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Messages - Firebrand

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1
Guides AE / Re: Earth: An Attempt at a Comprehensive Guide [Ragnarök]
« on: 14 September 2018, 20:23:02 »
Sorry; I'm back for now, though I can't tell how long it'll last.

In a more or less random order:

Staves

In Normal Greece, Glowing Rod can turn you into an engine of destruction. +2 to Volcanic Orb when you likely only have one point in it is absolutely phenomenal and you'll see yourself one-shot entire groups with some good timing.

Pharaoh's Standard is what you want, early on. It might very well last into epic and even legendary if you don't get lucky with other drops. That thing can drop as early as Normal Egypt and it's absolutely fantastic. Recharge reduction, energy cost reduction, fire damage bonus, burn damage bonus, and a few minor things, but what else do you need? It's everything an Earth caster needs rolled into a very stylish package. If you have one, don't hesitate to give it a try!

Blastos Fotia: I've never had it drop, hard as I tried. It looks amazing until you get the late-game legendary staves. Huge fire and burn damage bonuses, bonuses to some skills, and even a casting speed bonus. The attack speed bonus seems largely wasted, however.

Eye of Osiris: I'm not entirely sure about endgame staves, really, but Eye of Osiris seems a really good candidate. Pretty good bonus to fire and burn damage, and +2 to all Earth skills means you're half-covered in your more important mastery already. The fire resistance is likely going to be redundant, but poison resistance is nice. Reduction to requirements and the other bonuses don't seem very impactful, though. On the other hand, if you're into that kind of thing, you can do a really good Eye-themed pyromancer with Eye of Osiris, Eye of Flame and Eye of Ra, all of which obviously work really well together! It might not be the most effective, but it's fun.

Goldbristle: I don't have one, so can't tell. The elemental damage bonus, recharge reduction and bonus to all skills look pretty neat, and it seems to have some decent resistances.

Heka Staff: While I'd personally probably stick to pure fire staves for thematic reasons, you're unlikely to use staff attacks at this point, and the huge recharge and energy cost reduction drives a hard bargain. No fire or burn damage bonus, though.

Staff of the Cosmos: I'm planning to revisit my Elementalist sometime, and this seems to be my staff of choice. Bonus to elemental damages, energy cost reduction, and an enormous increase in casting speed. This and Archmage's Clasp should have you pretty much covered.

Can't think of more right now.

As for Flame Surge, I agree: It's better, but it's still underwhelming. As a caster, you don't really want to be close enough to enemies for it to work. Still, if you get its recharge to zero (one of the few skills for which it is possible), you'll utterly mow down melee mobs before they'd have a chance to lay a hand on you. Still, almost all Earth casters will have better alternatives; Summoner seems to be the sole exception, and it actually synergizes well with Flame Surge with its superior durability and Briar Ward.

If you want to focus on Earth, and more specifically Volcanic Orb and Eruption, you'll probably want a supporting secondary mastery. I'd probably recommend Nature. You get more summons to distract enemies, Plague and especially Susceptibility to lower both their elemental and physical resistances to further increase the rate at which you murder them, a quasi-energy-cost-reduction in Tranquility of Water (bit ironic, though), and some other neat survivability stuff, though they're really not all that important if you ask me. Your secondary mastery's purpose should be to allow you to incinerate enemies even faster, and I think that most of the other masteries would more serve as distractions, and wouldn't be as effective at supporting your playstyle. But I could be wrong. (That said, Elementalists are still incredibly cool.)

Nerthus Armbands is pretty good, especially if you do go down the Summoner route, but I'm not sure I'd take it over Archmage's Clasp. Still, bonus skills, recharge reduction, and resistances. The casting speed bonus is pretty tiny, unfortunately.

2
Earth AE / Re: Hybrid Melee/Caster Juggernaut
« on: 14 September 2018, 20:01:01 »
Sorry I'm responding only now; I have been occupied with other things. I only recently started to visit the forum again.

