DISCLAIMER: This guide is very long and, arguably, egotistical at times. I?ll be the first to admit that I enjoy hearing myself talk. However, I did put a good deal of thought and experience into the build, and I do believe that what I present here is well-reasoned and will be helpful to all levels of experience. I try to make the calculations advanced, but the description basic, to allow it to be of the greatest utility to the community as a whole. For me, I can?t stand reading a build that tells me to use a skill, but doesn?t tell me why or how to use it. On top of that, it doesn?t tell me whether it will benefit from Faster Cast Speed or Faster Attack Speed, or Mana Steal, or whether Focus or Strength benefits a skill more. I understand the length is daunting; however, I do it in the hopes that this will be a one stop shop. Once you?ve trudged through it, you won?t have to dig through the forums to answer all the questions my guide did not, you?ll be able to jump into the game understanding all the mechanics that go along with this playstyle.
As such, this is not simply a skill calculator in word form; I will not tell you that you must put 9 points in Skill A, and 5 in Skill B, and so on. I feel that the greatest fun of this game lies in making your character your own. To preserve that element, I try to simply discuss the merits of each skill as it applies to this type of character and style of play ? it is not a hard and fast build so much as it is a template. I encourage you to use the general principles of the template to experiment with different skill sets.
All that said, if you wish to skip the niceties and bad jokes, and you trust that my reasoning is sound (a dangerous assumption), I do provide a theoretical skill point allocation towards the end of the build. Just Control + F to ?4. Sample Skill Allocation?. For those of you that enjoy torturing themselves and make it through this novel, I not only welcome, but implore your feedback regarding what I say here, both before and after testing the template for yourself. If I am blatantly wrong, or what I say is unclear or misleading, PLEASE let me know. Great ideas are not born, nor improved upon, in a vacuum. Please help me make this the community?s guide, not PogMoThoin?s guide.
9/21/12: Typos, updated Blazing Pillars and Hailstorm
9/25/12: Added some outside info (big thanks to dsfargeg!) to the stats section
Table of Contents
4. Sample Skill Allocation (Skip to here if you?re uninterested in all the explanations)
6. Weapon Modifiers
Since the days of ?That Blizzard Game That Shall Not Be Named,? I?ve always had a strange affinity for the idea of a mage that carries a sword and shield. Unfortunately, most games like to pigeon-hole each class into a few ?correct? builds that focus around a specific tree. You will be Fire DPS, or you will be Frost CC, or you will be bad. So in most cases, the Spellsword build has largely been a failure logistically, though the idea has persisted. Now, thanks to Runic and their unprecedented take on stat points, I think the build may come to fruition.
I believe that this build will operate optimally in a group, and will be a valuable member of groups on the hardest difficulties; however, I am making it my goal to make it at least viable as a solo character (though perhaps not for VHHC).
The Spellsword predictably focuses on two elements: Damage Output and Survivability. If you?re going to go charging into battle only to be squished by cannon fodder, you?ll never have the chance to do your damage. But if you?re extra-tanky and do no damage, why not just stay a ranged mage? (Aside from the fun that comes with playing this sort of character) The key then is to maximize the damage that can be done with both skills and weapons, while maintaining survivability. Sound tough? Well that?s why it?s a build that isn?t seen much. And it?s also why I?d like to get a community to help me make this into a build that is a viable member of a group on Elite Hardcore. So, off we go then.
Ah Runic, you have done wonders, providing me with a whole new section to spread my egotistical word. Gone are the days of ?Mages pump Focus and Warriors pump Strength. /enddiscussion.? Now, we must be free thinkers in gear, skills, AND stats. So much faith in your players.
At any rate, this is a section that will at its inception be largely conceptual, and as play goes on and feedback flows in, will be tailored into a more exact science (which I use in the loosest of terms, because each player will have different statistical needs based on their offensive or defensive tendencies, as well as the exact skill allocation they choose to use). Still, let us discuss them in the order of ?importance,? although the distribution of skill points will be relatively even across the four categories:
Vitality: Yes indeedy-doodly boys and girls, everything you know about mage classes is kaput. By the end of this build, your Embermage will probably have more points in Vitality than any other category. All is not as it seems, however; with Focus and Strength being largely interchangeable for the purposes of this build, you will in essence have more points in the two ?damage-dealing? categories together than you will in Vitality. Still, in the sense of raw numbers, this is where the majority of your points will go. Vitality increases HP, Armor, and increases Block (for those of you who will opt to sword-and-board). But regardless of your shield preference, survivability is paramount. Don?t take this newfound confidence as an invitation to Main Tank, but the goal is for you to be able to handle mobs without wearing out your potion button.
