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Spell-based Summoner/Arcane Guide - Updated for Wildlands

Mustang

Neophyte

Preface

Hi, I've noticed that many players are asking for summoner template. I've been playing with this build since the beginning of my journey on Outlands, so decided to write down my experiences. If you notice any errors or typos please let me know, I'm not a native English speaker but I'll do my best!

Update 20-MAY-2024 - currently playtesting expansion content and builds, added some updates for Wildands content​

We are so back, this time it's our turn kill steal to from tamers... but seriously, most parts of that been buffed, making a mage one back again as of the best templates for all stages of progression.

Pros & Cons​

+ High burst damage, it's easy to secure your looting rights (or out-damage other players if you like to ruin somebody's day)
+ High damage on bosses with damage over time effects
+ Various utility abilities - healing, ressurecting, buffing and other useful magery spells
+ Can be incredibly tanky in PvM if desired, while still maitaning high damage. Excellent for playing as a DPS or even solo in Time Dungeon
+ Not that bad in PvP - hybrid PvP/PvM builds are possible
+ Free skillpoints - you can easily fit Tracking, Forensic Evaluation, Camping, Wrestling, Resist, etc.
+ Good for all stages of progression, unlike dexxer it's quite good with just a few links, but still scales well with high aspect tiers and mastery chain.

- Summons die too quickly and you have to ressummon them all the time
- Arcane mage is not that flexible, it's harder to fit utility skills on that build
- Mana refund is random, sometimes you can cast 50 flamestrikes in a row, sometimes only two and you'll run out of mana
- Requires lot of micromanagement to squeeze most of your DPS - there is very high skill celling in order to play effectively.

Skill Choice​

New player template​

  • 100 Magery
  • 100 Meditation
  • 100 Evaluating Intelligence
  • 100 Necromancy
  • 100 Spirit Speak
  • 100 Tracking
  • 100 Forensic Evaluation or 100 Focus
I recommend to follow this route for a every mage appertnice. If you need some money for training Magery, just make a lumberjack and sell boards to other players. It's very important to buy a full spellbook, Summoner's Tome, Wizard's Grimoire and activate your aspects as soon as possible - otherwise you won't be able to progress with your build. Necromancy book can be obtained for free if your character starts with at least 1 Necromancy.
If you are wondering why we don't pick Wrestling and Resisting Spells - your summons will soak most of the damage, so it's not really needed unless you want to fight other players. Tracking will help you avoid PK's and Forensic Eval will increase your actual gold per hour. I recommend to save carved hides - you should make a character with at least 100 talioring on your every account as early as possible. Trust me, the investment will quickly pay off - you can do crafting society quests, which will give you valuable rewards, such as gold mastery reforge kits. Alternatively you can pick Focus instead of Forensic if you want to alleviate mana issues which will inveitably happen.

General summoner solo farming template​

Core:
  • 100 Magery
  • 100 Meditation
  • 100 Evaluating Intelligence
  • 120 Necromancy
  • 100 Focus
  • 80-120 Spirit Speak
Optional
  • Tracking - at least 80, but I recommend 100 so it will be more reliable. Tracking is quite good for solo play, but once you are more experienced then you will know how to handle PK's, so most people just drop it later on.
  • Camping - at least 80-100 is recommended if you don't want to leave the dungeon every 5 minutes or so, but if you plan to farm Wilderness, it does not matter that much.
  • Forensic Evaluation - you will need at least 110 in order to get Avarhide, but it's so rare that 100 could also be enough. This skill is good if you farm mostly in wilderness, but you can just ignore it and buy hides for your societies
  • Inscription - probably the best option for players who just don't pick the gold from the corpses anymore. Free flamestrikes and longer buffs are not game changing but are nice to have. Interruption immunity is very important for high tier content or bosses. The damage is a bit better, however it locks you to Eldritch armor to get most of it, otherwise you need to sacrifice two slots for Inscription links. It effectively downgrades it to a regular 25% spell damage skill - you could use various damage multiplier links instead.
  • Wrestling/Resist - non-brainer for a hybrid PvP/PvE build. Wrestling bonus is usually wasted due to high innate refund change from aspect. Resist grants you interrut immunity which is nice. You will have to drop focus in order to run that combination, or cut some points from various skills like Necro, Spirit Speak etc. It is one of the best hybrid builds out there, however due to addition of foucs skill the difference between pure PvE template is way more noticeable now.
Buying scrolls for 120 Necromancy will be quite expensive but it's pretty much mandatory as it will increase your spells damage substantially. Spirit Speak does not scale that well now. There is a slight difference between 80 and 120 SS, but it's better to invest more in offensive abilities - the quicker you kill the less damage your summons take. The last skill is up to you. If you are new then first three options are just as good. Forensic will give you hides. You won't need to restock with Camping that often. You can avoid getting PK'ed with Tracking - your GPH is zero when you are dead. Inscription is the most optimized skill for pure killing power, but skill scrolls are quite expensive - I'd just wait for it until you have no trouble sourcing cores for your build.


