Melee Sorceress

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Solfege
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Sigma 1.3 Update
There were no major changes that affect this build, so it will remain the same. However, there were changes that affect some quests. I'll try to update the guide for 1.3 later. In the meantime, see the Patch Notes Thread and read the Changelog to stay up-to-date on relevant changes.



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Build Core - Mercenary - Early Game - Mid Game - End Game - Challenges - UberquestsDimensional Labyrinths (WIP) - Crafting

Official Documentation - Wiki - Discord Channel - Acronyms and Terminology



INTRODUCTION

The Melee Sorceress is a Dexterity-based build that relies on speed and versatility in both close-quarters and medium-ranged combat. It’s generally not the fastest farmer or boss-killer, but it can still do both without the need for respecs or constant gear swaps. In essence, a Melee Sorc is perfect for people who just want to play the game.

This is a beginner’s guide written for the Sigma 1.1.2 patch, with the walkthrough structured for solo, self-found, untwinked play. Some aspects of the walkthrough may not apply if playing MP.



DEMO VID - TBA



PROS AND CONS

Pros:
  • Can complete most content solo, untwinked, without respeccing.
  • Doesn't need overpriced SUs.
  • Above average boss killer.
  • Multiple playstyles, depending on spec and gear.
  • Access to summons when you need them.
  • She's a Melee Sorceress.

Neutral:
  • Moderate skill-switching.
  • Average farmer.
  • Slower start, but easier End-Game than Caster Sorcs.

Cons:
  • Viable weapon options are limited due to skill restrictions.
  • Viable Mid-Game gear options are limited without the Set.



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ATTRIBUTE POINTS

STR - Enough for gear
DEX - Everything else
VIT - None
NRG - None



SKILL POINTS (at clvl 135)

Max - Moonstrike, Fusillade, Baneblade
28 Points - Warp Armor
27 Points - Living Flame
1 Point - Familiar, Wraithsword, Blade Spirits, Bladestorm, Firedance, Nova Charge, Symbol of Esu, Force Blast, and all prerequisites.



► SKILL BREAKDOWNS



HOW TO PLAY

Melee Sorcs can be built in a variety of ways to suit different playstyles. But since this is a beginner’s guide, this build will use a fairly standard Fire/Lightning spec to balance damage and survivability. This will also allow the player the freedom to choose an aggressive or casual playstyle.

As stated in the intro, this is a DEX-based build. DEX affects all builds’ Attack Rating, Chance to Block, and Armor Class Defense. But for DEX builds specifically, it also affects your damage via a weapon’s DEX to Damage Multiplier.

Offense:
Melee Sorcs aren’t 1hko builds. Since you don’t have access to high-damage, single-target attacks, you’ll instead overwhelm enemies with low-damage, high-volume projectiles.

For this, you’ll use a Bladestorm+Fusillade combo paired with buffs to boost damage. Bladestorm’s range makes it more versatile than Wraithsword. And Fusillade will inflict burst damage when you need it.

Defense:
Melee Sorcs aren’t tanks. Since you can’t stack absurd amounts of Life+ACD+Phys Res, you’ll be layering many different types of defensive mods in smaller amounts. These include: Life, Life regen, Life sustain (LL+LoA), CtB, ACD, Avoid, Phys Res, and Elemental Res. You’ll also utilize active damage reduction from Force Blast to further increase survivability.

Life, regen, sustain, and ACD will be your main focus early on. Later, CtB will become more important than ACD. You’ll focus on boosting DEX, with the goal of hitting 65% CtB or higher. The remaining defensive mods will work to supplement your main mods.

None of these defensive mods alone will keep you alive. It’s only when they’re layered together and working synergistically that they have a noticeable effect.

TL;DR
  • Summon your Familiar -> exit town -> summon Blade Spirits and buff with Baneblade, Nova Charge, Mana Shield, and any oskill buffs provided by gear.
  • Buff with Moonstrike and keep it active at all times during combat.
  • Buff with Firedance whenever higher damage output is needed (e.g. boss fights).
  • Use Bladestorm for general questing and Wraithsword for specific situations.
  • Use Fusillade for burst damage against mobs and bosses.
  • Use Force Blast to debuff enemies, when necessary.



BREAKPOINTS

IAS:
10/37/92 (5 fpa) - Crystal Sword (-20 WSM)
6/23/56/129 (5 fpa) - Warp Blade (-10 WSM)
FBR:
3/7/13/20/32/48/75/129/280 (4 fpa)
FHR:
5/11/20/35/60/109/280 (3 fpa)
FCR:
6/19/42/83/194 (5 fpa) - Staff
8/22/42/78/157 (6 fpa) - Crystal Sword/Warp Blade

Source: Speed Calculator v. 1.2 by Terryys.



