Aaron's Will - Conceptually Exciting, Practically Disappointing

I really want to be wrong here, so if somebody’s made it work well, please show me I’m wrong.

When I saw Aaron’s Will in the new Uniques, it seemed neat and I wanted to try building around a bunch of Golems as the primary minions. It seemed like a cool aspirational thing that I could try for over a long time to get a +3 using the Legendary system. But I’ve tried a number of Golem focused variations on this so far and the results have been pretty disappointing.

In every version I’ve attempted, my hopes collide with a nasty reality - Melee minions are strictly inferior to ranged minions. For Golems the normal problems are made even worse by their size (even more so if you invest in size because IT’S COOL), since they collide and interfere with each other constantly - even getting so bad as to completely body block themselves and any other minions from getting through corridors if the timing lines up. I’ve watched my three dumb bone gorillas stand there playing fiddlesticks 10 feet away from a Spire because they were stuck on some roots, and I had to force move them away and back again before they did anything. They also get slowstuck on terrain often and have terrible ADHD about target selection, especially if I’m doing anything but standing still.

But even doing what I can think of to make these guys be beefy, even when they were on top of mobs, the damage just wasn’t there. Golems do not seem to hit like Mages do even with really heavy investment in damage. There were times that I’d see all three just whaling away like lost children on beefy mobs, accomplishing nothing until my Mages got undistracted and helped out. Trying to get through Echos on only ~150 Corruption was an unbearable slog and even dropping down to the non-empowered timeline with 0 Corruption was sluggish.

The closest I got to acceptable was using Deathchill with int stacking/Infernal Shade shenanigans and Lich’s Scorn, but not only was that still inferior to a Cold Skeleton Army build but it required a lot more effort. Taking any of the nodes behind Subjugation made it completely unmanageable, and I otherwise had to blow points on Dread Shade’s Infernal Dread so I wasn’t recasting constantly. But when I got tired of taking more effort to do worse and deleveled 3/5 of my skills to reassign points, that was still stronger. Other attempts with Pyre Golem and Blood Golem were a total dumpster that got me killed more times in one session than this character has in its entire journey to 100.

So, I’m kind of sad that this neat thing turned out to be butt in the ways I tried to use it. Maybe somebody else has made it work?


Oh, and also -

It’s especially disappointing that my results were so lackluster because of what you have to give up in order to take advantage of this item’s most iconic benefit. Hitting +2 Golems needs 8 Max Skeletons, and to do that you’re either giving up an entire skill slot (since it blocks all of Summon Skeleton) for the +3 from the tree, or using double Hollow Finger, which is a really weak item compared to even crappy rare rings. It’s also worth pointing out that this is even worse if you try to use this as a Lich - since you’re locked out Tyrant’s Legion and the +1 from being Necro, you have to give up a skill and use a Hollow Finger.

I went into this experiment 100% willing to make those sacrifices as long as they paid off. But they really, really didn’t.


I think the craziest part about it is, there was a discussion today on the discord.

Seems aaron and the devs have confirmed it is also the most rare chest in the game currently.

Meaning even just farming for one is a nightmare task.

I dunno, I just dont see the value currently. Its just a neat little item that lets you trade summon skeletons for bone golems, you cant build around this functionality, it just shifts your army to being big bone men instead of little bone men. A benefit for some builds id imagine.

I personally was gonna stack ICDR for minions on idols to get a bunch of maul spamming werebear minions(This seems to be what they are in the code) but gave up when I learned id be farming for a long time if I try and target farm it because of how rare it is. now im thinking an ice archer squad stacking ICDR is more interesting.

I dunno the minion items this patch just didnt hit for me, I didnt have much success with bees either, I guess even with 1000%+ damage, its not so hot when your minion naturally does 50% less damage.

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That’s kind of baffling with its current state. I’m glad I appear to have gotten lucky and snagged one after only ~200 total echoes in empowered BFD. If I’d farmed for a lot longer and still got boned by it being so underpowered I’d be even more frustrated with it.

I’ve been really seriously trying to conceive of a build where it would be useful enough to warrant the drawbacks and I just can’t get there. You could get to +1 Golem just by taking Unbound Necromancy but… why would you? You’re still giving up basic Skeletons just by wearing the chest so it’s not like you can use it in a traditional minion heavy build. The bonuses you can get to Mages on a chest are enormous and now you’re losing out there, so Mages are a lot worse. And also the Ward thing is just… what?

Somebody, at some point, must have had some build concept in mind when this was all put together but for the life of me I cannot figure out what and I wish they’d tell me.

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Maybe @ActionRPG could say given he spunked $1k up the wall on it.

