Sunday, February 23, 2014

Stash of Textiles Merciless guide

So you made it through Cruel? On to Merciless, starting to get the hang of it. It would be a shame if all your elemental and chaos resistances tanked harder then Denver in the superbowl(so topical!). Act 1 for the most part, is going to be fairly easy if you made it through Dominus. It is a time to catch your breath and have at a bunch of dumb slow moving zombies and skeletons. However, if you remember the acts get exponentially harder and Dominus is going to be the cherry on top of the shit sundae that is merciless.

Chances are you are going to have to do some reworking, whether it be respeccing slightly, or swapping in a life leech/ life on hit gem in your set up. The flaws in your spec or gear are going to get magnified. You are definitely going to have to browse the wall of spam that is trade chat to get some gear regardless. Make sure that you are checking prices at Path of Exile Goods to make sure you aren't getting gouged with prices. You can also use trade chat to trade currencies to get those chaos and exalted orbs you are going to need to purchase good gear. Exile Stats is a great resource for trade values and is updated constantly. Another great way to get essentially free currency is to check the vendors. They will often sell red green blue linked gear that you can buy for a transmutation and sell back for a chromatic orb. Take that free money right from under their noses! The merciless and cruel 3 vendors will also on occasion sell 6 slot gear, which you can sell back for 7 jewelers orbs. Oh yah? Did I mention that you can sell any 6 slot item to the vendor for 7 jeweler's orbs. Well, I linked the vendor recipes, that's on you for not reading it. Also, I was told the vendors will reset every time you level, so it is worth it to check in.

You will also notice that items called maps have started dropping as you make your way through merciless, mostly towards the end. Maps are essentially the end game of Path of Exile. You can craft them just like gear by using transmute to upgrade into a blue map, augment to give it another modification or even use an alchemy orb to turn it into a rare map. Hell you can even use chance orbs and hope you get a unique map. All of the maps are entered into through the Eternal Laboratory which is just next to the Gemling Queen in the Solaris temple. You will have needed to complete all her quests in order to unlock the entrance though. Not all maps are created equal and some will be worse for some builds more then others. By the time you get into act 3 it is usually a good idea to grind places that are easily farmable at this point to start running maps and then eventually have a go at dominus. You can farm the city of Sarn, which is the first location in Act 3 just before the town fairly easily at the beginning. Then the docks is usually the go to place for the middle of Act 3, but whatch out for those dogs they barf fire. They are actually casting incinerate with the blue flame visual effect. I usually keep a ruby flask handy just in case.

The thing you want to keep in mind at this point, whether you are making your own build or following a guide for a specific build, is that you want to have good synergy with your gear and skills and that you are not having to wait on flasks to refill because you are taking to much damage/ using too much mana. Most popular end game builds have their mana and health problems solved to the point where they don't even use health or mana flasks. That is something to definitely keep in mind. Is your build efficient enough?

I am going to discuss some good synergies that exist in gems and skills. I am doing this now because you are probably itching to make a new character with everything you have learned and all the wealth you have to shower them in gifts and not because of incredibly poor planning on my part.

Cast when Damage Taken is a fairly new gem which can be acquired at the library, the entrance of which is located in the Imperial Gardens. This is a very potent gem that can be matched with Enduring Cry, Molten Shell and any curse you happen to be running. It automates these casts so you are not spending precious time casting them and if you are taking damage you probably need them. Cast when Damage Taken will only cast gems that have a level requirement at or below its own requirement. It will say this on the tooltip if you hover over the gem itself. So you need to make sure everything you want to cast complies. Also, the more you level it the more damage taken is needed to proc the abilites.

For strength characters a personal favorite of mine is to link Molten Shell with Iron Will, which converts str into spell damage, and Life Leech. The result is a molten shell that explodes for quite a bit of damage and will heal you for a portion of that amount. Slap this altogether with Cast when Damage Taken and it will ignore the cast time penalty of iron will.

Blood Rage is an interesting skill and is often used with Chaos Innoculation characters because of the ability to stack frenzy charges while being completely immune to the chaos damage done from the gem. It is used in Discharge Chaos Innoculation build by Kripparian. It is also popular with Chaos Innoculation Shadows and can also be used in conjunction with Melee Damage on Full Life because having converted all but one of your life into energy shield, you will essentially always be on Full Life. It can also be used on characters with a good life pool and good life regen/chaos resist that also have good life leech. The reason for this is the increased 20% atk speed on low life and the life leech already inherint in the gem. I am currently working on a marauder that uses blood rage. Not only do the frenzy charges buff my dps substantially, but if you get in a tight spot, just man mode that shit and the 20% atk spd with the life leech will get your through it. There have been some close calls, but it is often better to just keep attacking then run away.

Spell Totem is another popular gem that can be either linked with Summon Skeletons which will constantly spew out a small army of skeletons that will often distract enemies for you. It is also great for Summoner builds to automate that particular action, freeing you up to do damage with other spells. Another popular combo with Spell Totem is what is nicknamed the "spork totem", which is Spark linked to Fork gem. This creates a massive aoe of sparks that is additionally helpful to stack shock stacks from the lightning damage which will increase damage taken by 30% stacking up to three times.

Spectral Throw is a very popular gem and build currently, linked with Greater Multiple Projectiles or Lesser Multiple Projectilesyou get a very potent projectile attack that will boomerang back and continue to do damage on monsters. You can also link Faster Projectiles to this and the spectral projectiles will not only be thrown at a faster rate (i.e. more attacks), but farther, extending your range out a considerable distance. Linking spectral throw with Cast on Critical Strike and linking that to spells such as Fireball and Artic Breath because both of these spells will also benefit from the Greater Multiple Projectiles gem and shoot a very fantastic fireworks display of skills.

There are numerous more other synergies and builds then these. The second portion of this article series will to be to look at popular builds, showcase interesting builds from the community and myself and my friends and to continue to unravel the wonderful succulent fruit that is Path of Exile. The thing I have realized and hopefully imparted unto you is that there is always more to learn and discover in this game and for me that is what makes it so fun. I hope that you guys have enjoyed reading this as much as I have enjoyed writing it and if you have a build that you want featured, whether it be your own or something you saw, feel free to leave a comment!


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