they do (if you jump on them early enough, they spawn and move in tight packs and then spread out when fighting).  The damage won't be great unless you're stacking tons of Revered Tech Lore (I didn't, I used it for utility not an attack), but all the power lies in the mods.  I modded it for two pulses which reduces its range (doesn't matter for what I wanted it for) and allows for a double-roll when stacked with the silver Stun mod.  Slowing the enemy down just seemed pointless to me if they're already all stunned or dead, so I took Flux at gold level for damage.  66% Flux damage and two pulses at -30% damage still makes for a nasty, quick ability with which to hit large groups.  Keeps those damned brownies from running in circles everywhere.

4) Soul Hammer was the one skill I did use on my first build, but that was more for giggles than anything else.  On the latest build I actually use it constantly.  I realized I could cast Dashing Alacrity, hold down left-click on an enemy to attack at full speed, and hold down right-click with Soul Hammer selected to have it automatically cast on cooldown as well (which is some serious number spam at 0.5 seconds, get some FIST, baby).  Open Wound isn't all that great, but 20+.2%/level crit is amazing for overcoming armor, especially on a skill that already packs a wallop like Soul Hammer (and with other skills/masteries and a few incidental pieces of gear, that total crit rate is probably going to be more like 50%).  Choosing between the Disarm mod and Armor Reduction, eh... I've always gone with Armor Reduction (especially lately, with the three-different-damage-types weapon I mentioned), but I suppose a 25%+ chance to disarm an enemy (the ones with weapons, anyway) could be useful if you're fighting extremely defensively against a boss.  Are there major bosses with weapons you can disarm?  Anyway, lastly is another "wounds" mod I don't like much because the only wounds that matter are Serious Open Wounds and neither mod on Hammer is Serious... besides, Coup de Grace is great.  It adds an additional 25+.5%/level Deathblow to Soul Hammer, which is a 100% chance to deal DOUBLE damage when an enemy is below that life threshold.  It does stack with Deathblow on other gear, though there are severe diminishing returns (50%, 30%, 30% may only give you 70% someodd total).  You will most certainly notice when fighting bosses and their health hits that threshold and Soul Hammer starts pounding huge chunks out of their life while your other attacks are scratching them.

 

I decided I liked some of these abilities and most of them were useful, so I threw them all together in a combo that I've used a LOT.  Use the minimap to figure out which enemy is the champion and pick on him, Assailing Somersault leaps into a pile of enemies, splashes (from the skill and may from a weapon too if it has that ability like Maul's Swordstaff or Sword of Rebellion), stuns things, Flaring Nova goes off after you're right on top of everything, hitting them all twice and stunning more stuff, Pelting Strikes swings wildly all over the place slapping down mostly-dead enemies, and then if the champion is still alive (and will definitely be in Deathblow range) they get a big Soul Hammer fist right in the mouth.

 

EDIT sidenote: I'm all about making games less annoying with personal touches.  I got annoyed with having to spam recast Dashing Alacrity (even though at this point its duration is longer than its cooldown, so it has no effect on combat at all) and I remember reading somewhere someone changed a buff, so I did some digging of my own.  Under Sacred/scripts/shared there's a file called Spells which contains all the characters' abilities.  Dashing Alacrity is called "Inspire" in german, or "se_co_befluegeln", and as a quick hackjob I modified the part that adds a fraction of a second duration per Art level from 200 something to 2000000.  That's "entry0 = {"et_duration_sec", 2000000, 10, 0, 8 },".  Now Dashing Alacrity lasts 20K seconds at this level and I can cast it once and forget about it, for less annoyance but no real combat impact.

