I am by no means a super skilled Force Master, nor am I very experienced with the class. The skill build I am about to share is simply created by meshing several skills that I find work well together, or are extremely useful in various situations. I will refer to skill point allocation as traits, and I will refer to the blue bubbles (resource) as energy.
To start things off, I will include this set of material from my translation post, basic Force Master Mechanics, since it will help in understanding the content below.
For detailed skill descriptions of every Force Master Skill, refer to my previous post here.
Basic Force Master Mechanics
1) Fire/Ice Gems 炎玉/冰玉
- Once generated, gems will persist (swirling around caster) for 30s. Once 30s is up, gems will disappear.
- If a gem of the same color is generated, the timer resets to 30s. And both the new and old gem will persist for 30s starting from when 2nd gem is generated.
- Once there are 3 gems on the casters already, no new gems will be generated. This means that once the 3rd gem's creation has refreshed the timer for all 3 gems, timer will NOT be reset anymore until these 3 time out.
- Gems of different colors do NOT affect one another in terms of bonus or timers.
1 Gem: When attacked, deal 3%Atk to attacker, increases fire stack on attacker by 1.
2 Gem: When attacked, deal 6%Atk to attacker, increases fire stack on attacker by 1.
3 Gem: When attacked, deal 10%Atk to attacker, increases fire stack on attacker by 1.
1 Gem: When attacked, gain 1 energy, increases cold debuff stack on attacker by 1. When a foe accumulates 3 stacks of cold debuff, it gets frozen.
2 Gem: When attacked, gain 2 energy, increases cold debuff stack on attacker by 1.
3 Gem: When attacked, gain 3 energy, increases cold debuff stack on attacker by 1.
*note: all the "when attacked" bonuses trigger only from a successful clean attack from the enemy. Meaning dodging, parrying will NOT result in the bonuses listed.
2) Fire Stacks 火种
Many fire skills apply 1 (or more) fire stacks onto enemies when they hit. The number of stacks currently on an enemy can be seen clearly by the number marked beside a fire seed symbol on the mob. The stacks will accumulate up to a maximum of 5 stacks, or whenever they are detonated (used up). The description in the skill window is as follows: 1) When detonating, deal X damage per fire stack to the target. (In fact, each stack does 30%Atk damage during detonation, excluding bonuses) 2) For every fire stack detonated this way, deal an extra 75% damage. (The unknown bonus damage comes from here)
Personally, I find this description lacking, and so i conducted a simple experiment. I will show my findings in the form of images since I did it on Excel. TLDR below ^^
- The accurate description of the fire stacks system should be: 1) When detonating, deal 30%Atk damage per fire stack to the target. 2) Deal bonus 75%Atk damage per additional fire stack after the 1st stack.
- The formula to calculate damage dealt by detonating fire stacks will be:
Dmg = (0.3n + 0.75(n-1))Atk , where n = number of stacks.
3) Different Types of Ice Debuffs
- Root effect. Foe will not be able to move.
- Foe will be able to attack if you are within range of it. Foe can use skills while frozen.
- Foe can be attacked and attacking it does not remove foe from root.
- Some skills that can cause Frozen status includes: Ice Wave and Icy Palms.
- Foe will be unable to move, attack, use skills or perform any action.
- Foe can be attacked and be affected by skills, but once it takes any damage, debuff will be removed prematurely.
- The only skill that can cause Iced status is: Frozen Soil.
Ice Prison 冰牢
- Foe will be unable to move, attack, use skills or perform any action.
- Foe can be targeted, but cannot be damaged, debuffed or be affected by any skills.
- Some skill that can cause Ice Prison status is: Icy Body (Self), Moonlight Snow and Ice Prison.
4) Innate Ice Skill Effect
- Upon casting any ice spells, caster gets 10% increased defense that lasts for 5s, and can stack up to 10 times. This is an innate effect of all ice skills.
- Timer of 5s will be refreshed every time a new stack is gained.