Focus: Predictably, Focus comes as our second priority. It increases our mana pool, increases the Elemental Damage of our weapons, as well as the Elemental Damage of our skills, and will likely be necessary for equipping some of our gear. However, this is far from your parents? ?Put 4 in Focus and 1 in Vitality? Focus. Bear in mind, Focus will be used primarily for Mana, and secondarily for increasing the damage of our x ? y Fire/Ice/Lightning/Poison (F/I/L/P) flat elemental damage spells. When seeking to increase the damage of ___ % of Weapon DPS as F/I/L/P Damage, we will be pumping Strength (though these skills are also boosted by Focus, providing the weapon has an elemental damage component). I predict 3 would be the most points we would put in Focus per level, and I foresee even that being a rarity. Stay tuned.
Strength: Not far behind comes Strength, and it is just as vital as Vitality and Focus. As you will see in our skill section, many of our primary skills will be based on Weapon DPS, and not a flat ___ ? ___ F/I/L/P Damage scheme. Why is this noteworthy? Because point-for-point (nobody protects you like All State), whether the equipped weapon deals Physical or Elemental Damage or both, Strength will increase both the Physical and Elemental Damage of a weapon. So all of our skills that use ___ % of Weapon DPS as F/I/L/P Damage will benefit just as much from Strength ? if not more so ? than they will from Focus. The only advantages that Focus provides over Strength are the mana increase and the damage boost to spells that are not based on Weapon DPS. Conversely, only Strength boosts the damage done by critical strikes of any kind, which will be helpful as well.
Dexterity: As a player who almost always goes with the ranged character first, it pains me greatly to plop Dexterity at dead last. C?est la vie I suppose. But though it is last, it is not entirely without merit. Dexterity improves Critical Chance, and critical hits are what apply status effects to enemies (which will then trigger Fire Brand, which we?ll discuss ad nauseum later). Not only does it increase Critical Chance, but it also improves Dodge Chance, which is also useful for our Spellsword. Still, critical chance can be increased through gear bonuses, and it?s difficult to justify sacrificing concrete survivability in the form of Armor and HP in favor of Dodge. And while nothing is more satisfying than rattling off a bunch of big fat crits in a row, that?s not the bread and butter of this build, despite its contributions. Steady DPS and not dying, that?s where we live. This stat will be neglected in comparison to the other three, but not entirely forgotten.
Now, some outside advice:
Ele armor: 94/158/358/385
I am sitting on 50 stat points and 18 skill points because I just wasn?t sure where to put them. I am doing huge melee damage, between 300-800 on a normal hit, around 1.6k for a crit and when fire brand procs I?ve seen damage between 4-6k. When fighting a level 50 boss I got an achievement for 10k damage in one hit.
I beat the game with equipment about 15 levels below the enemies, I believe that boosting your block chance is most vital to your survival.
What has killed me most often is the multiplayer bug where you are turned into a level 1 Embermage on everyone else?s clients which means that you get one shot by everything giving you a sideways glance. I?ve also died to one shots from bosses and larger, tougher enemies when they land a critical hit on me. Death?s Bounty and lifesteal on your weapon makes you practically invulnerable when mobs put out normal damage. The only real danger are ranged mobs and poison.
I don?t get the deal with ranged mobs, they can plink two arrows at you from the edge of your screen and kill you and I doubt it?s any more fun for a glass cannon mage with low vit dual wielding wands.
? 3.1 Inferno
o Magma Spear: This is a great option as your single target spam. It is channeled, it has a relatively low mana cost, it has a ___ % of Weapon DPS component, and has a chance at a Burn DoT. Additionally, criticals will trigger the Burn Status Effect, which will then help trigger Fire Brand. In essence, it has everything you want in a skill that is going to both cause and facilitate massive damage to a single target. I recommend finding a place for this skill in your array.
o Magma Mace: If Magma Spear is your single target spam, this makes a great multi-target spam (though it will also be useful as a single target attack due to its tier bonuses). Low mana cost, a stun component, a guaranteed Burn DoT, and tier bonuses that break shields and provide crowd control make this a terrific opening attack, which should also find a home somewhere in your arsenal.
