NovaSoul (a light based epic FVS build)
This post covers different options and math behind the build.
Disclaimers - an attempt to stay on focus
- I'm primarily a solo player who pug's raids. My equipment/past lives will pale in comparison to many other players.
- This is a con based survival build. If these builds offend you, then please just direct your attention to this silver pen I'm holding *FLASH* and stop reading.
- This is not a half-way type build, although there are several options/decision points that I will describe, there is not enough AP/Stat/destiny points to make a hybrid of this and anything resembling a normal FVS build. There are enough feats that a melee hybrid might be possible, but it would require a heavy gear/past life investment. I will include some thoughts for a melee hybrid, but that will not be the central focus of the discussion.
- This is an epic focused build... getting to level 21 is a different topic.
- This is a very click intensive build. Avenging light, Nimbus, Searing Light (spell or capstone) and Renewal are often cast as soon as they are available. Against casters, a boss or a crowd, you may also be watching the timers on divine punishment, divine wrath and rebuke foe. If you don't enjoy a very active playstyle build... then this may not be a good fit.
- A solid raid healer. Since I am not in a raiding guild, I need to a build that performs well enough in raid healing that I am remembered and asked back for future raids. When I'm in a raid, I want to be able to match the healing provided by a typical healbot.
- Solo Epic Elites. It is a challenge, and I am on my own soloing 80%+ of my play time. This is my build I can play against almost anything.
- Accessible. I don't have top-end gear (not shabby, but not amazing), so I wanted a build that can start with what someone has and work their way up the equipment ladder. Since this is an epic build, I consider walmart epics a good baseline to begin with.
20 FVS Half-Elf (optionally human or dwarven defender if/when the PRE exists)
Alignment: Neutral (for superior stability)
= 8 (base) + 3 (tome) + 2 (ship) + 7 (equipment) = 20
= 14 (base) + 3 (tome) + 2 (ship) + 7 (equipment) = 26
= 18 (base) + 3 (tome) + 2 (ship) + 9 (equipment) + 6 (levels) = 38
= 11 (base) +3 (tome) = 14
= 14 (base) + 3 (tome) + 2 (ship) + 7 (equipment) = 26
= 9/11/13 (base) + 3 (tome) + 2 (ship) + 2 (capstone) + 6 equipment = (22/24/26)
- For 34 and 36 point builds, put the extra points into Cha
- No stat enhancements were used due to being extreemly AP starved
- Better equipment and temporary buffs can take these numbers higher.
Strangely enough, the build has flexibility with feats.
- Empower Healing
That leaves 4 optional feats for a HELF and 5 for a human. The following lists give a mix-n-match set of choices that have synergy with the build.
This is a list of choices for defensive type feats.
- Heavy Armor
- Shield Mastery
- Improved Shield Mastery
- Epic Toughness
These feats would boost your spell point pool.
- Mental Toughness
- Improved Mental Toughness
- Epic Mental Toughness
A 36 point human could (in theory) could move 2 points from int and leave cha at 9 to boost Str up to 14. With buffs and good gear, they might hit something... sometimes...
Max Concentration, UMD, Jump, Balance
In epic elites when you face crowds of trash mobs, you are going to be jumping around like an old school arcane so balance and jump are needed.
- Half Elf - I recommend monk dil for the healing amp, but this is only if your saves are in the 40s. Otherwise I suggest Paladin dil to shore up saves until you can get better gear. I will be presenting the HELF monk option.
- Human - Human gives up a little healing amp in exchange for another feat and 2 more stat points (int can be lower)
- Dwarf - If a dwarven defender PRE is offered and looks interesting then the increase in defense might be worth the loss in healing amp.
