Interesting Info about Assassin Shadows

Hakai_no_Tenshi

Diabloii.Net Member
Interesting Info about Assassin Shadows

From a post on the Lurker Lounge:

Crystalion said:
Assassin Shadows do indeed get skill synergies. The way in which this occurs is rather convoluted. I don't believe it has been worked out in detail, correctly, before, and the consequences highlighted.

This post is an attempt at a human readable version of my brain bending tests and conclusions in The Workshop about Shadow Warriors.

The underlying mechanisms for Warriors and Masters, re: the discovery, are probably the same. However the techniques for making use of the consequences are a bit different. Masters are more complex, so I won't discuss them at this time.

Here I'll give a simplified base build plan for a Shadow Warrior loving Assassin variant, so you can get the idea of the importance of the "discovery" if it interests you.

In a nutshell there are two key parts to the discovery...

a. The skill level (slvl) a Shadow casts a skill at, is indeed based on a simple formula using both on her slvl (i.e. your slvl at which your cast her) and the current slvl of the player for the skill the shadow is casting

b. The skill the Shadow casts can indeed be synergized! This is because anytime the Shadow casts a skill, she remembers the level she cast it at (from the formula alluded to above). Thus she "learns" (or "burns in") skills, whose slvl then becomes helpful as a synergy to other skills she may cast.

Here is the formula:

shadow skill_level for when she casts skill X =
half of the player's current skill_level in X (including +skill adders *now*)
rounded down, plus
one third of the shadow's skill_level when she was summoned (including +skill adders *then*)
rounded down,
with a minimum skill level of one.

This slvl value is then remembered. If your shadow dies, or you summon a new one, that memory vanishes.

If the shadow casts the skill again, the old memory is irrelevant (as far as I know) and is overwritten.

If the shadow casts a skill that has synergies, then the shadow wil either consider the synergy skill level to be zero (if she hasn't cast the synergy skill before) or she will consider her synergy level to be the value she has remembered.

This is very generous of the game! This partly accounts for some of the feelings reported by Assassin players like "my Shadow destroys whole legions of enemies".

The biggest things you can do to take advantage of this, when planning a build, are to:

a. summon your shadow at the highest multiple-of-three skill level that you can
b. help her to memorize useful synergize skills and not forget them (i.e. don't let her die or resummon her).
c. encourage her to cast her strongest, most synergized skills

While extreme gear helps this build can become silly-uber, as do many v1.10 builds, but you can get very good results with ~50 base skill points, as follows...

prereqs:
1 claw mastery
1 weapon block
1 psychic hammer
1 cloak of shadows

synergies:
1 shock web
1 charged bolt sentry
1 lightning sentry
1 death sentry
1 wake of fire
1 wake of inferno

key skills:
20 shadow warrior
20 fire blast

50 total points (this build is for illustration only)

As a bit of trivia, for a rushee, getting all 12 quest skill points "early", you can complete this "build" at clvl 39.

Let's assume your only skill boosters are +1 shadow skills, +1 traps (perhaps dual claws, one each).

Your Fire Blast at slvl 21 will do 95-125 fire damage, with (6x9%, that is) +54% synergy, for ~146-192 net.

Your Warrior's slvl when cast will be 21. She will always get 21/3 = 7 points of slvl into her casts due to this, so long as she lives. When she casts a Fire Blast, she also gets half your slvl in FB truncated, so 21/2 ~= 10. So her Fire Blasts will be only slvl 17 (7 + 10).

If you haven't put her through her paces, she won't "know" any synergies, so her damage will be 55-77, which is very disappointing compared to yours.

But let us assume you help her to "know" each of the six synergy traps, by encouraging her to cast them. For each of those her slvl will be 7 (from her slvl/3) plus 1 (half your 1+1 adder skill in each trap), thus totaling 8.

With 6 synergies, each at slvl 8, times 9% damage bonus, we get a net synergy for her of +432%.

This makes her FB damage ~293-410. This is rather better than you do, eh?

For your synergies you only benefit from base points in synergy skills. But for your Shadow, your +skill adders to summoning her, and to your traps when you help her to "know" those skills, are actually applied (at her 1/3rd and 1/2 reductions, respectively) thus boosting her synergies!

If you have a *lot* of +skill gear at the appropriate times, her FB damage goes through the roof. All without costing you any more skill points than the sample build here, provided for your illumination. smile.gif

...

So you can potentially have builds in which your Shadow Warrior will obliterate things for you while you have ~50 more skill points to go into whatever you want.

I focused on traps, because the synergy opportunity there is very easy to see. But the same principle applies to charge-ups that are synergized (though far less spectacularly). Of course Fire Blast isn't the only trap you can focus on synergizing in this way.

As far as I can tell, the Shadow Master gets the same benefits outlined here, although she might be a bit harder to coerce into learning and doing what you wish her to do.

