Lorzate finished Act 1 and got to level 21. That was enough to unlock the majority of the skills. So far my tank strategy seems to be working. I am staying alive with ease and still doing pretty good damage. Many of the Engineer’s skills are not based on weapon damage; they can become powerful just with lots of skill points in them.
I didn’t have very good luck early on with items, but eventually started getting some uniques. One of them was an immediate upgrade. Another one will be a future upgrade when Lorzate meets the requirements.
Level 21 “Well-Known” Engineer
Block Chance: 32%
I am going for a 2:3 Strength and Vitality distribution. This means each level up, I put 3 points in Vitality and 2 in Strength. So far this seems to be working well. Most regular enemies can barely touch my health pool. Only bosses can really do any damage, and for them I have good damage absorption skills
On the damage side of things, I am not having any trouble either. Well, my regular attacks don’t do all that much damage, but my skills are doing a lot of damage. Most of the skills I am using are not based on the weapon, so low Strength does not affect me much.
Thoughts on Skills
I unlocked a total of 21 skills this time. There are a total of 30 skills, so I’ve already unlocked most of them. New in Torchlight 2 are tier bonuses. These are only for active skills, not passives. Every 5 points invested in an active skill adds a special bonus to the skill. Usually, it is just more damage or less mana cost, but sometimes it is more interesting and can synergize with other skills.
Flame Hammer – The Engineer slams the ground with the initial hit and trails of fire branch out to do more damage. It’s basically a cone attack. If you hit an enemy dead on, they can take 4 or 5 hits instantly. When used with Charges the cone has a longer distance. Unlocking the tier bonuses increases the radius of the cone. With just one point the skill is best against single targets, but maxed out it is a great area damage skill.
Seismic Slam – This skill ignites the ground all around the Engineer. The initial hit does straight electric damage, but there is a high chance the enemies are burned as well. That’s where the real damage comes from this skill. The damage is not as good as Flame Hammer but it generally hits more enemies and also has a stun effect. Think of this skill as both defensive and offensive, whereas Flame Hammer is totally offensive. The tier bonuses increase the radius.
Ember Hammer – This skill does great damage in a huge arc and also breaks shields. The downsides are that it is only melee range and doesn’t gain Charge. However, the tier bonuses give bonus damage from Charges if you have any while using it. I think this skill would be best when combined with high Charge gain skills and passives. The goal would be to keep as many Charges as possible for maximum damage.
Onslaught – This is a leap attack skill, but it also heavily debuffs enemy speed (movement, cast, melee attack). This is a great skill for killing spellcasters and other ranged attacking enemies. You can jump over all the melee minions and go straight for the kill of the dangerous one. The tier bonuses reduce the mana cost, which helps as most Engineers will have low mana pools.
Heavy Lifting (Passive) – This is a specialized skill for the big two-handers that Engineers like to use. You get a nice attack speed bonus and stun chance. Attack speed is really nice since two-handers tend to be very slow weapons. Stun chance helps against enemies that like to hit and run a lot.
Supercharge (Passive) – This passive is a proc effect. You get a small chance to gain this special buff that increases damage done and charge gain. It’s a good passive for builds where you use a lot of Charges.
Coup de Grace (Passive) – This passive is triggered when hitting Stunned enemies. Every hit on a Stunned enemy does extra damage based on your Strength value. There are quite a few Engineer skills that Stun. With high Strength build and a little planning, you can maximize this skill’s effectiveness.
Healing Bot – This is an active skill in that the bot has to be summoned, but it functions more like a passive skill. It is fire and forget. The bot lasts forever unless you switch maps and it rarely dies. Every few seconds you and your party in range get a buff that gives healing over time, much like a potion. The first tier adds mana regeneration to it. The last two tiers give an armor bonus.
Blast Cannon – This is a specialized skill for Cannon users. Cannons are a new ranged weapon type in Torchlight 2 that are slow and powerful. Cannons have short range, but this shoots a much longer range and it pierces through to enemies behind the first one. Tier bonuses all add a chance to Blind the targets with a max of 75% chance.
