Sorc. Big Mana, Bigger Problems Suggestions for Focus

Perspective from a new Last Epoch player but big time PoE vet so large grain of salt.

The suggestion.

The suggestion is to have focus, either through passive investment, unique catalyst/boot or merely baseline provide a flat bonus to the base regen. The other possible route would be to have the spike of mana not be a flat 10 but instead a base % which we could modify so if you channel for the full second you get a hefty chunk back. I think the cost of not moving and not actively doing damage is compensation enough for being able to cheat on mana.

Even as little as 1 base regen per passive point up to 4, or a scaling 1 per second per point but tacking a longer cool down so when we need massive mana we can churn would revitalize a whole play style of an ebb and flow mage.

If focus cant support large mana pools in a meaningful way in a game as fast and snappy as LE then it kind of doesn’t function as a skill. Its downsides are severe, and its upside only applies to such a small edge case as to make it just not a valid skill as far as I can tell.

My personal justification for the suggestion:
I logged into the game and came at it from a no research PoV I’ll look at what I’m given and try to make something out of it. Will my build be good? probably not, will the build take down all content? Also, unlikely; but I’ll make the best of it.

Lock in Sorc has a big bold passive “Spells deal increased Damage equal to their mana costs” Ok that’s a fun starting place. Let’s quickly run a search for items with mana or supporting big mana (almost none), only one really stands out which is Fractured Crown seems sick for this idea it will be a goal item. Also see a meteor belt with a small bonus for when you have more than 900 mana, ok cool. Look at meteor “Always crit when you are above 400 mana” Ok this seems like a sick basic build: get massive mana and use it as a defense and offense scaler, my helm has crit multi on it, my spell always crits my belt seems to care about big mana, the meteor has a high base mana cost meaning it benefits a lot from my passive it all seems perfect for a starter like me.

Turns out its quite terrible. Not conceptually but mechanically the support for Big mana is almost non-existent. I know the rules of ARPGs I know if you want to cheat on a system like mana for instance, you will need to give up other things. Focus seems purpose built for that. It has no unique support and so its damage option seems useless (at least to my scrub eyes it seems so) and so its only purpose would be to quickly regenerate mana. The tradeoff is your stationary and basically defenseless other than the layers it in of itself provides. This seems great if you are at 300 mana and need to top off before a fight, it’s far far less useful if you need to regenerate 800 mana 900 mana or more. When you have damage going to mana and the regen is in the 10s or around a hundred you don’t even break even while channeling making the skill functionally useless.

As a new player its very discouraging to feel like you have been told “You’re playing in the sand box wrong.” It feels a little like I got tricked unintentionally by the sign posts and the skills that support that concept are fundamentally broken and don’t function as they would need to be for that playstyle to function.

I liked the idea of throw down meteor and a black hole then hammer on a focus some place safe and watch the Armageddon hammer down, would be a fun if slow playstyle. But as it is I have been constantly rotating items and playstyles and support skills to try and make a 900 mana pool at all recoverable and its just not possible.

Im curious, could you give more information on your exact build? ie, specifically what skills youre using on your hot bar (so we know if there is something you could replace or rework), what spec you have in focus exactly, what you have in meteor exactly, etc
I dont have this particular build, but I do know there are a handful of tools to help make fireball accumulate a good amount of mana when coupled with cast speed (ie craterborn + a prefix that at craftable level can give up to 20% chance per cast to gain an additional 20 mana). Since fireball is something you can cast for free, this can add up to a LOT of mana gained in a very short period of time when coupled with the craterborn buff for 6 seconds and the Aftermath node on meteor which should refund nearly 50% of the cost over 3 seconds (half the time you have to spam fireball with craterborn on top).
I do also know that Focus has boosts to your % mana regen while using it (base it increases mana regen by 100%, further boosted by another 100% with Mana Flooded, and then 1% more per max mana you have with Desperate Meditation) but if I’m not mistaken (which I sure could be, I’m no expert in this class) that boost is on whatever flat value you have for mana regen since its skill applied (rather than being passive like stats from gear).
That should mean that the more flat regen you already have from gear and passives (there may be a few passives from the other class you might want, ie Rune of Renewal from the first half of Runemaster) the more mana regen you should be able to squeeze from Focus.

