"It was like nothing I'd ever seen," said the grizzled old soldier.
"Most of the mages on the march hate getting their hands dirty. They'd rather go hungry then pick up a sword and give the beasties a good honest strike. But the fire witch...she..she was something different," he mused between swallows of wine.
The Planning Stage
Summertime is my oldest and most finely-tuned active character. Her long and winding journey started sometime back in 2005. Even back then, I was searching for something different. The idea of getting a sorc to survive in melee seemed intriguing enough, and enchant seemed tailor-made for experiments in close combat.
I originally geared/skilled Summertime for being a hybrid melee enchantress/ES sorc. Once I maxed the holy trinity of Enchant, I noted that I had room for 2 more maxed skills. I wanted to stay in melee, so most of the other spells were out for me. Energy shield (and TK) seemed to be the only legitimate choice, defensively. I dismissed the cold armors as inadequate past Normal and a poor investment.
Gear-wise: I had popped Sol runes into my Gerke's, Twitch, and Kira's and my belt was originally a 15mdr String of Ears. The rest of my gear was as you currently see below. For you old-timers on the SPF, those blood glove were acquired from necrolemming. Twitchthroe, ah good ol' Twitch...anyone reading my mat/pat threads knows I am the unofficial champion of Twitchthroe as 'Most Underrated'. This character was the start of my appreciation for that simple green armor. Twitch helps me save about 60 dex for max block, let's me not sacrifice socket spaces for jewels of fervor, and gets me halfway to my current FHR breakpoint. For a character class so poorly designed for melee, Twitch gave my other gear choices a lot more flexibility.
Leveling and Observations
Fast forward to the point where I could actually use my Passion phase blade. I think it was act2 NM. Holy moly, I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it definitely was not seeing my sorc rip through crowds like an out-of-control wildfire. At the time, I don't think I had a single Burning charm, and I was still using a Leaf staff as my only piece of prebuff gear. I expected things to slow down in Hell but I was still able to rip through packs of non-immunes at players 8. As I added more and better gear over time, my killing rate just kept getting faster and faster.
Fire immunes obviously slowed things down a bit, but the combination of Static Field, my merc, and my small amount of crushing blow kept the steam-roller moving at reasonable pace.
Teleport is my favorite part of this particular character. Normally, teleport is a useful, but mundane part of every sorc's arsenal. Here, it was key to my enjoyment of this build. Being able to constantly jump from place to place on the battlefield was so fundamentally different from my previous melee builds (and future builds, as it turned out). It's the only advantage for a melee sorc and it works perfectly to overcome her many disadvantages in the trenches. Those negatives are mainly: poor FHR breakpoints, low life per vit point, slow blocking speed.
The more monsters attacking me, the greater the chance I have of dying. That's true of all builds, but much more so for enchantresses, I found. Teleport allows you to create a brief 2on1 situation when you zap next to stragglers on the edges of the pack. Lone monster gets hit with the double whammy of a full zeal cycle and the merc jabbing. The pack turns around and starts to advance and you teleport to the other side and pick off another straggler. "So thus it is that the Desert is crossed."
Defensively, Teleport also helps since the merc is always "on top" when you 'port. He take any intial hit and gives you a split second to start attacking unhindered.
After many hours of questing I realized ES just wasn't working for me. My gear wasn't focused enough on prebuffing it and I didn't have enough PDR/MDR. It was going down way too fast and leaving me stranded with no mana. When 1.13c came out, I now had a chance to rejigger my loadout.
Gear-wise, I settled on bumping up my frame rates in blocking, FHR, and casting rate by swapping in Shael's for Sol's and swapping Arachnid Mesh for SoE. Arach's +1 skill also gave me 1 extra hit with zeal. Skill-wise, I maxed Teleport so that I could 'port indefinitely. Mana-burn monsters were creating situations where I couldn't port, and that was very dangerous. Static Field got maxed as well. The range boost was helpful when I needed it.
Summertime currently encompasses one of my long term D2 goals: get Enchant as high as possible. There's only 3 places where I can improve:
1. Get a beta BKWB - gonna take awhile
2. Get another beta BKWB - gonna take awhile longer
3. Find the perfect magical orb: +3 fire skills, +3 enchant, +3 fire mastery - nearly impossible, but I still pick up every magical orb I find. It's how I found my current orb
Questing Gear Stats - Screenshot
Questing GearCode:Lvl 94 Zeal damage w/ full Lvl 50 Enchant: 14K-16K Life: 1114 | Mana: 374 Resists: 75/75/75/75 Str: 95 | Dex: 132 | Vit: 298 6 frame Zeal 20 Enchant 20 Warmth 20 Fire Mastery 20 Static Field 20 Teleport
Prebuff Gear - ScreenshotCode:70res Kira's 'Shael' Viper Torc Amulet* 'Passion' Phase Blade Twitchthroe 'Shael' 30res Gerke's 'Shael' Havoc Hand Gloves* Arachnid Mesh Goblin Toe Rune Master Ring* Corruption Gyre Ring* 6 Burning GC's with +29/+29/+30/+30/+33/+34 life 1 15res Shimmering GC with +30 life 5 Mana/life SC's 2 FHR SC's Merc: Guillame's / Reaper's / Duriel's Viper Torc Amulet Required Level: 51 Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion Item Level: 86 Fingerprint: 0xdede4c7a +19 to Strength +17 to Dexterity +54 to Life +16 to Mana Fire Resist +27% Lightning Resist +20% Cold Resist +20% Poison Resist +20% Havoc Hand Heavy Gloves Defense: 10 Durability: 14 of 14 Required Level: 73 Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion Item Level: 92 Fingerprint: 0x5d9c3b90 +15 to Strength +19 to Life +55% Enhanced Defense Lightning Resist +12% 2% Life stolen per hit 20% Increased Attack Speed 7% Chance of Crushing Blow Rune Master Ring Required Level: 65 Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion Item Level: 86 Fingerprint: 0xc3516bfb +40 to Life +39 to Mana Poison Resist +10% 8% Life stolen per hit 10% Faster Cast Rate Corruption Gyre Ring Required Level: 48 Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion Item Level: 66 Fingerprint: 0x50db2789 +4 to Energy +20 to Life +81 to Attack Rating Fire Resist +10% Lightning Resist +18% Cold Resist +10% Poison Resist +10% 10% Faster Cast Rate
Code:Volcanic Coronet of Atlas 'Two 5% dmg fire facets' Volcanic Amulet of the Giant Volcanic Sacred Globe w/ +2 Enchant 'Two 5% dmg fire facets' Ormus Robes w/ +3 Enchant and 15% fire dmg '5% dmg fire facet' 'Spirit' Eth Monarch Magefist Arachnid Mesh SoJ SoJ 10 Burning GC's