 

EDIT 2: Oh mother Fuddruckers (it's a hamburger joint around here, I can use that word!) Combat Arts don't save their level in a combo anymore, I can't abuse it.  Anyway, I socketed all my bronze sockets (and a handful of silver for completion) with regen time and crit so that with Tactics Lore and gear I have 97% critical chance and most of my Arts have a regen time around 0.2 seconds.  I filled the rest with defense and a handful of damage.  The Arts have REALLY crappy damage now because they're all level 11 instead of 130, but we'll see how it goes... with all arts at level 130 and all skills at +300 I was smashing things pretty well with combos (Flaring Nova alone was doing 11K on both hits to a pretty wide area), and Soul Hammer was still hitting for 3-4% of the Undead General boss's HP, sometimes I saw 80K crits with it which nearly oneshots champions.  He put up a good fight but he's back in the dirt where he belongs.

Yeah, this is definitely the weakest setup I've ever had on this character, both defensively and offensively.  On the upside, my Arts cool down so fast I can spam anything I want and teleport all over the place every split second spamming stunnovas everywhere, but nothing does any real damage (except Soul Hammer spam at 0.2 seconds, which is a goddamn champion skill as I stated before).  For the first time ever, I actually had to use an Ice Crystal to convert the majority of my damage to one element to increase my ability to overcome armor.  Since I'm doing so little damage and most of the other... what are they called, Forge Modifiers or something?  They're based on damage types with secondary effects whose damage over time dealt is based on initial damage (and doesn't stack) and mine is garbage, so trying to spread fire or poison everywhere seemed less appealing than splash Freezing everything.  Might try a Magic Pearl too, not sure whether enemies have less Ice armor or Magic armor, or whether -% all stats is better than -25% attack and move speed.

The biggest thing I'm learning as I try different stuff is that some builds are definitely better than others, but I don't think you can *fail*.  Any idea you have, any way you want to play, you can find a path to success.  Unless you decide to play straightup naked, maybe I'll try that at level 200 just for giggles.

So yeah, that's what I learned today mommy

Edited by deusmurr
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After doing more playing around with Combat Arts (and catching a good case of wanderlust) I figured out sum mo' thangs, a few that come to mind:

1) East of Teardrop, way in the southeast of the first zone, there's a big area full of T-Energy blue goo, and massive amounts of T-Mutants.  I didn't think anything of it, but I wanted to see where the goo went and if there were any quests over there, so I wandered around killing everything that moved, leading to the first point... T-Mutants have a comparatively HUGE chance to drop the mutation sets, which seems intuitive but I never would have known.  The only other place I regularly find them is in certain types of chests and other environmental clickies.  Given I *did* kill the entire area which was hundreds and hundreds of mutants, I did get almost a full set of Megalcarwen's.  They don't really seem to drop much else.  Knowing where to find stuff is good information, so it's here.  And then holy crap, there's an entirely new area east of the blue goo that I somehow never noticed, it's like finding America in your backyard (in all my playing, story-wise I've never actually gotten past the second area north of the big gate).  Also, mutated dragons are pussies... I was wandering, saw a huge dragon appear on my screen and had the self-preservation OHGODITSCOMINGRIGHTFORMETACTICALFLEEING kick in... but once I had cleared an area to fight it, it died in a couple good whacks and didn't even drop anything.

2) I didn't notice until I got my regeneration to stupid-high levels, but I was wrong about Soul Hammer being instant, it most definitely does interrupt normal attacks instead of being an instant blow (at least at 0.2 seconds).  I did a fair bit of number watching, and with Soul Hammer on automatic I couldn't find any way to get it to weave with normal blows... the animation completely locks out normal swings and replaces your normal attacks.  Given my normal swings were hitting for ~12K and Soul Hammer was hitting for 18-20K, replacing my normal attacks wasn't so bad.  Dashing Alacrity alone is 80-110% attack speed at really high levels, and Sword Lore is 40%+ just from Mastery, making attack speed on gear totally pointless with a vanilla cap of 150%.  Given I have max attack speed modified to 250% and animation speeds, auto attacks and Soul Hammer were about the same DPS because Soul Hammer was hitting significantly slower, but vanilla games will find entirely replacing normal attacks with Soul Hammer (even at level 1) beneficial.  I will have to do some more testing with reading runes and find the level where weaving normal attacks is possible again, will edit when I get around to testing it.  Weeellll, off to see a Runemaster about some conversions...

