The Embermage Handbook

armisarmis Posts: 489
edited December 2015 in Embermage Discussions
Introduction

This is not another guide, and barring a few exceptions I'm not going to be making any qualitative judgement on any skills. What I aim to do here is to clarify how the skills work. For some of them, the tooltips tall you everything you need to know about what's going on behind the scenes. For most though, tooltips are woefully incomplete, and sometimes outright misleading. You could consider this thread a compilation of the deluxe versions of tooltips.

The information below is valid as of version 1.20.x.

For starters, I’m going to give a quick refresher on typical base skill mechanics that apply to Embermage skills. You can get more details here. These are all general comments, exceptions will be pointed out when applicable.

a) Focus boosts skill and elemental damage; Strength boosts weapon damage. They are additive (in fact, most damage bonuses are additive).
b) Skills that deal a percentage of weapon DPS as [element] benefit equally from Strength and Focus, except that Strength also increases your critical damage. All weapon damage types are converted to the skill’s element. To optimize those skills, you want a weapon with as high DPS as you can get, two socketables that increase base damage (ideally, Vellinques) and high attack speed bonuses.
c) Skills that deal flat elemental damage only benefit from Focus (though Str still affects crit damage, of course). To optimize those skills, your weapon DPS is mostly irrelevant. Desirable affixes are crit chance, crit damage, +% damage, stats and, in some instances, cast speed.
d) Most skills have a hidden variable that adjusts their crit chance: the actual crit chance is your base crit chance (found in Arcane Stats) multiplied by this factor. For weapon DPS skills, it’s usually the same percentage as the one your weapon DPS is multiplied by.
e) Critical hits of auto-attacks and weapon-based skills deal the maximum damage allowed by the weapon's damage range. Skills dealing flat damage don't follow this rule: crits are rolled in their normal damage range.
f) DoTs (including the generic Burn DoT from fire damage) scale with Focus and do not stack with themselves, but are refreshed when re-applied. They do not trigger Brands, do not build charge, and they cannot crit.
g) Skills dealing a percentage of weapon DPS transmit some weapon affixes like armor shred, knockback, etc. However, they don't transmit any life or mana-leeching properties.


Legend

- Base damage: the base damage before bonuses at skill rank 15, character level 100.
- Cast speed: does this skill benefit from increased cast speed?
- Charge: does this skill build charge?
- Crit chance adjustment (per projectile if applicable): the number you must multiply your normal crit chance by to get the real crit chance, per projectile or individual effect (IP pillars, PB blots, FW waves, etc.) of your skill. When it says "%DPS", it means it's the same amount as your weapon is multiplied by to determine skill damage (e.g. 51% for rank 15 Magma Spear).
- Cycle speed: the time separating two casts of the skill when spamming it (also at rank 15, character level 100)


Frost
  • Icy Blast
Base damage: 58% of weapon DPS as ice damage
Cast speed: no
Charge: yes
Crit chance adjustment (per projectile if applicable): %DPS
Cycle speed: 0.8s cooldown

This is a fairly straightforward skill. Each shard (5 at level 1, 7 at level 15) deals the listed percentage of weapon DPS, so at point blank it has the potential to deal quite a bit of damage. Shards bounce off walls and enemies. This skill applies Staff Mastery and Wand Chaos, and since it fires multiple projectiles it can proc them multiple times per cast. High chance to freeze and immobilize, and enemies hit have their damage reduced by 20% for 6 seconds at tier 1.
  • Hailstorm
Base damage: 2151-5378 ice damage
Cast speed: no
Charge: no
Crit chance adjustment (per projectile if applicable): 100%
Cycle speed: 1.1s cooldown

AoE ice blastage. Actually pretty powerful even as a single-target spell. The best part about that skill is the debuff, as it is one of very few multiplicative damage buffs. The chances to stun and freeze also end up very good (though not so much at earlier levels). The skill will determine whether it crits or not for each target individually. Hailstorm ignores line of sight and can hit enemies above, below, or behind walls. It can even hit enemies you don't see yet.
  • Frost Phase
Base damage: 1108-1582 ice damage
Cast speed: no
Charge: no
Crit chance adjustment (per projectile if applicable): 50%
Cycle speed: 0.7s, cooldown

Used more often as a mobility skill than as a damage dealer as it is very bad at the latter (though it hits once where you teleport from, and once where you teleport to, so your damage is essentially doubled if you teleport in place). 0.7 second cooldown, knockback and chance to freeze.
  • Elemental Boon
The damage buff is mostly irrelevant due to its additive nature, but the damage resistance can come in very handy.
  • Frost Wave
Base damage: 2215-4429 ice damage per wave; 8862 ice damage over 7 seconds
Cast speed: yes
Charge: yes
Crit chance adjustment (per projectile if applicable): 100%
Cycle speed: 0.9s

Very powerful skill up close. It fires 1 (3 at level 5, 5 at level 15) projectiles in a fixed spread, that bounce on walls and pierce targets. A significant part of its damage comes from the DoT; multiple castings of the skill only refresh the DoT. High chance to freeze.
  • Ice Prison
Base damage: 2373 ice damage per pillar (when shattering), 4545-7910 ice damage over 5 seconds, 45% reflect damage
Cast speed: no
Charge: no
Crit chance adjustment (per projectile if applicable): 75%, see below
Cycle speed: 2s, cooldown

Ice Prison creates 10 pillars of ice around the target. Its primary displayed purpose is to imprison the target inside (or keep everyone else outside ;)) but I haven’t been able to determine exactly the HP of each pillar – they look fairly weak to me, but that’s about as much as I can say.

