A Failure of Notes (Past Week Recap)

Well, that was a failure pretty quickly. Trying to note down daily what I did, that is.

There just aren’t enough hours in a day to also craft a blog post about it.

In my half-hearted scribbled notes since, I have:

14 Oct, Sun

  • GW2 – One shot Qadim CM & Astralaria III collection dribs and drabs, bounties
  • Warframe – assorted missions – relics, bounties, etc.

Qadim was the continuation of our Friday attempt to get the CM mode done for some members/alts who didn’t have it yet.

There’s either something to be said about the science of willpower and focus when all the group members are fresh, after a weekend’s presumed rest, as opposed to after a weekday of work and having cleared three raid wings first, or the spaced repetition effect in learning where presumably Friday’s attempts were practice and Saturday may have been rest or review day for some members (like moi on the jumping puzzle bit)…

…but bottom line, we went in, we cleared it, on the first attempt. One shot kill success.

Admittedly, it was a close call because we were all downed at 1-2% health remaining mark, and we used our downed skills and lingering conditions to knock the final health off.

I’d still count it as a technical win, because I know what killed me and probably the others still alive on the final KO. There was about 2/3 of our team remaining as we were killing him, and one (or two?) of our team went down. Seeing as success was imminent, I stopped to press F and revive. I suppose the same thought went through the head of all those still standing.

Thus we were all happily locked in the reviving animation and couldn’t dodge to produce an iframe in time when Qadim decided to do his slam. Aka he got all of us downed in one blow, a kind of furious last gasp protest at his imminent defeat.

A little bit of selfishness in not reviving would have kept one or two members standing and able to finish him off with no sweat, but I suppose by that point, the team was already in full sync.

Future potential improvements for the never-satisfied would be being more familiar with his animations and counting his attacks. Qadim as a raid boss encounter, I think I have mentioned before, is eminently predictable. All the enemies attack in very predictable patterns.

If we’d paid more attention, we’d have known the slam was coming and opted to not revive, but well, unfamiliarity with the last portions of the encounter, the many other distractions in that fight and general elation with being so close to success overwrote that focus.

And speaking personally, eh, I’m a satisficer. Not one of the perpetually dissatisfied. He died. We won. Good enough.

Then I did more Astralaria items, that for the life of me, I cannot remember now.

astral-17oct

I took this screenshot on the 17 Oct (Wed) at the Searing Cauldron in the Iron Marches where I was fusing together some items, so some of the above was done on Sunday, and some done later.

Going through the screenshots, I also joined a beginner’s bounty train in Crystal Oasis because I heard them advertising while standing in the Collector’s Edition pavillion hangout place and there was this recent Reddit thread complaining that no one did any bounties.

It was a Sunday, so there was time to do some frivolous, supportive things. I dunno what these Redditors are complaining about really. We started as a group of 6-8 people and were about 14-20 strong by the time we cleaned out all of the available mobs on the Amnoon bounty board.

Yes, I quit the group after that, but it was a good gameplay session. They went on to the next bounty board with less people interested, but the last I overheard ’em, they were joining their 5-7 remaining group to 2-3 other people interested in the legendary facet, so it’s not as if there aren’t people doing bounties. It’s small group content.

Would I like it if it scaled down better so that one could solo them more easily for practice and kicks? (Instead of being some kind of Herculean affair that only true pros can manage.) Sure. But they’re not impossible to do now, with a little social organization and cooperation, that even an introverted hermit like myself can tolerate.

What I did in Warframe is an equal blur of presumed accumulation and progress. I did some void relic missions. I did some bounties. I did some other missions.

I did not get the random drops of the stuff I really wanted. I got other things instead that will still presumably put my account ahead when I need them.

15 Oct, Mon

  • Minecraft: The Awakening – Made a SAG mill and Alloy Smelter. Lagging furiously. 

Monday was Minecraft day. No time for GW2 or Warframe, not even dailies.

This modpack has some heavy modifications to some of its recipes, so the EnderIO SAG mill and Alloy Smelter cost a lot more in time and effort than in other modpack variants. They needed a ridiculous amount of steel. I’d the infrastructure set up by now, but lacked enough iron ore raw ingredients.

