[XV] Bow Druid - the Packleader

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[XV] Bow Druid - the Packleader

Post by manafire on Sun Nov 23, 2014 4:36 pm

Not much has changed, so of course, refer to the previous Bow Druid guide, as well as its comments section for relevant information. Still, I'll be providing some alternate gear and explanations.
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XV




Bow Druid - the Packleader


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Early Game (1-49):
So of course, one could start of as an elemental Druid and farm Volrath, then cruise through Hatred difficulty with no problem. Elemental is a great skill to use against Volrath. But, for the sake of sticking with a build, we're going to use Laughing Ghost - which I think is also an extremely effective Volrath farmer. I would even put 2 points into it - that's one extra point that will make those first few levels go by more efficiently; one point that can easily be respecced when optimizing the build later.

Rather than focusing on finding a Crystal with +10 attributes, focus on finding one with a monster from this list that you find to be useful. I'm a huge fan of the Rust Claw family of monsters (e.g., Corrosive Beast), the ones that cast Rust Storm. With Laughing Ghost, you should have 15+ Crystals in 10 minutes, so farm at your own discretion. +10 attr is useful early on, and the reanimate is only 1% after all.

You're going to want gold as well - gold is your friend in the early game. Go after Cave Snappers (and Grubbers in A2). Buy socketed throwing weapons (throwing knives *all types* and throwing axes *all types* are the best, but javelins *again, all types* work too), socket them with any rune (though higher than Ith will guarantee you a better payout), and sell them back. Pick up socketed throwing weapons (magic and rares too - just ID them and toss them if they're not socketed), repair them first to guarantee highest payout, socket them with any rune, sell those too. And of course, extra Gold Find% ensures that when you kill a Cave Snapper, they'll be dropping 10k+ gold more often than not.

I would also recommend farming Tristram till about clvl 16 or 17, just for the Gift Boxes. Any unique bow should get you to late game no problem if you attend to it and keep upgrading it, but here are three good weapon choices:

Shockwave (L27 Bow RW - Sol) - not a unique, of course, but a fantastic choice. Successfully mo'd with the Luck Trial mystic orb (for Double Orb bonus) and this thing can take you to end game.
100% Chance to cast level 16 Punisher when you Kill an Enemy
+(101 to 125)% Enhanced damage
+(41 to 60) to Maximum Damage
+5% to Poison Spell Damage
(11 to 15)% Chance of Crushing Blow
Slows Target by (11 to 15)%
+(21 to 40) to Energy
+(21 to 40) to Dexterity


Salamander's Breath
Viper Bow

Two-Hand Damage: (w-x) to (y-z)
(Druid Only)
Required Strength: n
Required Level: m
100% CtC lvl 6 Fire Splash when you Kill an Enemy
5% CtC lvl 5 Rune of Fire on Striking
+(41 to 80)% Enhanced damage
25% Faster Hit Recovery
Adds (26 to 35)-(36 to 50) damage
(7 to 10)% Chance of Crushing Blow
Fire Resist +(31 to 40)%
Socketed: 2


Darkplague
Long Battle Bow

Two-Hand Damage: (w-x) to (y-z)
Required Dexterity: (n-p)
Required Level: m
10% CtC lvl 2 Time Strike on Striking
5% CtC lvl 6 Death Star on Striking
+(51 to 80)% Enhanced damage
(3 to 6)% Stamina stolen per Hit
-(21 to 25)% to Enemy Poison Resistance
Enhanced Weapon Damage +(31 to 50)%
Poison Resist +(21 to 25)%
Requirements (-6 to -10)%
Socketed: 2


Be aware that Druid class bows get their damage bonus from Strength, while regular non-specific bows get their damage bonus from Dexterity. It is worth it to invest in Dexterity, as low Attack Rating is invariably a problem in mid and late game. This can be mitigated by investing stats into Dex, and by paying attention to your gear and AR% bonuses.