o Firebombs: I can?t say I?m crazy about it. The DoT isn?t overwhelming, the movement speed penalty can be achieved through Magma Mace, and the miniscule flee rate is neither enticing, nor particularly useful in my eyes. I?d suggest finding a better place for your skill points.
o Blazing Pillar: After an overwhelming amount of positive feedback (Salan and Tissek here, among others that I?ve independently surveyed), it seems to this player that Blazing Pillars is a must for this build. I sort of had a hunch it could be useful, but apparently its utility reaches far beyond that. The charge bonus will be quite useful, and the seeking Pillars don?t require a lot of tending to. Unless you hear differently later on, I would start working my way towards implementing this, and from the way it sounds, maxing it out.
o Infernal Collapse: This sounds like a good possibility as a crowd controller. Not only does it deal pretty good base damage, but the knockback would be nice in emergency situations. But if it?s being taken for the knockback alone, I would recommend investing in Storm Phase instead. If its purpose will be an AoE damage skill, the damage of Infernal Collapse will be superior. Player?s choice.
o Immolation Aura: ?Billy Mays here for Immolation Aura! For about 1 Mana per second, you can deal free damage to anybody foolish enough to get within sword range of you. And even if they don?t voluntarily find themselves there, they?ll find themselves there soon enough!? Never say no to a free beer, a free ride, or free DPS. For me, this is a no-brainer. It?s like that stupid RonCo Rotisserie infomercial: Set it and forget it. It might not always be active, but it will always be available when you have to deal with boss minion spawns or lots of foolish little enemies *Pygmy Stabbers*, and you?ll be happy you have it when the situation arises. ?We?re kind of like 7-11: we?re not always doing business, but we?re always open.? Sorry, I?ll stop now. But also bear in mind that the tier bonus is a damage absorption bonus. Do yourself a favor and get this skill.
o Firestorm: Your AoE nuke. It will come relatively late in the game, but that?s fine. It does its own damage, and increases the damage done by your other fire skills to enemies caught in the rain. The mana cost is a little off-putting, but it will increase the damage of your other skills on all those affected. So use your common sense: if there are enough enemies to justify it, it?s a great use of mana. If there aren?t, well, I guess there are still balls of fire raining from the sky, which is never not cool.
o Charge Mastery: Not sure how I feel about this. If mana is a problem for your player (not enough mana regen, no mana leech on your weapon, not enough Focus, etc.), clearcasting will be a great boon for you, and consequently this skill will be a must. But if you are able to intersperse mana-leeching auto-attacks between your skills, and have a decent mana pool and mana regen, you can probably survive without it during the normal run of play. Again, a stylistic choice.
o Elemental Attunement: Yes, but only to a certain extent. Determine how quickly you are killing mobs, and how often you are applying status effects. If an enemy only survives your wrath for 5 seconds, leaving the poor sap to burn for an extra 15 seconds is a waste of skill points and, quite frankly, unnecessary (you sadistic prick). So make the judgment call: figure out how long you need to extend your burns by in order to maximize the benefits of Flame Brand, and apply the skill points as necessary. Since you?ll likely be reapplying the Burn effect periodically anyway, 3 or 4 points is probably the absolute maximum you?ll need.
NB: Prior to some of the major changes to the game, status effects could not be extended; that is to say, if the effect was applied, it had to run its full course before it could be reapplied. Scoring a critical hit on an already burning target would not reset the burn timer. I?m not certain as to whether or not this has been changed. The answer to that will almost certainly affect the way this skill is viewed and really whether it?s necessary at all.
o Fire Brand: Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. It?s free bonus damage every time you hit an enemy that?s affected by the Burn Status Effect (which, if you?re doing this right, should be pretty frequently). Remember what I said about free DPS? It still applies. And not only does the damage scale with skill points, it also scales with level. Therefore, this should be maxed.
? 3.2 Frost
o Icy Blast: Because Fire Brand triggers not only on subsequent fire attacks on burning targets, but on any attack on a burning target, one could theoretically use this as a multi-target AoE spam after lighting a group up. Whether it is the best method of going about business is up for debate, but the mana cost is extremely reasonable, and the damage is based on ___ % of Weapon DPS, which is a nice bonus. I would see it replacing Magma Spear as your primary missile attack, but bear in mind that Icy Blast does not synergize as nicely as Magma Spear with this build in terms of applying Burn and the like.
o Hailstorm: From what I hear, this skill can be useful in the early game (thanks to Salan for the heads up!). Drop an early point into it, then stick to Firestorm as your AoE nuke (unless you go the way of a Frost or Storm Spellsword, in which case this will be a must).