I have tried strength-based Earth characters, but never got too far with them. Early-game, they seem to work well. Going pure strength with Earth characters seems to have one flaw; you're missing out big time on the damage-over-time component, which has been made pretty big with Anniversary Edition.

3
They should stack.

Dual Wield gives you a chance to hit simultaneously with both weapons; Reckless Offense will actually grant you three hits in rapid succession (four if you're using melee). I haven't tested Dual Wield with thrown weapons, but Reckless Offense definitely works.

4
Against Kalygoths and Blightcasters, I'd recommend a single point in Stone Form (probably one in Molten Rock, too). If you notice that you got hit, just activate it immediately, it prevents all the poison damage from then on, even if you got hit beforehand. It lasts long enough that you survive, and then you can retaliate after Stone Form ends!

5
I actually thought of something similar once, but it was a fleeting idea.

I thought that Ice Shards (which really is the only cold skill I can think of) could get some pierce damage (well, pierce, because it's still impaling them on giant spikes of ice, so).

I can easily see how physical damage on most Earth skills is justified, though. Notice that there's no physical damage on Flame Surge, which is the fire spray you mentioned; however, in the case of Volcanic Orb or Eruption, I think they're easily understandable, as volcanic eruptions themselves tend to spew quite a bit of solid rock around (after all, magma is just molten rock). It's why the mastery is called Earth, I think, and not just Fire.

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Anniversary Edition - General discussion / Re: Earth and Rune
« on: 13 July 2018, 20:15:22 »
I'll butt in, but only because Earth and Rune are likely my favorite masteries, and while I haven't played too much recently, I'm still a pretty avid fan of both.

For the Stonespeaker, I think it's technically possible to go three ways, but one of these makes no sense to me. You could focus almost exclusively on weapons, or on spells, or you could mix the two.

Focusing only on spells makes next to no sense to me, because there are better classes for that. Rune is not that great as far as spells are concerned (Thunder Strike, of course, uses weapon stats), and for example a Summoner or pretty much any other Earth-caster class will do better.

I guess it's easily possible to go only for weapon attacks, which lends itself to an unusual character, but I personally wouldn't do that. The reason for that is that Earth has fantastic spells, probably some of the best in the entire game. Volcanic Orb and Eruption are the two I mean, of course. They affect a huge area and deal tremendous damage. They both outrange throwing weapons; and while you can use Rune Weapon to pump up your intellect, and throw your spells afterwards - when I tried this, the problem was that after pumping my intellect, nothing was left standing to throw my spells at!

On the other hand, you can use Volcanic Orb's extreme range to draw the attention of enemies to yourself, and then put those throwing weapons to use. I personally like throwing an orb, popping an Eruption in around Thunder Strike range, then using Thunder Strike to stun them in the middle of my Eruption so they take some more damage, and then clean up the stragglers with weapon attacks.

I'm sure there are other ways to go around it. In fact, I change it a lot. Sometimes I go heavier on spells, sometimes I rely more on my weapon attacks. The Stonespeaker is a shockingly powerful class, but besides that, I think it's a lot of fun to play, and this variety of strategies it allows is a big part of it in my opinion.

Long story short, enjoy! I find it an excellent choice.

As for Flame Surge, I don't think it's viable to rely on it primarily, because of its short range; but then it's not its job, anyway. I'd still invest points in it, personally. As a Summoner, you should be able to put Volcanic Orb and Eruption to good use, and then clean up the rest with Flame Surge. Minor spoiler, but as you advance in level and skills, you'll be able to reduce its cooldown to zero, and with enough casting speed, it's going to be incredibly powerful against melee mobs that try to gang up on you (especially combined with the low chance of fear, which actually procs a lot when you're spamming the Surge non-stop with 5-6 projectiles each).

It's easy to underestimate, but can be devastating in the right hands.