Ice Prison also inflicts a DoT starting at Tier 2. While shatter damage is applied to all targets near a pillar, even those outside the prison, the DoT is only applied within the prison.

Finally, starting at tier 1, the pillars deal damage to nearby targets when they shatter. The base damage at level 15 is 2373 ice damage per pillar. This actually makes it one of the most powerful (if not the most) single-target nukes in an Embermage's arsenal, be it on a damage per hit basis or even DPS basis at rank 15. I've topped 2 million damage in a single hit to the town dummy with this. However, as the AoE is small, enemies outside the prison will take rapidly diminishing amounts of damage.
  • Astral Ally
Base damage: 3148-4722 physical damage, but see below
Cast speed: no
Charge: no
Crit chance adjustment (per projectile if applicable): negligible crit chance, see below
Cycle speed: 32s, cooldown

Astral Ally summons the image of another Embermage. The summon is considered a minion, and is affected by gear that boosts them. It lasts 50 seconds at level 15. It has 4 random attacks that all appear to deal physical damage despide mentions to the contrary in the game files (so take it with a grain of salt):
- staff auto-attack (it always has a staff) dealing 3148-4722 damage per hit with an approximately 1.5s cycle speed. It deals 50% damage to secondary targets.
- magma spear: 313-469 per hit (approx. 0.4s cycle speed)
- icy blast: also 313-469 per shard, 1.4s cooldown
- prismatic bolt: 650-975 per bolt (approx. 0.8s cycle speed)
Those damage values above are modified by the listed damage bonus (+56% at rank 15), which adds to any other pet damage bonus you have. Its damage does NOT scale with your weapon DPS, Strength or Focus. The only way to increase it is pet-boosting gear.

The Ally's crit chance seems to be 5%, possibly with an adjustment depending on the skill it uses. Regardless, it's not dependent on your crit chance at all, and it is very low. Furthermore, it seems to have 0% bonus crit damage, since crits deal the exact same damage as normal hits. In other words, for all intents and purposes, the Ally cannot crit.

I'm not entirely sure what its HP or armor are exactly but the Ally is not terribly durable. In Elite, AA rank 15 and level 100 character, I've estimated its armors at around 4700 each and its HP at about 108k; it doesn't seem to have any resistances worth noting. It died from about 15 hits from normal mobs of Act I, NG4+.

A quick commentary, since AA isn't discussed often: even if you build towards it with like +300% total pet damage, your AA puts out a maximum of like 50k-ish DPS. Any properly build Embermage will put out numbers well in excess of 200k DPS by himself (I'm including brands in that figure though) - an optimized Embermage could go up to 600-700k DPS (a full focus triple-brand PB mage would get you there, for instance). AA is weaksauce, and its survivability doesn't make it a worthwhile damage sponge either. Avoid this skill.
  • Passive: Staff Mastery
This passive only works with a staff equipped and auto-attacks or one of the listed skills. The debuff stacks, which means that at rank 15 you can strip all armor from a target in 3 hits.
  • Passive: Frozen Fate
As tooltip. The skill has no cooldown.
  • Passive: Ice Brand
Base damage: 2215-6634 ice damage
Cast speed: N/A
Charge: no
Crit chance adjustment (per projectile if applicable): 70%
Cycle speed: 1s cooldown

This passive adds damage to your attacks when the target is frozen. It works with pretty much any auto-attack or skill, but doesn't proc off DoTs, and the skill can only proc once per second. When there are multiple frozen targets in range of the same attack, the proc only happens on one of them, though I haven't been able to determine how it's picked. It's not always the closest one, nor always the weakest one, so I presume it must be picked at random.


Inferno
  • Magma Spear
Base damage: 51% of weapon DPS as fire, 19362 fire damage over 6 seconds.
Cast speed: no
Charge: yes
Crit chance adjustment (per projectile if applicable): %DPS
Cycle speed: a spear is fired every 0.33s; channeled spell.

Magma Spear is the first spell in the Fire tree, and the skill every Embermage starts with. You can respec it as soon as you get to the Enclave, by the way. It's a channeled spell that fires a stream of piercing fire bolts. They deal a percentage of weapon DPS, and have a chance to inflict a fire DoT (100% chance at high ranks). This DoT is distinct from the Burn effect, which MS can also inflict (like any other fire effect). The DoT actually deals a LOT of damage and scales with focus and other damage boosts. At tier 3, projectiles bounce off walls, like Icy Blast or Frost Wave. The skill has a respectable 16-metre range at rank 1, but it increases by an additional 50% at tier 1. The skill procs Staff Mastery and Wand Chaos.
  • Magma Mace
Base damage: 92% of weapon DPS as fire, 7404 fire damage over 6 seconds.
Cast speed: yes
Charge: no
Crit chance adjustment (per projectile if applicable): %DPS
Cycle speed: 0.9s