At my stage in the game, there was no automation to be done with that, so it was strip mining with a pickaxe in straight lines at different depths hoping to stumble on some iron. There are a ton of ores and rocks in this modpack, so naturally I found 30 other resource type to stuff up my inventory and backpack multiple times long before finding enough iron.

Eventually, we produced enough iron to move towards the dream of EnderIO machinery.

There was also a curious amount of almost game-stopping lag, especially when opening inventories. Since I’m playing this singleplayer, this needed some debugging. I checked my available memory, the CPU load (I’d been watching Youtube at the same time, but been doing this with no issues multiple times prior), the entities in Minecraft, even turning things to peaceful mode to get rid of spawned enemy mobs… nothing cleared it 100%, so it was a curiouser and curiouser state of affairs.

Some Googling since suggested a possible culprit as the InventoryTweaks mod, but lag since then has not been 100% game stopping nor 100% gone, so I don’t know, we’ll see.

16 Oct, Tue

  • GW2 – Raid night. Cleared wings 6, 5, 4. Group got me the Taking Turns achievement.
  • Warframe – Two Cetus bounties
  • Minecraft: Awakening – Quick stop to finish grinding metal ores into dust. Still lagging at 80% severity.
  • GW2 – Quick Halloween daily

It looks like a lot when you list it.

I can’t say that it was really that much gameplay though. The bulk of it was raid night. We killed stuff.

The team generously spent effort and gave their bodies up to the cause of getting me the Taking Turns achievement that I’d missed one or two times prior by always being dead at the end of killing Qadim; while I spent as much effort as possible doing the bare minimum necessary for success while primarily keeping myself alive and healthy. That felt honestly harder than CM.

When all nine pairs of eyes are on you with blazing focus and you’re desperately trying not to snuff things up and/or make a poor judgement jump out into nothingness under a time limit and the social obligation to not make things as repetitively painful for others as possible. That shit’s hard, man.

Fortunately, it went by fairly uneventfully.

Having full permission to not do anything but stay alive, I let my dps drop to below average, wussed out on unnecessary platform jumping and remained among the living. Final achievement get.

mythwright-16oct

I suppose I am now the owner of a pile of gold that I’ve yet to sit on and a title that I’ve yet to bother to use.

I’ve not even bought the Dhuum chair yet, though I can afford it if I wanted.

That stuff works for the people who have others to show it off to. Me, I’m not motivated by prestige. It just doesn’t do it for me.

What -DOES- motivate me and make me very happy is completionism. It’s probably just as childishly hedonistic as those who enjoy sitting on an ostentatious chair for others to see, but every time I look at the shiny colored-in Achievement and all the little check marks, I feel more complete and fulfilled. It’s done. I -know- that it’s done. Figurative OCD sated. That’s what I care about.

Anyway, the rest of the night was interspersed between barely doing anything in Waframe beyond testing my Hek shotgun out on higher level Cetus bounties and -not- getting the relics I wanted and finishing up some busywork in Minecraft while still lagging somewhat.

The Halloween patch had dropped by the time I looked up, and greedily, I decided to get the daily done before it resetted in 7-8 hours, which I’d otherwise miss because I’d either be asleep or commuting to work. That was done, and then to bed.

17 Oct, Wed

  • GW2 – More items on the Astralaria III collection, Uncategorized fractal group & solo

This is where my notes end, and I have to piece things back together like an archaeologist out of sporadic screenshots acting as a fossil record.

Don’t ask my memory, it simply does not exist any longer without prompts.

As shown in the screenshot above, I was at the Searing Cauldron on Wed night, so I must have fused the necessary items there.

I also found some Uncategorized fractal screenshots, which jogs my memory sufficiently to recall that I tried for the Uncategorized fractal item in the collection by joining a Tier 2 fractal in progress, and failed rather miserably at speedrunning past the harpies solo.

My particular raid-centered build was just not set up for racing past harpies at speed without other people distracting or dealing them while trying to recollect the precise jumping puzzle hops. I’d take half my health in damage from a harpy arrow barrage, get locked in combat, get crippled to boot with insufficient condi cleanses and then promptly fail the jump due to cripple and being locked in combat. Over and over.

