Another character update, another act finished. This time it was Act 3. I was confused at first because Act 3 didn’t have an ending like the first two. I quickly realized I was in Act 4 and stopped to write this. Lorzate made it to level 51, halfway to the level cap! Lorzate’s fame is getting up there too. It’s taking a while to gain fame levels now.
The item situation was good again. I got another 15 unique items. My shared stash is completely full. I will have to start making mules. Again, most of the uniques were not useful to me, but I did get a couple weapon upgrades, roughly 30% more damage.
I also had to make a decision with my skills. I basically see two builds, but I won’t be able to do either one effectively because of skill points I wasted early on. I have a better idea what skills to take going forward, so there should be no points wasted now.
Level 51 Engineer
Fame Level 14: Ascendant
Strength: 162 (+54%)
Dexterity: 5 (+0%)
Focus: 5 (+0%)
Vitality: 252 (+45%)
Damage: 435-556 (+33%)
Health: 4068 (+25%)
Mana: 95 (+23%)
Armor: 517 (+81%)
Block Chance: 50% (+6%) (capped)
Good improvements to Armor again, but damage didn’t go up all that much. The percentages will become smaller as I get further in the game, but I will try my best to get them as high as possible. My health surprisingly didn’t go up much. I think this is partly because it was inflated in the last update. I was using a lot of +Health items. They got replaced this time for more Strength and Elemental Armor affixes.
I hit the block chance cap already. I’m getting around 38% block just from Vitality, so it doesn’t take much from my shield to cap it. I think I will get to around 45% from Vitality eventually. Since all shields come with at least 5% block, I can basically ignore extra block chance affixes now. I will avoid shields with lots of block chance instead of other defensive affixes.
Thoughts on Skills
I unlocked the last three skills this time. This section will be removed in the next character update.
Emberquake – This looks to be the same as the Destroyer’s skill in Torchlight 1. It’s basically an earthquake with fissures going out from your Engineer. Eight fissures are created, each one doing the full listed damage. Enemies can be hit by more than one, so the damage can get really high. The skill scales much better than in Torchlight 1 too. Tier bonuses add percentage increases to the Fire damage and the base Fire damage goes up automatically with character level. Overall it’s a great area damage skill, but the mana cost is very high. Be ready to chug mana potions.
Sledgebot – This is another summon, but this time it’s a pet. The sledgebot is a beast of a robot, doing massive damage but only for a short time. He only lasts 30 seconds with a 1.5 minute cooldown. Tier bonuses give him extra attacks (sweep, ground smash, rockets). The mana cost is high too, but that won’t matter much with such a high cooldown. He looks to be best in boss and champion fights to really pump up your damage. Sledgebot won’t be by your side to tank everything for you, but he packs a punch when he’s out.
Immobilization Copter – This helicopter robot can shoot enemies with a beam that slows them down. It adds some good utility to the Engineer’s skill set. It’s not always about doing more damage. I see two main uses for this skill. One is for quality of life to slow down the enemies that “leap backwards” or “flee when friendly killed”. That saves time which means more gold and items found. The other use is with the area damage skills like Shock Grenade. The copter will slow down enemies keeping them more in place to all get hit with it.
Healing Bot 11
Seismic Slam 10
Shield Bash 11
Sword and Board 5
Ember Hammer 3
Flame Hammer 1
Fire and Spark 1
Aegis of Fate 1
I continued to raise those core 5 skills, but they are starting to require progressively more levels. For example, the next points in Healing Bot, Bulwark, and Shield Bash require level 58. This means I had extra skill points to put somewhere. I chose to put them in Sword and Board initially.
Sword and Board is not raising my damage a ton, but more damage is always nice to me. Fully maxed, I think it will be around +10% damage. My Shield only has 53 armor, so I’m getting around 16 damage from this. Also, I decided to put points in Ember Hammer instead of Flame Hammer.
Flame Hammer is a good skill, but it consumes charge. I want my charges for Forcefield. Now, Ember Hammer does seem to be doing a little bit less damage, but I think that will improve once I get the tier bonuses. They add 5%/10%/15% more damage per Charge point. In this way I can build up Charge with Shield Bash for Forcefield while also powering up Ember Hammer.