Magma Mace is a melee-range spell with a frontal AoE, deals a percentage of your weapon DPS, and inflicts a DoT. Very good chance to stun; tiers add chance to break shields and slow enemy attacks. It also has a weak undocumented knockback effect. It is the only skill in the Embermage arsenal that conveys health and mana steal (on a fixed or percentage basis, and affecting every target hit), and does so from rank 1. The skill procs Staff Mastery and Wand Chaos.
  • Firebombs
Base damage: 3226-6453 fire damage over 3.4 seconds, reapplied as long as they stand in the burning pool (which lasts 6 seconds at tier 3)
Cast speed: no
Charge: no
Crit chance adjustment (per projectile if applicable): N/A
Cycle speed: 0.8s, cooldown

Firebombs create a weak DoT on the ground with a small area that burns for an increasing amount of time as you tier up. It also slows enemies in the affected area so that they burn longer, and has a 15% change of making the enemies flee. As the skill only causes a DoT, it never crits.
  • Blazing Pillar
Base damage: 2373-5378 fire damage, 70% chance to Burn (around 5550 base fire damage over 7 seconds)
Cast speed: no
Charge: yes (+50%)
Crit chance adjustment (per projectile if applicable): 100%
Cycle speed: 5.5s, cooldown

BP creates a number (7 at tier 3) of homing pillars of fire that spread out from your position. They deal solid damage and last about 5 seconds (there seems to be a random element to the duration, which I've seen last from 4 to 6 seconds), dealing damage to every target they hit - possibly multiple times to the same target if a pillar circles around back to it. The skill deals 1.5 times the normal charge amount.
  • Infernal Collapse
Base damage: 5694-12906 fire damage
Cast speed: no
Charge: yes
Crit chance adjustment (per projectile if applicable): 100%
Cycle speed: 1.1s, cooldown

IC is pretty straightforward, tooltip says it all. It is a high-damage AoE blast with good knockback. The blast happens 1.2 seconds after cast (this delay improves if you have bonuses to your cast speed).
  • Immolation Aura
Base damage: 1519 fire damage over 1 second, applied every 0.5 seconds within 3 metres for 58 seconds.
Cast speed: no
Charge: no
Crit chance adjustment (per projectile if applicable): N/A, DoT
Cycle speed: 1s, cooldown.

Lasts 58 seconds at rank 15. People usually take IA for the damage reduction rather than the weak, 3 metre-range DoT.
  • Firestorm
Base damage: 7212-9114 fire damage over 6 seconds; splinters deal 633-949 fire damage
Cast speed: no
Charge: no
Crit chance adjustment (per projectile if applicable): N/A, DoT
Cycle speed: 1.1s, cooldown

Firestorm is the Hailstorm of the Inferno tree. It deals fairly good damage and debuffs enemies for them to take extra fire damage - a debuff that is also multiplicative, like Hailstorm's. In addition, affected enemies desl 30% less fire damage for 6 seconds at tier 1. Enemies killed by the skill emit 3 burning splinters (similar in appearance to the Engineer's Flame Hammer splinters), which are short-ranged piercing projectiles that deal 633-949 base fire damage and have a 30% crit chance adjustment. If a group of enemies dies together, only one spawns the splinters, so there may be some hidden cooldown (of 1 second or less) at play. Like Hailstorm, Firestorm ignores line of sight.
  • Passive: Charge Mastery
Self-explanatory.
  • Passive: Elemental Attunement
Lot of confusion around this one. It's been clarified many times on the forums already, but here it is again: the passive gives you a chance to apply one of the listed conditions to all enemies close enough to you, once per second. In addition, and completely unrelated to this, the passive extends the duration of the listed conditions by the listed number of seconds.
  • Passive: Fire Brand
Like Ice Brand, except with fire.


Storm
  • Prismatic Bolt
Base damage: 379.56 fire, ice, electricity and poison damage per bolt
Cast speed: yes
Charge: yes (+50%)
Crit chance adjustment (per projectile if applicable): 8%, see below
Cycle speed: 0.6s

Everybody knows the skill, but its actual mechanics aren't well understood. Each cast fires 5 homing, non-piercing projectiles dealing damage of all four elemental types. Each tier increases the base damage by 10% - these increases are included in the tooltip number already.

The game treats each elemental component as its own attack, which means they're resisted separately and that they all crit independently. In other words, for each bolt, each of the 4 elemental damage components has their own independent chance of critting. That's why if you look closely at the numbers, you'll see a bolt register a crit, but it won't deal the bonus damage you expect: in all likelyhood, what's actually happening is that only one (or two, or three) of the damage components critted. In practical terms, this means that Prismatic Bolt benefits less from critical hit chance and critical damage than you think. In fact, it is the only skill in the Embermage arsenal where it's strictly better to put everything in Focus and dump all the other stats (whereas skills usually benefit, to an extent, from sacrificing some Foc for some Str and Dex for crit % and crit damage).