I couldn’t quite get out of combat to change my skills or traits, presumably because either I was now locked in combat with the harpies or the other 2-3 party members were locked in combat with something further above, and it was a fairly miserable state of affairs.

Fortunately, there was one more party member slot that was yet unfilled. Some random guy joined and started hopping up the jumping parts with me, and I gratefully used him as a distraction to jump past the portion I was stuck on and give my limited skills enough time to reset to accommodate the next portion.

On joining the rest of the group, the rest of it was somewhat eventful. I was scared to go in to set up the Old Tom portion because I’ve previously misjudged my charr’s hitbox and triggered the fight before. Multiple times. I then got mutilated by the raving asura and cat golems and downed/died with no one bothering to rez.

Out of sheer embarrassment, I just clicked Okay to Proceed and didn’t quite rez in time to pick up the chest… containing the Astralaria item I really needed.

Whoops. Oh well, it was a really poor showing anyway.

So I tried the other approach. Solo. Level 2 Uncategorized fractal. Fuck PUGs.

It felt a lot more rewarding, honestly, even if the absolute rewards didn’t match.

I killed the harpies before jumping up. Fuck harpies. Even if they don’t knockback on this level, they both still hurt and needed to die.

I ran around and kited the four cage bosses, dying a few times in the process while learning their animations, but whittling them down one at a time.

I had time to test a safe jump to the fan at Old Tom and worked out a kind of range strategy since I had no mobs or players to hide behind to block his shots.

I bogged down for a while at the raving asura because his tracking projectiles hurt a ton. The tragedy was that the fight would reset from the very beginning so I couldn’t death-whittle them down one by one.

uncat-17oct

Ultimately, I had to work through both a hypothetical strategy and the trait swaps to support it. Wall of reflection to stop the projectiles was the main thing.

I can’t recall now if the final successful build used Shield of the Avenger to cover the time period where Wall of Reflection wasn’t up, or if my F3 block was sufficient.

The part I was missing for quite a while was a trait swap to Master of Consecrations to increase Wall of Reflection uptime. Once I had that, I had the safety I needed to destroy the cat golems. Still a little touch and go, but it now felt possible, as opposed to impossible.

Pulling out the Astralaria item from the chest after that solo felt sweet.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday… Hrm….

This is where my notes AND my screenshots stop, I’m afraid.

I probably did Halloween stuff in GW2 on Thursday.

Friday was raid night and some of the team did drunk raiding and we cleared the remaining wings 1, 2, and 3.

I did some more Astralaria collection stuff from Thursday to Saturday, leaving me with the more filled in picture below.

astral-20oct

There was probably more Warframe-ing in there somewhere. A lot of Alerts and random missions. I did the first two Halloween Tactical Alerts today on Saturday, the first solo, the second grouped.

I popped into Minecraft briefly without getting much done, except testing the lag level, which was at about 40-60% severity. Tolerable, but still not normal normal.

As for the rest of the weekend, I suspect it will be more GW2 Halloween stuff, more Astralaria, more Warframe, and some Minecraft, if at all possible.

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Back and Forth, With Memory Like a Sieve

13 Oct, Sat

You’d think the weekend was for focus and progress, but you’d be wrong.

  • Warframe – Downloaded patch and stopped.

Apparently, a new update – Chimera – hit. The new stuff Arbitration missions requires a completed star chart and is seemingly pitched at high level players taking on high risk missions with chances of failure.

I don’t have a completed star chart, so that’s moot. I’m not at all high level, nor with sufficient mods yet to consider venturing into level 50-60 sorties, let alone top of the line stuff. I’m honestly fairly allergic to high chance of failure in my games so level of interest in Arbitration missions is nonexistent at this stage of my Warframe gameplay.

It’s fine.  There’s so much other stuff I could be doing. Level all the warframes, level all the weapons, finish all the side quests, actually complete the star chart, work on syndicate standing with all existing factions, collect all the mods and every time I stare at the launcher, I’m reminded I really want Chroma Prime but this time I want to try the farming route instead of the straight up buy route I went for Rhino Prime.

