Alchemist for Beginners 1.0.4

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Guide

Introduction

This is a guide for the Alchemist subclass of mages. Alchemists are ranged spellcasters who function primarily by harvesting gems from looted items and converting them into explosive bombs to attack enemies at range. Alchemists also maintain a golem companion and can dabble in ranged fire spells. This class begins unlocked and is fairly straightforward to play, and as such is ideal for newer players to get a feel for the game, as well as some unlocks.

Pros: You have a golem to protect you, which makes a solid buffer or distraction from whatever is trying to kill you. Usually. Bombs have a long-ish range and wide explosion area which makes them ideal for no-fuss clearing of large groups of weaker enemies. They also have access to a wide variety of damage types and several tactical escape/defense options. Stat allocation is simple.

Cons: Some of the class's extended utility is reliant on skill trees gained as escort quest rewards. Despite having good health scaling for a caster class, they are typically frail and shouldn't be exposed to direct combat. The easy nature of combat may lead to complacency and mistakes in the mid-to-late game.


Race Selection

Scale: 1 = poor choice, 5 = best choice.

Cornac: 2/5. This class has plenty of generic points to throw around as it is, and racials are more useful than category points to us.

Higher: 3/5. We won't be putting points into Will, so their heal won't scale up for us. Sight range is useful for bomb targeting. Arcane caster bonuses are too narrow to be of much use, and mana-free casting doesn't help when our spells are so cheap already.

Shalore: 3.5/5. We won't be putting points into Dex, so their speed boost won't scale. Crit boost is helpful. Invisibility on hit won't happen often; we have a golem to tank for us. Timeless... could help get rid of debuffs sooner or extend a shield rune, I guess.

Thalore: 4/5. Damage and damage reduction bonuses are good, but won't scale with our base Will. Still good. Boosts to our weak saves, all resist, blight resist, and disease immunity are pretty great. Tree summons won't scale with our base Will, but could still be useful, and they're free/instant tanks.

Dwarf: 5/5. Saves on demand, saves as a passive that we fund with our gem transmutation, and another escape skill are all great. Very solid choice for almost everything, as per usual.

Halfling: 3/5. Crit chance is nice, but we'll have lots of that on our own, so overage is wasted. Evasion from duck and dodge isn't great, we want to be out of the line of fire as much as possible. Saves based on crowds aren't what we need, either, as our biggest threat is probably strong individual monsters. Removing stun/daze/pin is nice, but we shouldn't be getting hit with those that often, either.

Yeek: 4/5. This sounds good on paper. We don't have Will to scale to their dominate, but mental saves are good, global speed is good assuming you have abilities to fill it with (or to reposition if you don't), and more tanks could help. Golems might also compensate for yeeks' abysmal health pools. Might be worth a try.

Ghoul: 1/5. Has basically nothing to offer us that would offset the speed penalty. Also has abilities for things we don't want to do at all (like getting into melee and chewing on things tougher than us).

Skeleton: 3.5/5: Str/Dex doesn't interest us. Bone armor could be a nice shield supplement... but we don't need Dex, so it will scale poorly. Resilient bones helps the status effects that hit us be gone faster, and a heal/rez is always nice. -0.5 for steep XP penalty.

Stats

Magic > Cunning ~ Constitution. I recommend 2 magic + 1 Con per level, then 2 Cunning +1 Con per level when magic is maxed. If you take 1 point of armor training, a few points into Str to wear iron boots and helms won't hurt, we're not that strapped for stat points.

Skills

Class Skills

Explosive Admixtures
  • Throw Bomb: It's what we do. Max it, use it, love it.
  • Alchemist Protection: Keeps us from killing ourselves. This is a priority. Max this before anything else, as soon as possible.
  • Explosion Expert: Makes our booms bigger. Max this, but only after Alchemist Protection.
  • Shockwave Bomb: I found the range to be short and the usefulness limited. 0 or 1 point, to taste.

Overall: 5/5/5/(0 or 1)

Infusion
  • Fire Infusion: Boosts the power of our bombs. It's passive, which means we always have it, even if something dispells one of our other sustains from this tree.
  • Acid Infusion: Converts our bomb damage to acid and gives it a chance to blind. Also causes damage to be done in one big burst, rather than fire's damage over time. Probably the most all-around useful infusion. Also converts a portion of ANY fire damage we do to acid, but without the blind chance.
  • Lightning infusion: The same as acid, except daze instead of blind. Decent.
  • Frost Infusion: The same as acid, except it has a chance to freeze, which actually makes monsters harder to damage. Probably the worst choice UNLESS you are trying to unlock the uttercold magic tree, which this should do very well.

