Not long ago, the topic of a discussion was if battlemage can be considered as a good starting class - and lets say, this status was at least disputed. So, well, it is again Battlemage time (Soldier, Arcanist).
For endgame battlemages check Build Compendium X (Forgotten Gods), for other beginners builds/guides Build Compendium X (Forgotten Gods) / Beginner build guides Compendium (for AoM + FG expansions).
Another levelling guide for a Battlemage (using a different skill) is currently in the making: [WIP] Beginner's Lazy Battlemage Diary
A Shielded Life
Since battlemage is a class with soldier, the usual levelling would be done with Forcewave. In this case, I decided to take a slightly different route. The reason was rather simple, 126.96.36.199 had come with a minor, but nevertheless important change for S&B levelling (“Milton’s Casque: increased Physical damage modifier for Blitz to 128 and added modifiers for Shield Training”). So the decision was made to level as pure S&B character from start to end to see how it feels now. And in conclusion, I would say that while the damage output is a bit lower than e.g. my pure Forcewave spammer, the character was sturdier and didn’t feel weak.
Battlemage was chosen to have a relative strong defensive character, a character who is forgiving of mistakes and is therefore relatively easy to play. However, the general principle used for levelling should apply to all other class combination with soldier. The main idea is to use Deadly Momentum to increase the damage, and other attack skills (Blitz, Movement Rune, Forcewave) together with Cadence as filler for the fights. This worked rather well, so well, that I kept this skill rotation instead of moving to the targeted final setup. And as an even stronger defense was not necessary for the content this character is intended for, Overguard was kept on long cooldown, and even shieldmaiden was not taken for the increased block recovery.
Another rather current S&B levelling guide is Blitz Krieg - A SSF, HC-Viable, New-Player-Friendly Warlord, the idea to use Deadly Momemtum to increase the punch of Blitz is e.g. already used here [188.8.131.52] Blitzer Physical Warlord: The Tank Who Hits Hard and Fast
Only self-found equipment and self-found crafting materials were used while levelling. Also, no mandates were transferred, writs were bought as soon as possible. However, all necessary blueprints were already found with earlier characters. The character was played solely in 184.108.40.206.
Grimtools of the current character. Most attribute points are invested into Cunning, points in Physics are only invested to be able to wear the gear.
[Cadence, Deadly Momentum]
Damage breakdown for the used attack:
I had some lucky drops (e.g. lots “of Supremacy”), however, even a skeleton character (skeleton = without affixes) has already overcapped resistances. Note: Some skill points are distributed differently in the final build above because of skill bonuses provided by gear.
The full campaign (softcore) with both expansions was finished in all three difficulties (Veteran, Elite, Ultimate). Monster totems were activated on sight - after cleaning the surrounding area.
All challenge dungeons were finished in Ultimate. Shard 25 was reached (without death, in one try) in the Shattered Realm in Ultimate for the additional skill points. The following nemesis were slain in Ultimate: Kubacabra, Valdaran and Kaisan (have not meet the rest).
Levelling / SkillsThe character starts as soldier and beside the standard attack uses Forcewave with cooldown as main damage source. Forcewave with cooldown has "stun target", which helps early in the game (and even later against normal enemies). In the first 20 level ups, invest 1 point into Forcewave amd 2 points in the mastery bar. Always look for a good shields with as high as possible damage. The only exception from the skill point distribution is one point invested into Blitz and Shield Training after Milton's Casque is farmed. Try to farm a rather good one as the farmed one will used until the area can be visited in elite. Also, try to get a Shambler's Heart and a suitable Mutant Bludgeon for the Forcewave bonuses. With level 20, the mastery bar should have reached 40/50. The reason for rushing the mastery bar, is to be able to take Deadly Momentum as early as possible. Use components in weapon / shield with skills to have additional attack skills available (e.g. Battered Shell and/or Chipped Claw) in this phase.
