Friday, January 11, 2013

Dungeon Siege III - Lucas Montbarron - Skills (Abilities, Proficiencies, Talents)

Here are general tips for playing Lucas Montbarron in Dungeon Siege III and the Treasures of the Sun DLC. A list of all our Dungeon Siege III posts can be found here.

Lucas Montbarron - Skill Selection and Use


Sword and Shield
  • This is fast swings but up close. The main reason for using this stance is to quickly build up the relatively small amount of Focus needed to use Lucas's Shield Pummel to keep enemies stunned.
Two-Handed Sword
  • The range of a swing is actually slightly further than the length of Lucas's sword. And although the third attack in the sequence hits just one target, it still has the usual arc of effect.
  • The third swing looks like the most powerful of the 3-attack sequence, but you cannot Empower just that attack with a Power Orb. As soon as you press SHIFT to enable Empowered attacks, the attack sequence starts all over again.
    • You can therefore also use this side effect to abort Lucas's attack sequence if you do not want him to be moved forward by the leaping attack.
  • The leaping third attack in this sequence can safely jump Lucas over some attacks.
  • This is typically the most commonly used stance because most encounters start with a mob of enemies and you will probably want to cut through them with Blade Dash or Wind Shear.
  • Lucas has basically no ranged attack, so you will need to be good at Dodging.
  • If you rely on blocking, you are at severe risk of being surrounded because Lucas is basically a melee character. And you cannot dodge past an enemy, so once you are flanked, you need to be pointed in the right direction to get out. If you are surrounded, you're pretty much done for because too many his will keep you paralyzed in hit reaction.
  • Because of this, think carefully before you maximize Blocking unless you are committed to getting an obscene Block score. On Hardcore, even mobs can hit for close to 200 damage once you are out of the Raven's Rill area and into the Swamps.

If you are frustrated at not being able to reach Mastery in some or all Abilities because of the tediously slow rate of achieving Mastery, you may want to consider using the console code.

Sword and Shield Stance

Shield Pummel - Lucas bashes the enemy with his shield, dealing 20% of normal damage and stunning his opponent for 3 seconds.
  • The main problem with Shield Pummel is that it can push a target out of reach and you will need to run back to engage them. Typically this happens only with mobs / non-bosses.
  • Against mini-bosses, once you have cleared their minions you can more or less keep them constantly stunned.
    • Enemies with a purple aura drain your Focus, so you may find yourself suddenly low on Focus and not able to build enough with the swings you are making in between Shield Pummels.
  • Against big targets and all main bosses, Shield Pummel will inflict no stun.
Shield Pummel > Brutal Pummel - Shield Pummel does an additional 20% damage per rank in Brutal Pummel.
  • Assuming that you are using Sword and Shield a lot, then this is okay. But since you really won't be using it that much, this is a waste of points. Also, you are using Lucas's Shield Pummel for stunning. If you can't stun something, your tactics will typically change entirely, especially against bosses where Lucas can't really just slug it out with them.
  • In the mid-game, you will probably end up using Shield Pummel quite a bit against cyclopses and other big brutes in Glacern / Glitterdelve, as a safe combo is 2-3 swings + Shield Pummel. However, using it against one enemy type does not really justify prioritizing this Proficiency.
Shield Pummel > Impetuous Slam - Shield Pummel gains a 20% chance, per rank in Impetuous Slam, to knock down opponents.
  • I never saw this successfully happen against mini-bosses in the early game.
Heroic Charge - Lucas charges into battle, delivering a powerful strike.
  • This is a one-target big-damage version of Blade Dash. Be careful as the charge width seems to be pretty narrow, so you may charge past the intended target to one farther away but more in a straight line from you.
  • The effect of closing quickly can basically be duplicated with Blade Dash, so you are basically looking for damage with this ability. It's good for boss fights as those can drag out without the ability to deal a lot of damage quickly.
  • There is a limited range, although it is very far.
  • You can Charge at no target, and this can help you get ahead of some enemies that can run faster than you can dodge around (e.g., Azunite Assassins).
Heroic Charge > Willful Charge - Lucas gains an additional 20% bonus Ability DPS per rank when using Heroic Charge.
  • You get more damage, and that is what Heroic Charge is all about. Since it already does a lot of damage, if you have something better to spend your Proficiency points, do so first.
Heroic Charge > Executioner's Charge - Heroic Charge automatically critically hits any target with less than 10% health. This percentage increases by 10% per rank.
  • If they are already almost dead, Lucas really doesn't need that much extra help to finish them off. If you like critical hits that much, you could instead focus on getting your Agility up and increasing your overall chances all the time.
  • At 5/5 ranks, you automatically critically hit targets with 50% or less health, which can help you a lot against the main bosses as they have a lot of health even at 50%.
Vanguard's Strike - Lucas leaps into the air and dives down, delivering a punishing attack.
  • You jump. This looks aesthetic, but it means you can sometimes safely leap over bolts, beams, and other ranged attacks. About the same execution speed as Heroic Charge, but safer and does more damage.
  • There is a limited range.
  • You can jump at no target.
Vanguard's Strike > Vanguard's Gale - Vanguard's Strike pushes nearby enemies 1 meter and slows them by 10% for 5 seconds. Each rank adds 1 meter pushback and +10% slow.
  • Lucas is a melee character, so pushing something back just put it out of his reach. However, this pushes back nearby enemies, so you could use it to isolate a boss instead of having to deal with minions first all the time.
Vanguard's Strike > Vanguard's Renewal - When Lucas defeats an enemy with Vanguard's Strike, he regains 5 Focus per rank in Valorous Renewal.
  • You have to kill something, and only with Vanguard's Strike, to get the Focus.
  • Unless you are using the Empowered version, you are probably killing only one target at a time here, so your maximum Focus gain is 5-25.
    • In a boss fight, this would mean you killed a minion with Vanguard's Strike, while not regaining enough Focus to pay for your Ability use which would have been better spent on the boss.
Two-Handed Sword Stance

