Your first Cursed

After playing a few cursed, I thought it might be useful to make a guide for people playing their very first.

This isn't supposed to be complete. It's supposed to give you the best chance of winning the game. That's not a subject of complete consensus.

Birth': Cornac are the most effective. Put a category into Rampage, one point into Rampage, and one point into Stalk. Put three points into Strength and one point into Armor Training.

Tier 1 (levels 1-10): You'll start in the Trollmire. Explore, and kill. Don't forget to activate your sustainables, Gloom and Stalk. Use your regeneration frequently.

Soon, you'll get the option to "Give in to your hate" and release your rage upon something that you pick-up. I'm gonna recommend, "Don't." Doing so will unlock a new Generic tree, but will make your early game harder. Not that it's a bad choice to do so; just wait until after your first winner.

Remember: hit and run. If you get down to about (say) half life or so, just get away. Thanks to your point in Rampage, that should be easy. Retreat, use your regen, and then re-engage.

You probably won't be strong enough to tackle Trollmire level 4, not at the beginning. Don't worry about it. Come back later.

When you gain a level, your goal is to get a single point into as many talents as possible. Almost all Cursed talents involve rapidly diminishing returns, so spread the points. Extras, do what you want with. For generics, you'll want Armor Training 3 as soon as possible, so that you can use decent armors; another goal is another point or two into Combat Accuracy, and further points into Weapons Mastery. You can pretty safely put all of your points into Strength, which you'll want to keep as high as you possibly can.

A good order to tackle the tier one dungeons: Trollmire, Norgo's Lair, Heart of the Gloom, Kor Pul, Scintillating Caves, Rhaloren Camp'. Don't bother with vaults: some are safe enough, but you don't know the difference yet, and you don't need them. A safe bet: if it's weirrd, don't touch it, and don't go down that ladder. Chests are an exception: as a Cursed, you can handle any chest. This goes for the rest of the game as well.

After your first or second dungeon, you'll probably have enough money to buy something. Infusions, especially a healing or second regeneration infusion, are a priority for your first purchases. Check out a few towns and see if they have something better than what you have. Infusions aren't sexy the way artifacts are, but throughout the game, your success will depend on your infusions to a much greater extent than it will on any of your other equipment.

After your fourth dungeon, you might as well tackle the Arena in Derth for two free generic points.

As far as equipment, you can keep an eye out for decent off-handers, but you'll probably be strongest just by finding a good two-hander and using it. Pay special attention to +damage on hit, or when hit. At low levels, these are really effective.

Try to avoid runes, because you want to betray all of your escorts to Zigur. In general, you'll want anything that increases Strength, Willpower, Constitution (in that order), but increases to Cunning or Dexterity are also nice. Piercing Sight, Dreamwalk, and Mindstar Mastery are all decent talents to learn.

Tier 2(levels 11-20): You'll want to get your character stronger as fast as possible. A good order to take these dungeons is Old Forest, Sandworm's Lair, Tranquil Meadow, the Maze, Daikara, Temporal Rift, Halfling Ruins, Unknown Tunnels, Tempest Peak. That will net you benefits as soon as you're strong enough to take them.

Your character will start to max strength, accuracy, and combat training by this point. Your next priorities are Thick Skin, Relentless, and enough Willpower to get you every talent (36). Eventually, you'll want 5/5/5/5/0 in combat training. You'll also eventually get a talent point in almost every talent-- skip Cleave, Repel, and Slam. Top priorities for extra talent points are the Rampage tree (you'll want 5/5/5/0 ASAP), Surge, and Sanctuary. After getting sufficient Willpower (to take Surge to 5), it's a good idea to start investing in Constitution, at least until you have enough Con for Thick Skin 5. Seethe and Grim Resolve are good abilities to get to level 1, but not much past that.