With the next level up take Cadence (1/16) and invest all points in Deadly Momentum until maxed (12/12). Deadly Momentum provides a rather large flat damage bonus which together with Shield Training physical damage bonus from Milton’s Casque is necessary to have an acceptable damage output. It is the more important node because the flat damage increases all attacks: Cadence, but also Forcewave, Blitz and the movement rune. After Deadly Momentum is maxed, invest 1 point in Fighting Form and 1 in Blindsight. followed by 1 in the Mastery Bar / 1 in Field command / 1 in Squad Tactics in the following level ups. Try to farm a Warden’s Fortress for the additional Blitz Bonus. Get a movement rune after killing Warden Krieg (I used Charge, take the one you like, but it should be one where both - weapon and shield - do damage).
Invest 1 point in the Mastery Bar / 1 in Field command / 1 in Squad Tactics until the mastery bar is maxed, than invest 1 in Overguard and start to max Menhir’s Bulwark and Decorated Soldier, while still maxing Field Command and Squad Tactics. Menhir’s Bulwark instead of Oleron’s Rage because of the damage absorption and the health regen. With reaching level 35, craft a belt +1 to all skills in soldier (first Devil’s Crossing faction belt: Devil’s Cord), after you have such a belt, invest one point in all passives (Military Conditioning, Veterancy, Scars of battle). Try to farm a new Wardens Fortress - to have a higher level version - and Mogara’s Fang as replacement for the Shambler Heart. After you have one, invest 1 point into Rending Force and 1 point into Internal Trauma.
After Menhir’s Bulwark and Decorated Soldier are maxed (and all skill mentioned above are taken) start with the Arcanist mastery, invest 1 point in the mastery bar and than start to max Inner Focus. One advantage of battlemage is that a rather high offensive ability - important for physical damage builds - can be reached without Oleron’s Rage because of Inner Focus. After Inner Focus is maxed, invest again in the Arcanist mastery bar (10/50), put one point in Iskandra’s Elemental Exchange and start to max Overload. After you have finished the base campaign, go to Elite for farm a new Milton’s Casque (and if you want: Warden’s Fortress - repeat the same later for Ultimate after finishing Elite). Afterwards, go back to veteran and finish the DLC campaigns.
After Overload is maxed, invest again in the Arcanist mastery bar (15/50), than max Maiven Sphere of Protection (another source of damage absorption, works multiplicative with Menhir’s Bulwark), followed by 1 point in Mirror of Ereoctes (emergency skill - be immortal for 3 seconds). By now, you should be able to get the Juggernaut relic, get one. It might be possible to find a better girdle (Ugdenbog Gridle), and if nothing better dropped so far, get the low level Coven Combatant’s Chestguard and Spaulders.
With the following level ups invest 1 point into the Arcanist mastery bar (until 32/50 is reached), and 1 in Blitz. After 16/16 Blitz is reached (with gear), bring Cadence to 16/16. After 32/50 in the Arcanist mastery bar is reached, invest 1 point in Conversion. Note that while levelling I have invested 1 point in both soldier WPS (Markovian’s Advantage and Zolhan’s Technique). However, I think both skill points are better invested elsewhere and both skills are no longer taken in the final level 100 build. The final skill points are invested into War Cry (12/12) and Break Moral (max), as well as Forcewave and Blitz. While for most of the levelling Forcewave was maxed, in the end, Blitz was maxed (26/26) and Forcewave was kept at 23/26. With new gear (e.g. at level 90), check the skill distribution and adjust the skills. Invest the skills points in Overguard (12/12). Farm a good Gutworm’s Mark for the Deadly Momentum bonus.
Note: I have found some rather good gear with quite some skill bonuses for relevant skills. If you have less luck and need skill points, Forcewave at 16/16 should work well enough.
Gameplay: Cadence with Deadly Momentum is used to improve the damage of our other damage skills - so don’t forget the Cadence strikes between the other skills. Cadence also works as not so bad filler attack between Blitz / Forcewave / Movement Rune. Forcewave with stun works good for large groups of low hit point enemies or healers in the second row. Blitz has the largest per hit damage, the movement rune skill provides another small nuke and allows together with Blitz a rather dynamic gameplay. Overguard and Mirror of Ereoctes are used on demand, but for most battles they are not needed - as the character is tanky.
