HUGE thanks and much love to…:
This guide wouldn’t be half as complete if it weren’t for you lot. <3
The discussion on how-to plan devotions is an extremely complex one, especially when considering damage-conversion mechanics and for those getting the expac the introduction of even more pieces to this very dynamic puzzle.
Hopefully this guide will help less experienced players elucidate this matter so that they may dominate cairn with the righteous wrath of the Gods.
Terminology used in this guide
Affinity: any 1 of the 5 color balls you get for completing a constellation
Cost - # of affinities needed to make a constellation accessible.
Investment - No. of devotion nodes needed to complete a constellation
Return - No. of affinities a constellation provides upon completion.
Transitory constellations - Constellations which yield x returns (where 3 < x < 7)
Tier 1 constellations - Constellations you have immediate access to upon investing in a crossroad. They normally provide very good returns.
Tier 2 constellations - normally have a cost of ~10 affinities, require an investment of ~6 devotion points, and provide relatively poor returns of ~3 affinities.
Tier 3 constellations Located @ the periphery of the devotion map. They have the highest cost/investments, & yield no returns in exchange for the strongest procs.
Shit tier - Constellations no one should use. Ever.
Situational tier - Constellations which are only valuable under the right conditions
List of abbreviations
- Dual wield = DW; 1H = 1-handed weapon; 2H = 2-handed weapon
- Spear of the heavens = SotH or SoH
- Dying god = DG
- Resist reduction = RR
- Weapon damage = WD
- Aeon’s Hourglass = AH; Time dilation = TD
- Abomination/abominable might = AM
- Cooldown (reduction) = CD ®
- Crowd control = CC
- T# = Tier # constellation (e.g. T2)
- Autoattack(ers) = AA
- Attack speed = AS
- Casters = Cst
- Casting speed = CS
- Total speed = TS
*CLICK THIS IF YOU'RE A BEGINNER* - How to make devotions support themselves
What I believe to be the best approach to devotions
The best solution is to work backwards.
The way I do it is by grouping constellations according to: 1. ‘Must-haves,’ 2. ‘like-to-haves,’ 3. ‘if-possible-to-gets’
In my eyes, it is important to prioritise the acquisition of constellations in this order as it lends the theorycrafter direction in the devo-pathing process. I will further breakdown each category into different sub-groups, in descending order of what I personally believe to be important.
Of course there will be contention here, as different players like to build their characters differently.
- Constellations which grant relevant RR: These would include something like widow for a lightning/aether build. It is also worth taking a tangent to quickly discuss the different types of RR. Very simply put, -X% RR stacks fully with each other, and only with the highest source of X RR.
- Relevant tier 3’s: Generally speaking, these are often aimed at maximizing the strong points of your character, OR minimizing their flaws. For example, a 2H lightning build will have a higher base WD than a DW one, and thus I would normally prioritize getting Spear of the Heavens (SotH) over Ultos. Conversely, because all sources of flat damage are added to both weapons while DW, I would prioritize ultos over SoTH when DW.
- Cost-effective tier 1’s: Amazing tier-1’s which either provide NECESSARY procs (e.g. ghoul), or which provide amazing bonuses for their very low cost (e.g. viper, hawk, bat)
- Constellations which grant significant bonuses to stats (e.g. OA/DA, resists, etc.): Notable ones include hawk for OA and crit, solemn watcher for DA, jackal for speed, etc.
- Offensive tier 2’s: Obviously pick those which are relevant to your damage type, or which damage type can be converted to the one being used by your character
- Defensive tier 2’s: I think I’m the only crafter who adopts an all-or-nothing aspect on this front. So do take what I say here with a pinch of salt. Without going into the mechanics, and generally speaking, focusing on one stat provides exponential returns. As such, if I’m going for a shield build, I’ll always try to get 100% reduced shield recovery which can only be achieved with shield maiden. If I’m going for a CDR-based, damage absorption build, you can bet your sweet cheeks crab, and phoenix are going to find a place in my character.