Force Masters should focus most of their traits on DPS, while reserving some for survival and aoe CC. I consider some traits to be essential, and I stick to them no matter how I change my build up. Some trait paths, on the other hand are optional but also highly recommended, and you will have to choose which to take up and which to sacrifice due to limited trait points. Several skills have more than 1 viable path of traiting, and I will list them down as well.
Very Highly Recommended Traits (Essentials)
Fiery Palms (LB)
This skill is what we call bread and butter. It is the primary skill to get our energy back, and to stack/detonate fire stacks. The first tier is leant all the way to level 4 and this is very much recommended for all Force Masters.
Firstly, delay between repeated shots is reduced, allowing for faster energy recovery and fire stacking. Secondly, level 4 allows you to detonate stacks once the stack reaches 5, thus removing the need to use other skills to do that (Vacuum Shot being the most commonly used skill to detonate stacks before this trait can be learnt). This is really important since Vacuum Shot has a much shorter range (10m) and most of the time, FMs would prefer to stay further away from the enemy. Also, Vacuum Shot has a significant skill delay time after cast.
Do note that fire stack detonation with this skill does not give crit damage bonus currently when crit (even when damage numbers show yellow)! Might be a bug, but stack detonation will do more damage if exploded by Vacuum Shot.
This skill is the primary reason why FMs steal aggro so easily, since even their most basic skill does a lot of damage due to fire stack mechanic. This is further enhanced by Rapid Fire Palms.
Tier 2 does not increase rapid cast rate, so I ignored it. Tier 3 turns this skill into a 1 cast time spell, which is very bad. If you want to spend your precious dps time or mobility on reading the cast bar, you will want to be casting a much more powerful spell than this, like Fire Lotus Palm.
Primary Use: Energy recovery, fire stacking/detonating.
Rapid Fire Palms (Fire F)
Another one of our most commonly used skills, can be activated whenever any of our fire spells crit. The damage isn't that great per shot, but the focus of this skill is still fire stacking. Getting up to level 2 will do the job, with each shot adding 1 fire stack. Level 3 allows the user to auto detonate all stacks on the 5th shot of Rapid Fire Palms, sounds good and convenient, but in actual fact is kind of useless.
The way to use this skill in conjunction with Fiery Palms is: use LB to get crit in order to trigger F. If stacks is close to 5, detonate it first before using F. F will apply 5 new stacks onto target, before you detonate it with LB again, while trying to crit again to trigger another round of F. Because both skills fire very quickly, the amount of damage done piles up very quickly, especially with purple and red gems equipped. As can be seen from this sequence of events, auto detonation of stacks from level 3 trait is absolutely useless, since you will need to use a LB to get another crit anyway, and the 1st LB shot will already be detonating the full 5 stacks from F.
However, getting it to level 3 is very viable as well! This is mainly due to the fact that the explosion of fire stacks at the end of the 5 shots WILL HAVE the crit damage for stack explosion. For players who don't mind using this skill as your main form of dps, feel free to get level 3. But for others, you might wna still stick to the classic LB -> RB -> 2.
Primary Use: Fire stacking.
Icy Palms (RB)
This trait is actually the least important in this group of important traits. Early on in the game, I did not put any points into this skill at all, but if you want to enjoy the wonderful perks of lifesteal from Ice F, this trait will be quite essential. All it does is reduce energy consumption of RB to 1 from 2. Ice skills all have high cooldowns, so the only reliable way to repeatedly get ice skill crits will be RB, and if energy consumption is at 2, you will run out of energy very quickly if you keep failing to get a crit hit with it. The other 2 tiers do not reduce energy consumption, so I ignore them completely. You may also consider level 3 for tier 1, giving high chance of freezing before 3 shots.
