Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling remarks from my mad, muddled, meandering mind.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Polishing My Oscar

Rare Applause.
It is, as they say, finished. After doing some research and tweaking my build a bit, and making sure I had the absolute best talismans I could currently get, I went and faced Oscar again. This was only the third day I'd tried, the first two being Monday and Tuesday evenings. I needed to get some AP first, to purchase some Hammer abilities that had been suggested to me by CherryBomb, so I ran "Enter the Filth" and then worked on my story missions and Issue 7 stuff in Shadowy Forest before facing Oscar again.

I discovered that while my purge opportunities (needed for Phase 2) came from Hinder procs, Oscar is immune to Hinder; so I was screwed using that old build. You'll see what I did use below.
"The LSB Within"
As you'll see even further below, Magson suggested I focus on shotgun abilities. However, there are some parts of Oscar's platform outside the shotgun range, so I used Elemental abilities for sustained damage no matter where I was positioned. The deck I used to beat Oscar:


  • Ignition (Strike) ~ This is the only builder I ended up using;  728 DPS at my current Combat Power.
  • Raging Bullet (Strike) ~ 573-1348 damage, depending on range. I had to have my purple shotgun equipped for the Weapon Power, but this ended up being the only Shotgun active in my "victory deck."
  • Lightning Manifestation (Stationary Chain "turret") ~ More for the purge of Lightning in Bottle (passive), though the added DPS was nice.
  • Speed Freak (Buff) ~ For a boost in Phase 3, when the little red guy chased me around.
  • Turn the Tables (Heal) ~ just in case. I think I used it once or twice, not absolutely sure it's necessary.
  • Short Fuse (Buff) ~ 25% increase in DPS with Final Fuse, again for Phase 3.
  • Thor's Hammer (Strike) ~ 1860-some-odd damage. I only used it when LM was on cooldown during Phase 1; too risky during the other phases.
  • Vector-Space ~ I used it a bit, but the aux weapons aren't necessary to beat Oscar, and I have a mod (or something) that provides an occasional heal, which was useless, given the no-heals debuff Oscar threw on me. (Strangely, TtT is unaffected by this debuff.)


  • Lightning in a Bottle ~ Causes LM to purge buffs; important during Phase 2. This ended up being my guaranteed purge, but I had to time it so that it covered Oscar's three one-shot-you self buffs.
  • Elemental Force ~ Guaranteed crit every 8 hits.
  • Final Fuse ~ Increases percent damage increase of Short Fuse to 25% for 10 seconds, used during Phase 3.
  • Big Bang~ Increases damage of Lightning Manifestation (and other things).
  • Grounded ~ Purges cause damage. (Honestly not sure how this stacked with LM/LiaB.)
  • Strike Force ~ Increases Penetration chance of Strikes by 7.5%.
  • Wrecking Crew ~ Increases crit power of Strikes by 20%.
  • Energy Transfer (in this case) ~ Reduces the damage of Vector while increasing the damage of Space.