Arcane Mage​

  • 100 Magery
  • 100 Focus
  • 100 Evaluating Inteligence
  • 100 Arcane
  • 120 Necromancy
  • 100 Wrestling
Last skill is not set in stone but it's highly recommend to start with parrying
  • 80 Parrying and 20 Alchemy - the most safe option out there, parry codex will help you a lot, especially against monsters with bleed and disease. Alchemy gives you longer buff potion duration - blue potion is extremely important as gives you more attack speed. Although parrying is not an offensive skill, another 25% spell damage increase skill won't change much, so you are not losing much of damage.
  • Inscription - if you want to fit that skill you have to drop parrying and decrease your Arcane/Wrestling to 90/90. Or decrease your Necro/Arcane/Wrestling/Focus a bit, but you will just end up with lower damage then on a regular build with parrying. Buffs are nice to have but not that critical. The only really useful buff for PvE is Protecton (30 more armor with grimoire upgrade). However you can cast it anyway without it. I think that Inscription combined with Eldtrich aspect is still an excellent choice for bosses, or for group play in general where you are not the tank. For solo farming in Aegis/Mauso 4 parrying is just safer.
  • Cooking - lots of people recommend to keep meditation for early leveling stages, but cooking seems like a better option. More mana regen and more swing speed is nice, and snacking is basically an Void aspect in your pocket. You will be able to easily fit an heavier armor like bone or plate without mana issues. The main downside is that you are going to eat your food stocks quickly, so it might not be a best option for a new player.
  • Camping/Tracking/Forensic - I already described these skills, also a viable option
Arcane is considered a "pure mage" build, but I'd consider it more as a "battle mage" - it's feels more like mage/dexxer hybrid. Arcane is not as flexible with skills but outshines a regular summoner with pure farming speed at high tier aspect. Summons defence scales poorly, most high end monsters eat them for lunch. You won't need to bother with resummoning your earth elemental every second monster or so. You don't have to wait for summons to follow you, so you can teleport around often. However it also means that you could be surrounded with monsters and you won't have summons to take the heat from you. Fortunately you get excellent defences. It's possible to wear even plate armor with certain aspects just fine - you will be tankier than most dexxers. Keep in mind that you need high tier aspect to not be mana starved without meditation. If you want to start as an Arcane mage, then I'd recommend to start with an regular summoner and swap to Arcane once you are at tier 10 or so. It's highly recommend to start farming in the Wildreness to get accustomed to the playstyle - you can kite monsters easily on a mount. Once you are more experienced and your codexes are completed then you could go back to the dungeons just fine.

Aspects​

Book/Weapon:
Aspect procs don't really matter before T10+ anyway, so you will be not missing much while using other aspects as a new player. However there are basically two options which are way better than anything else. Although expensive, you will need one of these aspects eventually.
- Eldritch - good all-rounder aspect - more mana, reduces spell resistance, can be used on any build. Although it won't provide you as much mana as Arcane, mana wells can be used immediately and are not wasted even if your mana is full
- Arcane - the best option for Arcane users, high tier Arcane can basically resolve all your mana issues by itself. There is only one downside - you need to hit stuff to restore your mana. You need to keep killing stuff, so it's not the best choice for overfarmed spots.