One tip for using RB is, since you went down this tier, there is no delay reduction, meaning consecutive shots are fired slowly. To make use of the time in between shots, fire a LB right after RB. Not only will it be additional damage and fire stacking, LB also provides 1 energy gain, meaning your RB (1 energy use) will now cost nothing. If you then crit with both LB and RB, stay calm and use whichever F skill you need first, then switch again to the other element to use the other F. F skill triggers will stay up there until it expires, no matter how many times you switch elements.
If you think lifesteal from the imba purple gem is crazy, wait till you learn this. Nothing much can be said about this trait/skill, apart from the super efficient health regain, especially when critting, and that it recovers a huge hunk of your energy when cast (1 per hit). When you are at full health try not to use this skill though, unless you are suddenly in need of energy. Damage isn't the focus here.
Tier 1's enhanced energy recovery is also highly recommended, especially if your main skill rotation is LB -> RB -> 2. Learning this path will reduce the recovery process by a significant amount, so more rotations can be used in a fight.
Primary Use: Lifesteal, energy recovery.
Honestly, it gets better and better the deeper you go (choke/grab/seize removal!), even from a PvE perspective. However, due to point constraint, I put 1 point to enable escaping from stuns and weakening effects. Without at least 1 point, this skill is quite useless. Stun removal is very important, especially in maps like red lotus to prevent being owned by normal KFM mobs, so I recommend 1 point at least here.
Primary Use: Remove stun.
Vacuum Shot (1)
The people who have used this trait before will tell you it's a must have, while the people who don't will claim it's junk. Once upon a time, whenever I look through my skill window, I will scroll up and down, scanning new skills/traits to try out, but never ever stop to look at this skill's traits, since the skill itself (untraited) is so useless… One fine day I stumbled upon a random thread and someone was pleading FMs to use this trait, claiming "1 point and you will be unafraid of all bosses/mobs" and stuff. That was when I decided to venture down this path of no return.
That guy's description was mildly exaggerating, but this trait is still unbelievably powerful. It blocks so many types of attacks, both from mobs and bosses, as long as you do it right (0.5s before the attack lands). Ranged attacks are normally easy to block since you can see the flight of the projectile (another reason why FMs should stay far from enemy if possible). Leaping attacks are harder, since different enemies leap differently… Apart from blocking the damage (or part of it if the damage is too high), it blocks all of the effects that comes along with the attack. One common example will be the spider projectile webs in spider nest. Blocking it will not cause any stun on you!
My only word of advice will be, you do not need to block every attack thrown at you. As mentioned earlier, delay for casting Vacuum Shot is huge, and if you just focus on blocking attacks, you are not playing your part as a FM. Block a few of those highly damaging or CC ones and continue dealing damage! The beginning of the video below shows deflection of red lotus' Fire Spear. It is easy to tank this boss as FM and take 0 damage!
Primary Use: Block attacks, knock back groups of frozen mobs.
Fire Wave (2)
Everyone knows how absurd it is for a spell to consume 5 energy per cast ._. Therefore, 1 point is definitely needed. The 2nd point here lets you weaken all the enemies hit by this for 2s. Aoe CC for 2s is very useful, and it also synergizes with many other skills in the FM's arsenal. Some FMs are observed to go down tier 1, where their 1 fire dragon becomes 2 fire dragons, which is useful as well, but the main reason for going tier 2 is that apart from this skill, there isn't another one which allows aoe weakening with such convenience.
You don't want to go to level 3 in tier 2 since knocking mobs back is anti-combo for your follow-up skills!
Primary Use: Aoe mob clear/CC, aoe weaken effect for combos.
Ice Shield/Dome (Ice C)
One of the most imba skills for the FM. Blocks all ranged attacks for everyone in the area, and doesn't restrict movement when traited. 3 points is compulsory here (I have not yet seen a FM who did not trait this skill, unless he is too low level to afford points), and the point of contention is between a dome that does not move, have a larger area, has lower cooldown; or one that follows you around.
