Disclaimer: First of all let me tell you that english is not my native language, so dont bug me about my gramar or typos ;D , and second; This Guide will be very long and will be my first one ever to be written, but I hope it helps some peeps out there.
Im writing this Guide because I was getting ueber bored with the prismatic bold build I first tried and which are all over the web. Yes prismatic bold is very efficient and viable but also its overpowered and I expect or hope to see it get nerfed very soon? So I decided to play something else and ended up rerolling with Frost. So lets get things started.
Table of Content
4.1.Sample skill point distribution throughout the leveling progress
4.2.Sample Build Damage Test Video + Thoughts
6.1.Best in slot (BiS) Uniques
6.2.Spells and Fish Recommendation
So there am I sitting and reading through the forums about this and that trying to figure out some things I missed and getting some ideas how to build my frostmage, especially trying to figure out how to surive the best non prismatic bold way in Elite Hardcore. And let me tell you, im level 64 right now and I dont regret going the Frostmage way.
What can you expect to do as a Frostmage? Surive alot better then Firemages, do a hell lot of AoE damage therefore, debuff enemies (group play), and buff damage for you and teammates. And most of all have more fun then spamming PB
What you can not expect! You wont dish out the very best damage, but you will be the cc king, the best defense isnt always the best offense! Especially when you are playing Hardcore like I am. You cant expect to rock from level one because as a Frost Mage you will scale well better in lategame.
Ah how I missed the good old Stat distribution I was used to, no thanks to the recent other big ARPG out there? Runic be blessed! So i will go through them in the order you will find it i.g.
Strength: Ignore this! enough said
Dexterity: Crit Chance&Doge Chance, well as a glass cannon in lower difficutlies I would recomment pushing it a bit more then I did but this Build is intented to survive and not get one shotted.
Focus: This will be our main ?Focus? of stat distribution, it enhances our elemantal damage as well as our manapool. Put em here!
Vitality: As I already mentioned this build goes for a bit more survivability then a pure glass cannon, so we will be putting some of our points in here too, as it enhances our Healthpool as well as our Physical and Elemental Armor Rating.
I would recommend going the 3:1:1 Focus/Dex/Vit until you hit 53 Dexterity, why 53 ? Because this is the magic number to hit +10% Critchance. (If you are not playing HC or on a lower difficulty keep going with 3:1:1 or switch to 3:2 Focus/Dex or full Focus for a full glass cannon build) After you got 53 into Dex switch to a 3:2 Focus/Vit distribution or whatever you like and feel comfortable.
So at level 100 your stats should look like this:
Thats a total of +10%Crit +170% Edmg + 34% Armor and a Base Healthpool about 4680 HP pretty nifty I think
I will look a little closer at the skills my sample build will be using, and giving my thoughts about the skills we will use.
First of the Passives:
Your expertise with Charge lets you gain it faster, and retain it longer.
Hells yeah, lets us spamm our skills more frequently, whats not to love? also every skill exept Hailstorm will generate charge, at level 5 a single Frost Wave into a big group will generate a full charge bar, yes plz!
Your skill with staves lowers the elemental resistances of enemies when you strike them. The effects are also applied to any skill using staff damage and are cumulative with each hit.
Essential for debuffing enemies and getting resis low for the extra dmg, must have on elite, since icy blast will stack this debuff to shred their resistence!
When you kill an enemy, you have chance to freeze up to 4 additional enemies within a 7 meter radius.
Who doesnt want more CC? But dont put to much points into it, it will be a cc overkill and those left over points are more suited investing in other skills.
When you hit a frozen enemy, you do an additional burst of ice damage.
Like in a PB Build this will get us the extra damage we are looking for, since all our damage skills have a chance to freeze our foes. Info: Brands are currently bugged i guess, they will only be triggered by a ?hit? this means AoE surface skills like frost wave or even magma will not trigger the brands! But the dot which is apllied, for example ?10 Ice Damage over 7 seconds? or ?3.5% chance to inflict 6 Fire Damage over 3 seconds? will trigger the brands because it is concidered a ?hit? , so keep that in mind!
Your chaotic energy teleports enemies away when they strike you, with a chance of random elemental effects
As a ranged caster we dont wanna get hit, but if we do so, we dont wanna get hit twice, this helps whith our survivabillty, especially in elite/hc, so maxing this is a pretty good idea.
You unleash a hail of 5 ricocheting icy bolts to slow and immobilize your foes.
Lets face it, on its own this skill doesnt do any damage, but as soon as you get ice brand this will start to shine a bit more, and if we look at the design of this spell, it rly isnt ment to do damage, its for debuffing and cc, and since we wont go PB lets take what we get, and make the most of it. Icy Blast will trigger Ice Brand since its a ?hit? effect like PB but not only this, it will procc our Staff mastery to shred the elemantal resistance of our enemies and has a chance to freeze and immobilize them, even more the first tier upgrade will debuff the damage they do by 20%, man does this skill look more appealing now or what? But on the other hand I dont recommend investing more then 5 points in it, why? First of all we wont be using this to dish out our top notch dmg, and this scales so bad its not worth for the dmg alone, second thing is we will be using this to quickly debuff our enemies or the boss we are fighting to stack the staff mastery debuff from range and aplly the -20% dmg debuff, so we want to keep the mana cost low!
