Sacred 2:The all-round party member - The Shadow Warrior BUFFER!

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The all-round party member - The Shadow Warrior BUFFER!

By Dobri


Hey guys I've been pondering about this for a long time, and have finally decided to give it a go. AND WHAT A GO THAT WAS!

You are well aware that every player online needs a bargainer, a smith and nice items in order to survive in hardcore. You are right. But that's the outline... Things in-game look a lot better hen you have someone who can take care of the party. Wickedly enough, that's the Shadow Warrior. Some parties, some teamwork have unequivocally proven that. I understand that I'm HC lvl 37, but you can't just dismiss the effect this character has on the others, and I'm confident this will go on.

FORENOTE:

In order to play this char, you really need some patience. He levels up slowly when he's alone. In addition to that, it takes some time to make him shine. In addition to that, you need to keep your concentration at all times, and be good at micromanagement.

REASONING 1:

What does a party need to survive longer? Better hit rating to strike the enemy often, better defensive rating in order to get hit less, faster attack and healing. Well, the Shadow Warrior can provide that, as long as you're willing to play for the others. In my eyes, this build puts the ultimate test on the teamwork and understanding in Sacred 2. But hey - that's what makes this game so good and HC play so rewarding, isn't it?

THE BUILD:

I would like to make something clear from the beginning. This is a frail build, based on damage, team play and good regeneration times. I know it combines a lot of aspects, but you're doing this for the greater good. Always keep that in mind. Have you ever asked yourself why HC is so interesting and so good? It's because people value their char's lives, and value their fellow characters' lives. This is why they help one another, this is why they're ready to give their own equipment to see another player advancing. There is no jealousy, there is no vanity, there is no selfishness. Only team play. While one cannot dismiss the clan support, it's very rewarding to see people doing it by themselves, even for people that they barely know.

OFF-TOPIC: There is no point in taking your worldly possessions with you in your grave. Maybe his is why HC play is so fun and people are so giving

Post-REASONING 1:

What does Sacred 2 lack? A buffer class. So many MMORPG's have it. Why not S2? This was the general thing that got me inspired

Post-REASONING 2:

In order to do this build, one would require to be a part of a big clan and/or have a lot of friends on the HC servers. D.a.r.k and DA are such clans, so such builds are prudent in this case, since a lot of players will welcome an all-time buffer in their midst.


THE SKILL SETUP:

This is a 3-spec build based on the Astral Lord build. I know that by itself it isn't that efficient. You are not expected to be efficient. You are expected to be a team player, to be ready to do a certain amount of sacrifices, and be of help to anyone. If a player is low on health, drop Augmenting Guidon near him. If there is a big mob approaching, be ready to support you party appropriately. Period. There is no time to think about yourself. This is the job of the others. And your cloak.

  • Level 5 - Concentration - you need it to get 2 buffs. Since you'll be busy improving the astral aspect, blacksmith and the other 2 aspects, you can add points here when you have any spare. Since you're a team player, you are expected to carry out some dirty work. Guess what? Blacksmith is one of them. But don't worry about that. There is still time till level 12. Make sure to add points here from time to time. The general idea is to support 3 buffs till lvl 75 by utilizing the hard points and the + all skills equipment. I know that this may vary per game, but it's important to achieve this by level 75 - or earlier of possible. (EDIT: As of patch 2.40, only hard points are needed)
  • Level 8 - Armor Lore - you need this for two reasons. First of all, just in case. You may get debuffed, you may get hit, and you need to survive. The second reason is that it reduces the penalty caused by armor on the CA regeneration times, which will help you cast Skeletal Fortification and Spectral Hand more often.
  • Level 12 - Blacksmithing - very important skill. Be ready to help your clan and your teammates socket runes at lower cost, or socket rings into bronze sockets for them. Add a point here whenever you have spare.
  • Level 18 - Enhanced Perception - this skill helps any build. The sooner you get it, the more set items you will see. Since the lowest level to get a set item is 15, this skill pick seems the most appropriate to get it. Even at 1 point, boosted by + all skills and relics, it works wonders.
  • Level 25 - Death Warrior Focus - The SW can well stand his own for quite a while at this point, even in boss runs, but it's about time we think about the party and the teamwork. Be ready to invest 8 points here to modify Rousing Command.
  • Level 35 - Malevolent Champion Focus - taking on the next aspect. I really like saving 2 skill points per level from lvl 30 to 35 and investing 8 points here straight away to mod Augmenting Guidon to work well for the party rather than for your character only. This is the second standpoint in this build. Make sure you add points regularly till lvl 75. You are expected to have modded Reflective Emanation to affect your party by then.

THE LAST 2 PICKS. These can be modified to help different aspects of this type of build.

  • Level 50 - Ancient Magic - this will boost your CA damage, most notably Spectral Hand and Skeletal Fortification. Very useful. Since you get 5 skill points by now, and 2 go directly to Astral aspect, use your best judgment where to disperse the other 3. Just don't forget about this skill
  • Level 65 - Combat Discipline - this skill will improve the CA damage and will reduce regeneration times on all CA's in combo. Since your SW will invest heavily in the Astral aspect, will add points in the other 2 aspects from time to time, as well as Blacksmith and Ancient magic, things can get a bit difficult for this skill. It will most likely benefit from + all skills equipment and random skill point distribution.

