Sacred 2:Rune Consumption Guide
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This is a very complex subject. There are a lot of factors to consider and the following will be the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Eating runes (using them to enhance your Combat Art (CA) skills) will make your CAs stronger, BUT (there's always a BUT), it also increases the regeneration time for that CA. In the CA skill page, you'll note when you hover your mouse over a particular Combat Art's icon, it will tell you what the current regen time for it is as well as the regen time for the next level. You'll notice that it will be higher than the current level's.
Now then... There ARE things you can do to keep the regen penalty to a minimum... Obviously you can simply not eat many runes into your CAs. Of course, this isn't such a good idea given that some CAs aren't very effective against higher level opponents until you've eaten quite a few of them. Of course, the other edge to the sword is the regen time will go up.
There IS hope, however. There are a number of things you can do to mitigate your regen penalties.
FOCUS! FOCUS! FOCUS!
The first thing you can do is taking the Aspect's FOCUS skill. Each character has three aspects to their combat arts. That is, they are divided into three sections, each section has five skills. Most of these skills are broken down into two parts. One is the LORE, the other is the FOCUS.
The LORE skill will generally boost the damage dealt by the spells associated with that aspect. The FOCUS on the other hand has the effect of reducing the time needed to regenerate that aspect's spells. For example:
You're playing the High Elf. She has the Delphic Arcana aspect - so to cut the regen times of Delphic Arcana CAs, you will want to take the Delphic Arcana Focus skill.
Another Skill and an Attribute
There's one skill you can get and one attribute your character comes with that also have control over your regen times.
The attribute you want to look at is STAMINA. The higher the number, the lower your regen times. The attribute (like the other five attributes), scale up automatically when you level up. You also get one, two or three bonus points to use any way you want. If your Stamina stat is on the low side, you might consider adding a point or two there.
The CONCENTRATION skill has the benefit of allowing more than one Buff to be active at the same time. A Buff is a combat art that is active until it gets turned off. Spells fall into one of three catagories: Short term, longer term and buffs. A short term spell would be one where you shoot a ball of fire or a bolt of lightning at your enemy. A longer term spell would be one where you're creating a storm (the Dryad's Dust Devil, High Elf's Raging Nimbus) or other Area of Effect (Temple Guardian's Charged Grid, Icy Evanescence, Firey Ember or High Elf's Expulse Magic) spells that last longer than the short term spells - usually 10 - 15 seconds to start. A Buff, on the other hand is available from the moment you click on the buff icon until it's shut down - either by you turning it off, or by saving and exiting the game or by a boss monster that "debuffs" you (meaning it shoots out a CA that turns your CA off for you). When mastered with 75 hard points, Concentration allows you to run up to three buffs at the same time. Adding points to Concentration also has the benefit of reducing your CA regen times.
One thing to beware of with Buffs. MOST buffs with one exception, will raise your CA regen times. The exception is the High Elf's Grand Invigoration buff. Have your regen times under control before running more than one buff at the same time.
The next thing that can be done: Spell modification. Each spell has three modifiers - one bronze, one silver and one gold. Some spells have a modifier that reduces the penalty, generally for the aspect that spell falls under.
Using the same High Elf example, she has a buff spell called Grand Invigoration. Grand Invigoration as mentioned previously is unique in one respect: It doesn't have a penalty for regenerating CAs. In fact, it will help by reducing the regen times for one of your other two aspects. The Bronze modification for that spell will reduce the time needed for regenerating either the Arrant Pyromancer or Mystic Stormite aspect spells.
The Fire Demon buff (also belonging to the High Elf) has a spell modifier that reduces the regeneration penalty for Arrant Pyromancer spells. This way, you can modify the Fire Demon to reduce the penalty for the Pyro side of your High Elf while the Grand Invigoration helps out with the Mystic Stormite aspect spells. Of course, this leaves you a bit high and dry for your Delphic Arcana spells. There's no free lunch in Sacred 2. But all is not entirely lost.
Aspect Armor Sets
Each character has three complete armor sets that, when worn as a complete set, will reduce the regen nerf (penalty) for the aspect it's linked to. Of course, finding a complete set can be challenging. Set pieces generally don't drop until at least your character is level 12 - 15. Most set items start at level 15 and drop at 15 level intervals - meaning you will see set items that are level 15, 30, 45, 60, 75 and so on.
The Blacksmith is your new BFF...
