Disclaimer: So I’ve seen a lot of people asking about melee Acolyte builds. I’m not an experienced build maker in terms of min-maxing but a melee Acolyte was my first go-to with the game, and the build I’ve made seems to have no issues at all. I am still very much testing things out and leveling multiple Acolytes, so the build is not yet “complete”. I will update this guide as often as I can, and eventually I hope to have a couple of variations of skill set ups for people.
Also right now Reaper Form can give a 30% damage debuff. As far as we know this is a bug (not received confirmation from any devs, but it doesn’t affect everyone) so take that as you will. The debuff sometimes persists so if you use it at all, for the rest of your game or run you may still be affected if you get the bug like me. I have been able to confirm that it only happens per-character. My new character does not get this debuff.
So this build is a non-pet melee acolyte guide. There are other variations you could use if you wanted. It is not hard to weave different skills or passives into this build should you wish to have a pet or two.
Can do all content without breaking much of a sweat
With the right gear, damage is good enough to clear content at a good pace.
Gear dependant with damage.
Reaper Form nerfs your damage (possible bug, will update but with this build you can keep reaper form up for a VERY long time. So use with caution).
Leveling can be painful until you get decent ward gen/life leech.
Two skills missing passive trees (will update with content releases).
05/05/19 - Updated lich passive tree. Specced out of Survival of the Cruel to Clairvoyant Insight, Wraith Bringer and Necrotic Energy.
06/05/19 - Started adding in a leveling guide. Will be updated as I level my fresh Acolyte. Also updated the layout of the guide to make it less of a wall of text. It hopefully will be easier for people to read and only see the information they want to.
Quick Monolith run and showing the reaper form damage debuff: https://youtu.be/mTelxLNwYDU
When I have the time (and get a key) I will do an arena clip. I do not enjoy arena though so showing off how high it can push is not the top of my agenda. If they ever add in check points, then I’d be more persuaded to do so.
I will also consider doing a video guide when the skill trees are all released, and I also have the time to do so.
Class Passives (Current Level 62 - Out of date. Follow the leveling guide section for something a bit more up to date while I re-level.)
There’s a decent amount of leeway among the passives. You can spec more offensive or more defensively. Currently respeccing is not easily doable, so I can’t give you several examples. This current build is a good middle ground for where I am. As I level more, the passive points taken will be damage based. The survivability of this build is plenty enough and with reaper form you have a cheat death built into the build.
The Skills (Will give multiple examples of builds eventually, when respeccing is easier, or I find time to level multiple Acolytes)
You can swap out Reaper form and Aura of Decay for other skills if you wanted. Transplant is nice for getting from pack to pack faster. Soul Feast/Defile can be used if you feel you aren’t building enough ward passively when leveling. Defile is clunky to use right now so I would swap it for Soul Feast asap. Bone Golem or Skeletons can also be slipped in here if you want a more pet build. Bone Golem can be nice when leveling as it can tank for you, and the Blood Golem passive can give you some more healing if needed.
If you wanted to, you can get even more ward gen from Harvest by maxing out Mind Harvest and Mirror Soul on the left hand side. This will lose you damage, but can be a good idea when leveling.
Mark for Death passives
Mark for death has some leeway in how you spec it. Lingering Curse (bottom) and Long Gaze (Left) you can put points in as you see fit. I found only 1 point for the increased AoE was enough for a single cast to tag all mobs in my melee range. If you don’t do any poison damage by not using Aura of Decay or the poison nodes on Wandering Spirits, then you can
swap out points in Weak Constitution (Right). The fear and chill on the left hand side are not use to our build, as we are melee and want enemies to stay near us. Bone Prison (Bottom Right) could be used if you wanted to, but I wouldn’t spec too much into it. Just the 1 point to trigger it would be fine. I have not found any need for this though, as most mobs do not run away from you (just those annoying birds! Grrrr.)
Wandering Spirits passives
Wandering Spirits we mainly use for the passive ward generation. Any damage they do is a bonus. In big packs they can do a fair amount, but against a solo boss not so much. The aim is to get as many to spawn as possible, as quick as possible, and die as fast as possible. This way we have a more continued stream of ward generation. There isn’t too much you can spec differently with this skill for how we use it. If you wanted you could convert all of their damage to poison with Infectious Dead (Bottom), But as i mainly go for necrotic damage for this build, I saw the point better used elsewhere. We put a point into Spectral Putrescence (Right) and Soul of Filth just so our spirits who spawn too far out, still do some damage to enemies.
Not much to say about gear right now. You want a melee weapon, the faster the better (so I go with swords). 1H and Shield is tankier, but you can also use a 2h if you’re able to keep yourself up fine with your ward and life leech. It might be worth trying to craft for both situations and keeping it your stash to swap into during the arena if needed at higher waves.
I don’t currently have any unique items for acolyte so I can’t talk about them, and how good or bad they are for the build. I will update this section as I get items and can test them out.
Stats (not yet ordered)
Melee Damage Leeched as Life
(Still to test scaling:)
Dex (Dex does scale harvest, but as to if it’s worth it I haven’t been able to test yet. Dex you can only get via gear as an Acolyte.)
Int gives us more flat necrotic damage on harvest and also ward retention. The more Int you have the less ward retension you need to spec into on the passive tree.
Crit gives us ward because of the Darkguard passive in the Lich tree. It plays nicely with the increased crit chance in the Harvest tree.
Crit multiplier because if we’re critting anyway, might as well make them BIG.
Attack speed because the more attacks we get in, the more ward and life leech we generate.
Necrotic Damage because that’s what we do. If you decide to respec mostly for poison, then go for poison damage.
Melee Damage Leeched as Life because… well we want out damage to life leech. This helps keeps Reaper Form going and also keeps us alive against single target bosses, where ward generation is a lot lower.
These are the stats that will be useful to you. You will want a certain level of defencive ones, but how much depends on what you feel comfortable with, and what passives you have taken. I try and craft some Vit and Ele protection on gear where I can’t put any of the above damage stats. With the huge amounts of ward we can generate and our cheat death, we can get away with slightly less protection that other builds. Do not go full glass canon though. When Reaper Form drops (and it will occasionally), you will need to be able to survive without it. We have enough life leech and ward gen for this but if you completely ignore your protections the hits you may receive may be too much, especially if it’s a ranged mob that hits you, so you’re not leeching life.
I am currently leveling another acolyte now. I will update this section as I go, so it won’t be complete until I have leveled all the way. The reason for this is so I can get a good feel for what it’s like to level with this particular passive setup before i recommend it. The passive choices I take are not the do all and end all. As mentioned at the start, there’s a lot of leeway with this build.
Gear with Int on it and necrotic damage. Once you take Spectral Whetstone and Learned Weakness on Harvest start looking for more crit chance and crit damage. I personally use a 2h when leveling if I can to get through the campaign. If you feel too squish, use a 1h and shield.
Order of class passives:
Forbidden Knowledge 8/8
Blood Aura 8/8
Mania of Mortality 4/10
Crippling Insight 8/8
Wraith Bringer 1/5 (Just to unlock Reaper later. You can take this at any point.)
Grasp of Fate 5/5
Dance with Death 1/8
Mental Cacophony 5/5
Clairvoyant Insight 5/5
Ageless Ascetic 8/8
I will be updating this guide as I level and as patches come out. if you have any questions feel free to ask away here, or poke me on discord (I’m Jani in the acolyte chat). When there are more skill trees and possibly an easier way to respec passives, I will try and do a more indepth guide giving variations of the build. At some point I might try and make a video guide too, but this won’t be until at least all the skill trees are available.
This is my first ever build guide so I hope this is useful.