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  • Mage Guide

    A more "succinct" version of this guide is here.

    This is a more thorough treatment of the mage hero, the links below are to comments in this same thread. Use the [>>] link to scroll to the link within the same window. Use the link title to open the link in a new browser tab..
    Thanks to the many players that came before me who all of this came from, particularly Coda, Orion, Purple Potato and Bounty who all still currently play. Also thanks to NHat for all his own tutorials to serve as a template for assembling this one.
    Last edited by lama75; 10-12-2018, 11:20 PM.
    CL 2K+
    Mage- Ladim(#9 Live LB), Proxima(XP)
    TL119 in 9:14 on mobile (iphone8)

    Mage Guide

  • #2
    Attacks, Utilities, Passives and Synergy

    Following are the full set of skills available to the Mage. Their Level 10 stats and affects are listed.

    Primary Attacks (Level10 values listed):
    • Fireball- Deals 230% weapon damage; Affects all enemies in a small area; Affected enemies burn for 30% weapon damage; Has a 25% chance to summon a meteor dealing 100% weapon damage
    • Arc Lightning- Attacks a single enemy with lightning. The lightning has a chance to jump to another target dealing 20% less damage. Deals 185% weapon damage; Has an 85% chance to jump to another enemy; Affected enemies are knocked back; Affected enemies receive 5% more damage for 5 seconds, Hero's attack speed is increased by 5% for 5 seconds; the attack buff stacks up to 5 times, while the attack speed buff stacks 10 times
    • Arcane Bolts- Fires a series of energy bolts. Each bolt deals 125% weapon damage; Fires 6 bolts
    • Frost Bolt- Fires an icy blast that slows an enemy down. Deals 425% weapon damage; Deals triple damage against frozen targets; Slows all targets in a small area
    Utilities/ Spells (Level10 values listed):
    • Blizzard- Creates a blizzard showering an area with ice shards for 3 seconds. Deals 1100% weapon damage; Radius increased by 50%; Has a 16% chance to freeze afected targets; Deals double damage against frozen targets; Slows affected targets; Cooldown: 25s
    • Immolate- Ignites a large area dealing damage to all enemies in it. Deals 120% weapon damage; Affected targets take up to 30% more damage; Affected enemires burn for an additional 50% weapon damage; Area of effect greatly increased; Cooldown: 25s
    • Blink- Your hero teleports towards the target location leaving behind a mirror image which copies the hero's primary attack. Mirror image lasts 8 seconds; Cooldown: 30s
    • Frost Nova- Unleash a flash of frost, freezing in place enemies in a large area. Enemies are frozen for 6 seconds; Deals 100% weapon damage; Cooldown: 25s
    • Time Warp- Bends the laws of nature, causing time to slow down. Affects your minions; attack speed increased by 20%; Time is slowed by 50%; Lasts 6 seconds; Cooldown: 50s
    • Arcane Deflection- Creates a short duration force shield reflecting projectiles and pushing back melee attackers. You enter a heightened senses state if attacks are deflected this way. Movement speed increased by 30% for 4 seconds; You perform up to 3 retaliation attacks; Shield lasts for 1.2 seconds; Cooldown: 30s
    • Frost Beam- Channel a beam of frost, damaging and slowing enemies in its path. Deals 650% weapon damage per second; Deals double damage to frozen targets; Damage is increased by up to 50% the longer the channeling is maintained; Cooldown: 45s
    • Death from Above- Bombard enemies with fiery missiles. Basic attacks have a 10% chance to add a fiery charge increasing the number of missiles, while special attacks have a 100% chance to add 1-3 charges. Fires 6 missiles each hitting for 550% weapon damage; Cooldown: 30s
    • Singularity- Launch an orb pulling enemies towards it. Duration 8s; Deals 200% weapon damage; Cooldown: 30s
    Passive Abilities (Level10 values listed):
    • Glass Canon- Increases damage at the cost of reduced armor. Damage increased by 20%; Armor decreased by 20%; based on testing damage increased by 19% and armor reduced by 21%
    • Celerity- Attack speed is increased. Haste in increased by 250
    • Power Infusion- Has a chance to increase power by 500 for 15s when attacking.
    • Endurance- Increases hero life by 20%.
    • Fleet Footed- Increases movement speed by 20%; based on testing gives flat +2 ft/s
    • Tough as Nails- Increases your armor by 20%
    • Intense Training- Increases ability rate by 150

