Artificer – the slightly Jack of all trades

I’ve spent the last week TRing my FvS (once TRd before) on lam into a artificer. I picked him because he has the most spellcaster goodies on him including a green steel repeater (don’t ask why but maybe I thought earth grab was a good backup item in Epics until they changed how that works).

And since the devs added a 1000x XP bonus on the test server I managed to blast through the levels and enjoy the finer point of the artificers without pulling my hair out (the XP target for a once before TR doing it a second time is brutal).

First – the new XP system on hard or elite is nice. 40 percent for hard, 80 for elite and a stacking bonus as long as you keep ‘winning’ on at least hard. That’s an additional 25% over time for a total of 65% XP bonus if you run everything on hard. Add to that the boat 2%, 20% pot and the voice of master trinket for 5% and you have a steady XP income for leveling. TRing players will undoubtly enjoy the less grind.

So let’s talk artificer. Artificer is a ranged/techno mage type character with some offensive spells, a whole lot of crossbow skills, pet that levels with the class and infusion magic as support. Basically it’s part support, part caster, part ranged combat a la mechanic and rogue without evasion. Add 2 levels of rogue and you have evasion but you lose a good capstone and some higher end spells.

Rogue part

The rogue part is pretty much the same as with a regular rogue. The artificers two class stats are int and dex. Int for SP and whatever else you use int for and dex for shooting and rogue skills. You can enhance the rogue skills with enhancement points and other than a lack of evasion it’s as good at disabling traps and unlock doors as a rogue. Evasion is a big loss of course and the reason why rogues excel at what they do, but on a purely functional basis artificer gets plenty of skill points to dole out.

Ranged

This class gets repeaters from get go and every so many levels get bonus feats that can boost metas, ranged or skills. In other words; it gets plenty of feats that will boost its ranged abilities including enhancements to crossbow in regards to attack and damage. Plus with the infusions and rune arm (discussed later) it can add additional damage to ranged combat, including ‘free’ bolts via conjure bolts spell.

Spells

Artificer functions like wizards; it has relatively few SP compared to other classes but certainly enough to be useful and it ‘reads’ them in (inscribe) like a wizard. That means that you have to find scrolls, inscribe using material and you can swap things out at rest shrines as with wizards. This adds flexibility. But also limitations – you won’t have all the spells to chose from until you find the scrolls and inscribes them.

Spells comes in 3 different categories; offensive which seems to be mostly electric, fire and force based. Support ones such as stone skin and other cool new spells and finally infusion spells. On the offensive side the range of spells are pretty okay such as close range cone like electric to longer distant single or AOE types. They’re expensive to use with metas and it’s easy to blow through SP trying to do what arcane casters do and since artificers don’t have any insta kill spells it’s mostly a question of doing massive damage (out of their point of view) and limited to the type of elemental damage a target takes.

Use carefully; my experience having unlimited SP pots on Lam (free points) gives the artificial feel of endless pools of resources but using offensive spells together with repeaters blows through your resources like crazy.

Infusion spells however are very useful. Infusion adds either elemental damage, more damage or even DR breaking features. What that means is that you can say give a d6 of frost damage to yourself or others, add more damage dices to their weapon (deadly weapons) or a metal property or even alignment breaking properties. You can only add one and It’s limited to how long you can cast it, but it does give you the ability to lend support and functionality.

And this works nicely with the rune arm that usually adds some elemental properties to a personal weapons and the new ability to craft bolts and arrows.

At level 1 I had a light repeater of acid, I could add elemental damage to it such as 1D6 worth of shock and it was easy to blow through hundreds of free arrows mowing down baddies. Add deadly weapons and it adds more damage, add holy bolts and you have even more damage and together you have a capable ranged class, not as good as a ranger, but good enough to lend to a group.

Rune Arm

The rune arm is unique to the class. It equips in the offhand slot and can be used together with crossbows. All rune arm have some kind of attack that charges up with time. The charge time can be sped up with enhancements. It ranges from 1 to 5 charges. The more charges the more ‘shots’. Some rune arms fire bolts to the side and front (most side bolts goes to waste since it hits walls). Others shoot single bolts to the front, others spirals and some short ranged electric lashes. They all have unique means of attacks and adds some kind of elemental attack. They also comes with unique features such as guard effects, boosts to magic and a elemental addition to your main attack. Such as the pea shooter; fires 3 acid bolts, add acid damage to your manage weapon plus some other stuff.

They can also be crafted using the new crafting system. You cannot increase how much can be crafted on them (if its +5 then it’s plus 5) but it follows the suffix and prefix system. I added disable +7 to one rune arm so I could use the rest of the slots for other items.

You can add a auto charge thing to your quick bar just as there’s a auto attack. That way you can keep the rune arm auto charged instead of clicking a extra time to charge it and then once to fire. I changed it from caps to R (recommended by someone else on the forum) as this is a more natural key for me and I never use auto run anyways. It soon becomes second nature to lock, repeater shoot and aim and fire off my rune arm and it’s a good addition to your overall arsenal.

