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The Energy Sorc Guide, first draft

Discussion in 'Single Player Forum' started by Zarhrezz, Feb 26, 2004.

  1. Zarhrezz

    Zarhrezz IncGamers Member

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    The Energy Sorc Guide, first draft

    The Energy Sorc Guide
    aka
    Zarhrezz' Guide to Insanity


    Introduction
    Insanity you say? Only if you feel that anyone taking a base vitality sorceress using no life boosting equipment (other than the incidental life/vitality that happens to be on her equipment chosen for different reasons) through hell is insane. Solo, of course.
    This guide is not a complete and fixed character guide like the ones commonly found in these forum. It outlines a basis for skills, stats and equipment to be used, but while the stat and equipment selection is quite limited, there is room in the skill department to give different flavors to this build. The basis is of course Energy Shield and how to base a character on it. This guide is aimed at PvM only, for the simple reason that an Energy Shield build is not viable in PvP, considering the damage ranges involved.


    What we need to know about Energy Shield
    Before we build a character on a single skills, we should first learn all we can about said skill.
    First let us look at what Energy Shield can do for us: Energy shield redirects a certain % of damage to mana, making the sorceress lose mana instead of life. The % is based on the skill level of Energy Shield. The maximum % that can be attained is 95%, at skill level 40 Energy Shield. This means that only 5% of the damage being inflicted on the sorceress will affect her life.
    Almost all types of damage are affected by Energy Shield, not affected are poison damage and life loss from Open Wounds. I'm not entirely sure about Crushing Blow, but from playing experience I'd say Crushing Blow damage is not affected by Energy Shield.
    The damage redirected to mana by Energy Shield is modified by a factor that is dependant on the skill points invested in Telekinesis. With no points invested in Telekinesis, each point of redirected damage will cost 2 mana. This means 100 damage inflicted upon a sorceress with a 95% Energy Shield and no points in Telekinesis will lose 5 life and 190 mana. This is of course not a good thing, luckily there is the synergy with Telekinesis to help out. Each point in Telekinesis lowers the factor at which prevented damage is taken from mana by 6.25%, which gives us the following formula: mana lost = damage prevented * (2 - 0.0625*TK) where TK is the total number of skill points spend on Telekinesis (so called "hard skill points"). With 20 skill points invested in Telekinesis, we find: mana lost = 0.75 * damage prevented. Repeating our previous example, we now find 5 life lost and 71.25 (72) mana lost. This is of course alot more manageble than the 190 mana lost that we found earlier.
    The power of Energy Shield and importance of Telekinesis become more profound when looking at the damage resolution order. If damage is inflicted on a character, certain steps are resolved in order before final life loss is determined and applied. For us, the following steps are of importance:
    • Energy Shield: This is where the damage is redirected by Energy Shield and mana loss due to Energy Shield occurs.
    • Damage Reduced by X/Magic Damage Reduced by X: The damage that is not redirected by Energy Shield is reduced by the appropriate amount and possibly nullified.
    • Resistances: Resistances are applied. This phase does not just include the resistances listed in the character screen (Fire/Cold/Lightning/Poison) but also Magical damage and Physical damage (gained from equipment like Shaftstop). This phase is also where curses like Lower Resist, Amplify Damage and Decrepify are applied, as is Conviction.
    • X% absorb: %-wise absorb is applied here. I won't go into details here, since we aim to avoid this phase.
    • +X absorb: See above.
    • Damage Goes to Mana: Mana is gained based on the amount of damage still left at this point.
    • Ouch: Damage is applied to life.
    • Mana Burn: Technically not part of the damage resolution, but part of the hit resolving that occurs after damage resolution. I mention it here to indicate that it will not take down Energy Shield before Energy Shield gets the chance to redirect the damage.
    Now what does all this tell us? First it tells us that our mana will take big hits, since Energy Shield will be redirecting unmodified amounts of damage to our mana. A huge mana pool is thus vital for the survival of a character relying on Energy Shield to stay alive. Secondly, (Magic) Damage Reduced by X takes effect after Energy Shield. Read that again, since it's the most important property of Energy Shield. The reduction is done on the damage not redirected by Energy Shield. For a 95% Energy shield, the amount not redirected is small and thus easilly negated by (Magic) Damage Reduced by X. If we go back to our previous example and give ourselves Damage Reduced by 7 (from socketing a Sol rune in our armor, for example), we see that the 5 damage getting through our Energy Shield is negated and we only take 72 mana loss. Now also consider that negative resistances (due to Nightmare/Hell penalty or being under Amplify Damage) only amplify damage that passes this stage, our path is clear: we will aim to not have any damage reach this stage (rendering us immune to negative resistances, Conviction, Amplify Damage, etc.). Note that by choosing this path, absorb gear and Damage Goes to Mana gear is rendered useless too. There won't be any damage in this stage for these mods to work on, so they will have no effect whatsoever.
    Another point worth mentioning is that Energy Shield is a skill that can be pre-buffed. See also the equipment section.