    Recommended Skills

    If your goal is to challenge for the top of the leaderboard and you are in a hurry, the following skills should be your primary focus from the start for the sake of efficiency:
    • Arc Lightning- Desirable because of it's speed, range, ability to jump to multiple monsters, and for its attack speed and damage buff
    • Arcane Bolts- Desirable because it provides the highest total damage of any of the remaining attacks (6 bolts * 125% per bolt)
    • Blizzard- Highest damage AoE skill
    • Blink- Desirable because it allows for more efficient mob management as well as a quick escape out of trouble
    • Singularity- At higher trials, this will be the biggest damage dealer by far. Also superior for mob management
    • Immolate- This skill should be upgraded, because a 6-Piece Apprentice setup will proc these while attacking.
    • Celerity- Boosts mage attack speed
    • Glass Canon- A mage is already best as a glass canon, this gives more damage
    • Power Infusion- Testing has shown this is on more than not. An extra 500 power during attacking is a monstrous amount of extra dps.
    • Fleet Footed- Used for gemstone farming in Story Mode.
    Following is a rough priority ranking for upgrading these skills. Note that skills shouldn't be upgraded straight to lvl10 at the exclusion of upgrading other skills. Keeping them balanced will get you the most out of the full suite. At some point, you'll want to prioritize what to max out and that is the purpose of this list.
    1. Arc Lightening- The buff at lvl10 is extremely valuable; see below for details
    2. Blizzard- lvl10 upgrade increases the size of the AoE by 50%, is the 2nd biggest damage dealer in trials
    3. Immolate- lvl10 upgrade increases the size of the AoE by 50%
    4. Arcane Bolts- 2 extra bolts at lvl10, paired with lvl10 AL, AB becomes extremely potent
    5. Singularity- Upgrades increase the duration of Singularity, so upgrade improvement are incremental
    6. Blink- Upgrades increase the time a blink copy lasts, so upgrade improvements are incremental
    7. Power Infusion- Since it's a passive, not a top priority, but the most important of the passive's
    8. Celerity- Another passive, just a straight line increase to haste
    9. Glass Canon- Passive, upgrades are modest increases in damage while reducing armor
    10. Fleet Footed- Passive, only used for Story Mode
    There is plenty of room for argument or shuffling here. But in general, prioritize AL over AB, Blizzard over Immolate and the skills you control over the passive skills.

    Once the Arc Lightning attack is maxed to Level 10, you gain access to a very important attack mechanic. By attacking with AL continuously for a few seconds, you will get an Attack Speed increase that lasts for 5 seconds and is independent of the attack. So you can switch to your second attack, be it Arcane Bolts, Frostbolt or Fireball, and take advantage of the increased attack speed. Additionally, once you have triggered this buff it can be maintained almost indefinitely by switching back to AL for a single attack, to refresh the 5 second timer, then returning to your other attack(AB,FB). There are other damage buff affects that have been observed in testing(and are documented here on the forum- go check them out), so this is an important bit of mage minutae.

    Coda created a thread with a deep dive into affects of AL here.

    Synergy

    As you are leveling up these abilities, you will also be increasing your "Synergy" score. Synergy grants bonuses to Vitality (health points), Ability Rating(reduces utility/spell cooldown timer), and Attack Speed(self-explanatory I think). Your current Synergy score can be seen under your character name on the skills page. Every 10 completed skill upgrades, the bonuses are increased. The maximum synergy score is 180, once all skills are upgraded to level 10.

    A little trick I picked up along the way is to use the short upgrade time of low-level, unused skills to boost your synergy level. Once your used skills are taking 3-hours to upgrade, consider upgrading unused, low-level (and therefore short upgrade time) skills to more quickly level up your synergy to a mod-10 level before resuming upgrade of your used skills.
    Last edited by lama75; 10-15-2018, 12:53 PM.
    CL 2K+
    Mage- Ladim(#9 Live LB), Proxima(XP)
    TL119 in 9:14 on mobile (iphone8)

    Mage Guide

    Comment


    • #3
      Set Gear

      When it comes to mage gear there are random pieces and set pieces. The set pieces give various kinds of ability or attribute bonuses based on the number of pieces of that gear you have equipped. As a result, set-piece gear is quite important for making your life easier during gameplay. For mage, there are 3 gear sets- Adventurers, Arcanist and Apprentice. Of these Arcanist and Apprentice are far superior and for topping the leaderboard only Apprentice will do. As you gather gear, it's worth getting the full 6 piece bonuses for either Arcanist or Apprentice as opposed to constantly breaking the set because any 1 random individual piece has better stats than the corresponding set piece. The 6-piece bonus is particulary strong for Apprentice.

      The set bonuses for Adventurer are as follows:
      • 2 Pieces- +210 Critical Rating. This bonus isn't enough to be worth much, at any point in the game really. Early on, it might increase your chance for a critical hit by several percent. At higher levels where you already have a fair amount of critical rating, it will be swamped be diminishing returns.
      • 4 Pieces- +75% Critical Damage A nice bonus for late game, potentially. But early game with low critical rating this won't matter a whole lot.
      • 6 Pieces- +210 Haste Directly affects attack speed so not a terrible thing. But as a 6-piece bonus? Not very exciting.
      The set bonuses for Arcanist are as follows:
      • 2 Pieces- +210 Haste. This isn't bad, as it directly affects your attack speed. In early game play, this is a significant bump. In later game play when pushing for the top of the trial LB, it is fairly insignificant.
      • 4 Pieces- Arcane Bolts fires 4 extra missiles. This is a really nice bonus, increasing the number of bolts by 66%. For beating trial bosses, particularly, this is really effective.
      • 6 Pieces- 10% chance for an extra attack. This seems like a minor thing, but in actuality it is not. As your attack speed increases, this proc will occur fairly regularly and, theoretically, give a 10% increase to damage. Considering one of the most favored mage weapons also provides this same bonus, do not take it lightly.
      The set bonuses for Apprentice are as follows:
      • 2 pieces- 25% chance for a protective shield when attacking. This shield, especially at higher trials, is the difference between life and death for a mage. With sufficiently high attack speed, it will basically remain active as long as you are continuously attacking.
      • 4 pieces- +210 Critical Rating. Again, not bad. Critical rating is important later and anyway you can get it is good. In reality, this is swamped by contributions from gear and jewelry.
      • 6 pieces- 10% chance to cast Immolate on target when attacking. THIS bonus is what sets Apprentice apart from Arcanist. It cannot be overstated how much extra damage Immolate procs provide, especially in a trial where clear times are of the essence. I stated earlier that you will want to upgrade your Immolate ability. This set bonus is why.