The patch download took forever though. By itself, it was pretty big. Then it offered to clean up my missions (to the tune of 800MB or so) with a warning that it would take a while, and I thought, “It’s the weekend and the day’s just starting, why not?”

Apparently, the “why not” was because it took about half an hour and threatened to cut straight into Megadestroyer time.

  • GW2 – Killed the Megadestroyer, one more itty bitty checkbox ticked on the Astralaria III collection.

May as well get it over with.

  • GW2 – Finished the Historical Gloves part of the Requiem armor collection.

Short of 7 mistonium for the next milestone in the requiem armor collection (historical gloves), so I did Chantry and Yatendi hearts in Jahai Bluffs to buy 10 mistonium with karma.

Rode around Sun’s Refuge completely lost trying to remember where the NPC was, finally gave up and checked a guide to discover / re-remember that she was in the Durmand Priory of Lornar’s Pass instead. *sigh* The problems with continuing a quest chain interrupted by days having gone by in between.

Later, I brought an alt scourge to try and earn more mistonium for the next step. Killed the Death-Branded Shatterer since it was up, did the Chantry heart, and wore out before completing the Yatendi heart. Quit out instead to go find something more fun to do.

I don’t quite understand how some people can go through 10 alts doing the same thing in a day, just to grind up the mistonium super quick.

Still, since they’re probably the ones willing to buy my sigils of nullification at the new established market rate, I’m not complaining.

  • Opus Magnum – Finished the tutorial and 75% of Chapter 1

I’ve been eyeing this puzzle game from Zachtronics for a while now, but never really willing to bite because it’s never dropped to 75% off and I know just how long I last with hard puzzle games.

Aka I did the first few puzzles of Spacechem and then never continued; and I looked at the first bits of TIS-100 and found it interesting but brain exploding; and I may have lasted through about 20% of Human Resource Machine before getting blocked/stumped at a branching path where both puzzles seemed more trouble than it was worth to figure out.

Sorry, but if I’m going to play only 25% of a puzzle game, I’m willing to only pay 25% of the price for one.

Being in a Humble Bundle, however, changes things.

The slight problem with this one was that I already owned about 3-4 of the games in the bundle, so I had to hem and haw a bit and rationalize that the 3 games I didn’t own + Opus Magnum made the $15 USD price tag worth it.

The last work week was hard going though, so after having delayed the purchase for a week or so already, I decided to treat myself with a weekend gift.

Opus Magnum was unwrapped swiftly.

The aesthetic layer around this game is a lot more clean cut and polished, as befits some kind of story about an Alchemist creating elegant Victorian steampunk alchemical engines.

Opus Magnum - Hangover Cure (100G, 67, 13, 2018-10-14-02-16-27)

Gameplay-wise, it’s a standard Zachtronics style puzzle game. You get a bunch of parts/components, some rules and boundaries to restrict the puzzle space, an end goal and it’s your job to place / shape / program the pieces so that the end goal is achieved.

Your solution is scored, based on several factors, and a little leaderboard graph pops up, showing you if you were completely normal and figured out the most popular average solution, or if you were ahead or fell behind the curve in some way.

It even lets you create a little GIF of your engines, to show them off to others in this social media connected age.

Competitive min-maxers, I think, go crazy for this. Some get obsessed with tuning and retuning the puzzle solutions to reach ever more efficient, ever more elegant solutions…or conversely trade off astronomical sums in the other factors just to bring their one desired factor down to the absolute minimum.

This Rock, Paper, Shotgun writer demonstrates it more effectively than I can.

I’m more of a satisficer. If the goddamn thing works, and lets me click on the “continue” button, I’m done. Good enough.

I’m pleased if I fall within the average, and if I don’t, so be it, it still fucking works, in its own unique way.

Ain’t got no time for anything more than that.