If the target is, say, frozen and hit by multiple bolts, Ice Brand will only be triggered once - however, if you have all 3 brands and the target is under all 3 conditions, it can be hit by all 3 brands (but still only once per second per brand).
  • Shocking Burst
Base damage: 34% of weapon DPS as electric damage; 633-2278 electric damage over 1 second
Cast speed: yes, but caps at 0.1s (around +32% cast speed)
Charge: no
Crit chance adjustment (per projectile if applicable): 40%
Cycle speed: 0.132s

While fairly straightforward otherwise, it is worth noting that despite being a channeled AoE effect, Shocking Burst does benefit from increased cast speed. (credit to Zikos for the discovery). In addition, its actual range is less than the 8m listed in the tooltip: while reaching a bit farther than the skill's visual, its actual range is more along the lines of 5 metres. It carries a low-ish chance to stun but since it fires so quickly it is still very effective.
  • Thunder Locus
Base damage: 3543-5631 electric damage
Cast speed: no
Charge: no
Crit chance adjustment (per projectile if applicable): 100%
Cycle speed: 10s (cooldown)

The skill creates a node that lasts for 42 seconds at rank 15, and fires bolts of electricity to nearby targets. It fires once every 1.5 seconds to one or more (as you tier up - up to 4 simultaneously) targets within 7 metres. While similar to a summon, the skill scales with focus and isn't considered a pet. Its damage behaves strangely as you rank up, as it actually goes down between rank 4 and rank 5, and between rank 9 and 10 (at which points you gain additional targets the Locus can simultaneously fire at, so that overall you're still coming ahead), but not between rank 14 and 15.
  • Arc Beam
Base damage: 24% of weapon DPS, 317-633 electric damage
Cast speed: yes
Charge: no
Crit chance adjustment (per projectile if applicable): %DPS; 20% for the flat electric damage component
Cycle speed: 0.2s

Like Shocking Burst and despite being a channeled spell, Arc Beam benefits from increased cast speed. Arc Beam's range also increases as levels increase (from 8 to 15m), and the beam pierces through enemies. Arc Beam is the only spell in the Embermage arsenal that deals a non-elemental percentage of weapon DPS, which means that this component doesn't fully benefit from Focus (unless your weapon does only elemental damage, which it might considering you need a wand or staff equipped to cast the skill). When a target is killed by Arc Beam, it casts up to 5 secondary beams (6m range) dealing 68% of weapon DPS as electric damage at level 15, with a crit chance adjustment of %DPS. Secondary beams don't have the additional flat damage, nor do they have the weak knockback effect of the main beam. Edit: weirdly, it seems that Arc Beam alternates using your left and right-hand weapons (unlike all other spells) - which IMO only makes it worse (thanks Baron for the spot).
  • Death's Bounty
DB is a self-explanatory support spell.
  • Shockbolts
Base damage: 53% of weapon DPS as electric damage (currently bugged as of v1.20; deals % of weapon DPS at level 1, then % of weapon damage from there on - credit to mammothhunter for the find)
Cast speed: yes
Charge: yes (+50%)
Crit chance adjustment (per projectile if applicable): %DPS
Cycle speed: 0.55s

There's not much trickery that I could see going on with this spell. It fires 4 (5 at tier 3) projectiles that pierce enemies and bounce on walls. This skill applies Staff Mastery and Wand Chaos, and since it fires multiple projectiles it can proc them multiple times per cast. Bolts also have a small chance to immobilize enemies.
  • Shocking Orb
Base damage: 96% of weapon damage as electric damage
Cast speed: no
Charge: yes (+50%)
Crit chance adjustment (per projectile if applicable): %damage
Cycle speed: 0.8s, cooldown

This skill fires one (3 at tier 1) slow-moving **** that zap enemies as they fly by them. They fire once every 0.7 or 0.75 seconds at a random target within 4.5 metres (7 at tier 3), and can zap the same target multiple times as long as it stays within range. The **** last about 6 seconds.

This skill is rather unique in that it uses weapon damage, not weapon DPS: in other words, it's unaffected by weapon speed. This can be a good thing, as with slow, hard-hitting two-handers, but in the end-game probably more of a bad thing as you can't stack attack speed mods to boost your damage. The Outlander skills that worked like that got patched a few weeks back, so who knows if Shocking Orb will stay that way. (thanks to mammothhunter)
  • Passive: Prismatic Rift
Prismatic Rift teleport away enemies that hit you in melee (after the hit lands), stuns them for 2 seconds, and has a chance of inflicting one of the four elemental conditions (15% chance each). It can only proc once per second. In addition, it seems to add a cumulative Teleport Resistance effect to each target it affects, so that after a few times they can't be affected by the Rift anymore.
  • Passive: Wand Chaos
This one's a treat. Whenever you auto-attack with a wand, or use one of the listed skills with a wand equipped you have a chance to inflict "A Bizarre Effect". This is actually a long list of effects which I'm going to lift straight from kelwinwan:
kelvinwan wrote:
  • Acid Rain
    100% chance to inflict poison, damage over time (8 seconds)
  • Blinding Cloud
    50% chance to silence (6 seconds), 100% chance to blind (6 seconds)
  • Chaotic Rift
    100% chance to teleport and stun (2 seconds), 15% chance to inflict burn/freeze/shock/poison (7 seconds)
  • Fire Storm
    100% chance to inflict burn, damage over time, 67% chance to flee (5 seconds)
  • Glacial Spike
    Ice damage, 100% chance immobilize (4 seconds)
  • Meteor Strike
    Fire damage, 150 knockback
  • Raise Shadowling
    100% chance to summon Shadowbat on hit (20 seconds)
  • Scalding Geyser
    100% chance to bleed (4 seconds), 100% chance to inflict silence (4 seconds), movement speed reduced by 33% (currently bugged to increase movement speed)
  • Thunder
    Electric damage, 100% chance to shock (5 seconds)
  • Passive: Lightning Brand
Like Ice Brand, only with lightning.