At the start of a bout. After that there was no time for pictures.
In my post about fighting Oscar from a few days ago, I requested some advice from my readers, and got a couple responses, like the suggestion from CherryBomb through Twitter. Magson, however, did a thorough workup of a good build and posted it in the comments. . . about 45 minutes after I'd beaten Oscar with the build described above. I wanted to include it here with my gratitude for his research efforts. [My comments look like this.]
  • Striker - Builder. Same damage as Single Barrel, is a Strike so you don't need a 2nd builder in Ignition, and always takes advantage of Strike Force passive for the 7.5% penetration increase. [I had SB on my deck earlier this week. I don't have Striker, but I could have gotten it. I didn't even see it, but most of my abilities were Elemental anyway, due to the range issue mentioned above.]
  • Out for a Kill - Consumer. Raging Bullet does max damage at melee range. OfaK does identical damage to that max but at all ranges. [Despite more consistent damage than Raging Bullet, OfaK is not a Strike, which is what I built many of my passives around. Besides, at my Combat Power, it was only about a 15% difference at max distance.]
  • Flame Strike - Strike consumer with same cast time as the GCD and only 2 resources so it can be cast faster and more often than Thor's Hammer and thus have higher sustained dps. [FS would have been great, but I haven't worked on that arc of the wheel at all.]
  • Magnetic Wipe - Purge [I was actually working on the points for MW when I decided to give Oscar another go and ended up beating him.]
  • Turn the Tables - self heal  [I used that one!]
  • Short Fuse - Excellent buff! [I used that one, too!]
  • Breaching Shot - Excellent buff #2! [BS would have been good. I use it regularly.]
  • Strike Force - increased pen chance for Strike attacks [I used that one!]
  • Iron Maiden - increased pen chance for all attacks, after you pen an afflicted target [I don't have the ability.]
  • Bloodsport - applies afflict on any non-glancing hit [Works with Iron Maiden. But glances remove the afflict. Might have worked, but I am honestly not sure how much I was glancing.]
  • Incision - pens cause an additional afflict [I don't have the ability.]
  • 3rd Degree - every 4th pen causes another afflict [I don't have the ability.]
  • Sudden Return - pens do additional damage [I don't have the ability.]
  • Gross Anatomy - when afflicts expire another hit is taken by the target. Whenever I've parsed this out with 3 afflicts in the build like this it does as much damage as a finisher - passively. It's awesome! [I don't have the ability.]
Downside to this build is that it needs 2 blade passives which you'd have to build toward, and you don't have a lot of Blood on your chronicle, so it's unlikely that you have 3rd Degree or Gross Anatomy either. So an alternate set of passives might be like this. The 4 substitutions are:
  • Mind over Matter - afflicts on critical hit  [I have a low crit rating (7.9% chance) other than the guaranteed 8th hit from Elemental Force.]
  • Brawler - +15% crit damage [Low crit rating]
  • Elemental Force - every 8th hit is a crit. Make your rotation put this on Out for a Kill as much as possible. [I used that one! (Not OfaK)]
  • Cool, Calm, and Collected - 8% boost to all damage for 10s after a crit. EF keeps this up 100% of the time. [Could've worked.]
Oscar knocks me over anyway.
Magson mentioned some other things from his research, like you should have at least 600 DPS (which I did). Everything else is about positioning (shifting almost constantly) and kiting the little red guy at the end. Magson mentioned practicing against the target dummies in the faction HQs, helpful for checking DPS and rotation. Personally, I despise DPS meters, and based on my research into offensive stats, I knew I was good on that front. My DPS only suffered on Monday and Tuesday when I stopped casting to reposition.

The most important thing is to understand the fight itself and a few key things about each phase. Then practice the dance. Once I became more comfortable with moving around—and developed a plan for avoiding the circles—casting wasn't a problem. But since challenging Oscar and learning the fight comes without cost other than time spent (in other words, no repair bill), I stand by my comment that the only way to "practice" for Oscar is to practice with Oscar.

Other than having a guaranteed purge handy, I have no advice for weapons. OH! Many casts include a self-hinder, like Assault Rifle "aimed" shots. Using these will guarantee that the little red guy in Phase 3 will get you. So make sure you have plenty of instant casts, or at least casts that allow you to run. I didn't use Thor's Hammer at all during Phase 3.


  1. As I said in-game today -- Congrats! Glad you got him. Can't wait to read your write-ups on your NM runs going forward.

  2. Ya know... initially I was a bit gobsmacked when I read this post and you said you don't have Bloodsport and Iron Maiden, but then I realized you don't have any Blade outer ring abilities, and since the biggest reason to get those 2 passives is to ensure that Clearing the Path (a blade finisher) gets its massive bonuses (used to be 100% penetrate chance on afflicted target, now is "only" +40% to your existing pen chance, so still excellent, just not *as* excellent), so... yeah, I can see it. Well, sorta. Iron Maiden is still considered to be a "must have" dps passive in any dps build I've seen. I saw you had 28-ish% of Blood outer ring, so I assumed you at least had that. You can sub in Dark Potency (inner ring passive) in IM's place, but it's only about a 4.5% increase to pen, rather than IM's flat 10% buff. Not that you needed it, of course :-P

    FWIW, the current thinking on dps is that using Elemental Force on a Focus consumer (generally Shootout from Pistol) and bumping your finisher damage (Seal the Deal and Closer passives) as well as crit power (Brawler) is so overpowered as to generate debate whether it's an exploit or not. I've parsed it on the dummies and at my current gear level it's not *quite* as good as my afflict-based Gross Anatomy build, but it's close and as I improve my gear I'm sure it will scale up a ton. Eventually I'll get the bullion. . . .eventually. . . .