There are a bunch of great body armor choices, all of which can take you to late game. I'll try to approximate them in a list of most useful to least useful - though they are all useful, and there are other choices that are great that I won't mention here.
Albrecht's Revenge (Chain Mail), Jitan's Kamon (Splint Mail), Sharkbaiter (Ring Mail) - mind its defense, though - it's lower compared to the others.
Body Armor runewords don't last as long as TUs, so to speak. But here are some that are great armor RWs to guide you through the early game.
Lumen Arcana,  Paaliaq,  Victory - (mind the defense here as well, as there is no %ED bonus).

For helms, Ko in Druid pelts is fantastic, creating Nezha. Find it in the docs and you'll see why it's a fantastic early and mid game choice. I'm also partial to Big Bad (Wolf Head) for the experience bonus, the attribute bonus, and the defense bonus. Speeds up the early game quite effectively. Featherclaw (Chain Gloves) for your gloves slot is one item that I feel is worth it to create. You can use the Gift Box to find any number of good options, and just kind of go with whatever. But Featherclaw is so helpful for the build that it's worth it to just craft it yourself with two Arcane Crystals and the Enhancement Oil.

Thereafter, it's important to KEEP EVERY UNIQUE YOU FIND AND DISENCHANT WHATEVER YOU DON'T USE. Every 10 uniques = 2 Arcane Crystals. 2 Arcane Crystals can be used to unique upgrade any piece of jewelery, and that = 1 Stat Signet. And otherwise, 1 Arcane Crystal + 1 Rune will properly upgrade your weapon and body armor of choice (the two most important item pieces to keep upgrading). Keeping your TU gear upgraded is more important than Stat Signets in early game - those will come later, and plentifully.

Now then, for the skills.
::
Pretty simple - you're a bow druid, so you want to use bow skills. While Cascade has absurd range and seeking abilities, Spore Shot will generally outclass it, simply due to its mechanics. I like to smax Spore Shot, but you could level any combination of Cascade, Spore Shot, and Nova Shot. Nova Shot, even at 1 point, will often be put to situational use - if you get crowded/swarmed, Nova Shot will help you escape more effectively than Spore Shot will. That said, you should be kiting and moving around your reanimates (soon) and summons (more on that later) - you are a ranged build: getting swarmed is something to be strategically avoided.

So, smax (or spread your skill points) among whichever bow skills you like.
Cascade is a very easy skill, requiring virtually no strategy. Stay away and spam.
Spore Shot is a bit trickier. You have to actually aim an initial hit, but once it's successful, you can let that arrow go to work. I like to use this in conjuction with Nova Shot or oskills (launch off a few Spore Shots, then attack with other skills while the Spore Shot spreads).
Nova Shot is more of a close-range skill. Not nearly as powerful as Barrage, but serves a similar purpose.
Laughing Ghost is a skill that I have never used beyond early game, so I can't comment on its effectiveness in mid, late, or end game.
Tantrum is an oskill that can spawn on rare and crafted bows. If you rely on this, on any other bow oskill for that matter, your Elfin Weapons will suffer. However, you'll then have more points to spend on the poison tree, namely, Acid Fiends.

Smax Elfin Weapons, your offensive passive.

3 points in the elemental tree to get you Pagan Rites. This skill will save you, countless times.

Now it gets a bit strange. Smax Werewolf Form - always keep this smaxed, such that Lycanthrophy is enabled (the skill description from the tree will tell you if it is or not). Think of this skill as a means of making Feed the Pack doubly expensive for non-Werewolf druids. Feed the Pack is an incredible passive that simply requires twice as many points - you must smax Werewolf Form - the form is useless if you don't intend to use it, but maxing it is required for the passive to work.

Smax Feed the Pack, your defensive passive. This skill will give you epic reanimates and LaeK. This skill is awesome.

Now, because bow druids usually have an excess of points remaining (unless they choose to focus strictly on the bow tree so as to get a higher max level for Elfin Weapons), they can easily invest in Acid Fiends and their synergies. In this case, we'll be ignoring that to focus on Werewolf Form (as a prerequisite, so to speak) and Feed the Pack.

Eventually, you'll need to smax Goodberry. I also like to smax Lifeshield, though smaxing that is not necessary (but 1 point absolutely is). I've had great results with both Force of Nature and Faerie Fire. You could probably even use Tremor if you want to mix up your offensive gameplay. More on those skills in the late game.