With the game changed back to 150% max speed, using a two-handed lightsaber (I don't think the weapon type matters for 2h weapons, but the handed-ness does, weapon type DOES affect speed for 1h weapons), the exact Soul Hammer timer I needed to weave normal attacks in between was 1.0 seconds (tested on a Bloodclaw boss every 0.1 seconds difference).  In Deathblow range, I was doing 24-25k with normal attacks and 48-50k with Soul Hammer every 1.0 seconds... so basically, I was doing slightly more DPS with Soul Hammer at a lower level, doing 39-41K Deathblows but hitting slightly more than twice as fast, and using no normal attacks at all.  I assume a good part of that is Soul Hammer's extra damage, Deathblow, extra crit, etc... the difference would be significant on a different build less dumb than my current one.  Basically, for quality of life, keep Soul Hammer at level 1 and as fast as possible, or around 1.0 seconds... unless you're maxing it out to use as a massive killing blow, but it takes a LOT of runes read to increase the damage significantly.  I didn't test with a 1h weapon, and there's at least two different weapon speeds to test, and I... ugh.  Maybe later.

Also, three bosses at once is REALLY rough on only 180K shield, Divine Protection for the photo finish... almost died to wandering werewolves and rats once my shield cancelled itself.

 

3) Testing at 250% max speed (because that's what I play at, all of combat just *feels* smoother) at 0.6 second Soul Hammer I was able to weave attacks, and killed a Bloodclaw in 16.9, 17.0, and 18.1 seconds.  Testing at both 0.2 and 0.5 speed, I had 6 kill times between 21.4 and 23.0 seconds... so there's definitely a point where if you have enough Execution Speed (and Attack Speed to match) weaving normal attacks in between Soul Hammers will give you a significant damage boost.  I assume this point exists somewhere for a vanilla 150% speed (probably 1.0 seconds) but the difference wasn't really big enough to bother... it's huge at 250%.  I'm all tested out for now, back to doing quests (with my newfound attack strategy).

Edited by deusmurr
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I got kinda bored and was more interested in potential numbers than playing the game, so I ended up editor-bumping myself up to level 200 and farming some Megalcarwen's at max level (at least I think level 229 monsters will give max level, 230 set items).  I grabbed a bunch of perfect Wayne's amulets (the level 235 +9/+12All ones) and The Second Rings and stole some from the Elfy, and used Blacksmithing to fill every socket I had with silly amounts +All Skills and +All Combat Arts.  I wouldn't be fighting with them, but I socketed an Officer's Saber (3 gold sockets on a sword, yey!) and a Kufferath Defender (4 sockets on a shield, more yey!) because reasons.  The end result was +438 All Skills and +512 All Combat Arts, resulting in 1.3M shielding and a level 180 Soul Hammer with only 1 rune read (this is still very, very dumb, because of how abysmally poorly +Skills and Arts scales in huge amounts).  The regeneration on it ended up at something like 2.1s which allowed for 2-3 normal attacks in between Hammers... but the Hammer itself does SO much more damage than normal attacks (in Deathblow range it's like 30K vs 170K) that I very much doubt it's worth trying to optimize the speed to allow an extra attack... it'd just be lowering damage.  Combined with what's learned above, it seems reading a few runes at particular levels can increased your DPS by a lot by allowing an extra attack, but eventually if you keep your regen low enough by gaining Arts through gear and sockets, you will Hammer HARD enough that normal attacks are basically irrelevant in comparison.  Again, that basically means you can't screw it up too badly, which I suppose is a good thing.

Next project is to do some shophopping to see if I can find some beastly amulets and hit 10M shield.  SHOOT FOR THE STARS, LITTLE BILLY!

