My impression of all the classes
Hi all. If you're reading this, you may have seen me around the forums recently. At any rate, it's a great game and my latest addiction. This post regards my analysis of the four classes having played them all to level 20. This is a fairly subjective review and my opinion will probably change as my avatars mature.
As an aside, I wanna give a shout out to Analogkid. Though I'm not a fanboy by any measure, his guides on the classes gave enough information for me to be able to pick a direction, vastly increasing my enjoyment of the game.
"The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" are how I refer to the skills in the tabs in the skill tree. By good, I mean, invest in this. More than one rank and as often as you can if possible. By bad, I mean one point and leave it alone. By ugly, I mean forget you ever saw it.
In a nutshell: Extremely gear dependent.
Meaning, the higher the damage range on the weapon, the more useful the warrior's skills become. All else is secondary to getting a better weapon.
This class is my personal favorite, just by bias. I like the look, I like the method.
Most of the gameplay revolves around running into mobs, generating rage, and bashing stuff. I've found this usually results in being surrounded and, if not handled with care, death. This class is somewhat counter-intuitive. If you want your warrior to survive, he needs to be able to kill quickly and efficiently. The only reason I haul around a shield is because it has +regen on it, just so I don't have to port back to heal while exploring.
The only class I can really compare Warriors to is the rogue. Even melee spec priests can't hold a candle to the amount of single target damage a rogue or warrior can put out in close quarters. Warriors, due to the plate armor, have slightly more staying power than a rogue. Rogues, however, win out on survivability by having more outs than a warrior. Get a Warrior into a really tough spot, and it's only a matter of running out of food and potions.
As far as stats go, I really don't have a plan. I used to increase stats just to use a shiny new pigsticker or something, but now I just quaff a potion to get it on, then leave it there until something better is found. So, current goal is to get 'em all to 50. Just because. Though I'm partial to STR, VIT, and DEX or INT for the attack or crit chance.
Crush, being spammable, is my weapon of choice. It doesn't matter that it does less +physical damage% than power strike for the points invested. This is due to the gear dependency issue. With enough rage, the amount of damage that can be poured out is tremendous.
The only other offensive skill on my toolbar is whirlwind. Although cleave is more effective per skill point, it blows 16 points of rage to whirlwind's 10 to hit the same 4 mobs. This becomes important when completely surrounded by trash mobs and spamming crush. By surrounded, I mean roughly 1/3 of the screen or more is covered by the little bastards and the spawn machine is just out of reach.
I'm debating on getting rid of crushing blow and bleed entirely. Though they are nice when they proc, both scaling with your gear, I don't see them firing off enough. From what I understand of the mechanics, having a +100% chance of crushing blow or deep wounds only results in a paltry 10% or so of actual chance of seeing it happen. Those points can be better used elsewhere.
-And the Ugly:
A lot of the attack skills are fairly useless. I've stopped using power strike entirely.
There are none.
Most of the Focus skills can be safely disregarded. Precision is nice, and though I've never had a problem hitting mobs, a little extra doesn't hurt. The focus skills, specifically rage, are okay. I use it because it's just a buff. 3 points equate to using crush 10% more often.
-And the Ugly:
Plate is good. All my characters find pieces of plate armor, but only one can use them.
Quick temper is alright. Having too much rage is a high-quality problem when playing a warrior. I picked up retaliation for the same reason: to generate rage so I can spam crush.
Shield mastery turned out to be of limited use. Because of the mechanics of the class, a two-handed weapon keeps me alive much more than a shield. Unless I can find a one-hander with an excellent damage range, shields are good for my chest-opening kit and not much else.
My biggest expense for a warrior is keeping him fed. With the plate armor, his damage mitigation is excellent, thus I rarely use potions. The lack of range attack is annoying. There are times in zone where I'll walk into five or six breeding deaths and, although killing the little guys they spawn isn't a problem, not being able to touch the spawners sucks. The only effective strategy I've found for dealing with them involves chasing them and killing them. At this point, I've usually got quite the train behind me. And this is where the fun begins.
In a nutshell: Control the battle.
I mean it. Unlike the other classes, the rogue specialty is about choosing how things go and having the tools necessary to implement that choice. Granted, those two choices are usually fight or run, but being able to pick is kinda nice.
Rogues, through stealth and CC, give control to the player. I enjoy this about them. I get to choose when to fight, and whom. Do I feel like finding the portal waypoint or rifling through treasure chests? After being a warrior and having to fight my way across the known world, the change is welcome.