CHANCE TO BLOCK

Sorcs have an innate +3% CtB. With Baneblade active, their innate CtB increases to +4%. The following values show the total DEX needed per additional %CtB from shields to achieve Max Block (75%). They will assume a clvl 120 Sorc with Baneblade active.

+2% CtB = 3015 DEX
+1% CtB = 3615 DEX
+0% CtB = 4515 DEX



MERCENARY

A good support Merc will be helpful in many situations. For this build, an Act 2 Fighter-Mage will be used for his relative tankiness and crowd control skills.

Note:
Mercs have an innate +100% Elemental res. But the res display in the Merc’s character sheet is bugged (it always shows 75%). They still suffer from the res penalties in later difficulties, so you’ll have to calculate their res manually.

► GEAR AND BREAKPOINTS - WIP


Tip:
Mercs inherit both your GF and MF, on top of any they get from gear, as long as they get the kill. They also benefit from the +Skills mod found on gear. Mercs cannot use oskills.



SUMMONS

Summons gain 15% Elemental resistances per Skill Point up to a maximum of 75%. They can gain more res with the Summoned Minion Resistances mod from gear/skills/Charms, but they cannot utilize more than +75% from these sources. They suffer the same res penalties you do in later difficulties.

Summoned Minion Resistance Penalties per Difficulty (assuming at least 5 Skill Points in a summon skill):

Normal (+/-0% Res Penalty)
75% innate resistances. An additional +25% Minion Res will make them immune.
Nightmare (-50% Res Penalty)
25% innate resistances. An additional +75% Minion Res will make them immune.
Hell (-100% Res Penalty)
-25% innate resistances. An additional +75% Minion Res will give them 50% resistances.

Tip:
Summoned Minions (and Reanimates) inherit your MF, as long as they get the kill.



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GEAR

► expand


WALKTHROUGH

Normal (clvl 1-54)

Consider Normal the game's Tutorial. Here, you'll get a feel for how the game plays, how your build works, and an introduction to certain mechanics you’ll deal with in later Uberquests.

► ACT 1


► ACT 2


► ACT 3


► ACT 4


► ACT 5


► EPILOGUE




Nightmare (clvl 54-102):

Consider Nightmare the true beginning of the game. By now, you're expected to have a general understanding of the game's mechanics and your build's strengths and weaknesses. As such, things will become more difficult.

As you journey through Nightmare, you'll encounter specific Veteran Monsters native to each Act. These may drop an Evil Eye. Cubing all 5 different Evil Eyes together with your Class Charm (which you’ll get later) will add a bonus to it.

Note:
Veteran Monsters won't always spawn in their designated areas during a specific game. But don't worry if you reach the end of an Act and haven't seen one. You'll have plenty of opportunities to collect these Monster Tokens later on.

You’ll also want have 100 Attribute Points held in reserve by the end of Nightmare.

► ACT 1


► ACT 2


► ACT 3


► ACT 4


► ACT 5


► EPILOGUE




Hell (clvl 102+)

Now it’s time to start tackling some Uberquests. But before you do, there are a few things you need to know about Ubers:

  • All Uberquests have a minimum clvl requirement you must meet before you can enter the level.
  • Many Uberquests have lockout timers. You’ve already experienced this with Baal, but most of the upcoming lockouts are short (often only 20 seconds). Be prepared before entering.
  • Some Uber bosses have a chance to drop a Trophy, which will add a bonus to it's corresponding Charm when the two are cubed together. Unless otherwise noted, it's recommended you farm for a perfect version of a Charm before cubing it with its Trophy.

Also note that area levels from here on will be 100+, which means gear drops will be ilvl 99. Items to look for going forward include:

  • Sacred Rare Leather Gloves
  • Sacred Rare Gauntlets
  • Sacred Rare merc gear (see the Mercenary section for more info)
  • Witchhunter's Hood
    Witchhunter's Hood
    Witchhunter's Attire Set
    Cap (Sacred)

    Defense: (2136 - 2611) to (2161 - 2642)
    Required Level: 90
    Required Strength:
    228
    +(80 to 120)% Enhanced Defense
    10% to Strength
    10% to Dexterity
    Maximum Elemental Resists +2%
    Elemental Resists +(31 to 40)%
    Physical Resist 5%
    Total Character Defense (16 to 20)%
    Requirements -50%
    Socketed (4)
    (Assassin Set piece)
  • All pieces of
    The Mysteries
    The Mysteries
    Sorceress Melee Set

    Witchblade
    Cauldron
    Pentacle
    Sacred Circle

    Set Bonus with 2 or more set items:
    +2 to Sorceress Skill Levels
    +50 to Dexterity

    Set Bonus with 3 or more set items:
    +21 to Spiral Dance
    Physical Resist 10%

    Set Bonus with complete set:
    +100 damage
    10% Chance of Crushing Blow
    +17 to Moon Queen
    +4 to Sacred Armor
    +4000 Defense
    5% Chance to Avoid Damage

    (Melee Sorc Set)
  • Ilvl 99 Jewels for crafting.