      Recommended Set

      For those wishing to challenge for the top of the leaderboard, Apprentice gear is the one to focus on. The bubble shield is invaluable in trials and the immolate procs of the 6 piece set provide a tremendous amount of extra dps that a mage is well suited to take advantage of with grouping techniques available to it.
      Last edited by lama75; 10-15-2018, 12:57 PM.
      CL 2K+
      Mage- Ladim(#9 Live LB), Proxima(XP)
      TL119 in 9:14 on mobile (iphone8)

      Mage Guide

      Comment


      • #4
        Named Weapons/ Gear

        Not all weapons are created equally. For a mage, always pay close attention to the raw damage range of a weapon. The best way to compare is to add the high and low of the range and divide by 2 to get an average. Different weapon types have different ranges so this will give you a good way to compare. Weapon damage is important because all of the skills damage relate back to weapon damage and are expressed as a percentage of that damage.

        There are 3 named weapons a mage can wield:
        • Mukraiser- provides up to a 10% chance to summon a Merlok Archer when attacking
        • Deidre's Resolve- provides up to a 10% chance for an extra attack when attacking
        • Elban's Scepter- provides up to a 30% chance to summon a skeleton warrior when you kill an enemy
        Of these 3, the Deidre's is considered the best weapon for a mage, with a Muk a somewhat distant 2nd. Check out this thread for a deeper discussion of these weapons.

        There are 2 named capes:
        • Integralas Mantle- provides 20-30% chance to gain 75-100 Ability Rate for 10 seconds when attacking. Stacks up to 5 times.
        • Carnival Cape- provides a chance to temporarily boost the mage's Critical Rating attribute by 500 for a fixed amount of time.
        Either is preferable to a random cape, but the Integralas Mantle is superior. With high attack speeds and sustained attacking, an IM can boost your Ability Rate by as much as 500. Further, because it stacks, this effect can remain for potentially as long as as you are attacking.

        For the offhand, a mage can wield either a shield or a tome. For early game play, feel free to swap them out as you go. Later on, you'll want a tome, no questions asked. They are polar opposites in effect- shield providing a huge boost to defense while the tome boosts offensive attack damage. If you have a tome, compare the base damage similarly to how you'd compare damage on your weapons. A decent roll for damage will have max damage over 400.

        There are 2 named shields:
        • Rylocke's Deflector- provides up to a 50% chance to strike an attacker with lightning dealing 100% weapon damage plus up to 750% of your reflected damage when blocking.
        • Encrypted Shield- provides up to a 40% chance to gain a protective shield when blocking

        There is 1 named tome, the Necronomicon. It offers a 20-30% chance to summon a skeleton when you kill a monster. In my opinion, this is the one named item where the extra ability is not worth a large drop in damage. You should try it though and come to your own conclusions.
        Last edited by lama75; 10-15-2018, 12:59 PM.
        CL 2K+
        Mage- Ladim(#9 Live LB), Proxima(XP)
        TL119 in 9:14 on mobile (iphone8)

        Mage Guide

        Comment


        • #5
          Character Attributes to Focus On

          Once you have attained level 70 and start to push your mage up the trials leader board, you will want to look for equipment that provide boosts to the following attributes:
          • Ability Rate- endgame goal ~1500
          • Haste- endgame goal enough Haste to provide Attack Speed 6.7-7
          • Crticial Rating- endgame goal ~45%
          • Critical Damage- endgame goal ~1300%
          • Power- endgame goal- As Much as Possible, preferably use CL's for this but some on gear is OK too
          • Vitality- endgame goal- anywhere from 130k-180k depending on play style
          • Experience- +800%- Note that having gear that gives you 800% XP will prevent you from reaching maximum damage values. For that reason, it is recommended that you maintain 2 sets of gear- 1 optimized for XP and 1 optimized for damage. It is not unusual to have a second hero that is an XP grinder.
          There are a few high level mage players that advocate 1 attribute slot of Life on Hit. Typically, these guys are at the top of the LB with multiple Celestial items and can afford 1 slot of LoH because the Celestial items provide enough extra Vitality that they can afford to use a slot on LoH. Suffice it to say, you'll know if you need this.

          To give an idea of the amount of haste needed, I'll provide my pushing mage as a yardstick which has AS 6.75 I have 3 archers for minions, lvl10 celerity which provides 250 haste, and a Synergy bonus of 8%AS (note that's not Haste). My gear plus jewelry plus CP allocation provides 1600 haste.