I do not know if Act 3 hirelings benefit from this "remembered" synergy skill level, or if it is only a property of Shadows. Certainly those of you that were jealous of the huge boost to Valkyries in v1.10 can now see that Shadows were not neglected. Both Valks and Masters get good equipment at umpteen+ slvl.

Both Master and Warrior use your base armor for torso and headgear (you should consider donning high-end elite armor for torso, perhaps with Hels socketed, before summoning, and similarly the highest you qualify for of: circlet, coronet, tiara, diadem, since those will skyrocket the potential affixes the shadow rolls for headgear, afaik). Warriors particularly benefit from this torso trick, as they have an insane bonus to DR%. If she also rolls Godly on the torso, and you are using a Defiance merc, she might be very hard to hit.

If you're going to play with this build, in single player by -act 5 or some such, you should know that a Shadow Warrior, even when you have both left and right mouse buttons set to Fire Blast, will often run up to melee. So you have to be prepared to pull her back, to encourage her to FB instead. This can be done with waypoints, town portals, teleport and simply running around. My personal favorite to "reset" minion/hireling behavior is to use charges of teleport. Dragon Flight might be made to work here, but I'm dubious.

...

I'm sorry I'm not giving more details, but I'm trying to keep this post relatively simple. There are many other factors to consider and many technical questions still unanswered.

But it has bugged me since beta that I'd not seen more info on this topic, so I hope you enjoy the "discovery" and the questions that are answered, finally.

p.s. Though I suspect I've seen the 1/2+1/3 answer before, there are so many "answers" to the recurrent asking of this slvl for shadows question that I didn't have any reason to believe any of them, sans testing, and thus my use of "discovery" for the results.
I guess you learn something new everyday

--T
 
Wow, thats some good info there, way to much detail to follow all the way through, but i read the basics, and understand how to use it to my advantage. :thumbsup:
 

Sint Nikolaas

Diabloii.Net Member
Very interesting actually. Sadly enough, not really that usefull and I doubt alot of people will use it. However this being part of the game really amuses me :) You can have a really .. really elite shadow :D
 

Shade

Diabloii.Net Member
I vaguely recall reading something along these lines a while back, but it's tricky to take advantage of. It does, though, lend interesting new possibilities for Shadow Warriors, as they can be 'told' what skills to use.

(I see this as somewhat like Pokemon. Go, Shadow! Use your Lightning Sentry! :) )

Act 3 mercs are another curiosity mentioned... don't they get synergies based on their skillset (alone)? In any case, since they can't gain any more skills, it's largely irrelevant for them (and, if true, explains where the charge-synergy bug comes from).
 

Dodgydave

Diabloii.Net Member
Interesting enough information but the problem really is putting it to use. From what I gather you'll have to 'force' your shadow to synergise herself by making her use a succesion of low skill level skills. During this time she's not going to be killing anything and neither are you. If some how you manage to get her to use all 6 low level skills without getting swamped and dying then you may have a very powerful ally. However, would it be any easier or faster than ploughing in with your main skill and killing everything? Plus when you get her all synergised up, you then have to be careful to keep her alive otherwise you lose all her synergies and have to start from scratch.

Sounds like a bit of a hassle, especially at the speed I go through summons. :D

Still interesting info all the same. Nice and simply laid out too.
 

Shade

Diabloii.Net Member
Dodgydave said:
Interesting enough information but the problem really is putting it to use. From what I gather you'll have to 'force' your shadow to synergise herself by making her use a succesion of low skill level skills. During this time she's not going to be killing anything and neither are you.
Thinking about it the easiest way to do that is as a Necro often does with summons - back to the Blood Moor and start training... then, you just have to keep her alive.

If only that part were as easy! I guess you and a merc could tank for her, but you'd need at least one button devoted to the Warrior's skill, if not both...
 

Quickdeath

Diabloii.Net Member
First this is not new information, I've seen it before. Go to Assassin Forum FAQ. A Shadow can actually have higher level skills than the assassin, for certain select skills

I believe that it is not necessary to force your Shadow to use the synergy skills first - you can just let him fight and as he naturally uses a skil for the first time lt will synergize the future use of other skills. So you can just get a Shadow Master - who is more durable than a Shadow Warrior -and let him do his thing. Eventually, he will have used all his skills and all future use of skills will be maximally synergized.

I have for a long time planned to do an Assassin 'Summoner" -a Sin built around having a highly effective Shadow. I just haven't gotten around to it. In this build you invest all points in SM, traps, and then stand around and throw blade fury as your Shadow Master throws traps (and MB and everything else.)
 

Liliel

Diabloii.Net Member
Wow... I have kinda felt that the Shadow Master is more awesome then it appears on paper. Guess this explains it...
 

Icebird

Diabloii.Net Member
I remember reading about this a *looong* time ago. I tried to take advantage of it with an MP group archer 'sin although it was hard to tell how effective it made the Shadow Warrior. Cool feature but hard to take advantage of.