  • Warframe again – Did a bunch of missions, I don’t know, it all blurred together. Titania more or less done, the 3 Forma’ed Hek seems fairly good now; Leveled up Hydroid and Oberon a bit; Tried to open some relics for Chroma Prime parts (no go); Did 2 not-yet-completed star chart missions to test out the Hek 

I got back into Warframe late at night. The reddit had clued me in that there were apparently some spoilers/lore that needed to be embargo’ed in the Chimera patch, and I was amazed that I had attempted to play it in the morning and didn’t quite get around to it until the night.

You can imagine my amazement when I finished a few hours later, none the wiser, having not at all found nor completed the spoiler laden thing.

I tried to look in the Quests section of the Codex, and saw Mask of the Revenant included (but that was something that had dropped in the last update, and anyway, my Ostron standing was below that so the quest wasn’t even unlocked, moot point.)

Then staring at my warframe in front of me reminded me that I just wanted to go ahead and level some of them. Having been slightly addicted to a daily 7 hour affinity boost that dropped a day or two ago, I waffled for the space of three minutes before rationalizing that I’m mainly playing this heavily on weekends, so a 3 days affinity booster was affordable and made sense.

40 x 4 weekends = 160 platinum, the 30 day booster was 200 platinum, and it was highly unlikely I’d get more than 12 days of benefit out of it while playing Warframe in spurts as a secondary game, and also somewhat unlikely that I’d buy a boost -every- weekend in a month.

Just… for now, since I had a couple of new warframes and weapons to level up fast.

I’m getting good at this Pay-to-speed-things-up bit.

So I took said to-be-leveled-up things into my new favorite leveling spots – a multiplayer Dark Sector survival mission where there are oodles of Infested that all run at you blindly and can be shotgunned to death with my new slightly-more-deadly kitted out Hek, and where multiplayer means increased spawn rate and the possibility of some overpowered player coming in and farming everything for you while you stand there and shoot empty air to add sound effects.

An Intensify also dropped, somewhen amidst the chaos. Since this was my first Intensify, and also the last of the Streamline, Flow, Continuity, Reach quinfecta of basic-mods-you-should-really-have-to-kit-out-warframes-so-that-they-don’t-suck,-but-are-also-annoying-to-get, this was a welcome bonus.

At some point, I got tired of the multiplayer – the draw for me is the increased mob spawn rate and how fast things die, the turn-off is the fact that it is quite boring to stand around and not really do anything if some overpowered (but immensely helpful) player is cleaning out the map for you. Enlightened self-interest and greed says that this is bloody good for really quick leveling of stuff that will take forever otherwise; while the “yo, I want to actually shoot things myself and kill things, even if it takes 4 times as long” part of me kicks up a hissy fit in the background.

So you compromise between the two and go back and forth.

I did some easy solo Alerts, a solo Lith interception to try and farm more relics (not too well), then got bored at the mob spawn rate – I just can’t get enough void reactant to open the relic by myself before the interception completes and resets the relic – and switched to my first multiplayer Lith missions.

That took care of the spawn rate all right. The choosing of the relic part from 4 players was a lot more bamboozling, given that I have very little knowledge of what’s valuable and what’s not. I ended up weighing between what the other players picked, what I already owned, and trying to frantically recall the unique color coding of warframe where (I think) yellow means the rarest to pop, white is uncommon and brown/orange is the more common.

I got bored again after a few rounds of a Limbo Prime and Saryn Prime combination that essentially wiped out the entire map for us.  Effective, certainly, but when some kind of host migration/network error booted me out after the third round, I didn’t try to rejoin.

Throughout this, I’d been rocking my newly 3 forma’ed Hek shotgun. I’d managed to fit all the decent mods I owned on it by 3 forma, so I saw no need to continue forma’ing until and unless I got better mods. Things were dying with one shotgun blast, and I’d managed to cut the original slow-as-molasses reload speed to an acceptable 1.3 seconds or so.

The real question was, did I now have a gun that was capable of taking me past the mob level (35-45) I was previously struggling at?

Prior to this, I only owned one gun, the Vectis Prime, given free during a carnival of Twitch drops with which I’d left things running overnight just to farm things, that was capable of doing enough damage. The Vectis is a sniper rifle though, so while that niche was covered, I didn’t exactly have a close range, semi-AoE option.

