Melee Sorceress

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

Official Documentation



INTRODUCTION

The Melee Sorceress is a Dexterity-based melee build that’s fast, versatile, and tough enough to stand toe-to-toe against the baddest beasties of Hell. The playstyle is simple, and you can complete most of the content with cheap, easy to acquire gear. Multiple spec options let you choose a melee playstyle that suits your tastes, from hyper-aggressive to semi-casual. So if you’re someone who just wants to play the game, then a Melee Sorc is what you’re looking for.



PROS AND CONS

Pros:
  • SSF before it was trendy. Always has been.
  • Doesn't need expensive gear.
  • Good boss killer.
  • Multiple build options.
  • Two words: Melee Sorceress.

Neutral:
  • Moderate skill-switching.
  • Average farmer due to lackluster AoE.
  • Spend 80% of the time thinking you're invincible, just like childhood.
  • Spend 20% of the time wondering wtf happened to your Life, just like adulthood.

Cons:
  • Doesn’t feel comfy until clvl 32 (beginning of Act 3 Normal).
  • Dealing with bosses that teleport when struck and/or summon minions can be frustrating.



► ABBREVIATIONS



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You’ll achieve this skillplan at clvl 128. After that, it’s your decision where to put extra points. Raven Familiar is a good option as long as you can boost it to a blvl that gives you more +Skills.

► NOTES ON END GAME ELEMENTAL AND HYBRID BUILDS


► NOTES ON SKILLS



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THE BASICS

First, let’s get this out of the way: all Passive combos are viable, but some combos are more viable than others. Since this is a beginner’s guide, you’ll be using a Vengeful Power + Warp Armor combo (i.e. Poison/Lightning). This will provide a good mix of Life, defense, and damage mitigation. It will also let you play either semi-casually or semi-aggressively. Finally, it leaves you with some extra skill points to play around with.

Damage:
You’ll have multiple sources of Phys damage multipliers. Think of these as a foundation to build from. Combined, they can reach 1000% or more. This means even a small amount of flat Phys damage will go a long way to boosting your overall damage output. To push it further, you can add a source of Deadly Strike, which has a chance to double your damage. And since you attack so quickly, and launch so many projectiles, even a small amount of DS can make a noticeable difference.

Main foci: Max Damage, DEX, Deadly Strike.

Survivability:
Since you won’t be able to stack massive amounts of Life and defense, you’ll be layering multiple defensive mods in smaller amounts. Phys+Elemental Res, Block, and Avoid will be your main sources of passive defense (straight Defense is also important, but to a lesser degree once your CtB is high enough). You’ll also rely on sources of active defense, such as Life sustain and active damage reduction from Force Blast.

Main foci: DEX, Chance to Block, Life sustain, Phys Res

Specific Dangers:
Being slowed and running out of Mana are the 2 most dangerous things for a Melee Sorc. The danger from running out of Mana is obvious, but being slowed will significantly reduce the effectiveness of your Life sustain (especially LoMA), and sustain is a big part of your survivability strategy. Realistically, there isn’t much you can do about Slow, but equipping something with the “Cannot Be Frozen” mod will make dealing with Cold-based enemies a lot easier.

The tl;dr on How to Play:
  • Summon Raven Familiar, then buff with Nova Charge, Hive, and Baneblade.
  • Buff with Moonstrike and keep it active at all times during combat.
  • Against most mobs, use Fusillade to thin them out, then use Bladestorm as a cleanup skill.
  • Against most bosses, use Fusillade to deal damage and leech. Dodge whatever they throw at you between Fusillade deployments. Only go into melee range to reactivate Moonstrike.
  • Debuff with Force Blast, as needed.



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For this build, you’ll use a 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 while leveling.

► ROGUE CLASS-SPECIFIC BONUSES


► GEAR AND BREAKPOINTS


► QUIRKS - APPLIES TO ALL MERCS



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GEAR

► expand


WALKTHROUGH

Normal (clvl 1-54)

In this Difficulty, you'll get a feel for how the game plays, how your build works, and an introduction to the various mechanics you’ll need to deal with later on.

Attribute Point Distribution
When starting out, you can put around 20 points into STR to equip any useful gear you find, but everything else should go to DEX. That said, build up a reserve of 50 Attribute Points by the end of Act 3. This way, you’ll have a pool to draw from just in case you need more STR to equip new gear.

