Arc Beam build?

VykromodVykromod Posts: 5
edited March 2013 in Embermage Discussions
Greetings.

Two things that I love in video games are electric attacks and beams, so it shouldn't be surprising that I fell in love with Arc Beam.

The problem - it's almost utterly useless, at least in my hands. Low damage + Extremely high mana cost spell nothing but trouble. Imo this skill appears to be an anti zerg rush skill, since killing an enemy with this skill results in explosion that releases more beams, that damage surrounding enemies, resulting in a big cascading effect when Arc Beam is fired at a group of weak enemies.

The question is, why would I use a skill that is dedicated to destroying lots of weak enemies, when there exist skills which can do the same, while being powerful against stronger enemies too, and last but not the least, having much lower mana cost?

Anyways, I would like to use Arc Beam as my primary offensive skill. I ask, is there any way to make it happen without horribly underpowering my character?

From what I've read up on the internet, the Arc Beam has only two pros. One is that casting speed bonus directly translates into higher damage, since Arc Beam hits target at higher rate with that bonus, and +100% casting speed could double the damage in theory. Second, there is one effect that works with this skill - decreasing armor on hit. I'm not sure if this stacks with itself, but if yes, with its high hit rate, this skill could remove victim's armor down to 0% in a matter of seconds.

These are my only clues. What do you think?

Comments

  • I made two characters with this skill as one of the main, one of them is in process of development. I also posted a build here but unfortunately admins deleted all my posts while hunting spam bots so you won't be able to read it. It was promised to me that they will be restored but it was a month ago and it seems it is the same deal as with guts - it will be released as soon as possible, you know. So I will probably write a new one sooner.

    Arc beam is one of the most complicated emage skills as you might have noticed, it scales poorly against monsters armor and hp in the beginning of the game and especially on higher difficulties. That is the problem - lightning skills are sought to do damage in multiple weak hits and also be weapon based, but at the beginning skills that are not weapon based and/or hit harder do scale better. So lightning skills are either useless or even not available most of the NG. AB will become useful at rank 10 and around act IV NG or early NG+ - depending on how much effort you will put into your weapon and other gear. And it will only shine late in the game. You will have to use something else in NG instead, I commonly use prismatic bolt at rank 1.

    For arc beam you will also want some crowd control, at least death's bounty, but I use firebombs too, and they are very powerful when used in combination.


    What is good about it - it is fun skill to use and develop, your weapon won't be useless since it actually hits with all elements present on the weapon which allows to inflict multiple elemental effects and trigger all brands easily. Which ones will be applied and triggered depends on your weapon. It is not predefined like with pbolt but is in your hands. It can reduce armor in seconds too and it should be used too.

    There is a video from the old post http://youtu.be/WO7TEdNqfSY that build is not exactly lightning-centric and is a fire-lightning hybrid [LINK DELETED]
  • VykromodVykromod Posts: 5
    I guess if only there would be a way of countering the mana cost, Arc Beam would be semi-useful. I was thinking about building up mana recovery bons, coupled with casting speed bons. This would both boost damage and decrease mana cost, but seeing as Arc Beam (as of now) eats whooping 40 mana per second (while my max mana is around 220), and mana recovery bons rarely do exceed value of 1 point (!) per second, that doesn't seem like a good or easy strategy. Death's Bounty doesn't return enough mana to fully restore it after engagements with single or small groups of monsters, and then there are boss fights.

    Still, that doesn't change the fact, that rank 2 (10/15 points) Arc Beam takes something around two seconds to kill monsters on my level, while Infernal Collapse with one point in it takes ONE FRIGGIN' HIT to kill them, which is absolutely ludicrous. I guess I don't have to mention that the latter solution also takes much less mana, and doesn't need a weapon that can trigger all three brands to deal decent damage.

    I was hoping that there would be at least a mod that would make Arc Beam useful without breaking the ballance, yet I didn't find such a thing.
  • Mana cost is insane yes, just don't invest more than 10 pt until level 90. Later your mana pool will compensate it. And you do not need a mod, you need a good weapon and patience. The way AB works makes it a bad choice for beginners. It is something for people who played the game and the class for some time already and want something different.
  • GraeystoneGraeystone Posts: 1,545
    My question is, how are you spreading your Stat Points? AB has two sources of damage - DPS and Elemental. DPS is Strength/Dexterity(Dex improves Chance to Crit. Strength improves Crit Damage.) while Elemental is all Focus(does not affect Critical in anyway.) You have to make choice - either go Str/Dex or pure Focus. Trying to mix together(Str/Foc) will only weaken the AB attack in the long run. The other Stats can be made up with Gear, Socketables, and Enchanters. Then there is the Secondary Effect to take into account which is dependent on Weapon Damage instead of DPS. So look for the strongest weapons around which are usually Hammers/2H Hammers.

