I will just start this guide by saying... I HATE the Dryad. It goes back to playing a few before I found the Wiki and Dark Matters, and being totally invincible but not able to kill a boss (running from elites, etc). I decided to giver one last chance, armed with the knowledge of the D.a.r.k side of the force ;). I played a few, trying different mods, skills, whatnot, and then I decided to try a crackhead idea (as I am wont to do). Much to my surprise, not only has this build suceeded, it actually "turned my frown upsidedown" - and I started to love the Dryad. Since the concept of the build is quite different than the others posted here, I have decieded to publish my build, even though the "grand plan" didn't suceed 100%. More on that later. Lets get'er started!
[color="#48D1CC"][size=3]CONCEPT[/size][/color] / Thought Process
I wanted a Dryad with all 3 aspects. I like playing melee, but acknowledge the power of the casters in Sacred 2. So we'll be a hybrid, with melee for grinding and caster for bosses. Hrm... I see from other guides that Dual Weilding staffs is extremely powerful, so I'll try that. Otherwise, it would've been shield+shuriken. I have to have bargaining because I had just defragged my PS3 (no equip in chest), and I hate playing 2 toons at the same time. Well, we have to pick something else before bargaining is available... and I wanted to re-test Alchemy on console anyway, and (apparently) Alchemy is great for the Dryad. So far, I have: Tactics;Dual Wield;Hunter Focus;Voodoo Lore+Focus;Nature Lore+Focus;Alchemy;Bargaining. 9 skills.... ohcrap, I haven't picked any defense skills! Oops. I had wanted to have Armour Lore and Constitution, but I need another before those are unlocked. I can drop... Voodoo Lore I suppose, but nothing else for the toon I had wanted. What to do, what to do? Then, like a light bulb, :crazy: happened. From what I remembered reading, the HP regen on Ancient Bark (with modification) apparently can match the HP regen from constituition mastery, and from playing a couple of Dryads, AB also can be modified to add an armour multiplier. Hrm, maybe I don't need Constitution OR Armour Lore. Well, why take ANY defensive skills, then? Wonderful idea! So I still have 1 skill left to pick from the original list... Concentration, of course. I try to play without that skill whenever possible, but maybe now is a good time to have it, and take it to mastery! So I had my list. It actually changed a little when I realized that taking all 3 lores to mastery would eat up too many skill points, so I threw out Voodoo Lore, and added Enhanced Perception (on the fly, not planned).
Well, not having constitution means we'll need a lot into Vitality. At the end of the build, I still had no need for any other attributes to be pumped, so all points went there, and I am glad I did. TOO many times I survived with slivers of health with this build, so I highly suggest 100% of your points into Vitality.
[size=3][color="#9ACD32"]SKILLS[/color][/size] (in the order I picked them)
Concentration (3rd Mastery) - Allows use of 2 buffs (Ancient Bark and Moribond Animus) and I can add Sinister Predator for some extra effects in the higher difficulties. Reducing regen. times is just icing on my ice cream cake.
[img][/img] Tactics Lore Tactics Lore(4th Mastery) - I prefer melee, so it's a must-have.
Cabalistic Voodoo Focus- The fastest way to level up a Dryad on console is with the VD exploit, so I took this @ level 5 and added 9 points ASAP to fully modify Viperish Disease.
Alchemy - Definitely a mistake for console, but was very handy for increasing the duration of Mentor and Concentration potions. I will admit having more powerful Health Potions was also a boon.
Nature Weaver Focus - Nature Weaver aspect is the bees knees. We'll need a couple of modifications to beef up GGT and AB so we can run VD without too much fear.
Bargaining[ (1st Mastery) - Best skill in the game, IMO. Starting without any set pieces, I was going to have to rely on what I can find or buy, and finding great equipment leaves too much to random luck for my liking.
Capricious Hunter Focus - Need to keep the level of Ravaged Impact (my Combat Art of choice) as high as possible.
Dual Wield (only 1 point) - ONLY taken so I could DW staffs for the Acute Mind+staffs trickery.
Enhanced Perception (5th Mastery) - My main reason for taking this was for the Experience per Kill and Chance to Find Valuables mods found on equipment.
Nature Weaver Lore (2nd Mastery) - This is the only skill that has any ability to increase my defense. How? It increases the healing on Goldenglade Touch and Ancient Bark, as well as the armour bonus from Ancient Bark. It also increases the Intelligence bonus on Acute Mind, and the damage of Ephadic Lances.
