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Caster Viability?

Hey guys, at higher levels of play, are caster actually good? I was thinking about builds that go around, and it is usually necro for acolyte while mages dont really see much. Do people generally just not like playing these classes? or are they not as fun to play? or something else… Before, I didn’t like how a lot of the lich spells required a lot of mana to output damage consistently but then I realized the game is designed in a way that generally frowns upon these “1-button win specializations” so you need to mix mobility, damage (single target and/or multi-target), steroids. Are people having similar experiences that are steering them away from caster classes? Or is (very possible) the posted builds a very bad representation of what classes get played? Maybe it’s worth opening a poll…

Sorc is really good, with a lot of viable damage options. The current situation with guides is skewed since we’re going much longer this time between content patches. Most of us who are regular build guide makers have taken a bit of a break. Also sorc didn’t really change much this patch, so not a lot of new stuff to explore for us vets.

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Both Acolyte and Mage have good caster options.
Sentinel and Primalist also do have some caster options.

Representation of builds across the entire communtiy is always misleading in whatevergame.
Since the vast majority of people lean towards the utmost powerful builds, while there are alot more options that are still 100% “viable” (the issue with that is, that viable is very subjective).

I am not a big mage player, but I can confidentially say that Lich at least has 4-5 different caster builds (Rip Blood, Hungering Souls, Soul Feast, Marrow Shards and Wandering Spirits/Drain Life) that work very well and can do 250-300 corruption the least.

I think mage actually has a lot more different builds, but I just never played them and I don’t like to recommend stuff that I didn’t played first hand. (Only mages that I ever really played were Void Damage Shenanigans)

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the wizard is currently 4th in lader, it’s a very good class. ::

Welcome to the LE Forums!

I think judging the overall viability of any class or archetype by the ladder is impossible, since it’s only one specific build and it’s only one of different kind of game modes.

I agree with this. I am aware of the arena rankings, but I didn’t want to include those because they seems somewhat useless for estimating the play style of the general population…

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They’re also not reliable right now. Leaderboards will have more instructive value at 0.9 (next patch) when we’re in a server authoritative environment.

Most caster spells can be linked to leech in some way, though spell leech is harder to get than melee leech - but leech of a spells element will likely be in your class passives(except for item related conversions, like mage getting void spells, which the mage does not leech without specific gear)

Casters lack flat added damage as an affix on their weapons(if they are picking caster weapons and are not running lighning), so do not hit quite AS hard as melee builds can get to. But they still get all the other means of damage, such as increased damage and crits.

The mana hunger of casters is VERY build specific, but most do not worry about it, casters usually have big range and decent damage(as opposed to melee small range insane damage and massive leech), some can even casually run through echos and things just die.

Melee builds are usually more tanky due to stacking Str or Dex as their attack stats.

The REAL oddity is throwing builds, which can have damage that is OFF THE CHARTS, but generally cannot leech and thus depend on regen, they are usually squishy as a result.

I agree with everything except the last paragraph

I don’t think that generally speaking throwing builds have sustain issues.
There is a throwing leech affix, which obviously is accessable to all builds and classes.

I think its also really hard to generlize throwing builds, because Sentinel and Rogue will be geared pretty differently.

Also I wouldn’t say that throwing builds have damage “off the charts”.

maybe just shuriken poison rogue off the charts

but then again, it isn’t the throwing damage that kills, it is the poison procs

Alright question my friends who have much more knowledge in this field than I!

2h vs 1h?

Let’s take casters for example since it’s relevant in regards to the thread topic. Staff vs wand and off-hand caster item. Staff affixes count for roughly double that of a wand or off-hand caster item. This is likely in play to make 1h a viable option. On the other hand, if you’re trying to maximize damage on the affixed, would you then desire spell damage + (specific damage type such as necrotic)? Or would you want maybe spell damage and crit chance/multiplier? I’d guess it depends on your specialization and mastery passive’s point allocation… but in what way? Do you want to balance spell damage and crit? If you’re getting “free” crit, do you want to just build more crit(i imagine you would want to stop at a certain crit chance due to diminished returns…)? Is penetration then just always good?

