All righty go for it. I know there are many around and many have different opinions and thinkings. Have fun here.
Appoligies for running over your mouths before so harshly, but I wanted to seperate the discussion and guide and failed to do so in the first place. My bad. Please feel free to post your ideas, but please understand that this piece there has quite some effort behind it, so at some point you go a bit §"$%"§$%&$ if someone takes it apart again.
As meta-magic feats for arcane casters you should get empowered and maximized. If you can afford it the silent spell feat is also nice to have, but not absolutely needed. Extended is often seen in builds but is rather a convenience, than a really needed feat. You can happily life without those two!
I'd have to disagree. Empowered is definitely a necessity but I hardly think maximized should have higher priority than silent/extend. If you're a wizard (with plenty "extra" pre-epic feats) than maximize can be a good idea, although I rarely if ever miss having it, and with +1 and +2 meta slot options available from emp+silent/extend, having +3 is really so much fluff; it's very hard to picture situations in which a wizard needs to be using +3 versions in favor of a spell of that level; for those situations, it's generally more due to randoms or something unexpected, in which case not having the spell prepped is the problem. conversely, sorc who can take advantage of spontaneous casting (oh i need more cold, will start doing maxed cold sphere now instead of the emped claps) doesn't have the room to fit in the feat.
I definitely think +1 slot meta is a necessity, far more than max. Again, the biggest benefit of extend/silent is not the actual metamagic bonus but rather the slot flex. For silent, I can't picture many situations where this would be used (nessus but that sounds like a pretty fail run with no hmr anyway...ely, lol). Extend actually is always useful and appreciated from very low levels all the way to high-level play, for the headache saved in recasting buffs.
Thus I would 100% recommend empower + extend/silent as 2 "must have" meta feats; max is very much less priority. In my opinion extend is a far better choice than silent for just about any player, especially a new one.
- Spell-craft is a bit special. If you, like most of the casters, take the greater ruin epic spell this has to be boosted up to 50 base skill points (you have to have spent 50 points in it) and you will be granted a second use of greater ruin each rest which is a huge advantage and gives a great chance to instant kill certain mobs.
Imo should be very clear here about spellcraft --> ruin: you must have 25 ranks to TAKE the feat the first time; you receive SECOND casting of the spell after 50 ranks. This is an important distinction and I have seen quite some confusion regarding it.
Well if that is what you personaly prefer, you can do it. But I can tell from my experience that I need maximize quite often and extended or silent close to zero. Considering how feat tight you are usually on builds esp. open subrace ones, you should realy think about it. On a sorc it is nice if u can get all 3 but if u have to choose empowered and maximze will give u the edge on the run that you need. And especially on a wiz, where u have to household with you spellslot way more than a sorc you will not mess around with that. Or how do you think the top arcane players have 600k+ damage on a nessus run? sure not by using extended!
The greater ruin I dont have to explain any further. If you don´t even know how the normal epics from bioware work and what you need to get them, you need much more guidance, than I can do in this guide.
Besides, It would realy serve everyone well to do comments in the KISS style. I didnt post this guides to get opinions and wild discussions between what everyone personally prefers. That is something everyone can decide on their own. That just makes new possible players and builders unsure for no reason.
I evalutated these guides together with several good builders and players over two months. What is written down here is the essence of that and what is best to do to create a new succesful toon on your own. If you see something I missed to mention I´m all open and will add it happily.