          A quick note about movement speed. MS is only available as an attribute only on pants and boots. You can't put it on jewelry. Depending on skill, you will want movement speed on at least 1 of either the pants or the boots.
          Last edited by lama75; 10-16-2018, 01:15 PM.
          CL 2K+
          Mage- Ladim(#9 Live LB), Proxima(XP)
          TL119 in 9:14 on mobile (iphone8)

          Mage Guide

          Comment


          • #6
            Jewelry

            Jewelry is a big topic. Almost too big for a single post. I will discuss 3 aspects of jewelry for a mage: pre-level 70, XP, and damage.

            Pre-Level 70

            Jewelry isn't very important at this stage, other than not wasting a ton of resources on it. Don't bother using gemstones and you probably shouldn't even bother with making legendary jewelry. Better to conserve your gold. You MUST read the jewelry resources written elsewhere on this forum, however. Understanding how to craft high quality jewelry is an absolute must for success at higher trials.

            I will offer the following guidance related to jewelry- Normal level, just use uncommon(green) jewelry. Don't go on a spending binge here. Just roll a ring/necklace put it on and put whatever gemstone you have handy in it. For gemstones, use red or blue gemstones. Upgrade your rings upon completion of an Act.

            For Heroic level, go for some 2-stat rare (blue) jewelry. Be a bit more selective about stats. Go for any of Power, Haste, Experience, Life on Hit, Vitality or Ability Rate. Don't worry about the values for those attributes, don't worry about using gemstones in the fusion. Just find any 2 of 1 attribute and a 3rd of a second attribute, fuse them into a Rare and put it on. Again, upgrade upon completion of an Act as you progress through Heroic.

            For Legendary level, go ahead and step up to 3 stat Epic (purple) jewelry. For these, again using any of the afore mentioned attributes, find 3 of 1 attribute, fuse them into a Rare and set aside. Do the same for a 2nd attribute and the same for a 3rd, then fuse all 3 of the Rares into your Epic piece. Again, don't worry about using gemstones when fusing. Just equip the finished ring with either a Red, a Blue or even a Purple gemstone. I recommend doing this once near the beginning of Legendary difficulty, and then again about halfway through Act 2.

            The goal is to familiarize and demystify jewelry crafting so that when you reach level 70, you have a better understanding of the mechanics of jewelry making. All of this jewelry will be cast aside at that point.

            XP

            If you want to push your CL well above 1000, you will want XP jewelry. When, exactly, you wish to switch over to XP jewelry is entirely up to you. The tradeoff is easy enough to explain: XP jewelry will prevent you from maximizing your damage and thus will slow your trial progress. Damage or pushing jewelry will allow you to push to higher trials levels more quickly, but it will also keep you from maximizing the XP gained as you progress. It is possible to mix things up a bit here as well. For instance, wearing 2 XP pieces and 1 damage/pushing piece will give you a bit of a mix. The choice is up to you.

            BE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND HIGH QUALITY JEWELRY CONSTRUCTION BEFORE PROCEEDING HERE- (JEWELRY GUIDE)

            Optimal XP jewelry for a mage will be constructed as follows:
            • 9 pieces of XP with 43-45% on each piece
            • 9 pieces of Critical Damage with 58-60% on each piece
            • 5 pieces of Critical Rating with 90 on each piece
            • 4 pieces of Ability Rate with 90 on each piece
            There is some wiggle room here. You could, for instance, swap the balance of CR and AR pieces so that you are using 5 pieces of AR. If your mage dies too easily, you might choose to put some vitality on the jewelry to help with survivability. Keep in mind that the resulting jewelry will have a socket, so boosting a 5th attribute, like vitality or haste, is possible at that point. This post has some good discussion related to mage XP jewelry. Try to avoid boosting power or haste with XP jewelry.

            Ideally, XP jewelry should be constructed using all brilliants for Ability Rate and Critical Rating. That said, at early CL levels even jewelry that uses no gemstones in the construction will provide a significant boost to your hero. If you already have XP jewelry that was constructed without gemstones and feel you need a boost, but don't have enough brilliants, you can use radiants in the fusing to get more stat boosts.

            Damage or Pushing

            Rather than specify exact "formulas" for constructing pushing jewelry, I'll try to discuss the relative importance of attributes and provide "best practice" kind of advice.

            First, Critical Damage should be on all 3 pieces, probably as a 9 piece primary. Critical Damage is a major source of damage statistics in trials for a mage because of the heavy AoE of mage attacks. Between singularities, blizzard, immolates, AL and it's jumping, AB and all the bolts it generates, there will be a lot of critical hits. Jewelry can provide as much as 360% Critical Damage, and for this reason should be maximized.

            Critical Rating goes hand-in-hand with Critical Damage. It is a diminishing return stat, and the diminishing returns start to show at about 41%. Pushing critical rating up to about 45% is attainable without sacrificing too much in other stats. It wouldn't be unusual to have CR as a 9 piece stat on at least 1 piece of jewelry.