Chris
 

HBeachBabe

Diabloii.Net Member
Quickdeath said:
First this is not new information, I've seen it before. Go to Assassin Forum FAQ. A Shadow can actually have higher level skills than the assassin, for certain select skills

I believe that it is not necessary to force your Shadow to use the synergy skills first - you can just let him fight and as he naturally uses a skil for the first time lt will synergize the future use of other skills. So you can just get a Shadow Master - who is more durable than a Shadow Warrior -and let him do his thing. Eventually, he will have used all his skills and all future use of skills will be maximally synergized.
wow! how did you summon a male shadow? or does your 'sin have the 'sex change' skill hotkeyed? :lol:
 

sunbearie

Diabloii.Net Member
HBeachBabe said:
wow! how did you summon a male shadow? or does your 'sin have the 'sex change' skill hotkeyed? :lol:
Thats what "super-buffing" does to your sin. She becomes a he :lol:

I've read this too on the assy forum but IMO, my shadow master still dies too often for me to spend this time prebuff her synergies.
 

DeathMaster

Diabloii.Net Member
I agree, it is interesting, but hard to take advantage from it.

The easiest way is still max SM, and let her do the trick herself.

And, how do you know she isn't really "he". Nowdays, you can't judge by looking...
 

Quickdeath

Diabloii.Net Member
Oops, my bad! My brain completely nerfed -I forgot the SM was female.

Not that gender seems to make a difference in this game. The two hottest moments are when Charsi first greets a Barb, or when Atma greets you by saying "What are your needs?
 

Artagas

Diabloii.Net Member
I have read about the same on a Hungarian diablo forum once, though with much less details, and formulae, but the idea was there. Actually more than half of the people over there adviced me to try a warrior for my hybrid 'sin instead of a master. (though that was also for the reason people are annoyed by sm casting mind blast, which is a completely different issue)
 

Quickdeath

Diabloii.Net Member
Here's an easy way to think of it.

Imagine that you invest points only in Shadow Master (20) and its prereqs (1 each) and then use +skills to get SM up 39 points.

At that point, all the assassin skills will be available to your SM at skill level 13. For a skill like Fire Blast trap, your SM will have a level 13 Fire Blast trap but each of the 6 synergy skills for FB will be at level 13 as well. Thus her lvl 13 fire blast will have an enhanced damage of +702% (!)

IF you were then to invest 20 skills point in Fire Blast, your SM would have a level 23 Fire Blast trap with + 702% damage from synergies. Note that you only have a lvl 20 fire blast trap with no synergies - so you want your SM to throw the traps. However, he will not exclusively throw fire traps, he will throw everything. However, all trap skills are highly synergized so it woudl be hard to go wrong.

Most Trapsin guides recommend not having a Shadow, so they won't throw the wrong traps. But an alternate approach would be to use a shadow and go for high + shadow skills, and allow your shadow to throw the traps.
 

JicamaEater

Diabloii.Net Member
Quickdeath said:
Not that gender seems to make a difference in this game. The two hottest moments are when Charsi first greets a Barb, or when Atma greets you by saying "What are your needs?
Atma's old though, I'm pretty sure.

Let's not forget Anya's gossip about Larzuk either, or the "in my pants" thread :lol: .

Good find. I hang out there some times, but for WoW stuff. This D2 forum is *cough cough* better.

I'm not much of an Assassin player but as I understand Warrior will always use your two skills on tab. That says to me that she won't ever flub up if you don't.
 

BIGeyedBUG

Diabloii.Net Member
The best use I've found for it so far is on Shadow Warrior using BoI or CoT Assassins. It works very nicely through NM and helps some in Hell, and gets around most of the problems associated with relying on Shadows for offense. I've also used it some for leveling Trappers when mana is an issue--a one point Shadow makes a pretty lethal companion through the early game if its traps are high level and synergized.

I play mostly untwinked hc characters though, who are always scraping for safe ways to increase their damage output. For normal characters, I think uber-shadow strategys are just a diversion, though potentially an amusing one.


edit: By the way, Crystalion made that initial post almost a year-and-a-half ago.
 

Serdash

Diabloii.Net Member
Wow.

I've never seen a good set of information being flamed like this.

I don't htink it should matter if it's "old news" or if it's been posted before in another forum.

I usually only visit the SPF, other forums on this site only slightly. This is new information to me, so I appreciate it and give a good thanks to Doc.

If it's old news to you why comment? Just move on, someone already said it once, so there isn't a need to say it again.
 

sunbearie

Diabloii.Net Member
Serdash said:
Wow.

I've never seen a good set of information being flamed like this.

I don't htink it should matter if it's "old news" or if it's been posted before in another forum.

I usually only visit the SPF, other forums on this site only slightly. This is new information to me, so I appreciate it and give a good thanks to Doc.

If it's old news to you why comment? Just move on, someone already said it once, so there isn't a need to say it again.
I don't think we were flaming it dashy :thumbsup: Just stating it was shown in the assy forum since there's a whole thread there about how to utilize this feature for PvP etc just like we're doing now.
 
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