What are the advantages of playing a spellcaster in Grim Dawn

For me casters are just more fun, I don’t farm much and casters are more than capable of clearing the main game.
For the crucible I made a witchblade after several attempts with casters, but I don’t play that much either.
The best casters are the close combat ones, don’t expect to do much at range.

In my books melee should be stronger that ranged, cause beighn melee is alredy a disadvantage. But you shouldnt be able to go all-in for dipies and mindlesly faceroll all content , like todays blademasters/wardens/wh do.
Life-leech mechanic is counterintuitive and just plain wrong - the more you invest in dps the more sustain you gain, so youre see all these 300k crit dmg unvulnerable blademasters/WH/wardens with all points spend on cuning, picking all dmg and %OA from devotions and obliterating all boses in matter of seconds.
Tanky caster isnt much behind in terms of dipies or clear speed against tanky melee-char. But full-dps melee is five times above any caster, so as long as melee can go all-dps casters would look pale in comparison.

%Damage is plenty and available easily which hits the poor scaling zone too fast so the only way to up the damage is to proc as many things as possible (damage, debuffs) which requires more speed and weapon damage component to be most effective

Casters need some new mechanic to increase damage of skills without weapon damage component via spirit scaling multiplier which only works with caster offhand or some other limitation like minimum 500 spirit so that other types cant abuse it

Now I remember there was a problem at some point early in development when ranged seemed superior to melee because they coud restore hp easily in combat via constitutuon. To prevent that, timers on constitution regen were changed and agressive melee mobs added to counter casters.

That might be what is haunting caster archetype ever since in relation with disfunctional crowd control and mobility. Which we discussed not too long ago.

If you make it too easy to kite, constitution makes it OP. If it is too hard, casters are wrecked. Balance :frowning:

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Good OP, I like to see some discussion and feedback about the topic.
Since the expansion isn’t that far off apparently, the devs can incorporate some of the comments in the game hopefully.

Another significant factor not yet mentioned is the WPS system: casters don’t get any of that.
This leads to a two-fold disadvantage.

1) Casters do less damage.
For example, a Saboteur can have Falcon Swoop on Fire Strike, Assassin’s Mark and Acid Spray on 2 of the WPS.
This means that with every attack, you can deal Fire Strike + WPS + Falcon + Spray damage all at once (that’s 4 attacks in one click!), while casters need multiple active abilities to bind extra Devotion skills to.

2) The above also makes fighters easier to play

As said, with a caster you need to press multiple buttons to use different Devotions, while a fighter can just hold down his main attack button.
Whether you prefer either playstyle is irrelevant in this topic, fact is that this makes fighters better from a ease-of-use perspective.

And that’s not getting into everything else already mentioned, such as necessity of kiting due to lack of leech and DA, etc.
If engine permits, casters definitely should have a WPS equivalent for spells to even the playing ground.
If it doesn’t, they need to have some unique selling points, such as increased base damage on their skills (or on the ultimate ranks) so you can scale them better to make up for the disparities, or spells could always hit (you’d still need OA to crit).

Part of the problem is that there are two types of ranged character; LMB replacements like Fire Strike, and cast-and-run chars with skills like Devastation. Although to some extent all chars end up being in melee a lot of the time to a lot of bosses.

Ranged LMB plays more like melee against most bosses where the fight lasts more than a few seconds, but cast-and-run possibly do not so much.

When you have a single archetype, lets say Sorcerer for example, fulfilling both these rolls it’s probably hard to balance. Certainly for LMB Sorcerers it’s very hard to get good defences and still maintain good damage. It’s probably easier for cast-and-run type chars as they can maybe skip some defences in favour of more damage, or just go for ToL devotion but still have nuke capabilities from skills like Devastation, which a ranged LMB char doesn’t necessarily have.

I don’t really play many true caster type chars, but I do play a lot of melee and gunslingers, and melee all seem OP in comparison.