fwiw doom i was only trying to point out advantage of +1 slot from extend/silent vs. +3 from max
obviously silent or extend does not boost your damage output at all vs. non-meta version casted, what it does provide is access to X+1 slots which is a huge boost in flex and availability, in particular those infamous level 6 spells which we all want to have 500 of each but not enough level 6 slots to prep all
after karsus i also found extend to be a HUGE advantage, by allowing more high-dmg casts of spell X in X+1 slot, this shall even be planned ahead of time to get optimal mileage out of crappy wiz slots
i don't see much advantage to using max on a wiz (and yes have played toons through much game content both with and without it), since it'd be very very rare to actually prep maxed version of X+3 rather than spell of such level, especially after PLs with option for karsus and/or phys dmg spells now, i just have a hard time picturing which exactly dmg spells would be using maxed which wouldn't have equal or more effective output with a different spell of higher level and/or emped, maybe melfs? but can hardly think of such a fight where single-target acid is so much better than aoe phys which hits minions as well--i think for dk it is pretty close and for certain bosses, meh...yeah there is the acid-takers but again it coems down to maxed dmg X spell vs. emped dmg Y spell or non-meta Z spell
i guess maxed cold ball but i do not think maxed = better dmg than emp for most spells...so again it comes more to slot flexibility (more casts of spell X) than improved dmg output...sure when the sup mary drops in random you might be wishing you had maxed cold balls since you're out of emped ones now, but only a sorc, not a wiz, could actually translate that into casting them, and no wiz will prep 2-3 slot levels worth of same dmg type spell just in case it's needed, at sacrifice of more useful spells...sure you could rest before the acid boss and get emped PLUS maxed acid spell but it's laughable to think you'd need so much...and for any real situation i don't follow....what are you going to do for the dispater fight, have emped plus maxed cold balls in case he survives 30 emped casts? or have emped + emped RG so you can smash the minions + the boss all at the same time
for every other type except acid, empower gives option for superb dmg output
whereas on a sorc, having such option to adapt when needed for that dmg type is a big help, but as far as i can tell it's much harder to squeeze max into a sorc build
extend helps rebuff hassle and that +1 slot is pretty important to really any caster i have ever played, unlike max which I have rarely rarely rarely used for dmg spells and even less frequently used for extra casts of lower level spell on a prepatation caster, because it's very very specialized (i.e. rest before boss fight) to set whole spellbook to drop something higher-level for maxed dmg spells
anyway, tldr = i don't consider max very advantageous for any dmg type except acid in which case that should not be such a big deal anyway since vit sphere totally suck and should not be cast (i hate seeing people spam this spell for grand total result of 80 dmg per hit on the 1 mob needing acid + bunch of broken loot), whereas melf works fine empowered
regardless max is useful in and of itself by providing yet another OPTION for adapting to combat, you are 100% right to make this clear
well, i did not mean to argue or "take over" your heplful suggestions, but I just thought it was pretty selectice advice to harp on "must have" of max spell when it just really is not necessary imho, again i may be a nub but although I enjoyed HAVING it I also never MISSED not having it, much like ruin--it's nice to have but that doesn't mean it should be chosen in place of something better
the spellcraft thing i thought fell in line with the rest of the guide since you go into some detail for very basic simple rules (what is DC, what is SR, what does spell focus do, etc), was just something i thought was worth mentioning for a noob anyway is all
Extend is 2394i595687293482930545764576 times better than maxed. Period. Telling newbie otherwise is misleading, to put it kindly.
Telling newbie to go damage route is something I'm slightly ichy about. -4 DC is big I give you that, but DC spells causes no kick back, doesnt heal enemies and are pretty easy to tell if they are worth casting or not. Not to mention, even instakill caster can cast damage spells, just for 30% less chance of doing full damage (40% with paragon focuses, but it takes quite a bit to get there). And this is just for arcanes, divines are buff/debuff/insta over anything else.
Open race caster gets 7 pre epic (assuming human, 6 as elf, only case for wizzies who gets dozen of feats), 7 epic, 7 leg and 6 class bonus feats. Pre epics goes 2 SP, 2 meta leaves 1 greater, 1 normal foci. Epic + bonus covers SP, 10x great ability + 1 greater, 1 epic foc. Leg feats goes for 1 epic, 3 leg - leaving 3 feats. If you take greater ruin 2 - no room for 4 spell schools, with book counted in, means your info for 4th spell school with book is inaccurate. Or you can take 4th school to epic focus and not have ruin, 3 metas or anything else really. Ohwell, I guess you COULD have that 4th focus with book at epic level, but not quite the way you let the reader underestand on your guide. Note, this does put your cleric/druid frontline with no save feats taken, heck, it'll teach the newbie fast what to avoid.. If they have thick enough skin to take the beating while learning.
Been a while since checked, but iirc you lose 2 SP for splashing sorc on regular cast, for the reason you mentioned. CL 59 vs 61 of autochannel.
As for saves/gear: dead/disabled caster doesnt cast. Neither does one who continuenly runs/repositions themselves. Better to have 30 use of spell and cast them during fight than have 70 use of it and cast 10 of them before party stops for rest.
