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Thread: Advice for a possible Dreamkiller?

  1. #1

    Advice for a possible Dreamkiller?

    Hello all!

    I'm a new Titan Quest player, and having followed Irma2's amazing Bone Charmer guide, I'm feeling the itch for a new character. But that's the catch; I'm worried that I may have shot myself in the foot by starting off with such a powerhouse class. I'm worried that a Dreamkiller would end up feeling anemic and slow in comparison.

    It seems to me that Fan of Knives is primarily a way to spread Mandrake, rather than a damaging skill (I know that I'm going to miss my lovely Bone Charmer buffs to piercing damage!). With Distort Reality looking like the only great AoE attack available to me, will the game just become a slow grind, Lethal Striking one enemy at a time?

    Fan of Knives, Flash Powder, auras, crowd control, AND a weird pet? Dreamkillers sound like an absolute blast to play. So much of the info that I've found on the forums is old and possibly out-of-date, so I was wondering if anyone could give me their thoughts on the matter.

    Possible Attribute allocations were also giving me fits; I know that a spear user should go Strength and Dexterity, but without Intelligence, all of those fancy Dream abilities won't pack enough "oomph". Would a 1:1 Strength: Dexterity spread work if I then add in my bonus points to Intelligence, or would a 2:2:1 Str: Dex:Int spread be more sensible?

    I have no experience at all with these two masteries, but after just looking them over in Titancalc, it seems that it would be more efficient to start off in Dream, because all of the Rogue goodies are at the top of the tree. That, and ranged combat seems so much easier for a starter character with few skills and less gear. But would a quick rush up the rogue tree be more effective?

    In any case, I'm looking forward to hearing from you all, and thank you for your time.

  2. #2
    Telkine Nightmare14's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Melbourne Australia
    Dream skills are actually really powerful I mean they still do decent damage in epic with no points in int DR does good damage in legendary without int as well but its main purpose is stunning and DW main purpose is slowing (when not using int)

    SoS is excellent crowd control when you need to run

    and all 3 trances are awesome most popular being trance of convalence

    seeing as dream is part of the expansion a lot of what you find won't be out dated

    look for violos guide and also have a look through the threads found in the compilation as there's some info on electric burn in amoungst them if I remember rightly

  3. #3
    Guru of Spammers essjayehm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Muskoka, Ontario, Canada
    In my honest opinion, both trees play out "exactly" the same when I start a toon with either of those masteries.

    Rogue: 1 point in Calculated strike, get 4 quick points into Lay Trap, then max Rapid Construction asap, and this (ie maxxed trap tree) should carry you thru most of Normal.
    Dream: 1 point in Phantom Strike, and beeline to Distortion Wave's synergy Psionic Immolation, and max it. This skill can take you thru Normal, even without investing points in Intelligence (other than from the Dream mastery istelf, possibly from some gear or sockets, but no "hard" investment). You can max DW and add the Chaotic Resonance part if you like, but the 1/0/12 setup uses less blue potions

    I haven't played the Dreamkiller personally, but for your attributes you definitely want to go 1:1 Str and Dex... you will eventually spec out of Psionic Immolation (and keep DW as a 1-pointer) in Epic and not worry about the EBD damage... it's the effects that are the good stuff. And, you will not be a horribly high damage-dealer per se... but you won't have any trouble holding your own with the right setup. But you still cannot dilute your base damage by investing in Intelligence.

    I believe Calculated Strike should be your LMB, and after your Psionic Immolation isn't getting the job done anymore, Phantom Strike on RMB. Distort Reality and Knives (with envenom weapon's debuffing synergies) for protecting your traps, which will probably be just additional damage as they don't scale well in the vanilla game in Legendary difficulty. Traps can grab aggro from you, so have their place I am sure in the build... and the Nightmare is just a suberb tank vs. 85% of the enemies in Legendary.

    The other idea I have is to use a Bramblewood Bow for slow/confusing the enemies that you aggro with the traps. Dunno if that is a viable strategy or no, but I kinda want to try a non-Hunting bow user sometime. Not sure if the DK is the class for it though.
    Last edited by essjayehm; 07-10-2012 at 11:57 PM.