At level 10 and 20, you get new category points. It's a good idea to spend these on infusion slots. At level 20, the ideal infusions would probably be 2 regeneration, 1 movement infusion, 1 healing infusion, and 1 heroism infusion. That's enough to keep you alive anytime that you'd need a wild infusion, without being useless the rest of the time, and without being vulnerable to the RNG God. If it leaves you vulnerable to anything, it's Pinning, Worm Rot, and Impending Doom, so be on the look out for those effects. If you get Rotted or Doomed, don't forget to trigger your rampage! Rampage/Tenacity can very easily be the difference between surviving DOTs like this and dying.

In the tranquil meadow, choose the more evil-sounding of all of the options. This will net you a powerful trinket that provides movement speed and physical damage bonuses, without needing to be equipped. In the Halfling Ruins, use your preternatural senses to blindside Subject Z, throwing all of your abilities into killing him before he has a chance to kill the Yeek, and net some free, permanent confusion immunity. It will be tremendously beneficial to have Combat Accuracy at 5 before fighting Subject Z.

You may be level 24 before you reach the Unknown Tunnels-- meaning you might run into the Dark Crypt. That's a dangerous area, and as a Cornac, you don't need to bother with it, so just avoid it.

When it comes time for Tempest Peak, you might just want to skip it. The strongest route for a Cornac Cursed is Anti-magic, but you don't need Anti-magic just yet, and access to arcane equipment might be more valuable in the mean-time. Whatever you decide. When you do decide to take Tempest Peak, don't forget to get your Fungal Growth tree by talking to the Halfling commander after beating Urkis!

You might want to check some shops for any water-breathing equipment and do Lake Nur. You don't need to, though. You don't really need water-breathing equipment either, although it's nice for the first couple of times through. You can also do the Golem Graveyard and the Hidden Compound.

Tier 3: Before you go to Dreadfell, take a chance to look at all of your merchants. Sometimes, they have artifacts like the infinitely valuable Blood of Life. Don't forget the merchant you rescued from the Tunnels.

This is also a good time to get all of the Brotherhood of Alchemists quests out of the way. I like to get the Elixir of Foundations, Elixir of Precision, Elixir of Brawn in that order. If I have the chance, an Elixir of Mastery is also good, as is the Elxir of Focus. If you don't have all of the ingredients for an elixir, you can do the Ruined Dungeon: at its end, there is a puzzle that you can fail repeatedly to grind random monsters (probably not ideal way to handle it, but...)

You'll probably also get your first prodigy around this time. Superpower is always a safe bet for a free, passive +30% damage, +25% mindpower.

In Dreadfell, it is even more important that you ignore vaults. They can and will kill you. Bulwarks start being a pain in the ass here. Think about your unarmed damage, or try to find some disarm immunity, or just take these guys irritatingly slowly. Be on the lookout for counterstrikes.

After Dreadfell, it shouldn't be too hard to beat the orc ambush. Just remember to save the leader for last so you don't die, even if you fail. Reknor is a cakewalk in comparison to Dreadfell.

You'll probably start running out of places to put your talent points. At this point, it's really up to you. I like Preternatural Senses, Frenzy, Slash, Blindside, and Reckless Charge, roughly in that order. Later, I will improve Harass Prey and Dominate. But you can't really go wrong.

Tier 4: Welcome to the East! I like to make my way back to the West ASAP, so I take this Vor's Armoury, Briagh's Lair, followed by a few backup guardians and Tannen's Tower. The Armoury really isn't that difficult, provided you take it slow. That nets access to merchant randarts and Relentless Pursuit as soon as possible. After that, I do the prides in this order: 'Mancers, Summoners, Necromancers, Melee. After that, I probably need to do a few side quests to make it close to 50, then it's time for High Peak. Probably the most dangerous zone at this point is the Shadow Crypt, so you might want to stay away from that one.