Getting to clvl 49 should be a breeze. If you need help, this is the place to go. I know that might seem daunting, being an entire section of the forum, but between the LFAQ, the Short Questions Thread, and again, the docs, you can get through the early game and complete LC1 with literally any build and a little bit of thought. I would argue that with a little more thought, you can get any build, no matter how unintuitive, underpowered, or nontraditional, to clvl 120 with patience and reading. You might hit a road block, where you feel like your build can't do LC1, can't do LC2, can't do Act 3, can't kill Dest. Baal . . . but with attention to your gear and the mechanics of your chosen skills, you surely can. (Hint: LC1 is easier with lots of defense, LC2 is easier with lots of resistance).

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Mid Game (50-89):
WIP

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Late Game (90-120):
WIP

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End Game (120, Most Charms, Farming, and Exploring):

Firstly, I think it's simple to just list the ubers that I was able to complete with this build, and note any where extra effort was taken.
Creature of Flame, Infernal Machine, Death Projector, Rathma Square, Cathedral of Vanity, Assault on Mount Arreat, K3KBA, IotSS, Tran Athulua, The Unformed Land, and the first 2/5ths of Yshari - all very straightforward, and I ran into virtually no obstacles. There are various strategies to be taken/aware of for certain of those ubers (e.g., elemental resistance is obsolete in The Unformed Land due to enemies having 1000% Pierce; instead, dodging and elemental absorbs, flat or %, are useful), but elsewise I took no special precautions.

Judgement Day was also easy, but it required investment into summons, and a staff equipped so as to retain a reasonable cast speed (w/o dedicated gear, they're gonna die quickly). This uber is largely a test of luck and patience - but you do have to make sure Uldyssian and his untargetable band are preoccupied with your summons while you fight the angels and cube your charm.

The Butcher - you're going to need summons here. Simple enough, but you need them. One takes a hit, dies, he spawns his circle of weakness. Butcher approaches you, you drop another summon right by you so he targets that, you spam Nova Shot. Fortunately, this is a very easy uber to recover your corpse from - I certainly died a few times, but by no means is this a difficult uber.

Lord Aldric Jitan, Akarat, Binding of Baal - I respecced to Traprat and used Egg Trap before summoning. I'm pretty certain its possible as a bow druid, but that's is how I've always done these ubers. You don't even need respectable gear to do it - with a solid enough weapon such that you reach a low attack speed breakpoint and do lots of damage, Akarat will die the instant he's summoned, or near enough.

Legacy of Blood - summons and luck. I just transferred this charm over from the shared stash. I know that doesn't serve the purposes of the guide. But, this is a very interesting uber for this build, specifically because of its reward
Legacy of Blood gives you some Life and Mana Steal, and 15% TCD with the trophy (and if you can do this uber, generally you can farm this uber - this is one of those fights where you can either do in under a minute or you can't do it at all).
::
It also gives you +2 to Maximum Skill Levels. With this charm in your inventory, invest into all the skills you wish to smax, including Feed the Pack, but NOT Werewolf Form. Say you have slvl 25/25 for Werewolf Form, but with this charm in your inventory, you now have 25/27. Leave it. Invest elsewhere, then keep this charm in your stash, returning Werewolf Form to 25/25, while Feed the Pack would then read 24/22. You lose the Life/Mana leech boost, as well as the small TCD% boost, but that's 2 skill points you don't have to spend on Werewolf Form. If you can't pass up the other bonuses from the charm, you can skip this, but this was what allowed me to spend a few points into the poison tree for Acid Fiends, or spend a few more points in the bow tree for an improved Elfin Weapons.
Similarly, once you can get the Taha RW in gloves, and the 6xFire RW in body armor, that's 2 more max skill levels waiting for you (make to reequip Legacy of Blood for that). So then Lycanthropy would still be enabled at slvl 25/25, but Feed the Pack would be 29/25.

