Glad to see I’m not the only one enjoying the suffering that is H/S/M.
I’ve decided to layer another level of complexity on the experience, because, lets face it, too hard is not hard enough. I’m currently (trying) to level one of each class. I’ll try to keep them advanced to roughly the same level, which means I’ll end up (re)playing the ‘harder’ classes a lot more.
I’m telling myself this is so I can give class-focused feedback to the devs. Yeah, that’s the reason. It’s not just so I can die, again and again, in a bunch of different ways, when I forget which class I’m playing, or that, yes, on my acolyte that key would have summoned a golem into the middle of that horde of void leeches, but on the primalist, which I’m currently playing, that same key just jumps me into the middle of them, does next to no damage, and leaves me only one way out…
I’ve now got everyone safely through the tutorial levels and into the council chambers. With a varying degree of gear. My latest, very-recently deceased primalist found 3 uniques in his short life. Others have nothing better than some blues. RNG is a big factor in how well things turn out. I’ve replayed the tutorial levels so many times that I can - mostly - be sure I can get through them on any class. Mostly. Venturing out into the archives has been a learning experience, though.
So here’s the scores so far:
(I should explain - in playing and replaying the intro levels, and working out which of the very low-level skills work in HSM, and which don’t, and during frequent breaks to lament the loss of another character, I’ve started imagining that the classes are actually members of a good old-fashioned adventuring party. The time-travel shenanigans means that they’ve all been split up into different timelines, and they’re pushing on in the hope that they’ll meet up with each other at some point.
Hey, adding a bit of pointless narrative helps me cope, ok?
So they’ve got names, and I’ve appended a number to each of them to record how many times they’ve died to get to where they are… )
Acolyte - Ula Fey the Third
Currently feeling all smug-ass about being level 10. Chilling in the council chambers after running through the first levels of the archive. Got to the council chambers without too much difficulty, but then forgot - a couple of times - that stepping in the big glowy symbols, or standing in the path of purple stuff, isn’t good for ones’ health.
She’s learned that:
rip blood will get you through the first bunch of skullen. Engaging from extreme range is a good idea, as it gives you some time to deal damage before they get into range. The self-heal that comes with it, small as it is, also helps enormously.
Once you have skeletons, advance cautiously, hit whatever groups you see with Mark for Death, and send the skellies in to do the dirty work. Don’t wait for them to die before you resummon them - let them get to about half health, then just resummon them in the middle of the dogpile. You can use the ‘A’ key to attack, or just summon them on top of the mobs. Currently running with two warriors, two mages. Because any more advanced ‘build options’ are many levels away… Oh, and ‘display healthbars’ in the options menu is your new best friend.
Some mobs will still get through, or go around. Rip blood may kill them before they get to you, or keep you alive whilst they die. Or you can always run away, summoning skellies as you go. (the ability to summon new skellies to ‘bring back’ those that have run off to aggro distant mobs is one of the things that makes Acolyte a lot easier than Primalist)
Casters like the Archivists will target you with cold spells even whilst your skeletons are right in their faces stabbing them. Just keep watching the ground for the tells, and move. Don’t think you can tank those hits. You really can’t. Or if you do, that’ll be the point where all your skellies die and you’re left pretty much defenceless.
Getting the Golem at level 10 is a game changer. But don’t get over-confident. Or even ‘a tiny bit confident’. Or it’ll change the game to ‘game over’
Primalist - Arbain Bearwood the Third
After a positive start, he’s now back at the beginning wondering what the hell just happened. Had got to level 9, before being caught standing in a glowy-sigil in the archive. Looks like a pattern is emerging, doesn’t it?
He’s learned that:
One wolf isn’t as good as a practically infinite supply of accurately summonable skeletons, but it’s heaps better than zero wolves. Sic him onto the skullen, use the howl ability off cooldown, and just dodge/kite any that get past him till he can come back and finish them off for you. When he comes back. If he comes back. I’m sure he’ll come back eventually. Are we even sure it’s a wolf? Because it’s acting a lot like a beagle in a field full of interesting scent trails…
Thorn totems work ok as short-lived deployable DPS, which can be used at range and pull mobs together and distract them, whilst your wolf does its thing. Running out of mana becomes a possibility, though. It’s not a particularly exciting way to play, but it keeps you alive.
