I’m starting to hit a progression wall both in terms of currency and maps with my current character. Generally, when I’m hitting a limit like that, I end up getting an itch to try something different. Or at least test a build that I have been reading about. Since I have a few starter pieces now, I’m thinking it might be time to start looking to my next few builds.
For the most part, I try to avoid the same ascendancies within a league. I feel that variance keeps the league fresh for me. That said, I also have an internal goal to eventually try each major ascendancy out. At the moment though, I would say 3-4 particular ascendancies are straight gone for me: slayer, berserker, raider and probably the ascendant herself.
The ones I’m most excited in giving it a go are Occultist, Elementalist, Inquisitor, Juggernaut and perhaps another Chieftain or Hierophant. Skill-wise, I think the main build I will do next is an Inquisitor Storm Brand. I was quite impressed leveling with Storm Brand last league but I did it as an Assassin/Shadow. Because of that, I looked into the various ascendancies where this worked well and boiled it down to both Elementalist and Inquisitor.
Right now, it seems that Storm Brand favors Elementalist a bit over the Inquisitor. But I think both are reasonably viable. The main difference is in play style. I think with Inquisitor you get higher damage output in the long run while Elementalist is slightly more defensive as it boils down to crits vs freezing.
Just before the league started, I was playing around on Standard with an Elementalist Armageddon Brand character. Since they nerfed Armageddon Brand’s damage and activation time, that skill hasn’t shown up compared to Storm Brand. But I do think both are somewhat similar in concept and in the end, I started to really get the hang of the brand play style which made it a big option as a league starter.
Most likely, I’ll go with Storm Brand next just because it looks great and seems to play well. I probably will make a few investments to get it going but I want to see it fair in maps to judge. My gut feeling is that it will be equally impressive early on but may face issues towards the end game.
Now, the big thing everyone has been jumping on is Occultist since they revised a few of the DoT skills and added the monstrous Bane. I feel if I end up taking a witch, the first one will end up being an Occultist with Bane as the primary skill. Besides that skill, the energy shield leech gem make Occultist look like a clear winner. Gearing might get tricky as you slowly move towards more energy shield but I feel the basics will help carry this build through.
Another skill I wanted to try was the revised Holy Flame Totem. Surprisingly, most of the ones I’ve seen have been Chieftains rather than Hierophants. I’m guessing the overall damage output from Chieftains exceed having the benefits from a Hierophant’s totem ascendancy skills. But since I started with a Chieftain, I’m a little reluctant at this point doing another one.
Which is why I’ve considered doing another Juggernaut. There’s two particular skills which interest me in Tectonic Slam and Molten Strike. Tectonic Slam looks like a lot of fun and I’ve used it for leveling at one point. That said, in the hands of a Juggernaut, it seems to be a natural pairing.
However, I did find a Ngahamu’s Flame and I’ve seen one Juggernaut use it in conjunction with Molten Strike. I think the two pair up nicely since you essentially get a free six link with the axe and can still output decent damage with Molten Strike. Also, if you manage to acquire certain gear, you can scale Molten Strike quite a bit in the end game. Not to mention I’ve always wanted to do a pure Molten Strike build from start to finish. This build might not be entirely 100% meta, but it looks fairly doable.
The other option would be to use Ngahamu’s Flame with Tectonic Slam. Quite frankly, I don’t know how that will end up. It might not output the same level of damage compared to Molten Strike. However, the idea here is that Tectonic Slam can cover a larger area while the Molten Burst aspect handles single target.
Beyond these builds, the only other thing I’ve thought about trying is the new Divine Ire. There’s some flexibility with the ascendancy for that. I’ve seen both Trickster and Inquisitor employ that skill. But as with my feelings on Chieftain, I think having two Inquisitors is redundant for me. So if I decided to go that route then it might be through a Trickster.
I have seen some stuff for Shock Nova (elementalist) and Ice Traps (Saboteur). Since I haven’t played Saboteur in a while, I could give Ice Traps a go. But it’s not a priority at this moment. I think I would consider it if I found a Tinkerskin for instance. But I prefer allowing the gear to partly motivate what I want to play next.
Right now, I simply don’t have enough decent gear to make choices beyond what I outlined. I think I’d feel better once I make it past a certain point in my progression as well as finding better gear. I really want to avoid purchasing starting gear this early in the league. But if I get bored soon, I might just do that.