Your level 36 category should go into Fungal Growth. There are a few ways to handle Fungal Growth: 1+/1/5/1, or 5/1/1/1. Either is a good way. If Sudden Growth is high, there's no real cost to triggering the infusion, so you don't need as many turns on your infusion, but your Rampages may suffer (not sure). With such a high Willpower, Sudden Growth 5 should give close to 100% of a turn to you. You might need a few points in the first talent to handle infusion cooldowns.

Around level 40, you should be capable of beating the Sandworm Lair backup guardian, netting you your last category point. Predator is a good choice. So is Combat Training mastery. So is Harmony. Let's make it simple, and recommend Combat Training mastery. That leaves you a few generics to put into Antimagic as you see fit, and a lot of talent points to distribute wherever (just go where your heart takes you). You'll also max your Strength, Willpower, and Con-- the extra points go nicely into Cunning, which increases your crit rate and mindpower.

Don't forget to buy randarts from the merchant as often as possible. When I go anti-magic, there are never any good belts (1 exception), cloaks, or gloves for me, so those are generally what I buy. Of those, I seem to get better belts and gloves (too much +stealth on my cloaks).

Your level 42 prodigy is up to you. Draconic Body is nice; Flexible Combat is nice; Spell Feedback is nice; Giant Leap is nice; Garkul's Revenge or whatever is nice. Do whatever you want.

When you make it to the top of High Peak, you should be doing enough damage to win before adds become a problem, before Aeryn falls. Just stick on that caster, and don't forget to beckon!

Some further notes:

EQUIPMENT: Generally, you'll see what's good. But there are a few things worth noting:

Wanderer's Rest is simply the best footwear a Cursed could ask for. Pinning immunity, speed, and a free escape. Don't pass these up. But don't kill yourself thinking that you need them.

Keep a few amulets, switch around. Blindness and invisibility detection is a persistent weakness for Cursed, so you'll often find yourself using this slot to deal with that, either via immunity or via blindsight.

There's nothing special for Cursed in the artifact weapon department, but you can't really go wrong. If you choose to go Arcane, a blighted maul is wicked (Cursed talents work at global speed, not attack speed-- and the maul stacks with cleave and misfortune). There are some tier 4 weapons that are as good as tier 5 weapons, like Anmalice and Truth (frenzy hits four times, remember!)

Blackened Plate is great, even if all that confusion immunity is wasted. But so are any of the other heavy/massive tier 5 armors.

Don't forget a healthy dose of +health, +healing mod equipment. You'll be tempted to take your Rampage and Surge to the max with +speed equip, but +movement, +attack speed are just not going to be as important on you as they would be on another, and nothing with +global speed is worth a damn.

Forget the tool stats: a simple torque of psychoportation is worth all of the Guardian Totems a Temporal Explorer could dig up.

TALENTS: The weird thing about Cursed is that they have a bunch of talents that look offensive, but only shine when used as defense/escape.

Frenzy: This is your best damage. The precise flavor of it matters, too. Watch out for huge amounts of reflected damage (x4!). Or, use it to get huge amounts of damage when you've got a lot of +damage on-hit. Or, use it with on-crit procs to get a huge likelihood of a crit. Etc. Overkill isn't usually very wasted either. To focus your strikes, use it only after you've begun to stalk a target.

Reckless Charge: When surge+rampage nets you +1000 speed, walking there and bumping is actually faster. But reckless charge doesn't have to target an enemy, so you can use it to get the hell out of there in literally no time.

Cleave: This is fun, but there's nothing you could do with cleave, that you couldn't do without cleave. Put a point in it if you want more buttons to press.

Stalk: Don't overestimate this. You rarely get a large number of successive hits on a target. Even with tough targets, you have to break to use infusions. But a single point is great.

Beckon: One of those abilities that NPCs can use to much larger effect than we can, sadly. But don't forget about it: it can't compete with Blindside, but it is another weapon in your arsenal. Works on targets that are out of LOS but seen with preternatural senses, so given enough hate and patience, you can use it to pull.