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I’ve used Aaron’s Will in a few different configurations when playing around with my Acolyte at end game. With 1 or 2 extra bone golems from AW and Twinned Golem, you can be extremely safe from regular mobs. They pose a little bit of an issue protecting you or seeing what you’re doing on certain bosses, but just for grinding it’s a great item. It gets even more interesting when you pair it with Dragonflame Edict.

Overall, I’d much prefer to have it with some amount of LP, but just as an endgame item, I don’t really have any complaints. Like all the other unique’s, it’s slightly flawed and forces you to change your strategy a little in order to fit it in. I think that makes it kind of interesting. I like tradeoffs, which is something LE excels at.

No, the idea was to have ‘4 gOlEms!’ thats it, nothing else if he planned to use Bone Shatter well EHG already had 2 nerfs up their sleeve

I was going to post the item had no use at all but figured let people figure it out on their own

You cant even use Pyre golems effectively, well the Aura doesnt stack plus you need to sacrifice skeletons which is unavailable, its almost like the devs knew it wouldnt be great, made it rare as so people could avoid it

lol, could that be what I’m doing “wrong” when trying to use this thing? Trying to use it for offensive Golems instead of defensive ones?

I totally ignored Twinned Golem because it is such a disgusting loss of damage per Golem (at least baseline it averages out to be slightly better) when combined with AW, but I did just write a bunch of paragraphs about how little damage Golems do, didn’t I?

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You’re definitely not wrong; it is a massive damage drop off at first. You have to do other things to make up for it. But I think if you’re sitting on multiple items with LP and class-specific damage boosts, it can well be made up for.

I’m sure there’s people who understand the meta way better than I do who would start saying something about how Dread Shade gives all of it back to you somehow, but I have mainly run Volatile Zombie or Skeleton Archers my entire playthrough. I did find Dragonflame Edict has some interesting synergy with it also. Any cocktail of other abilities could make it worth it. Would take lategame items and some finagling to find out. (Finagling I wish I had the time or game knowledge to do properly, but that’s a different issue.)

I had some ideas for builds on paper and thought them through and always came to the conclusion that it’s better to have one golem instead of three or four :smiley: . The Chest is even a hard nerf to certain golem builds. Right now I’ll be happier with a “the Falcon” drop then a “Aaron’s Will”. No idea why it’s rare or what to do with it. Maybe ask Aaron what he had in mind with it :smiley: .

The worst thing is… afaik this thing only spawns bone golems so you can’t even have 3 Fire golems to slowly burn enemys. @BroncoCollider it is only spawning generic bone golems right because having multiple immolation auras was the last build i threw out of the window because it said it spawns only bone golems.

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Aaron’s will used as intended (for 3 or 4 golems) is quite bad.

The problem is that the new alternative golems are bad. Their spells are on 3 sec cd, which is far too long and the tree has only one mediocre node for melee damage multiplication. And you pay for this mediocrity with 2 skill slots instead of one. The golems also don’t have any access to flat crit chance, so they are completely reliant on dread shade auto-crit. Which is only available for single golem setup. So in the end 3 golems feel like a downgrade.

That is not to say that the armor is bad. The chest itself has amazing stats. If you ignore the golem portion completely and manage to land 2 LP it will be an amazing addition to any build.
It also has a fringe use of enabling 3 minions for Hungering Souls. Possibly with minimal investment by using one ring with +1 skeleton together with twinned spirits.

Bone Shatter solo golem is so grossly overtuned its probably the top build right now or at least in the top 3 and nerfing that setup and playing anything else is just going to weaker in every aspect regarding Golems, you will have maybe 30x less damage (not kidding) and you can get up to 18k HP from 3k life/15kward spamming Rip Blood on your Golem, the build is also perfectly suited to kill Julra

If you want high clear speed run one single Archmage and it will clear a whole mono easily, I can afk arena runs at 180 corruption and be ok - theres a ‘bug’ with the Archmage doesnt get affected by the Blinding node in Dread Shade - the Fire Mages projectiles goes everywhere like its supposed to but the Ice isnt affected so he gets 50%? cast speed for free. This also requires no gear at all and only gets better with Deathrattle/Formosus offhand

In fact, this is how I use it. I play fire minion Acolyte. It can be fun to have 3 or 4 of them just muscling everything on screen to the point where you never take agro. As a just-for-fun item, I’ve enjoyed playing with it a lot. As an aside, it’s kind of interesting to see how the graphics start glitching out as all four golems are throwing particles and rocks into the air. lol

With how badly minion collision makes them interfere with each other, I’ve come to the same conclusion.

Nope, it respects your Golem skill tree. I had multiple Deathchill, Blood, and Pyre Golems running around in the various builds I tried.

Freezing Grasp seems to perform OK if you invest in it, but the AI on casting it makes really bad decisions and misses so many targets so often. =/ Pyre and Blood were very not good though.

Yeahp. The total lack of crit leaves them way behind if you want to do anything except abuse Shatter.