    Skill distribution
    Now that we know what Energy Shield does, we can outline our base build:

    Energy Shield: 20
    Telekinesis: 20
    Charged Bolt: 1
    Lightning: 1
    Chain Lightning: 1
    Teleport: 1

    Not much to it eh? With only 44 skill points allocated, we still have 47 skill points to distribute when aiming for level 80 with all quest that give skill points completed. Of course there are a few skills that deserve 1 skill points for almost any build: Warmth, Static Field and Frozen Armor. This means we'll still have 44 skill points unspend...and this is where your own creativity comes into play!


    Stat distribution
    Stats are pretty much tied down in this build. We will need all the mana we can get to keep Energy Shield up and running, so each and every point not strictly needed elsewhere should go into Energy. Strength depends on equipment, see the equipment section for recommended gear (and thus strength). To sum it up:

    Strength: 65 or 111
    Dexterity: base
    Vitality: base
    Energy: everything else


    Equipment
    As you might have gathered by now, this is not a standard build, not a cookie-cutter build and now I'll just add that it's not a cheap build either. You'll need very specific gear, so you'll need to twink and be reasonably wealthy.
    As mentioned before, we'll need to cast a skill level 40 Energy Shield. Which means we need to get a +20 to Energy Shield when we cast it. Further we need all the mana boosting we can get. And we need a reasonable amount of Damage Reduced by X and Magic Damage is Reduced by X. This limits our equipment selection a great deal, but luckily the mods we require often come together. This gives us pretty much the following equipment setup/options:
    • Armor: Options are Que-Hegan's Wisdom, Skin of the Vipermagi (13 MDR, resists irrelevant), Gladiator's Bane
    • Headgear: Harlequin Crest
    • Belt: Arachnid Mesh
    • Boots: Silkweave
    • Gloves: Frostburn, Magefist can be considered in some builds.
    • Rings: Stone of Jordan
    • Amulet: Any Amulet with needed +skills and mana/energy/damage reduction
    • Weapon: Memory runeword in a staff with +1-3 Energy Shield. The mods on Memory are very good for this build, but for specific builds the staff can be used as a pre-buff switch to cast Energy Shield at skill level 40. If a switch weapon is used, the right skills for the build are most important, along with mana and energy.
    • Shield: If a one-handed switch weapon is use, Lidless Wall is the shield of choice for it's +1 to skills, 10 Energy and 10% maximum mana.
    Note that with +6 Energy Shield and an overall +10 to +12 to (lightning)skills, we'll still need 2 to 4 Sparkling Grand Charms to reach skill level 40 Energy Shield. I never said that would be easy, now did I? On the bright side, you'll have a rather nice skill boost on any other skills you decide to use.





    Notes on play-style, things to watch out for and issues/bugs will follow later. Now I need sleep.
     
  2. bradley_turner

    bradley_turner IncGamers Member

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    i think that this is one of the coolest builds ever ;) after ladder reset on realms, if i decide to go back to the realms, i will definatlely consider this as my first or second build :p
     
  3. jrichard

    jrichard IncGamers Member

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    Zarhrezz,

    This is a nice read. I mostly just see people post of the cons to using energy shield (mostly that it comes into the damage equation before resists). A build that takes advantage of what is commonly considered a disadvantage is really interesting to see. I look forward to reading your notes on playstyle and issues. Thanks for posting this.

    jrichard
     
  4. Zarhrezz

    Zarhrezz IncGamers Member

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    Does anyone know how to format the skill allocation part in such a way that the numbers are lined up nicely in a column? I can't seem to find how to do that.
     