My hope for the expansion is some parity for Gunslinger type chars, and not just when playing Inquisitor, which looks to be more ranged focussed. How they improve the situation for other types of ranged LMB chars I don’t know, maybe more ranged specific devotions? Or a DW Pistol focussed devotion, like Kraken is for 2H?


No, I am not posting my build. It’s my build, I don’t follow guides neither write them.

I don’t think casters are underpowered. Your melee toon may make 200k crits. Ok, I only make 60k crits. But bazillion of them, be it single target or AOE, like a dozen or more every second.

And no matter how hard I try, I can’t manage to build a melee toon on par with my casters.

As I mentioned, I still think it’s just I am not that good with melee toons, the same way some other ppl are not that good with casters. shrugs

Quite frankly I don’t believe you. You should at least give your basic setup - class combination and abilities you use.

Quite frankly, I couldn’t care less about you believing this or not. I could just use this thread to my advantage and go “yes, yes, casters are totally underpowered”, so I get a boost on next patch. Instead, I am beeing honest and explaining why I don’t think they are underpowered at all.

If you want some explanation on my build, it’s basically a proc-based cold/lightning arcanist with Curse of Frailty and Vulnerability from the ocultist tree.

Looks interesting. Can your toon do gladiator solo? How do you survive? Don’t go into detail if you don’t want to. Just give me the general idea.

I’ve seen people with casters with the most insane (legitimate) rare items who do crazy damage before.

I agree with your opinion that casters aren’t bad as people in this thread are complaining about. But it is generally accepted casters could use a boost especially in the defensive department.

As to your build i am not saying you don’t have a build but just saying when explaining builds. You should atleast say what skill it uses (AAR, TSS, CT, or whatever your main damaging skill is) My guess is TSS.

Also is that a level 85 warlock? because some of the items you’re using make no sense. Seems to me all that is good-rolled green gear each with an individual proc since your damage is proc based all you need to do is stand in a distance and cast CoF and watch the procs kill the target(s). I could guess that’s what it is cause i had a similar idea a while back but i don’t have the items to make one. Since it’s Cold/Lightning you might be using something like TSS but i doubt it since you don’t have the plus skill to support it.

this is one of the most discussed ancient topics in arpgs i guess, and i wanna put some info about this thread cause i have seen this movie in path of exile history.

i was one of close beta, alpha testers of poe, testing dozens of stuff and mailing back balance team and such for too long…
and like 3 months ago i stopped PoE forever and the reason was balance between melee VS caster&range, hp VS ci…

**in those years, casters started to get what melee has exclusives, like life leech, like spell echomultistrike for casters, like mobility skills, like fortify, more block avoid, more hp pool via CI and goes on + vaal pactinstant life leech
ofc this caused massive problems, to be super simple ;
CASTERs started to do everything MELEE can do with less risk and FASTer…

w/e i started grim dawn 3 months ago, and tbh learning curve and such doesnt matter for me, ill try to list what i dont like about melee vs range&caster in grim dawn and for sure i havent played ALL builds in this game so, just generating ideas to make grim dawn betterif its helpfull

  1. Buffing Casters&Range is a double-edged sword…
    i had to say this at last but w/e ima revert all things and say what has to be said first, ya its dangerous thing.
    meanwhile i find ALL OVERALL casters weaker than melee… and guys who gave examples about their builds in this thread is irrelevant. i am talking about general balance of game…
    i dont know how crate balance team can solve this but i hope they can find balance cause this will be the one of hardest test of grim dawn…

  2. Casters base armor types has so low numbers
    ya not gonna detail the obvious, for current end game content grim dawn offers, crucible + valbury and such, the amount of armor numbers on caster gear is so low… meanwhile it has logic, like mage’s robe is understandable, casters generally wears light armor but for the sake of balance it should change and can be buffed abit… but just A BIT… and no ‘dude go obelisk of menhir + targo you idiot’ is not a solution OR ‘dude wear golemborn + legplates of valor you dumb’ is not solution either.