            Ability Rate is extremely important for a mage. It's affect on overall damage is not easily quantifiable in a number. If you were to have Ability Rate on all gear pieces, plus your cape, tome and weapon that would be a maximum of (90 * 9) = 810 Ability Rate. As stated earlier, a mage wants about 1500 ability rate for endgame levels, before any Integralas Mantle effects are considered. This level maximizes alacrity effects and will provide a 50% reduction in cooldowns. Champion Levels contribute 400 to Ability Rate and maximum Synergy gives 90, so jewelry will need to provide a minimum of 200 more. That could be simply a 4 piece secondary stat on a single piece of jewelry.

            Vitality is another important stat for mage jewelry. Trial survivability is important and vitality is the most efficient stat to afford it. The general recommendation for vitality is "enough no to die" which... is not terribly specific. If you are starting trials and constantly getting 1 shot, then you should consider more vitality. Depending on your gear, you might need vitality on 1 piece or all 3.

            Haste should be considered as a secondary attribute for jewelry. This is because you can get a fair amount of haste using Champion Points. You ultimately want enough haste to provide about 6.7-7.0 attack speed. If your gear doesn't provide enough of it, consider gaining some as a 4 or 5 piece stat on your jewelry.

            The final attribute to consider is power. Like haste, it is unlimited for Champion Points so it too should be considered only after all other stats are maximized.

            Take care when planning this set of jewelry. It will consume a lot of resources, especially in gemstones and will take a lot of farming and time to obtain everything you need. For a reference for planning, you'll be gaining a minimum of 200 points for non-primary attributes, and 270-300 for a 9 piece primary with gemstones. For CD, you should be getting +120% or better as a 9-piece primary.

            A final general piece of advice when planning jewelry. Look at what gemstone you are socketing with. If you are using an excessive amount of any 1 gemstone, consider putting that attribute on your jewelry. If all of your equipment is socketed, including 2 sockets on the tunic, that's 13 sockets. Assuming brilliant gemstones are used in all these sockets, thats 450 points available to use as you need. Keep this in mind as well when constructing your jewelry.
            Last edited by lama75; 10-15-2018, 07:32 PM.
            CL 2K+
            Mage- Ladim(#9 Live LB), Proxima(XP)
            TL119 in 9:14 on mobile (iphone8)

            Mage Guide

            Comment


            • #7
              Minions

              After advancing through the Story mode, you will have gathered up 3 minions:
              • Marcus- has an armor boosting aura and several enemy distraction abilities; has a player directed charge attack that can damage and stun enemies
              • Eileen- has a regeneration boosting aura and a can heal damage on the hero or other minions; has a player directed vortex that will temporarily stun enemies and pull them together in a tight space
              • Robin- has an attack speed boosting aura can steal life when attacking and can freeze enemies; has a player directed multishot to attack enemies
              There are 2 minions that can be purchased that are of particular interest for a mage:
              • Xagan- has an Ability Rate boosting aura and uses an arcane blast to escape attacking enemies; has a player directed frost missile that damages and slows enemies
              • Endar- has an aura and abilities identical to Robin
              A minion's aura begins when the minion reaches level 20 and increases towards it's max strength as the minion gets to level 70.

              For ALL minions, the aura they provide is in effect only while the minion is alive. If they die, the aura returns as soon as they are revived.

              DO NOT USE XAGAN.

              Xagan, because of his AR boosting aura seems like a natural pairing for mage. Unfortunately, Xagan has an awful, terrible, no-bloody-good-for-a-mage attribute: when enemies get to close, he has a defensive blast that scatters monsters all over the place.

              What's so bad about that, you ask?

              As a mage, your 1st goal is to gather up several packs of monsters into 1 large mob, then kill the mob. Well, Xagan will happily BLOW YOUR MOB TO SMITHEREENS with his defensive attack, and not in the beneficial "killed the mob" sense. At which point, you'll have to spend time fixing the damage he's done, regrouping your mob. Time that you could have been using to kill the mob you had so carefully been making. Unless he dies, don't be surprised if he blows your mob apart again.

              Most high level mages will have 2 Endars and a Robin. Their aura boosts your attack speed by 10% when they reach level 70. Their defensive freeze attack pairs very nicely with mage attacks.

              There is no set point for purchasing the Endars and even a single extra Endar can improve trial performance significantly. For a recommendation, consider starting to add them when your base (meaning what you attack speed is without ANY archers in your party) attack speed reaches ~4.5. At that point, 3 archers will push your attack speed up to ~6.
              Last edited by lama75; 10-16-2018, 12:19 AM.
              CL 2K+
              Mage- Ladim(#9 Live LB), Proxima(XP)
              TL119 in 9:14 on mobile (iphone8)

              Mage Guide

              Comment


              • #8
                Farming
                There are 3 types of farming- XP, gear and gemstone. Because of how gear drops work, XP and gear farming are somewhat related. Gemstone farming is a different process from them both.

                Regardless of which type of farming you will be doing, it is best practice to use XP gear. It can take awhile to assemble a full set of XP gear, including a cape, weapon and tome. At higher Champion Levels, it is a must to have XP gear at the least. Many high CL players have a dedicated XP mage that they use to grind XP.

                XP Farming

                The first thing to understand about advancing experience levels is that the higher the hero progresses, the more XP is required to advance to the next level. Pre-level 70, these requirements aren't too bad. Even without XP on your gear, progress will be steady with the amount of time played.