Distribution of skill points: I only have a couple of 'snapshots' of where I was at for the following levels: 35 after running VD since level 11 or 12; 41 after finishing Silver campaign, 65 after finishing Gold campign and 124, where I am parking her for now. Regarding finishing Platinum: I did it at level 93, with very little trouble. After playing in Niob to finish all the quests in Tyr Lysia, I went back to farm the Platinum Guardians at level 100. That was my original plan to move into Niob, and there was really NO troubles with these guys at 100. Some fights were longer, and some were over in 2 Lances! This is where I noticed that something was wrong with my build, or at least with the way I had it planned.....
lv.35----------lv. 41--lv. 65--lv. 124 (total skill level)
Conc.--------5----------------5------20--------75 (163) Tactics-------9----------------9-------9--------75 (170) CVF----------9---------------14-----22--------42 (130) Alchemy-----5----------------5------5---------10 (98) NWF----------5---------------14-----31-------32 (120) Bargaining--35---------------41----65------124 (212) CHF----------1----------------5-----18-------32 (120) Dual Wield--1----------------1-------1--------1 (96) EP-------------------------------------1--------75 (241) NWL----------------------------------20-------75 (163) LEFTOVER--38---------------?------57----------0
Using VD to gain a whole bunch of levels allowed me to "reverse-engineer" my dryad; meaning I could throw a crapload of points into a skill and see what happens, and re-set console without saving if I didn't like what happened. Very handy way to learn some mechanics of the game. Example: I had VD fully modified at level 11. I then didn't bother doing any attribute or skill point allocations until I got to level 35, at which point I made sure I could finish Silver, leaving as many points unspent as possible. I finished Silver at 41, moving to Gold Free World for instant access to the Desert, and ran VD until I was 60 or 61, then ran Gold campaign, finishing at 65.
[size=3][color="#800080"]COMBAT ARTS AND MODIFICATIONS[/color][/size]
Just a little caveat here. I had planned NOT to take any reflecting modifications, although I am sure they are the "better" choice in most cases. This served 2 purposes - to make her a little more vulnerable (I really pushed the 'defenceless' part as much as possible) and to test my theory that reflected attacks count as 'hits' and how it related to "less hits = better drops". I did not notice any difference in drop quality with my choice of not reflecting attacks vs. reflecting attacks. Since this was a triple-aspect build, we have only a limited number of modification points, so we must choose our Combat Art's carefully! For combat, I chose Ravaged Impact. Darting Assault was a little "too slow" for me - yes, it can it more enemies, but the damage (per hit) is lower, and the animation time is quite a bit longer as well, leading to a lower "damage per second" - aka kill speed.
Ravaged Impact - Perforate, Breach, Blast. Perforate adds "chance for open wounds", a nice DoT when we are doing physical damage. Breach adds "chance to disregard armour", and that mod was a main focal point of the build. Blast causes 'splash damage' - enemies close to the target take about 1/3 damage of Ravaged Impact's damage to the targeted enemy. At level 124, I had this at level 73.2. This gives wounds 45% chance, disregard ~50% chance and splash dmg 86%. With a little socketing, I had pushed the disregard to 100%, and wounds ~90%. The damage from this Combat Art was very consistent, only varying slightly in Niob vs. most enemies.
Dust Devil - Recondition, Spell Shield, Spread. I ended up not using this too much, but it was nice to have it around as backup in case I started getting spanked too hard, or if I got 3 or 4 champs/elites in one battle. Recondition lowers the cooldown of the Combat Art, allowing it to be used more often. Spell Shield was the reason for modifying this Combat Art, as it adds a chance to block Combat Art's. Spread because I was a melee toon, and the larger radius helped when Sacred auto-moves the toon for attacking moving enemies.
Black Curse - Porus, Distress Typically only used on bosses or champions/elites. This combat art will reduce the opponents attributes, meaning lower vitality (HP's), strength/dexterity/intelligence for lower chance to hit/damage, et cetera. This attribute penalty does not stack, however I believe the modifications do! Porus reduces the opponents physical armour/resistance, this is good when Ephadic Lances is (mostly) physical damage. Distress lowers the attack speed, just in case of a mis-click or other unforseen circumstances where we end up toe-to-toe with a boss. I didn't add the 3rd modification as I didn't put enough points into Voodoo Focus.