That said, the only real grip I have about them is the stealth issue. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes I can make it past a mob 5 levels higher than me, no problem. Sometimes a level 2 gremlin will see me. There appears to be no rhyme or reason, and in a class all about control, I find this perplexing.
Dexterity is my primary choice when leveling. The reason being, I've found daggers that required 108 dexterity to equip. The best potion I've found only gives me a +45 bonus. That leaves quite a gap to cover. Other than that, strength is good for the damage bonus, and INT is good for the crit. Though, again, due to the game mechanics, is probably more trouble than it's worth.
I started putting points into Slice because, well, it's my most used skill.
The three skills I use to actually do the killing are rupture, precise strike, and critical strike. When I get a critical I use crit strike. When I have a distraction or am stealthed, I'll use precise strike. When either of these get blocked or parried (And it happens very often with such high-attack speeds, even with a 97% chance to hit) I use rupture. Those three do my dirty work and generate more momentum than spamming slice everytime it comes up.
I debated on putting Lethal Blow and Death Blow in here or under The Good. My thinking is that, although they're the rogue's primary death-dealing abilities, I use them so little that I couldn't justify putting points into them.
Lethal blow is like the Rogue version of Crush. It's spammable, but momentum is harder to come by than rage. Death blow is probably a viable alternative, but due to the momentum cost of either skill, I hardly use them.
Frost Nova was, at first, good. But then the damage didn't scale. And, if it was useless for damage, the movement slow down was easily replicated and exceeded by caltrops for fewer points.
Viper venom was discouraging in the scaling issue as well. When I think of a rogue, I think of poisoned blades. Unfortunately, there isn't another choice. Ah well.
Gouge is my second most used skill in a fight. I slice and I gouge, to set up a precise strike. Again and again. Even if I have the momentum to use a lethal blow, I'll use gouge instead. Especially when it looks like it's going to be a long fight.
Stealth, while useful, I only put one point into. Something I can only use in a fight for 5 seconds isn't worth investing into. But for pre-fight preparations, it is the single greatest skill in the game.
Smoke screen is the second pillar of this class. It's not a guaranteed out, and I phased out most of my mages and cleave/whirwind warriors because of it, but it's too useful not to have.
I got rid of dazzle, as I felt points in smoke screen were better spent.
I got rid of daze, as I wasn't using it. Though it was kinda nice for setting up bosses while I cleared the trash out, it's a one-trick pony. It blew my stealth and, whenever I was in the vicinity of that particular group of monsters, my cover would be blown. Clearing trash in 20 seconds or less is difficult.
Feint was of limited utility. I crit enough to keep critical strike up, and gouge costs way less momentum.
I picked up caltrops because, when smoke screen fails, it gives me a chance to make a break for it. Other than that, I've very little need to kite as a rogue.
Disarm trap, if it scaled, would be awesome. This is because I hate being inconvenienced while stealthed and opening a trap. I've noticed a correlation between when a trap is sprung and when I break stealth. Due to the lack of scaling, I got away from it.
I got rid of all the temporary buffs because, for only a 30 second period and five minute cooldown time, they weren't worth it. If it's so bad my rogue isn't good enough, it's time to leave.
I like the class because it gives control. Though having a good dagger helps, I can just as easily set up a portal and let my minions do the fighting. As soon as one dies, I kick him back to the covenant and bring another to the fight. Maybe I'll help. If I feel like it.
In a nutshell: Never go home again.
Alright, a little misleading, as I do go back when out of faith or have a full inventory. But, for the most part, I use my portal stone about a tenth as much as the other classes.
Playing a priest basically comes down to two things: 1) spamming heal, and 2) watching your minions do your dirty work. The only time I've had to change this MO is when dealing with spawning enemies, like breeding deaths or portals. In these cases, I simply target them, and spam holy bolt while healing as necessary.
They've got, without a doubt, the best survivability of any of the classes. This is due to the healing. Combined with chain armor for decent damage absorption, I can heal, run out of faith, pray, then continue healing, with very little need, besides boredom, to stop.
Mostly STR, VIT, and SPI. STR so I can put on new armor and mallets. VIT for extra hitpoints, and SPI for more faith/regen. Other than that... not much else.
Holy bolt is my ranged attack spell of choice. It does Holy damage, according to the tooltip. I've never seen any monster with Holy resistance.
Zeal is nice. When my priest does get into the fight, it's the only melee skill worth any investment. Even just one rank in it makes the fight twice as interactive.
