Author Topic: Storm: tricky mage - A look at storm skills by a biased mage player  (Read 217 times)

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Offline botebote77

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Yep title says it. This is actually my 2nd mastery guide (1st one was rogue). But unlike rogue which I've played as melee, archer, throwing weapon, mage, and petmaster, I've only played storm as a mage. Well, i think storm is best played as a mage anyway. Like my rogue guide, i will include spoiler videos to show some of my old tricks. Active members of this forum have probably seen these videos. I will not rate the skills though because it's... just.... too... hard :)

Storm has 2 skills that i would recommend for every build with storm no matter the playstyle or stat distribution is: squall and spell breaker. I'm not saying it's a must but if you want your gaming to be easier, i highly suggest you get those two.

Storm Mastery at lvl32:
+96 int
+32 dex
+672 health
+480 energy

Squall and Obscured Visibility:

These 2 combined are just so good i consider squall the best skill in the game (biased :))  ).. Obviously very good against archers and throwing weapon users but it's also good against melee mobs because it reduces physical damage by percent. Not that you would want to tank just because you have squall but it's a good defensive skill. It's also a good offensive skill because it reduces enemy resistances by percent. Only by percent but can you imagine if the devs made it flat with the same value? It would be too OP. What makes squall better is it only has 5 seconds recharge. It's not too long by itself but if you play caster, you usually would want CDR items. The recharge time becomes 1 second with 80% CDR.

Spell Breaker and Spell Shock

The other great skill. But unlike squall where you basically cast it all the time, spell breaker is only situational. Spell breaker dispels enemy buffs, drains their mana, and provides skill disruption. You can also use this to dispel hostile debuffs on yourself like study prey and ensnare. Some bosses have high skill disruption protection and energy leech resist so you can't rely on this too much. Still it helps big time against baddies like Typhon, Dactyl, Fafnir, etc. Also, i once killed myself by hitting a monster with energy shield (another storm skill) with lethal strike. I forgot it has reflection. If you have storm, you can dispel their energy shield 1st before attacking. Skill disruption seems to last longer if you cast squall first before spell breaker. I have no real evidence other than just the feel by doing it countless times. But it's possible because skill disruption is displayed as a secondary resistance on the 2nd tab of your character page. Unlike squall where it's very good to max even in early game, you can get by with just 1pt each for the most part of the game. Late game though consider maxing this skill tree. Side note: In TQIT, spellbreaker can kill bosses with just the energy drain but that was a broken mechanic and has since been fixed by the devs. It's still a very good debuff skill though and it has saved me many times from being mobbed by beastmen (ensnare).

Dactyl can't attack with his wave like thingy
Spoiler for Hiden:
Fafnir forced to attack melee
Spoiler for Hiden:
in case start time function didnít work, the spellbreaker trick starts at 1:43
spellbreaker dispels Typhon's thorns
Spoiler for Hiden:
Typhon thorns gone with spellbreaker 00:14, 00:54, 01:15, 01:55, 02:15

Ice Shard skill tree

Very good early game skill. You can clear normal with just this skill alone. If you plan to use this as your main skill all throughout the game including legendary, be sure to provide ample support. If you search for ice shard builds, the 2 most popular are probably druid and paladin. Druid is quite easy to understand because nature has briar ward and plague. Briar ward helps with survivability and energy cost while plague reduces enemy resistances. You can also have pets and of course HoO. But what  about Paladin? It seems best for melee but why are there many ice shard builds on youtube? Well, i played an ice shard paladin in TQIT and here is the answer i came up with: Ice shard is not a hit and run skill. It does very little damage if you use it like that. If you want to deal good damage you have to spam it. But if you spam it, it makes your toon static making you vulnerable to attacks. In comes defense. Defense does not have many CCs but when it comes to tankiness, Defense is still the best defense. So it helps offensively by being good defensively. What about attribute points? You need str and also int. Armor handling helps with that. It's still gear dependent because you probably would want Persephone's Caress. If you don't want to invest too many on str, you can look for swords that have % cold and frostburn suffix like of rime or of ice. You're lucky if you find it with a Tyrant's prefix. Requirement reduction items can also help. There is a less popular Persephone's Caress ice shard build. It's a Thane wielding 2 Persephone's Caress. If you have ragnarok, Rune allows you to equip 2 Persephone's without investing on str. If you want a tankier mage, Svalinn is a good shield option. cough *menhir wall* cough. Ice shard is one of the most mana intensive skills in the game so consider getting energy cost reduction or high energy regen.