I believe though that generally its better to focus on spamming fireball as fast as you possibly can during the 3 seconds in which you’re regaining half the cost of your meteor, and perhaps longer as you regain your mana for another Meteor cast.

I am currently playing my sorc with a disintegrate build because I’m a filthy casual and just play what I find fun or interesting, and because sorc had the most bonuses for crit (which I plan to couple with fire aura to cover me while I stand still and cast) and I’ve found Focus to be an incredibly useful traversal skill as it allows me to both escape danger and regain mana at the same time, allowing me to stay in the face of enemies casting my skill for as long as possible before stopping to escape and regain mana. I do find that I gain MUCH more mana back from the regen for channeling Focus than from the burst of mana, and that I simply continue to channel it until I’m full or need to mow things down again.

I am not convinced that focus was ever particularly designed to cover for the insane max mana builds that sorc can do.
Again, I could for sure be wrong here since that isnt the build that I play, but it seems from what I’ve seen of it that this build has better tools for regaining mana that just take time to achieve and rely on fireball + cast speed + regen + cost refund + affixes for fireball on items.
In particular it seems that refunding half the cost of Meteor adds up to a huge amount of regen as the cost of the spell rises. Big spells, big cost, big damage… big cool down on casting them. Unfortunately that’s often how balancing goes, and its possible this style of build simply has longer neutral game windows where you must cast fireball in order to refill your pool to cast said large effect spells

Here is an additional tool you might find helpful as a PoE player if you’d like to see numerically how different things you might not have access to could effect your build and how much mana you can regain in short periods of time. Maybe you can squeeze out some additional mana regen if you still would like to use Focus as a means to regain mana rather than Fireball

Not exactly ignore some of the resistance its just a bit of a mock up. You make some solid suggestions ill look at using fireball as just a massive mana generator right now with lower range mana focus puts me at the 100sh mps range. It doesnt seem to directly scale the tooltip number for example just swapping gear to get a base of 25 regen hitting focus doesnt double it to 50 at least just swapping items in and out wouldn’t indicate that.

So again I’m not much of an expert on this, but I can already see a big problem here, if this is supposed to be your current build. You’re using Black Hole with the Armageddon node, which will spam cast Meteor. While this is good for damage, it is VERY bad for mana regen and the node for Aftermath in the Meteor tree (which lets you regenerate half the cost of Meteor, but only over 3 seconds and this effect does not stack).
Since you are basically spam casting Meteor into Black Hole into Meteor, this means that youre spending mana to cast Meteor multiple times in short succession and the 3 second duration you need to regenerate half the cost is only being applied once you stop, and only to the very last cast of Meteor. Each cast of meteor needs a 3 second window after its cast to regain that cost (if you can afford to lose some of that mana less, but if youre struggling with mana that window is important). Without this down time in between casts (this Black Hole node casts 1 time per second, so anything beyond 1 second of duration means no downtime) to regain your mana, this spell becomes a much bigger mana cost than it seems at first glance.

I also noticed that you have no neutral attack in this build mock up (ie fireball, a zero or near zero cost spell to use while regaining mana and during downtime, vs small mobs). i assume your right click is not, in fact, the basic melee attack. Since you have Flame Ward spec’d into in this mock up is it safe to assume thats the other spell slot youre using?
If that is the case, I definitely recommend swapping focus in your current build with Fireball and specifically hunting the affix for flat 20 mana gained on direct cast of Fireball to add to your gear. Even with this as is, you would be reaching a near 2 cast per second on Fireball and if you could increase your cast speed further you’d likely be able to squeeze more out during the time when you are regaining half the cost of Meteor.
Having no neutral attack in your build means that at ALL times you must be using Meteor and Black Hole to kill things (Flame Ward is a defensive skill, and should not be something youre using offensively) even if those things are small enemies that dont need the full crit burst of Meteor to kill.
I’m unsure exactly where in the game you’ve hit the wall with these mana problems, but hopefully all this can at least push you in a more usable direction for the build you want to play. As a fellow enjoyer of just messing around and figuring it out for myself for fun, I wish you nothing but success finding a way to make your build work!