Getting a click-heal at level 5 helps a lot. Keeping that wolf alive is key to keeping yourself out of combat, and hence alive.
Fury leap is cool, and all, but wait till the wolf’s done most of the work, then just jump in to take the glory.
Don’t confuse the ‘deploy thorn totem’ button and the ‘fury leap’ button. Although it does make for some desperate comedy moments.
His job in the early pitched battles - the bird-guys before you get the shard, or all the voidforms attacking Erza just before the council chambers - is just to stay alive and drop totems. Let them and the wolf kill everything, whilst you run away. It’ll work, eventually. Pretty much every variation of ‘stand and fight like a man’ won’t.
Mage - Ellyn Llewellyn the Second
Level 7, and was badly in need of a sit-down and a cup of tea and a biscuit by the time he got to the council chambers.
Minions? Who needs minions? Well…everyone, really, in this mode. Absence of some kind of meat-shield makes things a lot harder. I’ve found mage to be one of the trickiest to get through the very early section, as just having lightning bolt means that you need to run away from the groups of skullen, pausing occasionally to blast the nearest one, until they’re down to a manageable number.
Once you have electric orb you’ve got a bit of crowd control - as long as you can aim it accurately enough. The level of pull that it exerts seems to be quite variable, but it is enough to keep the bears off you long enough to blast them with lightning. Snap Freeze is even better.
He’s learned that:
Discretion can be the better part of valour. There are a pair of Osprix warriors in a narrow section of the map just before the Osprix boss-fight. I ended up leaving them alone, as I couldn’t find any way to avoid being cremated by their fire attacks in the narrow area. Every variation of pulling them then running for more open ground had the same problem. Easier to just not start the fight in the first place, since there’s no real need to.
Pitched battles - especially the Osprix boss - are a real pain when you have no survivability and no source of fire-and-forget DPS. I was kiting in circles using the nova skill, trying to keep enough distance to avoid being damaged by the Osprix but still keep them in the damage range of the aura. And then the same with the Osprix boss. It took about 3 minutes just to wear his health down, which is probably the best contrast to ‘normal’ modes that I can give as an example.
If you’re going to spend a lot of time running away, anything that adds movement speed is useful. Also, at this point, anything that adds dodge. Survivability currently trumps damage.
Sentinel - Robert Hopliss the Second
Honestly, if I was counting every attempt it’d be more like “the seventh” by now.
“Hopeless Bob” finally got over his inability to survive Skullen, and is level 7 and looking like he might yet be a contender for the title of “not as useless as I thought”
Things he’s learned:
the combination of small hitboxes on Skullen, and a need to precisely point for the basic attack to hit said Skullen, makes the first level exponentially more frustrating than the other classes. Once you realise that’s the problem, though, you can kite them out into a long line and smack them down one at a time.
Once you have Hammer throw, it’ll feel like it’s going to be plain sailing.
Once you think it’s become plain sailing, it becomes Game Over.
Stun combines well with hammer throw.
Warpath gives you a means of doing damage during the pitched battles - so long as you’re careful, and also spend time running to let your health recover.
Use your potions now. No point ‘saving them for later’ if there isn’t going to be a later.
So Sentinel has gone from feeling like it’s going to be impossible at level 1, to maybe, possibly, feeling like it may be quite well suited to HSM. Time (and multiple deaths) will tell.
Rogue - Stabitha Pantsblossom the Nothingth.
Currently in a state of non-existence, presumably in some hypothetical time-limbo where she is sharpening her daggers, waxing her bowstring and trying not to sit in the Falcon-poop.
And EVERYONE has learned that anything with the ‘regenerates health’ property is an absolute pain in HSM at low levels.
As a complete change of pace, and to avoid the likelihood of ending up completely burned out, I also started a normal, SC game. After hours of HSM, it’s brilliant - you really do feel absolutely godlike, and it’s a recommended relief.
Just…don’t forget which one you’re playing, ok? And don’t play the SC one first, it really isn’t easy to manage the change of pace back to HSM…