Finally, a quick note on Sacred Uniques:

There are 3 tiers of SUs. But these tiers only indicate how rare a particular SU is, not how useful it may be, so they don’t have a numbering system like TUs. The places in which they can drop, as well as the tiers, are dependent on Area Level (alvl):
  • T1 SUs = alvl 104+
  • T2+T1 SUs = alvl 115+ (bosses only), alvl 117+ (regular monsters)
  • T3+T2+T1 SUs = alvl 130+

► ACT 1


► ACT 2


► ACT 3


► ACT 4


► ACT 5


► EPILOGUE



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GEAR - (RECOMMENDED)

► expand


GEAR - (ALT SETUP, FOR USE WITHOUT THE SET)

► expand


WALKTHROUGH

From here on, the guide will be divided based on clvl rather than Act. It’s recommended you complete the Ubers in the order they’re listed, since the Charm you get often helps with the next Uber.

► CLVL 115


► CLVL 120, PART I


► BITTER WORK



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GEAR - (PHYSICAL) - WIP

► expand


GEAR - (ELEMENTAL) - WIP

► expand


GEAR - (CHEAPER ALT SETUP)

► expand


GEAR - (SUPPLEMENTAL)

► expand


WALKTHROUGH

► CLVL 120, PART II


► CLVL 125


► CLVL 130


► CLVL 135


*Zorun Tzin, Nymyr’s Light, Archbishop Lazarus, The Void, and Herald of the End probably won't have full write-ups. Reasons will be given in their respective sections.
Edited by Solfege 1 day.
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For this guide, Uberquests are grouped into 3 tiers, and ranked depending on gear requirements, number of Signets of Learning needed, and the amount of strategy/player skill necessary to complete them. They are listed in Documentation order.

Note:
Uberquest difficulty colors in the guide still need to be reworked. Don’t rely on them yet.

Easy
  • Gear: Early Game gear, with some Mid-Game upgrades recommended
  • Signets of Learning: 0
  • Strategy/Player Skill: Low

Medium
  • Gear: Mid-Game gear, with some End-Game upgrades recommended
  • Signets of Learning: 150-300 recommended
  • Strategy/Player Skill: Medium

Hard
  • Gear: Full End-Game or other specific gear
  • Signets of Learning: 400 recommended
  • Strategy/Player Skill: High

This symbol indicates an Uberquest has a corresponding Trophy.



DUNGEON

Horror Under Tristram - clvl 105, 20 second lockout
► More Info


Infernal Machine - clvl 105
► More Info


Death Projector - clvl 105, 20 second lockout
► More info


Assault on Mount Arreat - clvl 110, 120 second lockout
► more info


The Binding of Baal - clvl 110
► more info


Akarat - clvl 110
► more info


Lord Aldric Jitan - clvl 110
► more info


Horazon's Sanctum - clvl 110, 20 second lockout
► more info


The Black Road - clvl 115
► more info


Legacy of Blood - clvl 115, 20 second lockout
► more info


Rathma Square - clvl 115
► more info


The Veiled Prophet - clvl 115, 30 second lockout
► more info


Heart of Sin - clvl 115
► more info


The Twin Seas - clvl 120
► more info


Eve of Destruction - clvl 120, 20 minute lockout
► more info


Quov Tsin - clvl 120
► more info


Judgment Day - clvl 120, 20 second lockout
► more info


Banisher of Light - clvl 120
► more info


Kingdom of Shadow - clvl 120, 90 second lockout
► more info


Lord of Lies - clvl 125, 20 second lockout
► more info


Ghosts of Old Bremmtown - clvl 125
► more info


Yshari Sanctum - clvl 125, 12 minute lockout (Valthek fight only)
► more info


Xazax - clvl 125, 4 minute lockdown
► more info


Astrogha - clvl 125
► More Info


Spirit World - clvl 125
► more info


Nymyr’s Light - clvl 125, 20 second lockout
► more info


Nephalem's Sacrifice - clvl 130
► more info


Archbishop Lazarus - clvl 130, 15 second lockout
► more info


The Void - clvl 130, 25 minute lockout
► More Info


Herald of the End
► More Info
Edited by Solfege 5 months.
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RIFTS