  3. Casters gear generally rolls no or super low DA numbers
    yep thats true… if future of grim dawn gonna be based around 1.07 OA changes, most casters pieces might get help about DA numbers of their gear… ‘hey dude use hallowed ground on chest + get turtle + targo you are gucci’ no again i am talking about basic gearing not devotion tweaking…

  4. Lack of DA + defensive options on Chaos + Eldritch + Ascendant devotion
    dont get me wrong here, i am the guy who is in LOVE with grim dawn lore and all these awesomely designed devotion tree with notes on it : MASTERPIECE.
    but take a look at those 3 devotions again, there is NO %DA on anywherecorrect me if i am wrong pls*… and i guess there is no flat DA aswellnot talking about melee related ascendant things

and i guess this needs to change ! i like the constellation being related to their lores and concept wise things but in the end this is an arpg game where balance & efficiency matters…

and again NO , forcing most casters to get primordial&order centric devotions are not good idea to me…

** but i might be super wrong here, maybe its good to force players to spread their devotion points and such… like gear bis dps gear, get defensive devotions vice versa… etc… but still dont like this concept as player.*** maybe this is best and ideal… double-edged sword again…

  1. Mana Management difference
    yep again, some casters are mana hungry…
    let say AAR, even tho i dont think this skill designed to be used as primary dmg skill, its more like single target dps tool for builds but w/e
    this guy needs to wear caster armorlow armor&no da for mana regen, caster headpiece for mana regenlow armor, prolly gonna spent some points into spirithow you fucking dare
    yep some casters has to think about mana management in their builds since mana pots has cooldown in grim dawn…

BUT on the other hand, melee toon dunking 1 arcane spark on medal + maybe get juicy viper constellation and dominate the game without 1 problem to think, where casters might even have to build around it.

to solve this, there is not an exact answer about this without considering other things, like how bad is spirit investment AND how good physq investment, getting physical resistance + mana regen + some hp regen + CC and such… but my point is, some casters has to DEAL 1 more problem where %99 of melee builds wont even care.
and tbh, worst thing to help this is make mana important for melee toons aswell, melee and high mana consumption is no where near logical… other problems needs to be tweaked so mana hungry casters would ideally deal mana problems on top of other problems they face. so pls, dont come with ‘make melee builds to concern about mana tooo plox’ is worst idea ever. balancing things in arpgs is not like ‘mummy my brother’s apple is bigger than mine’ thing.

  1. SPIRIT investment as caster
    well, i respect a lot about a team who create this wonderfull game… and ill be super kind here and will be cautious

but isnt this PHYSIQUE madness in grim dawn is absurd? and not accaptable?

  • when physq has this much of a value and what spirit offers as a return is bit far from being fair…
  • i have made 9 chars to lvl 85 last 3 months and 2 more round 60ish and all of them are +80 physique minimum, isnt this killing the variety and creativity in this wonderfull game ? ofc no1 put gun to my head to spend all my points into physq but come on ‘efficiency’ is the key word here. ya i do care enjoying experimental all crazy stuff builds but what i am talking is different and we all know what i am trying to point.

cunning is actually no different than spirit but still its tiny bit of OA anyway, but what spirit offers is lower than cunning and physq…
and no spirit investment for dmg scaling is hell no in grim dawn now… but ok ‘dude spirit is needed for bis end game JOOLARY’ sureeeeeeeeeee… :cool:

***again this is a double-edged sword and should be think 10000 times with cautious but i guess spirit needs a bit more love, and give a bit more than what it gives now…

    first of all, many of you think that ‘WTF is the relationship all these’ right?

but ya, its true… you want to KITE where you think you cant take the fight, migitate the dmg, outps the foe, shorten the length of fightvia sustain, or heck you are out of pots , waiting cooldown of protection spells… etc etc
lets sum, you kite or wanna kite when you think you cant SUSTAIN the whole fight or you kite where you cant take !that! period of the time of the fight…