Hence, the working really hard on upgrading the shotgun that was commonly recommended as a decent starter weapon capable of taking a player through the star chart.

Switched back to my Rhino Prime favorite, gave him the shotty, and tried a few Pluto missions. The results were pretty satisfactory. Most died in one hit, one or two mobs took two. It didn’t quite feel like I was struggling now, though I did struggle to recall how it was really like several weeks ago without the shotgun.

So I guess I can now put “complete the star chart” back on the long term goal agenda, among all the other things…

Tomorrow, for realz, I’ll try to do that story/lore thing. I ended up opening Reddit spoilers until I actually figured out where the eff it starts. I think I know where to go now.

Path of Exile: Delving with a Witch Doctor

Delve league is out in Path of Exile, and I’m right back in the swing of things.

poe_delve1

The league is named for the supposed first of potentially many “infinite” dungeon type systems that Grinding Gear Games may experiment with or work on.

Though with the old Atlas of the Worlds endgame of ever expanding maps that open into more maps that link yet more maps recursively, you’d think GGG already had one.

That, and an old race event type called Endless Ledge which repeated a single map over and over with increasingly insane monsters until you wiped or ran out of race time.

But Delve is a little more sophisticated than Endless Ledge.

You get a map from which you select your next target location. You could plot a path that might take you laterally fighting roughly the same level mobs and earning various treasures and currency, or chart a route that takes you delving deeper and deeper, with presumably increasing challenges.

poe_delve3

I’m nowhere near a respectable deep level yet, but I’ve encountered a change in biome here and there.

At each stop, there are quick encounters with various swarms of enemies or some mini-bosses like rogue exiles to fight, and a mini-treasure awaiting.

The Delve system has its own currency of Azurite, a resource that for once isn’t a currency orb or physical object represented in Path of Exile to clog up your stash, but an automatically vacuumed resource that beelines directly for your character magnet-style and drops into your “wallet.”

At present, there are three things in it. Azurite, Flares and Dynamite.

Azurite is used for crafting Flares and Dynamite, as well as in a Delve specific progression system that increases your pool of storing these various resources, expands light radius, damage done by dynamite and so on.

The mine, you see, is dark. Very dark. So dark you might get eaten by a grue.

If you step away from the light for a short time, a dark debuff stacks on your very quickly and eats away at your health VERY rapidly.

So you’re usually following the precious light-bearing Crawler on its path from one stop to another, with occasional risk-reward forays into the pitch black.

The Crawler is fueled by a resource you can only harvest from the surface, so it is still necessary to ping pong back and forth from the old maps to the new Delve and back again.

poe_delve2

The Delve league also brings a number of less obvious but significant changes.

The devs apparently had to do some stuff in the lighting department to support Delve’s light/dark mechanic, and they managed to pull off light beams on objects at the same time.

Customable light beams, of different colors, on any darn thing you choose. If you can imagine it, you can tweak it.

Most people don’t quite have that imagination, me included, so we’re content reaping the benefits of some very hardworking players with a downloadable item filter – Neversink’s Filterblade, that also eases the work of customization with a whole bunch of options you can tweak via friendly website UI (as opposed to messing with textfiles and esoteric item codes).

poe_delve5

Equally mind-blowing, for me anyway, was a little patch note that said “You can now right click on any stash tab in the drop down list to send it all the way to the left.”

Hallelujah.

When you’ve bought more than a few stash tabs, all your special tabs for currency, maps, divination cards and so on all wind up to the far right at the start of every league.

This is terribly depressing because for many people, me included, it makes the most sense to have the currency tab – something that sees a LOT of use – as the very first thing you want to access on the very left of all your stash tabs.

Previously, one had to drag and drop, scrolling past dozens of stash tabs (I have around 40, what can I say, I’m a hoarder and a reluctant organizer) to get ONE tab where it needed to go.

This league, setup just involved a few right clicks and short drags, and that really motivated me to get off on the right organizing foot.

poe_delvestash

We’ll see how long that lasts.

Build-wise, I decided to break from recommended build tradition and experiment with my own, since I started relatively on time this league.

I would still be following the main major changes. Last league, traps and arc got reworked, so arc traps was totally in.