    If you want to get into "beginner" NM groups a little more easily, do a "/chat join noobmares" to join that chat channel. The groups being advertised in there don't have all the insane demands of "LF 4.2AR, .4.4 for fast runs!" that plague the Agartha LFG channel and you still find fully geared people in there willing to help work the noobies up, as well as full noobie groups. I'm still on the low side of moderately geared, so I find it a much better fit than anything else. At least when pug'ing. One of these days I'll find a decent cabal, but until then, noobmares for me all the way!

    I'm also told that the best thing you can do as a dps role person is to use your bullion to upgrade your weapons 1st of all, but I've not done that, choosing instead to work on my head and major talismans, and I still parse decently well when I bother to run the parser, so. . . YMMV on that, I think. Mine sure does, after all ;-)

    1. That's one thing I love about this game: The "current thinking" doesn't necessarily indicate the only path to success. There are so many combinations that can yield great results. I'm sure my build was not optimal; but then again, it did the job I needed it to do. I went through SI and Egypt on my Templar with a host of impairs and procs (Blood/Blade), then had to almost completely retool in Transylvania when up against mobs immune to my tricks. Did I rail against it? Sure. But it's made me a more flexible player, which ultimately is the key to this game I think. Augments are going to be a game changer.

      Hah, no pugging for me. If you're looking for a great guild, I highly recommend Beyond the Veil (all three chapters). More and more of us are ready to take on NM modes every day. I can put in a good word for you. ;)

    2. One more point about "current thinking" that goes back to my Necromancer/Healbot post: http://ihavetouchedthesky.blogspot.com/2013/09/necromancer-or-rediscovering-my-inner.html Sylow discussed that around launch AR leech healing was considered weak by "current thinking." This was a result of the healing theory crafters assuming they needed to stack all the healing they could on the talismans, when in fact AR requires a substantial amount of attack power to make the damage-dependent leeches effective. Somebody broke out of the mold, and now there is an understanding that certain NM boss fight require AR leeches.

      The other day, I was discussing with Galactrix (of the London branch of BtV) how we could possibly synergize abilities between players for NM, which is surely how people are getting "Master Planner" achievements. It's not enough for individuals to be effective, they have be effective as a team. Luckily, I am sure most people getting MP are also Panoptic Core, so they have the flexibility to plan those perfect builds. (I didn't have quite that much flexibility, and was lucky I'd started working on Grifter and had Elemental abilities.) In TSW, we don't have to worry about whether we'll need a Shaman along for Heroism.

      I am curious as to how many different abilities people normally have—or the Devs actually expect them to have—when going up against Oscar, then running Nightmares. On this character, having completed the entire inner wheel, I am working on only my third Advanced Deck, and have not devoted every ability point to a WIP Deck (like the Hammer and Misc. abilities I mentioned in the post). Plus, I have a few hundred pints devoted to two aux weapons. Getting some of the suggested abilities required time (or I could have spent cash) after I had already "qualified" to face Oscar.

      I have occasionally wondered if I should go around the wheel, buying all the 9AP abilities, then all the 12AP ones, etc. But I don't think that would be a good strategy in the short run, because of over-generalization. Better to have a couple definite decks—preset or custom—that include 50AP abilities. I figured working toward the various presets, one at a time, is a decent strategy, even if I don't use any presets on a regular basis.

    3. I've heard of people doing Oscar with about 20% of the wheel completed, but they were on alts and knew exactly what build they needed and had their cabalmates run them through the elites and such to get them to Oscar pretty much as soon as they got their Talismans and 2 weapons to QL10.

      I've been reading a bit on the forums today and the last thread I just finished was (ironically) enough on the subject of "good enough is good enough, no need for "optimum" on everything." I have to agree. Like I said earlier -- my gear is *far* from optimum, but I still do well enough. Hell, I actually did more dps myself than the other 2 dps players *combined* in a recent successful Polaris NM run. The tank was 2nd on the overall dps for that run, actually. . . . but it was a successful 6/6 run. Who cares that it took an hour instead of 10 minutes? Fun was had by all!

      Add in that some of the "optimum builds" requires "optimum gear" to actually "be optimum" (yeah, lots of air quotes in that sentence) and well.... I mentioned that my AR/SG afflict build does more dps for me than the "optimum" SG/Pistol build, so. . . . .there you have it.

      I actually have MP for Pol and DW. Someday I'll get more, I'm sure. TBH, I'm more excited for augments to be added in than I am to endlessly rerun dungeons for bullion to improve my gear.