- Constellation/nodes which provide CC resist (e.g. stun, slow, etc.): If you are lacking CC-resist in your items, this sub-category rockets to the top of this list. If my CC is low enough, I would even throw this under ‘must-haves.’ Some good CC res to take note of: Aeon’s 3rd node, sailor’s guide, hydra, throne, etc.
3. ‘If possible to gets’: These are things I can branch out to after completing a tier 3. For example, if I have hungering void, I might try to squeeze in the first 3 nodes of aeon for that 50% slow res, as well as the first 3 nodes of spear for aether res, and 5% OA.
Planning devotions while keeping itemization/skill point distribution in mindGD can very simply be described as a game of balance between offence and defence.
As I’ve mentioned in other threads, you need to kill fast enough to not be killed, and survive long enough to kill.
What makes the game so unique is that every character’s ‘balance point’ is different.
A spellbreaker for instance is one of the squishest class. Therefore stacking %hp bonuses, and %armor bonuses will yield relatively less benefit.
The shield wielding octavian tank on the other hand is big and beefy, but will benefit way less from things like cast speed/attack speed, and from flat physical damage.
Thus, devotions need to keep in mind the ultimate goal of your character. Continuing with our example of the Octavius tank, a good way to bolster its defences would be to stack phys res (unless excessively overcapped, stacking all forms of resistances provides incremental returns), or for it to stack damage absorption on top of overguard (e.g. obelisk, seal, etc.).
Conversely, overfocusing on its defences might cripple its offence, and you may very well need to invest in alternative sources of Internal Trauma (IT) found in your devotions.
The decision as to which you need more depends largely on your itemization/skillpoint allocation.
The classic untransmuted FW build uses a buttload of flat damage from cadence’s deadly momentum, and is therefore less in need of damage. Conversely, the heavy skill point investment which deadly momentum requires might make it difficult for you to hardcap something like overguard, or shield training. Thus, perhaps a defensive devotion setup might be of more benefit to this toon.
On the other hand, the shield-centered octavius tank with hardcapped/transmuted overguard + shield training might require external sources of DoT for it to actually kill. Here, a devotion like targo’s anvil might shine especially given the high reduction in shield recovery time.
In sum, while our octavian friend here might benefit more from taking say a %armor node than most any other class, a myopic overfocus on this WILL cripple it.
In other words, play to the advantage of your class combination/item set/skill distribution, but don’t ignore its weakness.
Some questions I ask myself:
- Is my % damage high enough?
- What is my flat damage like?
- What about my resist reduction?
- How are my resistances (including physical) looking?
- My OA/DA?
- HP pool? Armor? Armor absorption?
And after all’s said and done, test the build to see how it runs and adjust accordingly.
Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve deleted more characters than I care to admit out of sheer frustration when a simple rebalancing would’ve fixed most of its problems.
Categorisation of constellations into: 1. RR, 2. Returns, 3. Shit tier, 4. CC-res
Shit tier constellations
- Universally agreed upon as shit: Gallows, Autumn Boar, manticore
Situational constellations: Turtle, tempest, dryad, scales, affliction
i. Turtle: Useful if you have spare devotion points, and are in need of a soft circuit breaker
ii. Tempest: Only worth getting if you plan on getting only 1 T3 AND have high enough a CDR value to ensure near 100% uptime on its proc.
iii. Dryad: Only worth getting if you have spare devotion points (e.g. trade lion for dryad), or if you are tanky enough to make full use of its proc. NOTE: Dryad is extremely valuable on mega-tanky specs aimed at pushing SR 85+
iv. Scales: great source of energy sustain, should not be relied on as a means of flat RR
v. Affliction: Is actually a great retal constellation when looked at in isolation, however the opportunity cost needed to complete it is prohibitive.
CC res nodes (it’s often useful to leave the constellations incomplete):
- 2 nodes into sailor’s guide (right most node also offers 3% phys res)
- 4 nodes into hydra
- 3 nodes into aeon’s
- 1st node of Throne
- 3 nodes into scarab
- Right node of throne
- 4 nodes into obelisk
- Right node of Chariot
- 2 nodes into sailor’s guide
- 4 nodes into obelisk
- Left node of throne
A word on harp
Harp is one of my favorite tier 2’s. On a good CDR build, you can perpetually give your self a permanent 110 OA/DA + 45% slow/trap res
The 'must-have's' section for damage types
This is going to be extremely difficult to do, because (as explained above) must-haves depend largely on the direction you’re going for with your build.