This league, one major highlight is the new melee summoner archetype with a number of new skill gems to support this playstyle.

This is a dream come true. I love melee characters. I love doing damage. I also love supporting with buffs, offensive and defensive.

And I am totally for an entourage of questionably helpful AI-controlled killer mobs because I am a lazy bastard who likes to just walk around and have things die. (I played ranged summoners twice fairly recently and loved them.)

I get to have them all together, you say?

YES PLEASE.

Wait, what’s the catch?

poe_delve0

Well,  the catch is the class that makes the most sense to juggle strength for attacks and intelligence for minions and auras is the Templar, the naked old man above with no pants.

His Guardian Ascendancy was also reworked to support this melee summoner playstyle, and after studying both Necromancer Witch and Templar Guardian – the two classes that start relatively close to the stuff I wanted in the skill tree – it was decided that I really needed to use the Templar.

*sigh*

Microtransaction outfits to the rescue.

The Templar has a very holy, “God”, paladin-y vibe going for him, but it seemed a bit boring to go down that holy armored cleric route.

By chance, I combined a blue Harpy helmet I picked up last league with a red Gore body armor from a very long time ago, and thought “Hrrrrm…”

Red and blue is not really a color combination I’d go for, but it so happens that a lot of this character’s skills are all yellow. It’s high contrast, as they’re all primary colors, but there is a certain color wheel logic to this.

poe_delve4

It ended up working quite well, as my original idea was to try out the reworked Dominating Blow skill gem.

I was also going to swarm things with basic zombies as a minion meatshield – something I’ved used before for fairly decent effect with other characters (at least up to the point of higher level maps where one would then explode without good gear/defences augmenting you).

Dominating Blow wasn’t available till level 28, so in the meantime, I used the new Smite skill gem, in conjunction with Raise Zombies, and also picked up Holy Relic.

Dang, they were good. Smite lets you attack something, and then lightning strikes will hit other mobs. At the same time, if you hit something with it, you and your allies get a short term aura buff that adds lightning damage to your and their attacks.

Slot in the Ancestral Call support, and you get two ghostly helpers that randomly attack 2 nearby enemies at the same time, essentially tripling the Smite attack.

Holy Relic meanwhile will trigger an AoE nova spell on enemies that you hit with an attack (expanding the range of damage of the tripled smite attack) and put on a life regeneration buff that works immensely better on minions than you.

Some experimentation with the slotting of supports for Holy Relic suggested that minion supports could be put on it, increasing physical damage, fire damage, etc. Presumably, this only takes effect when the holy relic buff is on.

But as a melee summoner, you were going to attack -something- anyway, right?

Which in turn buffs all your little minions around you? Whee.

The synergy. Too awesome.

To add icing on the cake, Herald of Purity is the new herald skill gem that adds physical damage to you, buffs minion damage, and creates Sentinel of Purity minions when you kill enemies.

There is a Summon Phantasm on Kill support that creates ghostly ranged phantasm minions – something I was using to very enjoyable effect with my prior SRS raven necromancer.

It got to the point when I actually reached Dominating Blow, after some experimentation, I decided that the minions it created were a little more awkward to play around with than the existing Smite-Nova/Zombie-Phantasm Smash I already had going.

Guess we’ll save that for another build.

The rest of the build choice is a little haphazard for now. Lightning golem just for the attack speed and the off chance its aura might buff a minion or three.

Leap slam with fortify seemed like a decent movement skill. I am also tickled by the fact that both Smite and Leap Slam sound very similar, like the thump of a drum. It all melds with the witch doctor/shaman theme of Thuum Thuum of Doom, and then buffed zombies eat your face while lightning smites others in the background.

At level 46, I am feeling the shortage of life just a tide, but there are several life/energy shield nodes coming up in the planned tree, and my gear sucks for now, so we’ll see how it goes and adapt from there.

SSF experimental build life.

The fun is in the guesswork and tweaking things as you go along. If it works, you learn and remember. If it doesn’t work, you die and then you learn.

Most importantly, I am having a blast.

poe_delve7

And that’s the crux of it.