level 10: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/a2dBq7LZ
level 20: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/YNn8RgpV
level 30: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/lV7069aZ
level 40: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/bVAXOvo2
level 50: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/vNQ4v9jZ
level 60: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/p25aD6E2
level 70: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/JVljKMxN
level 80: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/YVWwJ95V
level 90: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/dVbrJ1YV
level 100: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/DV9Eq5WV (reaching level 100)
level 100: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/pZrdqGG2 (current status)
- Crossroad Yellow
- Assassin Blade (RR)
- Remove Crossroad Yellow
- Toad (Adcth)
- Empty Throne (some early res)
- Panther (OA, crit)
- Sailors guide (blue affinity, slow res)
- Harvestman Scythe (stats, defense)
- Solemn Watcher (defense)
- Azrakaa (damage)
- Dire Bear (damage, Maul)
- Lion (yellow affinity)
- Scales of Ulcama (Adcth, RR)
- Remove Lion
- Obelisk of Menhir (armor, DA, full right side -> 5% DA + 2 from left side)
The entire devotion setup is rather defensive, with some exception in increase the damage output or have the necessary resit reduction (RR). Assassins Blade is taken early to have some RR - and it will be for a rather long time the only source of RR for this build. This is followed by devotions to boost the defence while getting the later needed affinity: Toad for its Adcth, Empty Throne for its resistance, Sailors guide for its (slow) resistance - Panther was added in between for its affinity and OA increase. Harvestman Scythe and Solemn Watcher conclude the first round of defensive devotions. Azrakaa and Dire Bear are taken for the damage increase and the procs. The last devotion points are again spend for more defensive devotion: Scales of Ulcama and Obelisk of Menhir.
Note: While the character uses a shield, Shieldmaiden or Anviel are not taken. There is no special reason for this - I just liked the above route more.
GearThis build relies on specific Monster Infrequent items right from the beginning. It is important to farm suitable version more than once. However, while levelling, acceptable ones will be good enough, as they must be exchanged later by higher level version.
head: Milton’s Casque - Blitz and physical damage, can be farmed from Milton Hart
shield: Warden’s Fortress - Blitz, can be farmed from Warden Krieg
weapon: Mutant Bludgeon - Forcewave, Fleshwarped enemies, is also sold by Hyram (Steelcap)
amulett: Shambler’s Heart - Forcewave, can be farmed from Ancient Shambler
Mogara’s Fang - +1 to all skills in Soldier, replaces Shambler’s Heart, can be farmed from Mogara
medal: Gutworm’s Mark - +3 to Deadly Momentum, can be farmed from Gutworm, the Maneater (Smuggler’s Basin)
pants: Solael-Sect Legguard - Adcth, resistances, can be farmed from Guardian of Solael
girdle: Ugdenbog Gridle - +1 to all skills in Soldier, can be replaced with Wendigo Warder Girdle
The affixes should support phyiscal damage and the used skills - in my case of of Supremacy was found and used for the +2 to Forcewave, the weapon should ideally have Relentless for the +2 to Cadence.
chest: Coven Combatant’s Chestguard - +3 to Deadly Momentum
shoulder: Malmouth Vanguard Pauldrons - +3 to Cadence and Blitz (Coven Combatant’s Spaulders can work as early replacement)
rings: Coven Storm Seal - faction physical damage rings, with bonus to DA, attack speed and +2 to Field Command
gloves: Elite Rhowari Grips - generic attack speed faction gloves, can be replaces by better random drop or craft
boots: Elite Legion Greaves - physical resistance faction boots, can be replaces by better random drop or craft
Juggernaut - +1 to all skills in Soldier, OA and proc (health regen)
Seal of Might - physical damage, resistance
Mark of the Myrmidon - shield recovery time
Living Armor - OA, resistances. increased armor absorption
Titan Plating - Reflected damage reduction
Bloodied Crystal - DA, armor
Mark of the Traveller - slow resistance
Ancient Armor Plate - Physics, increased armor absorption
Vicious Jawbone - attack speed, physical damage, cunning
Restless Remains - Adcth
What Else / What Now
Go Farming: The character is able to farm totems, challenge dungeons, nemesis and low shards in the Shattered Realm in ultimate. And well, the “natural” next stage of development would be the Bottlemage level: [220.127.116.11 - 18.104.22.168] Bottlemage - IT'S ALIVE! [c+] [sr+] or [22.214.171.124-126.96.36.199] Spin The Bottlemage (Spellscourge + Yugol's) [SR75 farmer][Celestials]