So while I can’t attest for others but with the current performance of the game you will be rolling with luck after a certain point. For example after wave ~150 the frame drops from the enemies can get to the point I’m no longer measure frames per second but rather seconds per frame in the worst cases. Because this often coincides with AoE effects that have a tendency to do high damage of a relatively short period you will run into waves where you die not because of your survivability, not because of your build and not because of your abilities as a player. You will die because you went from 100 to 0 with no indication of it happening in the slideshow you were watching at the time. Unfortunate but the game is basically still alpha at this point as far as software is concerned (not being feature complete typically being the difference between alpha and beta) so we can let that slide a little for now.
For actually getting to the arena waves that cause this you’ve had good advice already that I’ll build on: You want to kill monsters so we need enough damage to do this and the survivability to live long enough to do the damage.
Damage wise we can solve basically entirely from skill trees, passive trees and the odd roll on gear. So long as you can out damage any monsters with healing you’re fine so typically if something is going to be lacking let it be damage.
Survivability gets a bit more interesting because you have three main components to it:
- Health pool
Health pool is quite a simple concept but a lot of things can feed into it, this basically boils down to how big a hit you can take. It’s influenced by your maximum health, sustained ward and also your protections. Protections act more like a sudo health pool rather than actual damage reduction with ward. You can see this by sitting in town and causing yourself to gain ward, increasing your maximum health pool. As the pool increases the percentages will decrease because that percentage comes from your protection value compared to your maximum health including ward. Thus, for example, 2000 armor on my Necromancer is roughly 10% ‘reduction’ on physical damage when I start stacking ward in combat and when I purposely stack it much higher in town it becomes basically worthless due to the size of my health pool. So as you start to build a higher ‘normal’ health pool (and can sustain it) the value of protections can drop off a little.
Sustain is the next thing and this is where it can become tricky. Know how I mentioned that protections work like a sudo health pool? Well this is where that idea breaks down a bit, because you don’t need to refill them; they are basically ‘better health’ but only for their respective damage type. At 1HP no amount of protections will save you but it is easier to refill 500HP with 500 of every protection than refill 1000HP with no protections. Sustain is basically how fast you can generate your health pool when you lose it and how you mitigate running out of that health pool. This is where glancing blow, critical avoidance, health regeneration, ward generation, blocking, dodging and life leech will come into play. The general advice is:
- 100% glancing blow is mandatory.
- 100% Critical as great to have but is a lower priority initially for gearing. Hell I’ve never had well enough rolled gear to ever bother even trying to have any and it’s easy enough to break wave 100 without it.
- Match life on hit, life leech or health regeneration to your build. Are you hitting monsters constantly with high attack/cast speed? Life on hit is probably worth more to you than leech
- Blocking is great for some builds and not worth trying for others. Generally it is hard to recommend much other than if you’re playing a build/ckass that can utilise blocking well then high block chance and high block protection is your friend. Worth noting that ‘block protection’ also includes armor so you want shields with loads of that. The bases with block armor and block protections just have extra physical protection on block, usually at the cost of the general protection value.
- Dodge is an odd one. In theory it is nice to have but really it’s not reliable and hard to fit in to gear, I expect it to have more value/support/whatever when rogue becomes a thing.
- Ward is a bit like block, either you have the support in your class/chosen skills to support it or you don’t. If you don’t make use of intelligence then ward is likely not a great option due to its decaying nature and the ramp on the decay as it gets higher, making it harder to sustain high ward values.
So now we’ve got health and we can keep it topped up but we still keep dying. Well stop standing still and keep moving. Generally if you are not stopped to use a skill you should be moving. Projectiles can be dodged easily by keeping on moving; no need to track every one just keep moving in any direction other than directly away from or towards the enemy and they will probably miss. Movement speed and movement skills help with this massively. Melee suffers heavily as does channeling due to move less while taking more hits and standing still respectively so my recommendation for those two are to have one finger on the potion button and one finger on your movement skill at all times.
Piloting differs from build to build so I tried to give some general advice. This couples well with mana management. The game offers some options to help you ration mana but no good way to really flood yourself with it while also dealing respectable damage, outside of some very specific skill/skill builds. Regardless of if you rely on natural mana regeneration alone or a mix of that and some skills you will probably need to get space and/or time to regain mana. This is where the tie into piloting comes from. Get a handle on how much time you can spend fighting, either due to health or mana, and when your build need to duck out to take a breather.
This all comes much easier as you both play the build you’re using more but also spend time learning enemies. You will be able to make better decisions and focus ‘correct’ targets better as you get used to which ones need dealt with fast and how. If you’re anything like me you’ll learn by dying to them a few times and deciding you’re done with their shit next time that type comes up.
This went on way past what I planned when I started rambling so I’m not even going to pretend I proofread any of that.