Tharcyn the Destroyer Tank #1

My first character in Torchlight! I have only been playing Torchlight for about a week, but I already finished the main campaign and leveled Tharcyn to 39. I’m sorry I don’t remember a lot of details about the items I picked up along the way. This was before I had decided to make a blog.

This will be a long post, because there’s so much to cover. Normally, the first post about a new character will just focus on the build I’m planning, and character updates will only cover about 10 levels.

Character Sheet

Current Skills

Slash Attack: 1
Armor Expertise: 10
Martial Weapons Expertise: 10
Frost Shield: 10
Entropic Aura: 10
Block and Parry: 10
Soul Rend: 6
Doomquake: 1
Shadow Armor: 7

Notable Items

Bone Gloves
Epic Talon Coif
Lulo's Band

In every RPG I always like my first character to be a melee class. I usually get a nice, big two-hander and just wreck face. The Destroyer fits that purpose. Tharcyn became something different, though. I took a quick look at the skill trees. Torchlight is supposed to be a casual game, as far as I’ve read, so I decided to change things up with my first character.

The Destroyer Tank was born. So my vision for this class was to be something like a Concentration Barbarian. Now that particular build worked with a two-hander, but for Tharcyn I decided to take it even further and completely specialize on being defensive with a one hand weapon and shield combined with mostly defensive skills.

One of the things you learn about in video games early on is that specialization is usually the key to doing better, so I always like to try focus my build on just one or two main themes. A lot of games that aren’t designed very well will just fall apart when you specialize. That is, the game designers didn’t plan for many of the possible combinations making it easy to create an unstoppable character or strategy. Luckily, Torchlight is pretty well designed and doesn’t seem to have any overly broken builds.

I decided to max Armor Expertise first. At max level it boosts Armor by 40%, which is basically 40% more damage reduction. That sounded pretty good to me for a tank. The only problem was that I was getting extra skill points from Fame. These extra points I decided to put into Martial Weapon Expertise, which increases melee weapon damage by 40% when maxed. Slash was still doing good enough damage, but this skill could also boost it a little bit since Slash is a melee skill.

Then it was time to choose the next two skills. Of the skills available, I ended up choosing Frost Shield. With 10 points, it reduces all damage by about 50% and has a high chance of freezing enemies when they attack you. That seems perfect for a tank. I also wanted to get one of the Aura skills. I knew I could only have one Aura activated. Well Entropic Aura seemed to have negative effects for my character with the red text, but I wasn’t high enough level for Aura of Thorns yet. I ended up just saving the extra points.

Later I was reading up about the auras on forums and found out that the red text on Entropic Aura actually affects the monsters, not my character. I think there should have been an explanation of that in the game or the manual. In any case, Entropic Aura sounded like a much better defensive skill than Aura of Thorns. The skill description just didn’t show the thorns would do that much damage. I immediately put all my extra points in Entropic Aura.

When I finished Entropic Aura, Block And Parry became available. Another defensive skill? Perfect for Tharcyn the Destroyer Tank. Block And Parry became the main skill point dump for the rest of the main dungeon. After the final boss was in his grave, I was around level 35. I’m not completely sure, but I think I had Armor Expertise, Martial Weapon Expertise, Frost Shield, Entropic Aura, and Block And Parry all maxed.

The last part of the main dungeon was actually pretty hard because of these monsters called Dark Zealots that did huge magical damage. The Dragonkin monsters also seemed to do a lot of damage with their flame breath attack. As I wanted to continue into the Shadow Vault, a new dungeon that unlocks after the main dungeon, I knew I needed to do something to continue.

Tharcyn’s resists were just not very good, maybe around 100 each. He was taking too much damage for comfort, but I didn’t really see any more defensive skills I could work on. I hadn’t gotten lucky with defensive spell drops, so Defensive Spell Mastery was out. The only thing I could think of was to maybe get an area damage skill to kill things faster and a skill with a stun effect I could spam on Dark Zealots.

The Doomquake skill seemed like it would do good area damage, and Soul Rend seemed to have a pretty good chance to stun. Leveling was a lot slower now, so I only focused on Soul Rend. Dark Zealots were giving me the most trouble, so stuns on them would help a lot. I did put one point in Doomquake. The area damage was good enough until I finished up Soul Rend.

Well I was reading forums again and people were saying Shadow Armor was good. Somehow all through my leveling, I completely missed this skill. I think it was because of the description, which says it’s a summon that attacks enemies and increases block chance. For some reason, I thought it was a separate entity like summoning a zombie and that the summon itself would get a high block chance, not my character. I think Runic Games could have done better with that skill description.

Anyways, it seemed like a really good skill, because block chance is actually really good in Torchlight. Any attack can be blocked in Torchlight including magical effects like spells, and blocks reduce all damage from the attack to zero. In addition, blocking doesn’t even require a shield, although shields do have a base +6% block chance. It almost seems like block chance is a little overpowered.

With Tharcyn’s maxed Block And Parry, maxed Shadow Armor, and shield with +9% block chance, it would put him at +60% block chance. So 60% of all enemy attacks do no damage. That’s basically all damage reduced by 60%. I liked this plan a lot, and spent several of my next skill points in Shadow Armor.

Unfortunately, I learned on forums later that block chance has a cap of 50%. If I continued my plan of maxing Shadow Armor, I would have wasted 3 skill points. Luckily, I had 7 points in Shadow Armor when I learned about the cap, the exact cutoff for max block without wasting any points. I chose to go back to Soul Rend and Doomquake for my points.

I can see the possibilities for a Destroyer using just Block And Parry and Shadow Armor to achieve max block, then using two weapons or a two-hander for increased damage. It might be something to try with my next Destroyer, but I have still have a long ways to go with Tharcyn.

Now back to the Shadow Vault, the first level was no problem, pretty easy, but the levels seemed to quickly get harder. It seemed like the monsters were scaling too fast for my level. I started at level 35 killing level 35 monsters, but it became level 38 killing level 41. It was doable but kind of slow, and I knew it would get worse as I went.

I decided to take a break from the Shadow Vault and level through map scrolls you can buy in town. These open up a portal to a random dungeon with only two floors. The first floor is usually quite big with a lot of champion monsters, good for experience farming. The second floor is usually pretty small with one main champion boss, some treasure chests and sometimes an enchantment shrine. It ended up being pretty good experience, and I easily leveled up to 39.

While I was doing this, I made sure to leave my Town Portal in the Shadow Vault, so I wouldn’t lose my place. The Shadow Vault has no waypoints like the main dungeon, meaning you have to start over from the beginning if you actually use a town portal somewhere else. By the time you get back to the level you were at before, the monsters in the dungeon will have fully respawned and rescaled to your current level. I’d like to get the achievement for reaching the 100th floor of the Shadow Vault. I don’t think it will be possible if I lose my place in the dungeon.

And that’s where I am now. I will do a few more map dungeons until Tharcyn is at least 41 before heading back into the Shadow Vault. Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of “From Diablo 2 to Torchlight”.


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