Initially, I chose the 2nd tier since it allows so much mobility and freedom. However, there was a time when red lotus boss will do multi-fire-spear barrage every 30+ seconds, and the much higher cooldown of tier 2 simply caused my death. From then on, I chose tier 1 and have stuck with it till now. From my experience, one just has to get into position before casting it in order to make up for the weakness of tier 1. You can either cast it on the enemy, or in the attacking path of the enemy, and he will never be able to land any ranged attack on anyone as long as the dome is up.
Personal shield version
A must have for soloing, faction dailies and red lotus, basically everywhere.
Primary Use: Everything that is associated with ranged attacks.
Lotus Fingers (Fire C)
Without traiting, this skill is trash. With this one point, it becomes slightly better (huge damage increase), but the only redeeming factor is that it has literally 0 cast time as you can cast it in between LB shots for the extra damage. Extra fire stacks on crit is just a minor bonus while you are not using Fire F for stacking, allowing you to reach those 5 stacks slightly sooner with other skills.
Primary Use: Single target, Boss.
I have indicated below each skill whether I have taken them up in my current skill build. However, it is by no means a definite assessment of how useful a trait is! All of these choices I have chosen to include in this section are very useful and powerful in various aspects of combat, it is merely up to the user's preference and what maps/quests he does more often.
Flames of Liaoyuan (Fire Tab)
Actually this skill is not optional (it's one of those staple skills). It's just that there is more than 1 viable path. If you go down tier 1, you do an enormous amount of damage around you, and MORE if the enemies are weakened (auto crit with additional damage on weakened targets). This is my main aoe skill in combination with weaken effect from Fire Wave.
The other option will be to learn tier 3, turning this skill into Fire Explosion.
This skill will be used in conjunction with Blazing Ember for aoe knock down then knock up. In the video below I used Fire Explosion first to show clearly how it all works, and also to maximize the CC duration on enemies. In reality, I normally use Blazing Ember first since it is a targeted ability and has longer range. Throw that seed under the enemy first before I walk up close enough to plop down Fire Explosion. Fire Explosion needs to be triggered asap if used this way, since Ember explodes within 3s of usage and Fire Explosion needs to knock people down beforehand for knock up to happen.
For me, I chose tier 1, since I do not see the need for such excessive CC. I rarely solo, so what I normally need is just more damage for faster clear. Also, knock up combos require much more time to execute, which could be used to deal more damage. Finally, knock up is meh on bosses.
Primary Uses: Aoe Clear/CC
Did I Choose This? Yes (Tier 1)
Blazing Ember (Fire Z)
As mentioned above, it can be comboed with Flames of Liaoyuan for knock up. Apart from using knock down to knock up, one can also use weaken to knock up targets. Here, Fire Wave weakening is used to knock mobs up. It is evident, though, that this combo is not very time-efficient.
Primary Uses: Aoe Clear/CC
Did I Choose This? No
Gravity Palm (4)
A very powerful aoe control tool. It sucks all mobs around the target into the center of the circle, allowing aoe abilities to be thrown in there. The reason why I did not take this is partly due to point constraint (3 points needed to learn this skill), and also because it makes me unable to use all the skills associated with Grab.
Primary Uses: Aoe CC
Did I Choose This? No
Ice Break (Ice Z)
2 points and this becomes a powerful aoe dps spell to be used in the ice combo 3 -> Z -> 1. Without it, this skill is merely a skill to recover energy with in times of need (long cooldown and mediocre damage). This trait stayed with me for a very long time, but was eventually sacrificed for some other imba skills that I discovered later on. It is also because of its long cooldown that I dropped it before the other ice skill. Both this skill and Ice River Palm (traited) can be used immediately after RB for additional chance to crit due to their 0 cast time.