  • pburst and blood of dreeg is 2 self sustain ability casters relaibly use, but on the other hand its same for melee aswell, MELEE has access to these too on top of life leech :smiley: and no wendigo totem is diff story
  • casters cant life leechatdch in grim dawn -> cant sustain long fights mostly
  • casters mostly has low armor -> eats big dick melee hitsflesh hulks lol
  • casters mostly has low phys resist -> again eats big dick melee hits smoothly
  • casters mostly has low da -> eats big dick critzzmad queen lol
  • casters has no mobility skill -> cant side step cant kite, movement speed is not a perfect solution and heck i am talking about skill not jogging
  • blitz & shadow strike mobs -> recks most casters *wrote this because i know some guy will come and say -dude you can outrun enemies with stacked walk speed- lel tell that to fabius pls… counter answer gonna be dont farm it and this goes on to eternity… :smiley:

list might go on, all these make casters weaker compare to melee. and its true, you can make a caster goddamn tanky as markovian guys maybe even better but its not the perfect answer…
whats the cost of tankiness,

  • obelisk of menhir : 8 yellow + 15 blue : 23 pts out of 50, and surprise you are DEE occultist, nothing on the pathing is actually what you want
  • tree of life : 7 yellow + 20 blue : 27 pts out of 50, surprise bitches i am dw pyromancer = pathing sux
  • some weird ass items like legplates of valor + golemborn : doesnt even fits on casters, heck we got another problem to discuss in other topicya caster items lack phys resist aswell ps: dont tell me about iskandra set pls

game slightly forces player to go 1 route of itemization, skill distrubitionALL physq hell yeah same items 'golemborn hell yeah*, obelisk of menhir etc
isnt this kinda irritating factor in one of best arpg game in all history ? 3 months past and its triggering me all i can say

i give this example to clarify something nothing serious… going on my wall of text !:eek:

  • casters might get SMALL life leech
  • again this is super dangerous shit, might ruin whole game but i still think they need a little bit of leech to maintain in fights and keep sustained… just super duper tiny not much
  • casters might get mobility skill
  • not something like blitz, something let you sidestep, dash blink away… and if its possible via coding make strickt it with cast speed so melee cant benefit from it… this is crucial it has to be something melee CANT access…

conclusion, ya casters needs a tiny bit of help about sustaining and kiting…

  1. POOR CASTER items ITEMIZATION…:undecided:
    ‘poor’ not meant to be disrespectfull word to use… pls dont get me wrong
  • most caster items lack PHYSICAL RESISTANCE, period… ya they lack so much things which i listed already but this is also reality… imo this has to change asap… for the sake of efficiency and variety…
    golemborn + legplates hell yeah : tired to see and use them seriously and keep in mind that i am caster…

-i wish i could make this line cover whole screen but i dont understand this

WHY ON EARTH, item that gives poison damage has to give poison resist ? and it even comes with tons of occultist thing which a class doesnt even need 1 psn resistmostly

this thing doesnt bothers me on my melee toons cause most melee items has diff sort of resistance compare to caster gear… but in all honesty this is 2nd most irritating thing in grim dawn to me… its like some sorta rule written in bible or someshit… ‘an item with X dmg has to give X resist’ ? seriously ? :eek:

  1. Lack of PHYSICAL RES on devotions…
    ehmm, sailors guide : %3 what else ?
  • autumn boar? you wanna get that thing as caster ? :furious:
  • olerons wrath? seriously int trauma phys dmg caster ? :rolleyes:

i seriously dont know what else, caster items lack armor + da + phys res. and there are flesh hulks in current game blitz you from another planet ?

conclusion, caster related constellations might get %1 phys res from left to right, or caster pieces dont know… this is also dangerous if we buff this and make casters like hammrdin of the game, that would kill tanky melee toons… again double-edged swordi started to hate myself to use this word