What I plan to do is create a list of must-haves for generic builds adhering to a specific criteria (e.g. damage type, playstyle, etc.) and leave it to the reader to mix-'n-match.
For example, a must-have for all 2H autoattackers is kraken, and a must-have for fire damage would be solael’s witchblade. So bingo. You put 2 and 2 together.
Problems may arise when it’s impossible to squeeze in 2 must-haves from 2 different sections. This is then up to the reader’s discretion. Test the build. Decide for yourself what you need more. Contributors: Myhr2, Korsar, Rhylthar
My personal list of generic must-haves (note - this isn’t fixed as you can’t take all of them. Pick and choose accordingly)
- Sailor’s guide
- Solemn watcher
- Guardian Gaze
- Solael’s witchblade
- Elemental storm OR revenant
- Ulzuin’s torch, Blind sage (especially if supported with good conversion values), Magi OR Empyrion for defence
- Murmur, mistress of rumors
- Elemental storm OR revenant
- Try to pick any 2 of the following: Ultos, Dying God, leviathan, yuugol, Blind sage (especially if supported with good conversion values)
- Elemental storm OR Revenant
- Try to pick 2 of the following: Ultos, Blind sage (especially if supported with good conversion values), SoTH, DG, Eldritch Sun, Aeon’s for defence
- Note: If you are able to pick up flat RR outside of devotions, it is possible to snap up 3 T3’s
(DG has been proven to be better than SoTH for autoattackers…however that remains to be seen with the new aether/lightning conversions).
- SoTH + DG + Aeon’s
- Solael’s wtichblade
- Guardian Gaze
- Pick 2 of the following: Dying God, Abomination, Eldritch Sun
- Rattosh AND Dying God
- Guardian gaze if supported by high conversion values
- Wendigo is a great, albeit situational pick-up. I recommend it only for more experienced players.
- Murmur, mistress of rumors
- Bat especially if supported by high conversion values
- Classic T3 acid devotion: Yuugol + abomination +2-3 nodes into Ulzuin’s torch
- My preferred T3 acid devotion: Dying god, Eldritch Sun, Aeon’s
- Assassin’s blade
- Revenant (if lacking a source of flat RR)
- Ulzaad’s decree (especially with high CDR)
- Try to pick 2: Azraaka, OR oleron’s, OR stone matron
- Assassin’s blade
- Revenant (if lacking a source of flat RR)
- Assassin’s blade
- Revenant (If lacking a source of flat RR)
- Ulzaad’s decree (Especially with high CDR)
- Shifting sands
As with all other specs, the devotion pathing of retal specs is determined by 2 factors:
- The T3’s you wish to pick-up
- The damage type you’re using.
For the sake of simplicity, this guide will only focus on the 2 strongest retal damage types - physical retal, and acid retal.
Generally, specs focused on physical damage will want to take a devotion pathing heavy with blue/yellow/grey affinities; while acid based specs will want to take a devotion pathing revolving around red/blue/green affinities.
a. Generic Must-have T1’s (pick and choose accordingly): Hound, panther (for crit damage), scarab, wolverine, Anvil
b. T1’s with great returns: wraith, quill, toad,
c. Great T2’s: Phoenix, Targo, Messenger of War, relevant RR
d. Great T3’s: Aeon’s, Dying God, Obelisk, Fist of vire
IMO, it’s the best offensive T3 constellation for CDR based retal builds. Being able to reset both Absolution, OG, and messenger of war makes you nigh unkillable while giving you a significant damage boost. Check out YUHU if you want to see aeon’s in action.
Probably the most overlooked T3 for retal specs, DG is another phenomenal offensive option, because:
- “X% retal to attack” (RTA) based skills benefit from crit damage,
- DG gives total speed AND 720 chaos retal damage
- DG provides massive amounts of OA
IMO, it is the most overrated T3 retal constellation. While the nodes in it are phenomenal, the proc itself is extremely unreliable. I’ve tested this extensively with YUHU, and even with 100% block chance and recovery, the uptime on obelisk was far from impressive
Fist of Vire:
Another extremely potent retal constellation worth trying out. Not only does it provide a massive 22% RTA proc per second with the best trigger type in the game (X% chance on being hit), it has phenomenal nodes while also applying physical damage reduction to enemies.