The Blacksmith is indeed your friend because of the tasks he can perform for you. They involve forging - the act of embedding something into your weapons or your armor to give it a little bonus something. Depending on the type of slot you can forge lots of goodness into your armor. Forging into armor requires two things - Armor with sockets to forge something into and, of course, the rings, runes and amulets you can forge or have forged into your armor. (Note: Most characters can take on the Blacksmith General Skill allowing them to forge stuff without the aid of a blacksmith.)
Runes are an interesting bit of kit in Sacred 2. In addition to their primary purpose - raising your combat art levels, each rune also comes with a secondary bonus that's ONLY available if you forge the rune into a bit of armor or a weapon. Additionally, those secondary effects available on that given rune are NOT limited to your character's class. For instance, both the Dryad's Cabalistic Voodoo aspect runes and the Inquisitor's Nefarious Netherworld aspect runes have life leech. So, if you take a piece of armor belonging to our High Elf and embed say, a Dryad Viperish Disease rune into it, you will have a +x boost to Life Leech. You won't be able to use Viperish Disease, but you will get the Life Leech boost.
On the other hand... If you ARE playing an Inquistor and you forge say, a Soul Reaver rune into your armor, you not only get the Life Leech bonus, you also get the bonus to Soul Reaver - and here's the best part: The regen penalty when you forge your own runes into armor or even a weapon is LESS than if you ate the rune. The penalty is generally about 1/2 of the normal penalty for eating the rune.
Another benefit to the Blacksmith's skills - there are rings and amulets that have a "Chance to Halve Regeneration Time" bonus that can be embedded into your armor. The more of these items you have forged into your armor, the larger the chance the regen time will be reduced by 50%. Bear in mind, this has NO effect on "cooldown" time. The cooldown time doesn't get reduced.
Beware the Armor That Bites you Back!
In your travels in Ancaria, you will undoubtably come across various bits of armor that on first inspection sound like a really, really great thing to use. At first, that shiny chest plate that has a +12 to Enhanced Perception with a +127 Life Leech bonus AND 4 overall sockets for runes and such sounds like a winner. But if you look closely, there's a HUGE 20% Regeneration Penalty as well. Whoops. You do not want that armor! Let's look at the numbers. Say your favorite combat art has a 10 second regen cycle. Now, add 20% on top of that. That's two entire seconds more waiting before you can use the CA again. Throw in another one of these pieces with insane regen penalties and your CA regen times go from "sublime" to the "rediculous". It's generally best to find armor that has nice bonus features AND has a neutral or negative regen penalty.
A final word on Armor... The Armor LORE skill (found in your defensive skills section) can be learned. It has the benefit of improving your resistances, the maximum Armor level you can wear without speed penalties, AND it can reduce the regen nerf found on those previously mentioned pieces of armor. While NOT directly reducing the regen time for the CA, should you insist on using one or more of those insanely nerfed bits of armor with 19% regen penalties, having armor lore can reduce the penalty somewhat.
Regeneration Per Hit
This is an attribute you can find on some weapons and jewelry found in Ancaria. And in cases where you've overindulged in rune eating, it can be a bit of a life saver. The way it works is exactly as the name suggests. Every time you hit an enemy with a weapon and certan CAs, your regen time gets cut. It's generally a good idea to reserve a socket or two for an amulet or ring that has RpH.
How much is too much?
You generally want to keep the regen times - especially for frequently used CAs as low as possible. Some CAs don't matter quite as much since they have a long duration while others - such as the High Elf's Blazing Tempest, Cobalt Strike, Ancestral Fireball, Frost Flare and Glacial Thorns - it matters quite a bit because you want to be able to spam those CAs as often and quickly as possible. (Spam, in this case doesn't refer to junk email nor lunch meat, it means being able to send out wave after wave of destructive goodness against your enemies.) For such skills, it's generally best to keep the regen times to somewhere around 2-3 seconds - tops.
At any rate, don't be afraid to experiment a bit. Sacred 2 is a very large and complex game. Don't expect to get it perfect on your first try. Mistakes can and will be made and that's OK. If you don't like how a character is turning out - you can always start over and try something different.
There is no right nor wrong answer to the burning question of how many runes your character can eat. The answer is what you're comfortable with and what works for you. A purely melee build that doesn't rely much, if at all on CAs, won't benefit much from the previous tome while one who relies purely on CAs and spells, it may be very useful. It all depends on you, your play style and what you want out of your build.
Originally published at DarkMattersfor review and discussion.