  1. POOR caster dmg scaling aka CASTERS DOESNT DEAL ENUFF DMG
    i am not gonna super detail this but gonna give simple example to make it clear for everyone,
  • melee has access to flat dmg scaling, 5 elemental OR 5 physical dmg spawn on ring can be multiplied by melee toons…
  • meanwhile caster cant benefit from this…
    ! also best option for casters to boost their damage via skill point scaling, example: getting 26/16 phantasmal blades
    a) spirit dmg boost on spell is so so low not worth investmenteven tho physq investment is more valuable anyway
    b) that %150 chaos dmg and such is good but not as effect compare to melee dmg scaling*heck melee has same scaling aswell
    c) melee has access to what caster dmg boosting has too and even better and easier …

after all these , caster toons doesnt deal EPIC amount of damages, when casters are notorious of dealing astronimcal dmg and being squishy OR rely on players skills and fast fingers etc…
but in grim dawn casters are not dealing immense amount damage , but they are still vulnerable than most melee toons…

conclusion, yeah casters doesnt do most of the things better than melee toons.

    actually this is part of sustain& kiting part, all these are binded together and relative to each others.
    and again this is super duper double-edged sword thing and i dont have perfect answer…
    but in all honesty, casters needs some more form of control in some fights&bosses… i am not gonna say ‘lets make OFF freeze bosses too’ but lets say freeze them 0.5 sec time, next time 0.4, 0.3 and goes on… dont know if its possible with coding. just idea

and lets take an example, shamans, has no form of CC or protection against fights, ya they have wendigo totem but its healsustain not CC or protection. ok you might say ‘then combine 2 classes’ ok lets talk about conjurers then
ding -> you still have no controll on bosses, t4+nemesis bosses has %100 slow resistanceno curse, %100 trap durationno grasp = you fucked, good luck kiting around

finally, if game gonna continue with this OA amounts, low caster armor etc… then we should give caster more forms of protection, CC or absorbtion…

  1. CASTERs need more effort and more buttons to play %100 effectively** dont take this serious**

well if one of my friend see this, he would never ever beleive its my words.
but in all honesty, casters needs more concentration, more buttons and faster reaction time to play… its generally like this in arpgs… ofc i am talking about some casters , not CT nonsense spam playstyle…
caster playstyle is generally less forgiving and more punishing to mistakes.
so you need to keep focused, have to remember your procs and buff timers and goes on.

well i am super exceptional player type about this topic, i think this is advantage and what makes casters most attractive then robust melee playstyle but talking in general, and i know people always complain this. nothing new and not gonna change even in year 2100.
on the other hand, gimme 20 buttons with skill bar switch i am fine with its even godsent to me. love to track my buffs debuffs, more focused playstyle, some piano finger actions, chain disables, chain cooldown spells etc : its my joy its my love for casters
*wrote this for the sake of reality; again ‘dont play casters then’ is not an argument i am pointing the facts

i would edit this post, whenever i remember or realize something else, thats kinda it for now… giant wall of text boring to read and just my opinions about current state of caster vs melee thing…

i had to rewrite and fix my guide tonightit was the plan but i couldnt resist my thoughts and here we go :stuck_out_tongue:

hope all these giant wall of text , helps a bit.

Thanks for putting the effort and investing the time to write all this up. I generally agree with you, but I’ll dare to discuss some of your points. Pardon me. :wink:

I was gonna discuss your post in detail, but then we are going to end up with an unreadable wall of text. I’ll try to sumarize.

  • DA
    Yes, low DA. But, hold on, DA comes in effect when you get attacked, right? And you are a ranged player. You should not get attacked in the first place. Your best defence is not DA. It’s running speed, resistance to crowd control effects and your own crowd control effect tools. There’s a plethora of debuffing, stunning, ensaring, trapping, freezing, confusing and trolololing tools for you to use. Enjoy.

  • Constellations
    Good to see you at least consider the idea. Maybe if I have all these offensive skills and all this offensive gear, I can balance it out with defensive constellations. Ok, you don’t “like” it. Fine. Avoid all the defensive constellations, but then don’t complain about not having defence. It was your choice!
    Plus I suggest you check the offensive bonuses on your gear and passive skills against the ones on your constellations. Are you really going to loose that much DPS because you get a few defensive constellations? Is the little extra DPS worth loosing that much defence?