Viperish Disease - Relapse, Transmission, Contaminate I play strictly offline, so no fear of ruining others games... The VD 'exploit' (not working with Ice & Blood) works awesome for levelling up a character very quickly. Unfortunately, that is just about all it is good for; I used it sparingly when mob-gathering but it was not stellar for this. Do not vary the modifications if you plan on using VD for powerlevelling.
Edaphic Lances - Thorns, Thorns, Singe Sorry, I did not actually do the math on this Combat Art. I just picked these mods by "feel" - my logic was that Acute Mind will boost Intelligence, which is base damage, so maximizing the # of thorns was the best idea, since the distance between thorns automatically decreases as the Combat Art level increases. Feel free to correct my choices here in the forum!
Goldenglade Touch - Flow, Persevere, Diligence Flow modification increases the HP regeneration, and the amount the regeneration increases per level. VERY powerful. The Persevere mod, in my opinion, was the saving grace of the build. I was always concerned that the low Willpower of the Dryad would be the undoing of this build, but the increase in Willpower given by the Persevere modification is HUGE, and even rivals the willpower bonus given by the SW's Grim Resilience! Diligence makes this Combat Art last for 12 seconds, so that we can always have it active (latter Platinum onward), and even have an overlap of 4 seconds where there are 2 Goldenglade Touches active at the same time!
Acute Mind - Proficiency, Insight Again, only 2 mods on this Combat Art, as it was all I really needed. I had Dual Weild increasing my attack speed, and Nature Lore for cast speed (of my Nature Combat Art's) so no need for the third modification. This Combat Art I have a little dilemma with. Firstly, I think that if you just want to get thru the game, taking the Insight bronze mod instead of Proficiency is the correct choice. If you want to farm the guardians, I think that being able to re-cast faster than every 60 seconds is better. Secondly, this Combat Art does not interact with staff weapons "properly" on console. If I cast Acute Mind, then use regular weapon attacks, the damage of the staffs IS boosted by the Combat Art. BUT, if I try to use Ravaged Impact while Acute Mind is active, the damage is NOT boosted. It displays correctly on the Combat Art page, but is not applied in-game! This was extremely disappointing when you consider this was 95% of the reason I built this toon. Acute Mind also interacts with shurikens in a strange way. I tested a little with it, but couldn't figure out what exactly was going on. Regular shuriken attacks and Ravaged Impact shuriken attacks do the same damage when Acute Mind is active, but it was nowhere near the damage displayed in the Overview or Combat Art pages. I got fustrated and quit testing after a little while, maybe someone else has insight on this.
Sinister Predator - Eagle Eye, Marked Shot What the heck is a melee player doing modifying a ranged combat art, you may ask? Well, it is true that the attack speed and hitchance multipliers given by this buff only affect ranged weapons, but the modifications DO apply to melee combat. Eagle Eye for more critical hit chances, and Marked Shot adds "Chance that Opponents Cannot Evade" stats.
Moribund Animus - Malice, Elevation Malice added some damage, but I am unsure really how much. The other option, , added a nice armour bonus to the hireling, BUT, I only ever remember my pet dying once... other than being debuffed by the White Griffon or Harpy Queen; so I believe Malice was the correct choice. Elevation increases the level of the hireling, at lower levels it was not too hard to keep the pet level double that of my character level, but that slowly levelled off, and I had a level 174 hireling at level 124.
Ancient Bark - Rugged, Repel, Invigorate Rugged adds a multiplier to your armour. ALL 5 TYPES! For my first couple of tests, I had thought it was only the physical and poison that got increased, but it is in fact all armour types. Repel is the one modification in this build that is definitely wrong. The evade chance added from Repel was quite low, compared to what is found on equipment, and I am certain that I would've been better off having a chance to reflect some close combat attacks.
For myself, pretty much I only used equipment found in merchants, never, IRC, having any partial set bonuses. Yes, I wear Chestplate of Time as much as possible, but after that, I typically find stuff in the merchants that is "better" than the set pieces. Meho's Wristguards are great, offering Disregard Armour and Attack Speed, plus sockets. I also had Meho's Greaves on, for the 2 sockets and run speed, 'cause I was too lazy to shop some out with those around. At level 124, I was using a Desert Saber - socketed with 2x deathblow (totaled~50%) with secondaries of Disregard Armour and Attack Value %. Off-hand weapons included a Hammer(rare) with Life Leeched per hit, Chance to Find Valuables and Opponents Chance to Evade; I had just finished socketing out a weapon to maximize critical hits, but never got to testing that bad boy out.