- Searing Light/Silver Flame - This provides a second light based SLA with a 6 second cool down. It does a little less damage on average than avenging light, but it doesn't have a save and is a fast moving bolt so it won't miss moving targets. This capstone interacts with the spell cooldown in an unusual way. The capstone does not prevent casting the spell, but the capstone cannot be used while the spell is in cooldown. The capstone cool down is six seconds and the spell cool down is four seconds. If you wish to use both, the optimal seems to be using the capstone then immediatly use the non-meta spell. With this approach, they will recharge at almost the same time. I have found that avenging light plus the capstone plus nimbus of light provides enough button pushing options for me so I only use searing light when I have the other capstone. The capstone can also be quickened for free, so it feels a lot smoother in combat than the no-meta searing light.
- Sovereign Host/Healing Word - This provides mana free cure light wounds every six seconds and longsword proficiency. The longsword option provides a very weak melee option and the mana free SLA provides a self heal option that can still be used while leveling other destinies (Renew can only self-heal if Exalted Angel is your active destiny). If this capstone is used, then it is important to pick searing light as a spell to use that (no metamagics) as a replacement for the SLA. The free CLW capstone provides another mana-free healing option that can be used in raids.
Twists of Fate:
Again, these are just a list of possible options
- Legendary Shield Mastery - While wearing a shield, +[5/10/15] Physical resistance. Note: Rank 2 requires Shield Mastery; Rank 3 requires Improved Shield Mastery.
- Shield Prowness - Shield AC contribution increased by [15/30/50]%
- Brace for impact - (Passive) [+20/40]% fortification. +[1/2] reflex/fort/will saves
- ShadowDancer Shadow Lance (min level: 20) (3 ranks - 1 AP): (Active Cooldown: 30secs) Throws 3 spears, each dealing [6/8/10]d3 + [18/24/30] unholy damage and has a chance to blind target (Fort DC [14/16/18] + Half character level + Intelligence modifier) if you have Dark Shrouding charges
- Draconic Incarnation Energy burst (required 12 - Prereq: Go with a bang) (3 ranks - 1 AP): (Active Cooldown: 30 secs) Waves of [fire/cold/acid/electric] emanate from your body dealing [1d10+10/1d12+12/1d15+15] [fire/cold/acid/electric] damage per character level (reflex save DC: 20 + 1/2 character level + INT/CHA modifier for half damage).
- Shiradi Champion Wild shots (required 0 - No prereq) (3 rank - 1 AP): (Active Cooldown: 30/20/15secs) Toss daggers in a wide arc in front you, each dealing [10/15/20]d20 piercing damage
- Fury of the Wild Boulder Toss (required 0 - No prereq) (3 ranks - 1 AP): (Active Cooldown: 20secs) Throw a boulder at an enemy, dealing [3/6/10]d100 bludgeoning damage and knocking down enemy on failed reflex save DC [10/15/20] + Str modifier
Wand and Scroll Mast 4
FVS toughness 2
Life Magic 4
Prayer of Smiting 3
Prayer of Incredible Smiting 3
Energy of the Scion 3
Prayer of Life 1 (needed 1 point to make 10 progression)
Racial Toughness II
HELF recovery 2
Human recovery 2
FVS Longsword spec 1
- Prayer of life was needed to get to 10 progression points
- Longsword spec 1 was a single point left over
50 Epic levels
650 HP (unbuffed)
Epic Destiny - Exalted Angel
Avenging light - 2 AP, Light based SLA, 3 sp with 3 second cool down.
Radiant Power - 3 AP, +30 light spell power
Healing Power - 3 AP, +30 positive spell power
Endless Faith - 3 AP, +10% mana pool, echos to 30 sp
Purity of Essence - 3 AP, +10% heal amp
Renewal - 3 AP, (Active Cooldown: 3secs, 5sp) Heals 1d2 HP per 2 character levels every 2 seconds for 8 seconds. If target is below 50% health, grants celestial shield, which absorbs 50 damage.