    My recommendation is to go all Focus to build up the MP Pool and wait for Level Requirements to be met to get a strong weapon for the Secondary Effect. At Max Skill Level, the Elemental Damage scales with the Character Level while DPS is only 24%.
  • On stat points, it would require some number crunching to explain. But I was going to do that anyway, so why not.

    My weapon looks like this
    brutal gold sword is brutal
    Gold_Sword.gif

    -And a wand is in the off hand. One of the best 1H weapons possible here. It's base damage without factoring in focus and strength is 971-1435. At 24% DPS and with 0,96 speed this becomes 243-358. Now if we look at the flat component number in the tooltip, it is 317-633 electric damage at rank 15 level 100, almost two times higher. There is one obvious parallel to this, it is emberquake :). For the latter, an optimal stat points spread with 2500 stat points would be 1000 str, 485 dex and the rest 1000+ in focus. But EQ scales much better with crits, while AB has 20% crit chance adjustment for the flat component and 24% for DPS, and they also seem to be critting independently. That is not really optimal for crits so actual str/foc stat points distribution may be shifted towards foc. But for specific build other skills that are used should be taken into account, like if there is shocking orb there, it is still beneficial to go crit heavy.

    But this picture is for the end of the game, while arc beam starts with something like 30-40 damage from the flat component. And earlier weapon damage is more important.

    For naked character, I mainly go focus and dexterity, though end up with some strength too which helps to equip good armor pieces early on and not wasteful at the end.


    Arc Beam damage test

    Btw, -armor per hit works from the weapon in the off hand. Though it may be on armor pieces too and work still, so no wonder.

    I see numbers like 20-50K per normal (non-critical) hit. With some cast speed from gear and dervish this may result in 200-500K per second, and if we count crits and brand triggers it easily reaches 1M per second.
  • VykromodVykromod Posts: 5
    That's all nice, but I still can't see any reason why I should invest points Arc Beam, instead of more efficient skills, like Prismatic Bolt, other than for challenge or coolness factor. I mean, aren't all of the above methods gonna work with other skills aswell and output more damage at less mana cost than Arc Beam in the same situation? It seems that AB is not superior to ANY other skill in ANY situation. I really like it, and I would really love to use it, but not if the game suddenly becomes much more difficult, due to this skill being naturally weaker and less efficient than others.
  • yojimbojyojimboj Posts: 26
    Yeah, there is no love for the lightning in T2. Anyone know of a mod to allow lightning skills to proc more effects? I, too, would love to use all lightning, but it really seems like a fairly masochistic exercise, at least until shock bolts ramp up later in the game.
  • BaronBaron Posts: 127
    Vykromod wrote:
    That's all nice, but I still can't see any reason why I should invest points Arc Beam, instead of more efficient skills, like Prismatic Bolt, other than for challenge or coolness factor. I mean, aren't all of the above methods gonna work with other skills aswell and output more damage at less mana cost than Arc Beam in the same situation? It seems that AB is not superior to ANY other skill in ANY situation. I really like it, and I would really love to use it, but not if the game suddenly becomes much more difficult, due to this skill being naturally weaker and less efficient than others.

    You answered to yourself : because it's cool.

    As for the damage superiority, a question to mammoth : let's suppose I have a Galaxy Quest on-hand (4 types of damage) and a Fraxl's Astrolabe off-hand (5%*3 to burn/shock/freeze, -121 armor per hit, socketed with 6*2 cast speed). Would it work combined with brands (would effects often proc, and do brands trigger on every hit) ? I plan to test a light mage (Arc Beam + Thunder Locus + Shocking Orb), and I was wondering if brands would work on every hit, or if I should give up and stay full lightning (I already have a full fire and a full ice).

    Back to Vykro and Yojimboj : I am sure light can be efficient when you handle it conveniently (like mammoth seems to do, considering his (alas deleted) guides which inspired me to test (when I finish testing the 78945456123 other characters I want to make). You just need to be more gear&stat-flexible. I agree, though, that it is definitely not made to be taken on a first character.

