This is a defensive Destroyer build that focuses mainly on keeping damage reduction high. Damage is sacrificed for much of the first 50 levels. When all the primary defensive skills are picked up, the focus gradually shifts to damage. At endgame a character with this build mitigates all damage from regular monsters with the exception of only a few heavy magic damage monsters. Character damage is sufficient enough to make it through level-scaled dungeons but tends to be slower than other builds such that a long dungeon at high levels can take 60 minutes to clear all monsters. However, you will feel pretty safe throughout that time.
Level 1- 35: 3 Strength, 2 Defense on level-up.
Lv 36+: Alternate Strength and Defense as needed based on item pickups.
The idea here is to keep your Melee Damage and Damage Reduction equal to each other. For instance, if your Melee Damage is 500-1000, you want your Damage Reduction to also be 500-1000. As you equip new items they can become uneven, so distribute Strength and Defense points appropriately as needed.
For the most part this should be high enough such that all other monster damage is prevented. Some monsters have such high damage it can’t ever be completely mitigated. Examples are Dragonkins and Dark Zealots. You will have enough survivability that potions make up for that damage easily.
Identify is more of a convenience spell, but a big time saver. When you are in the heart of a dungeon, you want to just pack the items on your pet to sell them in town. Unidentified items don’t sell for much and pets can’t identify items. You either have to use this spell or carry stacks of Identify scrolls in your inventory, but Torchlight doesn’t give you much inventory space. It’s much easier just to get the Identify spell.
Elemental Protection is the best spell for this build. While high Defense also increases magic resists, it’s dependent on having pretty high base magic resists in the first place. Unless you have really good gear setup you just won’t have very good resists. Elemental Protection patches up that vulnerability nicely.
Since spells of different levels can be stacked, pick up two of these (the highest and second-highest rank). Combined they add 90 to all resists. With 300+ Defense that 90 becomes +360 resist all, so it’s a pretty big boost. It doesn’t scale tons with level, but it’s enough to keep your tank alive against mass casters.
Draining Touch VI appears like it would be a really good skill for a tank, but there’s a few major problems with it:
- Draining Touch does not scale. It only steals 88 hit points per regular attack at max level and rank. It won’t keep you alive even at lower levels such as level 35.
- Health steal effects only work on regular attacks, not skills. At high levels, you can’t kill monsters in a timely fashion without skills.
- It’s dependent on having a fast weapon speed to get the most healing per second.
All of these combined make Draining Touch a subpar spell. If you have your choice of spell, go with another defensive spell of your choice. Draining Touch will be pretty much worthless after you finish the story dungeon. I think either Haste or Silence are both better spells than this.
The pet simply uses two Heal All spells. Spells of the same rank share cooldowns, but you can combine different ranks to avoid them. With both of these spells at max level and rank, the pet heals itself and your character for about 1800 health. It’s not as good as a potion, but really nice for keeping your health topped off throughout the game. For the first 50 levels, these spells should be enough that your character never needs to use any potions.
1 Slash Attack
10 Armor Expertise
10 Martial Weapons Expertise
10 Entropic Aura
10 Frost Shield
10 Block and Parry
7 Shadow Armor
10 Soul Rend
10 Defensive Spell Mastery
10 Critical Strikes
10 Treasure Hunter
10 Seismic Burst
10 Pet Mastery
6 Advanced Spellcasting
Total: 154 (Lv 100, Fame 55)
This is the general order to get the skills. Focus mostly on the defensive skills until you have max block and high damage reduction. The only exception is Martial Weapons Mastery, obtained right after Armor Expertise. Up to the Black Palace, my character pretty much took no damage from anything except for Dragonkins, Dark Zealots, and the occasional lucky critical from a boss.
Shadow Armor and Block and Parry combined max out block chance. With a shield you can reduce points in Shadow Armor and still achieve max block chance. Frost Shield and Entropic Aura were also excellent defensive skills. So Shadow Armor, Frost Shield, and Entropic Aura are always up all the time.
Max block is essentially 50% reduced damage. Frost Shield reduces the remaining 50% by a further 50%, to 25% damage taken. Enemies in melee range are also afflicted with Entropic Aura, to further reduce damage by 38%. All of these combined reduce damage taken on average down to 15.5%. This means on average for every 100 damage dealt, your character is likely to only take 16 damage. At high levels when monsters are doing 3000 damage, these skills make all the difference.
Defensive Spell Mastery rounds out the defensive skills. As discussed in the Spells section above, none of the defensive spells scale that well with high levels. However, two stacked Elemental Protection spells are useful enough to survive many dangerous situations like Dragonkin/Dark Zealot monster combos.
The active skills for this build are contained in the Titan skill tree. Soul Rend is the primary boss killer dealing high single target damage, but very little if any area damage. Doomquake is the primary area effect skill dealing damage to most monsters in a circle around the character. Doomquake is unreliable for groups of monsters at range, a niche filled by Seismic Burst with its longer range and good area damage in choke points.
The remaining skills are all passive. In the late game you really need to start getting unique items in most of your slots. Treasure Hunter helps by increasing the number of unique items and gold you get from drops. Barter is also increases how much gold you have.
For the most part getting better items at high levels becomes a matter of gambling for unique items and then enchanting those items as much as safely you can. Gambling and enchanting are both pretty expensive things even at high levels, because your gold income barely goes up at high levels. You will occasionally get a unique item you can use from item drops, but it’s pretty rare and you still need gold to enchant the new item.
Pet Mastery also helps quite a bit with a pet transformed into an elemental. An elemental transformed pet with Pet Mastery will do around 1000-3000 damage per spell to enemies. Many of the elemental spells have area effects as well. Try to get a permanent elemental transformation fish.
Stats to Look For
+X% Physical & Elemental Damage
+X Strength Attribute
+X% Physical Damage
+X Physical Damage
+X% Fire Damage
+X Fire Damage
The item modifier “Physical and Elemental Damage” is the best you can get. It usually is only found with very small numbers on an item say 3% up to 15% maybe on a really good unique. It is a straight +X% to all damage. Early on all of your damage is comes from your weapon. This continues until you get Doomquake which can be increased with fire damage modifiers, but physical damage increases are still better overall.
+X Defense Attribute
+X Fire/Ice/Lightning/Poison Resistance
For a defensive build, you want tons of +X Defense Attribute. This attribute increases both your armor and element resistances by 1% per point. Each point of armor reduces physical damage by 1. Likewise, each point of element resistance reduces damage from that element by 1. The higher your base armor and resistances, the more impact Defense makes. Combined with item modifiers for Armor and Element Resistance bonuses your defenses so high that most monsters can barely touch your health pool.
For a detailed account of how this build works from level 1 to 100, check out the character update series for Tharcyn the Destroyer Tank.