Archer (Slinger) 1.0.4

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Guide

You want to move, shoot and especially kill faster than your opponents. You want to shoot faster than your shadow, loosing 10 shots where your opponents loose 1. You want to exact biblical punishments on your enemies.

Racial Choices

  • Cornac – 1/5 - As an archer, you don't really need that many category points, and you have generics to spare, so why would you play Cornac?
  • Higher – 1/5 - You won't have the willpower for the scaling regen, you don't really need arcane resistance, and you won't have stamina problems. So - no.
  • Shalore – 5/5 - That's what I went with. The first talent, Grace of the Eternal, is amazing, especially coupled with your insane attack speed. 10% Crit from the second talent are superb as well. I didn't use the third talent, but I suppose it might be strong as well. Timeless sustains your speed boosts, and more importantly, gets rid of status effects, which you'll have a lot of due to relatively bad saves. The low hp are certainly a drawback, but one you can (hopefully) live with.
    • Skill point allocation: 1/5/1/5. You don't need to lower the cooldown of the first skill, since you can just rest after everything is dead, or pop Blinding Strikes if there are survivors.
  • Thalore – 4/5 - You won't have any willpower to let their talents scale, but they're still great, especially the disease immunity and resistances, which will help a lot with the final fight (which pretty much should be your only real hurdle). They might even be 5/5 - I'd have to try them.
  • Halfling – 3/5 - You'll be critting pretty much always anyway, so Luck of the Little Folk is mainly a bonus to saves. You don't really need evasion, since you won't spend much time getting hit by physical attacks. Getting rid of stuns and the additional saves and HP are nice, though. The starting stats are perfect as well.
  • Dwarf – 2/5 - Power is money is, obviously, very nice. Apart from that, only Stone Walk really shines, making Dwarves a less than optimal choice.
  • Yeek – 2/5 - The global speed is plain brilliant. Everything else - not so much. And we really don't want to be THAT squishy.
  • Skeleton – 3/5 - The racials are nice, though more suited for a bow-using archer. Still a decent choice, I guess.
  • Ghoul – 1/5 - Errr, no? You want speed, they have a speed penalty. 'nough said.


Attributes

For maximum fun: Dexterity and Cunning until they are both maxed out, then constitution. You want and need the damage and the crit rate.

You might start on constitution a bit earlier, though, and keep Con-boosting items to get Thick Hide earlier.


Class Talents

Archery-Bows (class, 1.3 mastery)

You're using a sling. Zero points here.


Archery-Slings (class, 1.3 mastery)

  • Sling Mastery - 5/5
  • Eye Shot - 1/5 or more
  • Inertia Shot - 1/5
  • Multishot - 0/5 or 4/5

Sling Mastery is your most important skill. Period. It boosts all your damage.

Eye Shot is brilliant. Get it early, use it a lot, improve it when you have spare points.

Inertia Shot is nice, but works fine with just one point afaik.

Multishot's damage can be nice, but it costs a lot of stamina, requires 4 points to be effective (which you won't have until late game), and (as far as I can tell) hits only 3 times despite claiming to hit 4 times.


Archery Training (class, 1.3 mastery)

  • Steady Shot - 3/5 or more
  • Aim - 1/5
  • Rapid Shot - 5/5
  • Relaxed Shot - 1/5 or more

Steady Shot is your main attack skill. It has a low cooldown and does a lot of damage.

Aim and Rapid Shot are mutually exclusive, and you're going for Rapid Shot.

Rapid Shot is just brilliant. Sure, you do lose quite a bit of damage, but the attack speed makes up for it. Believe me.

Relaxed Shot can be delayed until you start experiencing stamina problems in longer fights (that is, until you start having longer fights :D - bone giants, I'm looking at you).


Archery Prowess (class, 1.3 mastery)

  • Flare - 3/5 or more
  • Crippling Shot - 3/5
  • Pinning Shot - 1/5 or more
  • Scatter Shot - 5/5

They're all brilliant. A few explanatons: Flare damages only your main target, but blinds in an area starting at level 3. Which is why I suggest investing at least the extra two points to get to that level.