You call down shards of ice from the sky, pummeling foes within a 15 meter radius. Hailstorm gains no Charge.
Isnt this great? More and more of our skills have more then just the purpose of damaging our enemies, this skill has a chance to stun and freeze them, and the best thing? the tier upgrades will debuff them so our frost skills we do, do even more dmg up to 60% and keep in mind that we debuffed them to death with icy blast already. Max this!
You vanish from one location and instantly reappear in another, dealing cold damage in both places within a 2.5 meter burst.
This skill is great for an escape skill, you will knock back enemies on getting away and on the landing point, hell its our teleport with no cooldown to get everywhere a little faster or to scout an area. Dont put anymore then 1 point into this, because we wont be using it for the damage and we wanna keep the mana cost low, by the way: the damage doesnt scale with the points we invest only knock back and freeze chance will rise so dont mistake this for a damaging ability like frost wave?
You imbue yourself with a bolstering aura which increases your elemental damages and resistances. Boon?s benefits are also applied to any allies within 12 meters.
More damage for us less damage for foes! and with the tier upgrades we get slow and immobilization resistances, this will save your behinds more then you can count in elite/hc, belive me it happend to me alot, so max this for more resist chance, dmg reduction and what not! oh and it will buff your allies as well.
You hurl forth a wave of ice shards, impaling and freezing foes in its path.
I cant express how much i love this spell, when you get the first tier upgrade and got full charge, spam this and watch them die, oh did I forget to mention that this will procc ice brand due to the dot, will freeze your foes, has a range going out of the border of your screen and bounces of walls ands object? HELL YEAH ;D i cant wait to get the last tier upgrade with 5 waves!!
You summon pillars of ice around a target, trapping it within. You, however, can pass through the barrier. Pillars reflect damage back at foes attacking them.
Pillars last for 8 seconds
This is the king of cc?s? First of all it can block an entire hallway so meeles even not trapped in it so they wont get to you, point ice prison. Second of all every enemy attacking this thing will get dmg reflected, point Ice Prison. Third you can trap f*ing bosses inside it! Point Ice Prison. 4th Its blocks ranged attacks! point ice prison. With the three tier upgrades it will deal damage over time, deal damage when shattered and have a cool down of 2 seconds. Holy S* thats 7:0 for ice Prison, clearly a winner?Max this!
Thats it, thats all we need to rock the world of torchlight!
4. Sample Build
This is my Sample Build, you have 132 (yes 132 there are only 32 levels of fame in retail?) skill points to invest, the core build only needs 125, so the remaining points can be distributed as you like.
For example ?Deaths Bounty? for that little extra survivability or Astral Ally for some more DPS (I dont like Astral Ally myself but if you want, go for it?) Even some points in Electirc Dmg Skills like Thunder Locus would make sense, since they will get buffed from hailstorm and so on?
If you start leveling your Character keep in mind not to push icy blast and other actives to soon in purpose of the mana cost. invest in those nifty passives or save them up for later because as a Frostmage you need the survivability at first because this build really starts to shine when you get frost wave.
4.1. Sample Skill Point distribution throughout the leveling progress
Since it is a little bit harder to Progress as a Frostmage, I hope this helps some peeps. This is just for orientation and a suggestion and wont include fame.
level 1-10: 5/4/1 Respecc that magma to Icy Blast and leave it at 1. Get Those nifty passive and push Charge Mastery a bit more until level 7 and get hailstorm, ur first dmg boost.
level 10-20: 5/14/1 Push hailstorm and get icebrand and frost phase as soon as u can.
level 20-30: 5/23/2 Get Boon leave hailstorm at 5 due to mana reason and focus a bit more on Staff Mastery get Ice Wave at 28 ASAP!
level 30-40: 5/33/2 Get tier 1 Frost Wave as soon as you can and leave it be for the moment, push icy blast for that -20% debuff, push brand and hailstorm a bit more.
level 40-50: 5/43/2 Prepare to get Forst Wave t2 and get Hailstorm t2 push brand
level 50+: Try rotating your passives a bit and keep pushing frost wave as it is our main source of damage, get the tier upgrades of other spells as you see needed, im currently lvl 66 so i try to keep pushing skills how i need them at that current situation.
