Meleemancer Evolution

Character type: Blood Necro-Warrior aka Meleemancer
Suggested class combo: Necromancer / Warrior

General concept: A meleemancer is essentially a necromancer that fights up close in melee. Their skill selection includes many life stealing skills that simultaneously harm the opponent while healing themselves. These life steal skills ignore armor, making the spells effective throughout the game. Some of the blood skills are fairly expensive in terms of energy, but in combination with soul reaping, a necromancer can keep his or her energy high enough to cast them repeatedly. The speed at which a meleemancer can destroy a foe is amazingly fast. Although their armor is not as strong as a warrior’s, their life gain skills largely offset the extra damage they suffer in melee, allowing this character to be surprisingly successful.

Style of play: The character is a hybrid, playing somewhat like a caster and somewhat like a warrior. The blood skills contain a mix of effects and styles that require some practice to master. The blood necromancer portion of the character requires successful management of the energy pool and knowing when to cast which skill at which target for success. With the warrior subclass, the character will also be engaged in melee combat, and thus understanding and using adrenaline effectively becomes important as well. The character’s skill bar will include a mix of instantaneous life steal skills, damage-over-time (DoT) effects, adrenaline skills as well as a few others. Mastering this character will require a firm understanding of both the spellcasting and melee aspects of the game. Thus, I do not recommend it as a starting character. It’s probably easier to master a caster and warrior independently with prior characters before tackling the meleemancer.

There’s a definite rush playing this character, fighting up front while wearing weak armor. This class combo rewards skillful play: if played incorrectly, you’ll die quickly; if played correctly, the monsters will be dying quickly instead. This particular character is designed to participate in PvE quests, missions and explore areas with a party comprised of human players and/or henchmen. It is not intended as a solo build.

Obtaining skills: The game progression provides necromancers with three good blood skills (Life Siphon, Vampiric Gaze & Vampiric Touch) and two useful sword skills (Sever Artery & Gash) at the beginning in Pre-searing, thus encouraging this style of necromancer/warrior from quite early on. Other skills are obtained thru the course of the game, but most of the key core skills are available from the very beginning.

Versatility: The character this guide will cover has the ability to quickly shift from melee to ranged mode mid-mission without losing too much effectiveness. In addition, by swapping one or two skills, it can quickly enhance it’s role for your particular team. Although it’s possible to change disciplines (death, curses, etc), once you’ve grown accustomed to the meleemancer style, you may find you don’t ever want to change because it’s so much fun to play. Though this build illustrates using a sword, it’s likely possible to use an axe or possibly a hammer as well.

Armor crafting: Necromancer armor is hide-based. Try to obtain as much as you can. A good pre-searing source of hide is worn belts dropped by the bandits, as well as some of the salvageable armor you’ll find. Other crafting items you may want to keep include bones (for bonelace armor), wood (to make parchment for scar patterns), shells (for necrotic armor), leather (for fanatic’s armor), & feathers (for headgear).

Beginning in Pre-Searing

You should begin by visiting each of the necromancer and warrior trainers. Verata near the gates gives you Vampiric Gaze & Deathly Swarm. Necromancer Munne in the catacombs will give you Animate Bone Horror & Life Siphon. Continue deeper into the catacombs to find Oberan who has Soul Barbs & Faintheartedness. Finally, Kasha Blackblood will give you Vampiric Touch & Blood Renewal. Next, it’s time to pick your warrior subclass by speaking to Warmaster Grast. Accept his quest and he’ll give you Sever Artery, Gash & Healing Signet. After completing the Grawl Invasion quest, you’ll be able to make warrior your secondary class. Next stop is Duke Barradin’s estate. Do both Duke Barradin’s quest & Little Thom’s quest. Finally, don’t forget to do the healer’s quest to pick up the rez signet. As you get new skills, you’ll need to decide which ones to use for your skillbar. I recommend the following setup as a goal for your pre-searing setup:

– Life Siphon (open most of your battles by casting this on an enemy)
– Frenzy (helps charge adrenaline & deal damage faster. Your lifesteal will tend to compensate for the extra suffered damage)
– Sever Artery (once it is charged, use it to make the enemy begin bleeding. Combined with Life Siphon, a foe will die very quickly)
– Gash (use this as a killing blow. Once a pre-searing foe is down under half-health, using this will often kill them in one hit)
– Vampiric Touch (this is your big hitter. Use it to help kill things quickly)
– Vampiric Gaze (another instant lifesteal skill like vampiric touch. This one works at range which can make it handy)
– 7th slot – Your choice (suggest Blood Renewal or Healing Signet, but experimenting w/ death or curse skills is ok too)
– 8th slot – Your choice (suggest Rez Signet)

In all likelyhood, the top 6 skills listed above will be more than sufficient for you for quite a while. Single foes will be a cakewalk. By using just Life Siphon + Vamp Touch + Vamp Gaze, most things in Pre-searing will die quickly. Against multiple foes, the strategy to learn is to put Life Siphon on 1 or 2 targets you don’t intend to kill right away, then move to your real target and begin with Vampiric touch. Follow that with your sword. Using Frenzy, your adrenaline will charge quickly and then you can use a sequence of Sever Artery and Gash and to polish off the foe. By then your energy should be recharged and you can move to the next foe and repeat. In certain battles you’ll find yourself alternating between the use of Vamp Touch as a killing blow vs. Sever Artery + Gash as the killing blow. If the monsters are falling at a dizzying pace around you, then you are likely playing it correctly. On the other hand, if you die even once here in pre-searing, you may need more practice at getting the hang of things. Once you’ve had some time to learn these skills, and you have completed a few more quests, you should be ready to leave pre-searing, but feel free to stay here as long as you’d like. I recommend leaving anywhere between 5th to 8th level.

For attributes, focus on Blood Magic and Swordsmanship (in that order) and assign any extra points to Soul Reaping. Don’t worry about where you put points. As you gain levels, you’ll often be refunding any extra points you assigned and then re-applying them with your new points to keep your Blood Magic as high as possible. A few ranks in Death Magic or Curses at these low levels can be useful w/ certain skills, but don’t grow too attached to them, since you won’t be using them for very long.

For equipment, get the best sword and off-hand focus item you can find. Also, look for a good wand as a back-up ranged weapon for your F2 weapon config. In pre-searing, wands will almost always be superior to the staves you can find here. Don’t worry about finding the pre-searing armor collectors. All the armor here is paper-thin and it won’t help you enough to matter. You’ll be upgrading your armor shortly after leaving pre-searing.

Post-searing Ascalon area

Visit the AL 30 armor crafter in Ascalon City and craft bonelace armor ASAP. The extra protection vs. piercing will help when you face the devourers and charr archers in the near future. If you lack crafting resources or gold to craft this, go exploring to obtain more loot and sell it to raise the funds you need. You’re going to be keeping this new armor for a while, so you might as well make some decent stuff. Also, make sure to craft an AL 30 Ragged Scar Pattern to give +1 to your blood magic. Feel free to buy and use minor Runes of Blood Magic (recommend applying it to your head gear), Soul Reaping and the best Vigor rune you cant get.

In this region you’ll find a couple skill trainers for both necromancers and warriors, along with various quests with skills as rewards. However, it’s likely that you won’t find many skills to replace the ones you’ve grown accustomed to using. A couple exceptions are Dark Pact which you can get as a reward from Kasha Blackblood outside Sardelac Sanitorium and Shadow Strike which you can get as a reward from Undertaker Cortis in Piken Square. Dark Pact is a semi-spammable skill but it requires a sacrifice in health. The lost health is quickly replenished thru other blood skills like Vamp Gaze or Touch or a Life Siphon. It’s not something you can just cast blindly, but with the right situation, it makes for a nice addition to your skills. Shadow Strike is a bit more forgiving. However, it has a 2 second casting time, and deciding between using this or Life Siphon as an opening skill can sometimes be tricky. I personally like using Life Siphon first on a different target, then switching to my primary target and nailing them with Shadow Strike and following that with a standard sequence of blood & sword attacks. In and around Ascalon, your skill setup will look like this:

– Life Siphon (open battles by casting this on 1 to 2 foes)
– Shadow Strike (use toward the beginning of a battle or on a fresh foe)
– Frenzy
– Sever Artery
– Gash
– Vampiric Touch
– Vampiric Gaze
– Dark Pact or Rez Signet (played correctly, you’ll usually outlive all the other characters, so taking a rez signet in a party is often wise)

That build will likely be your primary setup through all of Ascalon and the first 4 missions. Get used to using it effectively. You’re attributes should focus entirely on Blood Magic, Swordsmanship & Soul Reaping. Continue upgrading to a bigger’n’better sword as you can, as well as better off-hand focus items. Also, don’t forget to look for good back-up wands or staves. In some of the missions, you will find you need to attack monsters at range. You’ve got a great ranged arsenal between Life Siphon, Shadow Strike, Vampiric Gaze & Dark Pact. However, energy can be an issue at these levels, so having that back-up wand to pull out will be helpful.

Shiverpeaks

One of your first objectives here is to get the necromancer quest from Morgan and complete it. One of the rewards from this quest is Well of Blood, which will become an invaluable party heal skill in your skill bar. Get used to launching this skill the moment a corpse hits the ground. Combined with your life siphons, the health regen from this can quickly hit the max life regen of +10 making you very hard to kill. Your party will likely grow addicted to the healing properties of the “big green circle” produced by Well of Blood. With the larger party sizes here, you may not need to bring a rez signet. However, since you’ll usually outlive the rest of the party, having one along may still be a good idea. I played mostly with henchmen around this point, and I was able to safely ditch my copy. As a result, Well of blood replaced Dark Pact in my skill bar at this point.

After completing the 2 shiverpeak missions, you’ll arrive in Beacon’s perch. Get the Deserter’s quest from Master Saberlin and then complete it. The reward for this quest is Strip Enchantment, which is another very handy skill to have. You’ll now have a very solid skill setup that looks like this:

– Life Siphon
– Frenzy or Shadow Strike
– Sever Artery
– Gash
– Vampiric Touch
– Vampiric Gaze
– Well of Blood (get used to casting this as soon as a foe drops near you or your comrades)
– Strip Enchantment or Rez Signet

Kryta / Maguuma Jungle

After reaching Lion’s Arch, your next objective will be the Ascalon Settlement quest. Talk to the merchant in Lion’s Arch and the person by the docks to get 2 other quests which you can solve this direction, then head out the west gate of Lion’s Arch to get the quest to lead Cynn, Devorah and Mhenlo to the settlement. The reward for this quest is Final Thrust, which is a very useful sword skill.

While you’re up near the settlement, also be sure to do Farmer Dirk’s “Last Hog” quest which will reward you with the Blood Ritual skill. This is a great skill to help casters on your team regain their energy.

Your blood skills will continue to serve you well in these regions. However, you’ll likely find Sever Artery & Gash to be a bit problematic in the 3 Kryta missions when you face undead. The Ghouls and Warlocks bleed, but none of the skeletons do. In addition, by this point, Frenzy tends to be a bit more of a liability than it is worth. For the Kryta and Maguuma Jungle missions, I recommend this skill setup:

– Life Siphon
– Sever Artery (useful vs. non-undead, and still useful vs. ghouls or warlocks w/ undead)
– Shadow Strike (vs. undead in the seaboard & divinity coast missions) or Gash (when not facing undead)
– Final Thrust
– Vampiric Touch
– Vampiric Gaze
– Well of Blood (It’s likely you will save your party multiple times with this skill)
– Strip Enchantment or Rez Signet