Crippling Shot is amazing. The slow works on everything including bosses, and with a 40% global slow, Grace of the Eternal (or Blinding Speed) and Rapid Shot, you're getting out 6-7 shots for every action of theirs. 3/5 is enough though, since Crippling shot is capped at 40% and scales with Dexterity, making you reach that 40% with a mere 3 points.

Pinning Shot trivialises melee bosses. You might get by with one point, though, considering those 2 turns of pinned are ±8 shots for you, and you still have inertia shot. If not, invest some more points.

Scatter Shot is your only area attack, and is brilliant. It uses smite-targeting (that is, the "projectile" always hits the target square regardless of any enemies it might encounter on the way), hits whole vault rooms and stuns. What more could you want?


Combat Techniques (class, 0.9 mastery, locked)

  • Rush - 1/5
  • Precise Strikes - 5/5
  • Perfect Strike - 1/5 or more
  • Blinding Speed - 5/5

Leave Rush to those who can't handle a sling.

Precise Strikes is very nice. Sure, it decreases your attack speed somewhat, but it adds a lot of crit and accuracy.

You won't usually need Perfect Strike, but might want to use it if you encounter rares combining, say, Shield Wall and Setup.

Blinding Speed is absolutely essential for this build on everything but Shalore, and still great on those. 40% global speed on demand, without using a turn? What's not to like?


Combat Veteran (class, 0.9 mastery)

  • Quick Recovery - 1/5 or more
  • Fast Metabolism - 1/5
  • Spell Shield - 5/5
  • Unending Frenzy - 0/5

Get Quick Recovery as you need it. I was perfectly fine with just 2 points in it.

Spell Shield should be maxed, since we really need to get at least some saves high enough to matter.

Unending Frenzy is useless for this build. If you have stamina problems, you're usually facing a single tough mob such as a bone golem or bulwark rare.


Dirty Fighting (class, 1.0 mastery, locked)

  • Dirty Fighting - 0/5 or 1/5
  • Backstab - 0/5 or 5/5
  • Switch Place - 0/5
  • Cripple - 0/5

Get Backstab if you're really desperate for crit. Otherwise, ignore the tree. Why exactly do archers get it in the first place?


Generics

Field Control (generic, 1.0 mastery)

  • Disengage - 1/5 or more
  • Track - 1/5 or more
  • Heave - 1/5 or more
  • Slow Motion - 0/5 or more

All good skills for this build, really. Get Slow Motion for matrix-style missile dodging. It's actually pretty good.

Disengage and Heave will save your life. I left them at 1, though.

Track is useful if enemies blink around corners or you get fearscaped.


Combat Training (generic, 1.3 mastery)

  • Thick Skin - 5/5
  • Armour Training - 5/5
  • Combat Accuracy - 5/5
  • Weapons Mastery - 0/5
  • Dagger Mastery - 0/5

Thick Skin should be maxed on pretty much every character. You can comfortably delay Armour Training, but you will want to have it by the time you reach High Peak, if only for the Crit reduction.


Survival (generic, 1.0 mastery)

  • Heightened Senses - 5/5 or less
  • Charm Mastery - 1/5
  • Piercing Sight - 1/5
  • Evasion - 0/5 or more

You should always be able to see enemies the moment they come into sling range, if not earlier. Heightened Senses does that for you. Piercing Sight is fine at just one point. I never got Evasion, you might if you find yourself in melee more often.


Escorts

  • Thieves are basically free generic points. Use those to get piercing sight, if you can, especially if you don't plan on getting Evasion.
  • Warriors are more or less useless. Get Vitality, I guess.
  • Temporal Explorers are somewhat decent - either get Precognition or Spin Fate. I suggest Spin Fate.
  • Alchemists are actually nice - you do have the generics to spare, so get Gem Magic.
  • Anorithils are nice for Chant of Fortitude, which is great, and Paladins can give you access to the light tree, if you don't use the cat point for Gem Magic.