Blade Dash - Lucas dashes forward in the blink of an eye, slashing through any enemies in his path.
  • Works on any number of targets. Width of the line is about the arc of his two-handed sword swing.
  • Moves in a straight line, immediately stopped by any barrier, boss, large creature, or blocking creature (very rare to see; such as Azunite soldiers).
    • This means you could end up right in front of a boss or in the midst of strong monsters.
    • If you are close to a corner or opening, you may end up stopped there because you are just slightly too close to it.
    • Less likely to happen with the Empowered version, which moves you about in a non-linear path.
  • Unless you use the Empowered version, you will typically end up in the midst of enemies. If they don't all immediately fall over dead, you are at risk of getting swarmed. Most mobs will be killed by a Blade Dash, however.
  • Retreat down narrow passages such as stairs to funnel enemies into a convenient line for Blade Dash.
    • If shooters are straggling too far back, you may want to dodge past your foes and slightly past the shooters, then turn around and Blade Dash the lot of them.
    • Either way, turn back to flatten them with another Blade Dash if they weren't kill on the first pass.
    • Against bosses, try to Blade Dash past the boss and to a mob enemy behind the boss. That way, you're not right under the boss's nose at the end of your Blade Dash.
  • With Vampirism or Live by the Sword, you can get back a lot of health in a hurry with a well-aimed Blade Dash.
Blade Dash > Hemorrhage - Blade Dash deals an additional 20% damage, per rank in Hemorrhage, to bleeding targets.
  • This only works on targets that are already bleeding, so for maximum effectiveness you need to have a lot of already bleeding targets. Fortunately you can get up to 8 with Wounding Gale later on. However, you will need close to a full Focus bar, and doing the two-power sequence will basically drain all your Focus.
  • This is a long-term investment that won't see any useful return until much later, and even so, most of the time the popcorn minions can be killed by a regular Blade Dash anyway. But if you can wait, it can be worth it. If you can handle yourself in combat, you could possibly start investing in this very early even though you won't see any immediate benefit.
Blade Dash > Lightning Precision - Lucas learns to instantly target vital areas, gaining 10% chance to critically hit with Blade Dash per rank in Lightning Precision.
  • If you can't wait for the Wounding Gale/Hemorrhage combination, Lightning Precision offers you something similar, only you get it earlier.
  • With the Empowered version of Blade Dash, Lightning Precision will affect everyone whereas Hemorrhage still requires targets to be already bleeding, and Wounding Gale doesn't work against very widely spaced enemies or very more than 8 enemies.
  • Lightning Precision won't stack with getting a critical hit in the normal way, but Wounding Gale/Hemorrhage will.
Wind Shear - Lucas slashes through the air, creating a vortex that cuts through enemies in his path. After hitting 8 enemies, the shear dissipates.
  • When this becomes available, get it first.
    • It is basically Lucas's only ranged attack, and it has off-screen range.
    • You can fire it at enemies off-screen to hit them and possibly draw them away from you. Since it has a maximum of eight targets as well as a limited column width effect, you can draw a few enemies at a time. This is valuable for tackling large or dangerous groups in smaller numbers.
    • If you are going for the Wounding Gale/Hemorrhage combo, if you do not get this as soon as possible, you will have to spend Proficiency points elsewhere first.
Wind Shear > Wounding Gale - Wind Shear gains a 20% chance, per rank in Wounding Gale, to apply the Bleeding status effect to opponents.
  • The main reason to get this is to make a lot of opponents bleed and set them up for a Hemorrhage Blade Dash immediately.
Wind Shear > Slowing Shear - Creatures affected by Wind Shear are slowed by 10% per rank in Slowing Shear
  • Mobs are generally mowed down and easily killed by your Wind Shear/Blade Dash combo, or just by Blade Dash alone. No point slowing them unless you need to run.
  • It's hard to say if any one boss will be affected, but in general mini-bosses have a limited pursuit radius, and main bosses fight you in enclosed arenas. Neither really benefits from being slowed down.
Earthrending Strike - Lucas slams his sword into the ground, causing an eruption of energy from the earth, damaging all enemies in a cone in front of him.
  • Stupidly slow power. Unless you like taking his or being interrupted by hits, you really need to set this up as the enemy is coming toward you.
  • It can hit targets behind what are normally barriers against all attacks.
Earthrending Strike > Tremor - Enemies affected by Earthrending Strike have a 20% chance to be knocked down per rank in Tremor.
  • Since this power is slow, having Unbridled Wrath on could mean Lucas can keep using this power over and over. And if the opponents are knocked down each time, he could just keep them down and kill them.
    • No way this will work on a boss. And you need the Empowered version to have it affect a radius, so you're likely to be swarmed from other directions while you are doing it.
Earthrending Strike > Magnitude - Each rank of Magnitude extends the range of Earthrending Strike by 2 meters.
  • Each rank of Magnitude extends the range of Earthrending Strike by 2 meters.
Defensive Stance
The Abilities in Defensive Stance rely on Power Orbs and not Focus. This is both good and bad since in general, Focus is gained only by attacking, but Power Orbs will also start to fill if you are taking hits. Empowered Defensive Stances use 2 Power Orbs.