Oh, I just found a beastly pair of rings, one with -Opponent Chance to Evade and 54 flat physical, the other with -OCTEvade and 1.8s regen per hit.  I've never used that stat before, but a quick test says a skill hit can proc its own increased cooldown, so a 2.1s Hammer becomes 0.3 seconds essentially, allowing me to spam it at animation speed again.  Nah, that ain't broken at all...

The best amulet I managed to find was +56.2% Max Shields, and I duped the crap out of it, and filled every socket I could with it.  I filled bronze with The Second Rings.  No matter whether I started in full +All Skills or had gone to %Max Shields, my maximum shielding hovered around 1.61 million, I couldn't get it any higher without a much more significant time investment.  I did manage to find a single amulet with 25% Absorption by itself, making for 95% with one item.  Sacrificed a shield slot there, but it was too good to pass up,  Sooo, the final number to the question nobody ever asked, you can get a around 1.6 million shielding for a little patience, as a Seraphim.

After reinstalling the game to wipe out any mods I had and effects on stats they may have, my big shield set had 4.85M shielding rather than 1.6, so apparently one of my mods was nerfing it by quite a bit.  Also, I just died for the first time ever on three characters, on the Christmas Island just to make it worse.  Granted I was playing around with enemies set to deal 27x damage at the time, but still... died to treants wearing Christmas decorations stunlocking me.

Aaaand it turns out most of the problem I was having was with a specific enemies, trying to deal with those stupid Furies on Christmas Island, it wasn't the trees at all (something was stunlocking me, yes, but it was the furies who were stripping off all my shield instantly).  That all-shield build should do well against anything including enemies that leech, but the one thing it can't handle is enemies that strip buffs.  Apparently there are more enemies who do this, including some bosses, so I can't suggest it for a long-term choice anymore.  Just *poof* and suddenly your 20K hp is getting hit directly for full damage and you die in 3 seconds.  Maybe I'll play around with a life-build dual wielding with celestial magic and see what happens there, Combat Art slots are kinda scarce for that though.

Even with Celestial Magic Lore, Celestial Magic Focus, and Ancient Magic skills taken, it still seemed pretty pointless.  While it was amusing to round up dozens of enemies and fry them all with a Pillar, it did it slowly (at about 13K per tick) and in the same amount of time I could have slapped them all to death with swords.  Baneful Smite only did around 35K (each thorn from Glacial Thorns can hit that hard), even if it sometimes did it to more than one target.  Both skills had regeneration times around 19 seconds.  I don't see how a Seraphim specializing in magic is supposed to compare to something like Glacial Thorns, which ends up firing 150+ thorns a shot and can be spam cast at 0.4 seconds.  The High Elf I played around with ended up being the fastest boss killer I've had so far (including vs the Seraphim when I was stacking huge amounts of Leech %)... she simply 3-shot whatever boss got close.  Instill Belief is useful CC in a pinch, but normally simply being careful will remove the need for it... might help against stuff like the Furies if you do stick with a shield build in a game where they can be instantly stripped off.  If you need to heal, Hallowed Restoration is... not worth the Art slot, we have potions for that (even if it can break some status effects, the nasty ones will prevent you from using Restoration anyway like Stun).  If you need more than one or two potions, you're not prepared for wherever you're adventuring.  Cleansing Brilliance is just terrible compared to the other buffs (BFG, Warding, Battle Stance are all potentially amazing).  So overall, Celestial magic is... junk.  Opinion, but strong enough I don't think I could be convinced otherwise.

