Leveling Skill Viability Discussion

Correct. It’s been mentioned by Zantai that the Dawnshard items were intended for different skills or playstyles, which is why they’re not a full item set. However they can still be used together in an illusion.

Besides what Norzan said, every mastery has one or two stand-out damage types in it that don’t make sense or aren’t supported by the mastery itself. It’s to hint at synergies with other masteries. What if you paired that Chaos using Nightblade with Occultist for example?

That’s for new players to explore and figure out for themselves. Transmuters already do a pretty good job at providing options for conversion in abilities. There are several Monster Infrequents that players will pick up over time as well that also open up more doors.

Conversion needs to be on items in some form. Every option for conversion on every skill that we have now can’t all be contained within the masteries else we wouldn’t have enough space in the mastery tree to contain all of the nodes.

A Pyromancer that isn’t investing 16-12 in Blood of Dreeg is not what I’d consider a Pyromancer that should be balanced around. Like it or not, certain masteries have certain skills that invariably ought to be invested in 100% of the time.

Most masteries have some sort of panic heal/mitigation. In fact, the only one that lacks such a thing is Shaman, but Shaman has among the strongest general sustain in the game with Wendigo Totem.

To be able to be used in different ways on different characters for different builds. As @Evil_Baka pointed out, not everything in anything is likely to be used by any given thing.

Alternatively, this can serve as a means of balancing where Conversion is concerned. Certain conversions for certain playstyles may be easier or harder to build up than others (Chaos -> Vitality vs Chaos -> Pierce, for instance).

I cant respond to both of you because its getting very detailed and my point is being lost.

I am not talking about super endgame. I am talking from the point of an average player. As I hinted before when bringing up Phantasmal Blades I am sure all the things I pointed out can somehow be explained well and all but it usually relies on some really special items that many players will never even see. The question was how to make some underplayed classes more playable and accessible and thats my thoughts on it.

Not necessarily. I mentioned above that players can use Infrequents that they pick up while levelling. Faction items can also be used fairly well too.

I’ve not tested it but here is an example of a completely faction, Monster Infrequent and guaranteed pick up Phantasmal Blades character that I put a link together for about half a year ago.

As far as converting Phantasmal Blade’s damage goes, the belt and shoulders can be found while levelling. The weapons can be bought late game from a faction vendor.

Would a new player know about these items ahead of time? No. Should they? It would help but no, some people would rather discover these items on their own.


Clearly I am not getting my point accross so I try one last time:

  1. Phantasmal Blades
    I understand that there are items that convert some of their dmg types. I never argued against that nor did I say that is bad. I think it’s bad when an ability wouldnt work properly without very specific conversion items. Its not about how hard it is to get but the very fact that some skills are barely viable without them unlike most other skills in the game.

  2. Endgame
    Honestly I dont care about endgame and specifically said I would not consider it in my write-up because what is considered endgame here is so far out for most players. Just look at the Steam Achievements. For EXAMPLE Ravager was defeated by 1.2% of the players who have the game on steam. The question was to make certain builds more viable and accessible and the starting point for that cant be endgame setups created through theoriecrafting and excessive grinding. I am coming from the point of view of a player who just wants to roll out a fun build and play through the game with it.

  3. Chaos Combos
    My point is that Chaos-dmg is harder to access than lets say an Elemental or a Vitality build because those types are attached to what feels like 80% of all items whereas other combos are hard to even get full and proper setup in a selffound run. Saying for example Pyromancer shouldnt be allowed to exist without investing into suboptimal abilites, something other mastery-combos dont have to do, is just weird to me. “It is what it is” shouldnt be the answer to “what can we improve”.

Ravager isn’t endgame when even some builds that can beat high end SR and 170 Crucible in under 6 minutes can’t kill him.

Not really? I have leveled self found with chaos builds and had no issues getting gear. Faction gear has support for a wide variety of builds, so all you really need is to get reputation to unlock it.

Which skills are those?

Thing about pre-endgame is that not only is virtually everything already viable, having mixed damage types on skills is really not that big of a deal at all.

