As some may already know, I have Tr'd again into a Wizard and may remain there for a change of pace. However, I thought I would return to this thread flesh out some details, post some pics and answer any questions that were brought up. So why return and advocate a build I Tr'd out of? Simple, it's still a solid concept and build that worked very well. I am just wanting to try some new things at this point and time.
This is a Battle Cleric build that sacrifices some DPS to retain most of the potential of Divine Casting. Battle clerics and FvS have in the past caught a bad reputation and that is mostly due to poor performance of the person playing the character. Whether, they elected not to heal or were not properly built or equiped, they failed at the largest expectation a group has of a Cleric or FvS icon; and that is to provide most of the groups healing. While I am a firm believer of not relegating a Class icon into performing to a fraction of their potential, the fact is that the Divine classes heal the best and with greatest ease and should provide the majority of the groups healing needs.
It's a natural progression the more experienced a player becomes at playing a divine that, especially in good groups, healing in and of itself is largely boring and not demanding of your full attention. Some decide to spend the time when not healing to use thier mana CCing, Nuking, or landing some Insta kills; others dismiss their spell casting and add melee DPS to the group. Others, like this build, attempt to hybrid all the roles for versality. None of these options, in and of themselves is more right or wrong then the others. It's a player preference to choose one they enjoy the most.
As with anything, you have to to give to gain. A hybrid such as this build does sacrifice some of it's spell casting to add some melee. And it's melee potential could be stronger if it abadoned spell casting. However, it comes very close in its performance in both directions allowing some flexability and the ability to change playstyle from quest to quest or group to group.
After getting a chance to play the build for a few weeks at cap both solo and grouping, I can say the following. The build achieved nearly everything I wished it would.
Healing was very strong. Between Aura, Bursts and Renewal I barely touched my mana for healing in most 6 man quests. Even in full groups running EE I found myself only using 20 - 25% of my mana for healing purposes. That left quite a bit for applying Dots, Destructing, Imploding, etc. Was much more liberating then my experience playing as a FvS with no Aura. The loss of mana (Clr vs FvS) isn't noticed a bit with passive Aura contantly going and Bursts for surge heals. Twelve turns I found mostly acceptable. I only came close to running out when I went Burst happy with undead around. (*note* In most EE and some harder quests I elected not to melee most times and casted more and used spot scroll healing in addition to aura, bursts and renewal. This was a choice that I found just made the runs more effcient and ensured that I didn't need to drink pots unless things went pear-shaped but were still salvageable).
Casting was decent. Up to EH difficulty DCs and Spell Pen were enough to be useful in most quests. Epic Drow I found with this build were not worth the effort casting on them any spell that would run into SR. But with picking and choosing who I knew would fail a save and destructing/imploding that one and swinging a sword on the ones I knew wouldn't allowed for some solid group contribution without feeling like I had only one trick that would work sometimes and not others.
Melee was not as strong as I wished it to be. DPS was much better in Fury, naturally, but not being in EA did put a hurt on my SP pool as well as any ability to cast with confidence. I still found it acceptable overall, however. Since in addition to swinging a big sword, I was Doting, Instakilling, and healing my group mates. No the melee numbers would not raise any eyebrows, but they were part of the overal package that worked very well.
Survivability was great. By far exceeded what I had hoped for. I was concerned, as others brought up as well having Evasion on a character that started with an 8 dex. But with twists (Unearthly & Brace for Impact), gear, and even self-buffs my Reflex was in mid 40's. With external buffs, airship buffs, and ability to grab a centered weapon and pop into water stance I never ran into a issue where evasion failed me (*note this discounts being silly and running through traps on EE for fun ). But even starting with an 8 dex, I did the agility and swim in crucible as well as many EE Tor runs standing on the gold throwing heals in two directions and in all of those my reflex held strong.
18 Cleric/ 2 Monk (Fighter Dille)
*Levels 2 and 13 Monk Recommened, Rest Cleric*
For 34 pt drop Con to 14.
For 32 pt drop Con to 14, Wis to 17, raise Cha to 11
All level ups into Wisdom.
Helf Dille) Fighter
3) Completionist * if avail
6) Emp Heal
9) PL: Wiz * if avail
18) IC: Slash
M2) Power Attack
E1) SF: Evocation
E2) Spell Pen
If you do not have access to PL Wiz or Completionist other viable options include: Empower Spell, SF: Necro, GSF: Evo or Necro, Gtr Spell Pen
Concentration - maxed
UMD - maxed
some into jump, tumble, balance
With the freedom the augment system now allows to slot missing pieces in your set up, there are many options here. The things you will need to have covered are:
Highest + value enhancement, exceptional and insightful that you can find for: Str, Dex, Con, Wis and Cha.
Heavy Fort, Gtr False Life, Resistance, Ghostly, Blurry/Displace, DR, Healing Amp
Spell Pen, Arcane Lore, Highest Devotion, Radiance, Impulse and DC increase for Impulse and Necromany (other options like Stormreaver Tablecloth that give + DCs to all schools helps consolidate.
Seeker, Double Strike, Competence to hit/damage, Artifact to hit/damage, Sneak Attack
It sounds like a nearly immposible task to slot all that. And that is somewhat true. You will most likely have to do some item swapping depending on the task and what you are doing. I found that I was able to slot nearly everything and only had to swap in some Spell Casting hand held when not actively meleeing.
In the screen shots below I am wearing:
Helm) EH Blue Dragon, +8 Wis, +35 HP slotted, +2 Insightful Wis slotted
Neck) GS Smoke II, 45 HP
Cloak) Ghost Walking, +8 Cha, Ghostly, DR 10 Evil, +6 Resistance
Belt) Giants Brawn, +8 Str, +200 mana slotted, +2 Insightful Con slotted
Ring) Health Ring +8
Ring) Ring of Djini. * I later found a Double Srike 6% ring with Colorless slot *
Gloves) Forgotten Craft, +8 Dex, +1 Exceptional Str slotted
Boots) GS Air +150 Mana. Then swap to Spiked Boots with Striding 30% and Insightful Dex +2 slotted
Bracers) Greater Conv of Superior Parrying
Chest) Flawless Blue DragonScale, Heavy Fort slotted
Goggles) Drow Smoke, +6 Seeker, Manslayer
Weapon) ESOS, +2 Insightful Str and 114 Devotion slotted
That set up was functional but had room for improvement.
Screen Shots of build capped at 25. Unbuffed, we all know what buffs we can add in.