The last 2 can be substituted for 2 defensive skills, or one of them, your call. It will provide some nice survivability in case you're noticed.

REASONING 2:

You are expected to remain cloaked all the time and to support your party with buffs and damage. Since at lvl 25 Shadow veil you have a 100% chance to cast without being noticed, so you're generally safe. You will still need to look out for AoE enemy spells and to take care of your teammates. I strongly maintain that this build is very demanding but very rewarding. You need to be aware of everything that's happening on your screen. That's no left or right clicking on a mob to kill it as soon as you see it. That's no small deal... It's exhausting indeed. So be ready for what you're jumping into.


COMBAT ARTS:

Shadow Veil - this is your salvation CA. This is also the first CA you would mod up to gold to become a buff. I will explain why in the Nether Allegiance CA section. You will want this CA maximized at all times. This is your salvation. This keeps you impervious to enemy eyes and therefore, safe. The more stealth you have, the better. THINGS TO BE AWARE: yeah, I know. I put you through hell already. But there is more. You should be aware where the enemies are. You don't want to bump into a mob and keep the direction for more than a second. This may make you visible. If you're visible, you're toast on the later difficulties - unless your teammates are looking out for you or your skeletons are doing a nice work of keeping the mobs occupied. THOU SHALT NEVER HIT THE ENEMY: if you do a left click attack, you'll uncloak. That must not happen. By no means. IF YOU ARE DISCOVERED: cloak ASAP, change your position right away, and hope the mobs will turn to your teammates or your skeletons.

  • CA modding: Creep -> Fade -> Sinister Pact. The harder is for the enemies to notice you, the better. The sooner you can cast under cloak, the better.

Nether Allegiance. This is your first helper CA. YOU MUST MOD VEIL FIRST AND ALLEGIANCE SECOND. I did the mistake of doing the exact opposite. If you are visible, the skeletons will wait on you to set them a target. If you're cloaked, they'll attack on sight. If they are buffed - they're deadly. They can drop a boss in under a minute. Being cloaked and relying on the spectral soldiers can get you through most of the game. They are your strike force. Take good care of them. (EDIT: As of patch 2.40, you have minion control. This helps quite a lot, so now you can mod allegiance first and veil second without much trouble)

CA modding:

  • Sharp Blades - The spectral soldiers inflict more damage - the more damage, the faster they kill.
  • Commander - Summons another additional soldier - 3 soldiers will be enough and provide better distraction than 2. The more distraction, the more enemies will be drawn to them, so the less enemies will hit your party members. That is a good thing 1smile.gif
  • Elite Equipment - Upgrades the spectral soldiers' armor - the more defense, the longer the skeletons will endure. This is imperative.

Skeletal Fortification - this is your main damage CA and the third one you should mod. It will also support your party to the fullest and leave you with a feeling of usefulness. What I hated in MMORPG's was the fact, that buffers we supposed to do just that - buff and go to sleep. S2 is different and I love it. Skeletal Fortification will help you in both team play and solo play with the skeletons. The best thing is that ti's governed by the astral aspect, and casting a buff doesn't burden its regen time. Sweet!

CA modding:

  • Focus - Reduces the cooldown time for the skeletal tower. (100% + 1% per CA level decrease) - I would pick this over the faster fire rate. The more towers you can maintain, the better. Also keep in mind that there is a cooldown. That's important. Chain-casting multiple towers is preferable that waiting for the cooldown to expire to cast a new one. And if it coincides with the time to cast a buff... Too much to consider 1smile.gif
  • Arcane Power - Adds magic damage. (40% from base physical damage) - since I usually mod Spectral hand to inflict Ice damage, this mod is prudent to diversify the damage your char will inflict.
  • Scatter Shot - Adds another projectile to the skeletal tower. (The extra projectile will always fire if there is another monster nearby, so is the recommended mod.) - more projectiles, more damage. This sort of compensates for not taking the other bronze mod.

Spectral Hand - a nice direct damage CA and the fourth one you should mod. If you play without Nether allegiance, you can spam it at low regen time and kill without being noticed. Still, this kill rate will be very slow. That's not good. Safe killing is very nice, but you're a team player. You're not a solo player. Live with that fact and keep this CA at a decent damage and decent regen time. By decent regen time, I mean about 5-6 seconds. Why that much? You will be spamming buffs and skeletal fortifications and you will hardly have the time to deal direct damage. Keeping a higher upper limit on the regen time means more rune investment. That reflects on the damage. If we care to help the party and support it from time to time, we want big damage. This regen time might just help that. If it goes lower as the levels go by - perfect 1smile.gif

Modding this CA:

  • Clout - Increases the damage the spectral hand inflicts. (50% increase)
  • Chill - The spectral hand inflicts additional ice damage. (4% + 1% per CA level) - if you modded Skeletal fortification to inflict ice damage, take the other mod. I strongly suggest to mod both in different ways - fortification with magic and hand with ice. This will give you diverse damage, which is preferable on the higher difficulties.
  • Destruction - Increases all damage types of the spectral hand. (17.4% increase) - we need damage to support our teammates properly. We don't need to kill in their place, so double hit chance isn't that important.