4.2. Sample Build Damage Test Video + Thoughts
So I was wandering what the potential damageoutput could be with this build on lvl 100 and uploaded a Video for everyone to see:
Here is the highest hit i could acomplish:
Thoughts: Holy S*it, have you seen that? Thats only with stats + skills (Strength: 5 Dex: 53 Focus: 345 Vit: 137 + sample build skill distribution, so no glass canon build) I didnt even put any gear on! And look at that Ice Prison shatter for 70k
Let me tell you, Ive tested it with a full prismatic bold build, firemage build, stormage build, nothing could come close to that numbers! and ice waves aoe radius + hit capability in terms of enemies hit, I really think this build is the embermages top damage build om terms of aoe pwnage, sure you dont have homing missiles like PB Build, but nothing comes close to thath lvl 15 ice wave aoe?
hmm nothing else to say
new achieved max dmg with frostwave on my lvl 100 elite hc ng++++ with about 40% bis (best in slot) equipment and hc stat distribution (so no full glass cannon) :
i like it baby
The typical fights I fight look like this:
If you know you are going to face some tough foes or a boss open with Elemental Boon followed by an Ice Prison to block them of. Now get out some quick icy blast to debuff them followed by a hailstorm for that extra dmg. Then start spamming frost wave, with a few icy blast or that first frost wave your charge bar should be full to get the boost for exessive spell spamming. if its going to be a long fight dont forget to redebuff/ice prison and repeat spamming.
elemental boon -> Ice Prison -> icy blast -> hailstorm -> frost wave spam -> ocasional frost phase -> rinse and repeat
6. Item Build
Stats you should be looking for (Also for Enchantments!):
As a Frostmage you should obviosly focus on stats that increase your dmg as well as your survivability:
+x Focus Attribute bonus Priority nr.1 since it enhances mana+elemntal dmg
+x Health Priority nr.2 since we need that much given health to not get one shotted in Elite/HC
+x% to Ice Damage Priority nr.3 Nice to have, especially on those Set/Unqiques (See BiS)
All Damage Taken is reduced by x% Due to the latest Patch, caps at 75% but very rare, if you can get it, go for it
Nice to have stats:
+x% Cast Speed To get more of those Frost Waves out
+x Elemental/Physcial Armor Especially in Elite really usefull
+x% Critical Hit Chance dmg boost
x% bonus to Critical Damage dmg boost
+% Dodge chance every tiny bit helps!
+% Health/Mana why not?
It depends whether you are playing elite/hc or not, if you do, try to focus on a decent 2:1 ratio on stats that boost damage and survivability. If you dont play hc or in a lower difficulty you can focus more on damage.
6.1.Best in slot (BiS) Uniques:
For this build I tried to focus on both damage and survivability. Note that the best survivabilty option come from sockets, because most of Embermage Uniques are more damage oriented. Read the conlusion at the end.
Also note that for BiS all Items should have to sockets!
We went for the six part Set bonus of the Trancendent Set because the 4-6 bonuses are rly nice to have and those extra elemntal armor bonuses on those items are nice to have too, also we went for two set bonus of Emberweave for that +%ice damage.
I chose the specific item combinations (e.g. the Emberweave Helm +health) for the set bonuses and the stats they are giving therefor, a nice mix of defense and offense.
For Socket distribution, you have 20 total Armor Sockets, so you should take 10 of Wfuntir Skulls for 620 +Focus (+310%) and mix the rest 1:1 with Limoany (25%reduction) and Riechliu (+7700 Health)
If you are going for full Glass Cannon farm those Wfuntir Skulls like hell?
For Weapons Sockets, choose whatever you like: I always go with 60% Crit Damage
6.2.Spells and Fish Recommendation:
The caster whirls into action with rapidly accelerated attacks and casts for 20 seconds.
Mana Cost: 116
Cooldown: 60 seconds
+30% Attack Speed
+30% Cast Speed
For that extra Cast Speed if needed
Elemental Overload VI
The caster is imbued with increased elemental damage strength
Mana Cost: 53
Cooldown: 32 seconds
+25% to Electric Damage for 16 seconds
+25% to Fire Damage for 16 seconds
+25% to Ice Damage for 16 seconds
+25% to Poison Damage for 16 seconds
Elemental Protection VI
The caster is buffered by increased elemental resistances
Mana Cost: 53
Cooldown: 60 seconds
The last one is up to you, i would go with a tome of treasure hunter for that + magic find
-Heal All VI
-Summon Nether Imp V
-Summon Skeleton VI
-Summon Zombies VI
vampiric spider eggs or warsnouts ( Most of the time I dont bother with fish because everything should die quickly enough, just for boss fights nice to have)
Ice Prison: As an embermage you will most likely encounter more one-hit-death-situations as any other class. As already mentioned Ice Prison is one of those skills that will block an entire hallway from mobs attacking you, but recently I thought, hey why not stand in the middle of the prison and see what happens. Since you are able to walk though those giant pillars of ice and your enemies arent, its a great way of keeping them away and blocking range attacks while you can spamm ice wave in peace, if you ever are getting surrounded! And it works Heres a Pic to show you what i mean:
Just to show a tiny bit of my Frostmage
Thanks if you took the time to read the whole thing and i would appreciate your feedback, also keep in mind this is my first guide ever ^^