Spider Mines – This is a nice, safe area damage skill. Most times you have to get into the thick of things to do area damage, but this skill can cbe ast from a safe distance. The mines automatically home in on monsters. The mana cost is high, but the tier bonuses cut it down up to 60% allowing for spamming mines everywhere.
Gunbot – The Gunbot is a mobile turret that attacks any enemies nearby. It starts out only good against single targets, but tier bonuses can increase it’s range, give it piercing shots, and fire a 3 shot cone. The skill has a long cooldown, but if it’s like the Healing Bot, it won’t be dying very often. Like Spider Mines, it’s a safe way to damage enemies. You can put one at a corner or doorway to catch enemies off guard.
Bulwark (Passive) – This a simple passive skill that increases the amount of armor you get from your items. If any damage does get through, it also reduces it further by a percentage. Simple but effective. This is easiest defensive skill to work into a build. It will work with more offensive builds as well as defensive tank builds.
Fire and Spark (Passive) – This skill adds a percentage damage bonus to fire and electric attacks. Almost all of the Engineer skills are fire or electric elements, so this skill will usually be a good damage boost. However, some of the skills just do physical damage or % Weapon DPS, so look at your other skills before putting points here. A few skills do % Weapon DPS as Fire (or some other element), and they will benefit from this passive.
Charge Domination (Passive) – Every time you kill an enemy, you have a small chance to get a full Charge bar. This is good for builds with a lot of Charge-using skills. Quite a few skills are not affected by Charge at all, so this passive should not be used in every build. It does require quick reactions though. If you don’t realize your Charge bar is capped, you could do many attacks and waste Charge. It will work best with skills that can use the entire Charge bar.
Shield Bash – Bashing enemies with this skill has a high Stun chance but little damage. However, it is one of the best ways to gain Charge. Every enemy hit gives you an extra 0.2 Charges, which goes up with more points spent in the skill. It also can be used every 2 seconds to permanently stun and slow monster attack speed. In addition, it gains 10% more damage per Charge. Hitting just 5 enemies will give you a full Charge point.
Forcefield – This is a bubble shield. When used, it consumes all Charge to give you a damage absorption. If you have no Charges at all, It gives you a base amount of absorption. Each Charge multiplies the the absorption. This shield is also given to allies at half strength. One of the tier bonuses improves that to a full strength shield on allies, with other tier bonuses reducing the casting time and mana cost. The absorption is pretty good; only against the toughest bosses does it go down quickly.
Overload – This skill is like the opposite of Forcefield. Instead of using all Charge to protect you, it uses it to damage the monsters. This means it can be a massive area damage skill, but that requires Charging up a lot. Best when used with the other skills that speed up Charge gains.
Dynamo Field – This skill is similar to Overload, but instead of using up Charge it actually increases Charge. The damage is obviously less than Overload, but it if you hit 5 enemies at once, you can get a full Charge point with one cast. It will only gain Charge for up to 5 enemies though. That means Shield Bash has the potential to generate more Charge if you can bash more than 5 enemies at once (only possible with small monsters).
Sword and Board (Passive) – This turns the tables a little bit with one-hand and shield by letting your shield add some damage. It goes up to a max of 90% shield armor added to weapon damage. I haven’t seen shields with very much armor, so I’m not sure how good this is. I think it might be a place to put points at the high levels when you have run out of good skills to put points in.
Aegis of Fate (Passive) – This skill a passive version of Forcefield. Whenever you are attacked, there is a max 16% chance that you get a shield bubble. It absorbs less than Forcefield but being passive has the benefit of no mana cost. It also doesn’t use up Charge like Forcefield, so it can be used in builds where Charge is needed for other skills.
Charge Reconstitution (Passive) – This is a nice skill for builds that use a lot of Charge. Every time you spend a Charge point, you get a free mini-potion buff. The healing is about the same per second as a potion, but it has a shorter duration. So this is another skill where some planning is needed to best take advantage of it.