Armor:
There are many viable armor choices, you can basically level up other non-mage related Aspect on armor with high tier Arcane staff
Eldritch - nerfed a bit but it's still good. It provides you lots of damage and mana. Inscription boost is nice even if you don't have it in your build, longer buffs are good. It won't provide you any defences though, so you will have to kite more often or have play with a tank.
Void - due to recent minimum resist changes it lost it's niche - resistances cannot be reduced by more than 100 points. Health and mana regen are nice though, one of the best options if you want to wear a plate armor on your mage. High tier arcane armor will be more tankier on average. It used to be a nice middleground between Eldtrich and Arcane aspect, but right now it just has a very specific use case (DPS aspect for more resistant monsters in Time dungeon).
Arcane - it does not provide you any mana so you will need a high tier Arcane aspect weapon to fix your mana issues. Health regen is insane though as long as you can chain flamestrikes - it allowes you to farm basically anywhere you want. Damage is kinda lackluster, but Arcane mage has high innate spell damage anyaway. You get a nice DR bonus on top.
Death - good budget choice, it boosts your Necromancy skill which is your main damage skill. You are going to find a better aspect for every specific use case, but if it's all you can afford then it's not bad. You will need to train your Eldtrich/Arcane weapon eventually. Can be used on both regular summoner and on Arcane mage
Blood - another budget aspect but for Arcane mages - stats increase will boost your swing speed substantially so you will get more mana. Damage below 50% has a nice interaction with all that DoT effects, all you need is to reduce HP with Flamestrikes, and then your damage over time effects will do the rest.

Links​

Damage to diseased creatures - your bread and butter, period. Boosts not only spells but Aspect proc damage and Pain Spikes as well. The best option for first 0-10 links. Make sure to trigger a disease effect first with some low tier spell like magic arrow.
Spell Aspect Chance - you should wait before you reach T13+ Eldtrich/Arcane aspect because you need a high base proc chance in order to really benefit from these links. One of best options for 10-20 links. It won't increase your damage that much but your mana issues will be mostly resolved
Damage to bosses/dungeon damage links - best in slot but you have to change them for every dungeon.
Meditation rate - not as good anymore, maybe for 40th+ link. We have plenty of mana so we don't need that anymore.
Necromancy - while the bonus might seem very small, any boost to necromancy will increase your damage substantially - for example, a bronze link will grant extra 1.315% spell damage as damage over time with Corpse Skin + Mind Rot combo (I'll explain it later). It'll also boost other necromancy skills and symbol capacity. It's a good link to pair with Death aspect, but there are better options for other aspects.
Spell damage with no followers or Spell damage / resist ignore chance - these are way worse than it seems as they scale additively - I will explain what does it mean in the next paragraph. There are way better options for first 30 slots, you can consider them for redline links though.
Damage to Poisoned creatures - you would have to poison creatures by yourself or party with poisoners in order to benefit from this link - however I've included it as it grants multiplicative bonus, so it's couple times better than spell damage link.


Additive vs Multiplicative damage scaling​

It's very important to know how do the damage bonuses work. Most damage bonuses scale additively
For example - let's say that you have:
100 eval int - 50% increased spell damage
100 tracking - 25% increased spell damage
100 camping - 25% increased spell damage
Enemy is cursed - 25% increased spell damage
Evil omen with 120 necromancy - 24% increased spell damage
T14 aspect book - 21% increased spell damage

For example, you cast a spell which deal 100 damage if you don't have any bonuses
If you combine all of these bonuses you will deal:
100 * (1 + 0.5 + 0.25 + 0.25 + 0.25 + 0.24 + 0.21) = 100 * 2.7 = 270 damage