Overall: (1 or 5)/X/X/X (Pick one you like)

Golemancy
  • Golem Power: Most of the time, the golem's punches won't hold a candle to our bombs. However, this skill affects how much Refit Golem will heal our tank for, and so is useful for emergencies and coupled with Life Tap for a heal us/heal him combo.
  • Golem Resilience: Makes our tank tankier. This is desirable.
  • Invoke Golem: Teleports our golem to us, likely after we've teleported out of danger. Can also be used to bring the golem out of melee range for a heal, or to reposition it.
  • Golem Portal: Switch places with our golem. Can be useful, but I didn't miss it when I didn't have it.

Overall: 1(eventually max)/5/1/1

Advanced Golemancy (locked)
  • Life Tap: Heals you by weakening your golem. He can be rebuilt; you can't (at least not forever). Don't be afraid to use this if you need it.
  • Gem Golem: Lets you socket 2 gems into your golem, for stat bonuses. Excellent use of a resource we'll have in abundance. This is what fills the two extra slots on the right-hand side of your golems equipment page. They aren't labeled in-game and you can't do anything with them without this skill.
  • Supercharge Golem: Instantly rebuilds the golem, in combat, without costing us gems. You'll use this a lot.
  • Runic Golem: Adds rune slots to your golem, and slightly reduces the time you'll spend resting, waiting for him to heal up. Golems start with 3 rune slots even without this skill, so be sure to fill those with Shield runes and perhaps a Rune of Reflection, if you find one. After those are taken care of, any damage rune besides Acid Wave (they'll hit you with it. It'll hurt.) is just a bonus. Also, next patch damage runes are getting extended functionality, so this will be even better.

Overall: 1(to 5, as needed)/5/5/(3 or 5)

Fire Alchemy (locked)
  • Heat: It sets things on fire.
  • Smoke Bomb: Blocks line of sight for everyone (including us). This can give you cover from archers or dangerous casters. However, if anything in the smoke cloud is already afflicted by Heat, Smoke Bomb instead spreads the fire to everything else in the area and extends the burn duration.
  • Fire Storm: sets everything around you on fire, as is the theme of this skill set. Good damage, long uptime, but whether you want to be in range for it to work is left up to the reader.
  • Body of Fire: You turn yourself into fire, granting fire resist and automatically launching fire bolts at hostile targets in range. The sustain cost is high, and it drains mana while active, and it's still doing something your bombs can probably handle better. But it sounds fun and we have the mana to spare.

Overall: unlocking is optional, but we have the mana, skill points and (likely) category point to spare. Take it early to supplement bombs, or late to give yourself something extra to spend mana on. 5/5/x/x

Golem skill trees

Fighting
  • Knockback/Taunt/Crush/Pound: Melee abilities. Taunt is the most notable one, for keeping bosses away from us, most of the time. The others are a variety of distance closers and stuns that are useful but not overly so. Weapon damage for the golem won't be that great (with one exception, discussed in Prodigies), so don't worry much about them.

Overall: 1/1/1/1.

Arcane
  • Eye Beam: Pew Pew Lasers! Your golem fires eye lasers. Worth at least a point because the damage starts at a decent level, and it costs you no mana.
  • Reflective skin: Doesn't actually reflect, as the golem still takes full damage, but worth it just for more free damage. Be warned, though, that it also works on friendly spells, so caution is advised around escorts and the first encounter with a friendly anorithil in the east.
  • Arcane Pull: Decent setup for our bombs, and crowd control. Our bombs have a massive blast radius as is, though.
  • Molten Skin: More free damage, resistance to fire, and a combo effect with fire alchemy, should you take it.

Overall: x/x/x/x, as you desire.


Generic Skills

Technique/Combat Training

Buy this at any weapon merchant in Last Hope. It's well worth the paltry gold amount, especially with our gems selling as they do.

  • Thick Skin: 15% less damage taken from everything. This is good on every character ever.
  • Armor training: 1 point opens up heavy gloves, helms, and boots. Worth it just to expand your equipment options. The rest is unnecessary.
  • Combat Accuracy, Weapons Mastery, Dagger mastery: Nope, nope, nope.

Overall: 5/1/0/0/0

Cunning/Survival

DON'T spend a category point on this. DO get points here from escort quests, if possible. We'll have plenty of Cunning for them to scale with.

