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Help with vanilla singer/swinger?

Discussion in 'Single Player Forum' started by Swamigoon, May 20, 2015.

  1. Swamigoon

    Swamigoon IncGamers Member

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    Thanks in advance for reading the long ramble that follows!

    For a couple of years, I didn't have a machine that was capable of playing this game. However, I did have all of my characters and GoMule stashes backed up, and so now that I have a working D2LoD I am able to pick up where I left off, which is nice. Before my hiatus, I had accomplished a number of fun and lucky things in my SP softcore project: I achieved 10 Mat/Pat characters, participated in a few tournaments, found all normal sets and uniques (except for 3 elusive TC3 uniques), found all except 6 exceptional uniques, found/cubed every rune except zod, and completed two of the class-specific sets (Immortal King and Tal-Rasha's Wrappings). I'm a terrible pack-rat; one of my GoMule files, stash.d2x, has over 4000 assorted items in it.

    Anyway, among the dozens of other characters that I have saved, one that interests me at the moment is a singer barbarian that is currently level 74 in Act II Hell. His favorite weapon is a Razorswitch. I must emphasize up front that my project is vanilla. I have read singer guides that recommend Spirit runeworded swords, and making a mercenary carry an Insight runeworded polearm, but I do not use RWM, so those aren't available to me. I found this guide by purplelocust, who managed not only to Pat a vanilla singer but also to give it 200% faster cast rate! I have some but not all of the gear he used; my singer's war cries repeat much slower. Also, I believe my play style may be quite a bit different. He wrote (and every other guide seems to agree) that playing a singer is all about the mana pool. On the other hand, I have accepted the fact that my singer will often run out of mana, and therefore he cannot afford to be a snooty "prima donna opera star." He'll simply have to learn to shut up and get his hands dirty, and swing his weapon just like any other respectable barbarian. So that's why I'm now calling my build a "singer/swinger."

    Here is a list of the gear he currently equips:
    • Lore runeworded jawbone visor with +3 to War Cry and +2 to Increased Stamina
    • Berserker's Hauberk
    • Frostburn
    • Gloom's Trap
    • Crafted wyrmhide boots (+15 mana, +5% maximum mana, +8% regen)
    • Raven Frost and Manald Heal rings
    • Echoing Amulet of Chance
    • three Sounding Grand Charms in the backpack, and a couple of small mana charms
    and currently equipped weapon/shield sets:
    • Wizardspike with Splendor runeworded Grim Shield
    • Razorswitch, upgraded to walking stick, socketed with a Turquoise jewel (+20 mana)
    He kept a couple of other weapon options in the stash:
    • Baezil's Vortex
    • Spellsteel
    His current stat investment: 105 str, 85 dex, 260 vit, 10 (base) nrg. I think I over-invested in his vitality and under-invested in dexterity, but that was when I thought he would be a prima donna opera star. As he gains more levels, I plan to spend more in dex, so that he may swing his weapons a little more accurately. His current skill investment: 20 war cry, 20 battle cry, 10 taunt, 10 howl, 17 battle orders, 1 battle command. I was going to try and make a single tree build, but I wimped out and put a point in each of iron skin and natural resistance. Anyway, with all of his gears' skill boosts and after a battle command, he screams:
    • battle orders at level 27, more than doubling his max base life and mana,
    • war cry at level 33, causing a little over 900 physical damage, and
    • battle cry at level 30, usually wiping out enemys' base defenses and cutting enemy damage in half.
    His rogue mercenary is pretty generous with her Inner Sight spell, which seems to cut enemy defense almost as effectively as his battle cry. She uses a Widowmaker quite effectively to shoot magic and fire arrows. Against physically immune foes, she and the singer complement each other reasonably well: war cry doesn't damage PIs, but it still stuns them for a few seconds, and when he swings his weapon, his gear and charms add 100 poison, 23-67 cold, and 2-30 lightning damage (3-180 lightning when he swings the Baezil's).

    Regardless, he remains a singer: war cry is his primary skill, normal attack (swinging) is a support skill. I decided to do some experiments with war cry and the weapons he currently has. Of course, I'm not as good at this as onderduiker, so I'm sure my methodology could be improved, but here's what I tested:
    • I went to a safe place (Act II sewers 2 waypoint) and held down the right mouse button to spam the war cry skill.
    • Using a stopwatch, I measured the amount of time it took to deplete the mana pool, and the number of war cries yelled during that time.
    • Keeping the RMB mashed, I measured amounts of time that passed before the depleted mana ball regenerated enough to cast another war cry, and calculated an average of these times.
    • Finally, letting go of the RMB, I measured the amount of time that passed before the the depleted mana globe regenerated all the way back to full again.
    I repeated these tests both without and with the influence of battle command and battle orders. Here are my results:

    Code:
    Wizardspike+Splendor:
       11 roars in 5 sec, regen back to 41 mana in 7 sec, back to 439 mana in 70 sec
    Wizardspike+Splendor+BO+BC:
       15 roars in 7 sec, regen back to 42 mana in 5 sec, back to 609 mana in 70 sec
    
