Sacred 2:Guide on how to use Shields in Sacred 2

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Guide on how to use Shields in Sacred 2

By Dobri

Yes… It always boils down to the big question – to shield, or not to shield?

Common sense dictates that, unless you're using two weapons, or are otherwise unable to put a shield in your character's left hand, you will get one for additional protection, specific use, or extra sockets. Sometimes, it's just as simple as that – put a shield on that slot, slap in one or more nice socketables, and then forget about it – in essence, passively using the innate shield bonuses.

In other situations, things are not so simple. All characters, with the exception of the Inquisitor and the Temple Guardian can select and use the Shield Lore skill. In addition to that, shields spawn with a number of special bonuses that have a good synergy with a number of skills and combat arts. In this case, when shield selection is based on build synergy, we're talking about dynamic shield usage.

1. Passive shield usage

Passive shield usage, in its essence, means having a free left hand slot and equipping a shield in it, regardless of its bonuses. In such occasions, a player is usually concerned with number of sockets, in order to add more blacksmith arts, runes and socketables to augment his chosen build; or, in other cases, a shield is a good source for boosting the armor value.

It is common knowledge that character protection in the early game is governed by high armor value. The Stalworth Safeguard is the best shield to find and use in the early stages of the game (levels 1-74). It provides an excellent armor boost, at the cost of having only a single socket to utilize.

On the other hand, if a player is going for lots of socketables to boost the skills if his/her build, a shield like the Shield of Mirrors and its three sockets will augment it perfectly. The defense boost of the shield will be poor, but the multitude of sockets will allow for additional tweaking of the build, which greatly helps many caster or utility builds.


2. Dynamic shield usage

Dynamic shield usage means that a player wants to find and use a shield that will augment his skills, buffs, and general vision of the build. In this case, the shield will not be a simple tool to put in the left hand and forget about it for a while. It becomes an integral part of the build and the player must constantly be on the lookout for a better one.

Dynamic shield usage is usually segregated into several categories: - shield usage based on skill boosting - shield usage based on buff boosting - multi-purpose shield usage

2.1. Shield usage based on skill boosting.

As soon as a character hits level 75 and unlocks a number of masteries, shields become much more than a tool. There are two skills in Sacred 2 that are greatly influenced by the shield that is currently equipped. Those skills are Shield Lore and Toughness.

- Shield Lore, when mastered, grants a passive bonus to Chance to Block: Close Combat. In addition to that, simply having this skill improves your defense rating. This allows you to go for big defense rating or close combat blocking. The best shield in this area is Kira's Protection, which has a passive bonus to close combat and projectile blocking unlocked by the Shield Lore skill – which at very high levels can achieve over 100% close combat blocking.

- Toughness – the toughness skill provides all channel damage mitigation and increased armor (once again, all channel). There are two shields in Sacred 2 that come with innate all channel damage mitigation and have wonderful synergy with this skill – Kira's Wall and Glacial Defender.

2.2. Shield usage based on buff boosting

Every character in this game has at least 3 buffs to play with. Some of these buffs have either innate or unlockable modifiers that can be augmented by one or more mods that show up on shields. These buff modifiers cover the following:

- Chance to reflect: Close Combat – Battle Stance, Reflective Emanation, Incandescent Skin, and Ancient Bark. Reverse Polarity and Combat Alert don't go with shields, unfortunately for the Inquisitor and the Temple Guardian. There are a number of shields that spawn with "Chance to Reflect: Close Combat". The Legendary Impenetrable Protector is the best there is, but since it's hard to find, one can try to shop for a rare shield with reflect + 2 sockets + decent secondary modifiers. A rare Shield with Close Combat Reflect, +XP per kill and 2 sockets is a treasure to behold at higher levels. - Chance to Block: Projectiles – Runes of Protection and Incandescent Skin. The Block value can be boosted by unlockable modifiers on shields and other equipment. Once again, Kira's Wall is the king of shields when in comes to projectile blocking, as long as the player has selected the Shield Lore skill for the character.

2.3. Multi-purpose shield usage

The multi-purpose shield usage generally means the following – the player takes his/her time to find/shop/grind for a shield that will serve one or more aspects of his/her build.

There are a number of shields that can serve as multi-purpose ones. The unique Shield of Mirrors with its three sockets is one of the best multi-purpose shields, because the player can add 3 socketables to suit all kinds of current or impending character needs. A shopped or dropped 2-socket rare shield with decent modifiers (blocking, defense, armor, reflect, xp per kill, etc.) can serve just as well.

3. Shield usage evolution

Even if the character doesn't have the shield lore skill, as the levels go by, the type of shields a player equips on his/her character undergoes a certain evolution. In the early game, up until level 75 or so, the modifiers that provide the most defense are very modest, and one cannot hope to achieve much by means of damage mitigation, for example. This is why resistances rule the early game, and shield usage is usually based on that – hence the usefulness of the Stalworth Safeguard shield until level 75.

As the character obtains one or more skills at master level, everything changes. From level 75 on, the skills–equipment synergy starts getting stronger and stronger. If a character has gone for damage mitigation, using a shield and other equipment that boosts this value is very important. If the character has a buff that provides close combat reflection, using a shield that improves the reflection value is very important. If the character has decided to master the shield lore skill, then using shields that improve the chance to block is very important. It is also very important to note that reflection and blocking (and in a sense, damage mitigation) serve as damage reduction regardless of the enemy's chance to hit. Even if the enemy has 100% chance to hit your char, if you can reflect or block 75% of their attacks, that's as if they have only 25% chance to hit you.

It is very important to know that this regularity becomes more and more striking as the levels go by – especially when the character enters niobium difficulty. By pulling the correct strings of a build, making skill choices that have good synergy with equipment, and using the proper modifiers on items and jewelry, you can build a near-invincible char that can hunt in a number of areas with minimal risk and to great effect.

Originally published at DarkMattersfor review and discussion.

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