Melee Sorceress

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Solfege
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EZ NAV
Build Core - Mercenary - Early Game - Mid Game - End Game - Challenges - Dungeons and Rifts - Crafting

Official Documentation - Wiki - Discord Channel - Acronyms and Terminology



INTRODUCTION

Are you looking for a build that will take you through the game’s content from beginning to end? Do you want a build that doesn’t need a ton of expensive gear or use an overly complex playstyle? Do you want a build you can play solo, self-found, and untwinked? Then let me introduce you to the Melee Sorceress.

The Melee Sorceress is a Dexterity-based build that’s fast, versatile, and tough enough to hold her own against the deadliest foes. The playstyle is simple without being boring, and you can complete most of the content with cheap, easy to find gear. And multiple spec options let you choose a melee playstyle that suits your tastes--from the hyper-aggressive Poison/Fire spec, to the super-casual Lighting/Cold spec. So if you’re someone who just wants to play the game, then a Melee Sorc may be just what you’re looking for.



PROS AND CONS

Pros:
  • Can complete the game’s content solo and untwinked.
  • Doesn't need expensive gear.
  • Above average boss killer.
  • Multiple playstyles, depending on spec and gear.
  • Access to summons when you need them.
  • She's a Melee Sorceress. I mean, c'mon, buddy.

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

Cons:
  • Viable weapon options are limited due to skill restrictions.
  • Some End-Game boss fights can be frustrating due to their mechanics and the nature of a Sorc’s melee skills.



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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
10 Points - Vengeful Power
5 Points - Symbol of Esu
1 Point - Familiar, Wraithsword, Blade Spirits, Bladestorm, Hive, Nova Charge, Force Blast, and all prerequisites.

Remaining points can go to Warp Armor.

► SKILL BREAKDOWNS



BREAKPOINTS

Attack Speed (AS):
10/37/92 (5 fpa) - Crystal Sword (-20 WSM)
6/23/56/129 (5 fpa) - Warp Blade (-10 WSM)
Block Speed (BS):
3/7/13/20/32/48/75/129/280 (4 fpa)
Hit Recovery (HR):
5/11/20/35/60/109/280 (3 fpa)
Cast Speed (CS):
6/19/42/83/194 (5 fpa) - Staff
8/22/42/78/157 (6 fpa) - Crystal Sword/Warp Blade



THE BASICS

Melee Sorcs will generally have the same Melee Skill Point distribution regardless of spec. So your biggest consideration will be which defensive Passive combo to choose. All Passive combos are viable, and some are better in certain situations that others. Since this is a beginner’s guide, this build will use a safer and more casual-friendly Poison/Lightning spec.

Offense:
Melee Sorcs take a "death by a thousand cuts" approach to damage. A Sorc's melee skills are designed to overwhelm enemies with high volumes of low-damage projectiles. To achieve success, you’ll use a Bladestorm+Fusillade combo, paired with buffs such as Hive and Nova Charge to deal additional damage. Bladestorm’s range makes it more versatile than Wraithsword. And Fusillade will inflict burst damage when you need it. Later, you can gain access to oskills such as Spiral Dance, Charged Strike, and even Parasite, which can open up new build possibilities.

Defense:
Rather than going big on Defense, you’ll be layering multiple types of defensive mods in smaller amounts. Phys Res, Defense, and Life sustain will be your main focus early on, with CtB and Avoid overshadowing Defense later. And sources of active damage reduction such as Miasma and Force Blast will further increase survivability.

Chance to Block will be especially important by End-Game, with your goal being +65% CtB or higher.
Sorcs have a Base CtB of +3%. With Baneblade active, that increases to +4%. The following values show the total DEX needed per additional %Base CtB for a clvl 120 Sorc to reach Max Block (75%) with Baneblade active.
  • +2% CtB = 3015 DEX
  • +1% CtB = 3615 DEX
  • +0% CtB = 4515 DEX

How to Play:
  • Buff with Mana Shield, Hive, Nova Charge, Baneblade, and any oskill buffs provided by gear.
  • Buff with Moonstrike and keep it active at all times during combat.
  • Use Bladestorm for general questing and Wraithsword for specific situations.
  • Use Fusillade for burst damage against mobs and bosses.
  • Use Miasma (later, Force Blast) to debuff enemies, when necessary.



MERCENARY

A merc isn’t necessary, but a good support merc will be helpful. You can choose whichever you want, but personally, I’ve always had a soft spot for the Rogue Priestess. She can spread damage over a broad range, and her Vindicate skill gives you a source of Life regen that’s incredibly helpful, especially early on.

► ROGUE CLASS-SPECIFIC BONUSES


► GEAR - WIP


► BREAKPOINTS


► QUIRKS - APPLIES TO ALL MERCS



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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 Dungeons and Rifts.

► ACT 1


► ACT 2


► ACT 3


► ACT 4


► ACT 5


► EPILOGUE




Nightmare (clvl 54-104):

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.

A -30% Elemental Res penalty will be applied to you, your merc, and your summons.

As you level, increase your reserve to 150 Attribute Points by the end of Nightmare. Anything beyond that can go to DEX.