For equipment, you may want to consider a trip to Bergen Hot Springs or Beetletun for AL 39 armor (or AL 49 Necrotic armor). Scar pattern gear is useful because it will give you extra energy, but necrotic armor is also useful as it gives you a bit of extra armor (at the price of a 2x damage susceptibility vs. holy). Otherwise, you can wait until you reach Ventari’s Refuge where you’ll be able to craft AL 45 gear (or AL 55 necrotic). Another option is picking up basic AL 51 armor from the jungle collectors. There is no right or wrong armor to get. If you opt for the necrotic armor, you really need to ditch Frenzy. Otherwise, the aloes will be doing 4x damage to you during a frenzy with their holy spells! You don’t want a sorry tombstone that reads, “Killed by an Aloe”, do you?

If you’re playing this character correctly, your blood skills w/ high ranks in blood magic should enable you to survive some incredible odds. When facing a big group of enemies, keep 2 to 3 life siphons active at all times in addition to the periodic uses of Well of Blood to keep your health regen maxed out at +10 ticks. Between that and your other lifesteal skills like Vamp Touch or Gaze, your health should stay high even in large, heated battles. As an example, one time in the jungle, all my henchies & teammates had died during an ambush at the hands of 7 level 18 Jungle Trolls + 2 Jungle Skales. My necro/warrior was left alone, facing these 9 monsters that were still at nearly full strength due to their regen abilities. Yet, I was still able to win that battle! Doing so required diligent use of the right skills at the right targets at the right time. If there was ever a defining moment that demonstrated this character’s ability to survive in melee for me, that was it.

After completing the Riverside Province mission, you’ll get the Sanctum Cay mission waypoint. From here, you’ll want to explore northward to reach Fisherman’s Haven. There you will find a skill trainer with Awaken the Blood. This is a great skill for boosting your own ability with blood skills. You can also get the Royal Papers quest here which rewards you with Savage Slash, which can be very useful against casters. Depending on your team composition and what you’re facing, you’ll need to determine if you want to take Awaken the Blood, Blood Ritual, Shadow Strike, Gash, Savage Slash, Strip Enchantment or a Rez Signet. My own tendency was to use Gash & Strip Enchantment while I was in the jungle because most of the foes bleed, and I faced several foes with enchantments.

Crystal Desert

The collectors here have “perfect” weapons. If you haven’t already found a max damage sword, I recommend getting one from a collector. The one that adds +15% damage while enchanted is useful since you can enchant yourself with Awaken the Blood. In addition, you can find collectors that offer AL 60 basic armor here. Otherwise, the crafter in Amnoon Oasis can craft AL51 armor of your choice. I recommend getting the collector gear, or possibly crafting the necrotic or scar pattern armor in Amnoon. Unfortunately, there is not a collector for an off-hand blood focus item here in the desert, so you’ll have to get by with what you can find.

Since there don’t seem to be nearly as many foes in the desert that use enchantments, I quit using Strip Enchantment in this area and used Awaken the Blood instead. Since I also had obtained a collector sword with the +15% damage while enchanted, this helped me dishout extra damage with my weapon as well as improve my blood magic. If this enchantment ends prematurely due to a scarab stripping it, it’s not a life-threatening situation. Just wait until after you kill them all, then cast it again. The build in this area I used to great success was this:

– Life Siphon
– Sever Artery (enough foes in the desert bleed to make this useful)
– Gash (ditto) or Savage Slash (vs. foes that cast spells)
– Final Thrust
– Vampiric Touch
– Vampiric Gaze
– Well of Blood
– Awaken the Blood

You shouldn’t have too many problems in the desert, although certain foes can be a bit annoying until you learn tactics to beat them. Rockshot Devourers will interrupt your longer casting time skills like Life Siphon or Well of Blood, so you will likely need to use primarily sword skills and vamp touch+vamp gaze to deal with them. Sand Drakes put up wards making it hard to hit with melee, so fall back upon your blood skills almost entirely to defeat them. The Ether Kin will cast skills that make you unable to gain adrenaline as well as others that can interrupt your skill use. Just charge in and wail on them with your sword + savage slash and also pop off a few vamp touches or gazes when you can. Otherwise, most of the foes are fairly straight-forward. You should almost never die so long as you continue using life siphons, vampiric touch/gaze and wells of blood to keep your health up.