    Baezil's Vortex+Splendor:
       11 roars in 6 sec, regen back to 41 mana in 8 sec, back to 428 mana in 77 sec
    Baezil's Vortex+Splendor+BO+BC:
       15 roars in 9.5 sec, regen back to 42 mana in 4 sec, back to 708 mana in 77 sec
    
    Razorswitch:
       15 roars in 7 sec, regen back to 41 mana in 6.5 sec, back to 570 mana in 85 sec
    Razorswtich+BO+BC:
       26 roars in 12 sec, regen back to 42 mana in 3.5 sec, back to 955 mana in 85 sec
    
    Spellsteel:
       11 roars in 5.5 sec, regen back to 40 mana in 7 sec, back to 418 mana in 73 sec
    Spellsteel+BO+BC:
       18 roars in 9 sec, regen back to 41 mana in 4.5 sec, back to 690 mana in 73 sec
    
    So this comparison clarifies to me why Razorswitch is my favorite singer/swinger weapon. With its huge mana boost, he can let loose with more war cries, and when his mana is gone, he doesn't have to wait as long before he can sound another war cry. As for the long full-regen time, blue potions are cheap and plentiful enough, so I'm perfectly willing to stock his belt with at least one column of them, and willing to make him chug them a lot.

    What improvements would you like to recommend? I'm definitely on the lookout for better armor. At this point, the only real benefit his current armor provides is +1 skills, and if he loses that, I think it only weakens his war cry damage by 34 points per yell. I thought about stuffing perfect sapphires into a 4-socket armor; I think that would give him enough mana for 3 or 4 additional war cry yells, which would more than make up for losing 34 points of damage per yell. (I also have one Que-Hegan's Wisdom in GoMule, but it's ethereal, so I want to keep it as a trophy rather than put it on a character and deplete its durability.)

    Anyway, those are my thoughts on this character, mid-build. I'd love to get suggestions and feedback. Even if your suggestion is "just use RWM, dude," which I'll ignore, I'll still appreciate that you made it.
     
  2. BBS_Agonistes

    BBS_Agonistes IncGamers Member

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    I don't know anything about singers, but do those class specific RWs work with Vanilla? Don't Bone and Rain give a big mana boost with some resists? Obviously a lot more expensive than your idea of PSaphs in a 4os Armor.
     
  3. SunsetVista

    SunsetVista IncGamers Member

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    'Stealth' armor (tal+eth) is vanilla and has some good caster stats. Skin of the Vipermagi is good, too.
    Do you really need more dex with both Inner Sight and Battle Cry? That should be enough to hit most things, I think.
     
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  4. BBS_Agonistes

    BBS_Agonistes IncGamers Member

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    Stealth and SOTVM make sense because of FCR (I'm not sure of your breakpoints). Getting mana from armor might not be as good a choice since you could get that from other places, like stat points and charms?
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2015
  5. maxicek

    maxicek Moderator Single Player

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    Go dual Wizardspike. The 1.11 barb armour will work in Vanilla too for +2 skills. Add a FCR ring to hit the 105 breakpoint. A blue +3 war cry helmet with 2 PSapphires may be a good idea too.
     
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  6. Swamigoon

    Swamigoon IncGamers Member

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    Thanks for your thoughts, everybody!

    I think I'll try the PSapphires in armor first and see what happens. I do want more mana, but I do not want to waste stat points on energy to get mana - barbarians only get 1 mana per energy stat point invested.

    Many of the suggestions so far seem to assume that FCR is the prized goal, for rapid casting of war cry. I am not convinced.

    From the tests that I did, it sure seems to me that +mana is a lot more desirable than FCR, by a long shot.
    More FCR instead of mana has two drawbacks: mana gets depleted much faster, with fewer casts before the pool runs dry, and a longer wait to be able to war cry again after the mana globe is emptied. But more mana gives two benefits: more war cry casts before mana is depleted, and faster mana regen = faster time to be able to war cry again after depletion.

    Analogy: it's like sprinting vs. endurance run. An FCR fueled casting sprint would dish out more damage per second, but not for long. War cries fueled by a big mana pool won't do quite as much damage per second, but they'll do much more total damage over a longer period. It just seems to me that the endurance singer will be more effective overall in PvM than the sprinting FCR singer. Is there something about this I'm not understanding?

    I only have one Wizardspike so far. I'll experiment with another if I find one.
     
  7. BBS_Agonistes

    BBS_Agonistes IncGamers Member

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    That analogy makes sense, and though I've stated I don't know about the build, I'm interested in it, so I hope you don't mind me parasitically gaining knowledge off your thread. Are Eths and PSkulls in sockets of any use? Or is their contribution so little that it doesn't make a difference? Since Eths work in shields, body armour, and helms, there is certainly space for quite a few if mana depletion is your main problem, but I've never tried it since I always just used Insight with my demanding mana characters. I'm assuming it probably isn't much help...
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2015
  8. logoutzero

    logoutzero IncGamers Member

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    Singers are my favorite, and here's what I say (granted, I play FAM so I have access to RWM etc):

    FCR is great for getting the champions and other stronger than normal mobs into perma stunlock. Since they are getting stunned at a reduced rate, hitting them more times in the same duration of frames enables more rolls, which in turn means more successful stun events.