I have a few intuitions, but I’d like some opinions.

Throwing builds generally just use bleeding heart to get 9% leech (including dots) from level 4 onward. Definitely not an OP unique at all…

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It is really hard to generalize 1H vs 2H, since all weapon types received an overhaul 2H is in a much better place. (before that 2H was generally very bad)

Generally speaking, if you want to go crit Scepter or Wand + Base Spell Crit Catalyst is the ways to go, especailly for skills that do not have any base crit in their tree and where there are no otehr items that might give you decent base crit chance.

1H + Shield or 1H + defensive Catalyst is most definitely the the most defensive options with lots of defensive choices.

Staff definitely has the most offensive value, just because of the flat adaptive spell damage.

This is something that is releveant for virtually every build. not only for spells.

Things like %inc. crit, crit multi, %inc. damage, base damage are all multiplicitive with each other. So generally speaking having a little bit of all of them is better than having massive amounts of one of them, but have very little or none of some other.

You definitely don’t need to reach 100% crit to make crit valueable, but the difference between 50% and 90% crit chance is significant just from a feel perspective. (It really does matter if you can 1-shot certain enemies with a crit, while a non-crit doesn’t, because it will change how the build feels).
But for the overall dps a good mix of crit chance and crit multi is just as good as 100% crit chance without any crit multi.

I am not sure how to interpret the “then”?

Penetration is a very strong mechanic because its multiplicative damage increase.
But generally speaking penetration values are very low because of that(on amulets for example).
But penetration and resistance shred are additive with each other (they affect the same stat on the enemy). So if you can get access to a decent amount of resistance shred I would say penetration is not really worth it. But it always depends on the whole build.

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Probably not as much as poison Umbral Blades.

actually more, hits a lot of times per cast, each cast is really fast and each of those is multiple poison stacks

you would run the two skills together anyways, as poison shuriken does not have good clear speed due to relying on insane close range spam of the circling the character varient of the skill

Assuming you’re not using the Shuriken gloves (for +2 proj), a Blade Shield spec would have probably 7 projectiles. Also assuming that all 7 hit while you’re spamming it (ie, that your cast speed isn’t so high that the new cast of Shurikens replaces the old cast before all 7 can hit) then you’d get 21 hits per 3 casts (-> 210 stacks assuming 1,000% poison chance).

Assuming Umbral Blades has the same cast speed as Shurikens (which it doesn’t have to since you’re not “soft capped” on cast speed by the need/desire to have all shurikens hit the same target before being replaced by a new cast), 3 casts of Umbral Blades gives 11 blades (doubled to 22 from the explosions). So it’s very similar, though the explosions get an additional 100% poison chance, so if both builds have 1,000% chance to poison, you’d get 231 stacks from Umbral Blades. The difference gets bigger if you take Dusk Hunter (+1 blade on the 3rd throw) → 252 stacks, more so if you also take Kunai Belt (+1-2 blades on the second throw) → up to 294 stacks. You could get even moar blades if you took Hidden Blades, but I can’t be arsed to do the maths.

That said, DPS isn’t everything, both Shurikens & Umbral Blades have pros & cons. For Shurikens, you don’t need as much throwing speed (since you want each throw of Shurikens to last long enough to hit the boss before it gets replaced by the next cast), and it provides some defensive bonuses (% armour) but, as you say, it requires you to get up close & personal with the nasty bitey bosses (though you can at least run around). Umbral Blades can give you Dusk Shroud stacks (the only way to gain them as a throwing build from memory) which are awesome for Dodge & Glancing Blow plus you can be at range but you would want to be constantly spamming them.

sorry, are you saying my level 700 sorcerer doesn’t count?? :joy:

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