  5. wildjinn

    wildjinn IncGamers Member

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    Nice work! Since ES is indeed a much maligned skill, it's good to see this. Gogo Mephista! :) To make stuff line up, use the code tag. That should make a box in which an even-space font is used. (I forget the real term for it...:scratch: ) Another option would be to use Courier for the font of the numbers or format it as a numbered list.

    edit: what was your final gear on Mephista, Zarhrezz? I was thinking about ES and came up with this gear for PDR and MDR: String of Ears, 2x Dwarf Star, Iron Pelt (or Glad's Bane), max PDR amulet, Vampire Gaze, Gerke's Sanctuary--how close am I to your setup? :) I know you've got a SoJ in there...

    edit2: Duh. i'll look at her mat thread. :p
     
  6. lone_wolf

    lone_wolf Diablo: IncGamers Member

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    hum testing


    Code:
     
    level 1 
     
    level 2 
     
    level 3   
    
    something like that??
     
  7. nemar

    nemar IncGamers Member

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    I did look to this build (less +skill, I'm not rich) but how do you leveling ??? or if you prefer, how do you kill monsters ?

    and you don't say how many damage you can absorb ?
     
  8. Zarhrezz

    Zarhrezz IncGamers Member

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    I'll include Mephista's build and gear info later (I don't think I put it in the Mat thread since I was half asleep)! I'll also give the numbers on what she can take damagewise and what her damage ranges are.
     
  9. factotum

    factotum IncGamers Member

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    As I recall, Zarhrezz was using Frozen Orb and Chain Lightning. I assume the reasoning behind that is that you only have 40-odd skill points to spend on offensive skills, so Frozen Orb (requires no synergies to kill) is a good start, and Chain Lightning will be massively boosted by all those +skills to the Lightning tree.

    I've tried figuring out how you could use some other skill (say, Inferno or Enchant) and the numbers just don't add up in any reasonable way--there aren't enough skill points to go around to make such a build viable in Hell. Not to mention that a melee Enchantress will be killed by the first Mana Burn boss she encounters!
     
  10. nemar

    nemar IncGamers Member

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    I don't want to be a bad boy but chain lightning don't take sinergie from energie shield and not from telekinesis.

    right lot of +skill will always help , but if you pump defensive skill , you don't invest in offensive.
     
  11. Zarhrezz

    Zarhrezz IncGamers Member

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    I used Frozen Orb as main killer and Chain Lightning as Factotum correctly recalled =)
    End-game skills look like this:
    Frozen Orb 20 (33)
    Cold Mastery 1 (16)
    Armors 1 (14)
    Warmth 1 (12)
    Static 1 (17)
    Telekinesis 20 (34)
    Teleport 1 (15)
    Energy Shield 20 (40)
    Chain Lightning 20 (34)
    Thunderstorm 1 (15)
    Lightning Mastery 1 (15)

    Frozen Orb easilly has enough killing power for 3 player hell, even 4-5 shouldn't be a problem. As a backup skill, Chain Lightning without big synergies is fine. 11 hits for 3-1686 isn't too high, but it's sufficient. Combined with Static Field, it's quick enough to get by Cold Immunes.

    As for options on damage skills: I think FO 10, CM 1, Fireball 20, Fire Bolt 7, FM 1 should be doable (lvl 80 skill points), As should FO 20, Firewall 15. Another fun thing to try would be Warmth 20, Inferno 17, FO 1. Killing Fire Immunes would be very slow, but a jet of flames reaching out of your visual range, inflicting over 2600 fire damage per second at a laughable mana cost just holds some appeal.

    A no life, pure ES is not an option for a melee Enchantress whatsoever. And seeing has how Enchant needs 60 points to be really effective, Enchantress isn't something to consider when going for an ES build (however ES should definitely be considered by any Enchantress!).
     
  12. Uzziah

    Uzziah IncGamers Member

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    You could easily add a leaf (Tir Ral) runeword staff on the switch to add up to +6 to your fire skill of choice given the right staff. I have had a 1000+ damage firewall with no points placed in fire skills from one of these staffs.
     
  13. Joutaja

    Joutaja IncGamers Member

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    Really cool build and good guide. I'm anxiously waiting for the second part. :)
     
  14. Gruntmaster

    Gruntmaster IncGamers Member

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    Actually, Enchant does work nicely. As it gets 9% damage synergy from Warmth & Fire Mastery its adds up. The main down side is that the build doesn't max the necessary skills until level 90 or so.

    Mana Burn isn't a problem with a level 29 or so Warmth. Mana regenerates incedibly fast. 1 point in Static gets you pretty far, and some items with crushing blow help.
     
  15. factotum

    factotum IncGamers Member

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    And for fire immunes you use...?
     
  16. wildjinn

    wildjinn IncGamers Member

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    hm.

    Physical damage will take care of the FI's.
     

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