    With that being said: You are not using Warcry as your main source of damage (well, singers don't really, it's more of "make everyone else stand around while the merc eats them" but anyway) then FCR may not be so important for your style of play. In this case, +Max Mana is great for you. Another route would be to take the synergies out of Warcry, and devote them more to a mastery, and maybe even an actual hit skill, as you really are using Warcry more as a support skill than a "true" singer would. Berserk doesn't really fit the bill in this case as it doesn't leech, which is why you like to swing (partially) in the first place.

    I would be tempted to redesign this character as a melee with Warcry support, rather than sinking so many points into building up Warcry. The extra points don't increase the stun duration as much as we'd like to think (since it is at a penalty in Hell mode anyway) so maybe a lower level Warcry coupled with Mastery/Concentrate would fit the way you play this character a bit better.

    There was a calculator (or at least a post somewhere around here) where someone calculated the crossover point between +Max Mana and Faster Mana Regen. Up to a certain point, one is stronger than the other (IIRC for a sorceress it's somewhere around 4k mana) but I'm sure some digging could find some discussion.

    A lower level Warcry (coupled with some FCR to make up for the lower stun duration *typically*) means more casts for you, and I feel as if you aren't really taking advantage of the damage synergies without being a full time caster.

    Just some food for thought.
     
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  9. Username is not in use

    Username is not in use IncGamers Member

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    but how do you handle immunes?
     
  10. logoutzero

    logoutzero IncGamers Member

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    I assume that's what the amp proc on the rogue is for. 'Lawbringer' will handle the majority of them as well. That leaves Howling them and moving on!

    Wait, is 'Lawbringer' vanilla?...

    Nope, nevermind. Anyway, Amp proc and Howl still stands.
     
  11. mir

    mir IncGamers Member

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    I play vanilla too and made a pure singer long time ago. Unlike purplelocust I don't have MPK rings and had to rely on potions for mana. I'll post his stats and equipment for comparison.

    Stats:

    lvl 89
    str: 95 (enough for gear)
    dex: 70 (+5 from equipment for wizzy)
    vit: 234
    unused: 131

    Skills:
    1 in: berserk, leap attack, double swing, passive skills (except wep mastery), BC
    20 in: WC, BC, Howl
    14 in taunt
    13 in BO

    Equipment:
    Code:
    Helm: +6 war cry, +5 BO helm (x2 PSkulls)
    
    Amulet:
    +4 to Strength
    +50 to Mana
    Regenerate Mana 4%
    All Resistances +20
    +1 to Barbarian Skill Levels
    10% Faster Cast Rate
    
    2x Wizzarspike (each with +20 mana jewel)
    Vipermagi armor (PSkull)
    Magefist
    Arch belt
    Ring #1: rare, +17 mana, 10% FCR
    Ring #2: magic, +98 mana, 10% FCR
    
    Boots:
    Fiend Blazer
    Wyrmhide Boots
    +2 to Dexterity
    +15 to Mana
    Regenerate Mana 9%
    Fire Resist +25%
    Cold Resist +25%
    Increase Maximum Mana 2%
    Repairs 1 durability in 33 seconds
    
    Wep #2: Naj's staff - for PI's & teleport
    
    Carms:
    Mix of skillers & mana charms

    Total mana: 1700

    Some thoughts:

    * Reaper Toll is the best weapon for this build --> killing faster = less mana used = more fun
    * If you not going for 200 FCR, then go for +mana and +skills equipment (SOJ, Silkweave, Frosts...)
    * Get 'Find Item'(!) and use purple potions instead of mana potions, better results IMO
    * 'Bahamut's Ring of the Apprentice' (magic) is the best ring for this build if you don't have 1.07 MPK rings
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2015
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  12. Swamigoon

    Swamigoon IncGamers Member

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    I found a 4 socket armor, put 4 perfect sapphires in it, and put it on my singer. The results were amazing:
    Code:
    Razorswitch+4PSapph Armor:
    25 roars in 11.5 sec, regen back to 40 mana in 4 sec, back to 814 mana in 85 sec
    Razorswitch+4PSapph Armor+BC+BO:
    44 roars in 19.5 sec, regen back to 41 mana in 2.5 sec, back to 1368 mana in 85 sec
    
    Finally, for the first time, I feel like this toon can sing more than he has to swing. I can mash the RMB for almost 20 seconds before he has to drink a potion! I'll see how far through Act II I can get with this armor.

    If I find another Wizardspike I'll try comparing an FCR setup, but for now, my opinion on desirable singer gear is: mana > fcr, mana > regen, mana > energy.
     

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