Rune arms can be found here and there as end rewards from quests and chains.

Prestige Enhancement

U11 will release one prestige enhancement; Battle engineer (tier 1). It provides amongst others a 6 second no reload clickie. So you can fire your ranged weapons without reload for 6 seconds. For a repeater or something like great crossbow this is pretty darn good and I imagine that the other tiers will add perhaps a longer time up to say 20 seconds at tier 3. One can only hope.

A workshop is not for you – you prefer to provide logical and technological support on the front lines. you gain 10 hit points, reduce arcane spell failure from armor by 10%, and have a +2 to both confirm critical hits and critical damage (before multipliers). Any weapon you wield in your main hand gains a +2 enhancement bonus (which stacks with the Enchant Weapon spell), and you gain the ability to enchant your crossbow to instantly reload itself, allowing you to lay down incredible amounts of fire for a short period of time.

Capstone

The patterns of the most complex magical formulae are like children’s drawings to you. You treat any equipped item that casts spells (such as scrolls, wands, rods, or other activated items) as if they were staves, using your caster level as well as determining Save DC’s using your Intelligence if it would be better than the base item’s.

Or as Eladrin puts it:

It essentially improves your Artificer Knowledge to the point that your items cast at caster level 20 instead of (X+5) if that would be better, and will use 10 + Int + Spell Level to determine the DC if that’s an improvement over the normal calculation.

It does not affect how damage amplification works.

Since the Artificer comes with pretty good UMD enhancements (both skill and enhancement line plus a inherent bonus that increase with leveling) I tried out several scrolls just to see what it does. Bless, blur and night shield gave my toon a 20 minute buff and a stone skin scroll became 20 minute with 200 in dam reduction. In other words it is a nice way of adding essential buffs without requiring SP to do so. I did try recitation, pray etc but these seems to work as usual but it’s going to be nice to try out a haste clickie to see if that’s enhanced as well.

I’m definitely using the stone skin (rather than using the spell) and night shield scrolls just to help myself out a little.

Pet

Pets are a interesting proposition and I can only hope it’s expanded to animal companion and familiar. It levels with the toon, it can be enhanced with Enhancement points at the Artificer trainer and you can add offensive modules (that you can create yourself) and docents to it. You can even add clickies such as sunder and trip to it and it seems like it does use auto trip frequently.

Docents (and I haven’t found a decent one) seems to change the color scheme of the pet as well. There are two ways of adding a weapon module (and I’m not sure if they even work as advertized since I’ve been using a shock burst module for a while but didn’t notice additional damage). First you can find a hand wrap and use 100 mechanical trap parts in a trap making machine and make it into a module. The module will have the features of the hand wrap (I found and created a weakening of smiting one and that’s sweet in the endgame against all those constructs – if it works). You can also craft one. Make a hand wrap blank, add some stuff to it and create a module in the trap making machine/tool bench. In other words – if it works; or they make it work – it’ll add additional DPS to your pet AND possibly some nifty effects that will help you out; such as smiting or the likes.

I don’t think you can create a module out of named stuff and I’d like to find out if you can put a named docent on your pet. BTC doesn’t matter; the pet is yours so a BTC crafted hand wrap will work.

Are pets uber? Not really – they seem to be like your average computer talking dog that have a tendency to preoccupy itself chasing rabbits, breaking boxes and squirting grease in corners. And no – it doesn’t have a grease breath attack – imagine the griefing – but it does seems to have several breath attacks such as fire and acid in addition to the bite and claw ones. Not perfect, but fully enhanced with DR, AC and additional HP mine is right now at 650 HP and is pretty durable in a fight.

 

Final Note

With the upcoming release of U11 you can now create bolts and arrows. You need mats and a quality potion from stripping a item of its +1 to +5 quality. And as always there’s no real reason to make higher quality arrows (cost more materials and require higher levels of crafting) when it’s based on either the quality of the arrow or the weapon. And most quality weapons will soon hover around +5 anyways.

Crafting a +1 Holy Bolt costs 1 greater Good, 4 lesser and 1 Ebberon shard and a +1 quality liquid. So take a couple of laps around Irestone, collect those +1 weapons and armors and deconstruct for the quality. Then create stacks of 100’s to use with your repeater. The cool thing is that if you have holy arrows but not a holy or righteous shooter, you can still break the DR if you use those arrows/bolts together with a cold iron or silver infusion spell. I tried it and it works, plus the infusion spell doesn’t seem to get dispelled by anti magic as far as I could tell.

Another way to make existing weapons work in many different situation.

Artificer is a handy class. Okay caster, good rogue, nice supporter, okay DPS, useful Pre, okay companion/warforge pet and skilled in many things. It’s not super in anything; it’s not a bard supporter, AA ranged skirmisher, deadly caster or accomplished healer; but the many qualities makes it good at a lot of thing without being corn holed into one single excellent feature.

 

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Artificer – the slightly Jack of all trades

  1. HowlingVoyager

    Thank you! This was the best over-all summary of the Artificer yet. I was toying with the idea of creating one just for off-time fun, but now I WANT one

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s