                There are a couple of strategies for pushing the pace. One strategy is to find levels with large mobs that can be killed quickly. Since a mage has good AoE, these levels can be cleared relatively quickly, or at least the portions of the level with the large mobs can be cleared quickly. Once the mobs are cleared, quit the level and start again. In general, fighting bosses is a losing proposition for gaining XP versus time spent. The bosses don't reward enough XP for the time spent fighting them.

                There are a few levels particularly suited to this strategy. The Canyon of Whispers in Act2 is one such level. There is also The Temple and The Crucible of Mawrth, both of these levels have large mobs in them, but might take a little longer to get through them.

                Another strategy for early game XP is to make cheap XP jewelry at your level and farm trials just above your current level. For instance, if you're level 10-20, then try to farm at least trial 2, and if you can unlock trial 3 so it can be farmed. Again, the basic process is to start the trial, kill the mobs as quickly as you can and then quit the trial. The main idea behind these strategies is to maximize XP gained versus time spent playing. It should be noted that simply playing the game, advancing through the story mode and trials is a perfectly acceptable method for gaining XP pre-level70.

                Once you hit level 70, you unlock Champion Levels. Champion level advancement proceeds like your earlier experience level. The differences are the pace of advancement and that Champion Levels are, theoretically, unlimited. Once you've unlocked Champion Levels, trials will be the only source of XP because story mode levels do not offer the same amount of XP. After Trial 7, trial level XP increases by 5% for each level. It is not unusual, after completing Trial 7, to jump quickly into the 20's or 30's for trial level. At that point, trials offer much more XP than story mode.

                Grinding Champion Levels can reduce your sanity after a point. One mental trick I used a lot was to pick a certain number of CL's I would have to attain before applying them. For instance, as a newb lvl70 mage with a decent amount of XP gear, maybe wait 50 cl's before applying them. Once that takes too long, drop it to 35 CL's, and so on.

                Champion Level advancement is fast for the first 250, then slows down noticeably, but still not insufferably. Progress towards CL700 should be steady, with multiple CL's per trial run easily attainable. After CL700, XP gear is critical to keeping a good pace for advancing. It is actually worthwhile, from an XP standpoint, to gain XP attributes on gear at the expense of damage and dropping a trial or 2 for farming purposes. By CL1000, progress will be down to 2-3 CL's per run and by CL1500, you'll be down to 1 CL per run. After that, it's not long before you'll need to make multiple runs for a CL. At 2k CL's it will take about 8 runs on trial 100 to gain a single CL.

                Gear Farming

                Pre-Level 70, you will constantly be finding new and better gear. As you do this, it would be best to hold on to set pieces as you go, particularly Apprentice set pieces. A personal anecdote related to this. In an ANB, I cobbled together a 6-piece Apprentice set fairly early in the game. I began pushing trials and began to slowly find legendary pieces to replace what I had as I went. I passed Trial80 with an uncommon, level 11 pair of gloves and 1 other mid-level 50 piece of gear. Just to give an idea how important set gear can be.

                After level 70, you will want to farm up XP gear. At this stage, the best place to farm gear will be in trials. You need to kill the boss of whatever trial you happen to be running. For all trials, beating the trial within 10 minutes means one of the 3 pieces of gear that drops will have higher rolls. As you approach trial 80, more of the gear drops will be legendary level. After trial 80, all gear drops are legendary; after trial 90 the rolls improve and at trial 100 there is an increased chance for one of the drops to be a set item. Ideally, you'll want to find legendary set gear with XP as one of the 4 attributes. The goal for your experience gear is over 800% experience, including jewelry and champion points.

                In addition to XP gear, you will also want to keep an eye out for good damage or pushing gear. This gear will not have XP as an attribute. The best pushing gear will have CD, CR, AR and either Vitality, Haste or Power for the 4th stat. In the case of boots or pants, the 4th attribute should be movement speed.

                Gold Farming

                It is not necessary to farm gold exclusively. Typically, consistent boosted gemstone farming will provide you with more than enough gold to create all the jewelry you will need. However, depending on your play habits, keep in mind that getting bonus gold on equipment can greatly speed up gold farming even without currency boosters. Further, booster use with the gold bonus from gear will yield tremendous amounts of gold. The gold bonus will come at the expense of damage and does not increase the drop rate of gemstones. Optimal farming with a mage occurs when the mage is capable of 1-shotting enemies, so some balance may be in order here depending on CL's.

                Gemstone Farming

                The optimal way to farm gemstones, outside of events, is to run through the Siege of Anderhelm level with a bounty hunter. The method is to advance immediately to Magroth at the end, kill him, collect the gemstones he drops then exit. You'll want 4 pieces of Assault Gear for the movement speed bonus. You'll also, likely, want to do this while using a currency booster.

                A second effective way to farm gemstones is to use a mage on The Broken Dragon. You'll want to be sure to use the Fleet Footed passive. The idea is to run as quickly as possible to the end of the level and kill the Broken Dragon. it is only necessary to perform each run on normal difficulty. Again, you should use a currency booster. Results will not be as good as the previously mentioned SoA farming, but they are still very good. If you cannot 1-shot monsters, only kill what is needed to along the way to TBD. If you can 1-shot everything, then try to kill everything along the way without pausing. Time is the most important thing, so be as efficient as possible.