A new player should prioritize survibility > offence, because small offence is better than no offence at all. Survibility will also help farming LL for items/money to buy stuff that will increase the offence. Ie. learning to farm pyra 2man for wis arty will get you bur races way faster than get dragged through 10 man runs and wish 1 drops AND you roll first. Same goes for hive, pom, even toyshop has PH that vets give value on.
Now here's the dilemma. For party play instakill > damage. For farming damage > instakill, especialy without party debuffs. As I said earlier, I'm ichy about saying which route to go. My personal recommendation would be survibility + damage followed by no defence + instakill, but definetly not no defence + damage. But that's my opinion and Paradoom isn't interested in opinions here.
Now personaly I wouldnt recommed druid as first caster because "you have to get involved" or you're pretty much an epic bot. Cleric requires most mechanical skill, if I may use that term, since you gotta keep buffs and debuffs up via recasting in time and positioning as well as knowing the most about enemies to know when you can instakill, when deal damage and when just support the group. Arcane is best for farming and safest pick in party composition for newbie, on contrast, also most played of casters, which has ups and downs. Ups being there's propably another mage to cover if you mess something up, downs being people expectations are quite high due superior performances in your regular parties that arcanes put up on logs. Ops, section of opinion - ignore.
Bard I wouldnt call a caster at all for newbie. Instead a full party support, which does include using selected few spells every now and then, but casting (becide bestow curse) being inferior to other duties. Oh wait.. Opinions.
As for your "base line of abilities" you picked the worst possibly example. Assuming human, non-wizard caster that goes 18 main stat 14 14 dex/con, you're looking at 8 int, which means 2 skills. Conc +? Lore, spell craft, disc? I suppose you only want that Conc + Lore since you alrdy wont be taking Ruin with that 4th spell focus from book. So yeah, 8 int will do it I suppose. Not something I'd recommed, but again opinions - not welcome here. Well you did mention shuffling dex/con for int, but why not just go for more reasonable example? Looks less pro while being more helpful, nah, what am I thinking..
Ohwell, so much for "You personal creation" to tell: these feats you take, these abilities you take, these skills you take, but you get to chose the look of your char!
First: When I post a guide like that, then I expect to respect that and if your opinion differes that´s fine and I respect that as well. I find it extremely ammusing that all of you guys have the time to right pages over pages and try to pull this piece of work down, but were never able to put something like that up yourself. There is so many bad advice out here, that even counts as recommanded I could vomit. That´s why I made this guide to at least have a good base to work on for beginners.
If you think that ability x y z needs to be in more than the others I suggested here, that´s fine. But in that case maybe you should rethink your caster? *hint *hint
The example I gave was just for a wizard. But yeah since someone can missread that and would then create a sorc like that, it could mean a troublesome base build. I will add another example that shows the difference. That is by the way a nice and productive suggestion and actually what I expect. That one would have been enough.
Regarding my meta suggestion: The arcane builds I have seen on the forums (bad and good ones alike), take 3 meta feats anyway all the time. But from alot of game experience on my wiz and sorc and conversations with others like laser and bad, I stand for my suggestion of metafeats! All that said: There is one time where one of the level 1 meta feats can be helpful: Weaponbuffs. But even so, with the latest edits to all the caster gear, you dont lack in low level spellslots and can memorize all buffs easily on one spelllevel. Nonetheless I added, that you can have all 3 meta levels anyway, since most people have it. But if you go for maxing out your build, haveing a free feat is worth a thought, dont you think?
What kind of defence do you want to have? A sorc, which is ususally a beginners favorite choice, doesn´t have real defence abilities. Splashing in Paladin is a good choice to get insane saves and some easier gear options, but you pay for it. And yes that is the best way to go for a beginner in my opinion, if she/he aint familiar with the mod. And nothing else I said. You are correct about the 2 SP loss. I will correct that. Thanks.
