Saturday, February 8, 2014

So you think you can dungeon crawler?

Before I get started I am going to go ahead and give this a quick probably NSFW disclaimer because of a picture I used at the bottom. So don't say I didn't warn yah.

So you got through normal. You got a taste of Dominus.

You are on top of the world. Wraeclast owes you their eternal love not-a-cockaroach. Maybe you even ran with a group and despite the hardships, you perservered together. Hop into that portal, hero, and onto the next difficulty. Oh look it is our old buddy, Hugecock (yes, I am 12). Good ole Lionseye again. Now pop a look at your defenses. Yup, in each difficulty your resistances take a hit. In cruel you lose 20% of your resistance, including chaos. You also lose %5 of your level progress every time you die. In Merciless you will lose 60% of your resistances, including chaos and lose 10% of your level progress every time you die. This is why in the first part I stressed defenses as a priority over going all crazy with damage. Let's go over the defensive stats in order of effectiveness.

Elemental Resistances: Every single character needs this stat. The max is 75%, but the max can be extended through skill nodes such as elemental adaptation near the Marauder section of the skill tree or through flasks, which will give 50% extra of the type of the resistance of the flask and extend the max an extra 10%. Certain areas and bosses will do one specific type of elemental damage, such as Merveil who does purely cold damage and the crematorium which is full of fire damage mobs. It is recommended that you get max or as close to max resistances at least by the time you fight Piety (spoiler kinda) in Act 3.

Life: Unless you are going Chaos Innoculation (I will explain Chaos Innoculation when I get to energy shield) life is the second most effective defensive stat. There are no abilities that do % health attacks, so there is no downside to having a large health pool.

Armor: It gives you a straightforward % damage reduction to physical attacks. Although, there is a lot of variety in the type of mobs you will fight in Path of Exile, mixed in will always be a few just pure physical damage mobs somewhere in the instance.

Energy Shield: Okay, let me explain Chaos Innoculation first. It is a skill node in between the witch and the shadow sections of the skill tree. There are 5 subsequent nodes after Chaos Innoculation that greatly benefit energy shield. Chaos Innoculation allows you to have 100% resistance against Chaos damage for the trade off of having only 1 life point and essentially relying on energy shield as your health. Chaos damage has the ability to bypass energy shield and do damage to your life directly, which is why it is ranked rather low unless you go Chaos Innoculation. As a witch energy shield is still going to be a primary defensive stat for you, regardless of whether you are Chaos Innoculation. However, with Chaos resistances being so scarce on both the skill tree and armor and the 60% hit you take to it in merciless, a lot of people incorporate Chaos Innoculation into their build as a Witch, Shadow and even Templar.

Evasion: Evasion is an interesting mechanic. From what I understand it has the unique ability of rolling twice for a critical hit, in that it rolls once to see if the hit connects at all and then again to see if you can evade the critical hit. Sounds great right? Well, if you lose both rolls you better have a big health pool to soak that critical hit, if you are going full evasion. There are also some interesting skill nodes that go well with evasion. Ondar's Guile which is inbetween the Ranger and Duelist starting areas, allows you to double the chance you will evade a projectile attack. In comparison to the many misleading percentage nodes in the skill tree that take a percentage of the base stat, this allows you to take all of the chance you have to evade and just flat double it. There are two other interesting skill nodes called Acrobatics and Phase Acrobatics and these are inbetween the Ranger and Shadow starting areas. They give a 30% chance to dodge attacks and dodge spells respectively, with Acrobatics having the downside of having 50% less armor and energy shield, which is no problem if you are going purely evasion. It is an interesting defensive stat, but from what I understand very unreliable, so often people will take the Iron Reflexes skill node near the duelist starting area that converts Evasion rating into flat armor as well as Leather and Steel, which allows you to ignore the movement penalties of any armor. These skills in tandem allow you to choose from a larger armor pool (dex, str/dex or str) and gain the more reliable mitigation of armor and maintain a spry spring in your step. That being said I have seen a bunch of pure evasion builds and the skills I mentioned earlier can be very effective; However, I still recommend getting a large health pool to mitigate the hits you don't dodge.

The reason I am stressing defense so much, is because in the builds I made, even based off of other people's builds. I started to see weaknesses in my build towards the end of cruel and I just shrugged it off and trudged on, but if you aren't battle hardened apocolypse surviving dirt eating crotch scratching grizzled motherfucker by merciless, you will in turn be this guy.

Boom! You are dead and just lost 10% of your exp gains because you didn't have enough defense to survive that dresser that sticks out just enough for you not to notice it and goddammit I thought we were going to move that thing. If you are up for it make a hardcore or Nemsis character (if you are really nasty) and realize that you have to kill Dominus WITHOUT DYING. Imo this is a good way to tighten, up your build, because if you can get in the mindset of not dying, you will breeze through Cruel and Merciless (maybe). Also, you thought Normal Dominus was a bitch? Cruel Dominus gives normal Dominus bedwetting nightmares. Don't even get me started on Merciless Dominus. You may be thinking to yourself at this point or at literally every point in both articles so far that I am not doing a great job selling this game, by making it seem so hard. I counter, by saying this, the game is hard, if you aren't prepared, so that is what I am providing: preparedness. However, it is not hard in the sense that Diablo 3 was hard all of a fucking sudden in Act 2 of inferno, because they wanted you to grind for long enough to figure out how to keep you playing. It is hard in the sense that it gave you total freedom to make a build and now the game wants you to show it what you got. What are you made of? Are you a gamer that is content with being constantly patted on the head for doing mundane tasks or do you want the chest billowing pride of saying "I forged that warrior from the pixelated blood of my enemies and my own salty, salty tears and now he/she doesn't suck that much!"

I hereby call upon the heavens to smite these damn annoying ass monkeys

Also, this game isn't just a plotless grindfest. Granted the story revolves around the mechanics of skill gems, but there are ancient evils from civilizations passed being unearthed. The mystery behind the cursed island of Wraeclast. The sinister plots of Piety and Dominus. If you are looking for a story driven game, this probably isn't that. This is a mechanics driven game at its core, but I think the story has some heart to it. You learn even more by doing a playthrough on the Scion which is the unlockable class after beating the game in normal. However, mostly I am talking about story because I wanted an excuse to use this graphic. This game at first glance seems like the graphics and story are second rate compared to the high production values of Diablo. I mean, essentially you are right, but I think this game has a lot of heart and so does Steve, I mean you can see it right there. They like, opened his chest man. Gross. I personally like the interior maps more then the exterior and think a lot of them are pretty beautiful. Anyway, that concludes this episode of "Would you rather be playing CoD and having a 12th grader tell you in very explicit detail the things he did to your mom last night?" Come back again for the epic conclusion of the Path of Exile guides to be followed with some build spotlights and keep gaming!


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