Bremmtown - this level (ironically) is easy with patience (and tons of defense for when you inevitably make a mistake). It took me a while, but I got to the point where my Packleader could do this level in 5 minutes. Too bad you need to do it in 3 minutes. Of course, with better gear, this is easily achievable, I just haven't gotten to it yet.

Quov Tsin - a gear check. Get 475 all resistances and some elemental absorb. Get on top of him and use Nova Shot. It'll take some hunting, as he'll blink away from one hit, but definitely doable.

Also of note - Tran Athulua - you probably don't have enough defense to go through uber like any other build would . . . but you have Cascade. Patience + Cascade will clear this level no problem, even with lousy gear. Just make sure to have 100k+ defense so you can tank the occasional stray arrow or two.

I have yet to try most of the other ubers, so again, refer to the other bow druid guide. Something tells me this build can't do certain ubers, like Brother Laz or Vizjun, but otherwise, this build can do most anything with some modification, attention to gear, and some thought. I could never farm Toraja with a bow druid, but with a lot of patience, I could get the Crystalline Flame Medallion upgrade, and eventually find a single Krys rune.  Laughing

I would consider this build truly end game successful once you can establish a single advanced (destruction) uberlevel where you can perform without maximal effort. Secret Cow Level, Fauztinville, and Duncraig are some levels I would consider difficult enough, such that once you can clear one of them, your build is definitely viable end game.


Last edited by manafire on Tue Nov 25, 2014 6:32 pm; edited 9 times in total

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Re: [XV] Bow Druid - the Packleader

Post by Gekko64 on Sun Nov 23, 2014 5:08 pm

cookie for first XV guide Very Happy

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Re: [XV] Bow Druid - the Packleader

Post by GregMXL on Sun Nov 23, 2014 6:03 pm

Nice job! Good looking guide!
Volrath- Poison Flash > Elemental Razz

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Re: [XV] Bow Druid - the Packleader

Post by vadust on Sun Nov 23, 2014 6:21 pm

RIght targeted Laughing Ghost > PF at all.

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Re: [XV] Bow Druid - the Packleader

Post by Metalistas on Sun Nov 23, 2014 7:06 pm

@GregMXL wrote:
Volrath- Poison Flash > Elemental Razz

It is worth to get pagan rites no matter what build you play. And it only takes 3 points in that tree to get it. So it's ok to spend first skill in elemental. Besides caster char has great advantage against Volrath - the distance. Elemental itself is very powerfull.

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Re: [XV] Bow Druid - the Packleader

Post by WcOwl on Sun Nov 23, 2014 7:38 pm

laughing ghost also has the distance advantage and it has much bigger aoe for totems.

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Re: [XV] Bow Druid - the Packleader

Post by GregMXL on Sun Nov 23, 2014 8:18 pm

@Metalistas wrote:
@GregMXL wrote:
Volrath- Poison Flash > Elemental Razz

It is worth to get pagan rites no matter what build you play. And it only takes 3 points in that tree to get it. So it's ok to spend first skill in elemental. Besides caster char has great advantage against Volrath - the distance. Elemental itself is very powerfull.
Of course it is. It is also usually worth it to get Acid Fiends. Poison Flash is faster. Just sayin.

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Re: [XV] Bow Druid - the Packleader

Post by sirus628 on Mon Nov 24, 2014 10:03 am

So awesome to see another bow dro guide. Really exicited to read more.

Also yea pagan rites is indespensible. A lot of times I left click it as to not have tonswotch and accidently clicking it off keeps me alive. Godly skill. Fiends are still good for speed but not as good because of a certain Nerf. They are awesome as an ele boost and a distraction though. Worth the points IMO since the Elvin weaps passive was also "nerfed".

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Re: [XV] Bow Druid - the Packleader

Post by vadust on Mon Nov 24, 2014 5:52 pm

@sirus628 wrote: since the Elvin weaps passive was also "nerfed".
Lier.

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Re: [XV] Bow Druid - the Packleader

Post by archon256 on Mon Nov 24, 2014 6:09 pm

Feed the pack is probably OP on non wolf druids. Wink
I'm going to suggest some nerfs after I do a bit more testing.

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