Former Player Returning; Issue With Engineer MP SCE

SharpeSharpe Posts: 351
edited November 2014 in Engineer Discussions
Greetings!

As you can tell, I've been a member here and played TL2 for some time now. However, I don't think I've played this game since around Oct. 2012. I have only vague recollection about the mechanics.

One day recently, a friend of mine wanted to play and we did for a couple days. I remembered that Veteran was a push-over, so we played Elite. You may notice from my old posts that I have experience playing **** Elite. In fact, I've made it through much of the second act HCE with multiple characters. A blade trap ended one or two characters, and thus pretty well ended my time playing TL2.

Back in 2012, I played through the game using both the Engineer and the Embermage. I like both. My friend had never played before.

He likes caster-type characters, so he picked the mage and I played the Engineer.

We've reached the Luminous Arena. I recall that it's my favorite map.

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Here's my issue. I have about 5 ranks in Fire Hammer and I'm not doing any damage with it (and I don't even think about using normal attack since it can't kill little fodder mobs). At first, I thought I just wasn't doing damage compared to him, which is understandable. I've only died half as many times, if not a third as many. He's a glass cannon Prismatic Bolt mage. I've beat the game with one and now how they roll. But, I stand next to an enemy and spam Fire Hammer . . . Nothing. This is after I figured out that a pure physical weapon doing 0-0 magic damage won't work for me. This is long after I re-learned that I need to build 1 spark for 1 attack.

I've been adding 2 points to Strength, 2 points to Focus, and 1 point to Vitality each level. Healing Bot and Forcefield are maxed out (9 ranks).

Flame Hammer-5
Seismic Slam-9
Supercharge-1
Coup de Grace-2

Healing Bot-9
Passives-1

Shield Bash-9 (This is way too high)
Forcefield-9
Aegis of Fate-1

I've been shield-bashing my way to a full charge, then using Forcefield. Then, I've been shield bashing and SS'ing until I gain a few charges. I then use Flame Hammer a few times. Then, I repeat the process.

For most of the game so far, I've contributed both defense and offence. He's stood behind me and dealt damage. My FF really helped. My Flame Hammer did considerable damage. Now that he has the ice columns power to defend, and now that at the same time I do no damage, I am of no use.

Sure, I'm tough, but it's so boring and I don't contribute meaningfully. The monsters all attack him and barely notice I'm around. I run up to them and shield bash, looking like a dog **** a leg. Then, I flame hammer, but they just walk away as I do so like, "Oh, I'm sorry. We're you attacking me? I hardly noticed. Is that Flame Hammer thing supposed to hurt me?"

Some helpful, constructive advice would be appreciated, but we will remain on Elite and remain vanilla legit.

If I need to run a new character alone to get back to where we are now, I will.

Thanks!
RunicID: Sharpe103

Comments

  • SharpeSharpe Posts: 351
    Guess this place is a ghost town . . .

    Oh well. Got it out of my system anyway.
    RunicID: Sharpe103
  • Don't know whether you still need advice, but here it is regardless.

    If you're using forcefield (and you should be), then shields aren't very useful (which in turn means vitality isn't very useful). When your forcefield is up, you will never block an attack. Damage is absorbed by the forcefield, and only when the forcefield is gone will you have a chance to block. Here's my experience playing solo engineer on elite: my forcefield almost never went down, and when it did (or was about to), I would run away using onslaught and wait for it to come back up. Make sure you have a way to get charge (I prefer dynamo field over shield bash). With full charge, your forcefield will be 3.5x as strong. Anyway, with my really strong forcefield, I dropped the shield that wasn't blocking anything anyway, allowing me to put what would have been vitality points into str and focus (and dex for damage). And a two-handed weapon (dual wielded weapons for more bonuses later on). If you're not opposed to it, there are slightly non-kosher ways to respec your character. You could use one of them and go shieldless.