You can skill capture Order of the Vampire from some of the Forgotten bosses in the 3 desert ascension missions. This may be your first elite skill, so test it out a bit, likely in place of Awaken the Blood (to avoid double health loss w/ a sacrifice). You may find a team mix that makes it a useful skill. In a warrior heavy party once, it seemed to help our group, but otherwise, I was not terribly impressed with it for this particular build.

Ascension Mirror Battle

Necromancers have a laughably easy time killing their dopplegangers. Here’s a skill set-up that should let you win in about 20 seconds:

– Awaken the Blood (let the doppleganger lose twice the health from sacrifice skills!)
– Signet of Agony (If doppleganger uses this, it sacs 10% heath and bleeds for 25 seconds!)
– Touch of Agony (sac 10% health to use this)
– Dark Pact (sac 10% health to use this)

That’s it. Don’t use any of those skills yourself, just run up to your double and begin attacking with your sword. The doppleganger will cast those skills and sacrifice itself to death.

Post-Ascension

After ascending and doing both of the 15-point attribute quests, I recommend a final attribute distribution of 12 Blood Magic, 10 Swordsmanship and 8 Soul Reaping. You can add a superior Blood magic rune or continue just using a minor one. The net result with runes & headgear will be 14 (or 16 w/ superior rune) Blood Magic, 10 Swordsmanship, 9 Soul Reaping.

Southern Shiverpeaks / Ring of Fire

I recommend crafting AL60 armor in Droknar’s Forge. I have found Scar pattern armor pretty good for return visits to the crystal desert and adventures in the southern shiverpeaks. Meanwhile, necrotic or tormentors armor can be helpful if you need extra AL. Just remember that will make you susceptible to holy damage, so be careful where you use this.

It’s also time to get yourself a “perfect” off-hand focus. The collector just outside the west gates of Droknar’s Forge will trade you one for 5 Avicara scalps. It’s worthwhile to take a trip to Port Sledge. A skill trainer there has Order of Pain. It functions somewhat like Order of the Vampire, but adds damage instead of life steal. This actually seems to work better than Order of the Vampire in terms of damage-dealing w/ a melee or ranger heavy party. Seems to be a bit of a niche spell, but you may find it useful.

It’s time to also begin looking for some key elite skills. Ones to consider are:

– Life Transfer (like life siphon on steroids)
– Offering of Blood (sac life to gain energy. Easy to recover that lost health, so this is a great skill here)
– Well of Power (like well of blood w/ energy regen as well)
– Blood is Power (stronger version of Blood Ritual)

You could also consider some elite sword skills, but in general, those necromancer elites will likely be the ones you’ll want to try. The final build is designed to be flexible, allowing you to quickly change it to best complement your party and what foes you’ll be facing. You can only bring 1 elite at a time, so some non-elite choices are listed for the variable slots:

– Life Siphon
– Life Transfer [elite] or Offering of Blood [elite] or Gash or Savage Slash (non-elite options)
– Sever Artery
– Final Thrust
– Vampiric Touch
– Vampiric Gaze
– Well of Power [elite] or Well of Blood (non-elite option)
– Blood is Power [elite] or Blood Ritual or Awaken the Blood (non-elite options)

Surprisingly, 4 of the skills from pre-searing (Life Siphon, Sever Artery, Vamp touch & gaze) are still found here in the late-game build. It’s a testament to their usefulness and power that they are still valuable this late in the game. You can experiment with other skills but it’s likely that Life Siphon, Vampiric Touch and/or Gaze will remain core skills in your build.

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