                See this post for some raw data on what to expect from various levels for gemstone farming.

                Here are a couple of examples of TBD gemstone runs:
                Last edited by lama75; 10-16-2018, 01:42 PM.
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                • #9
                  Champion Levels

                  Once Champion Levels have been unlocked by attaining Level 70, the first major milestone is at Champion Level 700. At CL700, the Defense and Utility tabs have been maxed out. Further, it is also possible to max out the Critical Damage and Critical Rating slots on the offense tab, meaning that all subsequent Champion Points can be assigned to either Haste or Power.

                  Before CL700, there is no best way to assign the Champion Points. Arguably, filling out the extra experience is good to help speed along further advancement. On the defense tab, the extra life percent and life on hit are useful. For utility, movement speed and ability rate are also desirable.

                  After CL700, assuming CR and CD have already been maxed, all points will go either to Haste or Power. The question often arises how best to allocate between them.

                  There are CP optimizers that people here have put together. These will optimize for damage. While a not invalid way to go about it, they will short change a mage's attack speed. This isn't unimportant since Integralas Mantle procs, immolate procs, merlok summons/ extra attacks, life on hit and a few other things are all tied back to AS.

                  A better way might be to assign 3-1 power-haste. After 100 CL's, evaluate your AS. Adjust the allocation to get an AS more to your liking and then start again, using a slightly different distribution. Keep evaluating your AS as you go every 100-150 CL's. As a rough guide, try to be around 6.0 AS by trial 90, 6.25 by trial 95, 6.5 by trial 100 and 6.75 by trial 110. Note these aren't hard targets and being below these doesn't mean you won't be able to advance. They are merely goals and guidance on your journey. By the time you have reached these points in the game, you will almost certainly have developed your own opinions for getting the most out of your mage.
                  Last edited by lama75; 10-15-2018, 01:18 PM.
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                  • #10
                    Celestial (5-Stat) Gear, Legendary Boxes, Set Item Chests

                    As you level up your mage, you will come across a few different chests. Medium chests with a variety of gear, large chests, chests with a set item. The main thing to keep in mind with these chests is the will offer up gear at your current level. So the best way to take advantage of them is to wait until you have reached level 70, so they give up level 70 gear. This is particularly true for anything that offers up a legendary gear, like the set item chest.

                    Legendary Boxes are boxes that can be made into any piece of gear you'd like, typically a piece of set gear or a named weapon or tome. In addition to offering you the choice of gear type, it also affords you the ability to select what attributes the gear will have. The general recommendations are to replace you weakest piece of gear with the pieces from an L-box with the following recommendations: an Integralas Mantle, Diedre's Resolve or Muk (most prefer the Diedre's), pants with movement speed, boots with movement speed, something to replace your weakest piece. Gear from L-boxes typically have higher rolls of all attribute categories than random gear dropped at the end of trials, so choose these attributes wisely (hint: 3 of them should almost certainly be Critical Damage, Critical Rating and Ability Rate. For pants or boots, Movement Speed is the 4th attribute and you are done. For anything else, you're left with Haste, Power or Experience, most likely.)

                    Celestial gear comes from celestial boxes. These boxes, as with the legendary boxes above, are earned from events that occur in game from time to time. Celestial gear looks different from normal gear. It has a blue background. You can see celestial gear on most any of the top 10 of the mage leaderboard. More important than looks though, celestial gear offers 5 attributes on the gear it creates. Vitality is a fixed attribute on all celestial gear and you are afforded the same option to choose 4 other attributes for the gear as with L-boxes. Further, the rolls for celestials are even better than those for L-boxes. When deciding how to use your celestial box, the following recommendations are typically offered: an Integralas Mantle, Diedre's Resolve or Muk (most prefer the Diedre's), tunic or chest piece, pants with movement speed, boots with movement speed, then replace your weakest piece. Note the addition of tunic (or chest piece) specifically. The reason is because you can, and should, put 2 sockets on a celestial tunic to get either +100 on a 6th stat, or +50 on a 6th and 7th stat.
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                    • #11
                      An Optimum Trial Build

                      Taking into account the best of what's currently available for a mage, we can come up with a proposed optimum build. While practically speaking, such a thing will be nearly impossible to realize, it can provide some guidance as to how we might best equip our own mages.

                      Let's start by stipulating the gear will be Apprentice gear, the weapon a Deidre's Resolve, an Integralas Mantle for a cape and the Necronomicon for the tome. We'll also assume the standard passives which includes lvl10 Celerity and that we've maximized our Synergy bonus (all skills upgraded to lvl10). Further, we'll assume all celestial equipment. From here, we can start to fill in our other requirements.

                      First, 9 celestial pieces will give us (9*90) = 810 Vitality. Giving us roughly 140k toughness.

                      Further, we know we will need Critical Rating and Critical Damage on all pieces. Let's estimate about 806 CR and 536% CD, since celestial gear gives near perfect rolls. We will also put Movement Speed on both the pants and boots, leaving only 1 more slot available on each of these. We will want to maximize our Ability Rate, so again let's estimate 805 for ability rate from the 9 pieces of gear.