Blood and Radiance - 3 AP, Each time you cast a light based spell, you gain Endless Ardor: +1 sacred bonus to positive energy for 10 seconds. Each time you cast a positive energy spell, gain righteous fervor: +1 sacred bonus to light spellpower for 10 seconds. Can stack up to 10 times. Each stack add 10 seconds to remaining duration. TLDR: Up to 30 spell power for light/healing.
Rebuke Foe - 2 AP, Only usable when Endless Ardor stack >=5. Target enemy tales 5% additional damage from physical and light damage for 30 seconds. Can stack up to 5 times, new stacks add 30 seconds to remaining duration. Endless Ardor stacks reset to zero. This looks great, I should use it... but I don't.
Divine Wrath - 2 AP, Area light attack, heals too, looks like a small nuke, whats not to like.
No epic moment, it isn't that great and it has a thirty minute cooldown. I'd take it if I had more points, but everything listed above improves the core points of the build: Survival, heal, light damage. If you feel the need to have the epic moment, I would recommend taking the points out of blood and radiance.
F - 16+4(GH)+6(res)+1(alch)+1(ship)+2(luck)+14(stat)+4 (insight) = 48
R - 16+4(GH)+6(res)+1(alch)+1(ship)+2(luck)+ 8(stat)+4(insight) = 42
W - 16+4(GH)+6(res)+1(alch)+1(ship)+2(luck)+ 8(stat)+4(insight) = 42
Saves are a big part of why I picked neutral as an alignment. Superior stability provides resistance bonus of +6 to AC and saves. Superior parrying provides a +4 insight bonus to saves and AC. Both of these are pretty easy to find in the auction house.
Most other EE builds that I have seen so far focus on kill fast/kill first. NovaSoul focuses first on being hard to kill and then second on sustainable offense.
The heart of survival for NovaSoul is healing. For anyone who has played city of heroes, NovaSoul plays like a cross between a regen tanker (if that existed) and a single target blaster. The best feature about regeneration based defense is that healing works against everything... ranged, physical, magical... it is all just damage to be healed. The two drawbacks to regeneration based defense is that it can be vunerable to spike damage (kill you before you can regenerate the damage) and the performance goes up or down depending upon the decisions of the player.
So how much regeneration are we talking about?
Renewal at Teir 3: heals 1d2 per 2 levels = 12d2 = 18 avg
HELF Heal Amp:
1.1,1.2,1.3 from equipment
1.2 monk dil
1.1 purity (from exalted angel epic destiny)
1.1 Ship buff
=2.98 healing amp
Max Healing Spell power:
Life Magic = 80
Equipment = 100 (I'm currently running with less than this)
Implement = 15 (could be more)
Empower Heal = 75
Healing Power = 30 (From Destiny)
Blood & Radiance = 0 to 30 (From Destiny)
=300 spell power
I am Ignoring Blood and Radiance to keep things simple.
Average Renewal Heal Per 2 seconds:
18 (base) * 3 (spell power) * 3 (healing amp)
= about 162 hp a tick
Due to the way that renewal works, you don't get a heal every 2 seconds. It waits two seconds after you cast it before you get the first heal, and it seems like when you refresh renewal then it skips the heal tic for that 2 second window. For this reason the best time to cast renewal is BEFORE you get into trouble. Renewal can be cast every three seconds. If you keep it refreshed during a dangerous encounter, then if you are held, knocked down or in any way helpless... then you have about five seconds of regeneration to help you survive.
Another neat aspect of regeneration based defense is that it has great synergy with other layers of defense. If you have renewal active, then in order to kill you, an opponent has to out damage the 162 hp a tic healing. Every layer of defense can multiply the effective amount of healing. For example, 20% damage reduction from physical resistance would raise the effective healing to close about 190. By itself, 20% physical damage reduction is not impressive, but when layered on top of a strong regeneration defense... it adds up quickly. The same could be said for 10% incorporal, 20% blurry, 50% miss from AC. By themselves, individually each of these does not offer a lot of protection. Combined and placed on top of high regeneration. The build is very survivable.