Lightning Bolt and Chain Lighting

TQIT, you could actually beat legendary with this skill alone. But those CDR OP days are long gone now. With 80% CDR capping, you can't get this to anything lower than 2.4 seconds, meaning you have to pair it with another skill of about the same recharge time or lower. Some examples are distort reality from dream and thunder strike from rune. But you know what i love about this skill? You can cast it on the far end of your screen and it will hit enemies even if you only managed to hit the ground. This results in tricks like clearing the secret passage without opening the gates or using it against the act 3 demon bull and then running back to the bridge. What about the damage? It might suck in legendary if you don't give it any support. Reduce resistances first.

beat secret passage the chicken way
Spoiler for Hiden:
in case start time function didn't work, lightning bolt trick starts at 2:57

Thunder Ball and Concussive Blast

Not a fan of this skill. But that's because i don't play storm as a melee char. The targeting mechanic makes this hard to hit your target if you are a ranged/caster build. It might be easier if you bind this to RMB but the problem is there are lots of better skills to bind to RMB. If you're somehow tanky like a melee storm, this will be easier to use. I always play storm as a mage so i tend to always avoid this. heck if i can play a conqueror as a mage, i will play it as a mage (lulz).

Storm Nimbus, Heart of Frost and Static Charge

The base skill gives little damage to your weapons but the 2nd and 3rd synergies are often maxed for certain builds. Max heart of frost if you deal cold damage like ice shard or ternion cold staff. Max static charge if you deal lightning damage like lightning bolt or ternion lightning staff. In AE/R, static charge also boosts EBD so that means it also boosts skills like distort reality, distortion wave, and thunder strike. However, if you are a weapon user investing on int, it might be worth maxing the whole skill tree. Throwing Knife (rogue skill) is considered a weapon attack so storm nimbus tree also boosts throwing knife. (ahh my favorite :) how i miss this)

Freezing Blast

In AE/R, this skill lowers physical resist by 100%. But don't be fooled into thinking you deal more physical damage if you cast this first. This skill gives damage absorption to frozen enemies by 66% and damage absorption cannot be reduced and is computed last after resistances and armor. So even if you deal double damage, you still take away more than half of the total. This means this skill is still best used as a CC. As a mage, i tend to ignore this skill but i remember one time when playing multiplayer, i was saved by this skill by a party member. i was running away with my health very low but my pots still in cooldown. Buddy cast freezing blast on the monsters pursuing me and i was saved :)

The Almighty Wisp

One pet that is good on all 3 difficulties even if you leave it at only lvl 1. Even at lvl 1, this pet already has 99% chance to avoid projectiles and melee attacks. It will still die against AoE spells but for the most part of the game, it will stay alive. And even if it dies you can just resummon it. But what makes this pet so good is eye of the storm. It increases your elemental damage by 100% at 8/8 and 140% at 12/8. This is a must for storm spellcasters. It's also an aura so it also boosts your pets and allies if you play in multiplayer. That means if you equip elemental pet buffs like jewelry, it increases your pets' elemental attacks. As a mage player though i always favor mage jewelry like occult rings rather than pet buff jewelry (yeah I'm biased). This also provides lighting and cold resist.

Storm Surge

For me, this is a one-point wonder. I like it for the stun and yes it always procs because you will still get hit. One point won't hurt.

Energy Shield and Reflection

This has been changed in AE/R. In TQIT, the damage absorption is flat so the aura disappears when the absorption dissipates. But in AE/R, the absorption is percentile and the aura lasts 100 seconds. One thing to note is the buff is absorption. So it's still good even if you already have high lightning and cold resists. One side note: I always recommend getting high resists even if you already have damage absorption. Reflection is the better skill of the 2 imo. It reflects all types of damage, not just lightning and cold. Imo late game when you've already maxed your core skills, reflection is a good choice to sink your loose skill points. It's only percent chance to proc but when it procs, the damage returned is more than doubled. And as I've said before, you will still get hit. One trick here is you can cast it on your pets and allies too giving them thorns. But if you have many pets/allies, casting this every 100 seconds will be painful :/

Some storm builds i can recommend:

Spoiler for Hiden:
Tsunderer.. oh sorry i mean Thunderer. This class offers many possible playstyles
noogensí thunderer
Spoiler for Hiden:
i haven't recorded a good video of my thunderer so I'll just use my naruto edition video
Spoiler for Hiden:
Spoiler for Hiden:
noogensí druid
Spoiler for Hiden:

You can play storm as a spellcaster, weapon user or a mix of both. Weapon users has the potential to deal higher single target damage but spellcasters can deal better AoE damage and is easier to use when kiting in my experience. Many people still think spellcasters fall off in legendary. It does not if you know what you are doing. Monsters just get resistances in higher difficulties that's why they get tougher. If you have items that reduce resistances, it's easier to debuff if you're a weapon user. Spellcasters on the other hand can equip Aphrodite's Favor and not be bothered by the mind control. You can still reduce resistances of bosses and they won't get mind-controlled by Aphrodite's Favor. Consider equipping a boreas staff or similar resistance reduction items on secondary. I specialize on caster builds. If you want to play storm as a weird melee hybrid, other veterans in this forum can give better help. Ask @gasconron   :) . If you want to play a ternion oracle, ask @Tauceti  :) . Other veterans in this forum can probably also help. Those 2 names are just what came to my mind when i wrote hybrid melee and ternion build.