And to understand why I reacted as rough as above: I wanted to keep the guide as clean as possible and not have a 500 word post after another in that one. So I made a seperate thread for each of them, where you can exchange your thoughts. And if you build your´s differently and are succesful with them, I´m all happy for you unless you take 3 hours for a min run with them ^^
On Metas on a Sorc Silent spell is handier than on a Wiz as all casting on a Sorc and at will similarly Maximize works well because it is at will. For a wizard since you must prepare your spells all casting must be planned out and this makes Extended and Silent of a considerably better value than Maximize allowing you to slot additional spells on a spell level that is weaker or has more slots which I think is more what chirality is suggesting. I do agree with fallen that damage wiz/sorc can be a dangerous tool in the hands of a newbie though my open sub Theurge was 50/50 on that having LSF Necro, Illu, Conj, and ESF Evo. The is a greater chance of a newbie caster causing more problems by playing a damage caster than playing an instakill caster. I do think that many defensive feats and skills are far less important for a caster of any type than a tank but still important enough to ensure they are fairly close to certain levels.
Thing is, you went and said "This is how you do it or you do it wrong". With that IMHO you went over the top, trying to narrow down the "essence" of being caster to way too thin compact. It also failed to have similar authority to what Raj had with his guides, which were, on way tigher subject. Melee weapons you always deal damage by rightclicking enemy, you cant choce to have different approach on crafting your weapon apart from either doing damage or not to do damage. With casters theres dozens of options of how you can go with them. Same with just SR. You drop SR is numerous ways, guide to it helps newbies to realise all the possible ways and meanings of lowering the SR. Playign/building caster again is waaay different thing than performing 1 task. At creation of the char you decide what do you aim it for. I mean. Tank, wether if is glasscannon, mmod or anything inbetween, will always want to use the weapon crafts. Casters will always need to lower SR's of certain enemies or be useless.
As for defence aspect that you asked. Paladin splash for newbie sorc gives not only saves, but also shield profiency, which free's up some gear options of not having to swap for it. Before you say there's shield pandect, how fast do you think a newbie will get one? 50 min runs? On a open subby with the earlier posted feat spread, 3 focuses + those 3 feats used on blooded+ lsa tumble and that 3rd meta magic, You're looking at pre demi 120+ AC, with uber saves. You can do pretty much what ever you want at LL's. Yes on endgame runs you wont be stomping everything, but neither would the no offence version with +1 dc/+2SP. After NB's that SP boost is less significant and the DC, well you can channel it up to same, at 1 extra spell used.
Now, my point isnt necligate the work you put into guide. But you shouldnt bite more than you can chew. Even the good intension isnt enough to put your self in authority position saying your opinion is the best one.
Got it fallen, thx for the input. And by no means I think that my opinion is the one to go, but what I have collected there ain't only my own personal input, but from many different builders. So in a sense going full power against it, made me go overboard.
See the thing with Paladin is nice and I added that anyway.
Of course there are other ways, but if I smear it out to all the options (yes that is possible) this will be much much larger. My aim was to get a certain base idea set. Because after I went through the forums and many many builds there, I found many with essential mistakes in them (and that´s not my opinion but sadly a fact). I wanted to give ppl. who decide to create a toon of their own, or checking a build on the forums something they can use to analyse it to a degree.
The thing with the meta feats is also more a personal opinion thing and playstyle, but where do you want to draw the line? If I put all that in, you will have in the end the same unclear mess as before. On an open sub you have to make some hard decissions on what to pick and what to drop and while one thinks he needs the extend more, I think the max is better.
An idea I have is to put in some example builds and explain in more detail why is what when and where. Maybe that will help? Of course you can then go again with something completely different and it works just as good. BTW. the examples I have done to come up with some of the stuffs have partially 3 meta feats anyway, just because there is nothing else to take.
In all honesty if I were starting a new sorc I would forego the paladin splash. +2 SP and +1 DC is far too valuable to warrant extra saves which aren't as useful and shield proficiency which is easily gotten from amulet of eramus (and I have a hard time believeing a new player won't be able to acquire one of these early on at level 60). I have a hard time believing (almost) anything is worth +2 Spell pen and +1 DC honestly.
I probably would not take maximize spell on sorc if Rad Gen did not give it for free. It's useful for maximized enervations when draining things to death though.
I would be hesitant to mention most builds get 3 metamagics.
As far as skills go, I consider tumble mandatory (not just for druids). For druids conjuration is not really required in an optimal build (though I definitely agree transmutation and evocation are).
I don't mean to force you to change your guide or anything, just giving my input on this. Make of it what you will.