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Runemaster AE / Re: Runic Elemental Shotgun
« on: 08 July 2018, 17:31:13 »
I generally don't like using things like the Defiler as well, but the drop rates in Act V do seem abysmal... And I'm mildly frustrated by the fact that due to a HDD failure I lost all my progress in Titan Quest a few years ago, when I had most of the items, in fact (although, as one might suspect, that was before Ragnarök or Anniversary Edition).

New characters having better (or at least different) drops would be a pretty interesting approach, actually. I'll try with other characters and see what happens.

Volcanic Orb has pretty much unlimited range. You can always throw it at the very edge of the screen, even if you're zoomed out as much as possible. You need line of sight, though, so it's less suitable for gimmicks like that.

That depends on what you consider terrible, actually. The elemental resistances are all maxed, but the rest are less impressive. Poison resistance is positive, but low; I think that vitality and bleeding are negative, but near to zero. Pierce is -100%, which is probably the most pressing issue.

Seriously, though, between the wasps and the water spirits, Ragnarök has given us the peskiest enemies. I don't know what damage type the wasps deal, but I think it has to be multiple - they destroy Energy Armor, so they must deal at least one from physical, pierce, and bleeding, as well as something that goes through the armor (most likely poison). But their damage is less of the problem, it's more annoying how you just can't hit them at all. (Though they seem to have no innate dodge, they're just hard to pin down with your mouse cursor.)

8
Runemaster AE / Re: Runic Elemental Shotgun
« on: 08 July 2018, 02:54:32 »
Triple the trouble, triple the fun!

I've been neglecting the game for a good while, and came back to farm Fafnir some more. Some runs and some utterly unremarkable drops later, I've decided to fall back on desperate measures for desperate times disastrous loot.

I make no pretenses; I'd probably have used the Defiler for increased drops at this point. Even Fafnir drops uniques very rarely, and even then they're usually duplicates of what I already have, despite the fact that I most probably don't own the majority of Act V uniques (most of what he drops is Act IV gear). But since that option is not available, for better or for worse, as far as I'm aware, I did the second best thing I possibly could.

I was reluctant. As the previous video should demonstrate, one Fafnir is quite okay - I can rush it and remove the majority of its health before it stands up, and then finish it off. But what about three? That could be a problem.

Find out now!


9
I'm not an expert, especially when it comes to Defense, but I've seen the recommendation of your Arctic Ring and thought that it might be appropriate to raise you probably my favorite ring in the game (yes, I'm biased): Seal of Hephaestus.

While there's no way to enchant it with Eitr, It already comes with 111 burn damage, even if over three seconds. The duration might seem like a bad thing, but keep in mind that the Runesmith's copious multi-hitting abilities (Runeword: Explode, Shield Charge, Batter - Rend Armor, Pulverize) should help you spread it, while normally you're only hitting one enemy, so it helps out more than you think. The damage's already fairly formidable, but there's also +70% fire and +70% burn damage. The burn damage of course should boost the aforementioned flat burn damage bonus, and the +70% fire should contribute quite a bit to your normal (transmuted) weapon damage. The fire resistance might be welcome, and the chance of high physical resistance might definitely come in handy for a Defense character in my opinion. Bonus health is never a bad thing, and while the Brimstone bonus is not that great for a Runesmith, the level 11 Heat Shield is something I use on my Stonespeaker, because it's much easier than putting that many points into the Heat Shield skill.

All in all, while you won't be able to use it to boost your attack speed, I find that it's usually quite easy to reach maximum in that anyway, and in every other aspect it's a great item worth trying, in my opinion!

10
Rune weapon does work on single throwing weapons?  My gladius fires up immediately, but even after a room of undead, the small torch, or a skeletal dart doesn't seem to charge Rune Weapon.
 I'm looking forward to eruption in particular, and have just taken the first level of "throwing a grenade" with the volcanic orb branch.

I can see why fire ele's have an reputation in the early game. He is outperforming my champion, hunter and diviner, though I suppose I am getting a bit more street-wise. And the odd bit of hand-me-down gear doesn't hurt either.