Rousing Command - our first party buff. It isn't a party buff from the beginning, but we will make one out of it. It directly improves the chance to hit for all members in the party, including your skeletons, as long as you're within range. Make sure you cast it whenever it's possible, unless you're out of combat, of course. Casting it does not burden the Astral lord CA's nor the Malevolent Champion CA's, so take advantage of that. MAKE SURE that you don't cast it blindly. You have your party. You know what each char can do. Prioritize if you're party members are dispersed. Support the melee and ranged chars first, since they need it the most.

CA modding:

  • Persistence - Prolongs the duration of Rousing Command. (+50% from base value) - very important mod for the buffer. It forces RC to last twice as longer. Since the general cooldown time is 60s, 30s buff will be perfect for them. And besides, you have augmenting Guidon as well. And the bonuses stack. Sweet and sassy, and the longer it lasts, the more hits they will inflict.
  • Impulse - Increases attack speed. (10% + 0.1% per CA level increase) - we don't need to run. We need to strike. The faster our teammates or our skeletons strike, the better.
  • Leader - Rousing Command will also affect nearby party members. (50% + 0.2% per CA level effectiveness on party members) - that's the stuff. Party buff. The more levels here, the better the buff will affect the party members. But that's what we're talking about, right?

Augmenting Guidon - now this is a party buff from the start. This is why we're taking it second. You can use it unmodded for quite a while. At lvl 35, you can take the malevolent champion focus, which will allow you to mod it, along with reflective emanation. Its cooldown is low, its duration is moderate, so keep it up whenever you can. It will directly increase the defense and attack values for every party member within its range. MAKE SURE that you don't cast it blindly. Yes, just like Rousing command. Prioritize. Casters under fire can benefit a lot from this. Tankers in the front lines can benefit just as much. So prioritize. This is why you're a buffer - to take a look at the battlefield and assess the situation.

CA modding:

  • Elite - Increases attack and defense values by 50%. (50% increase) - the better the attack and defense, the higher the survivability. The other mod is juicy, but survival in HC is paramount.
  • Healing - Heals party members within area of effect. (8hp/s + 2hp/s per CA level) - healing is always good. More xp is a moot when more people are in the server - and you need to be in the area of the banner. Now that is Not good.
  • Leadership - Increases attack and cast speed of allied units within area of effect. (10% + 0.2% per CA level increase) - that's the sh*t right there! This is the mod that makes your char equally useful for both fighter, ranged, and caster parties. Which caster will forgo faster cast speed? NONE I say. Especially at higher levels, where their regen times drop to like 0.5s per cast. Mystic Stormite-oriented HE's that spam Glacial thorns will love you for it. They can just right click without stopping, which means wicked amounts of damage.

Reflective Emanation - that's the buff you'll take and mod when you get 75 combined (EDIT: hard points since patch 2.40) points in concentration. It is as useful for you, as it is for your party members. The buff will also affect the party members when modded properly, and that's what we're striving for, right?

CA modding:

  • Tough - Adds a chance to reflect stun effects. (20% + 2% per CA level chance) - stunning means your party can't hit. If they can't hit, they can't inflict damage. If they can't inflict damage, things are bad. We don't want that.
  • Antimagic - Adds a chance to reflect incoming spells. (20% + 2% per CA level chance) - nice one. No stun, reflection of spells... nice
  • Idol - Extends the reflective effect to all party members. (50% effectiveness to party members) - once again, that's the sh*t right there! This makes the buff extend to the party members.

Rallied Souls - After doing some work on that CA, I think it can serve you rather well. In a big battle and a densely populated region, you will always have enough corpses to add more soldiers to your army. They also provide extra diversion and... as you can imagine, give you even more to think about while playing

CA modding:

  • Armament - The animated corpses will receive an armor bonus. (7.5% + 5.5% per CA level increase (?)) - I prefer this one. There is always the time to move away and recast. So no need for extra range.
  • Vivification - The animated corpses live considerably longer. (50% increase) - I like this one. It allows your soldiers t live longer and you won't be bothered to summon new ones every 15-20 seconds - especially keeping in mind that you have other things to think about such as buffs and fortifications.
  • Furor - Animated corpses inflict more damage. (5% + 5% per CA level increase (?)) - I decided to go with this one, since I'm counting on my minions to do the damage for me. The contagion mod is a bit of a mystery to me

ENDNOTE:

Even if you're the best buffer, even if you take everything under consideration, nothing can save a kamikaze party that is bent on killing themselves.

That's the general idea of this build. I am well aware that some of the buffs have half the effect on the team members, but 50% is way better than nothing. Those 50% can mean the difference between life and death - especially in HC!


Originally published at DarkMattersfor review and discussion.

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