o Frost Phase: ?Is it necessary for me to drink my own urine? No, but it?s sterile and I like the taste.? Do I have to teleport into a group of enemies instead of just running in? No, but it looks cool and it has some nice secondary effects. Furthermore, it will be useful as an emergency escape if you?re getting pummeled (the knockback at both the points of the teleport will nicely clear the LZ for you). One point should be sufficient for our purposes, those being getting the jump on a mob, and escaping from one when necessary.
o Elemental Boon: I think this will depend on the level at which you play. In Torchlight (and Diablo 2 for that matter), elemental resistances were absolutely paramount if you wanted to survive at the higher difficulty levels. If the same holds true for TL2, this will probably be very important for those playing on Elite. If not, the aura does still have merit, with tier bonuses boosting mana regen and cast speed, both of which are great for this build. I think the bottom line is that this will benefit the build no matter the difficulty, but the difficulty will determine its importance amongst the other skills.
o Frost Wave: Sort of the same principle as Icy Blast. This time though, the damage is flat, not DPS based. Not for this character, unless you?re attempting an ice or lightning build.
o Ice Prison: Another one point wonder. I don?t think it needs a whole lot of explanation, other than that at higher difficulty levels, trapping a champion monster while you deal with the trash can be quite useful, useful enough to justify spending a single point in it.
o Astral Ally: Another style decision. If you like the idea of summoning a second you, then pump points into it to extend the duration. I?ll personally probably only be dumping a single point into it.
o Staff Mastery: I personally haven?t decided whether I will be playing a staff or sword-and-board Spellsword (though I?m leaning towards shield play). For those who opt for the staff, Staff Mastery will be a maxed talent (you?re sacrificing survivability by foregoing a shield, and thus you will want to be maximizing damage). The reasons for this should be quite clear.
o Frozen Fate: The immobilization might be useful enough to justify the single point treatment, as it isn?t contingent upon any other Frost spell synergy. I?m always up for increased CC, so I?ll personally probably give it a point for the off-proc.
o Ice Brand: Nope.
? 3.3 Storm
o Prismatic Bolt: It?s just too Jack-of-All-Tradesy for our build to really maximize the benefits of it.
o Shocking Burst: ?Your feeble skills are no match for the power of the Dark Side!? I can see it working in place of Magma Mace, but again, it won?t synergize as well with this fire-based build. But if you want to do Jedi things, I certainly won?t blame you. May the Force be with you.
o Thunder Locus: Negative Ghost Rider, the pattern is full.
o Arc Beam: Same principle as Magma Spear, just less attuned for the build. Additionally, it requires a staff or wand, making it useless for sword-and-board players.
o Death?s Bounty: The health and mana recovery numbers scale with player level, and also are per bolt. I really like it to augment your potion consumption and Mana Steal, and in addition, it can heal your squadmates as well. I?d definitely invest in it, the question is simply how heavily.
o Shockbolts: I really don?t get the point of this skill. It?s way up there in terms of level requirement, and it just does electric damage and nothing else really. Pretty much the worst skill since ?nam.
o Shocking Orb: Brings back nostalgia of Frozen Orb/Fireball Sorceresses of the days of old. Largely ineffective for our purposes outside of that.
o Prismatic Rift: I can foresee this becoming annoying, as you chase that last enemy around the map as he continually teleports away from you. Still, I believe the benefits outweigh the costs, and I would drop a couple points in it for the sake of damage mitigation. You can always just blast that last guy with spells instead of melee.
o Wand Chaos: If you use wands, go for it. But don?t use wands for this build.
o Lightning Brand: See Ice Brand.