  4. #4
    Guru of Spammers essjayehm's Avatar
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    Nov 2011
    Muskoka, Ontario, Canada
    yay double post
    Last edited by essjayehm; 07-10-2012 at 11:55 PM. Reason: dblpst

  5. #5
    I can think of a number of options for a dreamkiller:

    Melee fighter
    Fighting with a spear or sword for the piercing bonus from rogue skills with dream as support skills.
    You get a sweet combo: huge damage from Phantom Strike followed up by Lethal Strike and then Distort Reality+Temporal Rift.

    In addition to the poison on your knives, you get slow, petrify and sleep effects from dream. You'll need some -recharge if you want to spam knives.

    Poison fighter
    Poison damage does not benefit from attributes, but dream has good sources of +% total damage to make up for that. Phantom Strike is also great to spread poison to multiple monsters at once.

    Traps and Trance of Empathy makes your traps reflect damage, an interesting combo.
    There may be no 'I' in team, but there's a 'ME' if you look hard enough.
    Ħuʍop ǝpısdn sı sn ɟo ǝuo 'sıɥʇ pɐǝɹ uɐɔ noʎ ɟı

  6. #6
    Olympian God
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Dreamkiller is another of those classes that, in my experience, epitomises the saying "Dominate in Normal, struggle in Legendary". Mine was among my favourite melee builds in Normal and Epic, and was both extremely powerful and very versatile/fun to play. You have so many offensive options at hand: cast Traps to distract enemies, fire off a Flurry of Knives, put them to Sleep, petrify them with DR/TR, slow and frazzle them with DW/PI, go for the single-target jugular with Lethal Strike or for group burst damage with Phantom Strike, soften up mobs with an initial lobbing of Poison Gas Bomb, send NM ahead to draw aggro while you sneak around the side undetected, the possibilities are varied and very engaging. Life is just a rollercoaster ride in which planning new and ever more innovative ways to down your foes is the central attraction.

    And then you hit Legendary. And all those wonderful skills start becoming a bit anaemic. So you end up wondering whether perhaps you've forgotten to don some great gear items, and check through your inventory in vain thinking "I'm sure I was doing more damage than this last time I played..." Well, you were. But that was in Epic. This is Legendary, new conditions apply.

    My base approach to toons is very simple. If I want to kill quickly and take Legendary in my stride, then I want either Warfare, Hunting or Spirit. Because those are the damage masteries. Storm and Earth are both OK as dedicated caster masteries. Their spells wane somewhat in Legendary but, usually, gear and/or benefits from the second mastery will get you home without too much sweat. Nature is also fine. Either it'll round out your damage mastery nicely (as with Champion or Ranger) or it'll provide a great debuff to strengthen your elemental spells (Susceptibility to help VO, Eruption, Shards, or LB/CL) or you can just go pets and not have to worry about your own damage (Soothie or Ritualist). So those masteries are all fine.

    Then we get to the rest: Defense, Dream, Rogue. And, in each case, you end up shouting at the screen: I want to kill faster! Where is my frigging debuff?! Therein lies the rub: there isn't one.

    That's not to say that these masteries don't have their unique charms, they do. Defense gives you outstanding damage mitigation, Rogue offers unparalleled crowd control on AoE weapon attacks like Volley, Ternion or Flurry of Knives. Dream gives the same great crowd control although it needs to be applied rather than being auto-hit on attack. And then Dream also gives great AoE damage via its EBD spells. In Normal and much of Epic, anyway.

    But when I pincushion Xmax bosses or do sub-3 minute SP runs with my bow Brig, or rumble over the toughest foes in seconds with my Harb, I'm not kidding myself that it's Rogue or Dream respectively doing the work. Brig is a Hunting toon and Harb is a Warfare toon. The supporting (second) mastery is doing just that - supporting. Take away the primary and the whole damage foundation collapses.

    The acid test is, of course, the Hydra. It's not a threatening boss provided you have Poison resistance maxed and stay in melee range. But it does have heaps and heaps of HP and decent DA/resists. So if you want any single foe to serve as a gauge of how much damage you're doing and how well you'll fare against the other Legendary bosses, Hydra is a great early indication.

    My Conq and Templar fare very similarly against trash mobs in early Legendary. It's hard to notice a difference in their DPS meter or killing speed. But then it always will be when you're one- or two-shotting most enemies. Put them up against Hydra and what remains a short and simple fight for the Conq becomes a much more drawn-out and RSI-inducing affair for the Templar. That is where the lack of boss-level damage output becomes painfully apparent. For Bone Charmer, it's a joke. Even without the Outsider, it's a just a couple of hits and down it goes. But that's what happens when you put two of the "big three" damage masteries together. And it applies to the other two combos as well. Spellbreakers and Slayers may have their drawbacks and weaknesses. But killing power surely isn't among them.