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One Abomination outperforms 3x golems in damage and speed. Basically idea behind Aaron’s Will is “you wanna more pets, there you go”. About farming, i just get lucky with my five runes of ascendance, hit Arron’s armor on my last one.

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My original build idea with this had an Abomb in it too. :frowning:

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Often thought about trying to swap Volatile Zombie out for Dread Shade and have Abomination going ham on everything while I chill out behind my bone golems. Think I’ll try to do that finagling I talked about and let you know how it goes.

Okay, so I did some research and I think I know enough now to outline how this would work; I could be wrong but this is my best guess based on 3-4 hours testing just now.

Assuming you want to use Aaron’s Will, here’s the builds you could choose and why you should (or shouldn’t) use them. There seems not to be an objectively best build as far as this goes, so which one you would choose would come down to lifestyle preferences.

Preface: You’re gonna want to find Sinathia’s Set, Arborial Circuit, Logi’s Hunger, The Fang, Ribbons of Blood and earn Frozen Eyes of Formosus for certain ones of these. I’m also assuming you’re running Transplant on any and all of these builds. On any of these builds, add points to necro passive Mortal Tether until your minions stop dying. How many points you will need in this will vary by build and the other bonuses on your gear. (I use 8.) Also take Arborial Circuit, Ribbons of Blood, Amalgam of Primalists under Bone Golem and Unholy Command under Abom if you’re using him. Look for exalted items with +X to Bone Golem + Minion Armor also.

Bring idols that add a chance to inflict damned or marked for death on any of these builds, as well as elemental minion damage. The amount of bonus damage the 1 x 3 ones for that can give is over 60%, which can greatly increase fire, cold or necrotic damage.

Another neat thing you can try here is using Pebble’s set, though the items are generally bad. There might be some bosses where the extra potions trivialize the fight. It’s only a belt and a relic. I haven’t tested this out enough to know.

  1. Abom + Dread Shade

This actually doesn’t work, for a lot of reasons. The pain of resummoning abomination isn’t worth it. Especially since Devour (1 button resummon) is slow and you still wouldn’t want to do it in a boss fight. There’s also not an easy way to target Abomination with Dread Shade unless he’s your only minion; casting on face plates does not work current patch. But even if you could, the shade just doesn’t give him enough extra damage to make up for everything you’re losing not slotting a different minion instead of Dread Shade.

  1. Minion Fire Damage + Death Knights

This is wicked high DPS but the problem of resummoning the skeletons might become an annoyance. Without Aaron’s Will, Warrior Skeletons sadly aren’t any more durable and deal way less damage after specing the Effigees passive, so there’s no real reason to use them over Archers if you’re not using it.

To set up, use Logi’s Hunger. Drop points into necro passive Dark Retribution to get better Vanguards when you resummon Abom. Or without Aaron’s Will, when your Archers inevitably eat it. Go with Pyre Golem and use Tower of Bones to help them get threat. Amalgam of Primalists and Sentinels as well as Hunger will help keep them alive. Spec necro passives Moonlight Pyre, Rite of Undeath and Effigees. Without Aaron’s Will, also give your Archers Fire Arrow. Dragonflame Edict is optional but if you do bring it, you can consider using Ice Arrow instead for some CC, as Archers will have a base chance to ignite when attacking either way.

You’ll want to bring skeletal mages in either case, and I recommend Death Knights because of their synergy with Dragonflame Edict considering how fast they attack and their bonus fire damage in melee. This outstrips most of the benefits of Pyromancers. Even the extra skill points from Logi’s Hunger don’t make up for it.

There are a couple ways to top this build off: Volatile Zombie is the least annoying and has good synergy with Dragonflame Edict. However, if you’re trying to play completely brainless, the far more annoying option is to go Wraiths spec’d Sequel of Avarice and try to get the 5% rarity double-fire Wraith summon. They die less often because they attack at range and you don’t really have to resummon or babysit them at all. If you want to still have something to do, drop a point on Simulacrum under Transplant and 2-3 on the necro passive Mark of Punishment to create blood skeletons that have a chance to bestow Mark of Death on enemies as they get chopped down. Veins of Malice necro passive also helps here.

Infernal Shade can work as your last ability here, but it’s really just personal preference over Volatile Zombie. You can’t control when the final explosions go off, and the AoE damage, while nice, isn’t super relevant with your minions all already putting the beatdown on the enemy in every direction. Use this if you’re bored or opposed to Volatile Zombie.

You can bring Abom instead of Skeletons or your other final skill in this build but the problem is that he doesn’t do fire damage and ends up being very vulnerable because he’s not hitting hard enough to regenerate his health. His damage reflect is decent but it’s not enough to make it helpful in any particular fight. He’s mostly taking up realestate in that scenario. Running 3 full sized golems works about as well by specing skeletons instead.