Graceful Repose - Lucas enters a state of repose, regenerating 50% of his health over the next 30 seconds.

Graceful Repose > Live by the Sword - While under the effects of Graceful Repose, Lucas gains 5% life steal per rank in Live by the Sword.
  • If you end up slugging it out, get this. The main problem is that you can't simply go toe-to-toe with just anything.
    • Early minibosses who can be stunned are good candidates, as is any mob that is interrupted by your regular attacks. As you progress in the game, these opportunites evaporate as early as the East Forest and the Mournweald.
    • Against mobs, you are typicaly outnumbered and depending on your armor rating you might not recover enough health fast enough.
    • Against bosses, you typically can't slug it out even with this as their major attacks can often kill you outright in two hits (on Hardcore).
  • There are so many ways of inflicting damage on multiple targets that you can quickly recover a lot of health in a hurry, such as with a good Blade Dash. Against a boss, however, you still have to go in and attack. It helps then to start Graceful Repose early.
Graceful Repose > Combat Rage - Disruption of Lucas's Graceful Repose enrages him, granting 5% more Power from damage taken per rank in Combat Rage.
  • A mere 5%-25% more in exchange for taking damage. Power Orbs do fill up pretty fast already.
  • Theoretically you could fill up your Power Orbs faster and be constantly in Graceful Repose, but Graceful Repose does not stack, and it is a very long way to Mastery to do group healing. You might not gain Mastery until the late game, if ever (if you are good enough that you don't use Graceful Repose often).
  • On HardCore, some bosses can kill your max-health Lucas in one or two hits. Graceful Repose doesn't stack, so all the full Power Orbs you have don't matter when it's already on. You could spend it elsewhere, however.
Shield Wall - Lucas shrugs off blows by force of will, increasing Armor by 20% for 30 seconds.
  • This ability helps you when you are taking damage, and the proficiencies are related to taking damage. Since taking damage is generally a bad thing, you will not really profit from these abilities unless you are focussing on Armor and Block, which helps you against mobs and when drawing fire from your companions.
  • Major bosses will typically be able to blast through your Armor + Block, no matter what bonus you are getting from your abilities. It would be a major oversight if you could get enough Armor and Block to turtle every boss battle and you can expect not to be able to do this on HardCore.
Shield Wall > Deflecting Shield
Shield Wall > Reflexive Defense
  • When you activate this and block, you may see enemies simply walk past you and head for your companion. This is both incredibly lousy and incredibly useful. It is lousy because you are not getting the primary benefit of this Proficiency, which is to reflect damage on them. It is useful if you need some time to recover. It works only against melee attacks, though.
Unbridled Wrath - Lucas taps into his inner wrath, regenerating Focus for the next 30 seconds.
  • Get this as soon as possible. Focus is not replenished by a save point. Typically it is recovered only by attacking, and when you are low on Focus, attacking one of the major bosses can be pretty dangerous. Get this and spam powers like Heroic Charge and Wounding Gale + Hemorrhage.
  • This ability gives you a heck of a lot of Focus and constantly regenerates it over the duration so that if you are not using it, you will be wasting it once your Focus is at 100%. You can typically get your power orbs refilled before the duration runs out.
Unbridled Wrath > Unstoppable Wrath - While under the effects of Unbridled Wrath, Lucas has a 20% chance to ignore interruption from enemy attacks per rank in Unstoppable Wrath.
  • If you are too close to the enemy, dodge out and use your two-handed sword to keep them at bay instead of using this. This proficiency lets you ignore the interruption, but not the damage, so you could end up dead anyway if you slug it out against too many enemies.
Unbridled Wrath > Endless Wrath - While under the effects of Unbridled Wrath, Lucas's Focus Regeneration is increased by an additional 10% per rank in Endless Wrath.
  • The Wind Slash + Hemorrhage combo can just about empty your Focus in the two seconds it takes to execute both. I highly recommend this Proficiency to try to keep your Focus at least partially filled so you can continuously use powers.
Devastating Criticals - Critical Hits deal an additional 10% bonus damage per rank.
  • It's harder to get criticals when enemies are tougher as the game progresses.