Surge: It's easy to miss this. Forget the dual wield thing. Surge will give you +100% movement speed when it's maxed. Think about it. That totally nullifies Stuns, even without immunity. And it multiplies. With Surge, you can afford to reposition any damn time you feel like it. The ability to retreat is the ability to survive; the ability to survive is the ability to win.

Dominate: Usually a hate-sink and little else, but there are times when it comes in very handy. The effect on your target's resistances is very large.

Blindside: This is your first-line escape, even though it looks like an attack. Very few classes have a perfect accuracy (at one talent point!), non-arcane teleport. If you want to use it for damage, the scaling (reduced cool-down, increased damage) means that this can compete with Slash at high hate and high talent level, although it is expensive in terms of hate.

Repel: This is actually appropriately powerful, but high level Cursed don't really worry about melee damage. A perfectly played Cursed could benefit from Repel against some random bosses. I don't find it's worth the trouble to think about.

Gloom: It doesn't look like it, but this will be effective through the very end of the game. Feel free to put extra points into this.

Weakness: Even if you're surrounded, which you shouldn't be, this ability underperforms. But a single point is essential, for very rapid Hate generation.

Dismay: If you can use this well, it can be very powerful. The actual ability, with a doofus player like me, is fine. But if you can keep track of who you can get a free crit on-- you can easily maximize your damage, or get awesome weapon procs. Don't worry about losing the Stalk bonus.

Rampage: It will trigger on its own. That's the offensive use of this ability-- just let it trigger passively, which it will do when you most need it, and enjoy the speed bonus. The bigger deal is its use as an escape. Rampage+Surge will give you faster movement than any movement infusion. Tenacity will soak a good 500+ points of damage during a Rampage, enough to survive an otherwise deadly DOT like Impending Doom. Think of it like this: you're paying 11 talent points and a category point for awesome passive boosts, and for an extra movement infusion and shielding rune. Easily worth it. (Brutality is the least important of the line-- well, other than Slam. Don't buy Slam. Not to say that you shouldn't max Brutality, because you should: for the situations where it matters, Brutality is the most efficient conversion of talent points into damage.)

Predator: Good line, four abilities that are worth the category point even if only investing a single point in each. Mimic, for instance, is 7 stat points for one talent point, which is a great deal for Cursed. More effective when you're willing to manage your Mark Prey. I am not.

Cursed Aura: Shrouds is the stand-out. Madness can shine even in the presence of a single point in Dark Gifts. High levels of Misfortune are just fun. Ruined Earth doesn't last long enough to be worth the turn using. Sentinel is similarly disappointing.

Fears: Wish I could say otherwise, but don't bother. Doesn't work well with Cursed playstyle.

Other Races: Friends don't let friends Yeek. Otherwise, the sky's the limit.

Shalore and Thalore are expensive, but the eventual benefits are worth it. (Timeless is insane.)
Dwarves and halflings are always awesome.
Higher are fine.
Yeek are really, really hard, at least in the early game.
Undead: haven't tried them, but hear good things

Arcane: My fave build is actually an arcane Thalore Cursed, which is probably not the best build for winning, but it's what I like. Fungal Growth is far from a requirement, Antimagic even less of a requirement, and there is a lot of very useful end-game Arcane equipment. You don't even have to ever make the decision to go Anti-magic-- just keep delaying it, and eventually all of your generics will be spent. Playing an arcane cursed isn't very different from playing an antimagic cursed. Not even your escorts have to change: sure, you can go for Premonition, Healing, Chants, etc, but you could just as easily betray them all too. With my arcane Cursed, I usually don't make any infusion changes, but a teleport rune would probably be a little bit nicer than a movement infusion (redundant with Surge and Rampage).