Going 4 golem + Abom is fun because they fill up the screen and nothing can get agro on you, but there’s no compelling reason to do so. You also don’t get to use Dragonflame from your Dragonflame Edict unless you deliberately resummon your Mages or something, which is much more expensive than Volatile Zombie. This of course, requires specing Skeletons and then putting points into one of the necro passives to max out your maximum skeleton count. (It should take both but for some reason it doesn’t this patch.) I also don’t know if the benefit of Amalgam of Primalists is multiplied by the number of golems you have out, but if it does, it doesn’t seem to matter much.

There is another distinctly interesting thing about doing this, though: You can slot Volatile Zombie on your bar instead of skeletons and use it unspec’d to proc Dragonflame Edict. You could also just throw on Aura of Decay, because why not?

  1. Minion Cold Damage + Abom

This surprised me. Cryomancer, Deathchill Golem and necro passive Blades of the Forlorn all play nice together. Bring Frozen eyes of Formosus here if you have it. Also want Sinathia’s Set for the extra protection and skill points.

Your final slot will be locked into Wraiths in this scenario since there’s not really another minion or spell that helps you out very much here.

This build causes a lot of CC, which you’d think would help you out more, but I was surprised to notice things still making it to me here and there.

  1. Physical Damage + Abom

If I had to pick one that I thought was objectively the best though, this would be the one. You’ll bring Sinathia’s Set and The Fang here. In addition to being a lot of damage, The Fang can offset the damage penalty from Twinned Golem a little bit if you choose to use it to have more tanks protecting you, which I personally like. Use necro passive Dark Retribution, Unearthed Arms and Veins of Malice, with extra points going into River of Bones, Blades of the Forlorn and Rite of Undeath. Spec Death Knights under Skeletal Mages. Vanilla golems plus Bladed Fists and Hunger are the way to go here.

The beauty of this is that it’s easy to set up and deals massive damage. Of all the builds, this is the one that hits the hardest and for the least babysitting. Death Knights are self sustaining here because they’re hitting so hard. Ribbons of Blood makes them self sustaining almost by itself. Throw down Transplant to activate Veins of Malice and your minions will frenzy on anything in their way. I was actually shocked by how much damage this did.

Abom can actually hurt things in this build and give armor to your other minions, but you are of course welcome to bring Skeletons instead. Warriors would benefit from The Fang, which means in the long run they should be higher damage. This would require removing Aaron’s Will, of course.

If you decide to run without Abom and just boost your golem number with skeletons, you want to do the trick here where you slot Volatile Zombie unspec’d because in addition to a little bit of damage and CC, this will actually give you access to getting your Vanguards back via Dark Retribution. This is especially helpful here since they benefit from melee / physical bonsues.

Wraiths are the obvious way to go here since they also benefit from melee damage. It’s up to you how to spec them, but I like Twin Spirits because I don’t have to resummon them. The less I have to cast on any given boss fight, the better.

It’s especially tempting to add idols to give a chance to inflict damned and/or marked for death to this build as well, since Death Knights attack so rapidly and the base damage is already high. This would make enemies that heal themselves much less of a hassle to mow down. 1 x 3’s or 3 x 1’s have a chance to mix and match those bonuses with other damage like physical damage, which is especially appealing here.

Hope this was useful and inspires people to try this item out more.

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This was actually my original concept that I wanted to run with and the one I had the most success with. The Formosus set off-hand works really well with it. Age of Undeath for the Abomb seemed to synergize really well, then I went down to Corrupt Palate and Frightful Feast and just filled out brainless More Damage points for what’s left. But 3 fat golems and an even fatter abomb just body blocked each other so much it was really ridiculous, and when I swapped over to a Cold Crit Army build it outperformed it really badly.

I might give the Physical Damage concept a try on your recommend. I’m really iffy on DKs though because of the melee/collision problem and I dismissed that pretty much right away.

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Yeah I had that experience as well. This was especially annoying on Emperor of Corpses. The fact that every oversize minion is determined to push him out of the center of the arena makes that fight way worse than it has to be. I haven’t played any of them yet but I would be horrified to find out one of the key dungeon bosses has the same problem.

As far as that issue goes, I wonder of EH is thinking of any fixes. Would make a good suggestion if someone hasn’t already raised it to them. I had an idea in one thread of having little indicator arrows that show you which direction major enemies are facing on or off screen to help you know if your minions are pointing any potential AOE’s towards you.

However, the fire damage build hits pretty freakin’ hard also. It’s kind of a toss up as to which one is better. If you don’t mind resummoning Archers from time to time, or Abom being useless, it benefits greatly from boosted elemental damage from idols. Swapping in Dragonflame Edict can also be a ton of fun and a break from the usual monotony.

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