Its a solid suggestion and thanks for the feedback but just some back of the envelope math even at 100% proc chance of 20 mana per fireball it would be 50 fireballs to max out the mana. If I got the base regen to the 30-40 even at 2 casts per second at 4 mana per fireball it would only take that time down from 25 seconds to 20 thats before we account for taking any damage to the mana itself. Thats not really realistic.

The random mobs are easy enough we just teleport into a free meteor that isnt an issue. Was experimenting between the 50% refund so we can do roughly 2 meteors per teleport without worrying about anything, as well as the mana efficiency to better play with the black hole.

Black hole is the dump for big single targets. Hitting a wall at rougher lvl 100, 100 corruption monos and T3 dungeons just because of larger chip damage keeping us off of our 100% crit as well as my just general lack of experience.

If the biggest issue youre facing is actually the damage youre taking being taken from your mana pool in addition to your normal costs, it would likely be worth trying to spec more into ward and less into damage taken to mana before health. Ward is an incredibly strong defensive tool, and dodge as well can help take some of that load off of your mana pool.
The point of a skill like Fireball isnt just the flat bonuses that it can give to actually adding mana, its more like a skill I would use to continue my DPS from falling off TOO hard while I’m getting my regen in. Its not the individual Fireball gain that youre relying on, its a combination of Fireball + Regen + Refund adding up to help out. It also means you can continue moving around and dodge so youre taking fewer hits to remove that mana in the first place, whereas Focus requires you to stand still.
Given the new context, that would be something you could potentially focus on instead though if youre insistent that you want to use Focus for this as a mana regen tool.

All that said, I have heard that Corruption 100~ range can be rough in general, often because it tends to be a turning point where your gear starts to matter more and more, so its possible you’ve simply hit a numbers wall and may in fact just need to farm for more legendaries or better rolls on the gear you do have.
If youre finding the damage to your mana to be the biggest factor holding you back though, even if you keep it maybe trying to find room in your build for more dodge to help mitigate how much mana is being lost due to damage and/or find ways to improve your ward generation to help prevent you from taking damage to your mana in the first place.

I did also take a quick peek at what the most popular meteor builds are, and it appears that the majority of the lategame builds are either using Flame Ward + Frost Wall to use defensively to mitigate this issue (requiring less mana to be used defensively + some regen from Flame Ward) or they’re using Mana Strike (likely because while being melee and therefore more dangerous, this offers a large amount of mana back on a spammable skill, quickly). That said, Sorcerer, and Meteor on Sorc, are not a particularly popular combination likely for some of the same issues youre experiencing. Runemaster is the current go-to for mages, as its both powerful and flexible, so the vast majority of builds out there are for that class.

This could all be correct but it doesnt get at my major point, my primary concern which is focus. To me the single best use case of that skill would be my build. A large mana base to scale the regen, a damage over time which spends a huge amount of mana in a small-time frame and an otherwise fairly defensive design. I hit black hole then focus to counter the spend seems like the ideal use case for that spell, the issue is focus doesn’t regen enough mana to support a very large mana pool.

If you don’t have much mana why use focus? If you spam enough spells where mana is a problem how can you use focus without stopping the spam? If the sole purpose is the regen mana out of combat why not just focus on efficiency and refunds and get an extra support slot? The use case for the spell is already so niche as to be invalid for basically any build I can think of.

I would be amazed if even more than a handful of players use it at later stages of character progression for any reason because mechanically its hard to utilize in a game like Last epoch and to me the single best use case cant really use it. My suggestion was merely one which would reward investment in a mana cheat for a build which wants to cheat mana. The use case would remain builds which have some kind of damage over time, or static proc and a massive enough mana pool to demand a dedicated non-damage skill to recover it.

I don’t think the suggestion I made is highly unreasonable. I think focus’s best use case is to generate mana, and if you say that fireball does that better, I’m willing to believe you but also then what is exactly the point of focus? Big mana features in a few places on Sorc, but did you know there isn’t a single catalyst in the game that cares about having a large mana pool? Also, not a single item in the game references Focus it as far as I can tell. I think given the other items a shield, a catalyst or a boot with a positive interaction for focus and its application to large mana pools isn’t unreasonable. Nor do I think just baking it into the skill behavior or skill talents. If the worry would be players become immortal with 100% damage taken from mana and so much regen that they can’t die simply tack on a slightly increased cool down and a ramping damage taken increase while channeling so players cant just build defense layers some on hit proc and just churn more mana than enemies can damage.