  • Mana management.
    My own personal experience is, zero mana issues, hardly ever use a mana pot. (Hardly ever as in “one day I had one because I pressed the wrong button”). BUT, I only have lvl 85 warlocks, no other level 85 casters yet, AND you are not the first person I hear complaining about mana, so maybe warlocks just happen to be lucky here. If there actually is a mana management issue, yes, that’s critical when playing casters and devs should have a look at it. So critical I encourage you to create a thread just about this issue.

  • Movility.
    Yes yes yes yes and a million yes and you totally nailed it on this: movility skills. I can’t believe we don’t have any kind of blink or similar, even if it’s with quite a long cooldown, while I see all these melee guys charging here and there to the point they just use the skill to travel to places faster.

Nice post.

Just going to say that a physical caster is possible - http://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?t=49754

Hahaha, thx for the interesting and amusing read :slight_smile:

This is my current pet peeve; “Tree of Life” - the devotion you get when your character sucks and can’t take hits. It’s a horrible band aid solution, and feels like a total character gimp, as there’s pretty much nothing left for offensive (and dare I say it ‘fun’) devotions once you’ve also taken some required -rr and OA.

It’s a boring solution for weak class combos.


Actually on most of my casters build, with exception of ones that are having arcanist in them (if not AAR) I use ToLs Healing rain mostly for energy regen not HP.

@feelgodstoya: Nice loled a lot, in positive way ofc :smiley:
Only thing that caster do need imho is a bit better dmg scaling and some more energy regen trough investment in spirit or smthlt, everything else can be compensated. If you give them all the things that you are ˝double edging˝ I fear that we will have some thread about melee being underdeveloped soon enough :wink:

P.S. One more thing I think that ranged builds are even more underdeveloped than casters, specially dw pistol ones.

I was thinking specifically of ones with Arcanist in them :smiley:

And I completely agree, Gunslingers are the most under-supported playstyle in the game. Take a Gunslinger Sorcerer and you have all of these issues in one build :smiley: Great fun as a play-through-the-game character, but pretty much useless for end-game of any kind. Such a shame :cry:

Too bad so few of your tools actually have a significant effect on bosses. The fact of the matter is that unless you have a LOT of movespeed and the terrain permits it, you’re going to end up having to facetank a boss or twelve.

Try playing an AAR/ChaosRay warlock.

Crate seems to be absolutely TERRIFIED of people sequence-breaking with a teleport skill, for some reason.

It’s not just sequence breaking (including anything involving dynamite or skeleton keys), it’s a few other things as well. Don’t get me wrong i love a teleport skill but, there are some real issues with a teleport skill in GD.

It’s incredibly easy to get stuck in terrain outside or under the map, which, afaik is an issue with engine limitations.

Boss’s become even easier to cheese from outside the wall’s/doors. Also you would be able to just skip most bosses.

And do you really want to teleport into east marsh, act 2, sunken reliquary, hidden path ect… with a considerably lower level toon just to get stomped out? i think not. :stuck_out_tongue:

Bug reporting would go off the charts with a teleport skill and there wouldn’t be much they could do about it. :wink:

Legitimate concern.

  1. The boss-cheesing issue isn’t really a great argument against teleportation, BECAUSE people can already do it without teleportation. The problem is very clearly not teleportation, it’s whatever the hell is enabling door/wall cheesing in the first place.

  2. A lot of bosses have to actually be killed to advance the plot/quests. Sure, SOME of them might be skippable, but they’re probably the “optional” ones anyway.

That would have to be DELIBERATELY done. At that point, I think it’s fair for a player who’s too “clever” for their own good to get their heads stomped on by mobs WAY beyond their level. Maybe put a warning on the screen for players: “WARNING: THIS AREA CONTAINS MONSTERS MUCH, MUCH MORE POWERFUL THAN YOU.”. Also, East Marsh can technically be accessed by a lowbie player if they’ve somehow managed to rack up the scrap, iron and dynamite needed, so…