'Must-haves' for the various build archetypes
I’ve been struggling to think of a way to detail out this section in an organized fashion, which can be easily understood by beginners. And I think the best way to go about this is to discuss what are the common things needed by a specific playstyle/weapon type, and where these things can be found in devotions.
This will just be a rule of thumb, and many exceptions will exist. But I think it’s a good starting point for the inexperienced player.
Obvious beneficial things like resistance, resistance reduction, % damage, etc. will be omitted.
In general, AA builds shine best with attack speed, and SLOW RESISTANCE.
The reason for this is simple - the more attacks I can squeeze within a second, the greater my DPS becomes.
For simplicity’s sake, I shall assume ‘total speed’ to be synonymous with ‘Attack speed (AS)’
T3’s with AS: DG, Azraaka, and Unknown soldier.
Non-T3’s with AS
- Jackal - its 2nd node grants 6% TS
- Ghoul - Admittedly, this AS is not something a player should rely on. I am listing it out here for the sake of being thorough.
- Kraken - A MUST for any 2H AA build.
- Lantern - only applies if using a dagger/offhand
- Blades of Nadaan - only applies if using a sword (2H or 1H swords can both benefit from nadaan. However, its armor piercing may prove detrimental for non-piercing builds)
As you can see, the easiest way to build up AS is to take a chaos-centered devotion pathing. This however makes it very difficult for physical based AAs to build up respectable amount of AS without giving up relevant %damage/flat damage constellations. This would be a good example to illustrate the necessity of balancing devotion planning with skill point distribution/itemization
Like its AA counterpart, spam casters rely on CS and SLOW RESISTANCE to shine. However, casters also need to concern themselves with energy management. If you run out of energy in the middle of a battle, you’re probably goosed.
Again, I will assume both ‘TS’ and ‘CS’ to be synonymous.
Non-T3’s with CS:
- 2 nodes in spider, Jackal
- 3 nodes into wendigo
T3’s with CS: Dying God
Can now benefit from MUHFUCKEN KRAKKEN!!! Ez 8% cast speed. Snap it up, ladies and gents.
Excellent sources of energy:
- Energy leech: Viper, 1st node of revenant, scales of ulcama
- Energy regeneration: Lantern, lotus, scythe
- Energy replenishing procs: Harp, Tree of life
- Energy cost reduction: 2 nodes into owl
CDR centred builds
CDR builds operate on a very different mechanic. The 2 masteries which give the most CDR will be the arcanist & the OK.
These builds generally focus on casting nukes (e.g. devastation), or summoning player-scaled pets (e.g. wind devils) as frequently as possible to deal damage.
The greater my CDR, the smaller the downtime of these skills. Or in other words…
The better the uptime of a proc on a CDR build, the more you’d want to include it in your build
A quick tangent - there are 3 types of CDR: X% CDR, -X seconds CDR, and X% chance for Y% CDR.
Of the 3, only the first 2 applies to the cooldown of devotion procs, and I will thus ignore the 3rd.
Essentially, X% CDR and -X CDR work very well in tandem. To illustrate why, let’s use aeon’s as an example.
Assume I have 30% CDR. Aeon’s CD of 16 seconds becomes…
(1 - 0.3) * 16s = 11.2s
Since eternity applies -1s CD every 4.5s, I can essentially shave off an additional 2s on Aeon’s making it have a 9.2s CD.
And because aeon’s -6s CD to all skills ALSO applies to devotions…
You see where I’m getting at, don’t you?
With enough CDR, it is possible to keep buffs like phoenix fire, chariot, harp, etc. up and running for perpetuity.
Note: Aeon’s proc cannot affect itself for obvious balance issues
So the possibilities with CDR is IMO limitless. Devotion pathing is thus equally impossible to naildown.
My advice here is to pick procs which best suit your needs.