4. Sample Skill Allocation
So you decided to retain your sanity, and just took a leap of faith by believing that all my word vomit is well-reasoned. I appreciate your misplaced confidence. At any rate, here is how I see my own personal skill tree looking (eventual distribution of points followed by the skill). I assume no responsibility for a character who sucks while using this build:
? 15: Magma Spear (single target spam, with piercing)
? 15: Magma Mace (multi-target melee spam)
? 15: Immolation Aura (AoE damage aura)
? 15: Firestorm (AoE nuke)
? 5: Charge Mastery (build charge faster and retain it longer)
? 3: Elemental Attunement (Status Effect extender)
? 15: Fire Brand (Bonus damage proc)
? 1: Storm Phase (The ?Oh Shit!? Button)
? 15: Elemental Boon (Resistance Aura, Mana Recharge, Faster Cast Speed)
? 1: Ice Prison (single target CC)
? 1: Astral Ally (summon ally)
? 1: Frozen Fate (freeze enemies on kill)
? 5: Death?s Bounty (absorb health and mana on kill)
? 3: Prismatic Rift (teleport away attacking enemies)
Total Skill Points: 110
I recognize that not all possible skill points have been allocated. Why? Because presently I really have no idea which skills will be good enough with just 5 points, and which will actually need 15 to be maximally effective. It also provides room for experimentation, such as determining if the addition of Blazing Pillars actually makes this build godly. I don?t have the answers to this at present. This is a rough guesstimate, and I will try to come back and update it as I play through and receive my own feedback, as well as feedback from others. *Hint Hint, please leave feedback*
Now I know that the reason you skipped to this was to get the SparkNotes version of the novel, but I would really recommend at least perusing the Stats and Mechanics sections, if only because this build is uniquely handled in terms of both.
Or just go crack some skulls, whatever.
My skill preference is based on the fact that fire skills traditionally do the most damage. Additionally, the extensive synergy of Fire Brand, along with some of the tier bonuses and secondary effects (Immolation Aura?s damage absorption, Firestorm?s fire damage bonus) made it the most appealing to me. But as usual, don?t take this as a condemnation of the other trees and skills. I believe it is perfectly possible to make a Storm or Frost Spellsword, and still draw skills from your secondary trees. Perhaps you prefer to freeze your targets before destroying them, instead of burning them. And I?d respond, ?Who doesn?t feel that way sometimes? I loved using Scorpion?s fire breath to roast my opponents, but then again, I secretly admired Sub-Zero?s ability to smash his foes into itty-bitty ice chips.? They both get the job done, just pick whichever one tickles your fancy, and be sure to let everyone here know how it goes!
As a result of my focus in the skills section, for our purposes I?ll use the names of the Inferno skills that I chose when describing mechanics, though Firestorm could easily be replaced by Hailstorm or Thunder Locus, etc. Of course, some of the strategy for synergizing will be different but. . .well, you?re all very intelligent, you get the picture. Just do your best to imagine how you?d adapt the general strategy to your own skill selections.
One other thing that should be addressed is the difference between staff and sword-and-board play. Staff Spellswords will be focusing on using melee in order to debuff enemies with Staff Mastery, and regain mana with Mana Steal; other than that, they?ll be focusing on pumping out spell damage to take advantage of the lowered resistances of enemies. Sword-and-board Spellswords will have the option of playing like this, but alternatively may opt to focus more on a melee/magic balance. I?ll try to explain mechanics in a way that covers both of these playstyles.
So here?s how gameplay might look in a couple different situations (this section should expand as gameplay experience increases):
? A large pack of trash mobs: Apply Immolation Aura (and Elemental Boon if you feel you need the resists, mana regen, or cast speed) (and Death?s Bounty if you feel you?ll need the mid-fight HP and MP replenishment); Storm Phase in if you?d like, and lay down a Magma Mace; pick off single targets with Magma Spear, and melee anyone who gets too close.
? A large pack of trash mobs, alternatively: Open with Firestorm, and follow the above method (use this if large trash fights are taking longer than you?d like, or result in a lot of potion chugging; use Firestorm to soften them up before charging in)
? Champion and Boss Monsters: Depending on your survivability, you might want to let the tanks handle the up close and personal business with the big guy. If possible, drop Ice Prison on the Champion/Boss, and tend to the trash spawns; do your best to hit the trash with Death?s Bounty in order to keep your orbs full. Once clear, spawn your Astral Ally and proceed to spam Magma Spear. Alternatively, activate all relevant auras and hop into the fight with Magma Mace and Melee.
6. Weapon and Armor Modifiers (In Order of Importance)
Stat Bonuses and their corresponding benefits
As usual, use common sense when determining which stat you are the most in need of. Not having a problem surviving mob hits? Then you might consider bolstering your spell damage or mana pool instead. But for the most part, address deficiencies in the following order:
-Spell Damage (+% Fire Skill Damage)
You?ll notice that I usually rank the overarching skill above its corresponding benefits. We again revisit the wonderful world of common sense, and I suggest that you recognize that if 10 Dexterity = +0.5% Critical Chance, and you?re comparing a +10 Dexterity item to a +1% Critical Chance item, the additional critical chance will probably trump the additional Dodge bonus that comes with Dexterity. It?s a tad convoluted (?This whole build is the definition of convoluted ya shmuck.?), and it?s another stylistic choice, but like everything else in this novel, don?t take the above chart as gospel. It?s mainly for the purposes of conflicts such as: ?Hmm, I?m dying a lot, but I?m also not critting very much.? In this case, stay alive first, address your crit deficiencies second.