Primary Uses: Aoe Clear, easy crit with ice spell
Did I Choose This? No
Ice River Palm (Ice X)
The 2nd ice skill. When traited this way, it becomes a really powerful nuke (0 cast time, high damage on frozen targets) and can be used after Ice Wave for easy double damage proc. Without traits it becomes a near useless spell, requiring 1 sec cast and doing mediocre damage. I kept this for a long time since it really shines in random skirmishes, especially during faction dailies where there are one or two mobs here and there that you should clear asap. Should definitely take this up if there are free points lying around.
Primary Uses: Single target burst
Did I Choose This? No
Ice Flower (Ice V)
Another very powerful survival skill. One cast alone can let everyone in the party dodge the first 3 waves of red lotus 5-roars. Nowadays, I encounter this 5-roar skill a lot less (boss dies before he has a chance to use it if you join max weapon teams), so I use it in monkey dungeon at the first boss before he uses the skill which damages/stuns everyone across the room.
Primary Use: Red Lotus boss, aoe high damage skills.
Did I Choose This? Yes
Cloud Palms (F)
The most recent addition to my arsenal. At first glance, the traits for this skill are not especially worthwhile, and going deeper down the tree even increases energy consumption up to 2, which is very high for a fast-casting, no cooldown spell. But if you look more closely, going down each of the 2 tiers allows the spell to be cast on targets that are CCed in different ways. Tier 2 is lame, but tier 1 can be extremely powerful if your team has a decent Destroyer. The Chinese name this skill "机关枪", or "machine gun", since it does a lot of damage in a short period of time and with reference to its rapid-firing nature. So tier 1 lets you cast this on choked enemies, and with the Destroyer's choke ability refunding 2 energy per cast, this skill is cost-free! That's 2 casts per second, or 4 hits per second, which is sick dps.
I have included a video showing how much dps this skill can provide with the right CC skills :D
This trait is very situational though, since it only works if there are chokers or grabbers. If there aren't any, these 3 points are totally wasted! Also, some players do not trait their CCs to refund energy (I don't know why D:) so be careful and watch your energy bar while casting. If not, your bar will deplete within 2 seconds and you will inevitably be cursing under your breath when that happens. One of those high requirement, high reward skills.
I personally like this skill quite a lot, so I took this up. If you don't, it is perfectly reasonable, or arguably better to spend 2 of these 3 points on Ice River Palm, and the other on level 1 of Ice Break.
Primary Use: Boss fights.
Did I Choose This? Yes
Fire Lotus Palm (Fire X)
This is another skill where multiple viable routes are viable. Firstly, you can choose not to trait it at all, and it will still be a powerful nuke that takes 2.5s to cast. If you choose to trait it, be prepared to use 3 points here since both tier 1 and 2 routes are best traited all the way down. Tier 1 allows crit shots to reward you with an insta-cast Fire Lotus Palm (fireball) for the next cast, while tier 2 turns this skill into an insta-cast spell with cooldown of 45s, and increased damage, especially to stunned or weakened targets.
Tier 2 will equip you with yet another immensely powerful insta-cast single target nuke, and should be comboed with Fire Wave (weaken effect) for crazy burst in the combo 2 -> tab -> X. This combo does a straight-up 2300%Atk on the target, not including the auto-crit for Flames of Liaoyuan and tier 2 fireball detonating of fire stacks!
However, tier 1 excels in prolonged battles, namely boss fights, where you can try your luck with crit casts. The video below shows a battle where I got lucky, and the damage put out is :D This is one of those good face (lucky), good reward skills. If you are not confident with your luck, or have low base crit, then think twice about going this route :P
Primary Use: Boss fights, or single target burst (tier 2).