I have also decided not to put any more points in Aegis of Fate. I found out it can’t be triggered if you have another damage absorption effect on at the same time. Most of the time I have Forcefield up, so Aegis doesn’t even have a chance to be triggered. I actually Aegis of Fate might be better for a tank. It scales with Armor, and Lorzate survives okay when Forcefield is not up. A build without Forcefield would also have Charge points to spend for damage instead of defense. I’ve spent too many points in Forcefield to switch at this point.
Armor/Trinket: +6% Armor
Weapon: 35 Health stolen on hit
Like Torchlight 1, skills do not steal health or mana. Only regular hits can do this. However, the Berserker is a class that excels on mostly using regular hits, so I see the weapon effect being very good for them. For Lorzate, I will use this for the Armor bonus. With over 500 Armor, this is +30 Armor. Not too bad.
Armor/Trinket: 1% Chance to Call Forth the Skull when you get hit
Weapon: 5% Chance to cast Meteor Strike on kill
These are fun proc-based bonuses. I’m not sure what Call Forth the Skull does. I can only guess it is a skull that homes in on an enemy for more damage. This gem is one of the “fun” items. They don’t necessarily fit into any strategy, but they are fun to play around with. I do wish the game had descriptions of all these “proc spells”.
The Eye of Aleera
Armor/Trinket: +14 Focus
Weapon: 5% Chance to cast Fire Storm
This gem also has proc spell. Without hard numbers on how much damage these spells do, I probably will not use gems like this at endgame. The focus bonus is very nice for non-Engineers.
I really like the augmented weapon idea. I’ve always liked the idea of upgrading existing items instead of having to replace them constantly. I have not seen any armor items with augmented stuff on them, so I assume it is only for weapons. I would love to see it on armor items though. I would also like to see more upgrades. Instead of just one, have two, or even 3-4 on endgame items (level 100).
Because my Engineer got max block, I feel Vitality has a little bit less value now. With items I looked for more Armor and Elemental Armor instead of Vitality. Well, I think I need a balance of both, just before I had almost all Vitality. It’s time to replace some of that Vitality with Armor/Elemental Armor. A really good item is going to have both, but now I am okay with high Armor/Elemental Armor plus good Strength. Vitality is just a bonus.
Act 3 was a little different from the first two acts. There wasn’t really a big story boss to be killed, just a long collection quest. It still took me 8 hours to get through it, and I only gained 9 levels. Similarly to the other acts it had two big overworld areas. The second one in particular was massive, probably 50% larger than the other areas I had seen before. There was also a really big dungeon, a tower that went up instead of down. By the fourth floor I was wondering if it was an endless dungeon, but finally, the fifth floor ended with one of the best boss fights so far.
Another thing different with Act 3 was the lack of a cinematic at the end to transition to Act 4. It just plopped me in the Act 4 town. It took me a second to realize I was in the fourth act. I was still finishing a quest in Act 3 and went to the portal to warp to an Act 3 zone when I saw that none of the warp portals I had unlocked were available. Basically, the Act 3 and 4 towns are right next to each other. You don’t talk to an NPC to switch between these acts. It’s just a doorway and short loading screen between them.
Act 3 had a nice surprise in Trill-bot 4000. He was a robot bard (really!) from Torchlight 1 that gave quests with rhymes and songs. I guess he got destroyed by the Alchemist because there is a hidden quest in the game to re-assemble him. I happened to find one robot part in an Act 2 dungeon. Then, I went back through all the dungeons in Act 1 & 2 looking for more parts. I found one more each in Act 1 and 2. With Act 3 I got the last two parts to finish the quest. Then, Trill-bot had a quest to kill three sisters in typical rhyming fashion, rewarding a good tank amulet for completion. It’s a nice touch for Torchlight fans like myself.
Next week I am sure Act 4 will be done. If I have not gained 10 levels, I will continue into the New Game Plus mode. This first playthrough I’ve been playing on Normal difficulty. I will bump that up to Veteran to see what it’s like. In single player mode you can’t change the difficulty, but you can easily make a password-ed multiplayer game or use your private LAN (if you have one). The only downside is you can’t use the Resume button on the main menu since it always starts a single player game with your character’s original difficulty.