Dual Wield: I don't build for dual-wielding. It seems like diverting points into Dex for minimum stats is counterproductive, and with Cursed, there aren't enough generics to divert points into Knife Mastery. The benefits from Surge+Dual Wield are unimportant. Potential benefits from Madness are insufficient to make up for this, in my mind. But just because I don't build to dual wield, doesn't mean I never dual wield! With an armory of +dex items, you don't need to invest, and you can take advantage of what the RNG hands you in the way of equipment. Played to the utmost, a Cursed shouldn't pay much attention to whether a weapon is two-handed, mainhanded, or offhanded, but should use whatever is most effective at the time.

Mindstar Offhand: I don't do this very often, mostly because I can't be bothered to figure out exactly how effective a particular mindstar is. But with their high willpower, cursed can take advantage of very powerful mindstars. Keep in mind that mindstars do full damage when wielded in the offhand-- and that includes when using talents like frenzy! That's right, when you frenzy, your offhand mindstar is hitting 4 times for 100% damage. Still, because of the escort system, you shouldn't build a Cursed around Mindstar Mastery, but you can take advantage of it if the situation comes up.
As with dual wielding, don't feel that you need to use a mindstar because you're some kind of mindstar build. You're not. You were raising willpower anyways. Just use an offhand mindstar when that's the best choice.

Dual Mindstar: I wouldn't recommend this, but I've never tried it. Unlike mindstar offhands, this would need to be a dedicated build, probably involving neglecting strength and elements of the Combat Training tree. It could work, potentially, and it would sure be weird, but it's not the strongest way to build Cursed. Maybe next time I get an alchemist early I'll give it a go.

Shield: I don't know anybody who does this, and I've certainly never done this myself, but I don't see why it wouldn't work. In theory.

Thank you!

This looks like a really good guide. I'm looking forward to trying it out someday.

Why not post a copy on the forums, in the metaclass/afflicted section?

Thanks, I hope it helps

Thanks, I hope it helps you!

Per your recommendation, I've posted a link in the Afflicted forum (down at the bottom of a page that's the current guide, but I don't want to get too big for my britches)

Shalore and AM

Is it just me, or would a Shalore Cursed be somewhat counter-productive, since you want to go Anti-Magic, but AM interferes with your racials? Their racials are spells, donchaknow.

Going anti-magic is slightly

Going anti-magic is slightly more effective, but you don't have to go anti-magic-- antimagic is not a win button, and antimagic comes with drawbacks. The costs of playing a Shalore are more about hp and experience penalty than about the antimagic thing. Shalore probably isn't the best race, and Cursed are certainly not the best class for Shalore, but Shalore Cursed can do just fine.

Hi, thanks for this guide!

Hi, thanks for this guide! It's great and I'm going to make use of it on my exploration of Cursed.

I just have a bit offtopic question I can't find the answer for:

Where is Tranquil Meadow? I can't believe there is a while dungeon I haven't seen yet.

whole lol

whole lol

Tranquil Meadow is a dungeon

Tranquil Meadow is a dungeon specific to Cursed (and maybe Doomed too). If I'm not mistaken, it spawns a little randomly, but always very close to the Maze. You've probably never seen it, because it isn't created unless you're playing Cursed (or maybe any Afflicted).



two nitpicks, and a weapon suggestion

As another cursed-lover, I must recommend Thalore, over Cornac, as the optimum race for the class. Guardian of the Wood is one of the best uses of 5 generic talent points in the game, and you'll be able to max it by the time you get to Dreadfell. Relentless is also one of the best generic talents in the game (despite the attachment to the healing nerf) and it has no overlap with GotW. To further support Thaloren, treants also give Cursed an advantage they don't normally have: the ability to use summons on-demand as a distraction to nasty enemies (this is THE reason I was able to beat nightmare/adventure mode with my final life before splatting myself on atamathon postgame). There are enough generic points and category points in the main campaign to get you thalore racials and still get 5 infusions and rampage (+1 more cat point).