Don't forget to manually assign Rune Weapon to your left mouse button for your second weapon set as well! That might be the cause of your problem.

Rune Weapon definitely should work with a single thrown weapon as well.

It would just be nice to have another LMB skill for staves.  We have Ternion which gobbles energy and I think Psionic Touch works with staves, but that's it.  Melee/ranged has Psionic Touch, Onslaught and Marksmanship.  None of the other caster masteries have an LMB skill which is a shame.  Since it works with everything else, why leave staves out?

I actually think that Flame Surge and Ice Shard are pseudo-LMB skills, actually, or at least substitutes. Now if only the game allowed it to bind them to the left mouse button...

11
Fire and brimstone you'll have enough. You probably couldn't have chosen a better class.

Small Torch is a really nice throwing weapon for the early game. Might last quite long, in fact, especially because you're focused on fire.

You have two energy-related skills; I'd say that Energy Drain is the more useful as it also gives you attack damage converted to health, which will be pretty much a necessity to survive later on. The energy leech is really nice to have, too. I haven't tried Runeword: Absorb yet, as I'm dual-wielding, so can't say much. Keep in mind that neither skill is going to help you cast Energy Armor. The problem is not any kind of energy drain, but that it has a gigantic energy cost. Minor spoiler: at maxed level with at least +4 to all skills, it's going to cost 3460 energy! So you either have an energy pool that big (not really a good idea), or you use items to reduce the energy cost for you. But this is all the future.

And yes, Runeword: Explode applies all effects of your weapon attack to all enemies affected. This includes the energy drain, the burn damage (which should be, again, between Brimstone and Runeword: Burn and any other bonuses, phenomenal), and the attack damage converted to health.

I have one piece of advice for you. While your melee abilities are certainly strong, don't expect to be able to take on everything with a sword alone later on. Rune offers you some decent spells (dual-wielding thrown weapons is where Thunder Strike truly shines, but it's quite good with melee as well, and Runic Mines complements a melee character really well - it's a skill I personally have neglected), but Earth offers some of Titan Quest's finest mass destruction in the form of Volcanic Orb and Eruption. Learn them well, and they'll serve you throughout the entire game. They're quite fun, too!

12
I'm not an expert of the game, by a long shot, but I'll give you my two cents.

Long story short: for a melee Stonespeaker (or any Stonespeaker, really), I'd go for Transmutation. I'll elaborate below.

First of all: With +4 to all skills, Transmutation gives you 99% conversion. Some of your damage stays physical, and you can keep your Transmutation lower if you still want physical, but personally I don't really see the point. If you're going to focus on intellect, then might as well go for full conversion. And with a Stonespeaker, I see little reason not to.

The thing is, in my personal opinion, both Rune and Earth are decent at supporting another mastery with good physical damage output. But on their own, they don't provide much in this way, at least definitely not enough to go physical over elemental. Especially because most masteries have so amazing returns on your invested intellect that it's almost a crime not to put the majority of points into that.

Rune, of course, gives you your Elemental Charge as well as Transmutation, and a flat elemental bonus damage is already pretty powerful. There's Runic Mines, there's Runeword: Explode and Runeword: Burn. One of them gives you physical damage as well, but you shouldn't overlook what looks like a humble burn damage on the other.

So what does Earth give you? At the first glance, it doesn't boost your weapon damage much. Earth Enchantment provides only an almost negligible flat fire damage bonus, and the percentile increase of fire and burn damage shouldn't affect much - although with full Transmutation, it should increase 33% of your weapon damage already.

Brimstone provides some meager increase to physical damage, which shouldn't concern you, but wait - what's that hiding in the corner? When maxed, Brimstone adds 98 burn damage over three seconds. With +4 to all skills (or at least Brimstone), this becomes a whopping 182. It's affected by your intellect. It's affected by any modifier you have, such as Earth Enchantment, it should stack with the aforementioned Runeword: Burn (damage-over-time from the same source overwrites itself, but different sources should stack to my knowledge). Not to mention Volativity! It's pretty insane. It's quite easily overlooked, but with Anniversary Edition, Earth has become one of the best damage-over-time masteries in the game. And it relies on intellect.