Weapon affixes and skills

There's a lot of confusion around which skill applies which weapon affix. Like I said above, skills based on weapon DPS transmit some effects, but not all of them. Let me refine that a bit.

1) Skills that are NOT based on weapon DPS do not transmit any active effect (i.e. DoTs, % chance to cast spells, armor debuffs, etc.).
2) Skills based on weapon DPS may transmit some, but it depends on the effect and on the skill. Here are those I've tested:
weaponFXtable.jpg

Explanations:
- I say "physical DoTs" but I'm not aware from any other type of DoT on weapons or socketables
- I tested % chance to cast X with the 15% chance to cast Acid Rain on hit from Twitch of the Death Nerve, and I'm assuming it carries over to all other spells, but not to % chance to cast X on kill as they seem to proc from any skill (cheers caliburexscythe)
- Health/mana leech includes both fixed amounts and percentage amounts
- I assume skills that transmit % chance to flee will also transmit % chance to shock/ stun/ slow/ etc., but I haven't tested it.

On stacking:

Like I said above, DoTs from Embermage skills never stack with themselves: you can cast Magma Spear as many times as you like, but the target isn't going to get more damage per second (however, the duration will be refreshed each time). Do note that the number in the icon that tells you how much damage the target is taking does change for some skills, as some DoTs have a damage range and a new application can roll a different number in that range. DoTs from Embermage skills scale with focus and the appropriate +% damage modifiers.

DoTs from weapons (as a native affix, not as a socket - enchantments not tested at this time) DO stack with themselves. Two hits from Endgame will result in the target taking twice the damage over time, with the game keeping track of each duration separately (the icon will only show the longest time remaining). In addition, those DoTs scale with your character's Focus, but not his strength (even though technically they're physical damage - go figure). In other words, they can be a source of massive damage if you have a fast-attacking weapon or a fast-casting skill, and lots of Focus.

DoTs from socketables stack with themselves too, both from multiple weapon hits or from having multiple socketables in one weapon. However, they don't scale with Focus (nor Strength), so their damage ends up rather piddly. Not worth the socket IMO.

Also, as a miscellaneous bit of information: DoTs don't build charge, whether from a skill, weapon or socketable.

Armor debuffs from weapons or socketables do stack with themselves too. More interestingly, the "% chance to flee" debuff (which I assume works like other "chance to inflict X" affixes) seems to stack too, though I have no idea how that works: if you hit the dummy with a "10% chance to flee" weapon, once every few hits it'll get a little icon that says "10% chance to flee". If it gets that effect applied again, the icon will be upgraded to 20%, then 30, etc. At face value it's like you have a chance to inflict a debuff that has a chance to cause the target to flee; my guess is that the game is just acting up a bit and the 20/30/40% chances just mean the "fleeing" debuff was applied while it was still active from a previous hit.


Conclusion

Well, that took a while to test and compile. Hopefully we've all learned something interesting, and hopefully the game hasn't been out long enough that everyone's way past caring about these things. Even more hopefully, this'll clear some of the recurring questions of the forums.
Have a question about game mechanics? Start here.
Everything you ever wanted to know about Embermage skills.
Wondering if you should pick Flame Hammer or Emberquake? This is for you.
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Comments

  • ****, this is awesome. Thanks for doing all this. :D
  • Bookmarked! i love this so much
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  • HimuraHimura Posts: 28
    Sir. I logged in so I could tell you how awesome your thread is. Keep up the good work. Can you also create:

    The Outlander Handbook
    The Enginner Handbook
    The Berserker Handbook
    How to Oppa Gangnam while playing TL2

    Thanks,
    Himura
  • Does skill use %Weapon DPS benefit twice from Focus if weapon deals elemental damage (such as wand) :
    - Focus will boost weapon elemental damage and hence boost weapon DPS
    - Focus will boost skill damage

    So twice the benefit ?
  • DeviusDevius Posts: 11
    Is there any reason whatsoever to use %weapon dps skills as Embermage? The strongest weapon can have 2000 DPS theoretically speaking, but that would be physical damage, and I can't see how this can be better that flat DPS skills at lvl 100 (esp. ones like Infernal Collapse).
  • armisarmis Posts: 489
    Jesus H. Christ, it's weapon damage, not DPS on Shocking Orb. How did I miss that? Thanks for the save mammothhunter, got that from your thread. :)
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    Everything you ever wanted to know about Embermage skills.
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  • armisarmis Posts: 489
    Nah, just plain missed it; all the other sklls are DPS-based, I didn't pay attention. ;)

    Edited OP to make things right. Dammit, I hoped I'd get through this one without an edit!
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  • just wondering about the charge for mages... when your charge is full, you will get infinite mana and a damage boost? i am new to mages (i only have a mid lvl outlander)
  • VorodarVorodar Posts: 691
    Fairlance wrote:
    just wondering about the charge for mages... when your charge is full, you will get infinite mana and a damage boost? i am new to mages (i only have a mid lvl outlander)

    Yes, that's how it works - when the charge powers up, you get 25% increase in damage and 0 cost spells.
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  • ChthonChthon Posts: 1,855
    1. AMAZING POST.