    Also, at level 42 you get emberquake, which blows flame hammer out of the water. You may have seen the flame hammer vs emberquake comparison threads. They show that (usually) emberquake wins, and they're right, except they greatly understate the margin by which emberquake wins, because they compare only the main AOE attack of flame hammer against only one fissure of emberquake. Flame hammer has one main AOE attack and 5-7 splinters. The splinters do half the damage of the main AOE attack. The figure listed on the tooltip is the main AOE attack damage. So at lvl 5 you're getting 84% weapon DPS on the aoe hit and 42% weapon dps on each of 5 splinters. That's a total of 294% weapon DPS. Also, the splinters can only hit one target before disappearing (well technically, there's a way to make some of them hit two targets). Emberquake releases 8 fissures, each of which does weapon DPS and fire damage. The fire damage scales with your level, and scales very well. The fissures are faster and have better homing than flame hammer splinters, and each can hit multiple targets. They have a longer range than flame hammer splinters. You get emberquake at lvl 42. At lvl 42 with 1 point in emberquake, you get 8 fissures, each doing 35% weapon DPS and 149 fire damage. Thats 280% weapon DPS and 1.2k fire damage. And the fire damage increases VERY quickly as you level. By level 48, lvl 5 emberquake is doing more weapon DPS than flame hammer (if you count all 8 fissures vs the main AOE hit + splinters of flame hammer), in addition to doing 250 fire damage per fissure, in addition to all of the desirable characteristics of emberquake I just described.

    Weapon damage scales with strength, and literally everything else scales with focus (that includes physical damage on skills and physical DOT by the way). To take full advantage of emberquake, you would want to get a weapon that does elemental damage and put almost all your points in focus. (Although as the previous paragraph shows, emberquake still wins if you are split between strength and focus, because emberquake has more weapon DPS % alone.)

    So my main recommendations would be:

    - drop the shield and go 2-hand, or dual wield if you get weapons with nice enchantments/good socketables (note that only your right-hand weapon counts toward weapon DPS for skills, so 2-hand > dual wielding unless the offhand weapon has some really good enchantments/socketables)
    - drop the vitality (armor is virtually useless on elite, and it is much better to get 200+ health per piece of equipment than spend a bajillion points on vitality, which only gives 3.55 HP per point. And you no longer need block chance if you drop the shield.)
    - put (almost) everything into focus (later on, you will want to raise dex and strength for critical hits and critical damage), use a weapon that does elemental damage with emberquake (you can use staves with emberquake)

    Some minor recommendations:
    - build charge with dynamo field
    - get at least a point in onslaught, it gives great mobility if nothing else
    - fire and spark gives a great damage boost, especially early on before you have a ton of focus
    - supercharge definitely only works with autoattacks, which you should (almost?) never do, so its not worth even a single point
    - I think coup de grace also only works on autoattacks (in any case, its damage is poor unless you have an even balance between str and focus, and I would recommend putting (almost?) nothing in strength. So probably not worth even a single point.
    - I would place less of a priority on seismic slam (definitely at least 1 point though). But this is more a matter of taste I think.
    - Immobilization copter is really good.

    Some recommendations for the more distant future:
    - Eventually, it makes sense to put points in str and dex for critical hits. This is because critical hits do a multiple of your regular damage, while focus will increase your damage only linearly. Suppose you have 1800 focus. That means +900% damage (10x damage). An additional 200 points of focus will bring you to +1000% damage (11x) damage. This is a damage increase of 10x for 200 stat points. But 100 points in str and 100 points in dex will bring your crit rate from (for example) 20% to 40% and your crit multiplier from 150% to 190%. Previously you did +50% damage 20% of the time from critical hits, now you are doing an additional 90% damage 40% of the time. (1 + .9*.4) / (1+.5*.2) = 1.236, so putting 100 points in str and 100 in dex increased your damage by far more than 10%. (Note that the 1:1 str:dex ratio will not be in general optimal, this is just an example).
    - The ultimate engineer uses emberquake to proc glacial spike. Certain weapons and the eye of aleera give you a chance for a glacial spike when you hit an enemy. Each of the 8 emberquake fissures carries this full chance. Glacial spike does massive damage, has AOE, and has a 100% chance for a 4 second stun. I cannot overstate how incredible glacial spike builds are.

    In the past, I have seen resistance to the idea of dropping the shield. But I really think it is the way to go for an emberquaker engineer. With forcefield up all the time, the shield does nothing anyway, and you can do a lot with that freed up shield slot (like take a weapon with a 25% chance to proc glacial spike and put in two eyes of aleera for an additional 10% chance). Bear in mind that the increased offensive ability you get from dropping the shield and dropping the vitality points helps your survivability in its own way. To make up for the lost health, look for +HP on items. (Although the shield you have right now is pretty good as far as shields go.)
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