Through over 1,000 hours of playtime, I have not once done HC. The thought of losing days of gametime due to a borked damage spike chills me. With my experience with buildmaking and understanding how to handle threats, I decided to try it out, and since HC has a different stash from SC, I will be starting with nothing. This is for those who are very new to the game and know practically nothing about it. I will chronicle my leveling experience with the important quests to do, figuring out how to gear to handle different situations, and how to ensure you have what you need to beat the story content.
This thread is meant to be as self-sufficient for answering questions as possible, but if you have an insatiable appetite for information, Ulvar1’s beginner build compendium is an excellent compilation of mechanics guides and new player information. Also check out RektbyProtoss’ Video Guide for Leveling Any Class
This may be obvious, but since I’m playing an Oathkeeper character, you will need both GD expansions to play this particular character. My job is to ensure my character stays alive and able to farm Totems / Rogue Dungeons for Legendary gear for other characters. I will chronicle farming routes, faction items to grab, pre-target grind, post-target grind, and ways to keep your component stash full so you can grind for your character and future characters to come.
Level 100 Goal - Faction + Farmable Items
This is the culmination of my target-farmable and faction items, and this is a good sense of what to aim for to reasonably have a chance in most content. This is what I have used to farm Totems and MI’s to gain as much currency, Legendary items, and blueprints for other characters as possible.
If you are worried about the Epic items in the build, I’ve found at least 2 of each of the Runic Bracers, Legplates of Valor, and Mythical Final March, so they aren’t terribly difficult to find. By the time you reach Ultimate, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to farm Totems for Epics and Legendaries, and all of these slots have crafted alternatives you can create. Just make sure to reach for the stats I have in my Grimtools and make sure your resistances are overcapped.
As the title suggests, I will be playing a Shield Caster Sentinel. I have personal experience playing a Voidsoul’s Set Sentinel and it has an incredible amount of sustain and resilience; exactly what you need for a HC character. It is, however, just one of the many sets out there, and Shield Sentinel has other powerful builds as well. Depending on how the RNG rolls play out, a player can get pieces of the Sentinel of the Three retaliation set by Mad_Lee, or Radaggan’s Acid Sigils by Valinov, which can throw down a ridiculous amount of Sigils with long-lasting duration. All three of these builds are capable of their own right, but require very specific end-game items to accomplish it.
Mad_Lee’s Retaliation Sentinel
Valinov’s Acid Sigils Sentinel - Doesn’t have its own thread, but video performance is found here.
Nery’s Virtue Set Sentinel - Uses the mono-Oathkeeper set Virtue’s Light, which focuses on Aegis of Menhir
Equipment Progression from 1 to 100
Anyone who’s experienced with ARPG’s will know that every build is a balancing act between getting enough offense and enough resistances to keep yourself alive. The Devotion system - for the most part - will provide a lot of offensive stats, and your skills will provide a mix of offense and defense. Occultist’s Aspect of the Guardian provides Physical Resistance - the most useful resistance in the game - and enough Poison and Acid Resistance that you don’t have to focus your gear on providing it.
Since you’ll target farm the more offensive items, here’s where I’d focus on the defensive measures for the rest of the gear: Resistances (particularly Physical Resistance), Health, Armor, DA, OA. OA will be largely covered by your classes, as both Blood of Dreeg and Presence of Virtue come baked with flat OA. DA is this game’s version of Crit Avoidance; unlike other games, there’s not much of a serious penalty for getting Crit as long as your resistances and Armor maximized.
Offensive Gearing: Both the Korvan Helm & Obsidian Defender provide an additional 100% bonus to Vitality and Chaos damage, respectively, as long as you have Solael’s Witchfire buff active. This is huge buff in early-mid game and is far better than the gear you get in faction shops. The weapon slot has the potential for the most offensive stats, getting up to 250% damage when you run through Elite. Thankfully, the weapon is easily farmable in a single zone.
I also have to mention damage conversion here. Both Sigil of Consumption and Aegis of Menhir have a base Fire component to it, and we’re not going to be grabbing a lot of Fire damage, making this damage useless. However, multiple Unique gearing has ways to convert that Fire damage into a damage type that we use. The way I shoot for in my build is target-farming a boss in AoM content and a group of monsters in FG content to get roughly 80% Elemental to Vitality conversion. This is something to shoot for in Elite since simply maximizing your main attacking skills are enough to kill things quickly in Normal.