Edited by deusmurr
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I beat the Gar'Colossus without any real effort, am now dual-wielding two leftover low level Ancrid's Blade (the little dex shortswords with Double Hit on them and not much else but sockets).  The more I try to do new things, the more items I find are actually pretty useful, even if they don't seem like it at first.  The Colossus hit me for 10,000 a few times so I used a few potions, but since it was exactly 10K multiple times I assume it was something scripted and I probably wasn't supposed to be standing in it, but I've been challenging death just to see if it'll happen.  Reminds me of the ONE time in Sacred 1 I died as a BFG build, I stood in a dragon's ground Area of Effect just to see if I could survive it.  LOLNOPE is your answer, sir.  I'm only hitting for 8-11k or so, but dualwield shortswords attack pretty fast compared to everything else, and given 90% someodd Double Hit the numbers fly (55% from DW skill with an +All Skills set, 8-9% from each Ancrid's Blade, more from Pelting Strikes' mod).  I'm curious whether Pelting Strikes' Double Hit mod scales in any way, the numbers on the wiki seem to imply the "more damage per hit" doesn't, then there are formulae near the bottom that suggest it does (at 16% bonus + .4% per CA level), but I don't see anything for Double Hit... is it just a flat 20% chance?  All those flat bonuses like the Battle Stance's Reflect Close Combat's 20% reflect seem big at first, and the "insignificant" parts that people overlook (like Battle Stance also getting .1-1.0% RefCC per Art level) can make a huge difference in the long run, especially if using a build stacking +All Skills to boost Maximum Level Without Penalty and then boosting those Art levels as well.  I don't know exactly how the scaling works (the chart on the wiki is a little wonky) but that CCRef on BS can get up to damn near 100% by itself at massive levels.  Soul Hammer's Coup de Grace mod (25+0.5/level% Deathblow) scales to the point where at around level 150 *every* blow is a Deathblow, all of them (and much sooner if your other gear has some DB).  This kind of thing is important to know, it's part of why alternating normal attacks and Soul Hammers worked so well.  The first hit ensures the enemy has been damaged (in case DB *can't* function on 100% life, I'm not sure), and then even if they're at 98% Soul Hammer still does double damage and rips off 80% of a champion's life in one go.  I could try *testing* my Double Hit chance with Pelting Strikes, but that's way more data than I want to collect for a game that isn't a traditional MMO (and I certainly won't be playing Sacred 2 for 25-30K hours like I did some others).

Which reminds me, I should remove BS' Retaliation mod and switch it to Idol just to see the difference.  I don't play with other people, but I'm curious to see the floods of numbers I've been ignoring and what they amount to.

Something in one of those difficulty mods I removed must have been changing the level things spawn at, because all the level 215-218 monsters disappeared... they're all 185-194 now and not dropping max level stuff.  I have a while to go before I get back to max level drops again I suppose, not sure when that happens story-wise (if it does at all, I hope enemies keep scaling up).  Maybe at some point I'll just sprint through the main quest to see if I can find some high level areas, and come back for all the sidequests later (or not at all, depending on how bored I get).

I have a compulsion that makes me go grab any ?quests I see while I can see them, even if I don't do them until later, so I don't miss them when I go to clear parts of the map, and just ran into Pennsakk the orc.  Apparently he's going to be my buddy for a good long time, but at least he can't die.  I was looking up what I screwed up so I could get rid of him, and apparently he sticks around for another two whole zones or something until Seraphim Isle.  And then I saw some quests down south of the area only to find they were all the first *timed* quests I'd seen, so I had to do those.  Just sprinting to the next main objective isn't working very well, what with all the escorts and such that keep popping up.  I ran into a quest to kill a boss ogre that wasn't very hard, but the Ice Elemental boss was a pain.  How are you supposed to kill him anyway, fire?  All of the weapons I had were modified for lovetap physical and 81% ice damage (since almost nothing had serious ice armor up until this thing).  I didn't have any weapons that dealt fire to test it and I couldn't hurt the stupid thing, all I could do was reflect on myself.  I ended up summoning my carrier imp and pulling an old low-level two-hander out of the stash and killing him with Leech % (as long as the blow connects, they take the damage no questions asked).

Got my thuper thpecial kitty mount, after reloading the game a couple times.  One of the enemies I was supposed to kill for the quest was showing up on the map but not actually appearing in the game world.  If I had known how easy the quest was I would have done it much earlier.  The animations are a bit wonky, at least for dual wielding, but the movement speed is nice and it can go anywhere except in caves.  One kobold I killed (for the pumpkin and kobold heart soup quest) didn't drop a heart, and no other kobolds I went to hunt down had one either.  I wandered back by some 20 quests and a few game reloads later and there was a heart just laying in the field... that completed the quest.