Layers of defense to consider:
- Incorporal - 10% - I use House C manslayer ring so I get 2 epic slots as well.
- Blurry - 20% - This can come from House C bracers, Shroud gear, pegasus cloak, scrolls or many other sources.
- AC - 40%-60% - By wearing good armor and a good shield, it isn't hard to get into the 50% range for armor class.
- Physical Resistance Rating (PRR) - I'll discuss this in depth later.
The most important layer of defense:
The player. Regeneration is healing over time. This means that controling the flow of the battle plays a significant role in surviving the battle. If you take 350 hit points of damage in one shot, many builds would need an instant heal to quickly get away from deaths door. With NovaSoul, if you know you can avoid damage for four seconds... then you can shrug it off and keep fighting. In Epic Elite, there are situations that can do lots of damage in a quick amount of time. Using movement, jumping and positioning in the environment allows NovaSoul to respond to many of these situations without expending extra resources to recover. Less resources spent trying to spike heal to survive means more resources to spend winning the quest. When running for its life... a NovaSoul only has to run for 4-6 seconds
Physical Resistance Rating (PRR)
One more item is I have been working through how I can get PRR on my FVS. I'm still learning about the PRR options for a FVS, but I will share what I have found out so far.
Looking at getting PRR from equipment, feats and destiny twists, the following options are available:
- Medium armor has a PRR of 2/3rds BAB +4. This comes out to (about) 17 with divine power, 16 without
- Heavy armor has a PRR of BAB + 6. This comes out to 29 with divine power, 18 without.
- This first rank of LSM (legendary shield mastery from Unyielding sentinal destinay) provides 5 PRR with no pre-req
- The second rank of LSM provides 10 PRR but requires the shield mastery feat, the shield mastery feat provides (3 small/5 medium/10 tower) PRR
- The third rank of LSM provides 15 PRR but requires the improved shield mastery feat, the improved shield mastery feat provides (5 small/10 medium/15 tower).
Assuming divine power is active:
- 0 feats,1 twist - I could take the first level of LSM for 5 PRR and wear medium armor for 22 PRR (12.89% physical damage reduction)
- 1 feat,1 twist - I could take heavy armor and have 34 PRR (18% physical dmg reduction) with any shield
- 1 feat,1 twist - I could take shield mastery and have 37 PRR (20% physical dmg reduction) with tower shields
- 2 feats,1 twist - I could take heavy armor/shield mastery and have 49 PRR (25% physical dmg reduction) with tower shields
- 2 feats,1 twist - I could take improved shield mastery and have 47 PRR (24% physical dmg reduction) with tower shields
- 3 feats,1 twist I could take heavy armor and improved shield mastery and have 59 PRR (29% physical dmg reduction) with tower shields
One minor drawback of tower shields is that even with the shield mastery feats, the FVS will not be proficient in tower shields and thus take a -4 penalty for attacks.
For my next attempt at my FVS build, I'm thinking I will drop shield mastery/improved shield mastery to pick up heavy armor so I can toy with epic mental toughness and see how I like a bigger mana pool. I think I have worked on equipment enough that my saves will be ok with the monk Dil again.
Spell Power 102
FVS Smiting 80
Radiant Power 30
Blood and Rad 0-30
=227 base spell power for radiant light spells
=452 spell power for maximized/empowered light spells
Damage by attack:
Avenging Light: 3 SP, 3 Second cooldown. Deals 1d4+4 light damage + 1d4+4 per three character level to 1 target. Fortitude save (DC 10+ character level + charisma or wisdom mod) for half.
Base Average - 58.5
With Spell Power - 191.3
With Metas - 322.1
Note: NovaSoul does not max Cha or Wis, but the DC isn't bad (DC is 10 + character level + wis/cha mod.)
Searing Light (spell): 8 sp, 4 second cooldown. A blast of light to deal 1d4+4 light damage per 2 caster levels (Maximum damage 5d4+20.)