Providence would certainly help this build.

  • Get Premonition from Seers. It's fantastic.
  • As for Sages, I really don't know what to get from them. Might just get stats.


Infusions

  • Shielding
  • Shielding
  • Regeneration
  • Wild
  • Teleportation

Get a teleportation rune as fast as possible. For you, going away, then coming back from another angle and with a lot of distance between yourself and your enemies is almost always the best approach to sticky situations. And due to your high speed and decent mobility, you can usually handle whatever you teleport into.

Shielding runes don't blow turns and effectively give you a larger hp pool when popped at full health (thus helping to prevent instagib), so they're perfect for this build.

You will want a second wild infusion until you get Timeless. You probably won't need it though after you get to the east and get Relentless Pursuit.


Prodigies

  • Vital Shot. :!: It's very, very good, especially coupled with Crippling Shot. Those two combined make a shootout hilarious - you'll get off something like 13-16 shots for every one of theirs.
  • Elemental Surge might be nice if you have a sling with damage conversions.
  • Crafty Hands is very nice for this characters, as you have the generics to spare.
  • If you don't go Shaloren, you might consider going Antimagic and get Windtouched Speed.


Equipment

Look for Global Speed, Movement Speed, Critical Hit Chance, Critical Multiplier and Damage. Flat HP bonuses are great early on, but less important later on as you slowly get a decent amount of HP yourself.

You'll probably want to wear a dagger with nice "when wielded/worn"-stats in your offhand. You might also consider wearing a shield if you find a really good one, just for the defensive stats it might offer. Don't bother blocking, though.

As for your weapon, a high range is very important. As for your shots, their most important feature is a large ammo capacity, followed by damage and useful on-hit or on-crit abilities (since you will be hitting and critting a lot, making 20% chances really, really huge).

During the lategame, preferably before doing Vor Pride, you should start stacking resists, and preferably get immune to stuns before the final fight.


Talent Order

Get your active skills to at least 1, Crippling Shot to 3 and Sling Mastery to 5 before you start maxing rapid shot. You might want to spend an early point in aim, though, since it's really strong in the first few dungeons to toggle when shooting at, say, an advancing Bill.

Spend your first and second category points on infusion slots, and use the third to unlock Combat Techniques.


Early Game Advice

If you started out as a Shaloren, here are a few hints to survive the first dungeon.

  1. Whenever you see a crystal, pop your shield and Grace of the Eternals.
  2. You can dodge their projectiles. Do it.
  3. Heal after every fight.
  4. As for the boss, try to flee when you get low, heal up and come back. That's what your phase door rune is for.

In general, elemental damage on shots or weapon is very strong early on (most other elemental damage is melee only, unfortunately).


How to Play

Use and abuse your speed. Whenever something looks dangerous, pop a speed buff and a shield, cripple it, fire a Vital Shot if it's really, really tough or dangerous, maybe blind it for good measure, and start the biblical punishments.

Against multiple enemies, pop the speed buff and shield, stun them, and alternate standard shots and Steady Shot until everything is dead.

When a projectile approaches, dodge it. When someone gets into melee range, disengage or heave.

When things get rough, teleport.


Problems

There are a few things that can really spoil the fun:

  1. Lots of bad status effects. (usually not so bad, unless they come from enemies that also take ages to kill, like the final bosses, so Timeless and Relentless Pursuit will be on cooldown when they stun you yet again). If you go for gems, you might consider gemming for stun immunity.
  2. Shadows and people that summon them. They can kill you fast. Kill them faster. If you have more than one shadow adjacent, port away.
  3. Instant casts. Those can really ruin your day, since you ARE relatively squishy and sort of rely on your enemies not getting out more than one spell at a time (and usually not more than one spell at all, if that). Pop a shield if you expect instant casts. Actually, just pop a shield at the start of every fight if you can.