For example you want to upgrade your chain with 10 golden spell damage links. You will get another 22.5% increased spell damage, but with the all bonuses combined you will deal
100 * (1 + 0.5 + 0.25 + 0.25 + 0.25 + 0.24 + 0.21 + 0.225) = 100 * 2.925 = 292.5 damage
The difference between 292.5 and 270 damage is only 8.3%.
It means that if you have a lot of damage bonuses from different skills it's usually better to invest more on another sources of damage, such as mana regen or aspect effect chance

There are few bonuses which do stack multiplicatively though. The list includes guild favours, bard buffs, Damage to Poisoned/Barded creatures links and Dungeon/Boss damage links.
For example you want to upgrade your chain with 10 golden damage to poisoned creatures links. You will get 30% more damage against poisoned creatures
100 * (1 + 0.5 + 0.25 + 0.25 + 0.25 + 0.24 + 0.21) * 1.3 = 100 * 2.7 * 1.3 = 351 damage

Wizard's Grimoire Upgrades​

Most important upgrades:
Create Food - extra 25 mana every 60 seconds
Mana drain/vampire - you don't have to max this skill if your mana refund already exceeds 50% cap
Flamestrike - extra 35% damage as damage over time is way better than flat damage bonuses, even if some damage will be wasted while farming
Curse - spell damage bonus is always nice
Lightning - hinder is helpful, especially against these spectral marksmans which can one shot you
The rest is up to your personal preference:
Magic arrow/harm will help you finish monsters, Mind Blast upgrade is quite substantial, Greater Heal upgrade will keep your summons / friends / ship crewmates alive

Summoner's Tome Upgrades​

For farming I use an Earth Elemental and
a Lich (Necromancy Fire Elemental). For bossfights I use two Liches

Recommended Earth elemental upgrades:
Spirit Pact, Corporeal Tether, Grounded, Earthpull, Stonewall
It takes 2 minutes to reach full bonus from Stonewall buff, so you should make sure that your elemental is not dying so often. If the elemental HP goes lower than 66%, you should heal your summon so the Grounded bonus will start healing your elemental again

Recommended Fire elemental/Lich upgrades:
Spirit Pact, Corporeal Tether, Scorched Earth, Controlled Burn, Wildfire, Fanning the Flames
I prefer that my liches are more tanky so I don't have to resummon them that often on bosses, but you can take Glass Cannon or Unstable Sorcery upgrades if you want

Necromancy skills​

The most important thing - DO NOT use Auto-Renew checkbox - it will burn all your symbols very quickly. You have to control these abilities manually, so you can use spell damage bonuses while you are spellcasting, and regenerate your symbols while meditating. You can replace your Flamestrike keybind with a script which will cast Flamestrike and then try to trigger abilities - I recommend setting Corpse Skin and Mind Rot as these two are the most important.

Vengeful Spirit - use this skill to summon your Lich
Poison Strike - good skill as a finisher, you can resolve up to 8 disease ticks - use this skill while the mob is on low health and has couple of disease stacks on it
Evil Omen - this ability is cheap and Void Aspect will help with mitigating the drawback - feel free to use it when you are not expecting heavy aoe damage from monsters
Corpse Skin - your bread and butter, extra 30% as damage over time. Which is way better than other necromancy spell damage bonuses which stack additively
Vampiric Embrace - I don't use it anymore as liches lose maximum hp over time, so you have to resummon them eventually
Mind Rot - surprisingly, disease damage bonus adds up with Corpse Skin, so with 120 necromancy you will deal extra 54% damage as damage over time. Combined
with the Flamestrike upgrade you will deal extra 89% damage, which will melt bosses. That's why it's worth to use these abilities all the time, even on regular dungeon monsters
Blood Oath - I use it sometimes on bosses when I'm out of mana and I have a lot of symbols
Strangle - I do not recommend using this skill unless you go with necro armor - the damage bonus is tiny compared to Corpse Skin + Mind Rot
Wither - good for resummoning your elementals and liches/ when you are out of mana
Pain Spike - if you have a lot of symbols feel free to use this skill to finish the creatures in dungeons

I think that's all, if you do have some questions or ideas feel free to post it in this thread
 
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