  • Heightened Senses: Good to have a point in just to see traps.
  • Charm Mastery: Nah. Not for us.
  • Piercing sight: A point here is good if you get two thief escorts, but take heightened senses first.
  • Evasion: Good for others, not for us.

Overall: x/0/x/0, from escorts. Not a huge loss if you don't get em, though.

Stone Alchemy
  • Extract gems: Turn equipment you don't want (there will be a lot of it) into gems, which is ammunition and money. One of our core abilities, keep this leveled up high enough that you can extract gems from the gear that currently drops.
  • Imbue item: Adds nice gem bonuses to our gear. Makes decent gear great, and great gear amazing. Not strictly mandatory, but we have generics to spare and it's very nice. Level it along with Extract Gems to keep up with what we find.
  • Gem Portal: Escape skill that lets us instantly teleport through a solid wall. More escapes are great, but only 1 point needed.
  • Stone touch: Turns an enemy to stone, preventing them from doing much. Eventually it becomes a beam. I didn't like it, but you might. Add points to taste, or don't.

Overall: 5/5/1/x

Staff Combat
  • Channel staff: Fires energy from our staff, that ignores friendly targets. Great to do more damage while our gem bombs are on cooldown.
  • Staff mastery: Boosts combat stats when wielding staves. This DOES apply to channel staff's damage.
  • Defensive Posture: Sustain for armor/defense bonuses. We shouldn't need this, in theory, but a few points won't hurt.
  • Blunt Thrust: Smack something in the head, with a stick. I suppose this could work with stone touch, but it's still not really what we're suited for. At all.

Overall: 5/5/x/0

Escort Rewards

The main ones to look for are Celestial/Light from anorithils, and perhaps Divination for more damage and magic resistance. Indomitable will is good for automatic status effect recovery. The Cunning/Survival points from thieves are recommended, as above. If there's a reward list with absolutely nothing appealing to you, remember that you can give rewards to the golem as well.

Inscriptions

First things first, dump the manasurge rune you start with in favor of a teleport rune for escapes. As soon as possible. Our abilities are cheap and we don't need manasurge. Second on the list is a shielding rune. Priorities should be something like this:

Teleport > Shield > Heal > Wild (mental) > Movement/Heroism.

The order can be shuffled around depending on your generics (Celestial/Light has a heal and shield, for instance), but you'll want some way to cover these abilities.

Your golem will want two shields, a reflect damage rune, and then damage runes as needed (preferably frost spear, do not use acid wave).

General Levelup Plan

Category Points:

  • Lvl 10 -> Advanced Golemancy
  • Lvl 20 -> Inscription slot
  • Lvl 36 -> 2nd skill tree of your choice
  • Vial -> Inscription if you need it, fire alchemy if you don't.

Skill points:

  • 1-10 - Throw bomb, Alchemist protection (priority), Channel staff.
  • 11-20 - Alchemist protection, Staff mastery, Life tap, your chosen infusion
  • 21-30 - Explosion expert, Thick skin, other generics/racials

By this time you should have your basic toolset done and can fill in the gaps or just max what you use most, first. These aren't hard and fast rules, either.

Prodigies

Crafty Hands: This is basically Alchemist: The Prodigy. It requires 50 Dex though, so be sure to hang onto any +dex gear you can find (don't put points in it) so you can equip the dex gear, grab the prodigy, and then put your normal gear back on.

Draconic Will: Extra boost to saves, if you still need some.

Draconic Body: Helps prevent one-shot kills. Dying less is good.

Blighted Summoning: This is interesting. It gives your golem some skills from the Reaver class, which makes him hit harder in melee. They take up skill points, though, and he already doesn't have many. A very interesting choice, but probably not ideal for your first alchemist.

Worldly Knowledge: Useful to pick up a generic tree that you really wanted, but didn't get via escorts.

Miscellany

Extract Gems from everything you find. The early game cash is great to fuel dwarf racial saves, buy starting gear from town shops, and upgrade inscriptions. Later, you might be able to afford another randart from the merchant for your troubles.

Staff Command lets you change the damage type that Channel Staff uses. Usually you'll want to leave it at fire to take advantage of your infusion, but if you aren't doing much damage or are facing a lot of one type of enemy, changing damage to their weakness can save you a lot of hassle.

You can take direct control of your golem to scout ahead, but it's fairly slow and your regular body is dumb as dirt without you controlling it. Don't rely on it to save itself. You can also right click on your main character (when playing as the golem) to make it follow you closely (set leash distance), but that defeats the purpose of scouting ahead with the golem.