I now have the Enemy_armor, weapondamage, spelldamage stats in Balance.txt set to 37K, 27K, 27K for Niobium (30, 20, 20 higher than normal).  I'm not sure exactly how much effect each of those stats has or the mechanics, but I have noticed that armor seems to actually make a difference now (hence changing my damage type to ice).  A lot of enemies still barely tickle, like little rats hitting for 1k (still way higher than the 150-200 they were doing), but bosses are REALLY starting to hurt, especially spells. 

Edited by deusmurr

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Looking at above, I did some playing around, and turning off Battle Stance's CCReflect didn't seem to make any difference, and I realized why when I saw that enemies only had a 2% chance to hit me.  The kittymount's defense bonus, Battle Stance's (enormous, was over 1,000%) defense bonus plus evasion bonus, other gear's evasion, +Skills boosting Combat Reflexes, etc... no wonder nothing was hitting me at all.  Just another example of how one can "accidentally get unkillable".  Even wearing a Tabula Rasa Megalcarwen's set ("blank slate", nothing in the sockets at all) and getting off the kitty and such, most things' chance to hit me was around 24%.  I suppose that means CCRef is mostly just an extra layer of protection (a very potent one with some builds), though an unnecessary one.  Going back to filling Bronze sockets with crit and -regentime, and filling the rest with off-class runes for Leech on Hit, because it's one of the weakest setups I can think of that might be amusing for a while.

Edit: After fixing a few things to go rune hunting (and looking for a couple Khandar's Slicers, just to go with the Leech on Hit theme) and with this intentionally crappy setup and the Balance.txt tweaks, bosses are SCARY (now that they can actually hit me).  With as long as the health bar takes to update and as slow as potions work and such, getting repeatedly hit for a third to half my health (anywhere from 18 to 25K kept popping up, usually alongside a big red "you about to die, son" flashiness) kept me wondering if I was going to win once that second boss joined in.  This is what I wanted, challenge!  Also, spitting spiders are rather nasty in huge packs.

I decided that if I'm going to do something for giggles, I might as well overdo it and +10 Life Leech on Hit per socket wasn't enough.  I hopped on the elfy with mad +Skills and did some shopping, found tons of nice stuff (%Damage and Flat Physical ring, Deathblow and %Crit rings, Leech and Dual Wield, Deathblow and 60% ice damage, Damage and +9 All Skills, etc).  I shopped for a couple hours and only ended up socketing the Deathblow and Leech things, because I wanted to keep things civil.  I ended up with 85% crit (which is a minor bonus, several DB rings had crit on them), 87% Deathblow (which is massive), and 3,300 life stolen per hit (to be determined, don't think it'll heal me through an angry boss very well).  That set sword thingy may be better than Khandar's Slicer for this, I'd have to find one at high level to know for sure... Holy Wrath, that's the name.  Yet another item I've found tons of and thrown out that I eventually want to play with.  EDIT: Nope, can't leech through a boss wailing on me for 25K a hit (half my health).  Halving enemy damage (to still about triple what Niobium usually is), I can barely beat these about half the time... Life Leech on Hit just isn't enough damage or healing for when the dookie hits the industrial fan.  Would probably work well if I didn't have enemy damage multiplied so high though.

Do a lot of bosses have the Enraged buff?  Now that my damage output and defense are low enough to actually see it, I swear these Bloodclaws are doing more and more damage the lower their health gets, to the point that even after halving their damage (so the fights start with them hitting for 5k or so) they still end up nearly, or actually, twoshotting me at the end.  Half of these fights I'm not winning because Divine Protection is as unresponsive as the rest of the controls can be.  The bosses are hilariously easy to beat on two conditions, one of them well-known:

1) I swap out a ring and amulet for the Tooth and Nail set bonus of Leech %, the item level doesn't matter.  Now I'm stealing 60K life per swat and I'm basically unkillable, particularly dual wielding dexterity weapons (which gives the fastest swing speed).  Big Bad Bosses just fall over like a regular champion.