    By contrast, any time you put two out of Rogue, Defense and Dream together, you have to expect that progress in Legendary will be slower. And it's the same cause every time: no debuff. Sure, Defense gets Shield Smash which nukes monster DA and improves crits. But it doesn't do that job as well as Hamstring does, let alone the added debuff of Battle Standard/Triumph. My Defenders all get the occasional yellow crit number flying. With all my Warfare toons, it's a constant stream of yellow.

    Dream gets ToW (if you use it) to debuff all resistances. But it's percentage reduction so it can never drop monster resists into negative numbers. It can't even get them to zero. So, again, it's not going to work as effectively as Study Prey, Necrosis or Susceptibility, all of which can send resists plummeting deep into the red.

    As a result, my Corsair, Templar and Dreamkiller are all somewhat stodgy toons in Legendary. They can survive well and they can still kill at decent rates, especially trash mobs. But they lack that OMGWTF effect that you get from Bone Charmer, Oracle, Conq, Harb, Spellbreaker, Slayer, etc.

    That's not to say that they're inferior classes. Killing speed is just one aspect of the game. As good as my Conq is, I find it somewhat dull to play because there is a lack of active and engaging offensive options. It's just holding down the LMB on mobs and watching bodies fly. Builds like Dreamkiller and Warlock offer a lot more variety in putting together attacking combos to cripple, disable and then dispense with mobs.

    Dreamkiller's big-hitting skills, so dominant in Normal and Epic, will wane. Count on it. Try, for example, the standard Dream 1-2 punch of Phantom Strike followed up by DR/TR on the Hydra. You'll be lucky if you notice more than a millimetre or two reduction on its health bar. And only slightly more if you then follow up with Lethal Strike. And then you have to wait for all those skills to recharge. It can be disheartening.

    But it's not the end of the world. It's still a hugely fun toon to play. Just focus a lot on Monkey King's Trickery and Shen-Nong's Dark Medicine because you'll need both to keep your damage viable in the latter stages.

    In terms of build progression, I would start with Dream unless you're planning to go Trapper. Psionic Touch, DW, Phantom Strike, ToC and Lucid Dream are more versatile and attractive "low to middle tier" options for me than Envenom, Calculated Strike, Blade Honing and Traps. Envenom only really takes off when you get up to decent levels in Mandrake and that can take some time.

    Even for a Str toon, Psionic Immolation is very effective in Normal. And DW is equally effective early on. So putting a lot of points into it, and then buying back and re-investing in PI once you reach Delphi, is a very effective and fairly fool-proof start to the game.

  7. #7

    I've looked up Violos's guides, thank you; they did offer me information that I was looking for. Sands of Sleep looks like good fun, I'll be sure to max it early on. I was unsure of when the expansion had come out, so knowing that there weren't any paradigm-shifting patches since then is comforting, thank you.


    Are traps really that worthwhile even for a "dabbler"? I only ask because traps seem the type of thing that's very much "all or nothing", which would want either Warfare for its Battle Standard, or Hunting for its Study Prey. Thanks for the attribute advice, it's nice not having to worry about pumping Intelligence and weakening my damage.

    "you will not be a horribly high damage-dealer per se... but you won't have any trouble holding your own with the right setup."

    And that's the rub, isn't it? I was looking for a class that was more engaging than my Bone Charmer, and Dreamkiller just looked like it had fun toys to play with, but fun toys aren't worth a painful slog through Legendary (for me at the moment, at any rate). I may be better served by a different class.

    I think I may have the worst luck in the world when it comes to Bramblewoods; I farmed three levels worth of the Saronis swamps on my Bone Charmer looking for one, without success. I've found a pair of Batrachos Greaves, but not a single Bramblewood bow. C'est la vie, I suppose. Thank you for the in-depth reply.


    The melee fighter seems more like my speed; coming off of a powerful archer, I felt the need to spice things up a bit with a more active playstyle.


    "And then you hit Legendary. And all those wonderful skills start becoming a bit anaemic."

