DefenderBuilds - what skills to use?Edit
Warning, this article is strongly opinionated :)
A sign of any good skill tree is that it offers enticing choices, that there is no single silver bullet, no optimal build. That's quite hard to achieve, but DQ managed to do it, mostly. That is, there always are optimal builds for particular use cases, but there's no "general" solution that'd be the best in all cases.
The aspect of specialization is further emphasized by PSI limits when deploying your defenders. The bigger your squad is, the more options you have, but on the other hand, the less average PSI per defender you have to boost them to higher levels. So, before choosing the right build, you need to know what do you want from that character and how high will you boost them in most cases.
Some data about which damage skills to boost is on the forum, but it might be a bit imprecise or outdated as there were many changes to the game since it was written.
There are a few guidelines to good use of your resources (scrap, skill points and PSI).
1) Check which skills improve with damage and which are simply tied to actions. The former should be utilized on characters with good gear and high boost level, the latter should be given to characters that will have crap or no gear and the minimum level for the action.
2) Don't waste skill points on high level skills if you're not going to boost the defender that high any often.
3) Don't try to have a jack-of-all-trades. In many skills, the first skill point gives a big benefit, but further points are not so good - and in most cases, having skills 9 + 1 will do a better job overall than having skills 5+5
I see two main uses for berzerkers.
Raw damage dealerEdit
A bit of math shows that the best average dmg output comes from Madness+Flurry combo (in that order, it's better to level up the critical first, but it's a bit less reliable), followed by Double Hit. (Why not Swiftness? I might be wrong, but you'll find my reasoning on the forum)
This guy will get the best sword, will be placed in the killzone, boosted high, given healer boost and attention and all kinds of buffers and debuffers will be helping him to deal big hits.
Zerks have just one debuff, but a pretty strong one, Bleed that's quite superior to the one rangers have. So, in this build, you want the maximum number of hits on the toughest targets. I'd go for max Rage, followed by Swiftness. Then I'd consider two options - lean towards dishing out more damage (and go for flurry+madness), assuming that he'll be placed just in front of the killzone, likely covered by a healer), or lean towards survival (Resilience and Reflexes) for cases where you'd intend to place him near spawn, without any support, in order to apply Bleed for your ranger nailguns, (and just trying to make him survive a little longer before the mobs kill him and you recall him in the same place). The latter variant can also be used as a damage-soaker - in a few cases I found that the enemies, given two possible targets, would go for a level 1 berserker who can evade and regen instead of hitting the much slower-to-regen dragon/knight.
Third possible use would be tied to any sword with an interesting lasting debuff. Usage would be similar to rager, but since burn and poison are based on attack damage, you'd want flurry+madness+swiftness and then dependance on either healer (and double hit) or survival. Probably this would be a rare use though.
There are up to four possible types. Note that Range focus is quite neat in most cases, but if you regularly summon and boost all 6 rangers, you might get quite good coverage even without it, opting for more damage.
Raw damage dealerEdit
This means maxxed Criticals, most likely Range focus and then Rapid shot, which happens to have a very good and focused kick.
There are maps where makng enemies bleed by Ragers near spawn isn't possible/practical. So, having one or two bleeder rangers sounds like a good plan. They don't need fancy bows, they don't need raw damage, so their priority would be Deep shot, range focus and sharpshooter, then poison for lack of anything better. Most likely they won't be boosted any high.
Similar but not quite the same as bleeder. Softening incoming enemies by poison is a good idea, but unlike Bleeders they want to give out decent damage, poison being based on it. I'd go for Poison, Rapid Shot, Sharpshooter and Range, and decent bows (there's one that improves poison).
I've never tried this one as the armor pierce seems quite weak to me, I've always done well with knights - but it could be a viable extension of raw damage dealer.
Three possible cases here, although in later levels they'll merge into one as the skill tree is rather short.
This guy will be boosted to level 5 to provide Zeal with Inspire. Other that that, max bulk up to protect the PSI investment, max Aid when he has nothing to do - and perhaps max Blind if he'll have enemy in range. While I don't believe in Group Heal and usually disable it just to save time, with larger parties it might be worth having as it outperforms Aid once there's several wounded defenders in range, and this might save lives in the last battle and when a Monstrosity pops in NG+
All he needs is Aid and Bulk up. He'll be in melee reach quite often, and his only job is keeping stuff alive, quite often at level 1 or 2.
The medic will evolve into debuffer. Typically boosted to level 4 to light up darkies, he'll want max blinding and with nothing better, put any extra points into the two attacks. Group heal is in most cases a waste.
Here I find three types
Top gear, max sleet, max blizzard, maybe max ice splash, later spear+shard. Especially once you get your hands on the anti-worm unique in NG+, you'll appreciate every single point in damage skills.
Since Lars gave us the orthogonal correction for attacks, maxxed ice spear and shard become quite interesting on every map where you can place an ice mage facing a long corridor with enemies. Level 2 mage isn't too costly and will provide good bang for your PSI, set to target Last
Max Chill and Freeze all the way, and set to target unslowed, that will help keep the enemies in range of all your tanks. Sleet, Ice Splash, Blizzard can also be leveled up at your leisure. Doesn't need any weapon at all, you don't care about the damage, really.