Want Permascension? Aeon’s
Want damage absorption? Phoenix, crab, obelisk, etc.
Want damage? Get something like Elemental seekers, Spear, or eldritch sun. I once had SoTH have a CD of 0.54s. It was rather hilarious to see spears raining from the skies. I felt like zeus.
A beautiful reference chart for CDR done up by dashiv, and updated by Korsar:
One last thing to note here is the importance of casting speed. Because CDR-based nukers essentially function by constantly cycling through a bunch of different hardhitting attacks to maintain DPS.
Thus, SPEED is of importance here.
This is especially true given the fact that some skills have a longer casting animation than others (i.e. most notoriously, BWC). Since casting speed has an inverse relationship with the duration a skill’s casting animation, getting a high enough CS value will prevent “skill skipping” (see spoiler below for an explanation).
“Skill skipping”: When the game recognises the keystroke you’ve pressed to cast a skill, but the character still fails to use said skill.
Shield based playstyles
Ok. So before we can actually begin understanding why I’d recommend the following devotions for shield-based players, we first need to understand how shields actually work.
Shields come 3rd in what’s known as the order of defence Shields can block many sources of damage, including DoT.
There are 3 ways to increase the effectiveness of shields:
- Block recovery: After successfully blocking an attack, your shield essentially enters a ‘cooldown’ phase during which it’s basically inactive
- Block chance: This refers to how likely you are to reduce damage dealt to you
- % Damage block: Increasing this stat increases the maximum damage your shield is able to block
Of the 3, I personally believe the first is the most important. Because shields can block DoT as I’ve mentioned, even the tiniest DoT tick WILL send your shield into its ‘cooldown’ phase. This may render you shield absolutely worthless when you’re besieged by an angry nemesis.
Without going into the details, it’s best to have your block recovery reduced by 70%, OR by 100%. Anything in-between is basically no-man’s land.
Again, personally, I don’t see the point of using a shield if I’m not going to abuse the shit out of it, so I always get 100% block recovery.
With the exception of the oathkeeper’s ‘absolution’ relic, the only actual way of getting 100% shield recovery reduction is by investing in 4 things:
- Shield training + 2. Overguard
- A shield Component (e.g. mark of the myrmidon)
- Shield maiden
This brings us to our must-have’s for shields:
- Shield maiden
- Targo’s anvil
- Targo - HUGE armor bonus when it procs.
An unorthodox constellation definitely worth considering:
- Aeon’s: Aeon’s allows you to reset the cooldown of both absolution AND overguard. Allowing you to essentially chain these 2 skills back-to-back near indefinitely, thereby granting you a near-perpetual 100% block recovery without the damage reduction which accompanies ‘Markovian’s defence.’
Retaliation based playstyles
See the retal section in “The ‘Must-have’s’ section for damage types.”
Picking the right skills to bind devotions to
This is a thing I see new players (very understandably) suck at. No offence intended.
I shall break up my discussion here into the types of devotion triggers (aka. procs):
On being hit, On block
These are procs which can be bound to passive auras (e.g. Flametouched). Typically you want to bind them to a permanent aura so that these devotions have the highest chance of proccing.
A quick word on “On block” triggers - I personally find them to be rather unreliable. Unless the constellation is just that good (e.g. obelisk), or unless the affinity returns is just that great, I’d steer clear from them.
Some exceptions do exist though, and these are VERY important.
Let’s explore these exceptions with my shieldbreaker - the Blastlord.
As you can see, I’ve bound Giant’s blood (GB) to blastshield. This means that giant’s blood will ONLY proc when blastshield is active, thereby allowing me to have better control over this heal.
After all, the last thing I want is for GB to proc when I’m at 100% hp.
Next, why did I pick blastshield over resilience?
This is where it gets a little trickier, and I need to sidetrack once again to discuss cooldowns.
- Buffs like fighting spirit, blastshield, arcane will, etc. only enter cooldown AFTER the buff has ended. So, blast shield has a 5s duration, and a 12 second cooldown, effectively making it have a 17s cooldown before its next possible activation.
Additional info on CD for those interested: This cooldown is affected by %CDR, but not by Aeon’s
- All devotions enter their cooldown the very moment they are procced.