2) For some reason, the boss takes a liking to my buddy Pennsakk, and tries to kill him, and only him.  He's immune to damage and fights, keeping the thing's attention while I stab its back into oblivion.  Someone may want to keep him around for doing just that in some games, so I mention that it happens.  Maybe someone could cheese a boss to death with it if they had to.

 

Speaking of cheesing, getting pretty bored.  I threw on a full set of 12.5% Leech and threw a Gruma's Talisman or two into select sockets (and actually grabbed Toughness just because it's like 31% at high levels).  Just to be a pain in my rear, I *finally* found a Kira's Wall after I'm never using a shield again... bleh.  I've just been blowing through everything as fast as I can, don't really even care about quests anymore (though I have 409 complete at this point, so I made it most of the way).  I need a new job like Giles the librarian, just luridly staring at the Seraphim all day.  He's right though, Seraphim do have great tittles (they're particularly fond of large tittles over their "I"s) and most of them do have great firm asse- I mean they have a FIRM reputation as great war ASSETS, that's it.  Dragon and Carnach weren't anything special as far as I saw.

 

There were skeleton mages in the swamp using some sort of Life Leech Spell (and it had no initial tracer, only the return trace of Life Leech, so I assume it bypasses evasion or sidestepping it and simply "you take this much damage, too bad, deal with it").  I don't know whether the damage dealt was a little over 8K or around 16-17%, but it wasn't very dangerous after switching from an all-shield build.  If it's a flat 8K damage, those would be terrifying as a no-life build... if it's percentage, then it's just as inconsequential unless you're allowing yourself to be chased by 10 of them at once.  Oh, I also have spell damage turned up to 27,850%, maybe that's some of it, will have to test.  No, with the vanilla damage setting and being mounted the damage actually went UP (health percent gained on mounting), so it's definitely percentage-based.  I kept reading "oh but wait until you get to the swamp, theeeee swaaaaaammmppp", but there wasn't really anything here except a bunch of dead dudes too slow to catch me and a bunch of dumb critters that don't (drop tables, *can't*) drop anything but potions.  The Miasma was more of a waiting game than anything else... with all the Arts in my big combo specced for Area of Effect stuns and damage, I just aoesploded everywhere whenever the Miasma thingies spawned adds, and then stood in the lightning downing a potion once in a while waiting for more stuff to whack, repeat until dead (which takes FOREVER, good thing I carry three stacks of potions for no particular reason).  I tried and I certainly have the footspeed to just run circles around them, but was too lazy to do so... why go through all that effort when the other option is just... like... not, yeah, let's not do that.

Edited by deusmurr

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Oh boy, the desert!  Griffins, sand people, scorpions, scarabs, harpies, spiders, and for some reason, lions (lions DO frequent some parts of the desert, but it still seems so out-of-place that most people would think otherwise).  At least the monster variety is back.  The northwest side of the desert seems packed with enemies, and lots of champions, would be a great place for grinding experience and loot.  The lions in the southwest are the only filthy potion-droppers that I could see, everything else has lewtz.  Just kill it all and take its stuff, what does a scorpion need a pair of boots for anyway?  IRRELEVANT, your mission in life in to kill everything and take all the stuff. 

Garganthropod was a joke.  I said I was bored, remember?  I took off my Leech %, wore the Leech Per Hit stuff, and took off my weapons entirely.  I punched him right in the mouth for 7K (with Pelting Strikes spam) until he died.  It took a good long while, and he never did much more than snippetysnip with his claws and try to sting with his tail (UNDERGROUND for some reason, how stupid can a scorpion be?)

And in the jungle, a VTOL demon?  Seriously, what the flying fyou know what?  Not even worth the effort of the fantastic four-letter word.  Someone would just edit it out of my post anyway.  Never mind.