Shield bash and retribution both suffer from level scaling to the point where they're irrelevant. Crushing blow is a waste because those points are better used in things that keep the hired help alive.
I used holy symbol for a time to attract aggro that would allow my helper, usually with very little armor, to go unmolested while they did their thing. Then I started putting ranks into lesser heal, and I haven't had aggro generation problems since.
Holy strike was fun to tinker with, but doesn't hold a candle to holy bolt. Lifeburn didn't scale.
Lesser heal is my favorite of the two, as it's quick enough to spam and let's me know 3.5 seconds sooner whether or not I'll be able to keep up with the damage.
Regeneration is really quite nice for convenience. In a fight, it doesn't matter so much, although every bit helps. But when just running around, not having to worry about topping off is nice.
One rank in prayer is more than enough. If you need more, go home. Precision was kinda useful as a priest, but not really. Possibly for a melee priest and when heal spells get too costly, this would increase combat effectiveness at less skill point investment than healing spells. Other than that, meh.
Shield mastery, while theoretically useful, is only good when holding a shield. And there are some nice two-handers to use with zeal.
Smite, while useful on the surface, was useless. First off, it has a faith cost. If I had faith, I wouldn't need to cast smite. Second, due to the slow attack time of maces, it doesn't really net a whole lot of faith. I usually need a lot of healing in that 30 seconds, and it doesn't get it to me fast enough.
Greater heal doesn't get off fast enough. Knowledge is power, and knowing I cannot sustain my health versus the monster's damage in less time is better. Faith is cheap. Dying costs me time.
Divine intervention would've been up a category or two, if it worked as advertised. Instead, it merely healed me 50 points, the faith didn't materialize.
Area heal sucked. If I'm in a raid, pfft. Let 'em die. Vitality and focus healing, in conjunction, are more than enough staying power.
Chain Armor, Mace mastery. That's about it. Chain is good because of the aggro healing generates. Mace Mastery is good because sometimes I like to get into the thick of things.
I had hardiness until I found a follower with it. True aim and shield of fire sucked.
Protection skills were nice, until I realized how many points I had to put in to match one potion. And I hardly remember to use them anyway, so why bother.
Holy shield was, well, it doesn't scale. That's about the only complaint. I really didn't get much out of it as, the only times I needed something like this, the cooldown was too prohibitive.
I love the priest's strong-suite of being able to stay in the fight near indefinitely. The damage isn't as great as any of the other classes in my opinion, but none of the classes can take the beating that a priest can.
In a nutshell: Crowds are a good thing.
None of the classes can take down a large gathering of mobs with the ease of a mage.
Mages are the least survivable class in the game. Most of the gameplay involves "kiting" which means, run around a whole bunch and hope you don't run into spiders or get boxed in. Their single target damage is about on par with a spell-casting priest and inferior to a melee spec priest. That is, a good two-hander and zeal will make the bad man stop faster than waiting for your spells to cast.
In fact, I'll run around a zone just to gather a large group of mobs. This is partly because of the efficacy with which mages take on large groups. This is also party because, really, one mob is just about as dangerous to a mage as a large group of mobs, and kiting is labor-intensive. Why do it twenty times to one monster if you can do it once to twenty.
Mostly INT with some VIT thrown in for good measure. Dex if I find a good staff. Otherwise, the other stats are laughable.
FIRE & WATER
Fireball works for me because it does decent damage and has a little splash. If I'm fighting just one boss monster, this is what I use. My mage doesn't do enough single target damage to pull him off a rogue or warrior companion with a decent weapon.
Ice Storm is another good spell. Probably one of the best in my arsenal. I can cast it and forget about it for a few seconds, it does really good damage, and if I kite just right, I can put it on top of the mobs then run circles around the storm, keeping most of the mobs just out of arms reach. The AOE slow it does is really helpful.
Fire mastery is good when fireball becomes too costly to upgrade.
Sweeping flames, because of my kiting technique, is less useful to me than fireball. If I ran straight away, maybe this would be a suitable replacement. Spontaneous combustion and frost nova, I both had at one point. Neither of them did enough damage to justify their skill point cost.
Arctic shard and fiery blast are only good for single target damage, which mages suck at. Why play that game when you've got a deck of cards built for something different?
EARTH & AIR
Weakness. Put this on the boss, then take care of the trash. Hopefully, your companion takes on the boss while you take care of the trash. Afterwards, if all goes well, you can relax and throw some potshots in at the boss while stationary. It scales with level.