    2. Question: What's the interval between hits when a Blazing Pillar is sitting on the same target?

    3. Question: I want to make sure I understand what's going on with DoTs, since it seems quite the opposite of what everyone was discussing back during the beta. Please check to see if I'm correctly restating what you've said:
    Situation 1: I hit something with Magma Spear, so it gets hit with the weapon-DPS-derived component and a 6-sec DoT starts. I continue to hit it over and over again with Magma Spear. Each subsequent hit deals the weapon-DPS-derived component and resets the timer on the DoT, but does NOT increase the damage per second from the DoT component.
    Situation 2: I hit something with Magma Spear, so it gets hit with the weapon-DPS-derived component and a 6-sec DoT starts. I do something else for a bit, then hit it again exactly 6 seconds later, refreshing the DoT just as it expires. And I repeat this technique, hitting the monster every 6 seconds. The overall damage output from the DoT component is exactly the same as in Situation 1; the only difference is the number of times the weapon-DPS-derived component hits.
    Is that correct?
    Does that apply to ALL DoTs in the game? I'm specifically thinking of all those Berserkers using DoT socketables in the fastest claws they can find (and Outlanders doing the same with Rapid Fire/Chaos Bolt).

    4. Any insights about where the inflection points for various skills are located for when the marginal gains from Strength/Dexterity overtake those from Focus?

    5. I too would love to see a thread like this for the other three classes. (We've sort of already got an Engineer one in the form of the Emberquake and FlameHammer threads.)
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  • armisarmis Posts: 489
    Chthon wrote:
    2. Question: What's the interval between hits when a Blazing Pillar is sitting on the same target?
    As far as I was able to tell, a pillar doesn't reapply damage while sitting on the same target; it can only damage it again if it moves on to another target then circles back. I've never seen one isolated pillar damage the town dummy twice.
    3. Question: I want to make sure I understand what's going on with DoTs, since it seems quite the opposite of what everyone was discussing back during the beta. Please check to see if I'm correctly restating what you've said:
    Situation 1: I hit something with Magma Spear, so it gets hit with the weapon-DPS-derived component and a 6-sec DoT starts. I continue to hit it over and over again with Magma Spear. Each subsequent hit deals the weapon-DPS-derived component and resets the timer on the DoT, but does NOT increase the damage per second from the DoT component.
    Situation 2: I hit something with Magma Spear, so it gets hit with the weapon-DPS-derived component and a 6-sec DoT starts. I do something else for a bit, then hit it again exactly 6 seconds later, refreshing the DoT just as it expires. And I repeat this technique, hitting the monster every 6 seconds. The overall damage output from the DoT component is exactly the same as in Situation 1; the only difference is the number of times the weapon-DPS-derived component hits.
    Is that correct?
    For the Embermage skill DoTs that I've tested (which should be all of them unless I screwed up somewhere), yes.
    Does that apply to ALL DoTs in the game? I'm specifically thinking of all those Berserkers using DoT socketables in the fastest claws they can find (and Outlanders doing the same with Rapid Fire/Chaos Bolt).
    Honestly I haven't tested those, so I can't say for sure. I've never seed a DoT stack myself, but I don't have a Berserker and my Outlander is still in his teens. Staff Mastery does stack with itself so the mechanic exists, of course. I think I've read somewhere that when you stack identical socketables, they basically apply one super-DoT that's the result of the individual ones you've stacked. Take it with a big grain of salt though, you'd probably be better served checking it out yourself.
    4. Any insights about where the inflection points for various skills are located for when the marginal gains from Strength/Dexterity overtake those from Focus?
    I've never worked out the actual partial derivatives and what-not, but I've got a pretty comprehensive spreadsheet that graphs everything out for me (kind of like beastmodeengaged's EQ/FH sheet, but for all EM skills). However, it uses crit chance as one of the inputs. The results (the optimal Str/Foc weight) vary a lot depending on the skill, the crit chance, the total points you have to allocate, and your gear, so I'm afraid I can't make any specific claims. If you have particular scenarios to explore, I'm happy to run them and tell you what comes out.

    A few things though: %DPS skills usually achieve their max damage with enough Strength to cap crit bonus, and the rest of your available points in Focus (especially for MS and its DoT; for other spells that don't have that extra component, you can actually max out Str completely if you like, it just won't provide any further benefit over Focus beyond the crit bonus cap). For skills with flat elemental damage, the optimal point is always below or equal to that Strength value above (the one that caps crit bonus), depending on how much crit chance you have. PB is an exception: if you want the absolute max damage, you should dump everything in Focus (leaving Brands aside).
    5. I too would love to see a thread like this for the other three classes. (We've sort of already got an Engineer one in the form of the Emberquake and FlameHammer threads.)
    It took me a week to check everything I needed to test and go through all the skill and affix files and compile the post with a modicum of confidence that I got everything right (and even then, I missed an important detail about Shocking Orb - figures!), and I'm honestly not really in a hurry to go through that again. I might do Engineer, since I already did a lot of exploratory work for the EQ/FH debate and other assorted details, but don't hold your breath :).
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  • I'm using prismatic bolt for the most part, but was wondering (apologies if I read over it here or elsewhere), but if I have an enchantment on a belt that says " +7% wand and staff damage bonus", does this apply to prismatic bolt as well?