In fact, such damage mixes are deliberate to give a skill a bump in the leveling phase without scaling out of control for endgame while also providing creative solutions to building around a skill with endgame gear.

Going back again to my earlier points, it’s very easy to fall into the pitfall of everything needing to be exactly equal when looked in a vacuum.

Chaos is an exotic damage type, this is deliberate. It’s literally wielding the power of the enemies of creation. It’s perfectly ok for some builds to be harder to play/create than others. That doesn’t make Chaos unviable in the leveling phase.


If anything, Phantasmal Blades is absolutely ridiculous during leveling because of the shotgun potential and heal from Heart Seeker. It’s one of the best skills for leveling.

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If I recall right there used to at least one build centered around PB FOR LEVELING by superfluff (?) that didn’t require anything else but spectral arablest.
Kinda wish it wouldn’t have been lost to be able to link to it.

But that is exactly my point. Ravager isnt even endgame and 1 in 100 players defeated him (on Steam). (sorry, dont know how to quote in this overlay)

Sorry for double-post and not quoting, I have never used this type of forum-overlay…

Skills that feel like “why would I skill this?” to me at least, as someone who has quite a few hundred game hours but wouldnt even remotely consider myself a hardcore player:

  • Devouring Swarm. It feels good early on but falls off hard. It feels like its the only lvl1 spell that doesnt have mods?
  • Grenado, it feels fun especially with Ulzuin’s chosen but the dmg feels so low even in Elite
  • Canister Bombs as above
    That’s just off the top of my head of course.

On Chaos:
I understand its supposed to be less accessible and I am aware of your careful stance on Chaos Zantai but you asked how certain combos can be made more accessible and viable and from my gameplay experience I can say, I dont even know what combos are supposed to work with Chaos except Pyromancer. I am sorry, I cant be more specific here. I can see with Soldier and Cadence and of course Arcanist with the Aether/Chaos combo that also heavily leans into, yet again, vitality.

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Devouring Swarm isn’t really meant to be a main damage ability. The damage is a nice way to support more beefier skills (as are any skill modifiers that add damage to it) but the main reason to take it is that it makes enemies weaker to Vitality or Bleed damage dealt by other skills, usually a character’s main damage dealers.

It’s comparable to trying to make Night’s Chill damage capable on it’s own past a certain point.

Please correct me if I’m wrong here but reading through your thoughts and replies, I get the impression that you are looking at these skills and damage types in a vacuum when you really should be looking at the big picture for it all. That includes gear, a substantial number of options open up with gear and not just of the Legendary variety, Monster Infrequents again play a huge role at all stages of levelling.

Grenado and Canister Bomb are pure damage skills so are limited in ways to increase their damage to stacking % damage, adding more pure damage via more skill ranks or modifiers, or collating their damage types together with conversion - all of which are offered in decent amounts by gear. I imagine your Grenado or Canister Bomb character would see a significant increase to performance with some of these items:

Those are the main ones, there are more I haven’t listed.

As for Chaos. Besides Demolitionist and Occultist, Inquisitor also gets a nice head start with the ability to make enemies weaker to Chaos damage via Death Sentence and the variety of stat bonuses it offers making it a strong support mastery. It also gets a Chaos skill in Flames of Ignaffar as well.

Other than those, some gear here and there open up the possibility for more masteries as well. The bulk of it is Legendary but there are a few Infrequents that act as stepping stones before those like Servitor’s Corruptor or Lagoth’Ak’s Voidbinding.

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I’d agree with the notion that some skills are just not fun to level with, but it is important to state that this is a personal bias. Players will want to level A certain way, each having their own definition of what is an acceptable way.

I dislike leveling with runes, any physical base skill (FW, BA, etc), auto attacking builds, retaliation, Pet’s, and slow to recast non pet player scaling skills (ST, WD).

Circuit breakers are great for new players when leveling but I hardly use them outside of endgame. Piloting would have to save my ass from the bum rush you described.