Ball of lightning is a lot of fun and, given my stationary technique of dealing with mobs, would be nice to have. Unfortunately, it's a bit too costly to keep ice storm up to date with level and I can't do without fireball as I need something to spam.
Lightning had the same problem as arctic shard and fire bolt thingy. Chain lightning, while better than lightning, only deals damage to up to three targets. I'm usually fighting many more than that, making ice storm or fireball more appropriate.
Teleport was handy to have in two instances. I got surrounded due to poor planning on my part, and I teleported out to make a portal. Nice to have, but if you need it more than once a minute, there's something wrong and it probably has nothing to do with skill selection.
Stasis might've been useful if I specced to do single target damage. As it was when I had it, I noticed my mage had a bad habit of auto targetting the big bad guy when everything else was dead. Or my minion went up and whacked him. Or something happened. So I just stopped using it.
Magic shield had too long a cooldown and didn't scale. Hidden magic didn't matter much. Even if I put a bunch of points into it, it's practically guaranteed my meat shield wouldn't be aggroing everything I was hitting.
This is probably my least favorite class, due to the lack of... what? Choice I think. I can either kite or die. And die I will. I know, I've seen it happen, it'll probably happen again. I'm not sure if I'll continue playing my mage and can only hope this situation will improve with time.
More than the kiting, I hate that all of the mages abilities to kill do not scale with level. It doesn't really matter what gear I use, heck, I could probably fight naked with negligible decrease in combat ability.
And that's it for the classes. Like I said, I've only played them up to level 20 or so, but I've found that the whole level scaling issue removes the viability of many of the abilities of the classes. As a warrior, I'd love to bash more often, but it's not worth the points. As a rogue, I'd like to be able to use viper venom, but it stopped being useful in the late teens. Priests, while any healing is helpful, it's kept useful solely because hit points are in shorter supply than healing ability. And mages... are the red-headed step-child of DoP. Though they do have a strength in dealing with groups, their shortcomings vastly overshadow it.
I didn't list every individual skill because many weren't worth the time to type out the name of. The ones that were listed were because I had them and, on the face, they appeared useful. I have had and used every single skill for every class, with varying effect and skill ranks.
With that said, I'd like to add the caveat that if you have a different method of playing that makes things I've said are worthless into useful tools, I'd love to hear about it. I've revised my skill tree countless times based on what I've read, and will do it again if I see something persuasive enough to try.
great guide. very thorough.
i was just wondering if you could make a reccomendation for a good first character, one to help get the foot in the door before you have any decent gear.
My favorite is mage by far. All skill points in Arctic Shards and Cold Mastery except 1 in Frost Nova. Never bothered with weakness but that would probably be a good idea too. Take a mage recruit along with you and everything is dead before it even gets close to you. Only things that get close are some of the bosses and legendaries that are speed enhanced. The only problem I had with mages is the quests don't scale fast enough once you get to around level 20, since I can easily kill stuff 10-15 levels higher than me. Fire does more damage but that is more than made up for by the slow effect of Arctic Shards. You can look at this thread: http://www.soldak.com/forums/showthread.php?t=449 to see actual dps #'s.
Fireball and Chain Lightning would be decent alternatives if you used a warrior recruit, but I find them to be more of a hindrance than a benefit since warrior recruits tend to run off all over the place and you have to spend too much time feeding them food.
Thanks for the link. Though I did read over it a little while back, I'd just like to say I love stuff like that. It's got all the information I can use and takes very little work for me to benefit from the data.
Hrmm, now regarding your build, if it works for you, great. I'm not a big fan of cold mastery, preferring fire for the straight up damage. I've used arctic shard for awhile, as it did comparable damage to say, firebolt, at the same rank, but it suffered from the same drawback as firebolt: it only hits one target. Frost Nova, though spammable, as AnalogKid wrote, is inferior to ice storm for damage and mana efficiency. Just my preference, of course.
I stopped doing quests for XP after about level 15 or so, with few exceptions. Like you said, the XP doesn't scale, so it's really only useful for crystals. And even then, I'm thinking maybe straight up monster hunting might do the same. I'd need more info to make that determination.
I don't know, maybe it's my playstyle with mages? I just can't find a good way to use 'em. Frost, fire, lightning, recruits. Doesn't matter. Though the one time I specced for straight up single target DPS (Firebolt or Arctic Shard) I generated too much aggro, pulling the bosses off my meatshield. Not good.