    From my understanding it does not, but I'm hoping someone can confirm.
    I'm using a staff currently and think I should move over to wand + shield perhaps.

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  • armisarmis Posts: 489
    Interesting, but the dummy has a very weird behaviour re: DoTs. It's got some kind of massive resistance or armor against them, for some reason. Just to be sure I'll try to test it tomorrow against random mobs in casual NG+X, their armor should be low enough.
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  • ChthonChthon Posts: 1,855
    So... the DoT mechanics are inconsistent. Some of them stack and some of them don't and we'll need to test all of them to figure it which is which. Just great...

    ---

    Back on the topic of Embermages (although I guess this is also a broadly applicable issue): Weapon DPS skills versus fixed scales-with-level damage skills -- Do even the best weapons make the weapon DPS skills compete with the fixed damage skills?

    ---

    Prismatic Bolt: OK, each of the damage types gets a separate packet. Now, does each one get reduced by the full amount of the monster's armor, or do we get pro-rated armor like a multi-type weapon does?

    ----

    Shocking Orb: What's the lifetime of the orb once fired?

    ----

    Ice Prison: If memory serves, recasting destroys the current prison and causes shatter damage from it. Is that correct? And does it work with the 2sec cooldown version at rank 15? That sounds quite potent.

    Ice prison again: How does the thorns effect work with overkill? E.g., a pillar has only 15 hp left and takes a hit that deals 10k damage -- Does it reflect the full 4.5k?

    Ice prison again (and thorns in general): Is the reflection calculated before or after armor (and DR%)? Is reflected damage subject to armor?

    Cycle speed/cooldown: For skills with cooldown, is it [cycle_speed = cooldown] or [cycle_speed = cast_time + cooldown]? I.e., does the cooldown start at the beginning or the end of the cast?
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  • VorodarVorodar Posts: 691
    krikkeljan wrote:
    I'm using prismatic bolt for the most part, but was wondering (apologies if I read over it here or elsewhere), but if I have an enchantment on a belt that says " +7% wand and staff damage bonus", does this apply to prismatic bolt as well?

    From my understanding it does not, but I'm hoping someone can confirm.
    I'm using a staff currently and think I should move over to wand + shield perhaps.

    The only times I die these days are if I miss a boobytrap bomb here and there during large fight :)

    No, that enchantment won't work. It's only applying weapon damage, it's the same as getting +20% (say) damage to swords. It's only useful for DPS based skills, even then not as much.
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  • armisarmis Posts: 489
    Chthon wrote:
    Back on the topic of Embermages (although I guess this is also a broadly applicable issue): Weapon DPS skills versus fixed scales-with-level damage skills -- Do even the best weapons make the weapon DPS skills compete with the fixed damage skills?
    Some. Shockbolts and Icy Blast scale well if you can get all projectiles to hit. Shocking Orb does very well with the right weapon, especially considering you can layer it (you can have orbs from different castings hit the same target since they move slowly). Frost Wave at point blank will probably always remain on top even without really gearing for it, but you can get pretty good results with %DPS skills. For instance:

    40% crit chance, +50% bonus crit damage, +10% cast speed, +30% attack speed, +15% all damage, 2000-point stat attribution between Str and Foc, equipped with a Wizard of Gore socketed with 2 Vellinques. This is single-target DPS assuming every projectile hits.

    EMexample.jpg
    (I still haven't got around to modeling Arc Beam and Thunder Locus in there)
    Prismatic Bolt: OK, each of the damage types gets a separate packet. Now, does each one get reduced by the full amount of the monster's armor, or do we get pro-rated armor like a multi-type weapon does?
    Didn't know multi-weapon types got pro-rated actually, so you're ahead of me there. I can't say for sure but given the damage numbers PB puts out in practice, I'd say it may well be getting the prorata treatment.
    Shocking Orb: What's the lifetime of the orb once fired?
    About 6 seconds, like I said. Interestingly durations and hp (for the Ally or the ice pillars) don't seem to appear in the .dat files. Maybe I should try to look in the layout files...
    Ice Prison: If memory serves, recasting destroys the current prison and causes shatter damage from it. Is that correct? And does it work with the 2sec cooldown version at rank 15? That sounds quite potent.
    Oh yes. That's how I kill champions and bosses since I hit level 100 (for reference, Elite NG4+ Netherlord, second form, lasted 8 seconds total).
    Ice prison again: How does the thorns effect work with overkill? E.g., a pillar has only 15 hp left and takes a hit that deals 10k damage -- Does it reflect the full 4.5k?

    Ice prison again (and thorns in general): Is the reflection calculated before or after armor (and DR%)? Is reflected damage subject to armor?
    No idea for those.
    Cycle speed/cooldown: For skills with cooldown, is it [cycle_speed = cooldown] or [cycle_speed = cast_time + cooldown]? I.e., does the cooldown start at the beginning or the end of the cast?
    The cooldown starts at the beginning of the cast, so cycle speed = cooldown. If you have +% to cast speed, you'll often reduce the windup time (so that the spell will come out quicker after casting it, such as Infernal Collapse's delayed blast) but the total time between two damage events will remain exactly the same.
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  • peti29peti29 Posts: 122
    Very nice summary!