                      That leaves 7 slots from gear for our remaining desirable attributes, which would be haste and power. Let's assign it all to haste, for about 627 haste from gear.

                      So our gear, minus any gems and our jewelry is giving us the following:
                      • Vitatlity 810
                      • Critical Rating 807
                      • Critical Damage 536%
                      • Ability Rate 805
                      • Haste 627
                      Our goal for CD is ~1300%. Three piece of jewelry with CD as a 9 piece primary yields another 360%. Champion points will give us 200% and we start with 200%, for a total of
                      1296% CD.

                      Our goal for total Critical Rating is about 2500. We start with about 150, gain another 500 from Champion Points and also get 210 for the 4 piece Apprentice bonus. Our gear provides 807 for a total of 1667. If we make it a 9 piece stat on all 3 pieces of jewelry, that would give us roughly 900 more for 2567 or 46% CR.

                      Champion Points give us 400 additional ability rate on top of the 805 our gear gives us. We'll assume we have a max Synergy score for 90 more. So we only need roughly 205 more. We'll make AR a 5 piece on 1 of our pieces of jewelry for roughly 210 more, giving us a total of 1505.

                      We still have 5 slots of jewelry to fill and have not socketed anything yet.

                      We have maximized our CD and AR, and given ourselves 45% CR. Given that our priorities have been covered, we can focus what's left on power and haste. We'll put haste as the 4 piece stat on all 3 pieces of jewelry, and power will be a 5 piece stat on 2 of them. That will yield roughly 600 haste and 420 power.

                      At 1227 haste total so far, we need about another 400 haste to get us to our goal of 6.7, or better, attack speed. If we use 4 sapphires, we can tune our attack speed using champion points. Our remaining 9 sockets will all use rubies for power. And all remaining Champion Points will go to power.

                      So our 3 pieces of jewelry would look as follows:

                      Jewelry1:
                      • Critical Damage- 9P, ~120%
                      • Critical Rating- 9P, ~300
                      • Ability Rate- 5P, ~210
                      • Haste- 4P, ~200
                      Jewelry2:
                      • Critical Damage- 9P, ~120%
                      • Critical Rating- 9P, ~300
                      • Power- 5P, ~210
                      • Haste- 4P, ~200
                      Jewelry3:
                      • Critical Damage- 9P, ~120%
                      • Critical Rating- 9P, ~300
                      • Power- 5P, ~210
                      • Haste- 4P, ~200
                      Yielding the following estimates from our build:
                      • Vitality: 810
                      • Critical Rating: 2567, ~46%
                      • Critical Damage: ~1296%
                      • Ability Rate: ~1505
                      • Haste: 1427, use Champion Point to push AS up over 6.7
                      • Power: 870, all remaining Champion Points to Power
                      A mage with this build and a total of 2k champion points would have damage in excess of 2.2 million, with about 150k toughness and and about 15k recovery. Such a build could easily challenge for the top of the leaderboard. The above also assumes maximum synergy, and 3 archers for minions.

                      This build would be a long term project, requiring multiple ANB's. Further, it might be necessary to adjust the socketing to provide more vitality for a mobile player, for instance. Either way, it can server as a sort of road map, giving ideas for how best to plan jewelry or choose how to use celestial boxes.
                      Last edited by lama75; 10-16-2018, 01:30 PM.
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                      TL119 in 9:14 on mobile (iphone8)

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                      • #12
                        Alacrity

                        Alacrity is what the devs have defined as the chance to reduce ability cooldowns by a few seconds when attacking. Alacrity happens in addition to the effect provided by your mage's Ability Rate. Also, Ability Rate affects the chance provided by Alacrity. It has been documented that alacrity chances starts at 5% and increase to 30% at an AR of 1500. After AR 1500, this chance continues to rise, but at a much slower rate. When Alacrity triggers, the cooldown reduction is documented as 2s, but experience shows at higher AR it's typically 1s. There is an excellent discussion of Alacrity and its affect here, including math showing how much it can affect cooldown rates. Further discussion of the conditions that trigger it can be found in this thread.

                        Even though AR is a diminishing return attribute, it is still desirable to push it as close to 1500 as possible for the purpose of maximizing the Alacrity effect. Alacrity is also an additional reason it is desirable sacrifice some stat damage to push your Attack Speed up to 6.75- the lost stat damage is made up for with more frequent ability casts.
                        Last edited by lama75; 10-13-2018, 02:13 PM.
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                        TL119 in 9:14 on mobile (iphone8)

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                        • #13
                          Videos

                          Trial 119, Elban Boss:
                          Trial 117, Magroth Boss:
                          Trial 121, TBD Boss:
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                          • #14
                            PC vs Mobile

                            If you want to be at the top, PC is the way to go. Currently, mobile phones provide decent game play and it is possible to get as far as 115 using high-end Android phones. For those of you using iPhone8's or newer, you'll be able to push higher. It simply becomes a matter of processing power when you'll need to execute large mob pulls in order to summon the boss with enough time for a mage to kill him. See this thread for some discussion related to this topic.
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