  • 50% at 5/5 plus concentrating on Agility and Chaos: Doom could make this talent really shine, but Agility isn't really Lucas's strong trait. He has to go into melee, so Stamina is really important in many boss fights.
Force of Will - Lucas gains 10% of his Will as Attack DPS. Each rank gains an additional 10%.
  • Maximize this early. It's a talent that complements everything you do.
Victory Rush - When Lucas defeats an opponent, there is a 4% chance, per rank in Victory Rush, that he will regain 10% of his health.
  • A single rank in Live by the Sword will probably get you health back faster than relying on this passive ability that has a maximum 20% chance of triggering.
  • It can help you against bosses because except a couple of uber bosses, they typically have minions helping them and you generally need to clear them anyway.
  • Still not as good as building up more reliable health-restoring abilities, proficiencies, and Talents. Very good to have since 10% immediately and with no Power Orb use is great IF it triggers, but look into something else more reliable first. If you get this Talent, go all the way to 5/5.
Wrathful Might - Lucas receives a 4% bonus to Attack per rank of Wrathful Might.
  • Maximize this early. It's a talent that complements everything you do.
Focused Strikes - Lucas gains a 4% chance, per rank in Focused Strikes, to generate additional Focus when attacking enemies.
  • More Focus can't hurt. It will also save you from having to invoke Unstoppable Wrath so much, leaving you Power Orbs to spend on Empowered Strikes and Abilities; or it helps you spam abilities like Wind Shear even more frequently.
  • After Force of Will and Wrathful Might, there isn't anything better to spend your points on until the third set of Talents are unlocked.
Rejuvenation - Whenever Lucas is healed, the amount of healing is increased by 4% per rank in Rejuvenation.
  • 20% more healing, stacked with 5/5 Live By the Sword is 60% health recovery over time and 30% Vampirism.
  • Evasive action is better, but it's like insurance -- When you need it, you won't complain about having too much. It's low-priority, but better than a lot of other Talents especially when you invoke heal so much over the course of the game.
Trade Master - Lucas is able to sell items for 4% more coins per rank in Trade Master.
  • You can grind random spawns for gold instead. Or, just use the console command add_money. Even 20% really won't make a big difference.
  • This works when you are selling items, which is already at a small percentage compared to what you have to buy them for.
Cull the Weak - Lucas gains an additional 2% chance per rank to critically hit enemies with less than one third of their health remaining.
  • A small bonus chance to critically hit something close to dead anyway.
  • This is best against a boss because they have enough health that they can stay at 1/3rd or less health for a long while.
  • This Talent helps you when you're already winning. I would prefer to instead first invest in something that helps put you in a winning position in the first place.
Death Defying - Lucas gains a 7% chance, per rank in Death Defying, to shrug off attacks when he is under 25% health. Shrugged off attacks deal no damage.
  • This is like life insurance. When someone needs insurance to pay out, they never complain about having too much.
  • This seems to be a good ability to have against bosses, as even early bosses like Vera and Rajani can bust you down to very low health in a hurry.
  • However, the problem here is that (especially on Hardcore) they can sometimes kill you in just a couple of hits depending on your build, so if they hit you hard enough when you are above 25% health, you're dead without this Talent kicking in.
  • Especially when you are on low health, you will be taking evasive action instead of tempting fate (and a reload after significant progress defeating a boss) to inflict damage with a mere 35% survival rate while tanking with this Talent. Basically, this Talent is to help you when you miss your dodge.
  • Overall, I recommend better tactics and better gameplay than relying on this Talent. But if you have excess Talent points, put it here than in some of the other skills like Trade Master or Cull the Weak.
Focused Rage - Lucas gains a 5% chance, per rank in Focussed Rage, to generate Focus when damaged by enemies.
  • Work on your Unstoppable Wrath first because it gives so much Focus and your Focus is capped at 100 anyway.
  • This Talent will probably really shine only when you are getting owned by a boss, so get something else more useful first than a Talent that relies on you not dodging or failing to dodge.

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