I think i somehow made a reference to every class except hunting and earth. Hunting, i haven't paired it with storm yet but i think this could be good as a ranged attacker. Monster lure is just so good with high CDR. You can take my word on this. And with high CDR, you can have permanent call of the hunt (65% or above). It's up to you if you're ready to play hybrid though. I think you can also play it as an ice sharder. Abuse monster lure, squall and study prey-flush out. Elementalist, the only experience i had with this class was back in TQIT and i only made it good when i was able to stack very high CDR (>90%). It's not possible in AE/R anymore. You can visit @Firebrand 's earth guide here for more info on earth. @CrocMagnum  is another earth nut that can probably help.

special thanks to noogens (JTN gaming) for Druid and Thunderer videos
gasconron, Tauceti, Firebrand and CrocMagnum because i used their names (without permission) and redirected other members to them for advice/tips
« Last Edit: 28 May 2018, 00:38:22 by botebote77 »
i eat mana for breakfast
Spoiler for Hiden:

Offline Firebrand

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It doesn't show, but it's one of my favorite masteries. It's less about the skills and more about the powers they command - thunder, lightning and cold call to me as much as fire itself does.

I might have repeated it to boredom, but my first character was an Elementalist. Based on what I said above, it should be no surprise...

That said, I was woefully incompetent at the game back then. When choosing equipment, the weapon DPS was what I primarily had in my mind. It worked well enough for the very first stages of the game... And from there, it was slow, painful progress until around epic Act III I decided to call it quits, and switched to the Brigand (this was before Anniversary Edition, mind you).

The Brigand tore through all difficulties effortlessly, dying for the first time against Typhon in epic, to his reflection attack the existence of which I wasn't even aware of... And I finished Legendary with I think under ten deaths. Best I've ever done... But that's irrelevant for now. The character is lost to a HDD failure, and I have moved on.

The point is, the Brigand taught me my lesson, and indirectly, some insight how the Elementalist was supposed to be played. I switched to more traditional mage equipment, and with some difficulty, but made it through legendary.

I don't know how I managed. I was still inexperienced, and woefully underestimated the importance of resistance reduction in general, and as such, Squall. I didn't use them much - but then again, between Volcanic Orb, Eruption, Ice Shard, and Lightning Bolt, I had four damage types at my disposal, and enemies were generally weak to at least one of those, a weakness I could hit.

I'm planning to go through the game as an Elementalist once more, for old times' sake, and for a much improved experience. So I might be able to provide some insight regarding that once I get around to it.

Lightning Bolt with Chain Lightning was one of my favorite skills from the old days, and I'm very eager to use it again. I also feel ready to give Ice Shard a proper shot; it seems a better base attack replacement than Flame Surge, if only by the virtue of its better range. Let the elements rain down on them!

Thanks for writing up this guide. It's a lot of help in my planning; I'll make sure not to neglect Squall ever again!

Offline CrocMagnum

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Hi! So Iím an earth nut now? Nice guide, botebote77. :) I might add:

- Squall: its radius increases with Skill Level: LV1: 4 meters / LV 12/12: 10 meters!,

This is truly is awesome. Just like the Necromancer in Diablo 2 -with his Skill Corpse Explosion- the mere fact of increasing the radius of the skill increases your DPS greatly. And you DO some good damage with Squall on Normal,

Note: if only Seal of Fate (Rune Mastery Skill) could increase with level too that would be solid.

- About the Wisp he unlocks a new Skill at LV5 named Thunderclap. The skill has a modest radius (3 meters) and deals some Lightning Damage but I like it for the Stun,

- Storm Surge: in Immortal Throne the hidden cooldown of this skill was 6 seconds, which is actually a blessing if you're playing a melee character, 

- your comment about Sage [Storm+Hunting] reminded me of the Avenger guide where I compared Sage and Avenger, hereís a excerpt:
Avenger vs Sage (Hunting + Storm)

Big match here. Because if you want to do Elemental Damage with a Bow youíll have to consider either Earth or Storm. But to cut it short (I need some sleep) Storm wins easily:

- Storm slows down monsters naturally with the skill ďHeart of FrostĒ. This is invaluable. On the other hand my Avenger can thank his Might of Hephaestus Artifact which granted him a 50% Slow as a completion bonus. This was invaluable!!

- You should also factor in Spellbreaker / Spell Shock which stripes monsters from their auras. What is a Melinoes Blade Dancer or a Phalanx Formicid Captain without onslaught? A pussy!!

- a Sage gets 2 debuffs instead of one! And what debuffs!! Squall & Study Prey will multiply your damage by a phenomenal margin! An Avenger can't possibly compete in this regard. The only thing that might turn you off is this: casting Squall & Study Prey constantly might cause your fingers to explode !! You've been warned! 

- With Eye of the Storm (synergy of the Wisp): a Sage can benefit from a + 100 % Elemental Damage! Thatís crazy!

Cons: but when your Wisp dies your DPS drops heavily,

Pro Rebuttal: Yes but it just takes 20 seconds to recast a Wisp. And with some - recharge gear that problem is out of the way. On the other hand when the Avengerís Core Dweller dies itís a Tragedy! (90 sec to recast!). It just feels like shopping naked in the middle of a Walmart!!...