    You could explain Death's Bounty a bit more. It's certainly more than a "self-explanatory support spell". It can keep you at max mana, it can heal you faster than potions, it can heal your allies, it can even proc from some destructable objects (like the boulder-prison of that rock monster). On higher tiers it has 100% chance to slow (if I remember right).

    As for stacking DoTs. It's interesting, I always see on the dummy as if the DoT from Magma Spear did in fact stack (hovering the mouse pointer over the status icon while keeping the button down to continue shooting).
  • armisarmis Posts: 489
    I tested the DoTs and a number of things about weapon affixes and how they interact with EM skills. Still sort of incomplete but already a few very interesting finds. I edited it in towards the end of the OP.
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  • ChthonChthon Posts: 1,855
    1. That chart is amazing.

    2. You can get elemental DoT on a weapon from enchanters.

    3. Re: Spell-casting on weapons/socketables: There's several different trigger types: "from target" and "on strike" being the most common. The folks over in berserkerland have figured out that "from target" triggers from the left hand weapon when the right hand is hitting -- or from a skill using weapon damage -- whilst "on strike" does not. I'd assume the same pattern obtains for embermage skills.
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  • Vorodar wrote:
    No, that enchantment won't work. It's only applying weapon damage, it's the same as getting +20% (say) damage to swords. It's only useful for DPS based skills, even then not as much.

    Thanks for clearing that up for me. I suppose the same applies to non-enchantments bonuses.
    Need to rework my build a bit.. have a lot of staff/wand bonuses that I guess are useless. :)
  • BrendlBrendl Posts: 14
    Any chance on breaking down stats distribution, obviously Focus is the main goal but what of the others.
    Particualy vitality and dexterity. In regards to vitality I've heard sum people say its essential for survival while others say the HP bonus isnt enuff to make it worthwhile. And what about putting points into Dex, how much is a good idea for crits and such?
  • ChthonChthon Posts: 1,855
    Brendl wrote:
    Any chance on breaking down stats distribution, obviously Focus is the main goal but what of the others.
    Particualy vitality and dexterity. In regards to vitality I've heard sum people say its essential for survival while others say the HP bonus isnt enuff to make it worthwhile. And what about putting points into Dex, how much is a good idea for crits and such?

    Just posted this in a different thread. Think it mostly answers your question.
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  • BrendlBrendl Posts: 14
    Interesting. And what sort of ratio breakdown would you say is perferable?
  • BrendlBrendl Posts: 14
    And if I choose not to use a shield, is it still a good idea to put ~100 points into vitality?
  • - I tested % chance to cast X with the 15% chance to cast Acid Rain on hit from Twitch of the Death Nerve, and I'm assuming it carries over to all other spells, and to % chance to cast X on kill as well

    I could see the logic in this assumption, but I don't believe it to be true. "X% chance to cast x on kill" could be proced from every skill, the said enemy just need to be killed. I first noticed this when skulls kept appearing in a "5% chance to cast Call Forth the Skull on kill" map via Mapworks. The thing was, I only use Frostwave and Hailstorm as my only means of attack. I needed confirmation, so I made a dupe character (via Rapid Respec) and did some testing.

    This was done by killing weak enemies with non-procing spells with two Bedima Augur Wands (4 slots, no affix), fully loaded with Kelton's Rocks. Hailstorm, Immolation aura, and Frostwave were the spells chosen, with auto-attack being the control. All mods, and equipment were removed during testing for the sake of purity. Since I was also testing something that affected hp gain (Full heal), I also removed any heal spells I had, as well as any heal spells my pet equipped.

    The "on kill" affixes attached to Kelton's Rock (both Meteor and Full heal) had proced during testing, by killing with auto-attack and mentioned spells. Since Hailstorm, Immolation Aura, and Frostwave were known to not proc anything attached to a weapon, proves "x% chance to cast x on kill" affixes have no other requirement apart from slaying an enemy.
  • VorodarVorodar Posts: 691
    Brendl wrote:
    And if I choose not to use a shield, is it still a good idea to put ~100 points into vitality?

    I wouldn't say so. It will not boost your survivability by that much - 100 Vitality (even though you start with some, 100 is easier to calculate) is only 360 HP and some armour. The former you can easily get from equipment, the latter is obsolete with damage reduction.
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  • armisarmis Posts: 489
    {stuff}
    Hey thanks! That's what I get for making assumptions. In fact now that you mention it, I should have known: I've had the same blue "5% chance to Fully Heal on kill" amulet for like 75 levels, and it was definitely proccing from all skills! (in fact, it even procced from walking on critters)

    I'll try to edit my posts asap, but I'm kind of away from everything and those huge posts are a pain to navigate on a phone, so it might take a day or so :).
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  • How did you calculate the cycle of skills :?:
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  • armisarmis Posts: 489
    I just spammed them a few dozen times and then looked in the combat log how long it took to cast them all. Then I just divided one by the other. :)

    Sometimes you can find the cycle speed from game files but I think a lot of times it's in the layout files, and I can't make sense of them.
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  • pl4tpl4t Posts: 26
    Amazing post, just 1 question - does arc beam proc wand chaos?
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