Multiple damage types on a skill is intended and I think very fine. Endgame requires the merging of those damage types but not for leveling. Unless you are new and/or going in blind…it usually isn’t an issue.

Chaos damage is fine…I think adding more rr to other classes would make it a tad bit too good. Just my opinion.

SoC is an absolute beast to level with. Once you get your hands on a Bonewall MI it can carry you to 100 as long as you cap res and focus on vit dmg and devo tree.

Typically I want to level with the end game skills. However it just isn’t feasible unless you want a hard time or a long slog. This was pointed out in a bleeding dmg thread and trying to kill undead. Now I did a bleeding build from the beginning since that thread and found that it is very doable (hard at times) if you make good choices in your masteries and devo tree. I did a dervish and only 1/2 of my masteries supported rr bleed and it is super meme and not finished but I can’t wait to try it in SR 60.

Also vitality based devotions and their conversion was also discussed in another thread. I stand by my statement not to nerf them but instead give other options to sustain that don’t require vit conversion or hard to use clunky heals like dryad.

I think @Maya has a guide for leveling Pet’s from scratch and I am sure that there is a retal one somewhere.

There is so much info on the net for getting by these points that, like I said, unless you are going in blind and haven’t piloted a lot, you can get info you need to bypass these issues.


For Pets :3 The Carnival - A Guide to Pets

For Retal, you’d have to build differently using something like forcewave as it needs a lot of item support to function properly.

Some of what you are referring to is deep rooted issues in the game design. While there are some benefits to mob scaling for example it is problematic for many builds and players.

This upcoming Mod does addresses that specific issue by using Static Leveling where creatures have set levels, stats, and exp rewards.

However, also note everything is being changed in this mod and if you are looking for the original game experience this will be quite different.

This Mod also addresses other issues you mention like the scaling/power issues. Nearly all multipliers are being removed as they most often just lead to balancing issues.

It’s very typical in Grim Dawn & Path of Exile to have a build where you gain 100% of your HP from hitting creatures every second.

Example Infinity Fix: The Soldiers Will skill increases HP regen and gives a percent boost of HP back. The percent boost was removed, the reuse timer adjusted, and you gain a healthy set amount of HP back (determined by the skill level).

Constitution was removed as well as percentage based health potions. These are done to have much better control over balance and address many of the issues you mention.

I find the concept behind this mod very intriguing…like very. I do have concerns that if done incorrectly it could just be a slog fest with low reward per time spent. Some people like that. I am a more middle ground since my RL responsibilities are immense.

If done right, meaning the combat is impactful, calculating, and paced right with drops having meaning regardless of when or where they drop…it could be a real masterpiece. Plus it’s being built using the engine of the best ARPG out there…

If I had the time, this would be how I would mod GD…while rehashing the crafting

Progress is moving along quickly and one of the benefits is playing it right through the development. I get to immediately see if areas are to difficult or not rewarding enough. If I have optimized my equipment for an area I can always add more rare drops or new creatures.

It is intended to play more like an End Game mod. That requires grinding areas to be strong enough to proceed. If someone is looking to just run through a campaign this certainly isn’t right for them.

As per the downsides, there may be several. Revamping 9 fleshed out classes and combinations is a HUGE task and many of the skills need to be completely revamped to even work. The same with Devotions.

In early testing it may be necessary to strip out classes or skills entirely or they would be game breaking. The main reason for this is nearly everything is percentage based and that simply won’t work with the mod.

There are a few other hurdles also, but overall I’m really liking the game experience and trying to improve upon it.

A huge upside is the way in which assets are maintained. There may be very few limitations in the game world size or amount of objects. A developer/company would be limited to time restraints and releasing a project. I don’t have those limitations :blush:

And it’s not even that hard to find MI support. You can convert Cadence, Doom Bolt, Sigil of Consumption, Shattering Smash, Thermite Mine, and Aegis of Menhir using leveling greens, and many other items do global conversion to Chaos. That’s a fairly wide breadth of possibilities, and it’s even leaving out the skill tree transmuters for Albrecht’s Aether Ray and Flames of Ignaffar.

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