Finally, Tharcyn didn’t die at all. There was one close call, but that was it. The leveling seemed to start off slow with few champions encountered, but things sped up as I went along with a few double champion groups.
10 Armor Expertise
10 Entropic Aura
10 Soul Rend
10 Martial Weapons Expertise
10 Frost Shield
10 Block and Parry
10 Defensive Spell Mastery
7 Shadow Armor
Shadow Vault, Floor 16
This was an Estherian Ruins level. The monsters were level 51, not too high for Tharcyn to fight. Early on I found a Fishing Hole. Fishing is a little mini-game in Torchlight where you can catch fish. It’s a very simple game and can be monotonous, but the fish caught can be worth it.
For the most part, my pet doesn’t really help much in combat at this level. His damage is so low he usually only does a tenth of the damage Tharcyn does. He also takes a ton of damage and tends to flee all the time. Fish are solution to that problem.
The majority of the fish have the special function of transforming the pet into a monster. The pet gains all the properties of that monster including any special abilities it has. This is really nice for shoring up my pet’s damage or defense. Some fish will increase damage quite a bit like elemental-type monsters. Others will increase defense a bunch like the Mimic with high magic resists and health.
So I spent some time fishing until I couldn’t carry anymore. I haven’t really followed any pet feeding strategy to this point. I don’t really mind if my pet does bonus damage or defense as long as he’s buffed up in some way. I do feed him the weaker fish (weak monsters, low duration) before the stronger ones, but that’s really it (strong monsters, long duration).
Besides the fishing, not much happened on this floor. After killing a specter champion, Tharcyn did gain a fame level though. I put the skill point in Defensive Spell Mastery.
Shadow Vault, Floor 17
This floor had a new theme I haven’t seen since I started these character updates, Tu’Tara Caverns. The monsters were level 52 and Tharcyn was only level 50 still, but I felt good enough to continue. The only threatening spellcasters were Pygmy Lords, especially the champion ones.
Luckily, Tharcyn didn’t die from any of the Pygmy Lords. After killing one of the champions, he leveled up to 51. I put all 5 attribute points in Defense and the skill point in Defensive Spell Mastery.
Later on Tharcyn killed a spider champion to get fame level 38. This gave me the last skill point I needed to finish up Defensive Spell Mastery. After looking through the skills, it seemed like some of the passive skills would be nice. Tharcyn is already using a lot of mana to keep his buffs up as well as Doomquake and Soul Rend. Passive skills would be good for now.
Of all the passive skills, Adventurer seemed to be the best. Tharcyn’s health and mana are so high now, the best potions in the game only fill his orbs about half way. Adventurer will fix that problem for a while with a max of +80% potion effectiveness.
At some point, I had to go back to town to sell junk items. While in town I decided to gamble for a better shield. I got lucky with my first gamble:
My current shield was just rare quality, so I decided to replace it with this one. Finally, Tharcyn got a unique he can actually take advantage of. Even so, the unique wasn’t a whole lot better than the rare shield he had.
Also on this floor, Tharcyn came across a Phase Beast. The dungeon on the other side of the phase portal was some good experience, but no levels were gained and no good items dropped.
Palace Rim, Floor 1 (Random Map Dungeon)
At this point, I tested the next Shadow Vault floor to see what level the monsters were. They were level 53 to Tharcyn’s level 51. I didn’t feel like it would be the best idea to continue. Tharcyn was not doing the best damage here, so I decided to do a random map dungeon.
On the first floor, Tharcyn leveled up to 52 from a Dragonkin champion. The attribute points went into Defense. Adventurer got its first skill point. Later Tharcyn killed two spider champions back to back to gain fame level 39, another skill point for Adventurer.
This floor was another long one. I think that the floors are actually getting bigger the higher Tharcyn’s level gets. Part of it is also that monsters are getting more health. Monsters die slower so it takes longer to kill everything. It’s not really any more difficult than before. It’s just slower to kill things.
At least Tharcyn got another unique drop for his efforts:
It seemed somewhat weak to me, but I kept it anyways. I’m not sure how much the Alchemist uses their weapon compared to skills, so it’s possible this is a good unique.
Palace Rim, Floor 2 (Random Map Dungeon)
The second floor was very short as always. There was one dangerous spot with two Dark Zealot champions. I had to play very carefully. Luckily, one of them moved away from the other, and I was able to finish them off separately.
They happened to drop this unique shield:
It was only 30 minutes since Tharcyn got the other unique shield, but already he found a replacement. That’s just luck I guess. This shield had a nice armor improvement over the other one. It also had a nice Strength bonus to boost Tharcyn’s damage a lot. The only bad thing on this one was the low resists. I kept the other unique shield just in case, but I’m pretty sure I will be sticking with this one.
Tharcyn also got his 53th level from the champions. I continued Defense boosting with all 5 attribute points. Adventurer went up to 3/10. Tharcyn’s Damage and Defense are getting to be pretty close now, so I’m thinking about alternating Strength and Defense from now on.
Well I didn’t get to play as much as I wanted to, but I think I made some good progress anyways. Tharcyn’s luck returned after the last character update when he got no unique drops at all. Tomorrow, Tharcyn will be ready to tackle the next Shadow Vault floor.