It sort of falls under the Weapon Damage category above, but I believe it deserves a brief discussion of why it?s beneficial. If at all possible, get a weapon that deals exclusively fire damage. Why? Because critical hits from auto-attacks by a fire-based weapon will apply the burn effect, which is good for the reasons discussed above. Additionally, the fire-based weapon will also randomly apply the effect on non-critical hits. Of course, don?t sacrifice copious amount of DPS for the purposes of retaining a fire-based weapon; this issue can be circumvented by socketing your weapon with a fire gem. Also, a weapon that does both physical and fire damage should proc Burn Status Effect on criticals. I?ll try to verify this.
Faster Cast Speed
There is often confusion between the benefits of Faster Cast Speed and Faster Attack Speed. To put it simply, if the attack comes from a skill tree, the only way to spam the attack faster is through Faster Cast Speed. Faster Attack Speed affects attacks from your weapon (swing your sword twice as fast, shoot twice as many arrows in the same span of time, etc.). Where the confusion really lies is in the question, ?If my skill involves the use of my weapon (for instance, an Outlander?s Shadowshot, which fires from the bow/gun), does it improve with Attack Speed or Cast Speed??
The answer is that it benefits from Cast Speed. Why? I haven?t a clue (though I?d speculate it has to do with preventing classes who use their weapons to work their skills from becoming severely overpowered). The basic principle is that if it uses mana, it?s considered ?casting,? regardless of whether you?re conjuring up a fireball or firing a special arrow. Now that we?ve cleared up what Faster Cast Speed effects, I think it should be pretty clear why it is important (but not all important) to us. I mean, who doesn?t like Magma Spear Chainguns?
Faster Attack Speed
Aside from being super impatient, why do I love Faster Attack Speed? Because Faster Attack Speed improves the efficiency of every other effect that your character uses. Mana Steal, + Damage on Hit, Status Effects, Health Steal, +% Chance to Flee, and so on are all made exponentially more effective through Faster Attack Speed (what it doesn?t affect are the base stats [Strength, Dexterity, etc.; although to a certain extent it does, because a 30% critical chance on a weapon that strikes once per second is comparable to a 15% critical chance when striking twice per second in terms of raw critical chance per second. . .but that?s a calculation for some other day], which is part of the reason the base stats are ranked ahead of the rest of the bonuses).
To put it simply: if your weapon conveys 5 mana stolen on hit, and your weapon attacks once per second, you are effectively stealing 5 mana per second. However, with Faster Attack Speed, you speed up your attack to twice per second. Now, because you are proccing Mana Steal twice per second, you are now effectively stealing 10 mana per second. The weapon?s bonuses have not changed, but their effectiveness has. This applies to all added effects, perhaps most importantly to gems. All socketed gems will be much more beneficial in a faster weapon. For us, the most important factors affected are Damage, Mana Steal, and the application of Status Effects (from elemental weapons). I could get into a very detailed and drawn-out discussion as to why this is very important (?No, please, please don?t.?), but I?d rather you just believe the simple example that I just gave about Mana Steal. Speaking of. . .
Because we will be pumping points into Vitality and Strength, Focus will be relatively neglected as far as mage classes go. This means that we won?t have as deep of a mana pool to draw from. Fortunately, there is more than one way to achieve mana independence. The first (obviously) is to stack a lot of mana. Even though we?ll be neglecting Focus, it?s possible to boost our mana through gear bonuses. But my preferred method is to actually stack Mana Steal. The mana steal method is largely ineffective on most mage builds for a few reasons. The first is that skills don?t proc mana steal. As most mages rely almost solely on skills to do damage, mana steal is not a viable method because it comes in to play so infrequently. And mages don?t want to sacrifice DPS by using an inefficient, weak auto-attack just for the sake of regenerating mana. It?s easier to just pump Focus and chug potions. But not us. Our auto-attack is not solely for the sake of regenerating mana: in fact, it will be a reliable source of DPS, and the Mana Steal will just be a bonus which allows us to continue using our skills. Of course, the higher your Mana Steal (and Attack Speed, as discussed above), the more frequently you will be able to use your skills, and the less dependent you will become on your weapon attack.