Well, that depends. What do you like to do? Warriors bash stuff. Rogues finesse their way to victory. Priests can take a beating like no other. Mages, well, if you play like I do, they die. A lot. But they make for some frantic running around and it's rather gratifying to watch 5-10 bad guys drop over dead at the same time.
So basically, it comes back down to personal preference. Me, I enjoy being able to kinda kick back but have the option to get inside and frenetically open up a can on something when I feel like it, so the Warrior fits. Rogues are kinda in the same vein, but are far more interactive. I end up pausing after every single skill use to figure out what my next move or three should be. Priests were way too boring for me, as all it required from me was healing from time to time. Mages turned out to be too weak of a class for my style, hence the dying.
If I had to do it again, I'd probably start with a priest. Although they're not my favorite class to play, they can take enormous amounts of damage (with healing) and are fairly user friendly (Just heal a bunch and you'll outlast nearly anything). Further, you can't use mana/drinks, so you save money there, and you'd hardly ever need food or potions, so yet another cash saver. This is important because then you can devote those extra funds to helping set up your real character.
If you just wanted to see what's right for you, I'd recommend just starting up a character for every class and playing for a few levels, get a few skills to try out. The play style in the first few levels is fairly indicative of what kind of future the class has in store for you. You can use that to determine if you're going to like it or not.
In other words, I'm not you and can't tell you what would fit. I just don't know.
Edit: Oh, one other thing though. Whichever class you pick, be advised, the attribute requirements are a little... interesting. Though I haven't seen any of the high level weapons, I saw mail armor (which priests can use with talents) requiring upwards of 170ish strength, and plate armor (For warriors) that required around 250ish strength to put on. Might be something to keep in mind when spending points when you level up.
I don't use Frost Nova for dmg, just for the occasional ZOMG! I need to run away! Monsters spawn in blocks as those become visable, so once I clear a block I slowly move forward until the next block becomes visible and the first monster I see, I stop immediately, right click it and start casting Shards. as soon as it casts I start casting again. Recruit tends to not cast until first shard hits, which by that time my second spell is almost done casting and that monster will be dead... meanwhile the rest of the monsters that spawned in that block will start coming at me, or more likely my recruit. Don't attack the things on the recruit, he is disposable I don't care if he dies every encounter. With the slowed movement they mostly don't even get to me and with the slowed attack also from shards they are lucky if they get 2 hits in.
The only serious threats are 1) Traps... unless you want to gimp yourself seriously and spend 4 attribute points per level just expect to die from traps occasionally after lvl 20. 2) Speed enhanced monsters. 3) Dmg Reflect bosses. 4) Ranged monsters/totems to some extent. 5) Portals... reason being they tend to be swarmed with monsters because depending on where inside the block they are located you have anywhere from 3-9 potential newly visible blocks that have spawned with monsters waiting to eat you(ideally you will place them in the corner of a map).
It's not necessarily the fastest way to kill, but it really isn't too slow and it is very safe. As for attributes, I place 3 int, 2 vit + the random points in dex/str for equip. It certainly isn't for everyone and requires more of a plodding methodical progression, but after playing both warrior and rogue to level 25 or so mage is far far easier.
If you want to play REALLY, REALLY safe (aka hardcore or similar). ONLY go around the outside edges of maps, even if it means not finding the area gate. Be extra careful around entrances to the neighboring zones since you will be exposed to potentially 2-3 extra blocks that monsters can come from to eat you. As for traps on hardcore... you are pretty much screwed, you are going to have to just run as soon as you hear them go off. I'll paste from another post I made that is burried in the first Call to Arms thread for some more info on traps (yes I like to crunch numbers):
Now that was a good post.
Interesting info on the traps, I hadn't considered them much. Though having only played the lower fifth or so of the game, they're not that much of a consideration yet.
I'll try your method out when it's my mage's turn to rotate into the lineup. Though it does sound a bit slower than I'm used to, it probably can't be slower than consistent soulstone runs.
Ya pretty nice post.
Mage is indeed strong, but unfortunately is irrelevant as it's the most boring character in the game imo.
Other classes have equipment that effect their DPS, mage is pure skill which would push you to invest 90% of your points in a single spell.
Unlike other classes, where you constantly on the lookout to upgrade your gear - there isn't much to look forward to with mage class.
So basically you're playing the whole game just for the levelups, to get that slight damage increase for your chosen offensive spell.
All in all, I'd have to sum it up and say the skill module doesn't work that well when spells are concerned - Diablo 2 had the same issue in my opinion, unlike Diablo 1 where the mage could buy upgrades for his spells and thus had more variety.
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