I had no less than 5 equipment setups for this character, due to the varying nature of the playstyles available with all 3 aspects. This takes a lot of resources, and I was quite pleased that I was able to maintain them all, despite doing most of my levelling with the VD expoit (and, thus not getting items, $$, runes, etc). My 5 setups were: General Purpose - for grinding thru the Ancarian wilderness; Buff Suit - used to cast high-level buffs but avoiding high regen. penalties; Bargaining Suit - used for shopping; Experience Suit - used when running VD exploit for gaining levels; Bosskilling Suit - used to cast high-level Acute Mind and Ephadic Lances at bossfights.
Buff Suit: For my build, I used a buff suit, right from the start. Keeping Ancient Bark AND Moribond Animus as high a level as humanly possible (especially at the start of the game) really messes with regeneration times, and then as I progressed through the game, I came to appreciate what can be done when this strategy is used. For example, at level 124, I was casting Ancient Bark at level 58.5, Animus @ 61.9, and Sinister Predator @ 57.8. The total regeneration penalty from having those buff levels was ~ 75%. After removing the buff suit, the total regen. penalty for having all 3 active buffs was just 32.9%, so about 1/2 the penalty. Without this "trick", I would have to put attribute points toward Stamina, which would have led to many deaths from not having enough hit points.
General Purpose: Filled with all the good things we need for a melee character! All-offence, but with 2 or 3 sockets with defensive properties (ie Dragon Amulet, with Fire Mitigation and -DoT:Fire, to counter-balance the Fire Sensitivity of Ancient Bark; etc, etc) At level 124, I had every socket (save one) filled with hard damage rings (about +205) with secondary stats All skills, Disregard Armour, Attack Speed, and Damage % (some physical, and some all-channel). Earlier on, it was all +allskills, all the time (just looked for good secondary mods).
VD / Experience Suit: I looked for armour with EP-modified +experience per kill, slots were not too big a deal. I also usually had at least 35% run speed, and tried for about 60% visibility range (to see where the enemies were on the mini-map). As I moved to Platinum and Niob, I was told to put some spell intensity, and I have to thank Karrupted Kat for that! I had 2 weapons, totalling 96% spell intensity, and getting VD to spread in the Niob desert vs. scarabs / red scorpions, it wasn't happening without that SI.
Bosskilling Suit: 1-3 pieces of armour, and a Life Leeched from Opponents +x% shuriken / shield. Focusing on socketing +Nature Weaver Aspect to boost the levels of Ephadic Lances, and Acute Mind (and to a lesser degree, GGT). It was only really important as I got to the end of Gold, before that I was just melee-fighting the bosses.
With the original plan to have Acute Mind-boosted Ravaged Impacts obliterating everything falling through, I had to start to think about how to socket for this toon. If AM-RI worked properly, most sockets would be Niob-level Whet, +All Skills (with defensive secondaries, mostly Combat-Art blocking/reflecting). After re-speccing her, I was full of hard damage rings, as well as about 30% Combat Art blocking (to stack with Dust Devil). All Skills, Attack Value %, Attack Speed and a little Regeneration per Hit were my secondary stats on the damage rings. That was a lot of shopping, but was worth it in the end!
[size=3][color="#00FF00"]FINAL BUILD REVIEW [/color][/size](What I would change if re-rolling this toon, PC viability, etc)
Well, if I was going to re-roll a Dryad, I would definitely keep her defenceless, triple-aspect. Constitution would be nice to have so that some attribute points could go toward Stamina. BUT, then I'd have to pick Combat Reflexes or Shield Lore as well (Spell Resistance may not be working on console, it definitely doesn't display in the Overview). If you wanted defensive skills, I would drop Alchemy and EP to make room for Reflexes and Constitution (Dual Weilding/Blowpipe) or Shield/Const. (shuriken/shield). Alchemy pretty much should be replaced for consolers, unless you want the extended duration on mentor / concentration potions and the 100% healing on Light Health Potions. It's just too clumsy to use, and you would need some "duration of potion effects" to make using Trophies sensible. In its' place, I suggest Combat Discipline or Ancient Magic to help with some more damage; or Voodoo Lore, as it will help raise the level of the Animus, and open up the option to mod Malicious Totem if you wanted to use it.
Originally published at DarkMattersfor review and discussion.