Skill Point Distribution
As you level, distribute Skill Points evenly across your skills; however, leave Bladestorm and Fusillade at 1 point for now. If you boost them too quickly, the Mana cost will be too high to use them effectively. Leftover points can go to Moonstrike.

► ACT 1


► ACT 2


► ACT 3


► ACT 4


► ACT 5


► EPILOGUE




Nightmare (clvl 54-104):

By now, you should have a general understanding of the game's mechanics and how your build plays. As such, things will get tougher.

Important things to note:
  • A -30% Elemental Res penalty will be applied to you and your merc.
  • All Act bosses will now heal 5% of their Max Life if they kill you.
  • The side areas in all Acts are now filled with Veteran monsters. They’re tougher to kill, but the XP gains and drops are (supposedly) better than in normal areas.
  • 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 and your merc.
  • All Act bosses now regain 10% of their Max Life if they kill you.

Dungeons and Rifts:
  • All Dungeons and Rifts have a minimum clvl requirement you must meet before you can enter the area.
  • 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 chance to drop a Trophy Fragment (usually 6%, but some are lower). 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 Rare Sacred 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 (colloquially, SU, SSU, and SSSU). Tiers only indicate how rare an SU is, not how good it may be. The places in which they can drop depend on Area Level:
  • SUs = alvl 105+
  • SUs+SSUs = alvl 120+
  • SUs+SSUs+SSSUs = alvl 130+

Skill Points
You’ll have a lot of leftover Skill Points as you level. This is normal. You’ll spend them in End Game, after you’ve killed Baal and unlocked the Specialization mastery.

Progression
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.



► 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. Also take note of the following:
  • Build up a reserve of 75 Attribute Points by the time you reach clvl 120 (the SoL you’ve been collecting can count toward that number).
  • 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 unless you teleport to keep her safe. You’ll be strong enough to run without her, but feel free to resurrect her whenever you need help (e.g. when farming). Quests for which she’s especially helpful will be noted.
  • Mana Shield will no longer be a default buff. In many places, the massive amount of Elemental damage you’ll be dealing with will make using it more dangerous than helpful. Quests for which Mana Shield is still useful will be noted.

► CLVL 115


► CLVL 120, PART I


► PRELUDE TO ENDGAME



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GEAR

► expand


GEAR - (SUPPLEMENTAL)

► expand


WALKTHROUGH

Don’t worry if you haven’t found any End Game gear yet. The Set will take you through most of the clvl 130 quests. You’ll take End Game farming more seriously when you’re doing the clvl 125-130 grind.

► CLVL 120, PART II


► CLVL 125


► CLVL 130


► CLVL 135


Notes on End Game quests:
  • Nymyr’s Light, Spirit World, and Archbishop Lazarus will probably never have write-ups. Nothing about them is fun (especially Spirit World), so I never do them.
  • Herald of the End and Deimoss also probably won't have writeups. I'm usually so burned out from all the farming and grinding you have to do in End Game that I just never get around to attempting these.
  • The Void, Nephalim's Sacrifice, and Invasion, Part 3 are in the process of being updated, but I've nearly hit the character limit on all 3 posts, so I need to pare existing stuff down to make room for new stuff.



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LEVEL CHALLENGE

► More Info


ENNEAD CHALLENGE

► More Info
Edited by Solfege 1 week.
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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


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


Infernal Machine - clvl 105
► More Info


The Binding of Baal - clvl 110, 20 second lockout
► 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


Inquisitor of the Triune - 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 (Pools/Halls)
► 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


Toraja - clvl 125
► more info


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


Ghosts of Old Bremmtown - clvl 125
► more info


Yshari Sanctum, Part 1 - clvl 125
► more info
Edited by Solfege 1 month.
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Yshari Sanctum, Part 2 - clvl 125, 12 minute lockout
► more info


Xazax - clvl 125, 4 minute lockout
► more info


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, 3 minute lockout (planes), 8 minute lockout (boss fight)
► More Info


Nephalem's Sacrifice - clvl 130
► more info


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


Herald of the End - clvl 130
► More Info


Scosglen - clvl 130
► More Info


Deimoss - clvl 135
► 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


Vizjun - clvl 125
► more info


Fauztinville - clvl 125
► more info



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JEWEL-CRAFTING

► More Info


BASE-CRAFTING FOR RUNEWORDS

► More Info


HONORIFICS AND 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 4 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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Fenrils
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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.