    That's exactly what I was afraid of! I would much rather chug along in normal, hit my stride in Epic, and cruise through Legendary. After the Bone Charmer, I wanted to give Hunting and Spirit a rest before revisiting them, so from your description I should probably start with Warfare when looking for my new class. I only jumped on Dreamkiller because it looked like it had fun toys, and even though it seemed as unpopular as the Bone Charmer (at least on the forums), my Bone Charmer worked out so well that I thought I would find similar success there as well as engaging play.

    I'd still like to experiment with Dream; Sands of Sleep, Phantom Strike and Distort Reality look like a hoot, so given your earlier advice to start with Hunting/Warfare/Spirit, Harbinger sounds like it may be what I'm looking for.

    Strangely enough, this is making me want a Dreamkiller more and more once I get a better hand on game mechanics. My stubborn streak wants to force it to work, but I'm not comfortable enough with the game to do so yet.

    As an aside, thank you very much for that great Bone Charmer guide; before discovering the forums, my first character was helpless against Dragonian archers (which I'm ashamed to say made me rage-quit the game for a year or two), and your in-depth posts really gave me a better handle on what I did incorrectly.

    Now I'm off to do a little reading-up on Harbingers...

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Kodiak Marmoset View Post
    I think I may have the worst luck in the world when it comes to Bramblewoods; I farmed three levels worth of the Saronis swamps on my Bone Charmer looking for one, without success. I've found a pair of Batrachos Greaves, but not a single Bramblewood bow.
    Man I would say you are so lucky to have found a pair of batrachos greaves. They are so damn rare. My first character farmed till level 75 to get one. Don't wry abt the bow, they are quite common compared to the greaves. If during a session you don't get any good drop for a while exit the game completely and start again. Do this till you notice yellows or unique bows dropping. For farming bramblewood bows I personally start from the last rebirth fountain before the gray and run backwards in the runins, I find it faster. I got a ton of bramblewood bows, some with rare affixes like relentless and would gladly trade some for the greaves. I never played with a bow character and dnt think i'll b playing with one in the near future.
    Last edited by Benitot; 07-11-2012 at 01:57 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Rogue does have a debuff in knives if you count stacking -resistance from relics, gear and Study Prey from Mbuti's advocate, though I guess this setup counts more as an actual build seeing as it may involve quite a bit of farming. I tend to classify Nature and Rogue together - they are the item dependent masteries, though they are also polar opposites. Nature has all the buffs/debuffs but needs items (or another mastery) to do damage, while Rogue has all the damage-dealing skills but need items (or another mastery) to properly debuff things.

    Traps are pretty much all or nothing for early-mid game. Once you reach legendary though (assuming you have a surplus of skill points) that may change. Also depends on how many +skill items you plan on getting.
    Last edited by Tyr; 07-11-2012 at 03:03 PM.

  10. #10
    Olympian God
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    I'm glad to hear that the guide helped, Kodiak Marmoset, and thank you for your kind words.

    I don't think you can go wrong with Harb. Mine was one of my very first toons and was my second finish overall after bow Brig. As it was my first melee toon through many areas of the game, I made some novice mistakes, dying three times in Normal while I tried to figure out dual wielding (it was also my first dual wielder). I also died twice in Epic Act IV when I got a little lax about resistances and did silly things like taking on Siege Striders with Fire resistance deep in the negatives.

    Legendary was a breeze, though. I still had negative resistances for most of it but it didn't seem to matter. Once all the key skills were maxed +4, the toon became a wrecking ball of note. It breezed through without any deaths and I can't even remember any close scrapes or the health gong going off at any point.

    Now deep into post-Legendary farming at level 72, it's become even tougher. Finding items like Sapros and farming a full set of Ritual jewelry didn't hurt either.

    There are some good posts, guides and builds for Harb in the forum. The one thing I would recommend is to prioritise +skills items in Normal. Not everyone considers it worthwhile farming for Stonebinder's Cuffs in Normal, and I don't either. But in Harb's case, it's a must imo. There are sooooo many good skills that you want early on. Trying to climb the masteries ladders and then still find extra points for skills can be very frustrating. I've never played another class where the three points with each level-up seemed so utterly, teeth-gnashingly insufficient.

    Getting +1 to everything from SBC is a huge help. If you can compound that with another +1 from a Hallowed helm and then round it off with yet another +1 from a Divine amulet, it lightens the load hugely.

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