Both Volcanic Orb and Eruption are boosted by both strength and intellect, but only intellect increases the burn component of Volcanic Orb. You likely want to use these spells often, especially if you're planning to go melee.

That said, a melee Stonespeaker might be quite challenging. I transitioned to throwing weapons even before finishing Normal. It's quite easy that way - you get to distribute the burn damage, and to use your utterly insane DPS to bring enemies down before they reach you. Rune or Earth don't provide too much in the way of survivability, though, so if you rely on melee, you might get in trouble.

You'll probably need a maxed Energy Armor and a way to cast it consistently; this means equipping some armor or jewelry with energy cost reduction and perhaps an alternate weapon set to help out. You might want to pay extra attention to your resistances as well (me being me, I dual-wielded Chakrams of the Sun and mostly ignored resistances, but I'm not a good example). Pierce will likely be problematic.

As for attrbutes, you'll likely need about 250-300 strength and some 420 dexterity in the very end. I'd put the rest into intellect.

As for the Stone Form discussion: it does change things if you plop an Eruption under yourself before activating Stone Form. Molten Rock, Ring of Fire, and the retaliation from Elemental Charge also help, and so does the burn retaliation from Heat Shield. Mobs can die to the combination of these more quickly than you'd think. But you're right, at times it just won't work out well. (Hint: Stone Form doesn't prevent you from switching weapon sets or drinking potions.)

I don't find Stone Skin useful enough to warrant more than one point, either.

13
I'll need to admit: I haven't even tried putting more than one point in Wildfire.

My reasoning (and, by extension, mindset) might be very one-dimensional here. Basically, I could invest some skill points to make my Core Dweller kill things faster, or... Alternatively, I could invest it in something that makes me kill things faster. Quite frankly, I'm much better at the whole business. Wildfire has some reduction of offensive ability, which is not too bad, but the reduction isn't that significant, and (unless you play a dedicated petmaster, I guess) your Core Dweller isn't going to have anywhere close to as much bonus to elemental and burn damages as your character does. I suppose it could be interesting to play as a Summoner with a focus on the petmaster items that boost elemental damage, and make better use of Wildfire as well as Plague for reducing their resistance, as well as the Sylvan Nymph's Nature's Wrath; I haven't tried.

One more thing I'd add is - in line with how I'd personally prioritize skills that help you kill things faster - is how there are a lot of those. Like I probably mentioned in the original post, personally I find quite a few skills worth maxing from Earth for most character builds. Earth Enchantment, Volcanic Orb, Conflagration, Fragmentation, Eruption, and Volativity; only these and the mastery points themselves account for a hundred skill points, and that's not counting your secondary mastery, nor anything else you might want to take (Brimstone if you're using weapon attacks or throwing knives, Flame Surge if it's your primary attack, et cetera). Point is, you're probably always going to find something that gives you better value for your skill points than Wildfire.

14
That'd be very interesting, especially since this build does not come with any native chance to pierce, being a Rune based archer, rather than a Hunting based one. That also makes Gusir's "level 8 Volley" really usefull. In combination with Thunder Strike it'd be absolutely lethal. Even if Volley won't proc of it, having both passive as well as active multi-shot capabilities, is a huge asset. Considering how Thunder Strike behaves so far, I wouldn't be too surprised if it can proc Volley though. That'd give you an occassional 15 arrows per shot  :o

Also keep in mind that according to tests made with Jagged Silk and Hoi Polloi, separate instances of Volley from different sources (your own skill tree and one or more items) stack. So any character with Hunting and maxed Volley and Gusir's Gifts is going to spread arrows like a madman.

15
Storm!

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!

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