Defensive Gearing: Gear where you don’t have a lot of viable offensive options you can use instead to pad your resistances and secondary stats like OA, DA and 3rd-page resistances. In this slot we’re referring to pants, gloves, and boots. You are hoping to get Magic affixes like Resistant and Impervious which can give 20-30% to two different damage types. Additionally, the higher level you get, the higher Armor value it is likely to be, and you need all the Armor you can get for more hard-hitting Champion enemies like Flesh Hulks.
Make sure you place components in every equipment you want to use. If you’re worried about component management, you can go to the Inventor and tell her to salvage your component when you have an equipment upgrade. This is especially important when you create Rare components that require multiple hard-to-find materials. Some slots don’t have a lot of viable options; rings you want to use the Frozen Heart since they provide valuable Freeze resistance. Amulet + Medal slots can use the Wardstone since it provides Elemental & Bleeding Resistance as well as Running Speed (invaluable until you get your medal Augment + Vire’s Might combo), or you can use the combination of Aether Soul + Black Tallow to get DA + Aether and Chaos resistance. Belts can use Molten Skin or Rigid Shell for Fire/Lightning Resistance to match the Cold resistance from the Frozen Hearts on the rings. Shoulders use the Resistant Plating for extra Pierce resistance. You want 2 Scaled Hides - one in the Chest and the other in the pants - to get the most out of your Armor.
Vendor Gear: If you are raising money for crafting, then focus on selling jewelry & belts. They are worth more than standard equipment and take up much less room in your inventory. The great thing about jewelry is that unlike equipment, they do not contribute to Armor values, so if you get a particularly great combination of resistances in an early-level ring, you can keep that for 10-20 levels and sell anything that doesn’t provide much use to your build, even if it’s a higher level than what you have.
Why choose this over Sigils Conjurer?
RektbyProtoss already has a good video series on leveling a Vitality Conjurer using Dark One’s Set and the same Shield for Sigils. Dark One’s farming involves running a Secret quest that takes you to the end of Ultimate AoM Content. Fighting Kuba is very difficult if you’re in the transition period between getting your regular gear fitted out and Dark One’s, and I wanted something that was comfortable for players 100% through the journey.
Shaman provides much more RR, especially in the beginning of the game before you reach Summon Guardian of Empiryon, but Oathkeeper has Presence of Virtue for more OA and Energy Regen, a second AoE skill with Aegis of Menhir, but most importantly: much better movement with Vire’s Might. With the second node for fire spread, Vire’s Might is also a very nice devotion proccer. The extra mobility definitely pays off when you face off against tougher enemies, and having Doom Bolt + Aegis as backup skills means that you’re not totally screwed if you can’t keep your enemy inside the Sigils.
Nery also has a beginner’s Acid Sentinel, but that also uses the Dark One’s Set and the guide was created at the very start of FG, well before the advent of Monster Totems and better targeted farming areas. Plus it uses an off-hand and you want to use a Shield.
The other Sentinel build I’ve seen is Udar’s Sentinel, which starts as an Acid Aegis Retaliation build here: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/qNY45xlZ then farms ultimate Rogue Dungeons for the Vanquisher’s Set. Unfortunately, Acid Aegis of Menhir doesn’t have much faction & MI support, which means you’re largely stuck until you get the Mythical Perdition set. Farming full sets - even Epic sets - are a pain to do in terms of time investment, and even blue sets require 120,000 iron bits if you want to transmute a duplicate part of the set to another. However, it’s good to see how a build transitions from one type to another once you get the necessary gear, so I recommend reading that guide.
I have roughly ten posts worth of notes in my build journal, so please be patient as I organize everything into a readable format. Also, if anyone is playing legit HC and needs Legendary or Epic Set items, I would be glad to give my Stash away using my Steam name @thepowerofmediocrity. I’m not entirely sure how to get my Stash into text format - I’m pretty sure that involves GDStash.
Table of Contents:
- Level 1-20 and killing Warden Krieg - Normal
- Level 20-40 and killing Log - Normal
- Level 40-50 and AoM Content on Normal
- Level 50-65: FG Content on Normal (not all of it) & Base Game Elite
- Level 65-85, AoM + FG in Elite while Grinding for Revered Faction
- Level 85-90 & Getting Revered Faction Equipment
- Level 95-100 and Final Farming Routes for MI’s
- Fighting Ultimate Mad Queen, Kuba, & Grava