    I also have been very disappointed when I tested light skills. But after reading several tests and comments here, I am confident that a light build can prove powerful. Maybe not as much as a Frost Wave one, but, well...I don't think many characters can compete when it comes to this anyway :D.
  • Vykromod wrote:
    That's all nice, but I still can't see any reason why
    Are you really asking why? Sorry, from your first post I thought you want some help with the skill, but it seems your goal is different. Have you considered the entertainment factor? Are you enjoying what you are doing? I see you enjoy prismatic bolt very much. I cannot really enjoy it unfortunately, since I know it very well and for too long, and it is also too simplistic in both gameplay and character and gear buildup. Hence, skills like arc beam can offer much more complexity.

    Baron wrote:
    As for the damage superiority, a question to mammoth : let's suppose I have a Galaxy Quest on-hand (4 types of damage) and a Fraxl's Astrolabe off-hand (5%*3 to burn/shock/freeze, -121 armor per hit, socketed with 6*2 cast speed). Would it work combined with brands (would effects often proc, and do brands trigger on every hit) ? I plan to test a light mage (Arc Beam + Thunder Locus + Shocking Orb), and I was wondering if brands would work on every hit, or if I should give up and stay full lightning (I already have a full fire and a full ice).
    I think a good comparison of different weapons should have some numbers that I do not want to look for at the moment. Galaxy Quest may be one of the best wands, but not the highest damage 1H weapon overall. It is obviously inferior to some other weapons like gold sword and hammer of official rebuke. For endgame setup I suggest you take **** instead of galaxy quest, since level 100 gold sword is a bit difficult to pick up (to plan on using it). With arc beam **** has damage comparable to gold sword - I tested, it is mostly elemental and also one of the best weapons for shocking orb. With shocking orb specifically you should also avoid using wands, they have the lowest damage per hit along with claws. You may have to go with a wand for arc beam earlier when there is no good alternatives but around level 90-100 just gamble ****.

    Arc beam do not translate weapon effects others than knockback and - armor per hit. As to how effective AB in applying status effects you may just see the video I posted above. It is not this way all the time though, the chance to apply them depends on the damage number you do with that element. They aren't great at the very beginning but grow as you level.
  • BaronBaron Posts: 127
    Thanks for your answer. I am running this lightning mage, level 54 NG+ for the moment. It may not be as powerful as the glorious Frost Wave mage, but it is very funny.

    I indeed have a hammer, it would be a good choice (I don't like the skin of the Gold Sword). I have some other questions if you don't mind :

    A quick look to the combat log made me believe that dual wielding arc beam would attack alternatively with right/left weapon. Is that correct ? If so, it would mean the left-handed wand (unfortunately necessary to cast Beam) would need some DPS too. Keeping a damage enchanted Astrolabe could be a good choice here (due to the -armor and effect cast).

    I also planned to socket both weapons with a Cast speed giant ember (+6%) and a Rambren skull on each hand. Is that optimal ? I already have +14% cast speed with my helmet. I am currently hesitating between the combinaison above, 4*6% cast or 4*Rambren. Unless there is something more appropriate ?

    Thanks !
  • Baron wrote:
    A quick look to the combat log made me believe that dual wielding arc beam would attack alternatively with right/left weapon. Is that correct ? If so, it would mean the left-handed wand (unfortunately necessary to cast Beam) would need some DPS too. Keeping a damage enchanted Astrolabe could be a good choice here (due to the -armor and effect cast).
    It seems I lost my eyes and overlooked that, it alternates, really :shock:. That changes much, though not everything, as weapons damage is still around one third of the total skill's damage at best.
    I also planned to socket both weapons with a Cast speed giant ember (+6%) and a Rambren skull on each hand. Is that optimal ? I already have +14% cast speed with my helmet. I am currently hesitating between the combinaison above, 4*6% cast or 4*Rambren. Unless there is something more appropriate ?
    That depends on what else would you have. I socketed + elemental damage in the right hand because it affects both arc beam and shocking orb but it seems that weapon in the right hand is not the only one I should have taken into consideration. To max arc beam damage gain from cast speed you should try to get close to 100% cast speed I think. It is hardly possible without losing some dps and stats but with 30% from dervish it is more realistic. So try to get close to 70%. If your other gear provide that much there is no need to go above that. 100% cast speed is one hit in 0,1 second and if I understand it correctly that should be the cap.
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