This one will be often boosted fully, given top gear and tasked with some serious slicing. Armor break 3-4 will suffice, Sword training is a must, and then I would go for max damage for any skills. starting with the low-tier ones. Stun could be considered as a possibility as well, especially since he might wear the Stun-improving sword late in NG+
Although Armor break around 4 seemed to be quite enough everytime I played, it might be worth getting a low-cost specialist who'd go for max Armor Break, Swing and Smash (and never be boosted above 2 unless you're rolling in PSI). Would need some gear as he'd be exposed and armor stripping depends on damage
A naked guy whose job is to return any leaks to the killszone. Smash + Knockback to the max, rarely boosted over level 2, but Strength, some Armor Break and Swing are next for skill ups.
Perhaps the most difficult one as there are many roles, but dragons are awesome and expensive. And they're not that awesome on level 1 boost. But still, a few clear cases are there:
Poison is tied to Bite. So, max Bite, max poison, max Strength, and then either Claw or FireBreath/Claw depending on your boost plans. These would be placed close to spawn, to give the poison enough time to do the job
Devour to the max, so that stragglers get finished quickly, Strength + Claw, Firebreath if boosted, definitely not poison :).
Going to get boosted high. Roar is awesome to be coupled with any and all area attacks in the killzone. Devour has a significant merit against Cultists who are not immune to it, and whom you definitely want dead quickly, well before they reach the gatekeepers... As for other skills, I'd go for damage (Strength, Bite, Claw) and depening on whether you will be using ice mages on the killzone or not, and boosting to 5 or not, possibly also Fire Ball.
The following guide is seriously biased, read at your own risk. You have been warned. Also, it only reveals some builds that are not mentioned above.
THE MIGHTY BONE-CRUSHER, EVISCREATOR EXTRAORDINAIRE, CLEAVER OF ENEMY GIZZARDS, EMASCULATOR OF ALL OPPOSITION... SHE WHO HAS TASTED THE BLOOD OF THOUSAND!
Or Evni, for short. --- Slak
Just as the name suggests, this is pretty much the epitome of a true berserker.
Max Flurry and Madness by giving one point in both of them each level. Move onto Rage and Double Hit, and finally Swipe and Swiftness. At level 60 you will still have 4 free points that can be added to any other skill you prefer. But personally I take Resilence to increase regeneration because in New Game+ there are alot of enemies that have "Thorn" on them, and evade can be ignored since Berserkers have the highest natural Health Regeneration in the game, meaning that even if they do get hit, natural high regeneration + Healing from Healer will keep him alive most of the time.
With Flurry and Madness Maxed, the damage is quite scary. Rage is crucial in this build as the bleed will increase 60% damage. Swipe is your secondary damaging skill that deals alot of damage to every enemy in range, and Double hit in-case you don't feel like Boosting the Berserker too high. Swiftness is an added bonus but not mandatory.
The reason I didn't level up Whirlwind is because of the long cool down as well as the fact that its a BOOST 5 skill. You could boost other units that are more important first without having to boost a berserker to BOOST 5 to ensure his usefulness.
This build maxes Reflexes to maximize the evade of the Berserker, and instead of Swipe level up Slash. Flurry, Madness and Rage are probably mandatory to every single Berserker Build to ensure that they are indeed, Berserkers.
Sniping Sharp ShooterEdit
Max Rapid shot and Sharp Shooter, then max Range Focus, add one point to Piercing shot, max Either Triple shot or Spread shot. Whichever one you maxed, max Range Focus afterwards and level the other shot to level 5 and max Piercing shot. Black out the sun's damage is inferior compared to Spread shot and Rapid shot, and its a BOOST 5 skill. Whatever you do afterwards just remember to not max it.
This build is to ensure that the Ranger is a reliable constant damage source, and leave the Status effects to other classes to handle. By leveling up both Spread shot and Triple Shot, the Ranger will be able to hit multiple targets at once. Maxing Sharp Shooter and Range Focus is important because the extra range will make positioning the Ranger much easier, as well as being able to reach atleast 4 lanes with BOOST 4 with the super long range. Won't be elaborating the importance of Critical Damage here.
Also max Rapid shot and Sharp shooter first, move onto Poison Shot. Max Basic shot.
This Ranger serves a supporting role, peeling down enemy HP with their poison. With the maxed Rapid shot and Basic shot, their attacking speed should be able to ensure a sure hit on the status effect. The damage on this unit however, is very very lacking.
Rapid shot, Sharp shooter, then Deep shot. The bleed is not as good as the Berserker version of it, but helps increasing the overall damage of the ranger and of any body else if one decides to mix some aspect of the Sniping Sharp Shooter into the build.
Max Bite, Claw, and Roar. Epic Halitosis adding poison to bite if needed, Nom is also a good choice but not mandatory. Strength would be a good investment seeing that BOOST 5 on Dragon costs way too much. This build combined with Tanky Bouncer + Perma-frost Storm Caller makes the perfect frontline. Enemies will barely be able to advance before getting killed. They will be stunned by Roar and Lunge, Frozen by Ice ball, Ice splash and Blizzard, Knocked back by Smash, Slowed by Chill and Sleet.
Max Fire breath, Max Strength. These kinds of dragon focus on dealing damage from far away. Not entirely recommended because Dragons are best used in the front lines.