Did I Choose This? Yes (Tier 1)
Pros and Cons of my build
My build emphasizes a lot on boss battles and team fights. If you are one who likes to solo stuff or pvp, this is definitely not recommended! For specific fights like Luxun, it is also advisable to alter the build for the fight, choosing more CC-oriented traits like Fire Explosion and insta-cast spells like Ice River Palm. My build also sees the entire series of Ice dps skills being next to useless, so players who prefer blue to red… try something else >_o
This is about all I have to share, and I am constantly experimenting new traits and synergy. Will try to keep this updated as new patches are introduced. Lastly, have fun and I hope to see you in game :D
[ The post was edited by Brushy at Jan 31, 2014 5:02 am ]
Very nice guide! Professional level! Your build makes everything looks so easy lol! I liked your skill video very clearly demonstrate the skills, and I quite liked your build too, so I think I will follow your path, but I am more to solo so I guess some adjustment will be made, like I prefer Fire Explosion over Fire Wave. However, recently I am addicted to Summoner lol can't help with the easy leveling with Summoner, so part time will be training my FM.
haha glad you found it useful! but fire wave is a very useful skill and almost all Fms around do skill it either tier 1 for increased aoe or tier 2 for weaken! it is one of our staple skills due to its 0 cd and 0 casting requirement (except energy cost).
Great job for doing this to help your fellow FMs... but i would just want to share (i dont know if you have observed this, but I certainly do) that it is true that the auto fire detonate of 5 fire stack from Fiery Palms (LB) will not have the crit multiplier even though the numbers are Yellow,, but this is not the case in terms of the auto fire detonate from Rapid Fire Palms (Fire F).... when the fire detonation from this crits, it really is a crit... i haven't really did the calculations but the damage tells me.. XD so i think it is worth it to get it to level 3 ...
hey thanks for the input! have only noticed that spells other than LB will give the crit damage, but din take into consideration that Fire F crits too! will try it out first before commenting on that path, but thx anyways :D
A little trick I found to be very effective with 3 points in fire F is to put a fire wall down under the target. Most of the time you can do two fire F's back to back, and in some rare occasions even 3 F's back to back.
Also, with the chi-regen and bad ping I found spamming Left button + 2 to be the best dps, kinda hurts survivability I guess. But its been working for me, anyone else in the same boat? (I might be doing it completely wrong, but it feels right)
I think you should mention the LB -> RB -> Fire Dragon (2) combo in conjunction with the Ice Crit F skill, leveled down all the way in the first tier for 1 extra chi regen on crit. It's very good DPS while your other skills are on cooldown, and good utility as well, since it adds both fire stacks and ice stacks. The reason it's very good is because you use LB and RB while Fire Dragon is cooling down (although you need good ping to fit in both during it).
Even though it consumes chi very quickly, the Ice Crit F skill with extra chi regen on crit will fill up your chi to full or almost full every time, and you can keep going again. Ice Crit F also deals decent damage, which just adds to it as well.
I just wanted to share this, as I consider it the best DPS method to resort to while all your skills are on cooldown.
the main issue is that Ice F will never do more damage than fire F, so if you want to spend that time (people generally refer to F's casting time as quite long) using an F skill, you will want to use fire F. the only concern for a constant RB -> LB -> 2 rotation, which is by far one of the best, is that it consumes energy too quickly, which when depleted, can be compensated by what you suggested.
my above build (which i have changed a few times in game already), was a general build, along with listing some possibilities, so i might not have tested all the possibilities of specialization. if for example a player really takes the rotation as his main dps skills, and spends most of his time in a party, i would agree with you and spec the first tier of ice F, since it will help tremendously in spamming RBLB2!
and thanks for the input! have been busy with school lately so havent been able to amend/add some stuff.
Well, I never meant you should use Ice F for damage. It's just that it supports the LB-RB-2 combo very much, which is the most damaging one but also highest chi consuming one. You just need to use it once when you're out of chi and you heal back up to full and can keep going again. And it does pretty good damage for a chi-regen skill (does about 730 per hit for me with crits).
Just want you to share it in your little guide since you should also already know that it's a very good damaging combo :P
1) fire F stack explosion does crit explosion damage and going level 3 is a possible option!
2) Ice F tier 1 is viable for additional energy recovery, especially if you primarily take part in party play (do not desperately need the hp leech), or use the LB -> RB -> 2 combo as your main source of dps.