Never really used Focus exactly because of that. The skill seems lacking.
But I really liked the idea you came up with. So, wouldn’t that be a nice addition to get those “Null” nodes in the Focus tree? Like, drop 5 points in the Burning Aura and invest them into Null Profusion and Infusion, which would take exactly 5 points. Never tried it, but seems like it could be something.
Also, if I were to play it, I’d also maybe swap 5 points in Chilling aura to get Revelation and Energy Infusion.

Thats fair and a good backup plan the only issue is to maintain the 100% crit chance I need to always be above 400 mana so going into negative functionally is 1/5th the damage. I have given up the project until more support for big mana comes around. It doesnt seem like there is enough support for this idea. I’m working on other characters in the meantime.

My point was Focus really ISNT made for when you have a large mana pool: its made for use cases where you DONT have a huge mana pool and it works fantastically with the disintegrate builds, which is the entire point I was trying to make while also trying to be helpful.
There is literally only a single node in Focus that gives mana regen based on your own max mana, and none of the flat numbers are any indication the skill was ever meant to be used for 1k+ sized mana pools. It doesnt really have many interactions with max mana, which it would if it was made for this specifically.

I do think it could potentially be buffed as a skill, but part of the reason I chimed in at all is because it definitely isnt made for use when you have a huge mana pool, its made for when you have high usage spells that you either spam or channel, and want to refill a moderate or small mana pool back quickly. It’s a replacement for teleport (albeit a subpar one, in part because of the better nodes in teleport) for some niche builds. Just because its use case isnt a popular one doesnt mean it doesnt have one though.

In other words: Focus has the POTENTIAL to be what you think it is/should be, but its not currently that. That was the only reason I tried to help point out what the alternatives are. Focus seems to be designed around the fact that it’s the Mages alternate traversal spell, so unless that changes it probably wont get buffed in this way

I get you, but also this is a suggestion section of the forum not a build trouble shooting section. I merely included my use case as an example of where the suggestion was coming from. I think things which make a skill more useful or fulfil more niches is better than one which doesn’t. Your stance seems to be that it doesn’t do what I want, which we are in agreement on, thats why its a post in the first place.

I hate using focus so I avoid it like the plague. I make balanced builds that work with the builder/spender setup in mind. I don’t need nukes all the time and most enemies die from certain AoE skills on the way and online bosses get the big spenders while I still cast builders now and then to get mana back.
For someone who is used to to have 0 mana issues in PoE this is most likely some kind of gripe but EHG want mana to be a ressource you need to keep in mind 24/7.

I think Im coming from the exact opposite place, the concept is more nuanced than “I dont like thinking about mana.”(paraphrasing) I see some stuff that cares not only about maintaining a high level of mana but an excessively high level of it. The inclusion of focus was specifically to address the known demand for massive amounts of mana.

If you give players a helm which sends damage to mana and provides a ton of crit multi. A meteor which cares about being above 400 mana to auto crit. And a black hole which can spam out meteors the only use case seems to be big mana. Even in isolation no other build can sustain the black hole meteor, its hundreds and hundreds of mana most builds probably dont even have the flat mana to keep up.

I agree it is flawed based upon the tools provided but my method was the exact opposite of making a build ignorant of the downsides all the decisions were made to support the core concept and try to work with the known limiting factor max mana and mana regen.

PoE cheating on resources comes at investment and usually the cost of other things (The exact cost depends on the build.) I think giving up movement, 1 of 5 ability slots and structuring a number of mods on gear and idols to provide mana and mana regen is the exact same thing as you would do in other ARPGs. I don’t think it trivializes mana to invest to do so. I could say health is a resource you need to keep in mind, so really ward should be removed. But making ward into a reasonable defensive layer takes investment likely not just with mods but with passives, skills and skill trees. In this specific use case its even less of a hand wave because fractured crown removes ward which creates more build complexity not less.

Sweeping channels forms discords and YouTube as far as I can tell character builds that use focus are virtually non-existent, and as most of the advice I have been given is to go away from using it, to me ads credence to the suggestion. Perhaps not in exactly the same ways I have described, but I have given a clear use case where it functionally could fill a niche and a method to modify it --again with investment, to achieve those goals.

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