Additional info on CD for those interested: This cooldown is affected by %CDR, AND by Aeon’s
So, the moment BS is triggered, we can safely assume that behemoth will almost instantaneously trigger. So let’s walk through the timeline:
- Blastshield won’t activate for another 17s
- Behemoth won’t activate for another 25s
This means that I am garaunteed a heal every other time blastshield is activated.
Another thing I’ve done is to bind chariot to ascension. The biggest weakness of the shieldbreaker is its lack of heals. Binding chariot to ascension, effectively makes this skill a ‘bootlegged’ version of a heal.
And thus, I will only activate ascension AFTER behemoth is procced, and when I am NOT at full health.
Essentially, ascension/chariot serves as my backup source of sustain whenever GB/BS is on cooldown.
The cooldown of resilience, on the other hand, does not sync up as neatly.
So what have we learnt from this?
On-hit/on-block procs can be bound to temporary passives to allow the pilot even more control over them.
It is essential to consider BOTH the cooldown of the skill and of the devotion. Bugger this up and your procs will happen less frequently as they could. Generally, you want to bind devotion to a skill with a slightly longer CD. Ideally, of course, is to have the 2 CD’s match perfectly.
On attack, on crit procs
Generally, you want these devotions to be bound to skills you use most frequently.
However, some skills are better than others at proccing devotions.
So…how do we prioritize our bindings?
Easy. The same way we prioritize which devotions to get.
So, take for example rumor - 15% chance of acid/cold RR on attack.
Now, we want to be able to INSTANTLY apply this RR to the enemy we are attacking to more quickly amplify damage dealt to it.
So shotgun like skills here are the best thing to bind RR procs to because each projectile from shotgun skills carries with it its own independent proc chance. This rule also applies to AoE (i.e. every enemy hit by an attack a devotion is bound to can proc the devotion) Some shotgun abilities are:
- Phantasmal blades
- Ravenous earth
- Trozan Sky Shard
If that isn’t possible, we then want to bind these devotions to skills which are being used to attack the most frequently. For example:
- Any autoattack replacer (e.g. savagery)
- Wind devil with maelstrom
- Eye of Reckoning
Non-crucial offensive procs can then be bound to skills which perpetuate themselves. Take for example pox - cast it once, and it spreads like wildfire. Even corpses are able to spread pox!
If, for example, you bind bat to a skill like pox, it will still proc while you’re kiting, thereby cinching you a little more sustain.
Other examples of self-perpatuating skills include:
- Blade spirit
- Curse of Frailty
- Ill omen
As you can see, most of these “self-perpetuating” skills are actually AoE debuffs. There are 2 reasons for this:
Debuffs essentially apply a “damage tick” every second, with each tick capable of triggering the bound devotion. (NOTE: This is different from DoTs which CANNOT reapply devotions)
The AoE nature of these skills increases their reliability as devotion proccers.
Aeon’s deserves its own section. As you’ve probably noticed by now, the chance of proccing a devotion increases with the cooldown of the skill it’s bound to. I.e. Binding rumor to Ring of steel will result in a higher proc chance than say binding it to savagery.
As such, you want to bind aeon’s to a skill which will give it a 100% chance of activating so that you have PRECISE control over your -6s CD reduction. You also want this to be a skill you do NOT typically use (i.e. a skill used for the sole purpose of activating aeon’s).
Some examples are:
- Transmuted callidor’s tempest
- Horn of Gandarr
- Reap spirit
WPS as proc triggers
WPS are skills which have the following tagged to their tooltip description , ‘Can activate with all default weapon attacks.’
WPS are generally shitty at proccing devotions. Don’t use them.
There are some exceptions (e.g. shotgun WPS like jaxxon’s or storm spread), but I think they’re too detailed, too complicated, and too rare to warrant an explanation.
Pets by @Sigatrev
@sigatrev: The link to your guide is dead - mind PM’ing me a working link so I can include it into the guide?
This thing took fucking forever to finish writing.
But I’m sure it’ll be of benefit to the many new players who are trickling in from lesser RPGs like PoE
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them in the thread.