The other thing: Preternatural Senses was barely mentioned, and it might not be necessary for a win, but it's extremely important for nightmare/insane. The only reason I didn't max it on my nightmare run was that I found a Telepathy:all cloak early (even though the tome chat folks said it was supposed to have been removed from the game in that version..). In retrospect, I believe that rearranging a few talents for 5/5 Preternatural Senses would have actually been the better plan, so that I wouldn't have wasted a Cloak slot on something a few Talent points would have taken care of. It's a talent that was apparently deemed overpowered for equipment, and it's a constant lifesaver when you're playing a difficulty setting that can kill you out of nowhere if even a single unexpected unit uses the right skill at the right time.

Treants, Preternatural Senses, and Rampage also combine for a great way to avoid nightmare/insane stair bosses in High Peak. See them before they see you. Distract them. Dash for the stairs. These guys can be nastier than the final encounter depending on their mix of talents at their jacked-up levels - maybe even unkillable.

Lastly I just want to suggest not going Antimagic for one reason: Blighted Maul. This thing is the best Cursed weapon I've used - by FAR - and it's arcane. The on-use ability it carries is an AoE shockwave that deals a truckload of damage (probably about 1k by the time you have it). It can knock enemies through walls. It can go through walls. It can go through a wall and knock an enemy through another wall. On top of that, the on-hit effect is fantastic for Frenzy and Reckless Charge. You'll melt foes with these abilities so fast you'd think you were using pre-nerf Irrestible Sun (which is still awesome, and easily obtainable even for AM Cursed by using Golden Three Edged Sword).

Much Love for Cursed!

Thanks a lot for your

Thanks a lot for your comments! I totally agree about almost everything you've said (even though I'm not sure that Thalore are the best choice for somebody new to the class, playing at normal-ish difficulty levels; the experience penalty hurts, and it take some experience, the player kind, to optimize your generics as a Cursed. Plus, early access to Rampage helps a lot, especially for people still getting their bearings.)

Preternatural Senses is great, and I always max it. For me, it goes Rampage line, Surge, Sanctuary, Preternatural Senses. I know some other people don't care for it, and I respect that; I can see how, at least on normal difficulty levels where one just kills everything anyways, one could think it was unnecessary.

I love Guardian of the Woods as well; that resistance, plus Thick Skin, plus Shrouds 5? You don't need any resist all gear with that setup, it'd be wasted. And Blight and Disease are some of the more fearsome damages for Cursed. I never fell in love with the treants, but I can see how they could be very useful. Have you ever tried Sentry instead?

I agree regarding Relentless, of course: it is a must buy to 5, every single game. I've tried to do without, and it's just not an option. Anyways, it's not as if Unnatural Body and its heal mod penalty are things you can avoid, not as a Cursed.

I've also had the pleasure of playing with the Blighted Maul, and totally agree with you regarding it. It really shines. Especially with Misfortune and Cleave, it is just a joy to use, and the speed penalty doesn't matter when you're using talents. The arcane equipment is very useful, and I don't think arcane Cursed are at significant disadvantage over Antimagic Cursed (but I wouldn't go so far as to say they're stronger!) When people feel like playing Arcanes, it affects some of their choices: Cursed Aura starts looking like a better choice, as do some of the other races. Including Thalore. But personally, even when I play Arcane, I still can't bring myself to let any escorts escape Zigur, or attach any runes; it's very handy to keep open the option for arcane disrupting gear.

Forum this already

Instead of hiding it in your blog and at the arse end of an epic mostly complain fest trailing the only other guide for cursed ;)
But seriously, stick your guide in the forum so people actually can see it, and as a minor side part at least everyone who wants to tell you that you are doing it wrong can do it in a more manageable/readable style.
That is all, nice guide by the way, always interesting to see peoples take on what they figure is the best way to get things done :D

dont let it get lost

Hey there :D
Nice reading and it would be a pity if it went lost as just a blog post...
Make it also appear in the Spoilers, Metaclass: Afflicted section of the Forums!
Really :D

dual wielding on frenzy is 8x

dual wielding on frenzy is 8x reflected damage!