Starting to add up
The past lives are accumulating faster and faster – which is a good thing because I’ve been at this for four years and am only halfway done. Yes, it has been nearly four years since I first picked up the quixotic Completionist quest. Four years. Yikes.
Seven lives in four years, and this one took only three months. I think there are several factors at work here:
- XP per quest is juggled about constantly but in general, increases
- Bravery streaks, VIP bonus, and bonus XP weekends
- Practice makes perfect?
In general I suspect Turbine wants us to be able to get through the heroic levels quickly. If there was any doubt, we can now skip the first fifteen levels altogether. I would call that proof of intention.
Mawry chose to check off her sorcerer life during this incarnation. Not any old sorcerer, but a Monk 2 Sorceronk featuring Evasion and as many hit points as I could layer on.
Exactly how to play the sorcerer was bigger question. Elemental Savant seemed appealing, and a DPS-only caster is something I’ve never tried. Done and done.
Leaving only the question of which element. I have an Air Savant sorcerer already, I don’t play her much and she is as much about CC as DPS, but still, been there, done that.
I ruled out Fire, too many resistant monsters. Leaving Water Savant, which is the popular choice, and Earth Savant which I’ve never seen played.
No way I am going with the popular choice. We have a winner. Besides, Earth Savants get Earthgrab and as far as I know, there isn’t another way for a player to reliably Earthgrab anything. Sounds like fun!
Enough with the background. Let’s get crunchy!
|INT||14+2 (16)||Eschew Material|
|WIS||8+3 (12)||Force of Personality|
|CHA||22+3 (36)||Mental Toughness|
|Improved Mental Toughness|
|Hit points||430||Lightning Reflexes|
|AC||22||Spell Focus Evocation|
|Will||26||Earth Savant 2|
|Acid Critical 5|
|Acid Critical Damage 5|
|Spell points||2596||Acid Spellpower 7|
|Acid||187||Fire Critical 5|
|Fire||175||Fire Critical Damage|
|All else||9||Fire Spellpower 7|
|Eschew Material is totally a luxury feat, taken just because I am too lazy to want to buy and keep track of spell material components.
Lightning Reflexes seemed appropriate for an Evasion build that is light on saving throws.
I suspect the presence of either of these feats indicate that this build has feats to spare.
|Way of the Patient Tortoise|
|Racial Toughness 2|
|Half DEX 2|
|Sorc CHA 3|
|Monk WIS 1|
So, how did that all work?
Acid Spellcasting is Different
A lot of acid attacks are in the form of Damage Over Time (DOT). Also, a high percentage of acid spells are Area of Effect (AoE) clouds but only one spell cloud seems to work at a time; you can cast them all together but they do not stack in the way one would hope.
This is not bad, it is just different. Things take longer to die. Monster attention and play style have to be managed so that one is not surrounded by bad guys who may be dying but are still quite capable of walloping you.
Evasion Pretty Much Always Pays Off
I have yet to put together a build with Evasion and any sort of reasonable Reflex save that is not completely worthwhile. There are so many situations where one may Evade; often taking no damage at all while your more ponderously armored tank buddy cries out for the medic.
Distance Is Your Friend
Melf’s Acid Arrow does not do a ton of damage – even when Mawry was level 18, fully Enhanced and Spellpowered, her Melfs damage tended to be in the 40’s per tick, usually getting five ticks per casting. A critical tick might have been 150. Nothing earth-shattering in itself. But it has some unique properties, including a very long range, as well as the fact that it seeks targets, unlike ray spells, meaning it is very difficult to dodge.
It seems that if you are far enough away, you can Melf one target in a group without anyone else noticing. The target charges in, everything else stays put: a handy situation when you are trying to off the bad guys one at a time. And you get it as a reduced cost Spell-Like Ability (SLA) so it is practically free.
Constant Death Is Not Inevitable
Every other time I’ve focused on nuking with a caster I’ve died. A lot. But this time is different. Partly because of the Evasion, but mainly because of the hit points. 430 is not a huge number but it is a comfortably large one; large enough to get through most Heroic content without dying.
Seriously. Rarely died, and is a caster. Hard to believe all of those words belong in the same sentence, but they do. Thanks to Daily Dice, Mawry ended this life with more Siberys Spirit Cakes than she had when she started. Believe me, that is a rare and unexpected occurrence.
Yes Geoff We Know You Use Acid
Once I mastered the different techniques involved in acid casting, I found it quite delightful. Acid Rain is a killer spell, just killer, and it takes out an entire crowd with one casting. The Acid Blast SLA is … a blast! Big damage. And so different from other elements.
I was worried about acid-proof monsters, but there weren’t any – any! – until I found the spiders in the Vale. Every other thing I encountered took acid damage. Even Gelatinous Cubes. Even the acid-flavored earth elementals in Acid Wit. Even the devils in the Shavarath wilderness. Everything.
Apparently I got a little giddy; in the last couple of weeks my continuous vocal delight at my new-found abilities has drawn jibes: “yes Geoff, we know you use acid” has become a common quote.
Sadly I have to get back to you on this one, even though it a big part of why I chose to go Earth Savant. I hadn’t accounted for the fact that this build doesn’t get Earth Savant III (and therefore, Earthgrab) until level 20. I banked all of level 19 and never actually played anything higher than level 18.
I bet it is awesome. I’ll have to find out sometime.
- Solo-ability: Requires a healing hireling and must learn acid tactics. But then is quite good. Not as good as the Evasion Battlecleric but still good
- DPS: Doesn’t have the all-at-once damage punchers but can do really significant DPS over time. Trails the the Dark Monk life, but not by much, and is better on bosses
- Party Support: Throws very short Haste and Rage. Can UMD raises and heals. Can provide support but not much, this is a DPS build
- Survivability: The most survivable caster I have ever built
- End Game: I’m not going to find out, life eight beckons, but I think this build has Epic Elite potential. It would need a lot of gear, but then, so does every build in Epic Elite. I really do think this would be an EE winner
The Earth Savant Sorcermonk plays at a slightly more deliberate pace than some other characters. In a speed group, you won’t get a lot of kills. You’ll do a ton of damage, maybe more than anyone, but the game does not track damage, only kills, and the zergstar barbarian will be finishing off the monster’s you’ve half melted before they finish dying.
Bosses, on the other hand, are your chance to shine. They stay alive long enough to be effected by all the ticks on your DOT. They stay alive long enough to stack the DOTs that stack, and to enhance your DPS further by using the Earth Savant ability to Awaken Elemental Weakness,
In other words, you really get to tee off on the bosses, and it is impressive when you do.
I loved this life, it was way better than I had hoped it would be.