Base Average - 32.5
With Spell Power - 106.3
Searing Light (capstone): 0 Sp, 6 second cooldown. A blast of light to deal 1d4+4 light damage per 2 caster levels (Maximum damage 5d4+20.)
Base Average - 32.5
With Spell Power - 106.3
With Metas - 179.4
Nimbus of Light: 4 Sp, 2 second cooldown. 1d4+4 points of light damage plus 1 additional damage for every caster level.
With Spell Power - 103
Note: If you are paying attention to the numbers... No-meta nimbus is about the same damage as no-meta searing light for half the mana (with less cooldown time).
Divine Wrath: (Active Cooldown: 3secs, 30sp) Only usable when Endless Ardor stack is 10. Call down divine wrath on foes, dealing 2d6 light damage per character level, will save for half (DC 10 + character level + half charisma or wisdom mod). Allies caught within blast are healed for 1d6 HP per character level. Resets Endless Ardor.
Base Average - 175
With Spell Power - 572
With Metas - 966
Archon: (Cost: 20 sp, Duration: 300 seconds) A small lantern archon hovers over your shoulder and attacks nearby enemies. This archon is indestructible, deals 1 to 3 + caster level light damage every 2 seconds, and uses your light amplification effects for its light beam attacks. The archon will only attack enemies that have already been damaged, and will not attack fascinated or mesmerized foes, and always attacks the enemy with the fewest hit points in range. All threat generated by the archon is applied to you.
Base Average - 26.5
With Half Spell Power - 56.5
I thought the light based offense would be very weak, but I was surprised to find that it was not bad at all. When I added the offensive twists, the resulting offense was actually pretty strong.
Angel of Vengeance 60
=165 spell power for fire spells
Energy Burst: (Cooldown 30 seconds) Waves of [fire/cold/acid/electric] emanate from your body dealing [1d10+10/1d12+12/1d15+15] [fire/cold/acid/electric] damage per character level (reflex save DC 20 + 1/2 character level + INT/CHA modifier for half damage)
Base Average = 575
Meta/Spell Power = 1523
1.5k area damage very 30 seconds. I'm not concerned about fire immune mobs, light and physical easily deal with them.
Angel of Vengeance 60
=177 spell power for physical spells
Toss Boulder: (Cooldown 20 seconds) Throw a boulder at an enemy, dealing [3/6/10]d100 bludgeoning damage and knocking down enemy on failed reflex save DC [10/15/20] + Str modifier.
Bugs: The Knockdown dc is not working correctly, even the lowest reflex save enemies almost always save.
Base Average = 510
Spell Power = 1412
Mana free every 20 seconds. Requires care when targeting not to hit environment objects.
Wild Shots: (Cooldown [30/20/15] seconds) Toss daggers in a wide arc in front you, each dealing [10d20/15d20/20d20] piercing damage.
Base Average = 210
Spell Power = 581
Mana free every 15 seconds. Requires care when targeting to line opponents up.
I'm all over the place on equipment, so the best I can do for now is to provide a list of nice items for the build:
- Primary Hand - I currently use a Crystal cove dagger for arcane lore. My upgrade path includes green blade for major arcane lore or an alchemical weapon for superior radiance lore. Longsword meele options include Mournlode (House C), mineral (shroud) or purple dragon vendor longsword. If you don't have a holy symbol of lolth then you may need to use this slot for a radiance spell power item until you can get that in a different slot.
- Shield - I have been moving away from using levik's/battered pharlin. This is one of the two spots to get superior stability or superior parrying. You can also get benevolance as a prefix, but since the shield is a major part of your physical defense I think it is better to focus on defensive properties. Remember that shield mastery feats work better with tower shields, but melee works better with large shields.
- Gloves - Purple Knight Gloves for strength and 30% heal amp. Melee's might prefer other options.
- Trinket - Holy Symbol of Lolth. Implement bonus frees you to use what you want as a bonus, it has 102 spell power for light spells and blade barrier and the build is strong enough to solo the quest on hard to get it even without the item.