Healing Bot 5
Seismic Slam 5
Shield Slam 4
Flame Hammer 1
Fire and Spark 1
Sword and Board 1
Aegis of Fate 1
Starting out I just put a single point in all the skills I think I will be maxing out eventually. You can get a max of 132 skill points. That’s almost 9 skills maxed, so these may be all the skills I get. This is definitely not a perfect build. Some of these I don’t think work together very well. I originally thought I could max 15 skills like Torchlight 1, but that is not the case in Torchlight 2.
I got Healing Bot (which I consider passive) and Bulwark early on to bolster my defenses. They work pretty well together. Bulwark reduces the damage I take. If I do take any damage, it almost always gets healed up automatically by the healing bot.
I took Seismic Slam because it had the same name as one of the Destroyer’s skills in Torchlight 1. The high stun chance and burning damage to monsters all around the Engineer fits well for a tank. Shield Slam has a stun as well and builds Charge quickly. Forcefield is the big defensive skill though. Shield Slam does a good job keeping my Charge up to get higher absorption.
Flame Hammer is my big offensive skill, but it uses up Charge that I would prefer to use for Forcefield. That means I will probably replace it with another skill eventually. Forcefield is still pretty good without Charges, but I would prefer to not have skills competing with each other. Forcefield only lasts for 30 seconds. It usually takes that long just to get a full Charge bar, let alone have extra Charge points for Flame Hammer.
Celh Skull [Unique Gem]
Armor/Trinkets: 0.9 Mana recovery per second
Weapon: Conveys Silence for 2 seconds
This is a dangerous anti-caster gem in weapons. If players mod PvP into the game, they will probably have to nerf this gem too.
Skull of Crimone [Unique Gem]
Armor/Trinket: +8% Ranged Weapon Damage
Weapon: Conveys 35 Weapon Damage over 5 seconds
This is a great damage booster all around. In general, you will get the most damage by socketing it in a weapon if you use melee weapons and socketing it in armor/trinket if you use ranged weapons (including Wands).
Lucky Coin [Unique Gem]
Armor/Trinket: +2% gold find
This is a pretty small bonus. It’s a good one if you don’t need any elemental resists.
Lucky Dice [Unique Gem]
Armor/Trinket: +1% magic find
Just like the Lucky Coin, it’s too small of a bonus to be all that useful.
The Eye of Prion-Kuru [Unique Gem]
Armor/Trinket: +72 Health
Weapon: +18 Electric Damage
The damage bonus is the highest out of all the gems I have, so I put it in the Treesapper. That’s probably where it will be staying since I don’t want to destroy either one. Also, I already have a high health pool from all the Vitality. The health bonus is not much of a bonus compared to how much health I already have.
The item situation is going well. Weapons are the most important items in action RPGs, and I happened to get both unique one-hand axe and shield. I am leveling pretty fast though, so these items may get replaced soon. As far as armor items, I am simply looking for high Armor and Elemental Armor. Both of these stats I think are a little low. The enemies are not strong enough yet for it to make a difference, but Act 2 may prove harder than Act 1.
I made it through all of Act 1. Act 1 basically has two main quests for the story. I counted 5 overworld areas. Two of them are pretty massive in size, bigger than Diablo 3 areas. Three of them were more linear “passes”. Passes seem to have about 2 dungeons and overworld areas have around 5. The two big overworld areas contained the dungeons for the main quests.
Just like I did with Diablo 3, I explored every area, killed every monster, and clicked on every object. Early on I didn’t have much luck getting uniques, but things changed when I got into the last overworld area. I had no trouble with any of the monsters. One of the bosses did quite a bit of damage, but it was fairly easy.
I am going to try about one Act per week. I have enough free time to level faster, but I don’t want to gain too much progress between character updates. Especially this first week, I could have gained 50 levels. It would just be too much for one character update.
Once I finish the story, I will try for around 10 levels per week. If it’s like Torchlight 1, the later levels start taking a while to gain. But that’s assuming my character can survive all the way to level 100. I might not have the right mix of skills to get there, or I might need to farm better items to continue.