Short Story: Dryad Area.  Stuff lived; all dead.

Joking aside, these areas are getting shorter and shorter, which is probably a good thing.  Patience has limits, people.  Facetteleon only did twice as much damage with his lightning as the little Fenfire Wisps were, he was only leeching from me for 418 (or was it 481? Pointless either way) and only when I stood right next to him.  He didn't seem to do much else.

In the Wasteland, the Demons there (NOT the flying demons as I've read, the sickly purplish-gray alien-lookin' thingies) have a percentage-based lifesteal lightning spell as the skeleton mages did in the swamp.  Again, 11k unmounted and 16-17k mounted.  They also aren't guaranteed to use it, and it has a LONG cooldown when they do.  As far as I can tell, if they're going to use it, they open with it and will be dead before they can cast it again so... don't aggro a dozen at once?  I read in a few places it was Flying Demons that caused problems, but I been eyein' dem rascals for three zones now and not seen a thing.  So far the only real threat I've seen to a Warding build is champion Harpies and Furies (which are just tiny harpies on Christmas Isle) that can debuff.  EDIT: OH, the flying demon eyeballs in the far, far southeast area (Bloodwood), and the Draconic Dragonflies, those are the Leech % enemies, and they can use skills every 10 seconds or so.  Definitely percentage-based damage, was hitting me for 7-10K and 12-17K (dragonflies and eyeballs) depending on whether I was mounted... so again, not exactly a huge percentage.  Just don't aggro a dozen of them and you'll be fine, even if you have 16K life and 3M shielding.  Also, in the far northwest area there are crystals that have a % Lifesteal, again the usual damage range.  Nonthreatening.

Didn't bother screwing with the guardians, just slaughtered them in a couple seconds each (I was more interested in what they could drop).  At level 216 (level 200 with 97% survival bonus, don't know how much that affects it but there you go), they were high enough level to drop stuff like a 230 Kira's Wall and some 225 set items, but *not* high enough level to drop the 230 Megalcarwen's stuff (or the 230 Sword of Rebellion, it was 220).  Either there's higher level stuff somewhere, or some of the items I've found were only possible because Mooney's mod jacked up monster levels to 218 (and 220) in some areas.  I'm surprised nobody jumped in when I mentioned it earlier and said 'SCUSE ME THERE SIR, THAT CAN'T ACTUALLY HAPPEN!  Oh, they don't even respawn either, so that's garbage.  Must be a multiplayer-only thing.

I'm not doing all the quests in Bloodwood to figure out which ones open Abishai Stronghold, but the enemies only scale up to 210 here anyway.  Checking out the far northwest, please hold... going to bed at the moment, so you may be on hold for a while.  Just like a REAL on-hold call, right?

Edited by deusmurr

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One last post for now, finished most of the crystal area on the far northwest, nothing really exciting except huge amounts of enemies, more than I saw anywhere else in the game.  Most of them only drop potions though, so figure out which ones for yourself and focus on others.  Apparently the highest level anything gets is 221, and all the bosses were 220.  That's high enough level to drop a 235 Wayne's Wild Rage, but I didn't see any level 245 The Second Ring (the highest level thing I ever saw) or any 230 Megalcarwen, though 230 Megalcarwen was dropping off level 218 creatures with Mooney's mod.  Must have tweaked something, I guess.  Also, just to reiterate the power of -Opponent Chance to Evade, I went through the entire game with a single ring with -Evade, and little to no attack, -defense, or anything else, and against level 220 bosses and the guardians I still had 100% chance to hit (96% against Narmul, don't pick at 4%).  That's a SINGLE instance of -Evade, -30-40% on a ring.  It's *that* powerful, get it, wear it, love it.

Think I'm going go see if Sacred 3 is as bad as I've read, oh joy (EDIT: it is, I'm not finishing this nonsense).  Hope I was informative and at least mildly entertaining.

Edited by deusmurr

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