Island of the Sunless Sea - clvl 105
► more info


Bull Prince Rodeo - clvl 110 (Secret Cow Level), clvl 115 (Corral of Corruption)
► more info


Torajan Jungles - clvl 110
► More Info


Kurast 3000 B.A. - clvl 115
► More Info


High Heavens - clvl 115
► more info


Tran Athulua - clvl 115
► more info


Teganze - clvl 120
► more info


The Triune - clvl 120
► more info


Corrupted Abbey - clvl 120
► more info


Toraja - clvl 125
► more info


Vizjun - clvl 125
► more info


Fauztinville - clvl 125
► more info



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LEVEL CHALLENGE

► More Info


ENNEAD CHALLENGE

► More Info



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► more info



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SACRED HONORIFICS

► More Info


JEWEL-CRAFTING

► More Info


SHRINE-CRAFTING

► More Info


BASE-CRAFTING FOR RUNEWORDS

► More Info



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  • The entire MXL team.
  • Blizzard North (may you RIP).
  • Deafwave specifically for all his work with the Linux Launcher.
  • All the people who keep the forum running, maintain the documentation, and host servers.
  • Everyone who provided feedback, strategies, and tips for this guide.
  • And last, but not least, the people who took the time to read this guide and try out the build.

Thanks for reading!

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions related specifically to this guide, feel free to PM me here on the forum.
Edited by Solfege 5 months.
Magisch
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Do you reckon the defense of Sorc is anything to write home about? I was doing this before rerolling Hammerzon and it just felt incredibly weak. I was getting near oneshot in IOTSS and barely breaking 250k defense with all TCD MO's on my TU gear. It honestly felt weak as hell.
Heisenberg
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The order you have multiple items listed in is it 1st is the best or going left to right in order of upgrades?
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Solfege
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@Magisch
It depends on your spec, but you'll never get insane amounts of ACD (I think the most I ever got while still being able to kill stuff was 600k a few patches back). Melee Sorcs aren't Barbs. They don't rely on just 1 or 2 layers of defense. They rely on stacking multiple layers of different defensive mods, with the spec you choose determining which layers are more important. If you're only looking at your ACD number, you're not seeing the whole picture.

@Heisenberg
Order of upgrades. So, for example, when it says "Shark -> The Warped Blade," it means use Shark, then upgrade to The Warped Blade.
Magisch
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Solfege wrote:@Magisch
It depends on your spec, but you'll never get insane amounts of ACD (I think the most I ever got while still being able to kill stuff was 600k a few patches back). Melee Sorcs aren't Barbs. They don't rely on just 1 or 2 layers of defense. They rely on stacking multiple layers of different defensive mods, with the spec you choose determining which layers are more important. If you're only looking at your ACD number, you're not seeing the whole picture.

@Heisenberg
Order of upgrades. So, for example, when it says "Shark -> The Warped Blade," it means use Shark, then upgrade to The Warped Blade.


How much health do you have, and how important is that actually? Even with 84 all res 50 phys res 350k def and 40% block my hammerzon feels like it's made of paper with 15k hp, I think sorc will be on way less then that, how do you survive higher ubers?
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As with ACD, total Life will depend on spec, as will how important it is (I think I have about 11k with Moonstrike active atm).

It also doesn't really work doing straight numbers comparisons between 2 different builds from 2 different classes. There are other factors beyond just a numbers game (e.g. character skills, playstyle, etc.). Not sure what Ubers you consider "higher Ubers," but aside from that fairly low CtB, those are decent mid-game numbers for a Melee Sorc.
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Magisch wrote:How much health do you have, and how important is that actually? Even with 84 all res 50 phys res 350k def and 40% block my hammerzon feels like it's made of paper with 15k hp, I think sorc will be on way less then that, how do you survive higher ubers?


My melee sorc currently has 17k health, 75% block, 50% physical resistance, 80% all res, 69% life steal, ~200 life on attack, and damage avoidance. As well, we get a lot of natural movespeed so it's pretty easy to get around and dodge things. Not to even mention that sorc gets delicious moon cookies. When it comes to facetanking things, this build has only really felt below barb personally but it takes more finesse to get to that point than barb, pally, or even assassin. I've personally downed 120s and most 125s and will be looking to take this build all the way to the end, sans Samael because fuck that. I can already run Fauz blindfolded, for what it's worth, so your survivability later on is certainly up there.