- Wrist/Bracer - This is another spot to get superior stability. Another option is the House C bracer for 20% blurry, lightning resistance, 3% dodge and air guard.
- Helm - Currently wearing minos for hp/heavy fort, but I need to upgrade. Possible upgrades include a benevolance helm to get to free up other options on my shield, or a purple knight commendation helm for the con/set bonus.
- Neck - Torc, it is not very effective in epic elite but I worked so hard to get it that I'm not ready to give it up yet. What I probably should be wearing here is a necklace with natural armor to provide more AC protection.
- Boots - Cannith propulsion boots, I should upgrade but I like running fast.
- Belt - Random junk, right now I have an archmage belt in there but long term I think I will go for a shroud hp/blurry belt with displacement clickies.
- Cloak - This is another random junk spot. If you use fire spells, the house C cloak is nice. If your bracer slot is used for something other than blurry then a pegasus cloak can provide that. If you don't want to use a manslayer ring, then a mabar cloak can provide incandescence. An Epic chronos cloak can provide 7 con and epic slots. In short, what I wear here depends on what day of the week it is.
- Goggles - SP shroud goggles. A melee NovaSoul might need +4 to hit in this slot instead.
- Rings - I wear a House C manslayer ring for the 10% incorporael and 2 epic slots. For my other slot, I bounce between a cove ring for the good luck/7 dex (I need to slot these in epic slots) and a House C archmagi ring. Better geared players might consider a TOD heal amp ring.
- Chest/Armor - The crystal cove cavalier plate (medium armor) has been amazing. The purple knight commendation armor provides some similar stats but is heavy armor for better PRR if you have the feat. This is also one of the two spots to get superior stability in, so it is an option to craft it. One more possibility is dragontouched heavy plate with 10% heal amp, 20% heal amp and some random soveriegn rune (84% devotion is supposed to be available).
Random Play Tips:
Divine Wrath - The good news is that divine wrath charges up very quickly with all the light spell action. The bad news is that it seems to be pretty buggy. The counters on the buff bar seem to have nothing to do with reality. There is no reliable visible way to know if you are ready to wrath. To complicate this even further, the targeting seems to work like auto-attack in that you need to have a hard target to cast divine wrath. If you have an auto-target, it looks like you have a target... but you still cannot wrath. This is unfortunate because the other ray spells are easier to use in auto-target mode. In addition to the targeting and counter issues, if your target dies while you are casting divine wrath... you get nothing except a counter reset. In spite of the weak damage (compared to other teir 6 abilities) and buggy issues, it is very nice to at least have one area light attack.
Light attacks - Avenging light is a slow bolt that can miss and does not have double range. To attack an enemy at a distance, or moving sideways it is better to use one of the ray based light spells since they are faster and go further. Once the enemy is moving towards you, avenging light is much less likely to miss.
Raid healing - You specialize in main tank healing. Keep renewal up on the tank and use capstone or a no-meta cure spell to provide supplemental healing when the incomming damage exceeds rewnewal. Heal scrolls should be used as a mini-spike heal when the low/no mana options are not fast enough and of course there is always the higher level heal spells for emergencies/group healing. If you are in a raid where it will not cause issues, summoning the archon will build endless ardor counters to provide up to 30% positive spell power as it zaps random things (mostly the main boss since you should be by the main tank). Make sure it is ok before you summon the archon because there is no easy way to unarchon. Divine wrath is also a group heal spell, so in shroud like healing situations it is a wonderful combo of offense and raid healing.
If you made it this far, you have read a very long post. I have used the builds to solo some EE quests, but I did not want to start posting screen shots until I land on a final version of the build. My tweaks have meant I do a LR every chance I get... I have a screen shot where I must wait 1 second to reinc I will continue to update the build as I learn more and hopefully by putting this out there, others can help improve it. Feedback and constructive comments are always welcome.