► ACT 1


► ACT 2


► ACT 3


► ACT 4


► ACT 5


► EPILOGUE




Hell (clvl 104+)

Now it’s time to tackle some Dungeons and Rifts; however, there are a few things you need to know before beginning your journey through Hell:

A -70% Elemental Res penalty will be applied to you, your merc, and your summons.

Dungeons and Rifts:
  • All Dungeons and Rifts have a minimum clvl requirement you must meet before you can enter the level.
  • Many Dungeons 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 bosses have a 7% chance to drop a Trophy Fragment. Cubing 3 Fragments together will create a Trophy, which will add bonuses to its corresponding Charm. You can also create Fragments by cubing 20x of the same Charm. Unless otherwise noted, farm for a perfect version of a Charm before cubing it with its Trophy.

Area Levels
All Area Levels (alvls) in Hell are 100+. Items that drop here will have an Item Level (ilvl) of 99 or higher. When looking for Sacred Rare equipment or Jewels for crafting, look for them in Hell for a chance at the best possible rolls.

Sacred Uniques:
These will start dropping after a certain point as you progress. There are 3 "tiers" of SUs (SU, SSU, and SSSU). These tiers only indicate how rare a particular SU is, not how useful it may be. The places in which they can drop dependent on Area Level:
  • SUs = alvl 105+
  • SUs/SSUs = alvl 120+
  • SUs/SSUs/SSSUs = alvl 130+

Riftstones
Depleted Riftstones are random world drops in Hell. When charged, they allow you to open a rift to a Dimensional Labyrinth according to the Riftstone’s tier. Labs are extremely difficult. Since there’s really nothing of value until the higher Labs, there’s no point in attempting them until late End-Game.

Skill Points
You’ll be entering Hell with a lot of unspent Skill Points. This is normal. You’ll be acquiring Charms with the “+x to Maximum Skill Levels” mod, which will allow you to put more points into skills beyond their natural maximums. It will all balance out in the end.

Progression
Since you already know what to watch out for when completing the main storyline quests, the following subsections will focus on which Dungeons and Rifts you can do at this stage. Complete them in the order listed, since the Charm you get from one quest will often help you in the next quest. Activate every Waypoint on your way through Hell. It’ll make things easier later.

► ACT 1


► ACT 2


► ACT 3


► ACT 4


► ACT 5


► EPILOGUE



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GEAR

► expand


WALKTHROUGH

From here on, the guide will be divided based on clvl rather than Act. Complete the Dungeons and Rifts in the order they’re listed.

Build up a reserve of 75 Attribute Points by the time you reach clvl 120 (most of these will come from SoL). Anything beyond that can go to DEX.

Many enemies in upcoming Dungeons and Rifts will have attacks that deal massive damage. Since your merc is too stupid to avoid them, she’ll die a lot. You’ll be strong enough to run without her, but feel free to resurrect her whenever you need help. Quests for which she’s especially helpful will be noted.

► CLVL 115


► CLVL 120, PART I


► PRELUDE TO ENDGAME



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GEAR - WIP

► expand


GEAR - (SUPPLEMENTAL)

► expand


WALKTHROUGH

Don’t worry if you haven’t found any End-Game gear yet. The Melee Sorc Set will take you through the clvl 125 quests without any trouble. You can start taking End-Game farming more seriously when you’re doing the clvl 125-130 grind.

► CLVL 120, PART II


► CLVL 125


► CLVL 130


► CLVL 135


*Nymyr’s Light, Spirit World, Archbishop Lazarus, The Void, Herald of the End, and Deimoss probably won't have write-ups. The mechanics in these quests generally just annoy the hell out of me and I don't like doing them.
Edited by Solfege 3 weeks.
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Solfege
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Dungeons and Rifts are grouped into 3 tiers. They’re ranked depending on gear requirements, number of SoL needed, and strategy/player skill required. They are listed in Documentation order.

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 a Dungeon or Rift has a corresponding Trophy.



DUNGEON

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


Invasion - clvl 105, 20 second lockout
► More Info


Infernal Machine - clvl 105
► More Info


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


The Binding of Baal - clvl 110, 20 second lockdown
► more info


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


Akarat - clvl 110
► more info


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


Lord Aldric Jitan - clvl 110
► more info


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


Rathma Square - clvl 115
► more info


The Black Road - clvl 115
► more info


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


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


Heart of Sin - clvl 115
► more info


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


Twin Seas - clvl 120
► more info


Quov Tsin - clvl 120
► more info


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


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


Banisher of Light - clvl 120
► 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, 5 minute lockdown
► more info
Edited by Solfege 3 weeks.
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Astrogha - clvl 125
► More Info


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


Spirit World - clvl 125, 20 second lockout
► more info


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


Nephalem's Sacrifice - clvl 130
► more info


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


Herald of the End
► More Info


Deimoss
► More Info



RIFTS

Island of the Sunless Sea - clvl 105
► 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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JEWEL-CRAFTING

► More Info


BASE-CRAFTING FOR RUNEWORDS

► More Info


SACRED HONORIFICS

► More Info


SHRINE-CRAFTING

► More Info



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  • The entire MXL team.
  • Blizzard North (may you RIP).
  • All the people who keep the forum running, maintain the documentation, and host servers.
  • Everyone 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 3 weeks.
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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Solfege
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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.